progression.

thoughts
     ever present
     ever elusive
     never ending
     turn into

words
     often spoken
     often misunderstood
     never softened
     turn into

actions
     mindless, mindful
     without thought
     purposeless motion
     lead to

habits
     unconscious, blind
     too weak to notice
     too strong to break
     become your

character
     who you are
     who you are not
     who you aspire to be
     becomes your

destiny.

aspire.

aspiration
     not the head-in-the-clouds,
     if only this would work out,
     why don't things go my way?
     rut we talk ourselves into

and not
     the idle fantasies that lull
     us to sleep, perchance to
     dream, am I more than
     you really bargained for?

but rather
     the dream that will become
     the reality for the next day,
     or week, or month, or year,
     to infinity and beyond

breathe
     in and breathe out
     this is the aspiration
     that I aspire to this
     chilly February morning

focus
     with intent
          with caring
               with clarity
                    with purpose

aspiration
     fleeting, fickle, vacillatory
     my dreams and my breath
     focus on one leads to
     clearer focus on the other

each new day
     brings new breath
          brings new dreams
               brings new opportunities

to dream
to breathe
to be.

opportunity.

I am never sure
where one thought 
ends and the next one
begins

so active is my
     monkey mind
like an endless
     intellectual
          wikipedia black hole

jumping from one
subject to the next
without regard to
context

and I struggle with
     knowing when to
allow the thoughts
     and when to ask
          "does this matter?"

but the trick, as
it turns out
is hiding in plain
sight

to recognize the
torrent of thoughts
and allow them to take
shape

investigating each
     one in its own
right, valid in and
     of itself, eschewing
          self-identification

each thought is
of me, but is not me,
each distraction an
opportunity.

transitory.

all good things
     come to those who wait
     never come easy
     must come to an end

transition is
     inevitable
     transitory
     a good thing

if I can dream it
     I can make it happen
     but can I? should I?
     is this the way?

can I not believe
     that it will just happen?
     that it is for the best?
     that I have no real control?

this is the struggle
     inaction versus acceptance
     knowing when to hold
     and when to fold

and wisdom is 
     found in the knowing
     the accepting
     the believing

respond, not react
     simplicity itself
     yet the most
     difficult thing of all.

sea change.

     if it were
easy
     then there would be
     no need to practice
     no need to sit still
     no need to breathe

     if it were
simple
     then there would be 
     no need to explain
     no need to study
     no need to learn

     if it were
obvious
     then there would be
     less skepticism
     fewer distractions
     more adherents

     if it were
routine
     then there would be
     no call to action
     no controversy
     no sea change

     if it were
easy
     then there would be
     no need
          no pain
               no desire

only peace.

now.

if I were able to
     give you the past,
          wrapped up like
          a present and given
          on Christmas Eve

or
     give you the future,
          either dream or
          reality, whichever
          you preferred

or
     give you some mix,
          some combination,
          of what was, once,
          and what is to be,

or
     give you neither
          as if time and
          space were under my
          command to give,

I would fail on all counts

because
     the truth is the
          future and the past
          do not exist, as such,
          in any meaningful way

and
     the bitter truth is this:
          there is no past,
          there is no future,
          they cannot exist.

it is always now.

rain

recognizing
          that as far as I've come
     there is so much farther
     left to go
          that as close as I've come
     I can get closer still
     breathe in

allowing
          the thoughts to wash
     over me, rapid-fire
     seeing them for what
          they are, meaningless
     in and of themselves
     breathe out

investigating
          the purpose behind
     the deluge of thoughts
     monkey mind on steroids
          here and then gone
     like a summer squall
     breathe in

non-identification
          with the torrent of
     internal criticism
     my thoughts are not me
          they are of me
     but do not define me
     breathe out

     breathe in

          breathe out

     breathe

black.

once

upon a time I could
not taste life for 
all of the extraneous
shit I added to it
because I, for lack of
a better word for it,
truly believed that the
more you poured into
it, the more you'd get
out of it, not for a single
second comprehending
that I was actively diluting
the very thing that I was
supposed to be experiencing,

simplicity

for simplicity's sake
is a lost art, a forgotten
trove of buried
treasure, golden coins
glittering in the sun, the
constant need to
decorate, to fill, to
liven up the joint
with extemporaneous
and ultimately 
meaningless white noise, a
cacophony of sights and
sounds and feelings,
and wondering why the
experience isn't

enough

my soul cried, and
for once in my life
I listened, and took the
time to take a breath and
divest myself of the
unwanted, unneeded,
unnecessary, and began to
revel in the sublime, to
shun the additives which
were nothing more than a
cancer to my soul
which is why, when the
barista asks me how
I want my coffee, I reply

black.

passion.

"follow your passion" is such
          utter bullshit
     as if you were born
knowing
          what it is you are
passionate about

but it is much more subtle than
          canned platitudes,
     words strewn across
the pages
          of that bestselling
self-help book

you are not brought into this
          world knowing,
     as if you are destined
to create
          the next Great American
Novel

no, it is
     so much
          more subtle
               than that

passion is not an innate love
          or desire to do
     or to be or to have
it will not
          arrive on the wings
of angels

passion is that thing which
          burns in your gut
     cultivated over many
months and years
          of trying and of
failing

of fighting, and beating, the
          odds against success,
     of fighting the good 
fight until you awaken
          one morning to
find it

and when you clear your 
          mind of all the clutter
     and distractions and
metal flotsam and
          jetsam and can
see clearly

you will find there
          that one distraction
     that will not leave
and in that moment
          you will know you've
found it.

source code.

oh! to peel back the layers
of who we think we are to see
     who we actually are
no putting our best face forward
          no filters, no flattering angels
     peel back the layers
          to reveal the inner workings
          of who we are
          who we actually are
          beyond the bells and whistles
               revealing the source code 
               behind who we are.

comment out the recursive loops
suspend the cascading style sheets of
     the lies we tell ourselves
a simple query to find what's true
          no filters, no captured variables
     write me a conditional statement
          so that I may answer
          so that I may question
          who you actually are
          inside the curly braces
               revealing your source code
               and so much more.

let me peel off the layers of your structure
first your jacket, then your skirt
     stopping for no one, nothing
a simple gesture, maybe two or three
          no filters, nothing between us
     the soft whirr of your internal fan
          as you overheat at my touch
          as your internal stack overflows
          as your data flows into me
          and mine into you
               our source code intertwined,
               an endless loop of ecstasy.

good travels.

"...a good traveler has no fixed plans
     and is not intent on arriving..." -Lao Tzu
setting aside my goals, my
     objectives and outcomes
I bask in the freedom of
     knowing my direction but not
          my destination

for isn't the journey itself where
     true fulfillment lies?
the joy of discovery without
     the chains of intentionality
          weighing on me

setting off in the general direction
     of happiness, of love
no preconceived notions of
     what it looks like or what
          I will find there

hope springs eternal, and informs
     my every action
but what if it were not so?
     why hope for one thing when
          I can hope for everything?

all who wander are, indeed, not lost
     and I am one of the
lucky few who now enjoy
     the journey without regard
          to where the road may lead

stopping to smell the roses is
     no longer a struggle
when that is the whole point of
     throwing a dart at the map
          of my mind and of my  heart

no longer concerned with arriving
     no longer worried about
what will happen when I get there
     subsumed in the good travels
          of this world-weary traveler.

out of the blue.

out of the blue
     without any sort of warning
          whatsoever
     completely unexpected but
          welcome nonetheless
     like a sudden burst of rain on
          a hot summer day

you weren't there
     and then you were,
          an angel
     or, perhaps, just a dream
          a figment
     of my over-active and busy
          imagination

but if you are a dream
     why are you still occupying
          my every thought?
     why are you all I can think
          about?
     why is your face in everything
          I see?

and if you are an angel, how can
     it be that you even exist
          in this world?
     for there are no angels, no
          devils
     are you as immaterial as
          are they?

no, you are something else
     something beautiful
          something wonderful
               something amazing
                    something pure     
                         something else

out of the blue
     with no warning, no chance
          to wonder
     you took my fragile heart in
          your hands
     you smiled your bright, shining
          smile

and where there once was
     nothing but emptiness and
          loneliness
     nothing but blacks and grays,
          now a burst of color
     where there was nothing, now
          there is you.