Wednesday, November 14, 2018

Collateral Damage

There is collateral damage. 
The harm.

Those people, those animals, those elements of our society harmed by simply standing by.
Harmed by being in the vicinity of the devastation.
It was not their plan to get hurt.
It just happened ... because they were so close.

Where is our collateral damage? In some windows of our world it is easy to see.
  1. In war - as burned out homes and blown up body parts send a stench into the air, while hearts break from the loss. 
  2. On our farms - as pesticides poison the insects and pests ... but also poisons anyone who ingests the chemicals not meant for human consumption.
  3. In medical practices - as the chemicals within "chemotherapy" attack cancer cells but thrash and trash other healthy cells and organs in the process.
And there are other such scenarios where a misfire of offense can harm that which stands nearby.

The latest version of this tragic story comes to mind, when I consider interpersonal relationships.

Collateral damage? Yes. It's subtle, but yes.

Consider the times you brought your own hurt to someone in hopes of being heard.
Only to be met with defensiveness or even an attack.
Your significant other was simply trying to make a point or stay out of their own guilt.
But in their attempts at protecting themselves, they did not listen to you.
They only offered a slight, a fight, a judgment.  
You were not heard.
And you were hurt ... again.

And there was damage
Collateral damage.

On some level, their judgment was not meant for you. Deep down, it was not intentional to slight you. You did not approach a loved one to receive this.
But it happened. And it happened because you were close. So close.

You were in vicinity of their own pain. A pain that spilled out of them without knowledge or precision. They met your request for being received with a slam of energy of their own upon you.
There was not a reception, but a deflection and then rejection.


This cycle will continue - as innocent lives are lost, as tomatoes and corn are tainted, as chemicals destroy the vibrancy, as relations are torn asunder - until we awaken to the fact that we are all connected, that everything is all connected, and that such unconscious behavior only hurts us all.

In something called "collateral damage."

James Anthony Ellis is a writer living in San Diego. He can be reached at

Monday, October 15, 2018

Beneath It All

Fingers pointing everywhere - past, present, future 
A retreat from peace
Into shadows of regret, reeds grow high blocking the sun
Where is the one? 
A silence is devoured by earthquakes that shatter glasses tumbling from cabinets
My rage
Turning the page
Revealing the frustration beneath it all
Beneath it all

In frustration
The end of anticipation
Into a full blown cry of bitter consternation 
Eyes darting back and forth, to and fro
Where am I to go?
What has begun?
Where is the sanity? Where is the one?
Just a sea of hopelessness and depression beneath it all
Beneath it all

In a closet of darkness - depressed 
So much suppressed
A pillow suffocates instead of comforts
Placed squarely upon the mouth
Which longs for breath
As it awaits the death
Shivering and shaking, holding nothing dear
Succumbing to the numbing fright, the paralyzing fear
Beneath it all
Beneath it all

And as acts of terror bind the deepest night
A gentle bird ... somehow ... enters into sight
Crossing the sky on its eternal flight 
A glimmering hope brings a shimmering light
Faint at first, like the dawn's first peek
Then exclaiming "free" in a game of hide and seek
We rejoice in the recovery of a truth once known
The third eye has opened; this bird has flown
Now fully illumined we know what has begun
What's passed is passed, what's done is done
And so, awake, we greet the brand new sun
Remembering forever, we are the one
Beneath it all
Beneath it all
Beneath it all

Friday, October 5, 2018

On National Poetry Day

Thank you poetry
Thank you poem
You’ve led me inward
You’ve led me home
You’ve protected me
Never leaving me alone
You embrace me deeply
You are my very own

Thank you poetry
You’ve always been there
Through the tremors of fear
At times so scared
When I carried no hope
When I thought no one cared
Then you whispered to me
“We have something to share”

Thank you poetry
Though I felt the defeat
Though lost in the darkness
The dawn’s light, we did greet
I feel so blessed
The sentiment so sweet
Here, I stand with you
I am complete

Saturday, September 15, 2018


The sun sets as the tracks roll beneath me
I peer through a window revealing sand and sea
Then I rest again, eyes closed, sitting silently in my seat
Stillness, I make my exit as the journey is complete
Home I walk the streets, the glowing bulbs illuminate trees
I fall into myself, I fall into bliss, I fall to my knees
Amazed, the universal flow, all hail, please take a bow
The world is really pretty right now

A world really pretty - reminding us of the depth
Knowing the times we have laughed and the times we have wept
Knowing of our sorrow - all that we have lost
Knowing the consequences of injury, all at a cost
Recognizing our purity and beauty beneath it all
Recognizing our mother's and father's voice - an echo down the hall
Remembering our childhood nickname - ah, the source of joy
Remembering when we were simply ... a girl  ... a boy
All the wonderment and innocence that the universe will allow
The world is really pretty right now

It's quiet and still and shimmering in the fading light
Giving way to a deeper stillness that is the night

Yet the darkness does not remain or stay for very long
It ushers in another tomorrow, right where we belong
Sometimes hard to know, this dance of righteous divinity
I open wide my eyes in order to see all there is to see
And I stand astonished, mouth agape, in the wonder and the wow
The world is really pretty right now
So pretty
Right now

Friday, September 14, 2018

At Last

Shouts of doubt
The avalanche of harsh critique
Mild and meek, we attempt our retreat
Under the crush of it all
Yet our shields can not protect us
From that which tears at us from within
We can not win
The devil futility enrolls our participation in our own demise
We fall for the lies
We are not wise
The guillotine of self-loathing leaves us broken, scattered
What matters to a lonely soul without purpose or drive?
We must survive
And so we take up the fight to stay alive ... at last
Not silencing or shushing the voices without reason
We embrace the treason
Stationing shouts of doubt no longer at the helm of this ship
But rather under our wing
This lonesome, sweet, little thing
We protect it, not neglect it
We reveal it, not conceal it
We love it, not hate nor berate it
Inner demons hold no power
When engulfed in our mindful presence
A lasting essence
Delivering us to peace, at last, peace

Saturday, September 1, 2018

Chew Toys - The Answer in a Divisive World

Our dog Hennessy loves to play tug-of-war.

Oh my gosh! It’s so fun. Not only does she love the action of pulling and tugging on a favorite chew toy, but she will also come up to me with her toy or ball or rope and actually hand it (or err - jaw it) over to me so we can play the game.

So, you see it isn’t that she just wants that toy in her possession. If that were the case she would just take the toy and saunter over to her bed and hang with it. No, she brings it over to me so I’ll grab it too and play some intense game of tug of war.

It’s competitive, it’s polarizing and yet it’s a game and it’s fun.
  • Kind of like life.
  • Kind of like the tug-of-war games played on grammar school playgrounds.
  • Kind of like how we humans enjoy a good push-and-pull conversation with those who hold a different point of view.


What happened?

Was there a time when two people could hold different points of view, and hold a intriguing, investigative and yes constructive conversation?

If it were ever true before, it appears that is not the case any longer.

Whatever happened to the US of A and the freedom of expression that paved the way for respectful dialogue, energizing debate and healthy conversations, made enlightening because of the variety of opinion? Conversations, especially those witnessed in politics and on our highly charged social media, have become grounds for anger, division, attack and even violence.

Anything but fun.

Anything but engaging.

And, may I propose, anything but American.

Besides a handful of moderate voices who fairly observe and critique all parties, we now have a left and a right that balance out their collective time in two ways:

1.    Glorifying their own viewpoints and constituents. 
2.    Pointing fingers at the lunacy of the other side.

But wait!

What happened to the game?

The push and the pull.

The two sides that could refine their own views, strengthen their own reasoning, and open their own minds through the vehicle of discourse and dialogue.

Is it not OK to have opposing viewpoints, especially in this Constitutional Republic of ours, which propels us forward through the freedom of thought and expression?

On a higher level, do we think we were plopped into the world of duality to have the same beliefs, filters, and thoughts as everyone else? Would you even want that? What would we talk about?

What a boring life it would be if we all saw things the same way.

It would be like living in an echo chamber of our own thoughts.

Like a bad movie that held no opposing forces.

Like a tennis match without an opponent.

It would be like having a chew toy and no one to hand it over to so we could play a gun game of tug-of-war.

James Anthony Ellis is a writer living in San Diego, who even enjoys debating the various sides of himself. He can be found at

Monday, August 13, 2018

Armed with Grace, Beauty and Love

I awoke this morning and decided to meditate. And for the sake of my sanity - and perhaps yours - I am glad I did.

I think I'm onto something here that could help everyone. It all has to do with arming ourselves with the very weapons that will help us throughout our days and nights in the world of light and dark...

I awoke this day with the rattling memory of a whirling social media and news-feed that spits back its vile petulance and darkness. Images of left and right wingers spouting condemnation, antifa marches catapulting hatred, bombs ripping apart human rights, drugs and guns blasting down the innocence of the innocent...

Oh my god, it is happening out there.

And the worst part is ... it is getting IN there.

So many images and memories of the dark forces at play can really have a field day on our psychology and consciousness. But what can we do?

As I sat down at my meditation altar, I had my eyes closed at first. At this point, the images and memories of a culture gone kooky and a nation gone mad caught my mind's eye. And then I made an important move. I made the smart choice to take a certain action.

I peeked.

I slightly opened my eyes.

And what was before me? What was there staring back at me from my altar? It was a simple picture of a smiling aura of grace emanating from a certain spiritual teacher from southern India. A vision of Ammachi, known as a "hugging saint," glanced back at me.

Full of love, full of grace, full of beauty.

And it was here that I realized that to stay sane in this world of duality - ups and downs, rights and wrongs, rights and lefts - we would be wise to first arm ourselves. But we would not arm ourselves necessarily with guns and knives. Rather we can arm ourselves with a connection to something deep within: that identification with a higher power, a connection with a deeper source. What swiftly came to mind was "arm yourself with grace, beauty and love." That was the message told to me.

If we meet negative with negative, we can only escalate the insanity. Fire plus fire only builds a flame higher. Argument matched with more argument only constructs bigger defenses. Darkness plus darkness = darkness. It's math. A no-brainer.

This is not new or news to any of us.

But it's a good reminder for me, especially when I feel lost in a world that appears so many times so very lost.

Before anything. Before approaching the world of duality. Before taking on social media or a media frenzy designed to distract. Before leaving the house...
  • First sit.
  • Meditate. 
  • Connect.
  • Rekindle the grace, beauty and love.
  • Discover the kingdom within and everything will be added unto thee.

You will be armed with all you need to address that which arises.

You can not get lost when you have found yourself and your connection prior to your journey.

Be at peace. Be still. Know the truth. Reflect the light upon all you come across.

It can only support us all ... in reflecting the same.

James Anthony Ellis is a writer and filmmaker still looking for that peace and love, attempting to recall its true source. He can be found at