From the Healers

I am a bucket in the well,

holding links of twisted hemp

between me and the source,

bathed in darkness, the fall too far –

I know you’re frightened.

You don’t know you’re held

because the grip is so gentle.

Till you can trust the lengths of rope

you’re wrapped in so safely,

the rigging of this ship,

let me fall into black for you.

Let me strengthen my arms

so I can pull myself back

to the surface,

filled with all you need.

More than enough to share.

Until you learn the way,

may I fetch all I can carry,

so we can begin to quench our thirst.


The Taste of Peace

It’s the empty bliss between heartbreaks.

The second your clinging fingers let it slip

over the cliff and in your lightened grasp

colour floods back to your hand,

red rivulets rushing to warm

your desperate flesh.

It’s the golden pulse around you

when at last you reach the surface

and seize your first grasp of air.

Where straining ceases,

the casement flies open

and all that’s ever been floods in

– more than you could ever dream –

till the tears run

at the kaleidoscopic freedom

that was waiting all along.

She Reminds Me

My best friend is a prism.

It’s almost a party trick.

Have her walk into any room

and she’ll find the light where

it’s creeping through a windowsill

and bend it into rainbows

that bounce off the walls,

so you can almost hear the shimmer.

People blink and shield their eyes,

and I smile as in the usual way,

someone approaches her –

probably someone who gave up on rainbows

when they were very young,

and is now wondering if they could be more

than just a childish dream.


My best friend is a jungle queen.

In the treetops with a skirt

made of palm fronds,

she twists vines around her arms

and mixes her own paint,

trying to match the colours of the parrots

and cockatoos and birds of paradise

at her elbows.

She draws vivid peace stripes on her cheeks

then kneels to adorn the faces

of her adopted babies,

child after child with matted hair

and eyes that have seen too much,

taken under her expansive, feathery wings.


My best friend is an elderly monk.

On the mountaintop of her mind,

she sits in simple white-green robes,

listening to the roll of her breath

and the wind, uniting them.

She forgets herself up there,

sighs in her personal bliss,

then starts the slow descent

back to earth,

back to toil and pain and lost socks,

back for the rest of us.


But best of all, my friend is

the keeper of my most private memories,

a golden birdcage with wide-set bars

in which I’ve placed the shyest butterflies

of my soul, and where I know they are safe.

For the rest of my life, when she laughs,

I’ll feel thirteen again,

and recall the summers of pizza pretzels

and slurpees and 5-cent candies

in brown paper bags,

weekends of movies in our parents’ basements

and stories about boys

and confusing thoughts about girls.

When she laughs I’m reminded

that no matter what,

there will be movies under blankets

and sugar-induced brain freezes

and jokes only the two of us will understand,

jokes that make me think for a moment

we are still that young

and life is still that simple.




P.S. If you like, check out my Etsy store and support The Humane League!

Day 5: Passion and Zen

My 14 year old brother is one of the most passionate people I know. He eats, sleeps, breathes, wears, reads, and polishes cars. Sometimes it seems there’s not much room in his brain for anything else. I don’t think I’ve ever known someone so single-minded in their love for something.

Okay *shuffles feet* maybe I have.

Today he had to write a poem for class based around an abstract idea of his choosing. He picked passion. A wise and pertinent choice, I thought.

I tried to come up with a few exercises to help him clear his mind and let him experience his passion in its raw, pure state. “What does that look like? How does it move? How does it feel?”

He wrote such a joyous, full-hearted poem about his love for cars, about being carried away on the wings of something like that. About losing yourself in devotion.

One of the things I am most passionate about is spirituality, in every form. And one of my favourite forms is Buddhism. I’ve been meditating on and off for ten years, with fervent passion and zeal, seeking the bliss and peace of enlightenment. The more I studied about Buddhism, the more I wondered if my passionate fiery personality was something to be quashed. Was my intense sensitivity the root of my suffering? The reason I struggled to get to the mat every day? I didn’t know how to stop feeling so much. I could watch my emotions; sometimes I could even have the awareness that they would soon pass. But I couldn’t get rid of them.

It’s only recently that I’ve started to realize without being so passionate, I never would have sought out meditation practice. I never would have read book after book after book on Buddhism, Taoism, Yoga, and Sufism. I wouldn’t still be getting up at dawn to keep my commitment to a 31 day yoga challenge. My feelings aren’t the problem, quite the reverse. Me being over-dramatic or overly sensitive is what has made me into the person I am and keeps me pursuing new knowledge and realization. It keeps me working ever harder to be the best version of myself. Passion keeps me moving in pursuit of peace.

Passionately Zen. It’s a bit of an oxymoron, I admit. But Zen is also about learning how to live with ease amid apparent opposites – being and non-being, Oneness and the Void.

So there must be a way to harmonize my fire and zest for life with the calm, observing part of myself I work so hard to cultivate. Can I learn to listen so closely (and yet with ease) that I can pick out the moment when the notes of passion and peace come together to produce one soul-stirring chord? What would that sound like?

For me, I’m beginning to think it sounds like poetry.


my heart is burning

under Shiva’s dancing feet

to limitless ash



I try to ignore

longing to go to the woods

yet the flute plays on



P.S. I now have an Etsy store up and running, in an attempt to raise a bit of money for The Humane League, and express my creativity at the same time. Check it out if you’re interested. Thank you very much🙂