It’s hard being an island

when there are so many

islands in this world–

We find the grey mass

keeping us down,

buried in opaque

sand and dirt

then mud

that white, white mud

that covers us–

We have longed to be free

to reach the sky

to see a world

finally normal

finally at peace

but it isn’t,

and life is a young shadow

chasing after us–

All we ask for is a key

to a door

when all we’ve wanted

is the golden key

to the golden door

beneath our tides–

But we are locked

behind answers

as they follow us

to our graves

at the bottom of the sea

with bubbles of thoughts

hopes and desires

left unsaid

in the quiet dreams

of our starry depths–

Nothing is more treasured

than the present

for the present

matters the most

for that is where we are at–

Meet me at the beach

before dawn

before the sun

and moon

speak their first words,

and there

I will make my trade.


Sent into the spotted clouds

white as snow, soft as breath

with a sky, it could be a sky,

periwinkle blue

the freshest of air–

This is a prism

of the sleeping

and lofty transferred

with not a soul to see,

for the rooms, if they are rooms

are empty, yet filled

with transparent doors,

but the doors and rooms

are open and broken–

I walk towards the infinite


the invisible mechanic

that never existed

for she shines now

ever so brightly,

in every direction

where fountains, streams,

and pools of water are clear,

such clarity

without gravity

where rules and boundaries

are only imagined–


I am alone there now

and no one

should want to be alone,

but I am

with discovery

as my only companion.




Uphill Weeds

There is trust in love

a cold street of desire

and one we take

minute by minute

second by second

to experience the hours,

but then it’s gone

and at the same time

it isn’t–

the street’s always been

as my steps have always been,

for the love of moss grows

and stretches over time–

I wonder

if the windows are listening

in this windowless world

and if the tallest grass

will conquer our dreams–

Maybe tomorrow will be better

but what if it isn’t?

If tomorrow isn’t better

maybe today will be better

but what if it isn’t?

We ask ourselves

the wrong questions,

we give ourselves

the wrong answers,

and while we’re busy

making maps of our lives

the street has always been

cold as it warm

and low as it is high.



A Motive of Persistence

Lately, I’ve been learning again about persistence.  I’ve been persistent in the past. However, it’s not an easy trait to learn, or in this case, relearn.  You try as hard as you can to achieve something.  You do all you can to tackle your goal to the ground.  You  like to think you are strong, but a stronger wave sends you back to your place time and time again.  You find yourself on the beach, again, covered in sand and spitting up salty water.  You spend your energy and time rushing out into the sea against the currents.  You try it again, and again.  When you least expect it, life sends you another curve ball: here comes the tsunami.

It’s true what psychologists say about conflicts and difficult situations: it’s either fight or flight.  I like to fight.  I don’t see any purpose in running away.  However… We all have those Netflix evenings of escapism.  During wars in the past, people used to go to the movies to escape their problems.  It took their minds off of the terror and terrible situations in the world.  If only there was a way to escape your troubles, you could…  Yet, we do it all the time.  We purposely don’t read certain books, because they remind us of painful circumstances that hang over our lives like ghosts that haunt us.

One day, I finally realized what makes persistence easy and what makes it difficult.  Persistence is difficult when it is primarily selfish.  I find that when we make goals that will only benefit ourselves, it’s harder to achieve them.  It’s probably because they’re so vain and pointless.  Self-serving is fine, for a while, maybe even a few days, but it is fleeting.  Selfishness just leads down a path of emptiness.  It doesn’t drive.  Survival drives us.  It always has.  When it comes to selfishness, our determination falls behind.  I think it’s because deep down we know our motives are wrong.  They do nothing to benefit others or do anything good for this world.  In a way, we feel useless.  What’s the point battling the waves of life?

Sometimes humans have these strange needs for affirmation, praise, and acknowledgement.  But for what?  For our pride as human beings?  I think if we reach deep, beyond the surface, we’ll find our need for satisfaction and self worth.  Maybe going outside of ourselves to do things for others could fill that void in our lives.  It not only makes us stronger, but makes us want to be stronger.  It feels like there is a purpose now, one that matters.  With that in mind, persistence comes easier.  Or at least, I think it does.

Becoming Friends

There is no color

only love

Since we are born colors

into love

Blue skies and grey skies

they are all the same

The only way to end hatred

is by love

We were born a nation

one of many

Free to choose

and be happy

Free not to choose

and be strong

One to protect

and be at peace

It starts with one

and walks alone

We are always talking

but always forget

From dust we rise

to dust we lay

With only patience

for an end’s delay.

In Search of Religion

I know many people may be searching for truth or God, or something to believe in.  I think we all have this innate search for the big answers in life.  We love others or feel love from others.  In this love, we feel God–for God is love.  As a Christian, I believe in that.  I think we often put too much stock in people in order to judge whether or not a religion is true.

The Bible does talk about Christians showing the light and being the salt of the Earth.  I believe it’s true that we can be vessels and live out our testimonies.  If we have acquired the Holy Spirit, that light shines into the world.  This shows people that God is working in their lives.  Most of all, love shows people who God is.

This all works.  Then again, I’ve been on both sides.  The key thing I have learned is this:

You should not choose a religion based solely on people’s actions and behavior, but you should only choose a religion because you believe it is true.

At different points in my life, I used to discern whether or not Christianity was the true religion.  I assessed Christians in my life.  I judged the way they treated me.  When I attended churches, I looked around and studied them.  Wasn’t that the driver that cut me off in the parking lot?  Now that he’s in church, he is all the sudden loving me and shaking my hand?  I’ll admit: it’s confusing, because Christians are not always kind and loving as they should be.  That includes myself.

At some point in my life, every group of religious or non-religious person has done something unkind and unloving towards me.  I have done unkind and unloving things towards people.  This is confusing, isn’t it?  I thought that being Christian would make me a better person.  That’s not necessarily the case.  I realized my flaws are that I believe in the way of Christ, but I do not always walk in the way of Christ.  Religion, or in this case, Christianity, should transform me from within.  It should transform me because I am willing to be transformed.  I discipline myself to be more aware, more obedient and loving in all the things that I do.  Eventually, there’s success.

It is great while it lasts.  However…  Give me less than six hours of sleep and put me behind the wheel of a car, then I’ll be inwardly cursing up a storm towards the reckless drivers on the road.  I think we have all been there.  When we break the transformation process, we become discouraged.  Discouragement leads to self-deprecation, because we realize we’re not perfect.  As a result, we keep on making mistakes.  We start judging people and saying awful things, because we feel we are entitled to do that.  Pride sets in.  Selfishness takes over.  At that point, it doesn’t seem like religion is doing much at all for us.  We expect it to do all the work, because we feel it shouldn’t be up to us.  That’s foolishness, because religion expects that we walk with it.  Allowance and idleness are not the same things.  By allowing transformation, we need a change of mind, a willing heart, and actions that proceed.

We look at ourselves for answers.  We look to the world for reassurance.  What is truth?  Who is God?  What will happen when I die?  Where can I find peace?  Where can I find joy?  How can my life feel like it is going in the right direction?  …Am I on the right path?  We question and judge ourselves and all those around us.  Nothing feels certain. That’s why we need to look straight towards religion, towards the very thing that transforms our lives.

Fr. Seraphim Rose is a man who has inspired me.  In his early academic life, he was into Chinese Taoism and Asian philosophies.  He eventually converted to Orthodoxy and became a hieromonk of ROCOR (Russian Orthodox Church Outside Russia).  Fr. Rose wrote a book called God’s Revelation to the Human Heart addressing the human condition of suffering in relation to the “core of all Christian life: the conversion of the heart of man, which begins to burn with love for Christ and transforms him into a new man.”

There are two big things I took away from this book:

(1) Coming to religion isn’t about analyzing something or making a decision, but it’s about revelation: God reveals Himself to us. Even though we want to spend our lives lost and try to search out religion on our own, it doesn’t matter. God is always present and He is ready to reveal Himself to us at any moment.

(2) God reveals himself to us by the heart.  I’m sure many of us expect a cloud to open up and see God talking to us from Heaven.  Most often, that doesn’t happen to us.  Instead, in Christianity, God talks to the human heart.  He speaks to us in a real and loving way.  We just need to listen with our hearts.

If we rely primarily on people, we will be disappointed, because people will eventually fail us. As for God, God will never disappoint us.  God never fails.  He is always good, loving, and true.  If we want to search for truth, we need to open our hearts to God and let Him speak into our lives.


Keeping Life Simple

Something I’ve been learning about is keeping life simple.  It sounds easy, right?  But it’s not.  It doesn’t feel easy when you’re a complicated person like myself.  I realize the mess of a complicated life comes from all the silly rules we apply to ourselves.  We tell ourselves what we must do and the things we have to do, when in fact, we don’t really need to.  There are clear rules in life.  Don’t get me wrong.  In fact, there’s necessary things we need to do for survival, love, and beyond…  Often, our minds get cluttered.  We find ourselves feeling either too ambitious or too chaotic.  Either too desperate or too busy.  We’re all over the place. We’re complicated.

There’s no balance.

In the end, we need to gather our thoughts, concentrate, and focus.  We need to quickly prioritize the things that truly matter.  I think often we spend too much time in our own heads.  We run from one place to another.  We set impractical goals before we even try to carve out time to accomplish them.  I mean- nothing should stop us.  We should never give up being hopeful.  Hope is what keeps us going.  However, we shouldn’t allow our lives to struggle for too long.  We need a break from a complicated life.

I know, as a writer, I struggle.  I have all these big dreams of finishing and publishing novels.  The reality may be this: only a few people may actually read any of the books I write.  That’s not to discourage me or stop me from my dreams.  I can still work on them.  But, I don’t need to be obsessed.  When I finish my novels, I’ll finish them.  I’ll get to that.  I can even set a time every week to work towards that.  My problem is I spend too much time thinking about it than actually having the time to work on it.  I also have other dreams many people have: like traveling the world and accomplishing something great.  I think there’s a deep need in all of us to accomplish something great.  We want to be special, be unique, and have a great purpose in life.  There’s nothing wrong in using our gifts for the greater good and striving for success in life.  However, we can’t be blind from the most important things in life.  That’s what simplicity is all about.

I like to read up on Quakers.  There’s some Quaker beliefs I agree and disagree with.  That’s besides the point.  I just find their history and beliefs interesting.  At one time in life, I was inspired by their testimony on simplicity.  They believed that we should strive for a simple life.  Therefore, we should focus on the things that are most important and focus less on the things that are unimportant.  It’s true.  I really need to consider the things that are more important in life.  And the other things, not so much.  There’s no way I can accomplish everything I set out to do.  We live for only a short time on this planet.

There are some things that are more important than others.  Like, for example: my wife.  Spending time with her, intentional time, and making memories is more important than finishing a book.  Then again, finishing a book is more important to me than saving up money to visit Norway.  If I go to Norway with my wife, which I would, then that is obviously more important than finishing a novel.  That’s just how life works.  We only have so much time.  So, why spend it all in our heads?  Why waste time on things that are unimportant?  Let us focus.  Let us prioritize.

Keep life simple.

Below Zero

Into a myriad pool

I dive without splashing

spreading arms and wings

into the striking gaps

of neon blue

eyes that capture

like a lens of camera

the lights of white streaks

under the depths of freedom

where water is air

and the moon hangs

like palm trees

in a black dessert

where the stillness

of the world

still exists

my heart is pounding

and the nerves

fully alive

I am not sad

but awake

I am not happy

but finally complete.