The Wind

Where does the wind go when we’re gone?

twisting through the trees

winding through the fenceposts

where does it go when we leave?

the years will carry these leaves

far, far away from here

the gravel under our feet just a memory.

where does the wind go?

 

a few moons

many winds

many nights

many stars

only whispers

 

-mh

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Tunnels

i’ve lived 4 lives in 2 years.

streaks of light tunnels racing

scenery like a film reel flashing

skipping scenes

you told me you didn’t love me

i drank whiskey, dark, forgotten words

 

and then there was laughter

skipping down an empty sidewalk,

and a midnight moon

can we stay here forever?

i don’t want to forget

 

does forever exist?

no

 

vibrating

shaking

swelling

 

it’s getting so loud

and we’re moving so fast

(too fast?)

all of a sudden the deafening roar

The lights snap, bursting white sparks into black

Silenced

Dark, vast… where?

 

The end of the tracks

cut the noise like a sliver

This is where 4 lives end

And one begins

 

I can still hear their voices.

-mh

Tail Lights

Central Park
It is strange when you can see the ends of things so clearly.
The dust, the fray, the edges of things –

where it all ends.

the walk away – one last time down the hall you knew so well

never to be walked that very same way again.

It was strange to see the turn of the corner.

To watch you disappear into the dark

knowing that was the day you walked out of my life forever.

This is the intersection.

Hang a left, I’ll make a right

 

And I won’t look back

but you know

you know

while you were here

it was good, it was good

it was so, so good

it was so good to see you smile.

 

Strength

She loved him with a madness

With a fury that could tear the mountains apart

If anything I knew she loved him, more than her body knew how, more than the earth could fathom.

And when the stars tore them from each other she loved him still – so madly, so perhaps wrongly, but so passionately the winds couldn’t understand it, the desert couldn’t see the purity of her devotion for this man

But if I know one thing

I know I will always admire the depth with which she loved him, the blind all she gave, everything she had.

But more than this, what I admire most was that when he tore heart apart, she stood back up and loved herself more passionately than ever before.

New York: The Lover You’ll Never Forget 

DUMBO NY Waterfront
My article, as originally published on The Elite Daily. Uncut & unedited – the B side.

______________________________________________________________________________

I’ve been wanting to tell this story for a while now. Mostly it’s a love story, but it wasn’t always that way. It’s actually a story that started out with a decision that I thought would be one of the biggest mistakes of my life.

When I first touched down in New York City, it was a warm summer night and I went straight to a bar. It was a very New York thing to do, so I thought, and I was your typical west coast girl who’d decided to uproot myself to start a new life in the big city. I was bored. I needed some excitement and I had concluded that the best way to do this was to purposefully inject it into my life. I quit my job, gave notice at my apartment, packed my bags and left for – you guessed it – Manhattan. Little did I know, I was about to embark upon one of the most tumultuous relationships of my life. I was about to embark upon a relationship with New York.

The bar wasn’t anything special. It was a hotel bar. It had high ceilings, chandeliers and comfy chairs. It was, in my opinion, very New York and it kept me from seeing the reality of the city I was about to encounter. When I walked out of the comfort of the bar, I was immediately greeted by the sounds of angry honking, of blaring sirens and of traffic. People were rushing around in the streets like they really had somewhere to be.

I’d imagined leisurely strolls through the West Village and lazy afternoon coffee breaks at 4pm – no. I quickly discovered I had to be light on my feet to survive these city streets. New Yorkers have a way of walking that is unlike the way people walk anywhere else. They walk with a dogged determination – unwavering, laser-focused conviction and they threaten to knock anyone over who dares walk in their paths. You see, walking in New York isn’t walking – it’s bowling for people. And in this bowling match, you’re either a ball or you’re a pin.

I absolutely hated Manhattan. I hated the buildings, I hated the noise, and I hated the fact that everyone rushed around the city as if they were late to see the president. I hated that the people who were trying to make the 12:08 train would knock you over just so that they wouldn’t have to wait an extra minute for the 12:09. The intensity of the city compared to the relative peacefulness of San Francisco was almost too much for me to bear. As I lay down on my sister’s couch to sleep one night, the not so familiar scent of cigarette smoke wafted through the windows next to the fire escape. A siren blared off in the distance. I remember lying awake that night wondering if I’d made a huge mistake.

I really missed the stars. I missed the mountains. I missed the fresh Presidio forest air that would stream into my window at night. I found myself waking up every single day struggling to keep myself afloat with optimism. Hating New York became one of my favorite sports. I joked with friends in California about living in an overpriced rat hole. I joked about the trash on the sidewalks. I joked about how it cost $18 to purchase a cocktail, when in California you could get one for $8. I remember lamenting the fact that New Yorkers seemed to take so much pride in what to me was a sub-par city. I hated New York for 6 months straight.

What I didn’t realize was that New York is a gift. It’s a gift wrapped in deceptive clothing. It is nothing like you thought it would be, and it gives you things you would never have even thought to ask for. When you receive those gifts, you realize that your life would never have been able to reach its fullest potential without them. You feel more than you have ever felt. You know more than you have ever known. You realize exactly who you are. You understand exactly who you’re not. You’ve seen real pain, you’ve seen real joy, and you know that one cannot exist without the other.

Suddenly, something clicks. And it’s not the drinks that you’ve shared with the strangers that you’ve turned into friends. It’s not the amazing little coffee-shop/bar you found at 2am. It’s not those impromptu nighttime walks across the Brooklyn Bridge towards Manhattan. Maybe it is in part – but what it’s really about is the realization that New York is life itself – magnified and in extreme concentrate: flawed, imperfect, intense and incredibly beautiful and horrible at the same time. And in an environment of such intensity, you are pushed to your limits and you learn more about yourself and life than you ever thought possible.

Here’s to the things you’ll never forget.

The People

This is more of a love story. The first thing I noticed about New York was the people, and it has quickly become one of my favorite things about New York. I’d come from California – land of the “Hey, how’s it going,” “good, how are you,” “can you believe how gorgeous today is,” and the “let’s hang out someday (never).” I came to New York expecting rudeness, callousness and an overall disregard for others. What I experienced was the opposite. New Yorkers are some of the kindest, most helpful human beings I have ever encountered. You don’t get many congenial smiles from strangers while you’re walking down the street, but what you do get are the most inspiring acts of kindness.

Here, people open doors, carry your suitcases up flights of subway stairs and carry your groceries into your apartment all without expecting anything in return. Many times, they do these things for you without even a backwards glance. They just help. In California, people will smile at you all day long and tell you things you want to hear – but they’ll never go out of their way to help you in a way that inconveniences them.

In New York, I have encountered the most interesting people I have ever met. Musicians. Actresses. Yoga teachers. Burlesque dancers. Entrepreneurs. Artists. Scientists. Writers. There are very few people I have met who have not been passionate about something. The city has a way of weeding out those who don’t have some sort of dream. This is a city of people who feel…and as tormented as some of them might be, they all have fascinating stories.

I love the passion and energy this city inspires. I love that this city brings out the absolute worst and the absolute best in people – sides of people you might never see in any other city. But when you see the most wonderful sides of people, they are the most memorable things you will ever experience. There are so many beautiful souls in New York that it’s paralyzing just to think about all of the incredible people you might not yet have had a chance to meet.

Some of these people will leave your life as quickly as they entered it. Whirlwinds. You will experience some of the deepest relationships of your life – and these people will bless you with their presence, their love and their lives – and then they will disappear. You learn very quickly in New York to appreciate what you have when you have it, because people move in and out of your story at light speed. You’ll also learn that some of the people who make only brief appearances in your story leave the deepest marks.

The Stories

New York is a place of people and of crowds, and it is a place of stories. Every person you push past in the subway has a story, and all of the stories compound when you realize that everyone in the city has a story in which they are the main player. In a place as dense as New York, you encounter masses of people all in the midst of their own stories and you overhear dozens of conversations every day.

You see these people in every state – poverty, wealth, sickness, health – and you see them in every ethnicity, every size and every walk of life. Here, you are filled with the overwhelming feeling of being of the same human race. You begin to recognize the shared experience of suffering, of loneliness, of loss, of love, of connection, of desire, of want. You find that we are all a lot more similar than we realize.

The Music

New York is loud, alive, and filled with music. At 9am in Penn Station on your way to work, you are roused by loud Caribbean music playing live on the platform. 34th street is a party, and people are dancing. You notice a man playing the violin on the corner of the street at 96th when you’re on your way home from work, and you smile and drop a dollar in the bucket he has next to his case. One night at 2:30am when you’re least expecting it, you’ll stop dead in your tracks on your way up the stairs in the subway as a lone guitar player fills the station with rich, deep sound. And as his voice travels through the station and you make your way into the night, you’ll think to yourself, “This is why I love New York.” And it’s in these moments that you fall in love.

The Feelings

When you have bad days in New York, they are really, really awful. I’ve never cried harder than I have in this city. When you have great days, you feel like you’re on top of the world. You feel invincible. There is no in between. But you learn in New York that no day is exactly the same, and that as each day passes, a new one comes. One terrible day does not mean another one. In fact, a very bad day is usually followed by a very good day. You learn that stars shine the brightest against the darkest night skies.

The Life

You’ll never forget the life overflowing in this city – the swirling, rushing, spilling, unstoppable life. Life here moves forward at a relentless pace, and it vibrates with color and energy. Here, you can feel its force beating like a pulse. You feel the pulse so hard sometimes that it drowns out everything else. There are moments where it’s hard to believe that life exists outside of the city – and yet it does, in all its different shapes and colors and forms. But life outside of this city will never feel the same. And the colors of life in this city are colors so vibrant that they can never be replaced and are often the hardest to forget.

The Relationship

Here is the funny thing about New York. It has an odd way of turning the very things you hate about it into the things you love. New York is the urban embodiment of a whirlwind toxic romance that leaves you reeling. It is the lover who drives you mad. It throws you into pits of despair and then it lifts you to euphoric heights. If ever you thought you’d reached complacency, rest assured – New York makes you feel feelings you never thought possible. You will cry in this city, you will hate in this city, and you’ll be thrown to your lowest lows only to be returned to your highest highs.

You will complain about the noise – you will complain about the heat – you will complain about the crowds and you will complain about the stench – but when you leave, you will feel the absence of the clamor and the chaos so intensely that you will miss it more than you’ve ever missed anything else.

Compared to New York, everything else feels silent. You can’t help but wonder sometimes if you truly miss the commotion or if it’s simply an unhealthy addiction formed out of habit. At one point or another, each person who comes to New York makes the decision to either to leave the city or to settle down indefinitely. Many end up leaving. Only a very specific type of person can last a lifetime in the high intensity, polarizing environment it creates.

But whether your relationship with New York is short or long, one thing remains true – you cannot be unaffected. You don’t have a relationship with New York and forget it – you remember it for the rest of your life.

As F. Scott Fitzgerald once said:

 “There are all kinds of love in this world, but never the same love twice.”

New York leaves a mark in your heart forever. It is the lover who teaches us what we want, what we don’t want, and that the incredible beauty of life is found not in our surroundings or in what happens to us, but in what we choose to see.

When you fall in love with New York, you realize quickly that it’s not New York you’ve fallen in love with – you’ve fallen in love with life.

Static

Enlight1

I see you on trains, in subway stations. you glance at me and you smile –

Like we share some sort of secret.

Light shadows race past me and everything else goes still and silent,

Static.

You flicker like a television screen.

And as you turn away the pieces of you begin to fade
They get carried away with each passing train.

we are gathering speed

the clock strikes midnight and the particles of my heart stream out of me like electrons gathered in your current.

I can still see your smile in the back of my mind
It’s burned into me like smoke

I know your face because I’ve loved it for so long.

And as the last train out pulls away from the station

I’m leaving pieces of me all over the city.

Gray

i see you in smoke rafters the beams, the cigarette butts falling between the grates

i see you in the stillness of candles, the slow burn, the flickering of desire

i see you in music and every time i pick up my dusty guitar the ashes fall off and you linger in the shine

i see you standing there.

i see our breakdown, i hear you say “you just told me you didn’t love me” i hear the break in your voice

i feel it die in my chest

you sit hunched over in that familiar position with your boots on, staring at the floor

i see flowers i see ashes i see the light that once was, the sun how it shone when i heard your voice

i see you in street corners. alleyways. the fleeting glance of a stranger rushing by

i see gray. the dull pain, the end.

 

Holding Your Place

In retrospect it all seemed glossier

Rose faded colored glasses and the tint of sienna haze that formed whenever you said goodbye –

The glow in your warm center and your laughter

your laughter

Holding hands walking up the dark stairwell the petals

trailed behind us and blew away with the wind

They got swept up in the whirlwind and disappeared into the sunlight.

I could see those little specks of light trickling through the dusty corridor whenever I came home,

And the dust would form a shape just like you used to

They were holding your place.

The Warm Hours

  When the warm hours rust over and slowly turn to the steely sounds of rushing and of cold and water droplets leaking from dusty pipes
I will remember the nights we sat on my old apartment floor reminiscing and pressing our toes together to show that we understood.
I will remember the beach and the way that sand carried through the wind and how your laughter echoed across the paths of gulls as she ran out to play.
I will think upon those days of light footed exploration where foggy ponds became magical landscapes
Where we ran through the docks head on into our futures.
I will remember the way you laughed as you skipped gingerly across those mossy rocks. You always had a way of making everything worthy of a smile.
And I will remember all the nights you called me and told me, “Honey, everything will be alright.”
– It will be alright
just so long as you will always be my happy conversation
The one who forgets to put the chicken in the freezer
But that has never stopped me from loving you –
– it never has-
It has only ever made me love you more.

12 Things to Remember After a Breakup

Breakups are hard. That’s probably the understatement of the century. A breakup can leave you reeling – feeling unbalanced, emotionally raw and unstable, unmotivated and generally very lacking in the self esteem department. As someone who has gone through a major breakup of a long term relationship, there are a few lessons I’ve learned that have comforted, motivated and inspired me. Thought I would share.

1. You can only love another person as much as you love yourself. 

“The fact that someone else loves you doesn’t rescue you from the project of loving yourself.” – Sahaj Kohli.

When we’re in relationships, we often use other people as crutches to make up for the weaknesses that we see in ourselves. What we need to realize is that we need to learn to love ourselves first in order to properly love others. After all, it’s impossible to love another in a way beyond the way in which you love yourself. Self-love represents the highest form of love you have to offer – so if you don’t love yourself, you aren’t going to be able to fully love someone else. Focus on building yourself up again and giving yourself the love and validation you’re craving. Take yourself out on dates and spoil yourself a little!

2. You attract what you are.

“My primary relationship is with myself- all others are mirrors of it. As I learn to love myself, I automatically receive the love and appreciation that I desire from others. If I am committed to myself and to living my truth, I will attract others with equal commitment. My willingness to be intimate with my own deep feelings creates the space for intimacy with another. As I learn to love myself, I receive the love I desire from others.” – Shakti Gawain

It’s funny how life works sometimes. After a major breakup, I completely threw myself into the things that I loved. I wrote feverishly, played the piano into the wee small hours of the night and began to really nurture my love of the outdoors. When I began dating again, I met another writer, another musician and another lover of nature. None of this was planned – these were all coincidences and things I learned after getting to know each person. When you know who you are, you begin to attract what you are. It’s important to find who you are, to nurture that and to love yourself for it. When you are doing what you love, you will naturally attract and find similar minds who will love you for exactly who you are.

3. You can only forgive others if you learn to forgive yourself first.

Forgive yourself for the mistakes you’ve made, and recognize that you’re human. Humans make mistakes, and that’s perfectly alright. When you cannot forgive yourself, you’ll find that it’s even harder to find it in yourself to forgive others. Once you learn to forgive yourself, you’ll be able to see the humanity in others as well and let go of things with ease and grace. Holding onto resentment only hurts you more in the long run. Life is short. Forgive quickly, love deeply and focus on happiness.

4. Positive energy attracts positive energy. Negative energy attracts and perpetuates negative energy.

Have you ever noticed the fact that when you’re having a bad day, your day just seems to get worse and worse? In the same vein, when you wake up in a great mood, almost everything seems to go your way. They say that when it rains, it pours, and there’s a reason for that. The energy you put out into the world will be returned to you. Make sure that the energy you’re putting out there is positive, and you’ll see that the positive things in your life will begin to multiply.

5. When your problems seem too big, expand your world. 

This is something I learned from my dad. Your problems will seem a whole lot bigger when the world in which you operate is small. When you’ve got a lot going on in your life and when you have many things to focus on, your problems will automatically become smaller in proportion to your universe. This is something we experience when we stargaze, venture out in nature, travel, or learn more about the world around us. When you realize that there is a great big world out there that is living, breathing and humming with energy, you’ll begin to appreciate the miracle that is life and this beautiful world around us. The next time you’re feeling overwhelmed, step outside and expand your boundaries. Go somewhere you’ve never been, do something you’ve never done, and try something that scares you. Anything that makes you feel small (in a good way) will make your problems seem smaller as well. Don’t forget to laugh. Life doesn’t always have to be serious, and it’s definitely not a test. Remember – none of us make it out alive anyway.😉

6. Trust the process. Trust the universe. 

A lot of us are so focused on control. We try to control the outcomes of our relationships, the outcomes of our days, the outcomes of our careers and ultimately the outcomes of our lives. What we don’t realize is that everything – literally everything – is outside of our control. Bad things happen to good people sometimes, no matter how hard we try to prevent it. Sometimes it is our very resistance to what is actually happening that prevents us from moving in the right direction. Learn to be fluid and flexible, moving with life as it changes shape and brings us to new places. Trying to force things that aren’t meant to be is discordant in nature, and will create discord in your life as well. Move with life and know that if something is yours to keep, it will be yours in the end. Focus on fluidity, loving yourself, and being a positive ray of light in your own and in other peoples’ lives.

7. Nothing is good or bad. Just alive. 

As humans, we tend to place a value and judgement on everything. This is good – this is bad, this is right and this is wrong. The world we live in is not perfect. Unfortunately, we don’t have a users manual – and no one can tell you the right way to live your life. Sometimes you’ll do the “right” things, and sometimes you’ll do the “wrong” things. Try to take the value and judgement out of your life experiences, and recognize that you’re just a human being – being alive.

8. You must love and accept yourself unconditionally – just the way you are, right now in this moment. 

“You yourself, as much as anybody in the entire universe, deserve your love and affection.” – Buddha

Being focused on self-awareness and self-improvement is a good thing, but you also need to learn to accept that you will always be a work in progress. There isn’t a destination that needs to be reached – you are perfect just as you are, right now, in this very moment. Being a work in progress is a very positive thing. You will always be changing – so love and accept yourself exactly as you are and embrace yourself in your perfect imperfection. Be kind to yourself, and allow yourself to make mistakes.

9. Nothing is yours to keep. Enjoy what you are given. 

Nothing is permanent – not even life. Our expectation that certain things in life must have permanence causes us pain. We are just here, passing through and enjoying the beauty that is given to us. So let go of attachment, let go gracefully of what is not yours to keep, and give love freely and unconditionally. Enjoy what you are given and embrace simply what is – and not what is past, what is in the future, or what could be. And when you enjoy what is, you will start to realize that what is becomes all you’ve ever needed. There is something so beautiful about that.

10. Never let your happiness depend on something you may lose. 

Everything in life that is given to you can be lost. The only thing that you’ll always have is yourself. Focus on letting your happiness come from within. Find ways to make yourself happy, and do things that make you feel good about yourself. Make sure that you are providing yourself the happiness you need – because in the end, you really are all you’ve got.

11. Live with intent and practice radical self-love.

It’s easy to go on autopilot and to let life pass you by. Focus on becoming alive and staying close to things that make you excited to be alive. What are the things you’ve always wanted to do? What are the things you’ve always wanted to try? Life is so, so short. Collect experiences and memories – focus on that – and love both yourself and others as best as you can along the way.

12. Let yourself be weak.

Feelings are just visitors. Let them come and go.” – Mooji

Realize that it’s okay to cry, that it’s okay to feel lonely, and that it’s okay to not feel strong all the time. Being strong all the time can be exhausting. Part of being strong is also allowing yourself to be weak and to feel everything that you’re feeling. Relax knowing that it’s perfectly alright and that you’re doing the best that you can. One day at a time. 🙂