I never really knew at least not for sure, an unspoken language between us.

And then it was over whatever ‘it’ was, somehow we knew without speaking.

I doubt we could say when our bond became real, our own cryptic code.

Our secret.

Sometimes I wondered if you felt it too, the karmic connection.

Our secret.

Weeks turned to months, words silently spoken, a year flew by.

Our secret.

Not a day went by that we didn’t connect, life continued to spin around us.

Our secret.

The sun would come up and you thought of me, you talked about that.

Your secret.

For me the moonlight brought you to mind, I told you that too.

My secret.

I hated your hair, you loved that I told you, my god how we laughed.

Our secret.

You tried to say you could drown in my eyes, but bumbled the words.

Our secret.

I had not realized I’d fallen so hard, my heart was blown open.

My secret.

I didn’t know if your heart fell too, maybe it did.

Your secret.

The depths of our feelings so afraid to acknowledge.

Our secret.

The argument, the apple, the strangers around us who witnessed the passion.

No secret.

The connection was right, the timing was wrong, life can be like that.

Our secret.

Sometimes we’d slip and say the word ‘we’, it wasn’t allowed.

Our secret.

We knew it was over, the flames got too close, it went undiscovered.

Our secret.

Today we happened to pass on the street, our eyes locked for too long.

And that’s when I knew.

You had loved me as much as I had loved you, we were so right.

The timing so wrong.

I summoned the courage to turn and look back.

You turned to look too, your eyes screaming with passion.

My heart beating too fast, I had to keep walking.

The seasons keep changing, feelings must remain dormant.

It must always stay,

Our secret.

Have you ever known someone ‘larger than life?’ You know the type – the world is their stage, big personality, lots of energy, and galvanizing opinions that can evoke deep responses in people without a lot of effort. Greg was like that. You could almost see the stage he seemed to perform on. Turns out, Greg is ‘larger than death’ too. Years ago he asked me a seemingly innocuous four-word question that I continue to ask – and answer – long after his death.

He was married to my best friend and I didn’t see him often but whenever I did he left an impression. At times, his larger-than-life personality intrigued me – how could someone have so much energy? At other times I was intimidated – how does he slice right through something and get to the core? But mostly I loved being around him for his ability to challenge my thinking and see through the veils and guards that I had in place to protect my vulnerabilities.

I was visiting my dear friend and sharing some frustrations that I was experiencing with a neighbor when I told them of a petty act that I committed that would result in the neighbor being inconvenienced. It wasn’t a calculated, evil act but what I did wasn’t nice and yet I sat in their living room venting and bragging. And then, without inhibition or tip-toeing around feelings, Greg asked me the question that I’ve carried with me ever since:

“How did that manifest?”

Four words. How do you answer that? Because what Greg posed in that question all those years ago challenged my thinking and reasons as to why I chose to act out in frustration knowing that every single thing we put out into the Universe comes right back to us. There are dozens of ways to say ‘what goes around comes around’, or ‘you get what you give’, but do we actually think about that? Do we stop before doing something and ask how it will manifest? Because it will always manifest. Guaranteed.

When I read the news or see social media posts filled with what seems to be increasing acts of hatred and violence, I hear myself asking, ‘How will that manifest?”

I don’t remember how I answered Greg’s question that day. But I do know that those four words, spoken to challenge me and hold me accountable for a self-serving act meant to annoy someone, shifted something deep inside me. I’m still the same flawed human. I do stupid things and say the wrong words but not purposefully to annoy or hurt someone.

Today, my act of self-care starts with taking care of the words and actions I put out in the world because they will all manifest. Hurtful words or acts of kindness are our choices and they will manifest accordingly. Give peace, receive peace. Love begets love. Hurtful words and actions will result in more hurt. None of this is earth-shattering news. Yet in our ego’s quest to win, or get the last word or upper hand I think we forget that whatever we put out comes back and lands in our laps.

Not long after Greg asked me the question, I was on a solo bike ride through the countryside and a poem surfaced in my mind. Miles from home, I repeated the lines all the way home. Today, that poem serves as my life’s mission statement – it’s how I lead my life and it is how a question, posed to me all those years ago, manifested.

Life’s Wake

Ever stop to think about your life’s wake?

When you go through your day,

do you give, do you take?

Like ripples on water

and echoes in air,

everything’s altered because you were there.

Thanks for reading,

~ Haven

The mournful call of the train

breaks the penetrating silence

of the deep mountain passes

as foggy clouds kiss the rich, dark sky

the stark strength of desolate hope

imperfect smiles and kitchen dancing

squeaky screen doors and porch swings

and the familiar dirt roads that led you

to the busy buzz of

buildings and pavement

traffic and progress replaced the soulful soundtrack

no porch swings or lemonade

never enough time for noticing

how the bright lights steal the night sky

the one that once fed your soul while you slept

summers and winters have ebbed and flowed

you allow the noise of friends and lovers to fade away

as the quiet mountains beckon you once again

and the mournful call of the coyotes

awaken the dormant memories

of how it felt to be fed by the stars in the sky

your heart screams for solace

and your mind craves the wisdom of stillness

so you trust the Spirit within and the Spirit beyond

to weave tapestries of simplicity and strength

that most can’t see and fewer understand

and doesn’t matter anyway

you become comforted by the richness of time

your heart and mind satiated with resolve

as the brightness of the dark, night sky

has welcomed you home