Monday, June 1, 2020

The Sounds of Weightlessness

Rhododendrons reveal
sun cascades 
clipping and casting
shadows on suburban
homes and dreams

And birds flit
it seems these
louder too.

Can they
see it all? 
Can they
hear it all?

Better still,
can WE?

The panic
The injustice
The illness
The void
The meaning

Do they carry 
messages to one
how to get us to 
not just notice
but also
to vote on this?

Can we hear it?

The invisibility
of privilege
and pride
serves as a
weighted blanket
for some,
that there is
"nothing more
to be done here"

After all,
'it's just awful'
a shame'

Clucks of
the tongue
team up with
shakes of
the head
clearing space 
so folks can 
get back in
line at 
for potted
plants and 
grass seed

and I wonder
what's the most
important thing
to grow?

And the 
birds hang
out in the 
garden center
too, you know

they see it all
their chatter 
is everywhere
for those who
truly listen

I'd like
to think
they're all
about the 

rising up in
the streets

that enough 
is finally 
and the 
time to pivot
and shift 
has arrived

we can all learn to 

yet, the terror
that paralyzes
those who
have been long 
served through 
flowers, blankets
now stand
naked, afraid

But this, my friends
is how we are born.

And it
also how
we will 
be born 


Wednesday, May 20, 2020

I am Peace.

As I walk into
my meditation
I imagine myself
opening a door to
and visualize
being able to
step inside
where I will feel it
warm and glowing
like a magic tunnel
a place that will protect
me from suffering
transporting me
away and separate

Sinking deeper
into practice
I lose my grip,
Chaos rushes
in the form of

I grasp
as if
feeling for the
walls of
my peace portal
to bolster me
so that I may
define myself
in space...
only to
find expansiveness
and myself
and the discomfort

Naming it:
I am honoring
with awareness
and a gentle
invitation to

to the breath
to anchor,
the discomfort
slips past
the attachment
the need
for containment

a revelatory
knowing arrives
and it seems
to have
Not from
the mind
the ego


It surfaces
a smile
allowing me
to relish
in a knowingness

that heals
that reveals
that in

my eyes
I tell myself:




And for
I know this
to be true.


Saturday, May 16, 2020

Architect of Connection

Big feelings bloomed in snark and noise
Mutual righteousness adorned each side
Until a sudden "freeze out", silence
Naked emotion stuck, nowhere to hide

Letters were shared bravely bedside

Writing for healing stings as it goes
Vulnerability bled messy into margins
No response-never-exposed once more
Self-doubt and fear growing up in gardens

This is the way a heart hardens

Anxious tendrils, vines of confusion
Emotional neglect quietly worked to rewire
Then an abrupt melting, occurred sans science
First hold ice cubes, next fan the fire

You began to feel like a fraudulent liar

Ego dystonic thoughts without any space
A landscape rife for numbing then shame
"If you plant ice, you're gonna harvest wind" 
Lyrics that danced for decades inside a mental frame

Wondering… will I always feel the same?

Breath that defines life from death 
Gave new hope for inhaling inside of truth
Anchored to the pause, feel it and know
I am whole, connected, this exhale my proof

Mindfulness safeguards from acting aloof

I am not my mother
I am not my father
I was never left behind
I am not my feelings
I am not my thoughts
I do not need to rewind
I am not my own mind
I can choose to remind

Love and wisdom interplay in light
Serving me, healing me with protection
I was never really frozen solid, rather 
Learning to be an architect of connection

THIS is what I see in my reflection.

Friday, May 8, 2020


water color paintings 
through streaky
wet and bright,
a mess of hues
led to completion
through a journey
of liquid squirming
and spreading
tints and tones
the primal effort 
to take up space
all of it 
whether we choose
to acknowledge or not
reminding me of feelings
and their pursuit for
demanding their proper
because they
were created 
to know their purpose:
to roam and leak out
filling in the corners
and mixing about
shapes inside of
insight contained
with madness
and brilliance
until they settle
and make sense
becoming beautiful
the ability
to allow is
hardwired into
all of us so we
learn what is real
learn how to feel
learn where to know
learn when to grow
learn why we go
we are all feelings artists
take a deep breath
and cultivate your
process before the
palette dries out
each day
is a new brush
each feeling
a new stroke
let it flow
curate your collection
do the work 
and let it soak
your life is your
finest masterpiece

Wednesday, May 6, 2020

acceptance and spring

acceptance smells like lilacs
resistance reeks of mold
inhaling spring's sweet messages
avoiding doom bought and sold

the space we give to nature
to change to bend and sway
loans an understanding:
things won't always be this way

winged messages inside the trees
continue to be shared
trust the branches to hold weight
trust we will be spared

faith, belief, grief and loss
teach us how to reframe
guarding us from toxic leaks
empathy cancels out shame

the collective truth of seasons
an antidote for the stressed
notice the center of the flower
beating inside our chest

connection cannot be contained
inside of posts and zooms
be it a place holder for connection
like a bear's winter den rooms

improvise adapt overcome
our power to rise up is now
look out the window with wonder
understand we all know how

walk with this message today:
pain is immediate, sensory and real
notice without getting carried away
prevent suffering, allowing to heal

ringing in our ears like bells
is a prompt to lean into it all 
the wisdom fluttering around us, 
heed a new sounding call 

answer it
answer it
 answer it 


Sunday, April 19, 2020


Pandemic Day 3,245. Or whatever.

In the good ole' days, in an actual school classroom:

Solid engagement/comprehension that slips into a loss of focus -> 
"Okay class, let's break into small groups and review"

Blank stares/confused expressions -> 
"Alright guys, no worries, let me back it up a bit"

Silliness and distraction -> 
"Hey everyone, stand up- let's take a movement break, and do a quick check-in"


Zoom -> "No I don't want to see your mom's's a good idea to put a shirt on...okay, friends- let's do a review of...nope, I MEANT to mute you all...let's just all try to hang in and listen super I don't know why so and so isn't here again...yes, I hope they're okay too..."



Take a wider lens. It's not too late....

Saturday, April 18, 2020

Sunlight meditation

Enjoy this children's meditation I created. May it bring you some peace and warmth.

Gifts and Chances

Truth whispered to me during dinner
Hiding inside family laughter
It rattled inside my heart and soul
And has remained with me long after

It's a gift
It's a gift
It's a gift

to behold

It's a chance
It's a chance
It's a chance

to be bold

Our stories and our shared struggles
Grief making way for smiles
Making space and time to feel
Relationships across miles

This energy fuels new lessons
Transformations and insight
Post traumatic *growth*, more common
Managing stress leads to what's bright

Consider how we view education-
Is it about tests, lessons, or now zoom?
Information dumped inside of brains
Little robots inside a classroom?

Or can we find the wider lens
To examine things we must strain to see
Inflections in tone, side glances and hugs
Regulating forces...ultimately

Invite actions that support coping right now
Take moments to grieve and to fuss
No one is perfect, that's not even fair
And extends to each one of us

But beyond this, I will not stop spreading
A message of light and of hope
Just stay in the moment and you'll find it too
When you shower, really inhale the soap

My family is slowly healing
From invisible wounds unknown
Laughter, projects, discourse, chatter
A new tapestry of love we have sewn

And I worry about the narrative
the "don't worry, it all sucks, just be lame"
and while I hesitate to share my words
I'm not sorry that I don't feel the same

There are heroes that need our honor
Medical and emergency crews
Lesser educated blue collar workers
While we sit home watching the news

Tomorrow is not a given
This pandemic is clear to point out
Today is what we have with each other
So let's flip the teachings inside out

No more lessons or chromebooks
Read stories, play and create
Be lazy and cozy and sad if you need
Then take stock of what's on your plate

Our essential being-ness is here
There is nothing more that we need
Climb out of the story you've been telling
And see you've already been freed.

It's a gift
It's a gift
It's a gift

So behold

It's a chance
It's a chance
It's a chance

So be bold

Thursday, April 16, 2020

Monday, April 13, 2020

The land of in between

There is a relational landscape
that exists in purely
The land of in between

Is the appeal of the beach
trapped inside a frame?

A photo of the sand,
a painting of the water or
a soundscape of waves crashing?


Our love of the beach
comes from our
own individual interpretations
of those things-
the interchange that occurs
when our being-ness
and the being-ness
of these things
come together and
actually meet

There is a certain magic
that is awakened within
when infinite particles of sand
Bleed into the vulnerable spaces
between our toes
inviting us to sink into
warm and uneven flooring,
Surrendering and giving
way to our feet and then minds
and we honor this exchange
as both unusual and seductive

We lean into this and decide:
"I like this"

(And in some cases,
"I dislike this",
and that's okay too)

We witness ocean waves
crashing recklessly
carelessly blending
into the shoreline aching
for contact with more,
Is it trying to access us?

Of course

And then suddenly
a conscious retreat
to rebuild and try again
Swelling and seeking connection
with everything in varying
degrees of intensity and charm

Always folding into
that which

A beginning and end
a presence
where this is simultaneously
understood and undefined

Inside of our breath,
we find the same process-
An inhalation that serves
and then yields,
giving way to that
which comes next.

Waves and breath
work together to
anchor us
to the awareness
of letting go into the




always the calm.

we cannot hear the ocean
we cannot feel the sand
we cannot see the patterns
we cannot smell the surf
we cannot taste the salt

We are deprived of praxis

Delving down we can tug
a bit to locate the anchor
and pulling ever so slightly
our knowing will appear

Breathing in and following
it all the way to the end
We will find on the other
side of the breath

Individual and collective
awareness, greater

The earth is meditating
for our benefit and offering
a sedimentary shift

Step into the marrow
and wade around with
what is evident

Access this inner knowing
and return to the beach
to swim, to sift, to soar,
and to shine.

It's all here. Now.

Monday, April 6, 2020

An open letter to my graduating senior

Dear Ezra,

Graduation has finally appeared on your horizon... and here we are, all inside. It's interesting that I notice a growing awareness of my womb lately. It feels heavy and full, with a low lying sense of aching as well. It resembles a kind of knowing, that includes remembering too. For this my son, is quite like how I felt mere months before you were born. It is imprinted on my heart forever, the day that 9/11 occurred, holding my large belly, wanting to keep you inside and safe forever. When suddenly love and protection did not feel enough. I recall in that aftermath, my heart giving way to profound feelings of fear and a guilty sense that I was somehow exposing you to a toxic new world. I felt irresponsible and the world felt collectively afraid. Planes were grounded, trust was elusive, and I was about to become a mother somehow...inside of it all.

And yet, I recall being struck by small things in those days too, just like now. Things I had previously taken for granted. Things that seemed to not take heed of the darkness that weighed heavy on hearts and minds and paralyzed us all. I noticed the birds and the sun and the sky, mostly. Because in spite of all that was being processed, the sun still rose and set and the birds still sang and the sky still painted pictures for us. And they were beautiful. And I believe part of my healing was allowing myself to feel into those things again. It was these small, grand things that allowed me to be whole enough to bring you forth, 42 days later. Eventually there was a connectedness that came out of that time as well, and it served as a soft landing spot for us all.

It was during this darkness that I found your light. My midwife spoke to me of "la luz" during your delivery. She coached me hard, telling me to envision pulling you up into "la luz" (the light) and to bear down into this and to really see it and feel it and imagine you seeking this too, and moving towards this...and I did. And well, this is how you came to be. You rose up strong and healthy and into great light. And in my heart I had this sense you would not only live a great life, but that you would be great. And I was not wrong.

The sunset delivers this truth and more, to me this morning as I write. Following a month of quarantine, with your senior year slipping fast and loose through your hands, you asked to go see the sunrise this morning. You told me that you created a plan with your friends, that fit within the boundaries that this new world has enforced upon you. You requested to drive, all in separate cars, to a scenic ocean spot, and side by side in your would all consume the sunrise. Together. And apart.
Of course I granted this to you. Of course.

To me, this is both heartbreaking and inspiring all in the same breath. You should be heading to school, to lacrosse practice, to awards nights, to your girlfriend's house, to the basketball court. Instead, after you finish taking in our divine mother earth, doing what she so beautifully does, you will return home. Alone, you will enter your room to turn on your chrome book and finish your school career. My heart is heavy and solemnly sad, and also incredibly proud. All at the same time.

Safe at home, not stuck at home. I have reframed this infinite times to cope in these last several days. To attempt to shape a more helpful lens through which we can all make sense of this. And it does help, usually. But today, I saw that same sunrise you made all your own and felt hopeful. I thought of the day before today too-when cloud cover made it so that there were no rays shining through to start the day. Overcast skies prevented the color palette from bleeding a water color painting onto the sky. The pinks and oranges of today, slowly curling upward, filling the sky were not the scene yesterday. But does this mean it was stuck? No. Of course not. It was still there, safely rising. Just like you.

You are not stuck. None of us are. My pride comes in your deep knowing. I see you managing and navigating this and while you have feelings, you have a knowing inside of you that understands this. Your wisdom understands that you are light. We are all light. This darkness will make way for us to rise up again, and the birds will be there to sing about it. Thank you my son, for reminding me that they are singing about it right now too.

Thank you for teaching me that we are not stuck and our sunrise will come again.


Wednesday, March 25, 2020


The story you could share right now
If you took time to write it down,
What have these days been like for you
What is causing you to frown?

Name it in words, paint or song
Just give birth to it loudly
what is strumming from the inside out
You could create it all quite proudly

It doesn't need fanciness,
proper spelling or any "rightness"
The world needs *your* unique gift
Dark times insist upon lightness

Perhaps if you tell out your truth
It will come out with a rhyme
As you lay everything out to explore
What's more worthy of your time?

Maybe it will end up becoming
A graphic novel or animated cartoon
A continuous sort of picture tale
Of the sun always chasing the moon?

Or consider a "dear diary" capture
Things you are going to do
Sadness, thoughts and worries
And the way life has become new

Ultimately what matters most to me
Is how we will look back-
Did we spend all our time complaining?
Always searching for a snack?

The things I am hearing at this point
so far are mostly inspiring--
People using time with intention
Helps us with our rewiring

Our brains and our hearts have work to do
We are undoing some pretty tight knots
And in loosening up and digging in
We'll plant seeds in brand new pots

Things that are transformative
You might look back and say:
I made art! We baked bread!
And I wrote a brand new play!

I know we've had more family dinners
Than we ever have had before
Others sewed masks for doctors
And it didn't even feel like a chore

New perspective gained through simplicity
Walking through your town each day
Happy hours and board games on zoom sessions
Amazing, how there's always a way

Maybe you're due to graduate,
senior year keeps slipping away,
Yet, your friend-created "minecraft world"
Brings laughter, connection each day

Your maternity leave that felt too short
Is suddenly back again
More moments to snuggle your baby
An invitation to retreat in your den

Working from home is an adjustment
Helping kids learn can be hard too
Be gentle with your kids and yourself
You WILL see how much you grew

Take deep breaths, slow it down,
build lasting new habits of mind
Try basic yoga, meditate, and pray
Look inside of yourself to find

New strength, new hope: it's happening
And for how long, no one can know
Is that terrifying or liberating?
What you water is what will grow

Enjoy your coffee hot each day
Take deadlines in stride if you can
Bike ride, do puzzles, maybe take a bath
Consider this all part of a plan

A worldwide reset to change us all
For better or worse it will be
Let's not overlook our chances
Look deep within and wake up culturally

These words just keep on coming
They seem to originate from my core
It's hard not to feel what's at stake here
Which is why I must implore

Try to be present and mindful
Go outside, then come back in
And know that your best is good enough
Seek your inner grin

The thing that lights us up is calling,
Awareness is essential to activate
It may be your point of pride one day
(And not that extra snack you ate)

Writing these words feels personal
Getting it out feels good and needed
Moving through it, not around it
My thought garden, fully weeded

Whatever your thing is *matters*
Go find it, do it, and believe
Rising up is happening everywhere
So what could you conceive?

Thursday, March 19, 2020

Things go sideways sometimes

The oceans calls with her fingers
Stretching out long and curling back
like an evil storybook character
luring me toward danger,
disguised and dressed up pretty

I seek the shoreline
and ultimately I am struck
by her patient status

Unsure of anyone's
these days

I wait alone
I walk alone
I think alone

Scouring for treasures
in the form of

I collect
And notice
I feel
And form

Inside I become aware
of a deep drive
that originates
within and belongs
only to me:
to urge to create

I feel compelled to make art
with her offerings,
and feel sure of this,
that indeed will be
my next best thing to do

And as I step
closer toward her
wake, I am caught
off balance by the
deep grooves
awaiting her return

Running counter
to my direction-
spongy and soft,
they hold an equally
noticeable and enduring
strength beneath the weight of my feet
a tender ability, unpronounced

Suddenly, I heed
the invitation before me:
to follow wonder and walk sideways
along these gullies and remember

Hearing the messages
of her recession,
low tide's reset is calling
for a different route

Forward directionality
is not the only way
to get where we want
to be

To be...

Who do we want to be?

How do we get to her?

Walking sideways,
I will stay open and
brave, paying close attention
to the off track paths
as they gift us new rewards

Outside the box solutions
Online art lessons and read alouds
Bike rides without time frames
Yard work without hassle
Back deck sunsets consumed wholly
Writing that streams endlessly
Naps that restore and revive
Projects new and old
Neighborly gestures
Thoughtfulness shared daily
Silver linings treasured
Educational ingenuity
Beach combing slowly
Baking with adventure
Organizing deeply
Cleaning without rushing
Drawing boundaries
Communicating needs
Taking breaks
Retreating and then
reemerging to keep going

Letting go

Previous problems are past
Future fears are unknown

So we get back to the
Business of now
pushing away the
Busy-ness of being busy

We are not busy

Not while the waves
are still out there
receding and flexing
also not rushing to
return, or so it seems

But like all systems
the curve will flatten

And she will be back
and so we will we

But how will we be?

Can we absorb
this pace and
resist hopping
back into the race?

Her voice could not
be more clear:
there is no final destination
the journey is back to ourselves

And there is no
malice in this
no poison apple
being offered

Because this chatter
is born inside of ourselves
It can be heard in your
own voice

This is the antidote
This is the truth
Your words are
your center
And they shall
set you free

Be curious,
listen long,
and go find

Monday, March 16, 2020

Pandemic and Possibility: Documented Through Haikus

Day #1 (3/16/2020)

Perhaps the schedule
To be kept right now is not
One followed before

Strange times and new plans
Open opportunity
Follow your own path

You are now in charge
Everything optional
Living demands truth

Put out your longing
The universe can hold it
Beauty will emerge

Day #2 (3/17/2020)

Reframing feels hard
Boxed in with rumors and dread
Sometimes sleep is best

Day #3 (3/18/2020)

Sitting here I watch
Sun setting over new world
More will be revealed

Day #4 (3/19/2020)

Issue for parents
Working hard from home daily
Cannot also teach

Day #5 (3/20/2020)

Social distancing
Means different things to each
Connections abound

Day #6 (3/20/2020)

Energized by truth
The unknowing feels sticky
Perhaps that's the point

Day #7 (3/21/2020)

I'm not expecting
To grow flowers in desert
I can just do this

Day #8 (3/22/2020)

If I cannot say
That I want to walk alone
More will be stated

Day #9 (3/23/2020)

Let us not forget
Beautiful landscapes exist
Inside dark spaces

Shadow Wisdom

Shadow Wisdom
(Amanda C Symmes, LICSW)

We are all the hazy shadows
laying essence on the ground
The tree is not the trunk and limbs
That your eyes think they have found

Channeling the energy fields
our inner source and truth
The buzzing, ringing and connections
Are offerings of deeper proof

The consciousness of people
has surfaced and will swell
our collective bigger purpose
has arrived in time to tell

The messages that we take in
And that we choose to limit
Means we are finding new power
And the ability to stand within it

Perhaps this all sounds heady
or a little hard to grasp
So allow me to simplify
As we redesign the clasp

The world has continued spinning
Speed slowing, increasing light
So that we may seek our own answers
And regain our internal sight

Who am I and who are you?
And who are we together?
We are spirit and energy and truth and love
The space in between, the treasure

Deep breath in, longer breath out
the days will unfold slowly
Stay true to your path and your tribe
What is needed has now become holy

What's yours is mine and mine is yours
This energy that feels electric
Can charge us up and make us strong
We can plan an all new metric

Our systems may alter but will not fail
The time for change has come
Hold hands, laugh loud, create and move
Center back to where we are from

Existence is not in crisis
And crisis is not ever-lasting
How we respond to what meets us now
Is the shadow the present is casting

Thursday, March 12, 2020

Look to the Sky

Hey you, looking at your screen,
reading articles about healthcare
toilet paper and school closings
You've drummed up quite a scare

Can you stop for moment
Please just do it quickly,
and glance out a window
I know you're not sickly

Slowly breathe in and then let it all out
Tell your brain to rest and to settle its doubt.

Now you might find that the sky,
is just sky-ish and blue
If you look a little closer
It's more than that too

You may find it breathtaking
In quite a "good" way
And breathing in slowly
and deeply you'll say,

"It's like pink candy-ribbons
that ripple beneath clouds,
that while full, black and dark
takes my mind off of crowds"

Or perhaps you'll see slivers
Fading sunlight tucked behind
Guess what? It is there for us,
There... to remind.


Our mindset is skewed
A wild toy top out of
BUT, we can pull through this
together and survive the

When you feel
it's all too much
breathe deeply
and hold-
pause one more
exhale long
and behold!

The birds are still chirping
and we are still feeling.
The world that's around us
won't always be reeling.

Tune in what you need to,
turn off what you can.
And look inside to remind you
There is always a plan.

The deep polarization
of this big painful time,
is begging us, pleading
to locate our rhythm,
to use our rhyme.

are all
here together
each weighed down
by dense cloaks

Disrobing feels uncomfortable
shedding fear cracks us open
But this is the place
we can build from...
I'm hoping?

It is no longer
them they or their
Also not I me or you
There is only US left
We all know this is true

TOGETHER is where
we have all ended up now
The place where we were
all meant to be anyhow

So into communities
and homes we must
But, hurray
Permission to just
Let it all go!

Try to adjust
to this new normal
And take in a moment
to examine a face

Freedom to notice,
to really SEE your son.
The lines on his face,
or how he can run.

Let judgment slip fast
like a silky
hair ribbon
and feel the weight
of your blankets
and the blessings
we're given

We aren't provided
much time to live
and be loud
Why not dance
and be silly,
Be awkward and

Just BE in your
body, your
healthy strong
and if you fall
ill then rest,
take time just
to nestle

We can reset
or refuse
or infuse

Create love or disdain
Garner wisdom or pain

Chances and choices
Lessons and voices

Take it one step
at time,
One moment, then the next
Feel into your feelings
when you have urges
to text




We can undo the
numbing and
the natural reactions
and counter with
bigger more adaptive

Listen to music
eat dinner with
Draw pictures
with family...
create an invention

A chance to grow
what we go through,
now that's a rare gift
Time to look through
old photos
Through memories,
just sift.

Or sleep and dream
And talk and play
Whatever you do
don't squander the

Fear wants us
captured and bound
with regret
The what ifs and
questions, and
mounting up debt.

Stay grounded
and whole,
it will all work out
in the end-
Finish a project,
Call up a friend,

Let's be brave and
stay calm
Be careful and
use smarts
And together
we will all walk
each other
back to our hearts.