little by little


this growth that begins and ends with me.

Dynamic tapestry,

threaded stitch by stitch,

inch by inch.

I am made of a million miniature choices,

microscopic voices

in the chorus of the song of learning.


Grand leaps are important

soul’s dark nights most relevant

and sometimes a whole lifetime

comes into perspective in an instant.

But evolution is primarily a journey of persistence,

taken one step at a time.

It may seem interminable

the wait for full freedom unbearable

from the outside imperceptible:

wisdom blends and bubbles like slowly-rising bread,

each breath another woven thread.

Rarely do we leap tall wounds in a single bound

or unbind ourselves in a single prayer.

little by little,

tortoise, not hare

hearing the way,

we get there by learning

there is nowhere to go

only this next curious moment.

Trust the gentle joy.

Open to the moments of grace

when ease is enough,

and the smile of your heart

finds its way to your face.

Notice your addiction to grandiosity.

The flash and pomp of the high-flying banner

of triumph or despair.

How you glamorize suffering

and attach to intensity.

Adrenaline’s normality

makes us miss the beauty


of our own quiet suchness.

One. fully. breathed. breath

is worth a thousand gasps.

The soft, contented “yes”

more powerful than any yelp.

A whispered, heartfelt “Thank you,”

humanity’s greatest prayer.

What is failure?

What wounds the heart?

The razor’s edge of integrity

a fine line, a vast chasm,

between what is true

and what we wish could be.

How we betray each other again and again.

Lifetimes of layered lies,

regrets, recriminations, revenge.

Born of sorrow, born of pain.

This distortion of creation,

like snaking fire through a wood,

slowly overtakes all that is life-giving,

turning fertility into a dangerous thing

that only creates more suffering.


What is failure?

What wounds the heart?

Truth is a fluid thing,

words medicine or poison,

bringing healing,

or piercing the tender flesh of being,

depending on intention, and timing.

Yet somethings are absolute.

I hold a banner high.

Inviting the fullness of pure fire.

Comfortable in my own righteous anger,

Confusing the quest for impeccability with the living of it.

Many times I have lied.

Splitting my tongue, spitting deception, 

needling under another’s skin 

to plant deadly seeds.

Countless lifetimes

marked by fear, need,

sabotage, poverty, hypocrisy,

and other veils of the Maya.

Does my past, my endlessly fractaling failure

make me only worthy of the worst of others?


What is sacred?

What heals the heart?

How do I find the glen wherein forgiveness dwells,

the scented meadow where everything has a place

and everything is understood as a gift?

I can hide from the fire,

but it snakes through my veins,

settles into the pit of nausea,

stirs the stench of injustice,

and stealthily laps at the edges of my garden heart,

threatening to make it a barren desert.

Yet this rage only covers the bottomless sadness,

the endless prison of never trusting

never trusting anyone,

until they find a way to prove me right.

Where does forgiveness live

when the wound is ancient, endless,

only inflamed by this latest sin?

Seeking the unconditional in this conditioned world.

Are some actions unforgivable,

words unrepeatable,

windings and bindings 

no amount of prayerful fire can purify? 

Wondering if it is betrayal of self to continue loving one 

who has perpetrated or perpetuated the pain of separation

from the fire of truth, 

or an absolution

that would set us all free.


No strategy left but to offer it all up.

All of it a sacrifice.

The despising of self and others.

The layers of blame and shame.

My forked tongue and blood-stained blade,

pulled from my back, pulled from yours.

My longing for a healthier way.

Holding an open, at last unclenched hand.

Praying for the courage to love anyway.

Gift given,

duly received.

Piper paid

by the ways we say “yes,

thank you, more please.”


Gift given.

More than I receive.

We partake in the majesty

when we think in terms of “we.”


We are this gift given. 

Most notably esteemed

in the ways we open the portals and chasms

of this pulsing home,

this eternal tome

in which are written the secrets of true cognition.

This patter-patter nothing is the matter,

lub-dub everything is matter

everything matters

everything is a part of the pulse.


Rhythmic vibrations of life’s fluctuations,

given, received, as simple as I breathe.

In and out.

Expand, contract.

Life’s primordial law exemplified

in every rising wave and receding tide.


Gift given,

duly received.

When we give from our hearts,

we get all we need.

But not by trying to get

Nothing can be bought from life,

not even more time.

Especially if we believe it only moves in a line.

We are not for getting,

don’t let yourself forget,

this life is for giving

and thus, forgave.

Day in, day out,

from birth to grave.

Not a line, this living,

a pulse, a rhythm.

From the grandest star to the smallest cell,

breathing defines every particle.


Gift given,

duly received.

What if our gazes continually returned

to the emanation of the inquiry: “What can I give?”

How would we live 

if that question 

began each day, 

each moment, each exhalation?

And inhalations allow us to realize

every breath is a new beginning

of the same old thing.

We are offered every moment, 

this air, these bodies, this precious life.

Everything a gift.

Flowing out, flowing in,

to be given yet again.

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© 2018 by Medicinal Poetry