Do Not Spare My Naive Heart

Do not spare my naive heart from being crushed

By the harsher realities of what is and what will be,

I have lived long enough in oblivious innocence

I have worn the lenses of idealism when I should have seen

The truth in all of its abrasive, gritted glory

I have closed my ears to the sound of imminent catastrophe

Choosing instead to hear hope ringing through empty halls.

Do not spare my naive heart from understanding

What it must to allow the natural course of life to flow,

For I can live a whole life subsisting off of dreams

Floating like a cloud through a wasteland of lost opportunities

And in blissful oblivion, I would never know.

Hidden Oasis

We are all wanderers in our proverbial deserts

Seeking, ever seeking, for a hidden oasis

Lying just beyond the horizon, over one last hill,

Made up of what quenches our parched souls.

We know exactly where to go without compass or map

Having visited our wellspring of healing time after time

Aware but constantly pulled by the dust storms of life

Chasing after mirages of who we ought to be.

Maybe we need to close our tired eyes, dear soul,

And let our hearts lead the way instead of our minds,

Guiding us forward instead of pulling us sideways

Leading us directly toward that place of stillness

Where we can rest our heavy shoulders and weary feet.

When Love Finds its Way In

When loves finds its way in, it never leaves me

My heart is protected by barbed wire and steel

A walled-up structure surrounded by neon signs

“Keep out,” “No service,” “Private property,” “No trespassing,”

And yet, you found a way through, gently and true.

I trust in the power of warmth that melts away defenses

I believe in what transpires behind the curtains of our pain

The reasons why and how and when our lives align

No matter the change of seasons or the passage of time.

There are no barriers when love enters in,

No room to reject the sources that heal us

No reason for anything, dear soul, but understanding

Because love evolves as it goes, it takes on many forms

It becomes what it needs to in our waves and storms.

When loves finds its way in, it never leaves me,

The trail you blazed to reach my unreachable heart

Is a groove indented, a pathway forever accessible by you

An offering of support always there, never imposed

A place of peace, a door never closed.

Falling Together

I am seeing life in sharp, magnified detail

The whys and hows in fully focused display

And it stings, dear soul, it stings,

I am falling together.

I am grieving a thousand losses for the first time

A pain like no other I have ever felt before,

And it hurts, dear soul, it hurts,

I am falling together.

I am learning my own dysfunctional patterns

Pausing in my tracks to lean into my deepest shame

And it is raw, dear soul, it is raw,

I am falling together.

I am accepting the erosion of my childhood dreams

Testing the limits of my resolve to remain stoic

And it is agony, dear soul, it is agony,

I am falling together.

I Know

I know what happens next,

But let me linger here a moment longer

Breathe in the sweet relief of rosy dreams

While they are still floating around my consciousness.

I know I must face inevitable change,

But only after I have searched a little bit longer

For the last remaining granules of hope on the horizon

Hidden far beneath the realms of reality.

I know, intuitively, the truth,

But let me deny it one last time, dearest soul,

Giving in to the warmth of welcomed fantasy

Where reason succumbs to the bliss of serendipity.

I know it’s finally time to truly see,

But let me open my eyes with the lens of gratitude

For the gift of shared experience on a lonely road

And the faces and spaces we called our home.

Out of the Dark

When our eyes adjust to the darkness,

We begin to see the bars of our self-imposed prisons

Realizing the whys and hows of our stagnancy

That eventually open the door for our escape.

I know what the lurking shadows feel like,

The chains of depression on a tender soul

Steeped in the shame of every perceived mistake,

Convinced that a broken heart is punishment

For an anthology of personal flaws.

I know what we say to ourselves when we are alone,

How our inner dialogue betrays our outer dialogue

With words we would never dream of saying to another

And yet we surrender to self-deprecation.

I know the almost-impossibility of climbing out

When even light seems aversive after despair,

But we must, dear soul, we must.

After the long night passes, when the sky begins to turn,

We will see it slowly appear: the way through.

And when it does, there is nothing that can stop us

From rising up on shaky knees and tired feet

Stepping through the barriers of our fears

Climbing out of our self-imposed prisons

Past the darkness, past the tears,

Into the safe harbor of peace.

Maybe we do not know what is waiting for us

On the other side of our suffering,

But whatever it may be, it is better than what we lived

When our doors were locked and our windows closed,

Where the reassuring softness of hope could not grow.

Givers

When we are givers, giving sustains us

Providing oxygen through the fractured chambers of our hearts

Offering what we need most for ourselves, to others

Loving others to better understand how to love ourselves.

Could it be an unconscious form of self-deprivation?

An act of self-punishment for our own lack?

At its root, dear soul, to give fully is a form of grace

In which we step outside of the equation of reciprocity

Without selfishness, without expectation, only compassion

And through sustaining others we sustain ourselves.

Sometimes giving is beautiful, and sometimes it is lonely,

Feeling at times like our only viable contribution to the world,

A way of righting the wrongs from self-absorbed days long past

Adding purpose to our days, providing meaning to our pain,

Without needing reciprocation, without asking for gain.

At times it feels like an altruistic story without a happy ending,

For even the givers begin to insidiously erode within

Only realizing at the eleventh hour when it’s far too late

That they are an empty shell where a whole person used to be

Evidence that giving too much becomes a catastrophe.

Leaning Toward

There is a festering wound in me

That I must confront, that I must see

But it’s as if my mind is always running

To escape the lurking presence of sorrow,

As if it were a monster, always prowling,

Seeking to disarm my carefully composed resolve

To face the unbearable without truly breaking.

I don’t want to break

I don’t want to collapse

I don’t want to give in

I don’t want to hurt alone

I don’t want to let the darkness back in,

But if I cannot allow myself to be vulnerable

If I continue to flee from possibility of pain,

I will never truly live, dear soul, I will never survive.

So I will do what I must, I will lean into sorrow

As if it were the warm, welcoming shoulder

Of my kindest, most beloved friend,

Without shame, without fear,

Letting myself fall apart

To piece back together again.

The Mind of a Dreamer

The mind of a dreamer never truly anchors down to the ground

Two feet on the ground while the soul cartwheels in the clouds

Fully aware of objective reason but still absentmindedly idealistic

Constantly torn between the brutality of what is and what will be

And that melancholy longing for the impossible, the unreachable wish

Despite all odds, despite all reasons, despite reality.

I think this is both the fact and fantasy of my life’s symphony:

To keep hoping, dear soul, even when hope may not make sense

To keep loving, even when the risks pile up like mountains

Stubbornly conscious that there are circumstances and harsh truths

Aware that at some point my floating heart will be forced to deflate

And nevertheless, still I dream, still I dream.