No Need Necessary

Abracadrabra, no spell check necessary,
I know this magic is complimentary,
Served with my morning medicine
And a little sugar to help it fit right in
Whether it is the sky resting above me
Or the glass that is now half empty
I still have all the reason to rejoice resolutely
Over every ounce and over every deposit
Tucked away in the corners of life’s closet
Next to nothing, and notes that remind me,
“You got this and you knows it, so go for it,”
Fully and completely until you simply are singing
For joy that He and She blessed us with this silence
That we hear from time to time,
Heartbeat after heartbeat asking us softly
That we stop this fighting —
Not the one with our hands, but the one with our feet
That keep running from who we are to who we want to be
Ex-hale after in-hale asking us to rest before we turn pale
And accept the fact that we might already be perfection,
That there is no need, no necessity,
For any further correction to you or me.


Presence is the Greatest Love

Early morning, rising to the raindrops falling,
The sky is drumming its beat upon rooftops.

Behind mountains, skyscrapers, and an eastern ocean,
The sun still hides itself: its absence births desire.

I praise the stillness it commands; offer my awareness:
For myself and all beings it tirelessly serves.

There may be no deeper love that I can reciprocate,
Than to be a mirror to the mighty and infinite sun.

I praise the attentiveness it provides, always giving.
It is nothing more than a sun, and can be nothing less.

There may be no deeper respect I can reciprocate,
Than to be a mirror; may I be nothing less.

Beneath mountains, skyscrapers, and oceans within me,
I am hidden, but, absence births desire to reunite.

Early morning, rising to give my Sunday prayers,
The distant drummer’s march signals the king’s arrival.

Where You Await

It is the Darkness that unknowingly plant seeds of beauty upon this Earth,
With their merciless molestation of purity,
Injecting us, the innocent, with ink blots of blue and black,
So that we may make artful lemonade from their tree,
Granting us permission to wrap roses around our mortality:

Dressing our Shame in the garments of Kings and Queens,
So Disgrace cannot touch us beneath all the layers of our royalty.
Burning Fear in the fires of defeat and resilience,
Its ashes scattered and embers stamped out by the masses;

We accept Guilt’s charity and company while we await our sentence,
For having, both, interfered with and walked along Fate’s fine line.
We transcend our inevitable Hatred by our melodic masquerades,
Holding onto the hope that our echoes capture the ears of angels.

It is the dark ones who eventually create the light within us,
Consuming us every waking hour until the moment of Death,
And provides us the fuel to cross deserts in search of our oasis,
Until we discover the Truth of our frail, ephemeral essence
That holds onto all things like a spider’s web in the wind.

Loneliness, begs us to abandon the abandonment of our Self,
And in the pain-filled years, I found You waiting for me,
Where You await us all:
Among the company of Darkness.

Upon a Sunset Skyline

Maybe it’s the flickering, dying, “D,” in “Rite Aid,”
And the 70-something-woman named, “Kyle,”
Who, instead of retirement, is working to live by minimum wage,
That jabs my heart like a pitchfork into straw hay.

It feels tender.
Not quite sad, though it inches closely to a tearful collapse.
Not quite happy, though it plays tirelessly like a puppy with a sprinkler.
It feels raw.

By, “it,” I mean, everything… All of this.
This body, this mind, this unexplainable experience.
It is the one that writes, “Svec,” on a bag for identification,
Who feels the power, momentum, and trivial nature of its name.

It feels the tenderness of warm summer winds
Carrying pop tunes from the speakers of a passing vehicle,
Singing the song of some stranger’s symphonic story,
And an off-key harmony to complement our passive coexistence.

It feels raw, inhaling invisible night air filled with fallen exhaust
From the jet planes that carry our loved ones away from us,
Collectively headed out of sight, seated together through fate,
Saluted on take-offs and greeted upon landings;

And, occasionally, if we are lucky, we get to see them
Making their mark upon a sunset skyline.

When It Arrives

Sadness comes to me like the willow tree
Reaching down to the Earth’s shoulder;
Holding its breath, trying not to breathe
Because every inhale makes me older,
And every gasping exhale exits pieces of you.

The more I breathe, the older I become,
And the further my ship sails from the island of You,
Where I once felt deserted, and had wildly kissed
The soil when I washed upon your shore
From the salvaged wreck I had survived.

Now I hold in breaths to stop time because I can’t go back,
But I can’t stay here, mooring in your bay —
far enough to see you and close enough to feel “away.”
So I cut the anchor, and raise my mast,
With the wind in my sails and the storm at my back.

Look No Further

You are perfection right now. Exactly what you have done, are doing, and will be doing is perfection. Let me be less general, more specific. Are you pleased today? Your answer is exactly what is necessary for you right now. Are you over-working yourself? Tiring yourself out? This couldn’t be better.

You may feel or say, “But, ‘here’ sucks. Where I am right now, is not pleasant.” Strangely, this thought process… is perfect. It all becomes perfect when our concept of “perfection” changes from what is ultimately unattainable to “attainable,” to “this” or “now.” Unattainable is, “I am sick today, but I need to/ should be able to do this…” or “I wish I could…” or “I’m scared that if I don’t…” Whatever that specific phrase is that we use to keep us from accepting this moment, right now, is what is called, “unattainable.” What is attainable is this: your experience right now. Struggle, confusion, joy, bliss, peace, shame. And whatever your experience will be 5 minutes from now, that is attainable.

It is perfect because that is exactly where we have found ourselves. We walk into these moments unconscious of our patterns and habits, like a sleepwalker who awakes to find that they are standing in the middle of the street, a car blaring its horn at them. Your writhing pain and suffering is you, alive and awake. Your bliss and pleasure is you, alive and awake. The belief that you have control of what happens and when/how it will happen is you, walking while you sleep. You can only experience life is you live it, and in that you are merely reacting to your circumstances. And, you will never be able to fully control them. Don’t believe me? Try this: stop thinking for 10 seconds. Take a moment and put every ounce of your being into this act.

You just reacted to your experience.

Whether you really tried to stop thinking for ten seconds (and realized this to be impossible), or whether you disagreed with it and shrugged it off, you just reacted. You didn’t have control of your experience. Your experience was living you more than you were living your experience.

Even before you opened this message you were faced with a choice. You chose to read this note, but only because you reacted to seeing it. Before that was another reaction, preceded by another and another. (Almost like a chemical reaction that goes and goes and goes, essentially never stopping because even when a chemical combination has reached its perceived “ended,” it is still changing form in some way.) So, here we are in life, reacting to reactions of reactions, right?

Well, These all occurred initially as thoughts — some sort of thought arose out of our experience. “I’m idle. I’ll go to Facebook. I’ll click on so and so’s page. I see a picture of someone else. I click on their page.” Yet, here is the empowerment we hold. We have a choice of what we react to, right? Sometimes, it doesn’t feel like it, but we almost always have a choice of how to react to our experience, but we don’t have a choice of what the result will be after we react. We can guess and project that it will probably be a certain way, like, “I am feel hunger. If I go to the store I can get yogurt and return home.” And, upon arriving at the store, you see friends, you talk to them, you forget about yogurt, but you leave with toilet paper. How often does this happen?

Okay, “thank you, Captain Obvious,” right? “Thank you for telling me of a mundane example, Martin.” But, the Truth lies in this example: you are not in control, everything is perfect, and at least you have toilet paper.

See, there is nowhere we need to go in order to attain that which we want most in this life: peace and love. I can already hear some of you thinking, “Oh, God…peace and love? Really?” But stick with me. Come on, it’s me, Marty.

Don’t answer this rhetorical question for me, “Why do you do what you do?” Let me try to phrase it to be more specific, “why do you need that perfect career? why do you need to change where you are right now? why do you need to find the One?” The answer driving it, when you find its deepest root is this, “I do it because I want peace.” And, perhaps, “I want love — acceptance.”

We don’t want stuff. We don’t want careers. All the things that we experience in life is an attempt to attain peace, and inner love. We eat ice cream because it makes us happy, and in happiness we are searching for peace. We put ourselves through 20 years of a miserable job to make a lot of money because we are trying to attain some sort of peace of mind. Perhaps we don’t want financial stress in our life. We do what we do because we want peace, and love. Do you not agree?

We are restless beings. Tirelessly searching for peace. Even, “the worst of the worst,” are searching for peace. Adolf Hitler. Can you not argue he was searching for peace within himself through his actions? That in some twisted and dark way, he believed peace could be obtained through the eradication of millions of “impure” people. To him, it was then, and only then, that peace would be felt within the world. But more important, it would be when peace would be felt within himself. This, to him, was nirvana. He committed suicide, using it as an escape from the war that he was caught in — not WWII — the one within. And, can we not relate to this feeling? Maybe not to the degree of turmoil he felt, but to the feeling of searching for the unattainable?

(Now leaving the city limits of Tangent. Population: Martin. Elevation: wtf?)

We are tirelessly searching for peace.
We don’t have to do anything or achieve anything in order to reach peace.
We are perfect.

Tonight, I was awoken by sirens. I wondered whether it was a police chase or just an ambulance. I imagined what it would be like to get in my car and go “find” a police chase in progress, and perhaps I could intentionally crash into the fleeing “criminal’s” car, like I was in some sort of destruction derby. Then I went to the window as the sirens got closer. I heard an engine accelerate, tires spin on the rainy pavement, and saw a truck go by on the next street over. I became confused when I heard the sirens going in another direction, opposite of where I saw the truck go. I thought, is it possible that the truck is a person just like me who decided to go look for the chase in progress? Then I realized, “I can’t join in a police chase, I wouldn’t know who the ‘bad guy’ is. And I might end up chasing after someone who is also looking for the bad guy.” How embarrassing would that be? And what if everyone did that? It would be madness! We would have innocent people driving around chasing each other like maniacs because they think they had found the bad guy.

Madness, but we do this in our everyday life. We don’t need to join a police chase to be part of this madness. We idolize people: celebrities, friends, spiritual figures. We idolize concepts created during our lifetime that express to us what purity is, what love is, what peace is, what a man is, what a woman is. We live our lives according to these concepts that reside in our busy, well-intended minds. We are recklessly chasing after the good guys, thinking they are the bad guys. What if we just stop and watch? Can we find peace in knowing that peace is right here, somewhere within this experience we are living right now? No matter how it may feel.

There is no one to chase after. No one to help stop the madness. No one to stop from creating the turmoil. Just something to watch from our bedroom window as it passes by, bringing a smile to our face at the blissful insanity of life.

It Stings

The pain of letting go can be an intense process. I have begun to notice that I often “give up” in releasing things or people in my life. It can become a tricky thing for someone who has an aversion to “giving up” because sometimes letting go can feel like I am quitting. (And I put it in quotations because “giving up” is a loaded term that is only being defined by our belief systems — there is no real concrete example of giving up that is defined like a scientific law; it is subjective).

With that mumbo jumbo said, I get scared to let go. It is a painful process that wrenches the heart and soul. My body becomes tense, and my stomach quivers as thoughts run through my mind. I am in a torrent of emotions and sadness. I am grasping for some truth to what I am experiencing; I reach out, lash out, and recoil when I realize I cannot feel the earth beneath my feet — I cannot feel the grounded essence in my thoughts and actions that I experience in a peaceful state of being.

“Who am I?”

When paired with my breath, this question can bring me inward and back into my experience. “I am this person, in this room, in this bed, with discomfort running through my body,” is sort of the process that I go through when asking, “Who am I?” I ask my “self” to return to the body. Tears often release, or my body relaxes when I can detach from grasping at ungrounded thoughts in order to stabilize me in the flood of “Letting Go.” I can tell what are ungrounded thoughts because they are often full of suffering and incomprehensible torment that is self-inflicted during a state of confusion and uncertainty.  Knowingly engaging in thoughts and actions that hurt us may or may not be grounded, and ultimately we must trust the process of our own healing.  We are responsible and no one else is.  We can receive help, but we cannot receive power.


Who am I?

Return me to this flood. Let go.


Ice Cream

Our mind sure does like to plan.  It likes to take what we have going on right now, and evolve it into a beautiful portrait waiting for us to paint.  As if life as we experience it in the present moment were a bowl of ice cream, our mind likes to think of the cherries and chocolate sauce it can add to it.  How often have you been in the middle of something, or about to go somewhere, and your mind thinks how it would be nice to do this EVERY week!  “Wouldn’t it be nice if I started jogging with my friends every Saturday morning?” “Wouldn’t it be nice if I moved to (fill in the blank) so I can finally start that business?” “Wouldn’t it be nice…so I can…”

When this happens, we are taken from the moment we are experiencing.  We are jogging for the first time in a long time, and it feels GREAT.  Our mind immediately connects this good feeling with needing to sustain it.  Certainly, this is not bad in itself.  A regular routine can be quite healthy.  However, if we are not careful, we can begin to obligate ourselves to an overwhelming amount of things.  This is particularly true if we engage in things that are pleasurable often.  “I need to run more.  I need to dance more.  I need to write more.  I need to have sex more.  I need to…more.”  The idea of “more” comes in because of our tireless search for happiness, pleasure, and a validation of our own existence.  But, sadly, even sex leave us feeling empty.  Play the same song over and over for long enough, you MIGHT just grow tired of it.

Life is ice cream.  There is rarely the need to add “more” to it.  If you enjoy it while it is here, and you experience every bite, first to last, there will be no need to add anything else.  The ice cream is plenty sweet as it is.  The less we pay attention to its gift, the more we pile on the toppings.  Soon, we do not have life — we have extra fluff.  We may leave the table unfinished because we wanted “more.”

I have noticed the more I pile on in life, the more unfinished projects I have.  The more loose ends are left untied.  This feels tiresome to me.  Looming over me is the lack of fulfillment in what pans out to be nothing but fluff; a pursuit of happiness for the sake of “more.”  And as if it were some joke, Taoist Zen seems to suggest the answer to this problem is, “nothing.”  Stop seeking “more” solutions!  The way out of your suffering is, “non-action.”  Invite in that discomfort, welcome it.  You will be no more ahead or behind in life.  You will eventually take your next step, most likely, when you have decided to stop fighting.

Planting our Garden

Life as most of us experience, or perhaps, all of us experience it contains some amount of suffering. It is also very likely that there is no way out of our suffering, and that it is best for us to drop this struggle against it. There is no winning. The more we fight, the more we sink. There may be occasional moments we are removed, whether they are healthy or not (drinking, drugs, lustful sex). This can play a big part in our ability to sustain ourselves in the long run. Will the escape just be a temporary leave from our prison, or will it be a stepping stone out of it? That stepping stone out is place by loving ourselves despite the pain we feel inside.

It is imperative to understand that loving ourselves does not mean that the pain will go away at that very moment. I repeat, loving your SELF will not ensure that the pain will go away immediately. But, what it DOES ensure is that you will have made space for positivity to flourish within you, instead of partaking in behaviors that are likely to perpetuate your suffering. Like a good gardener, the more we tend to our garden, the more likely it is to resemble what we want.

Say for instance you like Kale. You are a kale fanatic! But there is no clear space to plant Kale in your yard because there are so many weeds. These weeds are blocking you from what you want. But, with some sweat, blisters, sore muscles, and tedious attentiveness you make some room. It may not be a fun process — in fact, it might even be painful, but you’ve cleared a space for the beloved Kale. And how sweet it is to be planting into the ground, exactly what you wish.

Or, the opposite of this option would be to ignore your desires, and allow the weeds to go to seed, multiplying in number… Until your garden is not a garden, but instead a place of squandered potential. All you’ve got is potential, but no action to achieve it.

I find that my mind is no different than a garden in this way. I can let the “weeds” in my mind cloud my thought process and keep me from what I truly want in life. I can either sit with my self and tend to it, weeding out those little stickers that crop up, or I can not. There will be times of pain in this process. Yes, oh yes, there will. But, if it is the path of humility and compassion that I am walking, I will be led to something far more infinite than I could ever imagine. And yes, at first, it is difficult to have compassion and faith when, in life, we cannot see our end goal…and sadness and pain feel far from anything pleasurable to “work” toward.

Why would anyone in their right mind be working with the self, sitting with the self, observing the self, if all it yields is pain, sorrow? Good question. Understanding that there is no guarantee for anything in life, the answer is: because this is the way out. Why would anyone in their right mind work on the garden, knowing that they will develop blisters, sore muscles, and spend hours doing the most tedious work? Because it leads to something they love. And the things in life that are worth anything, require us to experience these blessed hardships.

Imagine the person who refuses to work their garden because they don’t want to develop aches and pains. Deep down, this person really would love to plant a beautiful floral garden, but because of the difficulties they must go through to obtain it, they ignore it by staying occupied with work, TV/sports/movie (entertainment), and other such things. Each season that passes, the floral garden dream gets further. Weeds proliferate, and their inspiration dissipates. This person may not be miserable, but, there is a good chance that they hold a certain emptiness within them — for the spot reserved for what they truly wish for in life.

Obviously, what you wish for in life can be anything. It doesn’t have to be a garden. It can be a new career, a new hobby, or a way of communicating emotions. You name the action that sparks joy within you…long-standing, healthy joy. Joy that comes from the heart. And if it is met by fear of the pain, blisters, and hardships that accompany it, then compassion must be allowed to flow in. And, at times, the most compassionate thing we can do is keep on moving through that pain, seeking to understand every possible aspect of it, having the trust that we will soon have a place within us to plant exactly what it is that we want.

My Notes on an Unofficial Juicing Cleanse

I have done a couple different kinds of fasts/cleanses and am by no means an expert in this field. In fact, I believe, even when the “experts” explain the details it really comes down to your own personal experience with it. Interact with it. Observe your body. Watch what sensations arise within you. Take it easy on yourself, both emotionally and physically. And most of all, know you are powerful.

First, because I am on a juice cleanse (in my case, drinking between 75-128 oz. of juice a day depending on my body’s desires) does not make me weak. I have felt periods of questioning whether I will be okay on this cleanse (almost feels like withdrawl symptoms), however, the more I move into the cleanse the more I feel like I am actually the same. And remember, at any point during a fast you can return to your normal diet — it is not like being on a cruise ship out at sea, you can come back to shore when/if you want.

Keeping this in mind can dissolve fears surrounding our connection with food. We have been conditioned over many, many centuries that we need solid foods to survive; not only that, but we need a LOT of it. In the United States, we have access to a wide array of meats, produce, and grains. And what has happened as a result is a “craze” about combining foods together.

We have processed grains with processed sugar being combined with meats and produce like potatoes, broccoli, etc. A classic American meal: Burger (meat) on buns (grain flours, sugars) served with fries (potatoes in heavy oils) and soda (sugar, water, caffeine). What you have is, “indigestion.” “Not me, I eat healthy,” you may think. A classic healthy American meal: A salad (vegetables) with nuts (protein) and fruit (tomatoes/avocados). This is a less destructive form of indigestion, but still the same. This may not be noticeable every time, or may not even happen every time, or even to every one, but chances are your body is being taxed with keeping up with this barrage of diverse food. It is secreting enzymes and other acids to break down this in your stomach and small intestines, all to get just the vital essence from food. Imagine cracking open a boulder the size of a car to get the nutrients the size of a basketball as a parallel to our eating habits.

With this said, there are two things juicing does that I would like to point out:

It makes the vital essence of food easily available for the digestive system to absorb. When this is done, the body does not have to work for calories, protein (yes, juice has protein), natural carbohydrates (sugars), and best of all: vitamins, minerals, and precious antioxidants!

It is an automatic boost in fruit and vegetable intake. Mother always said, “eat your veggies,” and plenty of scientific research is out there reinforcing the incredible health benefits (vitality boost/longevity, weight loss/balancing, heart disease recovery, liver disease recovery, cancer recovery) of increasing your produce consumption. Regardless of these stories, the question is, “how do you feel?”

For everyone, the last question will result in a different answer. It all depends where you are in your “health” evolution (I put health in quotations because I wish not to create an argument that fruits/vegetables and juicing are the way to health — there is no singular way, this is just an option to explore). Because we are all at different stages, I recommend doing juice cleanses multiple times before you make a conclusion about how it works for you. The first time I tried a cleanse/fast, I found it incredibly difficult not to eat food; not because of hunger pangs, but because of the daily ritual of going to the refrigerator or cabinet. By the 3rd or 4th fast, I began to feel the detachment from food’s control over my subconscious mind.

I found one helpful way to respond to those oral cravings was to make myself a flavorful juice. Often, the fixation would disappear immediately. At times, my mind would tell me I was being weakened by this cleanse, and that I needed food in order to get myself back to being strong. In these moments I would lay down or take a nap: honor my body in some way other than eating. “That sounds like self-denial!” you may think. Yes, it sure does sound this way. Our mind is a powerful — and I mean, POWERFUL being. Once we realize this, we can realize the “tricks” it plays on us based on our conditioned behaviors (voluntary behaviors that we are used to repeating over and over). And, further, once we realize this power, we can learn that denying it for the sake of mental strength and clarity is invaluable. We will no longer controlled by what we “don’t” think. By this, I mean, we are no longer stuck in a conditioned behavior that actually requires no thought, hence, “what we ‘don’t’ think.” It is a reaction based within the mind telling us why any other way of thinking is absolutely wrong. This is a big reason why fasting/cleansing may actually be a great way to honor the body — treating the body as a temple, a god.

In our culture, we often disregard the body’s needs and desires. And often, we do this by ignoring or suppressing it in one form or another. Caffeine stimulants and “energy” drinks are a way to suppress exhaustion… yes, EXHAUSTION. Our bodies are exhausted, and crave healthy restoration, but we have stimulants intended to push it forward. Our mind and our culture has become the slave-drivers of our body. Another disregard for the body are drugs and alcohol. They suppress our fears and discomforts in the world: our inhibitions. And inhibitions are nothing more than conditioned behaviors; ways for our mind to hold us hostage from the simple things we truly want. And strangely, when we deny ourselves in this way, we become upset. Our mind becomes upset because we denied ourselves something simple. A strange conflict exists within us.

It has been said, alcohol is a way to energetically release what we are withholding; a way for us to honor what we want. For many, exists sexual repression and an inability to cope with the cravings for it, men and women alike; when one consumes alcohol, suddenly what has been repressed is released. Some get angry when they drink. Unable to express their discomforts openly in a sober state, alcohol releases it. Some get chatty, laugh, and have fun much like a child (they play). Unable to do so in a sober state, alcohol releases the inner child. Unfortunately, alcohol also wreaks havoc on our body. It destroys our liver as well as deadens every cell in our body with it’s acidic nature (ph balance of anywhere between 3-5.5).

Our culture suppresses the body’s essential needs! And, it is my belief that we suppress healthy practices. Observe, while you are on your fast, what things your mind will say that are in direct conflict with the body’s needs. Often, your mind will speak based on its own fears: not being accepted, not being loved, not being successful. These are not body-based-needs, these are mind-based. Mind-based fears will rarely harm you, but body-based fears are worth paying attention to (such as standing on the edge of a 5th story balcony with your eyes closed: probably a fear that speaks to your body’s need of not falling 100 feet to a cement surface). Mind-based fears will rarely, if ever, hurt you. Find them. Move into them. Move through them. Listen to your body. Honor it. And while you are cleansing, know that you are completely safe and healthy.

It will take some time to transition to a liquid diet. If you find yourself getting hungry, honor yourself! Do not let your mind take charge of being the fasting-police. It will be happy to play that role if it is a way to make you miserable. So make yourself a small, simple meal that involves little food combining. And, by personal preference, I recommend organic or healthy live foods. No Big Macs or “Happy” Meals. Laugh, if this does arise. I had a craving for Burger King when I smelled it one day on the fast. My mind’s memory finds this to be quite a joyous place to eat, but my body’s memory knows this to be indigestion heaven! Above all though, trust yourself. Know that whatever you are doing is beneficial for you… we are all progressing at a different rate. And after you satisfy your body’s craving for food, return as you were to your juice cleanse. Just because you had food does not mean you cannot continue on with the enlivening experience of juicing!

As a last note on exiting the fast. Be sure to gradually move out of your cleanse. Try not to bombard your digestive tract with a large quantity of food after this period of rest. If you feel like you have bombarded it, this is okay; love yourself, and know that all is well, and all will be well. You have already taken steps to honor your body with more awareness of its needs: there is more growth on the way, and you hold the power to continue this growth.

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