Tam Vanam?

By: Ashley Kaylor

for Evan, my ray of heaven


it feels like a desperate black hole

a pit of apathetic hunger

Unassuaged by the sustenance of Life


How deep the need, the

Disparaging Ruin

a race Unwon , a life Unhewn


burning hot tears scald cheeks grown cold

Mists and steam rise from the pain

an Ice-like Vise around my chest

the droplets fall Uncaressed


where have you gone?

what have I lost

bright horizon, dissipating fog

all tied to one ray of Heaven now sacrificed


the garish abyss of lessened demand

‘Tis a Principle to withstand







Two Negative Thoughts I Want to Ditch

A friend of mine recently asked me, “If you could get rid of any negative thought, then which one would it be?” It was a question I haven’t thought about in years. I actually don’t believe we can control or eliminate thoughts. We can only acknowledge them and then choose whether to accept them or not.

Yet, it had my mind whirling. What would I choose to lose?

  1. Negative thoughts about my body.

I think this is the area that harms my well-being the most. I struggle to see truth in this area so when a negative thought comes, I have no idea what to do with it. Accept? Let go? No clue. Am I fat? Overweight? Clinically, yes. Does this thought help me? Not necessarily. In fact, it mostly overwhelms me. At the same time, if I never had a negative thought about my body, then would I even be interested in healthy change? I think not. Perhaps our negative thoughts are more of messages or arrows pointing us to areas of improvement. Regardless, this particular area confuses me and I don’t know the truth or the way forward most of the time. If I could avoid this particular pain (which I cannot), then I would (but I cannot).

2. Negative thoughts about my purpose in life.

Some days, things feel really meaningless. Yes, my baby does need his bum wiped. No, I do not feel it gives my life meaning. Yet, it is one of things I do most frequently and so in my head the negative thoughts come. What am I doing with my life? Am I really helping the world? How can I make a difference? Just today, these thoughts rendered me immobile and I lay in bed questioning the meaning of life, while listening to the activities of my household in the background. For hours I did this. For whatever reason, I can’t seem to get past these thought  – to choose – accept or let go? Oh, how I wish I could! But I cannot.

Those are the two things I would ditch (if I could), but, unfortunately, we can’t skip pain in life. We can’t skip negative thoughts and, as I said earlier, this is probably a good thing. Negative thoughts, like failure, are simply arrows to areas that need attention. Just as I’ve said about failure, we must meet negative thoughts with curiosity, not condemnation.

Beauty in the Mess

Recently, I’ve been trying to look at household chores from a different angle, because, honestly, this begrudging hostility that I’ve been using for a decade is about to undo me.

I need something new.

For a month, the new perspective I tried was to look at my chores from a metaphorical perspective, each room having a symbolic meaning. In the laundry room, there is renewal and restoration. As I wash my clothes, I am giving not only my image renewal and fresh appearance, but my heart and soul renewal. In the kitchen, there is comfort and communion with others, nurturing. As I wash the dishes, I am preparing myself for comfort and connection. This is all deep and meaningful and I’m sure it has some validity.

But I still hate my chores.

This morning, I was reading from an older gentleman’s work. He was describing how old farms always bring him such nostalgia no matter how ill-kept they are. Even in disrepair and destruction,, they hold beauty. It reminded me of all the reclaimed wood, rustic and vintage elements that Joanna Gaines uses in her designs. We can love the old and ugly in our homes so that they can become beauty.

As I read this, I looked at my atrociously maintained master bathroom and I tried to find beauty. Truly, the toilet has not been cleaned in four months. It’s disgusting. Clothes are strewn everywhere and about 4 square inches are unlittered on my generously-sized vanity. Where is the beauty here?

I couldn’t see it.

As I’m writing this, my laptop sits on mounds of unopened mail and shards of children’s homework and artwork. Next to me sit Lysol wipes and a box of hair color. It’s utter chaos – that’s what I see.

How do you see the beauty in the mess? All I see is a giant pile of overwhelm. I want so desperately to know the secret, to look at the areas of my home and know the value – to see the moments of joy instead of the drudgery of chores.

I often come to the conclusion that I’m just not one of those people who loves to clean and organize. Are there people who love those things? According to Pinterest there are! What is their secret? I.e. Please tell me their exact myers-briggs personality types so that I can see how much of myself I will have to change in order to become an enthusiast of chores.

Maybe when I know the answers, I’ll repost this as a series with all of my enlightenment. Until then, I’ll be folding laundry with ill temper.