Northern Lights over North Dakota

Northern.Lights.in.North.Dakota.by.Carl.Jones

I stand amazed
In a field of gold
Under a starry sky
Lit by green mist
A gentle wind sighs
Across the empty plain
After a cold rain
That has washed away
This far too short
Autumn day
Leaving the musky scent
Of harvest
And petrichor
To fill the chilled air

As the undulating stream
Of energy flows
I stand in silent wonder
Of such immense beauty
Taking my breath away
and dream

Oh, to take flight
Into this mystery
To join it there
So many miles away
Yet close enough to feel
It’s magic course
Through my veins
To sweep so high
I see from above
It’s glory
Then to dive
Through it’s dance
An play in its glory
To bathe in such light
Would be sublime
To be one with it
Divine

I close my eyes
let loose my soul
and fly

Image of the Northern Lights over North Dakota by Carl Jones

not broken

I know you
I know why it is you cry at night
How you believe there’s no one who’s right
For you
No one at all
No one who loves
No one who cares
No one you can share
All your pains and sorrows
Your joys and your dreams of tomorrows
No one who answers
When you shout with all you soul
“Where are you?!”
I know you believe you are alone
I know you feel empty
Isolated in your empty home
I know the words you say
The prayers you pray
Why it is you feel this way
Why it is you keep believing
You are not good enough
Why it is you continue seeing
You
Unwanted
Unworthy
Imperfect
Rejected
I know your insecurities
How you feel you lack maturity
Your shame
Your guilt
Your silent threats
Spoken in times of consuming darkness
How you think your life is hopeless
How you think that you are broken
I know you
I know you better than anyone
I know
because I am you
We are the same
You and I
I can’t tell you how many times I’ve cried
How many times I wished I’d died
The intensity of the pain inside
The loss of self
The loss of pride
The stories I’ve told myself
to keep my Self in line
with what I believe to be true
but I’ve learned
they are all lies
All of them
Lies
You are worthy
You are so very worthy
You deserve to be loved
You deserve to be loved
You deserve it, Love
You should be treated better
Who you’ve been
Doesn’t matter
You should be treated better
by You
You have nothing to be ashamed of, Love
Nothing to take blame of
You are not unclaimed, Love
You have nothing to be sorry for
Nothing at all
We all make mistakes, Love
We all feel that ache, Love
Sometimes
some of us,
myself included,
(no one is precluded)
keep making the same mistakes
over and over
feeling like we’re never getting closer
So many times, in fact
we think it’s “normal”
and spend our life performing
the parts we manifest
instead of just being our best
and forgetting
our best it always good enough
Always good enough
You are always good enough, Love
The one you see
The one you think you’re being
when you see You broken
isn’t who you’re meant to be
even though it’s all you see
it’s not who I see
you are much more
more than you believe
so much more than you believe
more than the life you lead
more than what’s been handed you
more than what’s been forced on you
more than you know
but I know
I know
That person isn’t you
Those are just things
Things that happen
Things that happen to us
Things that happen to all of us
We are not defined by them
But by how we respond to them
So forgive yourself
Please forgive yourself, Love
You are not broken
Not damaged
Not broken
Not useless
Not broken
You are perfect
In your imperfections
Just take a look
at that beautiful reflection
You are perfect
I love you just the way you are;
not broken

What I don’t (2011)

How is it
I find my self
Short on what I need
When I’ve paid so
For what I don’t

I look around
And all I see
Are fragments of
Fragmented dreams

Parcel wrapped
Absent soul
Empty eyes
Empty home

How is it
I have so much
That means so little
Or not at all

I look around
And all I see
Are pieces of
What’s left of me

Stinking carcass
Shedding skin
What’s left of me
Can’t begin

To find my home
To belong

I wonder what will become
Of the boy I was

And this man I’ve become?

Will he ever find his way home?

Image by J.M.Greff

Why the cold walks – from 12/30/2014

32bcb30108529095318f6213c2a30f9b2ccceac7-1 (2).jpg

 

This enemy forged from ice threatens the meager armor I wear to protect myself from its invasive presence. It creeps in wherever I let my guard down and assumes control of the warmth that gives me life. It spreads across the inside of my goggles like a virus in an attempt to blind my steps and makes a wall of my own warm breath against thin shield of cloth that covers my face.

It is the greatest adversary I can imagine. An assassin of the highest caliber. The cold has always been my greatest weakness.

Yet in it I find my greatest strength.

Through the frost that limits my vision I see, clearly, the path that I am on. In every stiffened step I feel the world spin beneath me in the syrupy chaos of space. In each labored breath I receive a promise of life.

It has become my ally, and though my trust does not extend beyond the knowledge that it will crush me on my first mistake, I embrace it as friend.

 


Image by J.M.Greff

For my brother, Steven, so he knows my winters aren’t all “stogies and computers”.

Succulent

the-comfort-she-craves.cameron.grey.jpg

never there
always wanted
seldom had
often enojoyed
mostly missed
longed and sought after
sung about
written about
“dreamed” about
succulating
stimulating
simulating
suffocating

 

resuscitating

 

sleep
…not tonight

 

 

image; “the comfort she craves” by cameron grey

Why we Should Embrace Desire even when it Causes Pain

the.desire.of.the.soul.Jeny.Gevorgyan

Craving and desire are the cause of all unhappiness.”
– Gautama Buddha

The Buddha taught us that desire is one of the root causes of suffering.

Yet the universe seems to have designed us for exactly that purpose with the intention of forcing us to alleviate or even eliminate the suffering only through connections to, and service of, others.

I understand the concept of desire being the root of suffering, but I am not convinced that the suffering caused by desire—at least when it comes to love—is always an unwanted thing.

Here’s why.

Some time ago, I fell in love with someone I had known as a friend for five years prior. One day, after several weeks of very intense and intimate conversations, our relationship changed, those magic words were spoken, and I once again found myself in that unhappy state of desire.

It came with all the trimming; self-doubt, self-pity, fear, you name it. A suffering so pure that the Buddha himself might have pointed at me and said, “There, you see? That is what desire will get you.” As he shrugged his shoulders and strolled off to meditate under his bodhi tree.

The woman who professed her love to me, and captured a permanent place in my heart and soul, is the epitome of everything that I find most attractive in a woman—physically, intellectually, and spiritually. This is not an opinion based on that rosy view of fresh love which blinds, distorts, and softens, I have always felt this way about her.

I desired this woman in ways I am unable to describe; I still do, but we can not be together. Not now. Maybe not ever. This does not mean I love her any less.

There are many good reasons why we cannot be together, and maybe I will talk about them sometime, but for now, I just want to share that my desire caused considerable pain and suffering.

Yet, I chose to embrace that desire, not of her, or that which cannot be, but my desire to be loved by her, which I have not felt in many years, because something else came along with it that made me question everything I had learned not only about desire but about love as well.

I was loving deeper, truer, and more fully than I had ever loved before. Words that I had used with what I thought was full understanding, words like “unconditional” and “non-attachment,” took on new meaning. Meaning so clear and expansive that it made my prior understanding—an understanding gained through years of study and introspection and experience—like that of an infant.

I needed to know why, so I began the process of understanding with this one simple question: Is the desire to be loved a bad thing?

According to Llewelyn Vaughan-Lee of The Golden Sufi Center, the answer to that question is no. The Sufi mystic says that the feminine quality of desire, a part of Self that is largely ignored in our society, creates an imbalance both in Self and in society.

  • Like everything that is created, love has a dual nature, positive and negative, masculine and feminine. The masculine side of love is “I love you.” Love’s feminine quality is, “I am waiting for you; I am longing for you.” For the mystic it is the feminine side of love, the longing, the cup waiting to be filled, that takes us back to God. Longing is a highly dynamic state and yet at the same time, it is a state of receptivity. Because our culture has for so long rejected the feminine we have lost touch with the potency of longing. Many people feel this pain of the heart and do not know its value; they do not know that it is their innermost connection to love.” ~ Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee

We are all familiar with the concept of yin and yang, those opposing parts of Self, masculine and feminine, that make us whole. When viewed in this way, yin represents the desire to be loved, while yang represents the action to love. Two halves of a whole. One cannot exist without the other—not fully.

To love I must also desire to be loved because desire is the driving force behind loving, and to be loved I must also know how to love.

It can be summed up in the words of Ibn ‘Arabi, who said, “Oh Lord, nourish me not with love but with the desire for love.”

To which I might add: Sustain me with love but nourish me with desire.

The Buddha is right, desire is causing me suffering, but it has also opened my heart, my mind, and my eyes to the fact that desire can be a path to a higher love.

Does this knowledge somehow diminish the suffering? No. In fact, the pain is made all the more severe by my understanding—but is worth every iota because of what it teaches me, and the depth of love which it has amplified and released.

So I surrender to love and to the universe who designed us this way and I accept the pain of desire because through that desire I have learned to love more fully.

It does raise another question, however: What happens if that desire is fulfilled?

Perhaps Rumi already knew the answer to this question when he said,

Do not seek for water, remain thirsty.”

 

 

Author: J.M. Greff
Editor: Taia Butler
Supervising Editor 1: Travis May
Supervising Editor 2: Emily Bartran

As published in Elephant Journal (except for the shitty “Friends” pic they used which I replaced with this excellent image by Jeny Gevorgyan “The Desire of the Soul”)