I. Am. Afraid. of Cities.

tumblr_n7i7yhi0bs1tf4bhjo1_1280

I am afraid of cities,

all jagged and hard,

blades of concrete

leaving dreams

mutilated and scarred.

 

Where concrete legos scrape

the sky

only to show us

our place is where

the asphalt lies.

 

I am afraid of cities

where trees turn into

light posts and

sky into peep holes

reminding us God

once existed.

 

Where walls turn

into labyrinths,

keeping us confused

and distorted,

and silence is drowned

by sounds that rumble,

and honk and pierce, 

unnaturally persistent.

 

I am afraid of cities where

street lights distract us from

dreaming,

from the stars,

and the stem

of a crack pipe

is more familiar than

the stem of a rose.

 

Where women are asphyxiated

by back alley blow jobs,

and the earth

cracks the sidewalks open

for some air.

 

I am afraid of cities,

with their paper work 

and forms, long lines

and waiting rooms,

cubicles and punch-in 

clocks, rubber stamps

and guards that loom.

 

I am afraid of cities,

financial corrals

where humanity lives for

paychecks, and money

is always scarce. 

 

Where life is erased

by calculated numbers,

law and order is more sacred

than people,

and time rubs us

raw. 

 

But I am more afraid

of living afraid, 

so I plant my bare feet,

solid, on the ground,

let the sun rays shine

sturdy, on my face and

catch the wind as it whispers,

“You matter.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Buddy and Me! – 10 life lessons I learned from my scooter

It’s been almost 2 years since I purchased my Genuine Buddy Scooter. This was around the time that my daughter was heading off to college, and I decided that I didn’t really need to drive my Honda CRV anymore.  For economical and environmental reasons I decided to venture into buying a scooter.  I had been pondering the thought for a few years, and it seemed that since I was going through so many transitions, I might as well go all the way. This was also around the time I quit my job as a program manager, and decided to take some time off to refocus on my vision.  As it turns out, quitting my job was the best decision I could have taken, because I ended up taking care of my grandmother who was diagnosed with lung cancer.

1.  Be present.  When you are riding anything that slightly resembles a motorcycle or a motorcycle, you must be focused and alert at all times.  You are much more vulnerable than someone in a car.  Any distraction can cause you severe injuries.  You must be aware of everything and everyone around you because your life depends on it.

Awareness on my scooter has helped me to better understand the concept of awareness in my life.  Awareness means I am awake to all that happens within and without.  It has brought a level of consciousness that allows me to experience and feel in a way that is more vibrantly alive.  Every second I try to be focused in the present moment, unless my purpose is to reflect on the past or plan for the future.

 2. Don’t take the burden of others.  Driving a scooter under tension, frustration, or anger is just as dangerous as not being aware.  Don’t let other driver’s state of mind or actions influence your experience.  If a driver is in a hurry, let them go around you, don’t speed up for them.  If he or she is tailgating, slow down or softly tap your breaks to alert them of their action.  If you feel uncomfortable near a driver, pull over, let him/her go by, and continue your ride.

When my beautiful life is assaulted by someone’s anger, rudeness, hatred, or unconsciousness, I remind myself not to take it personally.  Otherwise, I allow them to dump their negative emotions on me, and I end up being suffocated by their emotions.  If I have been the wrong-doer than I take immediate action to correct the harm I have caused in someone else.  However, I find that the anger, rudeness, hatred, and humiliating actions of others are never caused by the wrong-doer, but rather by the unconfronted pain that the person carries within.  Ultimately the burden of that pain must be an opportunity for that person to heal.  Taking on the burden of someone else’s burden will only serve to bring me into a state of unconsciousness that will begin to dim my light.  No one should have that much power over me.

3. Take risks that bring you joy.  Purchasing the scooter was an awesome risk!  During a time in my life when I was feeling trapped, it gave me the freedom I needed to reinvent myself.  It took me out of my comfort zone, challenging me to move beyond all that I had ever known.  I had to learn how to ride a scooter, the same way I had to learn to let go of my daughter.  And a few months later, the same way I had to learn to live without my grandmother who I had lived with my whole life.  When I ride my scooter, I feel like I’m flying; like a hummingbird pollinating everything I come in touch with.

4. Be comfortable with the uncertain. Some days I just get on my scooter and go.  I don’t have a destination or a plan – I just go.  I like the feeling of being open to what the universe has to offer. There is a sense of freedom and endless possibilities that awakens my creativity and my hopes when I enter the space of uncertainty.  I surrender to the world!  Uncertainty just means that I’m not defined but what I know, and I am allowing myself the opportunity to transform through what I don’t know.

5. Explore different options & take different routes. Although I can motivate my scooter to ride at 60 mph, I do not drive it on the freeway.  This usually means I have to be creative about how I get from point A to point B.  This has allowed me to discover more beauty and art in unexpected places.  The journey isn’t just about where I’m going, but it has become about how I experience the ride on my way there.  Sure, sometimes it takes me 15-20 minutes longer to get to my destination, but what I discover is that when I allow myself to slow down, I renew my sense of being and invite more joy into my life.

6. Be confident in the choices you make. Sometimes when I’d ride my scooter, I’d notice through my peripheral vision that people were staring at me, and sometimes I’d even hear people laughing.  At first I used to be uncomfortable with stares or laughter, because most of the time I assumed that I was being ridiculed or criticized.  What I quickly realized was that feeling uncomfortable had nothing to do with the people around me, and all to do with me.  I had to love myself on the scooter!  So whenever I began to feel uncomfortable, I would just go within and feel the freedom and the bliss.

7.  Think out of the car.  Must I explain? LOL.

8.  Don’t be afraid to live.  Last July my husband and I were in a horrible car accident, and he lingered between life and death for almost  two weeks.  He always seems a bit unsettled when he sees me ride off on my scooter. The reality of what an accident can do and how fragile our lives are is very vivid for him.  And I’m not going to lie, it’s very vivid for me too.  Yet, it is because I know how fragile our lives are, that I refuse to give in to fear.  I want to revel in my sense of freedom, in this amazing joy for life that I feel inside.  I cannot control whether I will live tomorrow – that is for the Universe to decide.

9.  Breathe deeply.  Except for some of the car fumes that linger in the air, the world is made of incredibly enticing smells.  When I ride through San Diego, I can smell the sweet roasty smell of peanut sauce flirting with the sharp poignant smell of oyster sauce as it remembers the smell of the humid salty breeze that swirls through the syrupy honeysuckle that lines the homes by which I drive.  Sometimes I can smell the softness and plushness of laundry softener juxtaposed by the roasty sting of chile.  In the mornings I ride with the smell of moistened dirt like the aromatic boldness of a distant coffee bean and the renewed freshness that the dew brings to the plants. In the evenings I smell the purple aroma of rosemary and sage and the mintiness of the moon.  When I breathe deeply, I remember the gift of life.

10.  Have fun.  Somewhere we forgot that fun and laughter MUST be part of everything we do, even the serious stuff.  Our mind tricks us into feeling guilty about having fun and laughing, as if it’s something so wrong and unordinary.  And yet it is the very act of laughing that heals and gives courage to the heart to open up even more.  Laughter is the very essence of the child that lives inside of us, and when we laugh, we tap into the beauty children bring to the world: wonder, creativity, exploration, innocence, imagination, pure love.  The more fun I bring into my life, the more inspired I feel about living.