Changed

“Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn’t do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines, sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover.” –Mark Twain
“Once you have traveled, the voyage never ends, but is played out over and over again in the quiestest chambers. The mind can never break off from the journey.” – Pat Conroy

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Recently, I spent a week enjoying the family vacation of a lifetime — on the island of Saint Martin — with my Dad, his wife, three siblings, their spouses, and mine. I feel indescribably fortunate for the chance to experience several firsts, thanks to the generosity of my father. I’d never traveled outside of the U.S., and it was a pleasure to find that whatever the language, whatever the culture, people are more similar than we are different. I enjoyed conversations and stories with several really beautiful souls; and I was reminded that the world is truly smaller than it looks. 

I had never been sailing before, and was a little nervous, but ultimately thrilled to share a sunset cruise — on a catamaran — with a delightfully funny and friendly crew, where I got my first taste of salt-spray, racing seagulls, and the rise and fall of gorgeous, blue-green ocean waves. I’d never swam in the ocean, and not only was it incredible, it was exhausting, in the most challenging and wonderful ways! The sand was gorgeous, the water clear, and in order to remember this first, for a very long time, I gathered a tiny handful of sand and bits of rock and shell to bring home with me. I’d never eaten lobster thermidor, or snails, or several of the delicious vegan dishes my brother whipped up during our stay in a luxury, open-air villa — with breathtaking views of the water, the distant volcano, fiery flamboyant trees and other lush vegetation, two gorgeous, wild kestrels nesting in the corner of the dining patio, and a very loud, wild parrot that greeted the day — and all of us, at five a.m. — with a dozen or more hellos.

There were some things I have wanted to do for many years, like having my passport stamped, swimming in the sea, and experiencing island dining at it’s finest. However, there were other opportunities which I’d not imagined I’d ever have: 

I opted out of the extreme sports experience with the water jet propelled boots. I’m not that crazy. But, I did go with my family on a speed boat day trip around the island. We waded through the ocean up to my chest, to eat delicious mahi and drink pina coladas on another beach, and when the option came to get into the water, with fins and a mask, and swim with gorgeous fish and majestic sea turtles, I was nervous. However, there was a wolf’s voice in my head… the same voice that has pushed me and cheered me for nearly a year, to hike and climb, to stretch and challenge myself. She reminded me that I’m stronger than I used to be. I’m braver than I think, and I might never again get the chance to snorkel with my strong and courageous, seventy-one year old father. She wouldn’t let me stay seated and let this opportunity pass me by. So I stepped off the end of the boat into the ocean. I put my feet in flippers, and strapped on a snorkeling mask. I ducked my head into the water and swam.  Within a couple of minutes, I was watching a school of bright blue and perhaps yellow fish, and a few minutes later, three different sea turtles! It was an amazing experience, and one I know I’ll remember for the rest of my life!

The opportunities for courage didn’t end there.  Because I realized it was time for my husband and I to step out on a limb and tell some of my family about my amazing, wonderful, polyamorous world, and specifically the two people who’ve become such a huge part of our daily lives that we’ve become one family living in two homes. I did sit down with my brother who lives in L.A. and share my happiness with him, and then later we spoke both to my dad and step-mom.  They were surprised, and incredibly loving. Mom had a few questions about jealousy, and logistics. Dad wanted to be sure we were happy, and though he doesn’t agree with our choices, he supports our right to make them our own. It was both a scary and wonderful set of conversations. When we returned home, Dad called and invited the four of us to come to dinner this weekend, and I was amazed at how wonderful it felt to share my whole truth with family. I’d never expected to do that, or to really want to as badly as I did. Our little quad is part of the family, and at least two of my parents are welcoming and glad to get to know them. I can’t imagine being happier with the outcome of this chance to take a risk and be vulnerable.

I knew when I boarded the plane to leave the country for the first time, I’d come home a little different. I hoped to have my pale-and-freckled-skin version of a tan, a little more salt in my blood. I expected to come home a lot more relaxed and refreshed, with beach hair and a suitcase full of laundry and souvenirs. What I didn’t expect was to come home changed, stronger for having been vulnerable, for having challenged myself to do things that were scary. This week that I’ve been back has been punctuated by trips to the pool and the creek, in a relentless search for sun and water. It’s also been accented by a growing realization that I am made better, stronger, and happier by the relationships in my life, and the people who make up my family.

This gypsy, wanderer, part island-girl poet is grateful, and that, so very much.

islandgirl (2)
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Surrender-Song

I was the moon rising
in your eyes, and you
the wolf–laying a rope
of stars at my pale throat.

They cut my tender skin
with diamond blades,
and my flesh wept
blood red with joy. 

Their surrender-song
still echoes in my head
–as the sun spills golden 
into our bedroom window.

I will sing their fading notes
–each one my gift to you.

—–

AUDIO FILE:

Island Musings

I may have been born 
miles from the sea,
but there’s salt water
mixed into my blood.

I found an ocean
in your eyes and
it feels like home
every time you smile.

Your touch on my skin
is both sun and sand–
the caresses of both
waves and sea winds.

I will sail across this
bed and shipwreck
this body against
your rocky shore,

if only you’ll cover me
in salt-spray kisses,
and carry me home
in your ocean eyes.

—–

AUDIO FILE:

VACATION REPOST – Sleeping – a Golden Shovel poem

It’s summer here in my little corner of the world, and I’m on vacation. I’m headed to an island, with my paints and my pens and my Bear! So over the next several days, I’ll be reposting favorites:

—–

spooning

I’ve held you more closely when
the night stole your sleep, and the 
thoughts in your head brought pain.
I’ve seen the way your fear cuts 
your breath, and dread leaves you 
staring long into the darkness, deep.
I’ve been the broken one, tired and 
scared — and you have been the 
rock, that sheltered me in the night.
This love we are building keeps 
us stronger, together — you 
and me. We are made safe from
fear that finds us peacefully sleeping.

———-

POETIC FORM:

golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.

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POEM A DAY NOVEMBER 2015 – PROMPT:

For today’s prompt, write an apology poem.

For more information, check out–http://www.writersdigest.com/whats-new/2015-november-pad-chapbook-challenge-day-23

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AUDIO FILE:

 

 

VACATION REPOST – Enchanted

image

She’s a complicated
tangle of time,
a gypsy entourage,
and a traveling circus
all tied up in bows,
with hair that smells like
the autumn wind.
She’s the queen of cups —
she knows it, owns it.
You may watch her
from across the room
and feel like a thousand
moths to a flame,
but you’ll never unlock
her Pandora’ box
unless you’re someone
she offers a key.

VACATION REPOST – Vulnerable Human

It’s summer here in my little corner of the world, and I’m on vacation. I’m headed to an island, with my paints and my pens and my Bear! So over the next several days, I’ll be reposting favorites:

—–

 

But I’m only human
And I bleed when I fall down
I’m only human
And I crash and I break down
Your words in my head, knives in my heart
You build me up and then I fall apart
‘Cause I’m only human

 

-Christina Perri, Human

robot

I define vulnerability as uncertainty, risk and emotional exposure. To be human is to be in vulnerability.

 

You can’t get to courage without walking through vulnerability.

 

Vulnerability is the glue that holds relationships together. It’s the magic sauce.

 

-Brené Brown, PHD, LMSW

 

I am deeply, madly in love with a strong, smart, generous and breathtaking woman. Her wife is a courageous, giving, welcoming, fun and beautiful soul. She is my dear friend. Like many in my circle of polyamorous life partners, and dearly loved metamours, the three of us are learning every day to communicate well, to make room, to celebrate each other and to pour out generous amounts of trust and love as we enjoy the ecstasy and wonder that is this web of support, value and gratitude we are building for ourselves and each other. In the four months since we began, things have been absolutely, incredibly amazing.

We all work really hard to make space for each other, to flex and bend, to support and share, and to communicate, to talk honestly, to trust. We do a damn fine job, I don’t mind saying. We push ourselves, look for opportunities to grow. We are courageous and vulnerable. We’re purposeful about being good at this life, because we love each other, we honor each other, and we want to do right by those who we are so lucky to love.

I love those connections where I can let down my guard, silence my inner-critic, and be genuine. I’m welcomed with open arms. I don’t have to know all of the answers; I can struggle and laugh at myself, and know that my partners and metamours will meet me with love, and celebrate me in all my messy, morning breath, grouchy, Tuesday morning glory! I am deeply moved and fed by the willingness of lovers and their partners to be real with me, to let down their guard, put on their pajamas (or be naked), laugh about their mistakes and share their fears. It’s the very soul of this life I’m living, and I am so grateful to be met with such beauty, courage and strength.

Still, some days, the hurt comes. And that sucks.

Some days, no matter how good our intentions, no matter how carefully we choose to live, no matter how real and honest and open-hearted we are… we fail. We find ourselves in the middle of a tangled and hurtful miscommunication.  We misunderstand, we stumble, we inadvertently bruise someone else’s heart. I inadvertently bruise someone else’s heart. I did it this week, and that sucks.

No, I wasn’t alone, there were things I could have done and things others could have done to prevent the painful situation that arose — if we’d only seen it coming — but that’s not the point. The point is, I am human, and my partners and metamours are human. No matter how well we do this polyamorous life — no matter how carefully we choose our actions, our reactions, we will spill our messy, difficult-to-swallow humanness all over those we love. It just happens.

That’s a tough pill for me to swallow today.

I am only human, and it breaks my heart to know my choices, no matter how pure my intent, caused others pain. I have cried today. I have apologized, I have spoken words of understanding and love, and meant every one… and today still sucks. Because I don’t want this kind of thing to happen, especially because I messed up.

Thankfully, I’m in this with adults — strong, generous, loving humans — who join me in gathering up the pieces, and healing the hurts. We will get through this. We will learn something about ourselves and each other. We will grow. Tomorrow will be easier, better, than today, and we will celebrate. We will face the days ahead with courage, and vulnerability. We will love, and there will be joy again. In fact, there’s a tiny bit of joy even today, knowing that we are gonna be just fine.

We’re gonna let vulnerability be our magic sauce!

 

 

 

VACATION REPOST – Never – a Golden Shovel poem

It’s summer here in my little corner of the world, and I’m on vacation. I’m headed to an island, with my paints and my pens and my Bear! So over the next several days, I’ll be reposting favorites:

—–

wolfbluemoon

Until I saw you bare your teeth, I never

believed in werewolves, thought I was always gonna
find them only in my dreams. Until I felt you give
me that hungry look, knew I’d be devoured by you
I’d stopped hunting teeth under the moon — I’d given up.
———-
POETIC FORM
golden shovel – Take a line (or lines) from a poem you like. Use each word as an end word in your poem. Keep the end words in order. Credit the original poet, ie. “-after (poet)”.
POEM A DAY NOVEMBER 2015 – PROMPT:

For today’s prompt, here are your two options:

  1. Write a Technology Poem.
  2. Write an Anti-Technology Poem.

VACATION REPOST – The L Word

It’s summer here in my little corner of the world, and I’m on vacation. I’m headed to an island, with my paints and my pens and my Bear! So over the next several days, I’ll be reposting favorites:

—–

image

When I said I love you–
I meant I love your easy laughter.
It’s the perfect soundtrack for the way
your eyes make my heart shake it’s wings.

When I said I love you–
I meant I love the way you walk,
the curious questions you ask me,
the heat before your fingers find my skin.

I love the you that you offer me–
your stories, your wonder, your fears,
the sound of my name in your mouth,
the echoes of your faltering breath.

I’ve known love long enough to recognize
the tone in her voice, scent of her perfume.
I welcome her summer magic like fireflies!
I know this is new, like a sudden rain, but–

I love the road we’re on, and it’s direction,
the journey of possibility in every step.
I love the chance we’re taking and
how your hand finds mine like a kiss.

When I say I love you–
It’s not a question, not a plea,
not a prediction for the future,
–just a pure celebration of today!

When I say I love you–
and I will again– it’s a key,
to unlock hope, a moment of
childlike joy, an invitation to fly.