Uncover the Sun


Don’t hold it in too long,
that breath
that fear

Every worried thought
that sits inside

becomes a weight
than any virus

deep belly
to diaphragm

Round it out
like a baby

and finding
her feet
for the first time

Don’t hold anything
past one full
in and exhale

and breathe
right through loss
and love again

Uncover the Sun

Past Any Season


Autumn is everything-colored

except black and white,

magenta, dark purple,

orange and red and gold,

every shade ever seen in gardens


If we were leaves

would we love each other

far past youthful green

into the fallen months

of rusty brown?


Would we remember each other

long after we lay

on mossy ground,

slowly darkening

into earth again?


Every autumn I picture you

playing in the fallen leaf piles,

throwing them sky high

and laughing

past any season


Uncover the Sun

Not Broken

I’ve heard therapists say it about their clients, friends say it about their friends, casual acquaintances mention it regarding someone who’s going through a hard time. And every time I hear, “He’s broken, she’s broken, they’re broken,” I wince. Why? Because broken is a label that dehumanizes, that treats people as if they are machines. Every time I hear this phrase, I picture a person broken down by the side of the road with others walking by glad that it’s not them. And yes, there is a patronizing quality in, “She’s broken,” as if the person saying it is better, more whole, not as prone to the dings and pains of being human.

Being “broken,” implies that we need fixing, usually by something or someone else. And we all do need help sometimes. But if you go out there and break a leg, usually the doctor puts it in a cast, recommends rest and elevation, and tells you it will heal in about six weeks. Your leg may be broken, but no one suggests that you are. We humans have this amazing innate ability to heal, given the right support, education, and encouragement.

Being broken also implies that something doesn’t work, that you don’t work, and in a capitalist society, not working is the ultimate sin. We categorize people by whether they have a “good job,” or not, usually one that pays well, rather than one that brings joy and a sense of service and purpose. People who are not working for money at all, like stay-at-home parents, are considered less powerful in this society. If your life is “not working,” if you are unable to conform, you are considered less valuable as a human being.

Labeling someone, “broken,” puts them in a category of “the other,” and it’s a lot easier to ignore, dismiss, and incarcerate “broken others.” So, no, you’re not broken. You may be going through utter hell, you may have scars from physical injury, emotional trauma, or be grieving the fate of mankind, but you’re not broken, you’re human.

Uncover the Sun



For the dead,

we swallow past

the lump in our throats


We stand up to speak

in the face of those

whose misery matches ours


We struggle for words

to share our hearts

and our loss


Birth and death dates

are inscribed in newspaper articles

or etched on stone


to become part of a story

of a life that no one

wholly knows


Most of us only meet

in the middle, missing

the birth or maybe the final moment


And every day

and some day

each person here


will have to grieve

the dead or be grieved

by the living


Year after decade

we mourn

and remember


Our rituals for the dead

become love

honoring love

Uncover the Sun

All Things


Death gives this gift,

the tender ache of knowing

we hold nothing forever


and the beauty in longing,

the exquisite grace

where you once were


opens in every new laugh in the sun,

the cherishment

of flowers and friends


Everything dissolves into tomorrow,

re-lived by memory,

loved infinitely


as all things fall to ground


Uncover the Sun



Gotta hand it to you mothers

you can clean up poop

and pee and barf and still smile

and love your kid like


like a miraculous flower

never knowing how it will bloom


You don’t feel like you’re “babysitting,”

or having to “watch the kid,”

no, no trying on a role for you

it’s the real deal

until death and even after,

that small body full

of every hope you ever had for the future


Your mothering hands soothe the heart,

your gaze sees every bit of kid,

every fault and crack line

and loves right into the abyss

and beyond,

you mothers

gotta hand it to you


Uncover the Sun

Used To


I’ve heard people say

you can get used to anything

if you wait long enough


like the hole in the place

where a mind once

thought like yours


or the bare spot

where a tree used to stand

smiling its fruit up


or the cold empty

where warmth once pulsed

between two friends


or the exciting ideas

that have fallen down

and can’t get up


I don’t know if it’s worse

to never get used to anything

that hurts


or to get used to the missing

when someone or something

no longer is

Uncover the Sun

Leaps and Boundaries

Sometimes we simply have to shore up our boundaries and say “no” to people, places, and situations that bring us pain. Though seemingly insignificant, the appropriate use of that tiny, two letter word of negation can completely change our lives. If we decline to spend time with people who harm us, or with whom we are not at all compatible, or in jobs or living situations that diminish us, then we have more energy for experiences that bring us creative inspiration and joy.

And many of us, particularly women, believe that we must constantly change ourselves rather than quitting abusive relationships or jobs, because according to current pop psychology, “everything around us is a reflection of ourselves.” (That phrase has always struck me as particularly egocentric and an example of poor boundaries.)

An awful lot of women stay in abusive relationships and jobs where they are undervalued, simply because they believe it is their responsibility to fix everything, or to work on themselves so that they can handle abuse more effectively. And ironically, for many there seems to be a schism between work and home life. Many women tolerate behavior from spouses that they would never tolerate on the job, and vice versa.

For many of us, removing ourselves from relationships, jobs, or places that don’t work for us may bring feelings of guilt and failure along with relief. We may think we should have tried harder as if relationships are a goal to be achieved, rather than an on-going process of connection between people who may have differing motivations and values. We may have tried everything we can think of to handle a job we loathe or a boss who doesn’t care, or a family member who does not respond to attempts to resolve issues.

While it is a sign of emotional maturity to ask what we may have contributed to a dysfunctional relationship or work environment, it is also mature to recognize when it is not our responsibility to fix something. Sometimes, that little word “no” can move mountains, relieve the weight of trying to fix someone else’s behavior, and lighten our life considerably. And if saying “no” seems too abrupt, phrases like,”that doesn’t work for me,” are fine too. And if we do feel guilty for having clear boundaries and taking care of ourselves, perhaps we need to think about messages we were taught about our own worth.  There is a lot of power in saying no.



Uncover The Sun

Self Worth

How much is your self worth anyway? Is it a measure of how much money you make, or how successful or useful you are, or how much others appreciate you? Is it dependent upon your level of physical fitness, health, or beauty? Is it based on your expertise, your service, your sense of humor, your optimism? The problem with self-worth being directed by external experience is there will always be differing opinions as to your value. In this country, if you are poor, physically or mentally ill, elderly, female, born into certain religions, or a person of color, you have been devalued before you drew breath.

How then, do you value yourself?

Recently someone who knows I’m coming up on the anniversary of my daughter’s death, told me to cheer up, because she didn’t want to feel sad. I didn’t remember asking her to join me in sorrow, but all I said was, “No, I’m going to go ahead and feel sad right now.” And I understood that she didn’t want to be with those emotions. That’s a choice we all make every day, what and whom we choose to be around, what we want to experience.

And in that moment of deciding it was fine to feel sad even if she wasn’t okay with it, I realized that since Maia died, I have been taking care of other’s feelings around her death, simply because they don’t seem to know how. I have been trying to make death more comfortable for everyone else. And I’m tired. I’m tired of “being strong,” and “together,” as if my value is based upon how much I don’t emote all over other people. Sometimes I want to howl loudly in public, or wail for hours like they do in other cultures. I imagine many bereaved people feel this way. Continue reading

Uncover the Sun

Dealing With Disappointment

Many people tell me that they knew something was supposed to happen, a relationship, a career opportunity, or some kind of success, and then it didn’t. And this is after they hired a coach, did self-growth work, saw a therapist, practiced every manifesting idea they could, and followed all the “right steps” toward their goal. They got education, assistance, and even looked at what might be blocking them. They were even willing to sacrifice comfort and financial stability for a time.

Not everyone makes it to the Olympics or winds up on Broadway. And sometimes the people who do aren’t even as talented or skilled as the ones who don’t. Why is this? In the US, we usually blame people for their lack of success, rather than looking at privilege and access to opportunities. For example, being born into a family in which a certain access is already established, like show business, makes establishing an acting career much easier. We often see children of famous writers getting writing contracts at fairly young ages, and so on.

A business professor looked around the class and told us that only ten percent of us would have successful businesses, not because we didn’t get good grades or couldn’t do accounting or anything like that, but because business was fundamentally dealing with people day in and day out. He said many people aren’t good at communicating, and having good people skills was one of the most important things for success in business. How often are people skills taught in school?

I know a dentist who wanted to be a pro baseball player, but he couldn’t run very fast no matter how many miles he logged, how much he worked out, and how hard he tried. He said it was devastating to have to give up that dream. It was a turning point in his life not only to have to work towards another career, but to also find out what he was like when he was thwarted. He said dealing with that disappointment was the single most important experience of his life. He had to figure out who he was when things didn’t go his way. And as he later found out, no matter how competent you are, things often don’t go the way you would like and expect.Continue reading