I’d Rather Be Bitten

It’s a scurrilous affair to be the target of an assault upon our humanity. Judgments, condemnation and criticisms all aim to reduce our opinions of ourselves, and are often successful in altering how others view us as well. We may well learn best through adversity, but none of us likes feeling attacked. It perpetuates suffering on both sides of the defenseless/defensive coin, especially when it’s of the insidious variety. That’s how the term backstabbing doubtless came into being, this feeling of being assaulted from behind where we can’t view the perceived enemy. And it’s a coward’s way out, this character assassination. It may temporarily grant the accuser a sense of superiority, but of one thing we can be certain; if we observe another engaging in this practice, it’s only a matter of time before they place us squarely in their sights.

I grew up with some fairly critical people, and would venture to say that years of habituation brought this trait out in me. I was an extremely sensitive child in a chaotic environment, and did not receive much guidance in handling the world with equanimity. And though I did garner some fundamental truths which would later prove beneficial, the chasm between what was practiced and what was preached was too vast for my child’s mind to bridge. Only later with age, experience and my own inevitable mistakes in parenting was I able to put the past into greater perspective. It’s still a process at midlife, so I suspect some lessons are deeper than mere conditioning.

As a teenager, I bolstered my fragile sense of self by finding fault with someone I thought better looking than I was, smarter, more talented or popular. Even if I shared these thoughts with no one else, a sense of smugness enveloped me like the proverbial warm fuzzy blanket. Eventually though, and it wasn’t too long in coming, that wrap felt suffocating. To something more decent inside of me, it just felt wrong. Hacking others down did not fill me up, nor did it give me any genuine or lasting sense of self worth. In fact it lent nothing of these attributes, it only carved a hole in my soul.

It has taken many years to rout the poison of criticism from my core. Like standing before a polished mirror, the presence of truth reflects back anything unlike itself. In this space, I am able to experience an up-swelling of compassion for the child that was me and for all the confused children in the world, trying as best they can to survive and thrive in adverse circumstances. Thus my ruminations extend to the child that lives within every adult, and it is easy to experience forgiveness and unconditional love, both for myself as well as for our deeply flawed yet simply human race.


Motor Vehicle Accidents and Acupuncture — Stick Out Your Tongue

My daughter Amanda is a gifted healer who practices acupuncture. She is adept at herbal compounding as well and conducts consultations by phone. She has also begun to write articles that you might find of interest – so consider following this blogsite, coauthored with others in her acupucture practice in Washington state. Aloha, Bela

Statistically speaking, the average driver will be in a motor vehicle accident once every 7 years! If you’ve been in an accident before, you know the pain can be debilitating, and may linger much longer than expected. Between the shock of the accident, and the stress of dealing with repair shops, lawyers, and insurance agents, […]

via Motor Vehicle Accidents and Acupuncture — Stick Out Your Tongue


I’ve never understood where the salve to heal the trauma
of living as a mortal human exists, save in my own heart;
I cannot impel you to live by my own standards
yet notice eyes brimming with perpetual misery, reflect
back on my own need for it, the drive to feel alive, I suppose,
aching with yearning for the unnameable;

I know certain things it has taken a lifetime to unpack,
but my luggage and yours are fathoms apart
though destination is the same Unknown;
Souls are entwined, and for a moment I notice
you grasping at straws in the wind, searching
for meaning anywhere but inside that shell
and know not how to say it is existential, will ever be
at your shoulder, and if you let it gnaw and feed
on your flesh it will consume that and more, clinging
like nylon fresh from the dryer, second skin
that keeps snapping you awake, awake;

Illusion it is, gain distance, a pause, no-mind thinking,
vapid trail vanishing the moment it’s constructed;
and you wonder at the ruins at your feet, head hung
as if condemned by your own hand. We all come crashing
down sooner or later in someone else’s estimation,
none can live up to the expectations of others.

Instead dwell in forests of imagination, feel feathers
of birds in every hue, the light, bright beating hearts
that synchronize with your own as for that moment
you are lifted far above the world of woes and so stay,
remain there long enough for experience to imprint anew,
raising the bar of fear threatening to crush your chest,
you are not Sisyphus, you are shape shifter, alchemist,
magician and more. Awaken. Awaken.





I do not flourish in chaos,
though some thrive completely therein;
I’ve caused and I’ve witnessed the sorrows
that settle just under the skin;

You may tempt me or taunt as it pleases,
that is your need, not mine to behold;
I prefer and I cherish the spaces
in deep quiet that nurture the soul.







My dark eyes beheld you in that small sliver of moon
light touching bare shoulders, streaming down
from the stratosphere in a star-studded waterfall,
knew from that moment we had been caressed
by the hand of grace, a force supernal, bestowal
of knowledge everlasting that human beings,
far from the cursed lot we may at times seem,
hold virtue inside if we would but open
the sluiceways and wash our mortality clean
of the muddled mistakes of the past
and welcome radiance into the chambers
of our hearts to stay.


Time and Tide

You’ve got to get it out, I said,
out where the poison can drain harmlessly
onto thirsty ground, where the pain cannot solidify
into suffering, send it back to its source
purified, clarified, transformed;

Asphyxiated, a soul cannot draw in-spiration,
we must unknot what strangles us, be it grief
or the torment of being too much with the world,
and I know, my friend, no matter what I said
or did, no matter my love for your essence,
in the end you could not feel it, I get it,
I understand illusions as well as anybody;

I wring my hands and fret, turning
over in my mind how little we all know
others and next to nothing
of the fathomless depths of ourselves;
we do not accept our strength at times,
prefer broken distortions and pray,
striving mightily for the clarity that abides
within as perpetual life, resonance, the rising
and falling of starlight and universes;
thus we must transcend perceived boundaries
of time and trust in the rise and fall of tides.

2015-07-05 07.06.13


(*note: I just received the news of a dear friend’s death late last night and wrote this this morning in tribute.)

bj photo: 2015 sailing out of Kawaihae harbor