Thursday, November 28, 2013

sometimes faith is desperation

I cannot bear the weight of the world.

it's a miracle I rose at all
into the day

despite the clawing at my chest
drawing me lower to the ground.

I want to help fight oppression in the world,
but sometimes
I fall victim to my own depression
and cannot lift myself above my grief.

I want to give up.

I saw a church sign that said:

sometimes faith is desperation

and that I understand.


I understand desperation,
and I am slowly remembering faith.

it is desperation that knocks me to the ground

strangling my throat, so I can barely breathe...

covering my eyes, so I can't remember anything but this...

stifling my voice, so I can't scream for help,
or even just ask someone
to listen
to understand.

when I am completely weighed down by sadness
squeezing all of my life force,

it is then
within my GASP
that I know I must keep breathing.

I must keep choosing life.

no one else will choose for me.

and this is my faith---

that I will continue to fight for my life.

I will continue to rise
even while
spirals of hopelessness
pull me down...

crushing my face onto the earth.

I will rise
with soil pressed against my cheek...

into the world
full of other wailing souls.

will we find eachother?
and hold our struggle together?

is my one constant prayer.

let us come together in this life.

Sunday, November 17, 2013


When we parted
(my tour group of 7 weeks)

they were annoyed by all my questions.

but maybe I should have expressed myself clearer.

All the questions I was asking about my flight--

about where and when to go,
were coming from my deep fear of separating for the first time.

being alone again.

not traveling in a group----with a purpose.

Here I am on the airplane
by myself


because I’m so afraid.

It hurts so much to say goodbye to people I love.
I wish I could keep everyone in a pile in my living room where we could cuddle all day together.
The flight attendant came by to ask if I was ok.

She said--if you need to talk about anything. I am here for you.

I can’t express how much she warmed my heart.

The woman next to me said---are you afraid of flying too? I’m so afraid.

I said--it’s not really that.

I’m just afraid of life I guess.

I’m afraid to keep meeting people--
to keep opening my heart to them--
and then to separate.

I know that this is a reality of life--
that everything passes.
that people flow in and out of our lives.

but I would like someone to stay.
just one.


I am flying home.
I am returning.
but what I return to I also will get to briefly hold and then let go.

Was this trip just one long practice of saying goodbye?
does it get easier---or will I at least appreciate more each very precious moment
before it gets washed away.

As I continued to cry, the woman sitting next to me said
“I’m afraid of flying---but mostly when it gets bumpy and turbulent.  Once I was on a very turbulent flight with my mom, and shortly after she passed away. It wasn’t from the flight of course, but I associate the two, and now I’m afraid to fly.
I told her I’m sorry that her mother passed away.
She said, I’m slowly learning how to live without her.
Then we talked more about turbulence and transitions, as we were suspended in clouds of the inbetween. 

This nurturing connection with a stranger only came because I was crying and feeling scared to be alone.
I revealed my pain, and then she revealed hers---and now my heart feels so much FULLER.
The flight attendant came back at the end to make sure I was ok.
I am ok.

mostly because of her and the woman next to me.
because of the brief but generous spirit of strangers that remind me that intimacy and connection is everywhere I go.
maybe I will find a compassionate flight attendant on my next journey telling me that if I need anything at all---
“I am here for you.”
She is here for me.
and I am slowly learning that I am here for me too.
That I create my home by always returning back to myself...
-by being true to my inner experience
-by crying when I need to cry
-by expressing fear.

When I open myself to pain and sadness the world then opens up to me.

Saturday, November 9, 2013

lost chance

remember that day we almost fell in love?

everything we said brought us closer to eachother,
revealed our shared understanding...
our mutal awe of the forest
our similar experience spent being alone
in silence

our similar fear of intimacy.

for a moment
(however short)
we trusted eachother enough to unite our presence
and let our long walk in the woods
be just one walk...
one experience.

but it was just a glimpse.

is that how it is?

there are moments of feeling open,
but many many more moments of feeling doubt?

how do 2 people choose to try to remain open to eachother?

and what happened to our chance?
at what point did we miss the turn on our path
that would continue to bring us closer?

was it something we both decided
or casually overlooked?

today I tried walking back to that trail you took me on in the Black Forest--
to find the moment we steered off in the wrong direction.

I tried
but couldn't retrace our steps.

So then I tried to find a new path---
maybe I would see, at least,
a place where lovers pause
to take in the view.

if I found this place---maybe there would also be a sign---a code---to tell me how it works
how 2 people find eachother
and decide to keep finding eachother.

but the more I kept looking for our lost chance
or other people's chances,
the more lost I got...
deeper and deeper in the forest.

I panicked.
frightened and overwhelmed I  found myself in the middle of the thick, dark pines.

A woman, walking her dog, saw my fear.

I told her----I am lost.

I really wanted to say--
I'm scared.

I'm alone.

and I'm scared I'll be alone for the rest of my life.

and I have no idea where I'm going.

She asked me where I wanted to go.
I wanted to answer...
somewhere safe
somewhere that I'm known.

I said---I wasn't sure where I needed to go, but I just wanted to make sure I wasn't on the wrong path.
because, I'm alone in these woods.

she told me,
any of these paths would be fine.

they all lead down the mountain, out of the forest, and into town.

it doesn't matter which one I choose.


I finally made my way out of the woods.
I realized at the end that she stayed close behind me to make sure I would find my way.

and here I am back in town.

If I made it so far today by myself
I think I can make it tomorrow
and the next
and the next.

and even though I'm walking alone,
maybe the woman is still behind,
slowly watching...
knowing I am safe...

I am fine.

Friday, November 8, 2013

the space between

you are suddenly 3 hours away,
soon to be 10,
soon to be days---

but the space between us
remains the same,
 from when you were in my arms--
to now, when I stand on this hill alone--
unable to feel even traces of our embrace.

we remain unknown.


how do people come together
to slowly share...
slowly trust?

how do I come close enough to ask you who you are

close enough to tell you who I am

but far enough for us to remember to keep asking...

to keep being curious?

maybe I will learn about you more
with an ocean soon between us,
than when I tried to dive into your deep, dark eyes
left only to drown within waves and waves of mystery.

will you meet me in the middle of the ocean?

will we have the strength to swim,

to stay afloat admist such uncertain waters?

can we at least try----

until the current decides our fate...
bringing us together
or drifting us apart.

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

again and again today

this past week in Freiburg of intimate sharing with warm, open souls
softened my heart
and expanded my presence.
it was a glimpse of being known and knowing.

[[ for only a week! ]]

but somehow these dancers streched their way into my being.
I still feel their strong and attentive gaze on me
and know I am seen...
I am held.

and the performances were a result of a shared week together
practicing intimacy
practicing presence, that we in turn brought to the audience (guests).
The evening performance started with all the guests waiting on the blue bridge
and the dancers popped out from below
dancing on the train track platform
fusing improvisation and surprise
with an everyday place.
Besides the 30 guests, Freiburg people stopped their travel to watch 12 beautiful dancers
bouncing, flopping, and falling all over the train station.
Up on the bridge I played music and made sounds to accompany the joyful and playful dancing.
and then they all ran back up to the bridge and did unison choreography ON the bridge
stopping traffic
stopping everyday routine...
encouraging people to breifley laugh, wonder and gaze.
After the opening dance, the guests all got cards and maps for their one on one installations.
For my one on one perofrmance, I sat in the middle of a vibrantly acousitc room and asked my fellow guest to sing and make sounds with me.
The experience with each person was so rich and meaningful.
I have been singing since I was born.
It is the most authentic part of me to share with others.
My mom always reminds me of the time that I was 2 and she was waiting in line at the grocery store.
The line was long, the weather was gray, and everyone around was grumpy and impatient.
But I was too small to know these things.
Instead, I sang---
LOUD and joyfully

and, as my mom tells me, everyone around me started laughing, breathing...looking at me...looking at eachother.
I didn't get everyone in line to start singing.
nor did I turn the supermarket into a dance party
but somewhow I lightened the air around me by being me.
I'd like to think that the Mariel in the grocery store is my core.
I have grown and hardened in many ways, but I can still lose all self-consciousness and seriousness and just SING.

and for my one on one we sang together.
one "stranger" at a time and I shared 5 minutes making sounds and expressing,
sitting still,
looking eachother in the eye.
Each person brought different sounds, different reservations and adventurousness.
Some people ended up screaming, making crazy sounds, one person shyly hummed beneath my improvised melodies,
one person watched me and sang exactly what I sang. we looked at eachother and breathed and sang.
breathed and sang.
our unison filled the room to create something much larger than us.
after one experience, a person said to me: "I haven't sung in 13 years. I would like to try that again...thank you"
and now I thank them for validating my core,
my expression---
reminding me that I can share the most basic part about me with people and help us both feel more connected to life and expression.
maybe they will sing again tomorrow.
and I will sing
again and again

photo by Cristina Crippa

Monday, November 4, 2013

nothing else but free

i walked up and up
a very tall mountain
overlooking the humble city of freiburg
and all its beautiful people.

I blew a wish into the wind.
a wish of gratitude for the dancers with whom I shared such an intimate week
of listening, holding and sharing.

Then I walked even higher

up and up
and looked
beyond the tip of germany
beyond the sea

up and up
until I could see Finland´s beautiful trees,
Helsinki´s cobblestone streets,
Suvi´s deep and attentive eyes,
Ken´s enormous smile
Cesar´s hand-crafted flutes
Elsa´s dimples
Tim´s warm and accepting presence

I blew a wish that all be well in the hearts and minds of the dear Finnish people
and their quiet, elegant land.

and although the path became quite steep I walked
on and on
up and up

until I could see my lovely Iceland,
who´s cold, stark landscape I will never forget…
the hostel and the short but meaningful connections made,
the wonderful dancers we got to briefly meet.

I blew a wish into the wind for Iceland
to rest safely in its quiet nook
far from the rest of the world.

Then the wind became quite strong and I didn´t think I could walk much more
but I traveled slowly
higher and higher

until I could see

my dear and beloved brooklyn.

it hurt my heart to look,
for so many loved ones are bruised and sad right now.

my home is breaking
my neighborhood community is imploding

much too much pain for my little heart to hold.

so I blew a wish.

well.. I blew a LOT of wishes.

one by one I thought of each friend
who is grappling with grief, depression or romantic heart-break.

and wished for each of them to remember to worship expression.

to yell and stomp until they dance
to dance until they sob
to sob until they sing
to sing until they become smaller and smaller
held by the larger love
of sound.

for this is the only hope we have
the only thing we can do

to express

to fall down
and cradle ourselves.

dearest friends of brooklyn,
please keep singing

please keep stomping

please keep laughing

laugh SO loud that you have to gasp for more breath
for more life

keep gasping for life.

but then I walked even further up and saw more of brooklyn---

the pain and struggle beyond my own community and home.

the stop and frisk policy is still at work----
demeaning and subjecting Latin and black people
holding them as criminals from only a glance

the trans community is being beaten and mocked

those without the basic necessities are being stripped more and more

impoverished communities are denied funds for a substantial education.

much too much to fix on my own.

I sent a wish that I will continue to fight for justice for everyone----
that I won´t rest in the comfort of my privileged skin color
that I´ll remember everyday the people
squashed down by a racist system,
the millions of people of color
imprisoned in cells or in their lives.

I sent a wish that I will give as much as I can give to this world.

I will love myself SO MUCH
that there will be an overflow into the world.

With everything I saw from above
my final wish

for a moment…

to have the wind blow away all my thoughts,
all my dreams
and lift me into the sky

please help me to surrender
everything I know
everything I´ve seen

and fall into the grace
nothing else

but free.

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