Under A Shade Tree

Under a shade tree,
In the midst of a meadow,
Rustling bright green leaves,
Droop like a weeping willow.

Next to a wilderness,
Lush green grass thrives,
Birds chirping all around,
Bright blue clear skies.

A quiet stream in the distance,
Water swishing around rocks,
A gentle breeze graces me with its presence,
Here, darkness cannot knock.

Under the shadow,
Of the Most High,
Rest is found,
As is Truth from any lie.

I first stumbled upon it,
In a time of much grief,
When I was out of options,
And chose You to seek.

Though I know You chose me,
Desperation simply removed my blinders,
I asked where You’d been,
And You brought back many reminders.

You were here all along,
Beckoning my soul home,
Though I had taken my own way,
Until I could no longer roam.

Here, You revived my heart,
It beats calmly, at rest,
I know that You,
Are bringing about my best,

I don’t know exactly when,
I only know with certainty,
That no matter what I do,
What should be will be.

I asked and You answered,
You provided me with vision,
For without one, people perish,
Which is why Yours have precision.

I need not strive or seek,
I need only be still,
Though I’m free to wait as I please,
You continue to make clear Your will.

I never wait alone,
There is always Company,
Sitting at my right side,
No longer seated at Your feet.

My soul finds rest,
In Your embrace,
Your all-consuming love,
Expanses all time and space.

I’ll sing a song,
Of hope and peace,
About the love,
That You release.

I’ll write Your praises,
In a personal way,
And tell of Your goodness,
For all of my days.

© Regina Mast 2016

Judgment

The humbling experience,
Of seeing my weakness in another,
Though it wasn’t immediately apparent,
That we’re two shades of the same color.

I hear the way you talk about other people,
And it makes me cringe,
I don’t know if it’s the tone in your voice,
Or the harsh words that sting.

I hear you criticizing them,
And distributing unfair labels,
Your judgmental tendencies,
Prey upon others in a way that is hateful.

You draw out hierarchies,
You are all of the judges in one,
You are placing people on various levels,
According to your opinion of them.

You are making unfair calls,
Trying to referee a game that doesn’t exist,
You just don’t realize it,
So your cruelty continues to persist.

I want to open your eyes,
But you won’t be able to see,
Until you’ve learned to love yourself,
And I know this because you are like the old me.

Am I feeding your fire,
If I allow the fear to make me hide?
I’ve been trying to avoid your judgment,
By making it tough for you to get inside.

You ask me a simple question,
But I can feel your suspicion,
You’re a detective who’s presumed I’m guilty,
Trying to force my desire for privacy into submission.

You’re interviewing me for a job,
For which I didn’t apply,
I wish you would just stop it,
And let sleeping dogs lie.

You behave like a vulture,
Working desperately to pierce my skin with your claws,
You’re searching me with a probe,
Trying your best to uncover my flaws.

You judge people,
For the things they do,
And here I sit,
Unknowingly judging you.

I judge you because you judge others,
So how am I any different?
Perhaps you cause me so much frustration,
Because I see my reflection in your ignorance?

Maybe kindness can help you,
Become more self-accepting,
Maybe you’ll see we all have issues,
So you can change what you’re expecting.

It’s okay to lay down your shovel,
Every one you meet has had troubles,
You can end your witch hunt,
And stop trying to burst other people’s bubbles.

If you looked inside my temple,
You would find some seams,
Of cracks that’ve been filled up,
From a past that’s been redeemed.

Looking for others’ defects,
Won’t help you love yourself more,
It’ll just distract you from the fact,
That we all have the same core.

Peace doesn’t lie in comparison,
It doesn’t lie in your successes either,
Life would be much easier,
If you stopped using them to raise your status higher.

May you discover the gift,
Of knowing you are enough,
May you let go of the weight you carry,
Worrying about how you’re regarded in others’ thoughts.

May you stop striving and trying,
And realize your efforts aren’t necessary,
May you accept and embrace yourself,
So that your burden is less heavy.

Relax, breathe,
Look yourself in the mirror,
You are perfect as you are,
There is no need to feel inferior.

Today, I release you,
To be exactly where you are at,
I’ll try to accept you unconditionally,
And stop working to iron this issue flat.

© Regina Mast 2016

Raging Love

The strong desire to speak words,
To release the things that are felt,
The longing for light to shine,
On the ice within so it’ll melt.

The tongue is paralyzed,
The words won’t budge,
Where thoughts were once legible,
There is only a smudge.

The mind is racing and clouded,
Like a dust storm in the desert,
Whipping around, pummeling the heart,
Lashing at and exposing old hurt.

Vision is unclear,
Direction is lacking,
Clarity seems lost,
Overwhelmed with distractions.

Tears fall, lips part,
Without uttering a sound,
Feelings leave the heart,
Rescuer bound.

Truth swoops in,
Instant salve on raw skin.
A dove carrying a torch,
Shade to protect from the sun’s scorch,
A sight for sore eyes,
A pillow where a weary head may lie,
A drink of water in a parched throat,
A raft upon which hope may float.

Immediately, the dust settles,
Love engulfs the atmosphere,
Confusion transforms into clarity,
There is complete loss of fear.

How or why it happens?
There’s no way to know.
A sky will rain,
A storm will blow.

There is always,
Peace to be had,
There is always,
Reason to be glad.

Joy and grace,
A heart content,
A raging Love,
That won’t relent.

© Regina Mast 2016

 

Doing What You Love

There’s a saying about oak trees:
When you go in the forest and find the tallest one,
Don’t be intimidated by it,
It was just a nut that kept on hanging on.

Well my little dove,
You were made for a purpose,
And you’ll spend a lot of your life,
Trying to figure out what it is.

One day you’ll be doing something,
And unexpectedly, out of the blue,
You’ll feel a river flowing in your soul,
Rolling in and out of you.

That river will churn out something new,
And you’ll feel alive,
You’ll feel a new rush,
You’ll feel fresh life.

You just know; it clicks,
You’ve found your path!
But this doesn’t mean everyone notices,
And if they do, it might not last.

This is the point,
Where the going gets a little tough,
If you’ve made it this far,
It’s not time to give up.

If you’re doing what you love,
And nobody notices,
Just keep on plodding,
Doing your best to stay focused.

A bird sings,
Not for anyone,
It only sings,
Because it has a song.

So sing your lyrics,
Perform your dance,
You’re here once,
This is your chance.

There’s no competition,
Move to your own beat,
Keep doing what you love,
Regardless of what that means.

If the auditorium is empty,
And you’re alone on the stage,
If nobody hears you,
Or even knows your name,
If your voice is muffled out,
By everyone around,
You learn humility,
As your roots grow into the ground.

Those roots go deeper,
As the winds continue to blow.
But this will make so you don’t lose yourself,
No matter how far you go.

You’ll stay humble,
You’ll stay sweet,
Cause you know how it feels,
To wrestle with defeat.

You’ll help the next person,
You see chasing their dream,
When you see them struggling,
You’ll help give them steam.

So when it’s quiet,
And you don’t hear a sound,
Keep cultivating your treasure,
Knowing one day it’ll be found.

Remember that you’re capable,
Realize you are strong.
Be grateful for your courage;
For trying something you could get wrong.

You matter,
Whether you’re big or small,
You matter,
So give it your all.

Don’t get hung up on opinions,
Or worry about what others think,
You’re creating something new,
Don’t let criticism make you blink.

Some will think you’re arrogant,
Or that you are conceited,
They’ll think you need humility,
Because they feel they’ve been cheated.

I’m going to tell you something:
Everyone has a river inside,
But some people don’t find it,
Even after searching far and wide.

If you do find it,
It would be selfish to build a dam,
Cause it would stop fresh life,
From sprouting up down land.

So when the day is long,
And the night is cold,
Try to find the beauty in the process,
Of letting your gift unfold.

You won’t need to be reminded,
That you’re not better than anyone else,
Cause you know there are no levels,
If everyone is their authentic self.

You’re blessed that you had courage,
And a vision where there was none,
You’re fortunate to have a foundation,
And know the Source who keeps you strong.

I hope you see your value,
I hope you feel free to share your story,
I hope one day you find out how it blessed others,
And that your life is filled with glory.

© Regina Mast 2016

No Longer A Damsel

I used to sit in my tower,
Waiting for you to come save me.
But then one day I stopped waiting;
I lost the desire for fake security.

I’m no longer a damsel,
Flailing around in distress,
I know that when push comes to shove,
I can save myself from almost any mess.

Of course I have help,
From the bug guy upstairs,
But I stopped needing another person,
To be the answer to my prayers.

I’ve got a semi-gypsy spirit,
A most-of-the-time free soul,
I come and go as I’m inspired,
Meandering with the flow.

This world is my adventure,
And while I would love some company,
I am free to explore it as I please,
Since my party is: just me.

My heart is as open,
As the ocean is wide.
I’m occasionally wild, entirely free,
Usually peaceful, always bright eyed.

I used to care about petty things,
For example: you had to be at least 6 feet tall!
But over the course of the last few years,
Life taught me that doesn’t matter at all.

What does matter?
In the grand scheme of things:
Being resilient, having a solid foundation,
And knowing the Source from which hope springs.

I believe with that,
A joyful life can be led.
Trying to keep up with the Jones’
Never got anyone ahead.

I care less about what people think,
Than I ever have before,
When I crossed the threshold into peace,
I left those concerns at the door.

There are times when I forget,
And I need to be reminded.
But I rarely carry those with me,
Helping me live my life less blinded.

I’m not really a fan of pets,
Particularly cats,
If you want to see my worst,
These will get me in a spat.

If you need help cultivating stress,
I can do this enough for both of us!
And if you’re in need of some shyness,
I’ve got enough to fill a bus.

I hope you like hiking,
And appreciate the outdoors,
Or that you’re at least active,
And prefer comedies over horrors.

As far as Netflix goes,
I’m moderately negotiable,
Even if I enjoy my current dictatorship,
And selecting every streaming show.

It’d be nice if I could stop trying to master,
The art of self-applied sunscreen.
It’s been hard to make abstract tiger-striped sunburn marks,
On my upper back a “happening” thing.

If you’re able to cook at all,
That would be a plus,
Even when I do my best,
My flops aren’t worth the fuss.

Or the wasted money on groceries,
The kitchen has never been my thing,
However, if you enjoy car karaoke,
You won’t find a song I can’t sing.

Not that I sing well,
But I usually know all the words,
That’s my favorite thing about a song,
Then again, a good melody never hurts.

I hope you’re doing well,
And that your heart is at peace,
In one of my more recent dreams,
You were literally holding my lease.

Which is a tad bit frustrating,
Cause I don’t like to wait,
Even if I know it’s best not left in my hands,
Because I know Who holds my fate.

I hope your day is full of sunshine,
Mostly the metaphorical kind,
I hope you have joy and courage,
And that you have peace of mind.

May you find clarity,
And crystal clear direction,
Cause when it comes to memories,
I’m sure you’d add good ones to my collection.

I’ll see you when I see you,
When you show up out of the blue.
Until then, I’ll continue living,
And do the best I know to do.

© Regina Mast 2016

Where You Belong

Sweet child,
You are where you belong,
You are on the right path,
You did not get a turn wrong.

You are on your way,
To being the person you are becoming,
You’re progressing at the right pace,
There’s no need to keep running.

If you are weary,
Take time to seek rest,
The speed at which you move,
Is not a test.

Each day you blossom more,
Growing into who you are meant to be,
In spite of what it feels like,
In spite of what you see.

You are not behind schedule,
Nor are you ahead,
There’s no need to be burdened by frustration,
Choose to carry acceptance instead.

If you should be somewhere else,
Then you would be somewhere else.

Perhaps your current surroundings are unpleasant,
But this is not your final destination,
Your path will wind; it will go up and down,
The gift of Peace is a built-in navigation.

Peace does not mean doing what is easy,
Peace means doing what is right,
It’s like following a light,
That will lead you day and night.

Some steps are big,
Some steps are small,
Sometimes we get stuck,
Cause fear makes us stall.

This is perfectly okay,
This is part of the process,
Lost time will be made up,
That’s what redemption is.

All of the side trails,
Loop back to the main path,
You won’t be left behind,
Life will always bring you back.

Close your eyes for a moment,
And take some time to reflect,
Seek to identify your pressures,
And to sift out the things you expect.

Cup your hands in front of you,
And allow the expectations to collect,
Including goals you set for the sake of others,
And all the boxes you haven’t yet checked.

Let the idea of a timeline,
And the benchmarks which you set,
Pile up in your hands,
With any deadlines you haven’t met.

Then imagine a great big canyon,
With strong, powerful wind gusts,
Open your hands and allow these thoughts to scatter,
Permit your heart to replace them with a sense of trust.

Even if you can’t let go of it all,
Keep your palms open,
Allow the wind to do the rest of the work,
And blow away all the ideas that are broken.

Cleansing yourself of these burdens,
Makes it easier to transcend,
Constantly work to scatter expectations,
And the lies from which they are stemmed.

Gently open your eyes,
And have a fresh look around the room,
Glancing from right to left,
This is where you are meant to bloom.

Sit. Breathe.
Be consumed by Peace.
You are exactly where,
You are meant to be.

© Regina Mast 2016

Eighty Year Old Self

To my eighty year-old self:

Hey there lady,
Or should I still call you miss?
This morning something happened,
That was hard to dismiss.

I was sitting in my office,
When I heard a loud sound,
I looked out my window,
To see a bird laying on the ground.

It had broken its wing,
And within minutes, it died.
This delicate little creature,
Made me reflect on life.

I thought about you,
And I wondered if we’d ever meet,
Obviously, I expect to become you,
But I don’t know the expiration date on this heartbeat.

I’m not being morbid,
Death is simply a part of life,
So what can I do about it?
Instead of dwelling on concerns, which are rife?

I can live and love big,
Starting today, not tomorrow.
I can help bring light,
Where there is sorrow.

I can pour my heart out,
Every single day,
So that if it’s the last one,
I’ll have said what I wanted to say.

I can take stock of the supply of love,
That I possess on a daily basis,
And give away every last bit of it,
To help those who need it find an oasis.

I can try any new experiences,
And I can big take chances,
So that when my time expires,
I’ll have a colorfully painted canvas.

I want to squeeze out,
Every ounce life has to give,
So that when it’s over,
I’ll have lived as much as one could possibly live.

Life is fleeting,
It’s a temporary treasure,
I’ll try to remember,
Not to let mine be externally measured.

I want to live lightly,
I don’t want to hoard life, love, or joy,
I will expect and prepare for tomorrow,
But I must never wait to let those things deploy.

I won’t have any room,
For judgment or hate,
There’s no need for excess baggage,
While I await the pearly gates.

I’ll do my best to make sure,
That you won’t feel like I let you down,
And that you’ll agree that I did my best,
To humbly and assuredly wear my crown.

Sometimes when I am faced,
With a difficult choice,
I imagine what you would say to me,
And I give your words a voice.

You, my dear friend,
Have made some tough decisions,
Particularly with relationships,
You’ve made some excisions.

The right man,
Has yet to show up,
We know he’s out there,
Despite not having much luck.

Sometimes when I feel panicked,
That our time is running out,
I think about you,
And I lose my doubts.

For you, the wait is worth it,
And loneliness is a beast that I can handle,
And when our sweet child is here,
It’s important that I lived to be a good example.

So a few last words,
Before I go:
I’ll try to remember sunscreen,
And to lay off the Diet Coke.

Life is short,
Life is sweet,
Tomorrow isn’t,
Guaranteed.

Live big, love big,
Bigger than yourself,
You always have Love,
Even if you have nothing else.

© Regina Mast 2016

Exchange

Last Friday,
As Passover began,
The word “exchange”
Rang and rang.

I heard it in my head,
I felt it in my heart,
Something new was happening,
Some sort of fresh start.

The excitement was earth shaking,
The impact: ground breaking,
I knew with certainty,
There was a miracle in the making.

I knew specifically what I wanted it to mean,
I knew the way I wanted it to be perceived,
But I was almost scared to hope,
That it’s time for the unfolding of my dreams.

In need of answers,
I went to the lake,
“God, I need some clarity,
About where to put my faith.”

The world was still,
Alone on the floating dock,
When quietly,
I heard a thought knock.

“Hope floats!”
Like this dock on the water,
I need not worry,
With You as my spotter.

You are my faith,
You are my hope,
How then can I fear that a letdown,
Will leave me struggling to cope?

I’ve been trying to keep my feet on the ground,
And I’ve been stifling a portion of my hope,
Because I was scared that if I was mistaken,
Disappointment would strangle me with its rope.

But, no more of that,
Today, I’m canceling my reservation,
I don’t need a backup strategy,
I’m done with my hesitation.

I’m collecting all of my hopes,
And I’m mindfully handing them over to You,
In a basket of tears, impatience, and frustration,
I’m ready to let You actually move.

There would be no need for faith,
If the road was completely visible,
If, from an outsider’s perspective,
The course was easily predictable.

But I don’t need to try to muster up faith,
I only need to recall times You’ve kept Your word,
You have removed all doubt and question,
To let me know that Your word was what I heard.

You will hold my hand,
As I walk out into the deep,
I will look only to You,
For I am solely Yours to keep.

Though my knees feel slightly shaky,
Though my breaths are a little short,
I will boldly walk where You’ve led,
Knowing my soul’s Shepherd is my escort.

© Regina Mast 2016

My Reply

In short, I said “I hope you’re well!”
And you replied with a list,
You sent words about boxes you’ve checked off,
Yet it felt like you were holding a fist.

Almost involuntarily,
I started prepping my list to send back,
But then something stopped me,
Right in my tracks.

It was the girl from my younger years,
The one who was so insecure,
The one who felt unworthy,
Because of financial difficulty she had to endure.

The one who fought and fought,
To feel like she was enough,
The one who scrubbed other people’s toilets,
Which made junior high even more tough.

Back in those days,
I learned something invaluable:
Happiness built on a materialistic life,
Is not fulfilling or sustainable.

It takes more than a list of checked items,
To fill your heart to the brim,
Those things don’t hold you at night,
Nor do they comfort you when life is dim.

I took that backpack of pressure off,
Several years ago,
When the bottom fell out of my life,
Yet sometimes I have to remind myself to keep letting it go.

Who you are,
Is more than surface deep,
It’s what’s on your pillow,
When you go to sleep.

It’s your character,
And whether or not you have a word you keep,
It’s daring to forge a different path,
Instead of being another sheep.

It’s your courage,
When you’re scaling life’s mountains,
It’s your bravery,
When you face fears that come at you like a fountain.

It’s your passions,
It’s your dreams,
It’s your hope,
That creates light beams.

It’s who you are, not what you have,
It’s what makes you feel alive,
It’s what people will remember about you,
Long after you die.

You want a reply? You can keep your checked boxes,
And turn them into bricks,
You can build yourself a wall,
And use the oldest of tricks:

You can toss out distractions,
So people look at them instead of you,
But is that what you want to be known for,
When your life is through?

© Regina Mast 2016

Psalm 34:4

Today is a good day,
To reflect on a Psalm.
Thirty-four: four,
Is like heart balm.

“I sought the Lord,
And He answered me and delivered me…”
This is what I always say,
At the end of every journey.

The only time I fear,
Is when I get stuck in the middle,
When everything isn’t worked out yet,
And life feels like a confusing riddle.

When I try to take control,
And I try to force a plan,
I instantly lose my peace,
And succumb to feeling “less than”

But You are always with me,
You are always there,
You always save me,
And You hear every prayer.

You are with me during the night,
When sleep is elusive,
You are with me during the day,
When the results are inconclusive.

Even when I don’t know,
If I forge ahead or surrender,
You bring me clarity or work things out,
Without my effort being a contender.

If I needed to know the details,
Then You would show me,
Otherwise, I’ll follow You,
To the best of my abilities.

Help me to have faith,
So that my white knuckles let go,
Help me to remember,
That You always show.

When I needed help in the past,
With a secret no one knew,
You heard my quiet whisper,
And at the midnight hour, came through.

Even when it’s quiet,
And I don’t hear a sound,
I know rescue is certain,
Though I feel temporarily bound.

Even if it looks too late,
Even if the blinds are closing,
Help me recall the times,
Where Your solution was better than what I was proposing.

Even when it’s stormy,
And shelter can’t be found
Even if the rain has me convinced,
That if it doesn’t stop, I’ll drown.

Even when the fears shout,
And relentlessly continue to hound.
Even when it hurts,
And my heart does heavily pound .

Even when I’m sick,
Even when I’m tired,
Even when my nerves are shot,
And I feel wired.

This is temporary,
This is fleeting,
This season is passing,
The waters are receding,

I just cannot see it,
But You can,
A simple solution will be demonstrated,
Through the power of Your hand.

Your ways,
Are greater than mine,
And they will continue to be,
Through the end of time.

Worries and doubts,
It’s time to bow.
Fears, be silent!
Peace, be now!

© Regina Mast 2016