500

Poem I first wrote on my Hello Poetry site.

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500

five hundred words are not enough
to say all the things I need to say
but five hundred poems are damn sure enough
on hello poetry to get noticed

alas, I write poetry for the sake of poetry
just like good ole Charles Bukowski
cranking out words with a foul mouth
without a care for the audience

I write words for the sake of my soul
because it is the only time that my heart
feels free to be whatever it needs to be
without the world confining me

so damn straight. I wrote five hundred
words for my five hundredth poem
because I rarely write so many words
to express what is in my soul

I should be listening to jazz while I write this
just like Kerouac so my words will have a beat and rhythm
of the sounds of bebop, instead of a cadence of all my own
who wants originality when you can have novelty

everyone is nostalgic to recreate what has been captured before
the great writers and poets of our time regurgitate what’s been said
for me I don’t really give a damn about the words,
so much as how I let the words live out into my life through my actions

words matter because they order our thoughts and feelings,
they give shape to the amorphous images that play in our minds and hearts and once something comes into being, then oh man man do they have power
that’s why knowing the name of something really means something

who knows if meaning comes from the words, or words come from the meaning
did the chicken came first or the egg?
all I care about is how you cook the damned chicken or the egg
fried chicken and I prefer my egg sunny side up

Bukowski eat your heart out as I write my stream of consciousness
five hundred word poem for my five hundredth poem
is it getting a bit redundant?
I am a firm believer that less is more

but sometimes I want my words to beat out like they used to
on old type writers like a damn machine gun
the beat flowing like the drums of a marching band
that gives life to even the worst of brass section

I don’t know if my heart can truly sing in a sea of so many words
I prefer capturing a single moment with 10 words, maybe 20 words
anything more than that feels like a waste
just like a coffee ice cream ruined by too much toppings

I am a minimalist at heart
even though I can’t declutter my stuff
holding onto old forgotten receipts
closet full of clothes I never wear

however, on most days my mind is clutter free
old resents are shoved out
fear written and jotted away
the book of the past closed

each day is a gift
freely given
each breath new

may you be blessed
may we keep sharing
for fun and
for free

A letter about the true measure of self worth 

Dear Friend,

I know I have been silent for a while. I was away to spend some time in silence and solitude. But you are ever iny thoughts and prayers. You wrote to me that you feel like that you do not measure up to your own expectations, expectations of your parents and your peers.

I know the pressures to succeed are immense now days at any age, but especially for a young person trying to find their way. I know for me, sometimes the hardest critic was myself. I always judged myself based on my thoughts, and today I judge myself based on my actions.

If you set your life on principles set by a loving God, then you will be able to hold your head high no matter what others thinks or even what you may initially think of yourself. Sometimes the thoughts my brain generate of myself is not my best friend, it tells me lies based on fear, self pity or pride.

However, today I strive to take right actions despite my brain telling me to not do a thing, or someone else will do it. True measure comes  in acting upon higher principles instead of listening to fleeting thoughts or feelings. It is daily choice of choosing of rigorous honesty and willingness to open your heart to unknown possibilities.  Be guided my friend by a greater love instead listening to thoughts of doubt or self-hate. You are worth of love. Our true Measure comes from our capacity to love and be loved with the fullness of our hearts.

In the Light,

Your Friend on this Journey of Life

Lenten Reflection: Jesus that Laughs

Painted in 2011, eunsung kim

 “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh.” Luke 6:21.

 As a boy growing up in the church, the Season of Lent was always a serious time.  A time to roll up your sleeves and really delve into your faith, and commit to deepening my faith with God.  Somewhere along the way, I picked up message that being a follower of Christ means being austere and serious, I make a sacrifice to give up things that are holding me from fully trusting in God.  While, some of the messages I picked up as a child about faith was true; a lot of my journey of deepening my faith in God has been to discard old ideas, and be willing to experience a God, beyond my limited understanding, here and now midst my own joys and sufferings.

I always thought Jesus was so serious, but I now imagine him being someone with profound joy and capacity for laughter that cuts through the heart of the matter.  My own experience has been that often the folks that have experienced the most profound suffering and sorrow have a great capacity to love, and to embrace moments of joy when they appear in our lives.  When Christ tells us that “Blessed are you who weep now, for you will laugh;” Jesus is not only speaking to us who grieve and journey through loss, but his blessing includes himself.  Jesus knows firsthand what it is like to carry deep sorrow, and pain; we too feel overwhelmed and burdened by the responsibility of life, and walk sometimes with very heavy steps.

However, Jesus kept moving forward, even though he knew where the road would lead him.  He continued to do the work of the Father, kept teaching his often thick headed disciples, and kept on loving the people in his life.  Jesus touched, healed, laughed, cried, and shared life with the lepers, the forgotten, and despised people of his time and culture.

We do not have to weep, because our journey does not end in the cross.  We believe in a Risen Christ, and know in our hearts joyful tears knowing Christ has risen, and our weeping can truly be transformed into joyous laughter.  It is hard in the midst of grief to see what lies ahead, but remember friends you are not alone, Jesus who knows your inner most pain walks with you.

 Prayer

O Jesus, be with us as we walk through the joys and pains of life.  May our weeping be transformed into laughter: a deep knowing laughter of your strength and love.  Amen.

A Letter about Being Sucessful

Dear Friend,

You asked me how to be successful in the spiritual life; my answer is to that you must fail time and time again. Failure on the spiritual path teaches us that we that truly grow out of our own power, and we cannot walk this path alone. We grow in community, and we need others to show us how to pick up the pieces once more when our lives become shattered and broken. In our weakness, we learn that we need God’s love to sustain us and to help us grow.

I know that you shy away from Scripture, but yet you love the Beatitudes: 

Blessed are you who are poor, for yours is the kingdom of God. Blessed are you who are hungry now, for you shall be satisfied. Blessed are you who weep now, for you shall laugh. Blessed are you when people hate you and when they exclude you and revile you and spurn your name as evil, on account of the Son of Man! (Luke 6:20-22). 

You told me once that these words call you to walk a humble path, and ask of you to live in a state of willingness, honesty and open mindedness.  To be successful in the spiritual life is to know that life dedicated to self leads to a dead end because we will always crave more. You strive to follow the path of the Buddha, but even he saw that life filled with glorifying self leads to futility:

Those who are selfish suffer here and hereafter; they suffer in both worlds from the results of their own actions. But those who are selfless rejoice here and rejoice heresfter. They rejoice in both worlds from the results.of their actions. (Dhammapada 1:15-16)

A life dedicated to spiritual principles and helping others gives us a deeper purpose and meaning that is beyond any worldly success.  I strive to love God with all my heart and with all my soul and with all my strength and with all your mind; and love my neighbor as myself. You strive to live by the path of the Buddha, who dedicated his life to teaching others so they may also be free from suffering. Both paths lead us to be successful by allowing higher principles to guide our thoughts and actions. 

I hope this letter finds you well. I will hold you in my prayers. I am grateful to be on this path with you.

In the Light,

Your Fellow Traveller  

A Letter about Real Strength 

(The World According to Mister Rogers: important Things to Remember)

Dear Friend,

I hope my words find you at a time, where it may encourage you to be more at home within yourself. You wrote to me that you have been struggling with loneliness, and you shared how you thought being overwhelmed by an emotion was a sign of weakness.

I relate to your sentiments, and for a long time I also thought feeling deeply was a sign of weakness.  I think this is especially of men, but true in some ways across gender. We are taught early on to value thinking, mental capacities, and rewarded for academic achievement.

 How better the world would be if we were encouraged navigate through emotions and taught emotional intelligence. It’s ok that sometimes you are overwhelmed with feelings, why helps me is to sit with my feelings and breathe deeply. I try to welcome it instead of resisting it. Sometimes I am hit with an overpowering negative feelings that lead me to anger, despair, and a case of f%<! this s*^!. In these cases, I try to breathe, pray to a power greater than me for help, and try to turn my thoughts to someone else.

A wise man once said “Real strength has to do with helping others.” In my experience, when I am honest about my own struggles and befriend my weaknesses, the more useful I am to God and others.  I know you are struggling with believing in a Higher Power, but you don’t need to be a theist to know that helping others through mutual vulnerability allows for amazing things to happen.  When our walls are down, we are able to meet heart to heart; we are no longer pretending to be strong, but allowing ourselves to be seen and known as we truly are.  

I know sometimes it feels scary. My suggestion to you is to breathe deeply, relax and take it easy. Wise people have repeatedly told me “this too shall pass.” Our feelings can overwhelm and sometimes be scary, but remember that you are not just your thoughts or even your feelings. I try on most days to judge myself on my actions instead of the crazy thoughts and feelings floating through me. Whether I feel good or bad, I always full deep sense of peace and purpose, when instead of focusing on myself and my life I reach out and help someone else.

May you be happy. May you be healthy. May you be at peace. May you be free from suffering.
In the Light,

Your Friend and Fellow Traveller