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When You Fall in Love

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WHEN YOU FALL IN LOVE 
~
when you fall in love
it will be as a
symphony of wildflowers
some unfolding
one by one
while others spring alive
as soon as the sun
kisses their lips
 ~
when you fall in love
it will be as a
river sings its rhythm
sad-songed and sweet
like bourbon swilled
in crystalline
a current of courage
a movement unseen
 ~
when you fall in love
it will be as the
earth—unbreakable
knowing season
after sunrise
after storm
another day born
another day
 ~
you are that symphony
you are that blues man
sitting on the stool
in a sunlight spotlight
knowing when the
moment’s right
all to do is
let go and
let your heart
sing you through
~
because
when you fall in love
all the world will fall quiet
to hear you

Bullshit an Intuit

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BULLSHIT AN INTUIT

you can’t bullshit an intuit

she sees the desire in your smile

hears the truth in your sugar-coated lies

feels the ripple of your mood in a room

her ears ring when you’re only thinking of her

the corners of your mouth say more

than a dictionary of words, and she is fluent

a mortal translator turning your

stuttering slur into poetry

will you even pause to hear it?

she may tell your story before you do

you see, this woman feels you—knows you

she will bask in the glow of your love

or storm the gates of your iron will

so when you turn to reach

for the familiar deceit

retreat, quit

she’s an intuit

Human Heart

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HUMAN HEART
~
as a human being
with a human heart
i will never hold back its breaking
so when love arrives as mine for the taking
you better believe I’ll say yes
to the risk of the fall
to losing it all
every time
before i opt out in favor of safety’s illusion
it’s never my heart who knows confusion
it’s my head who’s mixed up
and it’s pretty fucked up
that I once considered love less than first
so let me say that here, today
this human being
with this human heart
is saying yes
to you
,

Father’s Day Cards for Complicated Relationships


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What kind of card do you give the father you don’t speak to?

This is the question that hung in the front of my mind while I stared blankly at my grocery store’s festive Father’s Day display.

“World’s #1 Dad!”

“Thank you for your never-ending support and love.”

“You are, and will always be, my hero.”

Tears welled in my eyes as I fought the impulse to dart away. It all felt so disingenuous—but how could I say nothing? It’s Father’s Day and I still have a dad. I still love him. I still want him to know how much I care.

But after a lifetime of struggling to “make it work,” I made the decision to take a break from our relationship, and I stand by this choice.

My eyes floated over to the sympathy section of the carousel. Somehow “I’m sorry for your loss” seemed more appropriate.

I left the store with two avocados, but no card.

Although this is the first holiday I can’t pick up the phone, I’d be lying if I said I haven’t struggled to do so for several years. “Will he be in a good place? Will he be mad? Will he use this opportunity to pressure me into things I cannot do?” Anxiety, mixed with love, mixed with god knows whatever cocktail of buried feelings unearths every time I see his name.

I know I am not the first person challenged with complicated feelings on Father’s Day. And I don’t blame them. Our parents are our original caregivers, and as much as I truly believe they raise us to the best of their ability (even if their best is hurtful, distant, or altogether absent), most often our parents are our original heartbreakers too. We were young; we trusted them with our lives and our deepest truths, and in that tenderness we learned what is lovable and what is “unacceptable” about ourselves.

That sh*t doesn’t resolve itself. It takes work. It takes dedication, patience, insight, and time to heal and rewrite the impressions our parents made on us.

I actually believe that taking time away to get right within ourselves and to understand what happened between us is the greatest Father’s Day gift we can offer. We give the relationship a real chance in the long-term. For some, even this may not be possible, and disconnecting completely becomes the only self-loving option for a healthy life.

I wish this for no one, but I understand and support those who have made (or are considering) this choice.

I know my father has always loved me and he didn’t mean for his words and actions to be received as hurtfully as they were. I know he’s had a hard life. I know he’s sensitive on the inside. I know he ultimately wants me to be safe, stable, healthy, and happy. But historically, I haven’t felt that way with him. And the thing is, I want those things for myself too.

It’s not as easy as “good dad/bad dad.” Every dad is just human—trying to learn and live and figure it all out, and sometimes we kids get caught in the web of that. Because we’re human too.

It’s all just so very…complicated.

Which brings me back to the cards. Standing in the grocery store aisle, where all the prior thoughts came to mind, I found myself wishing for more emotionally-inclusive options to better reflect the melting pot of father-daughter relationships.

So I decided to write my own.

Here are nine alternate card inscriptions to reflect the mixed-feels of Father’s Day:

“I don’t know what to say, but I’m thinking of you anyway.”

“I wish we were closer.”

“I am working on forgiving our past.”

“I know you never meant to hurt me.”

“I miss you, even if I can’t see you right now.”

“I know you tried.”

“Thank you for all you did, and didn’t do. I’m grateful for it all.”

“I wish you nothing but healing and peace.”

“I love you, and I always will.”

For the children with complicated father relationships out there, my heart goes out to you. And your dads. And perhaps most of all, to my own father. There is nothing we want more than to be loved by our closest relations, and it hurts on both sides if that experience of one another is not intact. I believe where there is love, forgiveness, and understanding, there is hope.

Know you are not alone, you are lovable, and you are under no obligation to reach out to a father-figure just because one out of 365 calendar squares told you so.

May we have a peaceful Father’s Day, and may we all become the fathers we needed most.

In Soul, Danielle

(This post was originally published on Elephant Journal)

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Learning to Live with a Broken Heart.

“There is a crack in everything, that’s how the light gets in.”
– Leonard Cohen

It’s easy to aspire to strength.

It’s easy to offer a solid shoulder to someone we love when they’re suffering. It’s natural, we are empathetic beings after all. We conjure thoughtful quotes, or recommend a good book, or wrap them in our arms and say, It’ll all be okay, it just takes time.

But I don’t feel okay. And every day that passes feels like a years worth of grief. I’m heartbroken. In the past, I’ve learned how to move on. I’ve put my head down and got through it. I got dressed and went to work. I sent well wishes into the Universe with hope it would reach the Soul of the person I was letting go.

And then I felt better.

But this is different. You are gone and it feels like my heart left with you. No matter how I try, nothing can make me feel better right now.

Not the yoga classes, the healing sessions, the Skype calls with loved ones, or the healthy dinners and Buddhist podcasts I force myself to gulp down every night. Not the morning meditations, or even the long cries.

I’ve been on what I considered to be “the spiritual path” for about three years now, and it seems it has all led me to this moment. I’m drawing on every tool I know. It’s easy to be smart and strong when nothing’s wrong, but what about now? What happens when we’ve lost this much?

Feeling helpless, I bowed before my altar this morning and prayed, What more can I do? Help me.

And, somehow, through the roaring tidal wave of emotion, the soft and tender voice of Soul arose: Learn to live with your broken heart.

And the tears came again. I got my answer.

All week I’ve been searching for the vision of a future where my heart was mended, but nothing came through. I felt hopeless, but now I understand.

My heart will never be the same again, but I no longer want it to.

Now there is nothing between me and the heart of the world. The slightest eye contact brings me to tears. A genuine moment of compassion surges through my body like a river. I feel everything—everything I built a life around trying not to feel.

And while I may be broken, now I am free. I can finally put down my shield.

I know now I can no longer walk through Life guarding my heart like precious china. I cannot truly love that way either. It doesn’t matter how much affection is in me if I can’t touch the world or my beloved, just like a china cup can’t serve its purpose sitting behind glass on a shelf.

I don’t want my love to be precious, like some untouchable piece of art, I want it to be ordinary, every day, and real. Just as it is built to be. I want to hold my heart in my hand every morning, glide my thumb over the chips on its edges, and know it is still worth giving. I want to offer it as I would offer my most cherished belonging. Because it is.

What more can I give than my genuine, broken heart?

In breaking, I am no longer afraid. Now, I want to love so hard that I break this much every day. Because in breaking like this, I am broken open. I am forever changed. Even if it’s what we fear most, this is actually the greatest blessing we can receive in this human life. This is how we know our whole hearts.

That isn’t to say that I don’t need healing. Because right now, my porcelain pieces are scattered on the floor. It will take great attention and care to bring my heart back together again, but I’m willing to do it because now I understand why it’s worth it. I know what I was missing.

In this moment, I am reminded of the Japanese art form called kintsugiTranslating to “patching with gold,” this craft is the process of repairing broken pottery by rejoining the clay pieces with a golden lacquer. The fractures become the most valuable places. We don’t discard and replace a perfectly good cup, we honor its breaking, illuminate the cracks, and in doing so create something even more beautiful.

So I’ve given up trying to fix this, or even feel better, and in doing so I’ve restored my faith that somehow this heartbreak has opened me to a lifetime of genuine, raw, human love.

Now it’s time to master this craft—this healing—trusting one day, when I set the table for two, you will walk through my door with your kintsugi heart and learn how to love mine too.

In Soul, Danielle

Luna y Lobo