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Breath of fire

Your Turn

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This is for our loved ones affected by recent tragedy. This is for those who have passed and those left standing. For the lives lost but always remembered. For the violence forgiven but never forgotten.

This is for the community of Colorado Springs, our beautiful and sacred home. My hometown. For those affected by acts of violence in our world. This is for all of us who don't feel safe or at home in the world where our love, light and compassion are so desperately needed. This is for all of us. May we never forget and always remember.

There is an unfelt pain in our world,

An inner hunger gnawing at our insides.

A need to feel safe.


I feel it in the way my belly aches,

A hunger for nourishment and belonging.

In the way I seek comfort in being heard.


The comfort in a cup of tea,

A blanket to wrap my fears in.

A lit candle,

Casting light on the darkness,

Of a shadowed heart.


How I feed my own body

With criticism and deprivation.

Seeking safety,

To mask the feelings.

How my parents feed their minds,

Each morning with coffee and a side of FOX news.

A daily meditation on fear.


How I overeat to numb my fear,

Effectively numb to joy as well.

In the way my heart seeks its own arms,

In another.


I feel it when I run from my shadow,

Of depression and anxiety.

Its tantalizing dance, seductive and fluid.

Stark in contrast,

To my light.


How I cover my belly.

Ashamed of being seen,

I hide behind my mask,

In fear of my power.


To wield destruction and creation.

Fear and love,

Flip sides of the same coin.


My own power struggle,

Between masculine and feminine,

Too much and not enough,

Illusion and truth,

Fear and faith,

Effort and grace,

Structure and space,

Shame and blame.


Victim and perpetrator, 

Shadow and light,

Inner and outer,

Fury to mirror the inner

Fire.


How can we heal the wound

When the symptoms are superficial?

Symptoms of a deeply rooted disease,

Dis-ease on all levels,

Dis-trust in self and other.


I feel this in the way my mind fears my body,

Never enough to satiate

My craving for sweetness

As sweet words drip out of my mouth

To other, leaving none for myself


I feel it in the hearts of children,

Their eyes hold the key

To unlock the heart.

To think less and feel more.


Violence has rained

Down on our front doorstep.

Mis-lead bullets pierced

The picketed walls of parenthood.

One shot, two shot, three lives taken.


Pulling the trigger,

And breathing fire,

A mis-lead heart extended its arms in hate.


The children showed me,

In their cries of anger.

An inner rebellion against an outer.


Whispered in faulty code,

Above the ears of a child who knows

More truth than we'll ever know.


Their innocence senses the fear in the silence,

Between words.

Unsaid.

They feel the pain beneath the mask.


How do I tell a 10-year-old about a man I'll never know?

They say he was a terrorist.

I say he was homegrown.

They say he had motive,

I say he lost motive,

Of living.


A motive of a political nature.

But human nature is often mistaken.

Mis-taken identity of the Halloween shooter,

My friend's neighbor.

Attender to her lawn care,

Neglecter to his heart.


How can I tell a 10-year-old of the violence beneath the guise?

How can I tell the child in me

Of this place we call home?

Is it safe?

Is there enough?


Scarcity mindset runs rampant,

The mind a victim of dementia,

At a loss of what makes us whole,

A home safe.


We are community built on stone,

Stone people, vigilant to

Heal this neglect

Of heart.

We are Colorado Springs.

Artists, creators,

Healers and breathers.


But, we have forgotten

How to breathe

Fully,

Into our bellies,

That our hearts feel safe

To give back.


I feel this truth,

In the way yoga breathes my body.

Re-members it whole.

How silence ushers it in,

Like these words are breathing,

You,

Me,

Us.


But also when I stop breathing,

In fear.

When my mind races,

Thought after repetitive, cyclical thought.

One hundred, two hundred, three hundred.

Deep breath out.


I never used to be a counter,

Until the world grew so big,

And my steps seemed so small.

So I started.

Steps, calories, pounds, time.

But, not breath.


Ten is my safe number.

A temporary compulsion,

For an obsessive ideation.

But the counting never sustains

The need to feel safe.


Our children do not feel safe.

The children within do not feel safe.

We do not feel safe.

In our own bodies.


I know this in the story of a women trapped inside

The King Soopers for 8 hours.

One hour, two hour, three hour ...

She says she does not feel safe,

In her home.


She sat in my yoga class,

Tentative and unsure,

If I could provide safety,

For her to breathe.

She left saying she misses yoga.


It is a longing we feel.

Is there enough space to breathe?


How my friend's body

Tremors with grief,

In yoga.

A mass shooting survivor.


How my breath-bathed body

Sobs with grief,

A self-drowning survivor


I feel this when panic takes my breath away,

The frenetic response,

To fight, freeze or flee.


Our shallow breathing,

Mirrored in shallow, reactive thinking.

Fingers pointing to other,

Forgotten self-responsibility.


This violence is unforgivable,

As is our reaction,

To further separate and polarize.


We are community at heart,

And our heart is thirsty for breath.

We only need to remember.

This inner "Sharanam," sanctuary.


They say home is where the heart is,

And, I say heart is where breath is.

Inhale 2, 3, 4. Exhale 2, 3, 4.


I never used to be a counter,

Until the world grew so big,

My heart had no choice,

But to breathe for it.

Inhale "I AM

Exhale "Safe"

Inhale "I AM"

Exhale "Home."

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