Who am I?

Last night
Lying curled up
Quiet in the dark
cocoon of my
sleeping bag
I heard the owl’s call
somewhere outside my window
in the trees.

Whooo whoo
What is its meaning?
To me? With this confusion?
Then I realized.
Are you reaching out to the sound?
Or is it just there?
What is the meaning?
For me?
The owl’s calling–oh, reaching out to
an object
outside of me.
The owl’s call–oh, wait, is me
Arrow piercing the veil
There is nothing more
to know.

This practice has mostly
searching for the
meaning of
the owl’s call
How foolish
A single thought
sweeps me into
a forgotten land, a forgotten life,
a dream, a mirage, complete
hollowness, a solitary tower of
I am lost. Lost.
For how long has
my practice been lost
this way? How long
have I been

A single realization,
I want to know who I am. . .
intimate, profound, ordinary, warted.
Not turn away from the
most precious,
mysterious subject of
my practicing.

Lost, not lost, loses its meaning,
becomes a jewel,
precious and holy with this

This morning
I stepped outside and walked
just for me
and nothing else
Step. Step. Foot. Foot. Precious.
The world that is
always alive
awakened in me
Robust, diverse, full,
so many voices, sounds,
all happening, happening
The bright green sedum
soft under my feet
Clouds whisping
Mt. Baker’s jutting rocks

horse chestnut tree
tender, young, wrapped in
white piping
Her love
my love
perfuming my heart
alive together
A woman I never knew
How is this?

I want to know me
The veil–
I pull it across
my field of vision
as I look to the horizon
but something deeper
pierces through
and I slip, stumble, lose my breath,
cannot see clearly
May I rest here.
Right here in the midst of
boundless me.
Boundless mystery.
Knowing nothing, nothing,
yet held
within the energy of a
deep longing.
The longing of a
universe wanting to know
“Who am I?”

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Sweet Betty’s

mom and the girls
out to Sweet Betty’s.
Full with banana crepes
I posed a question
I was struggling with.

My sisters
sat up
leaned forward
listened attentively
offered me their

Go to the woman.
Tell her how
what she is doing is
making you feel.
Many people are not so
don’t realize the impact of
their behavior,
act out of fear.
Their own deep fears.

My sisters and I,
we talk about
such things.

As well as the
everyday stuff.
My son bought a new car.
My granddaughter went snowboarding.
It’s time to preen the yard,
cut back the ivy.

Every Saturday morning
in Gresham,
breakfast happens at
Sweet Betty’s.

I am fortunate
to have
such a
deep well
A place to land.
A place to relax.
A place to be me.
A place to belong.

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The Masters’ Words

Into bones
The masters’ words
Stiff & brittle
Cracks & crevices
Bathed in silence, softness,

Renewed form
From webs
so tight
a strangled voice
utters no sounds

No place to go
No escape from
tangled thoughts
The masters’ words
Renewed form
Folds them in
Melts into silence, softness, light

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Les Mis

Last night my husband and I saw Les Miserables at the movie theater. We hardly ever go, but our kids gave us gift cards to the Regal Cinemas. Can’t turn down free tickets 🙂 And I cried most of the way through. I wish I would have stuffed more hankies into my pocket before I left home. Why? What moved me?

For twenty minutes before the movie started we listened to ads for maybe a dozen movies. Not one that I would want to see. Insulting comedies or end-of-the-world type action shows with lots of violence and killing made viewable for “appropriate” audiences. These types of movies are popular, yet they are not really for me.

But Les Miserables. My heart melted. I admit I have never read the book. It was too long. Too historically detailed. I never could get into it. However, the screen play brought Victor Hugo’s story to life for me. The beauty of the characters, the people, who could love without hatred or envy or greed, who were willing to run or to die or to suffer for something bigger than themselves, or for the ones they loved. Even to hang themselves upon the crucible of the law. This is what we are as humans at our most raw, at our most hopeful, at our most complex, at our best.

Sitting there in that movie theater, soggy hankie in hand, tears streaming down my cheeks, absorbed into Fantine’s heart-wrenching singing of her life story as she lay broken in the box of her wretchedness, I realized that this is what I wish for my own writing. To touch into the truth of what we live through as humans, to not be ashamed of my own hope or despair or inspiration, to not be afraid to share it, and to bring it vividly to life because it is begging to be spoken and I can’t not do it. It takes courage. And this is what I wish for myself.

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A Letter to Myself

Last year, on January 1st, this question came to me, “Sad girl, why do you stop me from doing things?”

This year, came a letter to myself:

Let this person
who she needs
to be

If she was not
allowed this when
she was very small

It may be difficult
for her to
find her way
through thickets
of tearing
terrifying brambles

Give her space
Give her encouragement
Give her compassion
Help her to hold herself
accountable to

Provide her with
tools to heal her
wounds and
her delusions

So she can feel
the warm sun
on her skin
smell the sweet
fresh air as it flows
into her lungs
taste freedom
through her sincere
and realize she is not
a single thing

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From Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

One of the great liabilities of life is that all too many people find themselves living amid a great period of social change and yet they fail to develop the new attitudes, the new mental responses that the new situation demands. They end up sleeping through a revolution.

In Remaining Awake Through a Great Revolution

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The Look

It was the LOOK
smashed me to pieces
broke the trust
shamed me
created immobility
out of my
fear and helplessness.

I trusted my
high school teacher
worked with her on
dramatic interpretive pieces
that dug deep into
my vulnerabilities,
exposed me.

And then she laughed,
said she didn’t believe me…
About being RAPED
As if I made it all up
As if it never really happened
As if I was covering up being a
bad girl.
A deep violation
took in
the second arrow
opened a new wound
in a tender,

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