The Cathedral of Your Mind

What do you build in the Cathedral
Of your mind?

Garbage in, garbage out
What are you watching
These days?

What images play in your mind?
How do you like them?

Does your spirit sense
Something’s amiss
Or is it like sleeping beauty

Waiting for true love’s kiss

Do you feel like you were
Made for something more
Than just another day
Of going through the motions

Which parts of yourself
Do you sell
So you can runaway

Have you considered
That you don’t need
Anyone else

To own your own reality?

Have you realized
That it’s okay to love

Yourself well enough

To let go and ask Jesus for what you want?

Not what you think you should?

Now,

What will you build in the Cathedral of Your Mind?

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Jesus said “Unless you turn to God from your sins and become as little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven. Therefore anyone who humbles himself as this little child, is the greatest in the Kindom of Heaven. And any of you who welcomes a little child like this because you are mine, is welcoming me and caring for me.” Matthew 18:3-5

For years as a Christian I couldn’t pray truly honest prayers.

I thought I was being honest, but so many emotions were buried deep within me that I couldn’t access them and articulate them in my prayers to Jesus. A deep sense of shame and unworthiness kept me from accessing my true feelings like fear, happiness, sadness, anger, surprise and disgust that were hidden under a general sense of ‘stress and defectiveness.’

As a result, my prayers to Jesus felt wooden, empty and rote. I felt like I was going through the motions and it felt like a wall was growing between us.

As I have learned to draw near and depend fully on Jesus through this time of testing, I have learned to let go and live as a child, to get in touch with my true emotions and to accept myself unconditionally as a beloved child of my my Heavenly Father.

This means trusting that He is working all things out for me even if I don’t understand how. This means having the peace that passes all understanding even if there is a long-list of things to get done, trusting that I’ll come to each of those items as the Holy Spirit enables and empowers me. I get those things done from a spirit of rest rather than that of worry and anxiety.

This also means not depending on the approval, opinion or validation of others for a sense of internal peace and security, because all I need is God’s approval, and I already have it.

This also means listening to Him and writing down the things He’s saying to me, and also taking steps of faith to do the things He’s asking me to do day by day, even though some of these things may seem difficult and daunting to do.

I do not have a lot of courage or confidence in myself.

I never have, but with the assurance that I can come to Christ as I am, with all of my foibles and peccadillos and be completely accepted and loved, fully as I am, not as I think I OUGHT TO BE, I can find the courage to keep moving forward with honesty and integrity in spite of all the challenges and opposition I face.

In addition to this, I am encouraged to pray boldly for myself, as well as those God has put in my life.

Praise be to God for allowing me to pray freely and live in the fullness of faith!

I do not pray because God is going to necessarily do everything I pray for, but I pray because I know God’s heart is good and He has put it on my heart to pray for myself and others and, as a result I can live in simple obedience to His call on my life. There is so much joy that comes from being able to pray honestly and boldly while releasing the outcome to God’s sovereign will.

In the book of Hebrews, it is boldly stated, “Let us go right into the presence of God with sincere hearts fully trusting him. For our guilty consciences have been sprinkled with Christ’s blood to make us clean, and our bodies have been washed with pure water. Hebrews 10:22”

We can approach God in our prayers like little children asking honestly for the things we want. We can also tell him how we really feel about things, like if we feel hatred for someone or wish someone were dead – all these are things that David the Psalmist earnestly and openly shared with God without any shame.

Jesus meets us where we are at and wants the real us, not the ‘good’ (read ‘contrived’) us. Trust God to be big enough to handle you in all your shades and trust Him to bring you to repentance and right-mindedness even as you pour our your heart to Him. So come boldly and ASK.

Ask, Seek, Knock

Ask and it will be given to you; 

Seek and you will find;

Knock and the door will be opened to you. 

For everyone who asks receives; the one who seeks finds; and to the one who knocks, the door will be opened.

“Which of you, if your son asks for bread, will give him a stone? 10 Or if he asks for a fish, will give him a snake? 11 If you, then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give good gifts to those who ask him! 

Matthew 7:7-11

I love the Lord because he hears my prayers and answers them. Because he bends down and listens, I will pray as long as I breathe.

Psalm 116: 1-2

Rambutans

Why can’t I let go
Of this memory
The one that I never had
With you?

The one where
We’re sitting at the canal
Looking at the water
Together

Peeling rambutans

Biting into the soft white flesh
Me masterfully pulling
flesh from
woody skin

You gazing off into the distance
Musing about
Jesse and the
Ants
He’s writing his PhD
On

And I silently wonder
How many more rambutans
We have left

The poem above captures an imagined scenario of hanging out with my sister. She talked about it one time, when I wistfully mused about how I wish I could just chill and eat rambutans by the Sunset Way Canal. (See picture above)

She said “Sure, we can go do that, why not?” I felt heartened by her easy carefree way of talking about hanging out. A big part of me wanted to spend time chilling by the canal with her, but in the end, it never happened.

Why not?

Because I rarely had anything meaningful to say to her; most of the time she would dominate the conversation and talk endlessly at me about some guy or another that she was dating. It would get really boring after a while.

Don’t get me wrong, I don’t have problems listening to my girlfriends tell me about guys they are dating or interested in, however, I draw the line at 1 hour sessions hearing an endless litany of musings about her current crush, about what he does and this and that.

It’s really boring.

I wonder if it’s because I just wish she would tell me instead what she’s doing. What was she doing apart from hanging out with these guys that she gets so fascinated by and who are just stringing her along and wasting her precious time? Is she doing anything with her own life to attend to her own emotional, spiritual and mental growth?

Also I wished she would actually be interested in me for once. And listen to me without judging me and talking down to me about the things I was doing, saying or thinking. I always came away from our conversations together feeling shit and completely misunderstood.

I never said anything explicit about our relationship in the past because I did not want to cause her offense. But upon writing the poem and having had some time to think about it and what it means, I realize that I wrote it to capture the dynamic in our relationship which was always marked by an abject lack of psychological, emotional and mental connection.

All of this stymied our relationship and led to dead-ends in our conversations. When I tried to tell her honestly how I felt, she would inevitably turn on me and criticize me, saying that I was too harsh or that I did not listen well, or that I had some serious anger problem.

I used to feel really bad about it. There were times things she said would make me feel like ending my life.

I used to think if only I tried harder to be kinder, nicer and more patient, or that if I were more self-aware and tried to sift out the truth of what she said, that we would have a good relationship, but now I realize that somethings just aren’t your fault.

There are some things you are never meant to carry – it’s not your responsibility. Good relationships require mutual respect, understanding and reciprocity; emotional intimacy involves holding space for each other.

She never once held space for me.

I have finally learnt to let go of a relationship that was never good for me.

I have developed what you might call ‘self-respect’.

Below is another poem I wrote about my sister which captures some of the nuances in our relationship.

MY SISTER LOVED ME

My sister loved me
But she broke me
In so many ways
So many splinters in my soul
So many fractures
That never healed whole

Did she know?

And what if she did?

Was the pain she held
Too much to contain?

Did it have to spill over
Messing everything up
Like that?

The seeping spread
The septic wound
The sopping rag
Couldn’t stanch the flow

Of life
She drew out from me
With her harpooned words

I was beached
Like a whale on sand

Gasping for air
Each ragged breath
Drawing sharp
Stabs of pain

The pain that
Tore through
Her soul
A cancer that
Threatened to consume
mine

But I have released her

And

Today,

I’ve found my way back
Into the water

I’ve found my way back
Home

Lone Tree

A solitary silhouette
You stand,
Against the stark backdrop
Of azure blue
And feathery white clouds

What makes you prevail
In this sun-scorched earth
Inhabited by thorn
And thistle?

All by yourself, you grow

What desires have you housed
In your tent
Other than the thirst for life?

Each rare instance that rain falls,
You receive as a kiss of grace
Quenching your thirst
With a vision of heaven

Every branch and woody sinew
Turned towards the light

Watered by a quiet stream
We cannot see
All through the year

Blessed is the man that walketh not in the counsel of the ungodly, nor standeth in the way of sinners, nor sitteth in the seat of the scornful.

But his delight is in the law of the Lord; and in his law doth he meditate day and night.

And he shall be like a tree planted by the rivers of water, that bringeth forth his fruit in his season; his leaf also shall not wither; and whatsoever he doeth shall prosper.

The ungodly are not so: but are like the chaff which the wind driveth away.

Therefore the ungodly shall not stand in the judgment, nor sinners in the congregation of the righteous.

For the Lord knoweth the way of the righteous: but the way of the ungodly shall perish.

Epitaph

As if life wasn’t hard enough
You and I danced a beautiful
Dance of dysfunction

As I look back
There were all these signs
But why did I ignore them?

Was it because I was
Drawn to the fire
As a moth is drawn to
The flame?

You told me life was precious
But you didn’t know
Just how precious it was
Until you walked out on me

You sang a song of freedom
But there is no
Freedom without surrender

I’m tired of running from the pain
My love
So I’m letting you go

The story you wanted to
Write of a nuclear family
Tight and close knit
Constricts my soul,
Like a vice around my neck

Because that’s not what I was designed
For
I fought so hard for us
But now it’s ashes in the dust

Hot coals in the fire
The forgers fire
Is calling out to me

I must surrender to His call
And you must reckon with
Your creator

Broken eyes
Broken heart
Broken soul

I’ll see you again on the
Other side

16 “See, it is I who created the blacksmith
    who fans the coals into flame
    and forges a weapon fit for its work.
And it is I who have created the destroyer to wreak havoc;
17     no weapon forged against you will prevail,
    and you will refute every tongue that accuses you.
This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord,
    and this is their vindication from me,”
declares the Lord.

Isaiah 54: 16-17

Facets

How many lives can you lead
How many languages can you speak
How many worlds can you live in
How many stories can you tell

If you live in a shell

How many times can you
Keep learning the same lesson?

I would rest easy if
I knew you were mine to keep

But you’re a child
Of the universe
Free and unfettered

By rules and stifling conventions
You scale walls, stomach bulging
in tacky plastic armour
You write notes with uneven scrawl

You flex in the mirror
Congratulate yourself
Looking sideways to see if I approve

Your noisy aggression
Was a foil to your soft underbelly
It was unsettling, intriguing
I had to find out more

So you are the one
I chose to burn
The river I drowned in

I awoke, found myself sitting safe
Drinking peppermint tea
While thinking about you –
A distant memory
In my soul

Everything

Everything I am
You see it all
There’s nothing
I can hide

Nowhere I can go
Which you
Do not already know

Everything I think
You see it all
Even at my worst
You love me still

How great is your love
So deep I cannot fathom

Even when I fail
Even when I feel far from you
You are here with me
You draw near to me

You never stop knocking
You never stop seeking
You never stop asking

Your love for me
Knows no bounds
You love for me
Is deeper than I
Can ever know or understand

Your love for me
Exceeds all expectations
Your love for me
Is deep, real and
True

How I long for you
How I love you
How I need you
And adore you

This is actually a piece I wrote planning to turn into a song.

I have not put any music to it yet, but I wrote this when it struck me how there is absolutely nothing I can hide from Jesus.

He sees all of my thoughts, feelings and actions and loves me, absolutely, completely. He embraces me and sings over me.

He knows things about me that I do not even know myself. That is the deep mystery of His love for me, He knows me better than I know even myself.

I am His beloved, His creation and I am created for Him, and Him alone.

25 To you, O Lord, I lift my soul.
I trust you, O my God.
Do not let me be put to shame.
Do not let my enemies triumph over me.
No one who waits for you will ever be put to shame,
but all who are unfaithful will be put to shame.
Make your ways known to me, O Lord,
and teach me your paths.
Lead me in your truth and teach me
because you are God, my savior.
I wait all day long for you.
Remember, O Lord, your compassionate and merciful deeds.
They have existed from eternity.
Do not remember the sins of my youth or my rebellious ways.
Remember me, O Lord, in keeping with your mercy and your goodness.

The Lord is good and decent.
That is why he teaches sinners the way they should live.
He leads humble people to do what is right,
and he teaches them his way.
10 Every path of the Lord is ⌞one of⌟ mercy and truth
for those who cling to his promise [a] and written instructions.

11 For the sake of your name, O Lord,
remove my guilt, because it is great.
12 Who, then, is this person that fears the Lord?
He is the one whom the Lord will teach which path to choose.
13 He will enjoy good things in life,
and his descendants will inherit the land.
14 The Lord advises those who fear him.
He reveals to them the intent of his promise.

15 My eyes are always on the Lord.
He removes my feet from traps.
16 Turn to me, and have pity on me.
I am lonely and oppressed.
17 Relieve my troubled heart,
and bring me out of my distress.
18 Look at my misery and suffering,
and forgive all my sins.
19 See how my enemies have increased in number,
how they have hated me with vicious hatred!
20 Protect my life, and rescue me!
Do not let me be put to shame.
I have taken refuge in you.
21 Integrity and honesty will protect me because I wait for you.
22 Rescue Israel, O God, from all its troubles!

How Do I Let Go?

How do I let go
Of someone that was never there
A person that was not real
A concept
I fell in love with

And did 10 years
Of my life with?

Flesh and blood
Dust specks all around
He sat in front
Of the computer screen

He was mine
Mine to hold
Mine to love
Mine to touch

I was his
His to use
His to plunder
His to control

I learned from him
And grew stronger

I broke free
One day,

When he broke me

But letting go …

How do you
Let go
Of
Someone
Who

Was
Never
There

Listen

I rediscovered recently on an older blog of mine that I had forgotten about.

My entries in that blog really spoke to me and reminded me of the person I am deep inside, someone that went into hiding for a long time.

I wonder if in the process of being married and building a life with my ex-husband, where I felt compelled to focus so much on externalities, I forgot who I really was.

I wrote this poem in 2012. It’s called “Listen.”

Listen,
To the internal clicks and sighs
The silent telling of whys

Follow,
Those signs
The little longings
That beckon you to quiet

Watch,
The moments transform
As you allow those
Voices to die

Laugh,
From the belly
As you awaken
From sleep to rest

And Thank,
Your lucky stars above
As you quicken
to who you are

Home

When old memories, creep up
On you like that
And when dust filters
Through the light
And the past is
Captured.
In a tiny capsule

It follows you back
Into the still repose
Of sudden silences
And the dogs barking
The hours drawn out
Against the day, washed-out
Like an overexposed Polaroid

The taste feeds back into
The heart;
Into an eternal place that
The years passing
Cannot touch

And the days are drawn over; a
Papery wrapping; tightly spun
Around
That unchanging reality
Called memory

Time has flown by
And we’ve gone
Our separate ways,
Scattered and dispersed
Along the lines
We have walked;

Lost in the distant places
We’ve dreamed of,
We’ve wandered far and wide with
All of our fragile strength

We’ve been broken and torn
In the sinewy fibers
Of the heart,
Worn to the bone
In the porcelain
Quality
Of our frames

But we’ve been glued back,
Healed
And then secreted away
Into the treasure trove
… of a tree-trunk.

A child’s hideaway- hearts delight
Mended, like broken toys,
Which will come out
To play again,
Tonight

Scorpio Revisits The Mirror

Boxed in a living, brooding black
Hot, crackling fury enraged in the vacuum
I crave, I thirst,
I am on my knees

but

Your words break me
like
shattered glass
and the screaming hammer
against the door

A child, blithely
Bouncing, up and down
Up and down
on the mattress.
Even as the world
Crumbles and implodes in the universe of
Her heart

and

The door is marked
With the deep round imprints of unmitigated
Rage.

Give me space not
Broken nights harnessed
By the gnawing, nameless
Certainty that

Tomorrow,

I’ll see the image
Of your back
Walking out on us again

Brother, when you read the news
At the dining table, sunlight filters
Thru’ my mind

You sit quietly,
Unperturbed, in silent enjoyment
That picture fills my heart
And the noise clears my head.

I travel through the
Amazon,
a myriad maze,
My jungle book.

Those yells,
Those lusty, knowing voices that
Insist, persist on telling me
With such intense glee

“You’re Wrong
That’s your name
You’re Wrong
You’re Wrong

Wash the dishes
Clean the house
Scrub up, work hard,

Smile

Even harder,
Slam down the competition
With your grades,
if you can…

Shut your mouth
Be good… and maybe
Just maybe
Things will get better

But only
if you can
Learn how to be good,

This house of cards
Will stand maybe
If you shaped up
you sick,
fuck up,
you little piece of..”

ARE SILENCED

I stumble out
onto a vast green field

Blinded by sudden sun,
assaulted by
A fistful of daffodils
dappling the green, green grass.

I breathe in deep,
I pluck one out
And kiss its face
Something that feels like
Sheer relief
rushes in

With reservoirs of tears,
To quench the numbing ache.