An Open Letter – That’s Terrible / That’s Beautiful

I found myself saying “that’s terrible” or the word “terrible” in some form a few times throughout the day yesterday.  In striving to live a more mindful, compassionate, and positive existence, isn’t that terrible?

Jokes aside, as the tears streamed in recollection of witnessing such suffering in a very sad passing from this past year, it hit me where I heard the phrase “that’s terrible” from.

My Grandmother.  I touched briefly on her being put in a home but  I didn’t expand too deeply on it, because the writing took me elsewhere in the last open letter.  So let’s explore the origins of “that’s terrible” here and now.

My Grandmother, Grandma, or Gran’ma as she signed cards, would often empathize with different folks and has always been nice, kind, caring to any and all.  I remember once while growing up during a conflict between my Dad and Grandfather, Old, that she expressed with tears in her eyes that she wanted them to just work it out.

Old, bless his Soul, and I had a great relationship.  But he was a pretty intense man and former alcoholic so the dynamic I experienced was much different than what my Dad went through growing up.

Sometimes it’s just hard to shake the ash off from fires of the past.

I was still pretty young and it would take many more years to see more elements to the conflict, but it was a powerful reminder at the time of how much love my Grandma shared.

Old was a pretty epic orator and the man always had a story to tell.  He passed when I was 30 and in those three decades, I only once heard him repeat a story.  LOL, for Grandma, my Dad, my Mom, perhaps heard a few stories more than once, but I imagine it wasn’t very many because up until he passed, he was sharp.

If something ever happened, such as a hardship, or challenge that was taxing for someone Old could be quite vocal about it.  It could be a story on the news, something they heard of from a family member or friend, and many times, it had to do with people passing painfully or experiencing poor health. As his telling of those stories came to an end, Grandma would close with:

“That’s terrible!”

By the age of 31, I’d completed my first manuscript for publication.  Within it, I wrote about many of the different takeaways that age 30 gifted me with that I wished I’d known while navigating my 20s.  Much of it had to do with living and loving more fully on this journey where we’re all dying.  Now on the cusp of 37, the words of a teacher weigh heavy on my shoulders:

“You are only in your 30s, my Dear, your best yet will be surpassed.”

That is true, it has and will continue.  But the flip-side to that, or the balance, is that so will the worst yet.

And that is terrible.

It’s also Life.  Life was not promised to be easy and that which is terrible is a sobering reminder how special and precious Life truly is.  That makes each day a blessing no matter who the political talking heads or celebrities are that live the lives of the rich, the famous, the powerful.  Because the terrible elements of life find us all.  Death awaits each and every one.

And that’s beautiful.

An Open Letter – It’s beyond words, it’s a feeling.

Your Grandma is in a home.  

My Dad’s words written to me, felt like they were hitting me, as I am reminded that the march to the death of those I hold most dear continues.

Over the past few years, her mind has deteriorated and it was determined this was the best for her own well-being.  It’s the hardest closing chapter of Grandparent’s life, that is my own, to watch yet.  I watched another closing this past year and I don’t think I’m quite past that yet either.  So much suffering.  Leaving quite the wake as it passed.

Valentine’s Day also passed.

I’ve been single for Valentine’s before but it’s funny how perception shapes reality. Despite it being Valentine’s and in light of a relationship having changed form months ago, I chose to make dinner and get something for her the night before. I debated what to do beforehand yet chose the simplicity because when I looked back at times where I put forth “grand gestures,” it still led to some conflict or dissatisfaction, which then led me to feel taken for granted, exhausted.

So I went small, instead of grand, and in some ways, that feels unnoticed and it makes the ego within me question, wonder if she or anyone will ever see me, the real me, not through the lens of hurt or other men or projections or expectations.

I think I always have, which has probably hurt the most.  And there’s truth in it with others AND my own being self-critical.

I wonder if she or anyone will ever hear me.  If she ever did, if others really have.  In this case, I tried to show that I loved her from the start, wanting to stand up for her, protect her, take care of her, change myself to go with her on adventures, misadventures, whatever because she asked me to trust her.

I told her that I loved her many times in word and in other ways.  In intense moments since the relationship changed shape, I still share those sentiments because I can’t help how my heart feels.

But LOL, it seems as though, or perhaps the ego tells me that I’ll always be remembered for my failings.

“Not reliable.”

“Don’t communicate.”

“So difficult and complex.”

“Do you ever wonder if you should be in a relationship?”

Despite those words, none of that mattered.  What mattered was the laughter.  But for so long the laughter disappeared and it wasn’t just because of a long march to the death of a loved one.  It was because of professional aspirations, battles with leadership, and an inability to see me, hear me, as a human.

But it’s beyond words you know, it’s a feeling.

And life and love are meant to be experienced and present for 365 days a year, not just special occasions.  It’s meant to be captured fully in the moment, not in a phone but the status’ and the social media, the likes, that’s what matters theses days right?

A friend of mine from college, who is 32 weeks pregnant, wrote how grateful she was that her boyfriend cleaned the bathroom and how she didn’t need the romance.  I wondered as I read that and all the other Single Awareness Days,  the So in Love posts, the Love All, the Bleh, is it just a few that appreciate the simple parts?  Does it take a life-changing experience in birth and death to appreciate what’s there?  What does it take?

And that’s not to say that I don’t think romance is important.  It is and believe it or not, I think men want to experience it, the gift and the receipt of it.

But it takes two on so many levels.  How can I do it, if I’m exhausted, if I’m not inspired?

How can it be balanced when sometimes the levels don’t mesh, don’t mix, don’t add up.

That’s life, but that doesn’t erase the pain in my heart.  It never has and I am not sure if it ever does because the experiences are but salt to this physical wound.

Sometimes, I really hate life.  I hate that external things like holidays or work or whatever creep in and erase the effort that existed.  I am mad as hell that it took a big push on my part and death for the other person to see or hear or remember or whatever.

I’m not perfect, never was, have so many flaws that I’m working on each day but the truth is that I tried, and I tried, and I tried.  I may have also put alot into work because I want to be of service but I have also made these choices to take care of my small family in the pursuit of it becoming one and creating a union that could stand the test of time.

Sometimes the obvious isn’t so.  And it’s obvious, life can’t be done alone, even if at times it is lived alone.  And at times, it never felt lonelier than feeling alone in a relationship.

Brah, the past few years have been rough.  I’m recovering from a very hard 18 months and counting with the relationship evolving the way it did and the subsequent aftermath.

Recovery is an interesting concept but the truth is I struggle.  I am struggling every single day and I feel lost.

I struggle so much that people ask me how I’m doing because I can’t mask the disillusion or the sadness I’m feeling. So I try to hold it together, deflect, find ways to act along and build while I’m trying to find my way out of a taxing situation at work, that isn’t as simple as just burn the house and arise from the ashes like a Phoenix.

I look to hope but I struggle with disconnect from family, with its own burdens and sadness in watching one we love dissolve physically, and return to the cycle of the pain I’m feeling over this love, that I can’t explain it, hasn’t really been felt seen or heard.  And maybe I have to accept, never will.

It’s beyond words, it’s a feeling.

I can’t even really find respite in the world at large.

The world is quickly becoming the view of 45, dark, messy, turbulent, fake, SAD.  There are many folks expressing such emotions and that’s cool.  It’s a reminder we aren’t alone amidst chaos.  But sometimes, it’d be nice to feel there is harmony and not chaos.

It’s beyond words, it’s a feeling.

Well, I can fight back tears for so long, right? Besides, she probably can say and feel the same. Therein lies the rub.

It’s beyond words, it’s a feeling.

A Poetic 45 – Week 03

Merely week three, and already so, so much to see, how could this, how could this be? Click, click, click, just too many darn stories of tales, even for a reader and writer of words just like me!

I feel for 45, yes, I really do. Now I don’t always agree with things he has said or done, that is certainly true.  But there is so much opposition to each and every one of his positions, that it seems as though no one is really even ready to listen.

And that is concerning, especially for those yearning, for the sun to shine over a new connected and collective morning.

They say this post is one you learn and grow into.  I hope Mr. 45 that some day you find a brand new, a brand new,

a brand new…

An Open Letter — January 29, 2017

“I don’t wanna live no more, sometimes I hear death knocking at my front door, I’m living every day like a hustle, another drug to juggle; another day, another struggle.” Everyday Struggle by The Notorious B.I.G

Working for an arts non-profit in Honolulu, Hawaii, can present its fair share of challenges. It’s the arts, and artists can be real fucking divas. Non-profits are always hustling, making do with limited resources. It is what it is but I have to say, I have never encountered anything like what I walked into this past Friday, January 27, 2017, when I found out we were postponing a concert, on just 25 hours notice, while kicking off the opening of a different production.

What could cause such a last minute hurdle during an already hyper time?

(Laughs)

The reason was quite simple:

A member of the trio we were promoting was stuck in Canada, due to passport and visa issues…

In a twist of fate, that same day, a very controversial Executive Order was signed in the United States that you can read about here. Now the reason the gentleman in my personal story was effectively grounded in Canada and unable to enter the country is far different than this story here.

While mass protests thankfully did not erupt around my work, people could not help to point to the irony as we sat there at the door greeting anyone who didn’t get the word via our outreach or the media.

Even the band members themselves joked with the hashtag #CheersTrump to laugh at the unfortunate experience, which left them feeling bad for their fans here in Hawaii, many of whom had come all the way from their native New Zealand.

But life goes on for all of us involved with minimal distress in the case of the missing visa and passport. Tickets for the event are transferable to the new date and most people were understanding, disappointed because they were so excited for the experience, but understanding.

In the other cases linked throughout this piece and others like it here, life isn’t going to play out like that. These stories, like those of countless others throughout generations of immigrants, are people who have sincerely pined and wanted a better life, a new present and future that America represents, in order to escape their current present and the horrors of their past.

Now on some level, the arguments for some type or political reform to address strengthening and assessing our defense against terrorists taking on the guise of refugees to slip through the cracks, are understandable. I am all for public/national safety and strengthening defense. In a just way.

But we cannot lose our humanity in the process.

Implementing sweeping change without adequate care surely leads to chaos. Creating initiatives that discriminate will only serve to sow discord, empowering those who hate us further.

You have a chance 45, a slim chance to enact change, and for better or worse, we are all along for the ride. Where 44 said to root that you succeed because we will all benefit, I’m trying to be hopeful.

My belief in human goodness as a collective truth of love and compassion trumping hate is hanging on by a thread. Please put down the scissors.

#AlohaKeAkua #AlohaHarder #MahaloKeAkua

A Poetic 45 – Week 01

A week in, a weak one, and here we are, oh look, radiating sun

The Earth turns upon Axis, once more, has it won, and yet neither here nor there will we be, until the death of this sun

So small, is each life, so vast, why build strife?  Why build walls?

What point is it to divide?  To conquer?  Questions I ask, yet so many questions, I myself have failed to ask and live so who I am, when in a way, I have also lied, in essence create divide?

Protagonist in chief, no antagonistic thief, media thievin’ ya, but when governance fails to uphold the standard of human decency, who is it, brother, oh sister, that be deceivin’ ya?

Who is it that be deceivin’ ya?

A week in, a weak one, and here we are, oh look, radiating sun…

 

The Present

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It is so easy to be everywhere but in the moment yet isn’t that counterintuitive? The moment is really all we have. Ever. Always. Why is it then, that that so many of us live somewhere amidst the self-limiting beliefs socialized into us (past) and pining away for a day when it is all going to be better (future)? Sure appointments might be made, deals could be struck, pleasant surprises could come along, but what happens to all of the moments in between? What about the Here and Now (present)? Go stare at a lotus blossom. Perhaps it will tell you. And if you find something other than beauty, wow, amaze-balls, that’s okay too. Whatever manifests in the journey is just another teacher, guiding us to live full, authentic experiences before this long collective moment of living evolves and passes, which it surely will.#AlohaKeAkua #AlohaHarder #TheMaximsOfDelta#Mindfulness #Now #Okayness #Presence

The Inauguration Post

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Today has felt like a dark day. It’s not because of the media or “fake news” as some might discount. It’s because a great number of our brothers and sisters in this country and around the world are in pain. No matter who you voted for or what your slant, I challenge you to think about your own pain in life. Meditate on that. Sucks right? Why wish that upon anyone? It is in collective pain, failing to recognize that there are others who are hurting, who feel cast aside, that we build walls between us. A lack of compassion permeates the air because the world has molded us to be selfish, to think there is but one view, one way. And if another does not share that, then they are wrong, they are evil. Failing to look objectively, with true empathy has led us to where we are. If we do not rise up and stop perpetuating the infliction of pain through hatred, oppression, just failing to listen, we will just keep swinging from one end of the spectrum to the next. Maybe if we can stop pushing each other, if we can see where we relate, there might be something both sides can look forward to in the next episode. Maybe then we will celebrate our differences and finally embrace what brings us together, our humanity, which shares pain, shares joy, all of it. #AlohaKeAkua #AlohaHarder #TheMaximsOfDelta