Poetry, Reflections

“You’re Alive?!”

“You’re alive?!” are the words most often spoken when the silence first breaks in my shadowed nook.

“So it would seem…,” my auto-response, offered with less certainty and sincerity than it looks.

“Where have you been?,” is always the next logical question.

But if we’re being rational, you might better ask, “when?”

“When have I been spending my time?”

“Why I’ve been searching the timelines, every now and then.

“Looking for… Some… thing, I guess, I can’t even define.”

“Are you well?,” they inquire with all good intent.

“I am coping,” I respond; of this much I am certain.

“Coping?… Just coping? Is that the best you can say?”

“Coping…. Yes, coping. I think that’s enough for today.”

Were you expecting some wisdom? Some enlightenment? Some hope?

Of those I have little, so it’s best just to “cope.“

Too many voices screaming in outrage…

Too many hearts bleeding in pain…

Too many slaves trying to escape all at once…

Too many Masters clamping down in response!

The world is trembling and tilting too much

Routine is my goal despite wrenching my guts!

Do you suppose there is some sort of cosmic Dramamine?

To help ease this motion sickness of universal upheaval…

Not that I’ve found yet, and I’ve been every-when

Searching for… some…. thing beyond my limited perception.

For Truth? Or escape? More likely Relief…

Something to ease this perpetual grief.

But, alas, it eludes me, this means to end suffering.

And my Master is calling my name once again.

Best get up and go while the going is still possible

Let delusion be my guide in this sea of impass-ibles.

“See you later,” I toss over my shoulder when leaving.

“Or not…,” I whisper to myself, expecting nothing

“You’re alive?!,” echoes softly as the silence creeps in

“Am I really?,” I have to ask my Self once again.

“Is this reality…? This existence… all that there is?

Or is Life itself just a ghost in a mirror?

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Reflections

Empathy Breeds Sympathy? Not Necessarily…

So… I have a friend. She’s very much like I was when I was young. Full of life, seeking adventure, incredibly empathetic, and bat shit crazy! She does things that make sane people absolutely nuts. And then backs it up with acts of kindness so generous, you’re almost willing to forgive her. Almost…

To be fair, she’s had a rough year. Which kind of followed on the heels of another rough year. I mean last year she had a prolonged and erratic break-up to process, which had forced her to go home and live with her parents as an adult. And that was a storm of its own; needing them but resenting them every single day. So none of that can be discounted, especially when considering she already had a laundry list of mental illness diagnoses, with their associated treatment regiments that she might, or might not, follow at any given time…

Then this year her mother died of the Covid, early on, during the first lockdown. Middle aged and usually healthy, no one even suspected the infection, believing her dizzy spells had more to do with the concussion she’d suffered during a fall while cleaning the bathtub. And even though an ambulance had eventually been called, mom refused to go in it; she locked herself in the bathroom insisting she’d get sick at the hospital if they took her. Two days later she died. At home. Covid was confirmed. She couldn’t breathe…

Now my friend is locked down in her family home, quarantined with her grieving father, unable to make funeral arrangements, seek counsel, or properly grieve herself, while trying to figure out the family finances, etc., as her father clearly couldn’t. Her father eventually had to be hospitalized himself. Suicide attempt. Completely unhinged from reality. Unable to care for himself, much less anything else. And so began her journey of parent care, during a pandemic lockdown, with a recalcitrant patient. And her own issues unaddressed…

So she coped. Alcohol, a return to smoking, drugs if she could come across them (I suspect her mother had a stash). Then the hospital booted her father home, the lockdown ended, and she was expected to return to work. She tried. And failed. Apparently work was that one more thing, that final straw that broke this poor camel’s back. Tragic, really! And understandable that she couldn’t quite pull herself together. She had family leave available to help when the regular paychecks ended, and the freedom now to get out amongst others. Including drug users and dealers, and mental health practitioners (on virtual visits for safety, of course) only too willing to help her manage her anxiety.

Eventually the family leave ended, resources began to dry up, and the sheer necessity of returning to work took center stage. So now, she’s back in my world…

Enter the post-lockdown cast of characters she must now deal with 5 days a week. There’s the supervisor (and best friend outside work) who lost her father during the quarantine; she’s dealing with the loss of a parent while helping her mom process through it, all while catering to her mom’s near paranoid anxiety about the virus. And the co-worker (sometimes outside work social friend) whose partner had a massive manic, paranoid meltdown during or following the shutdown; she’s trying to manage the resultant financial crisis while barely holding on to the man who is actively and brutally trying to push her away, all while managing her own (previously diagnosed) anxiety issues. And there’s me; I know this young lady almost as well as I know myself, watching her through eyes blinded by my own history. She doesn’t have much to say to me, though we were friends once, but then, she doesn’t really like what I have to say to her…

And work is simply too much to expect from this child-adult. All she wants to do is throw in the towel, give up, escape (responsibility in all shapes and forms). Completely understandable. But “wrong” nonetheless. And she is torturing these other women – demanding “help” while refusing to accept it, crying wolf when it’s easier than dealing with what’s in front of her, expecting everyone to indulge her instability in the name of sympathy (or empathy), while allowing them to pick up her slack. And they do. Until they can’t anymore…

And management finally catches up to her, and calls her out. The late arrivals (hours, usually, and every day). The emotional meltdowns in a retail environment. The physical uselessness that comes with being over-medicated on the job. They ask how they can help her through this while minimizing the harm to their business. She starts screaming bloody murder. And quits…

Now she wants unemployment. She wants independent contractor covid assistance. She wants medicaid. She wants…

But she’s not entitled to any of it… She’s alone in her head, refusing to acknowledge the consequences of her own actions. It sounds incredibly familiar. In so many ways…

I want to feel sorry for her. Better yet, I’d like to find some compassion in my heart. But I have none. I have only my memories of being her, and an understanding (based solely on my own experience) of how it must play out. I choose to step away from such toxicity, understanding that nothing I do will fix her, or her situation; that she can only do herself. I refuse to be manipulated…

And these are the confessions of a late 2020 empath – inglorious, unkind, uncompassionate. Living in a much smaller world of my own choosing. I have nothing left to offer the outside world; life has mostly become a spectator sport.

Entertainment in the current age. Sad, isn’t it?

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Reflections

Opinions are like assholes…

Everybody has one. And everybody is one, especially if you disagree with me or mine. Including me, of course. I am an asshole, too. More so these days than ever before…

You know, I’ve spent these last few months trying to write my resignation letter for work. Not that I’m in a position financially where I can actually quit (of course not!). But I like to think about it, to fantasize about it, to plan for it… just in case, you know? But the letter gets larger and longer in my mind, every day, expanding with each new “injustice” I face. It’s so long, in fact, that I wouldn’t even read it all now. And I wrote it!

“Just say, ‘I quit!’,” I tell myself. “That’s all they truly need to know…”

“Yes, but…,” I answer myself. “… I have so much more to say!”

“I have feelings and thoughts. I have opinions! And if I don’t speak them now, I will never get another chance! I don’t need that kind of regret in my life today!“

“Nobody cares, Lisa. Nobody is listening. Nobody wants to be enlightened here. Not even you!”

And that much is true, I know. Nothing will change as a result of my sharing. Not even me. Because, in spite of everything I’ve learned and done in my life, it is still all about me, me, me, me… It has always been about me. All of it! Every choice I’ve ever made. Every goal I’ve ever sought. Every “gift” I’ve ever given or received. Every debt I’ve ever owned. Every mistake I’ve ever made. Every sorrow I’ve ever claimed. Every regret ever expressed…(deep breath)…me, me, me! I, I, I…

I am al-one in my world. I am, quite simply put, me. As I have always, eternally, been. Alone. And every reflection I see “out there” only reinforces my point of view.

And that viewing angle narrows every day…

I used to applaud myself for my ability to embrace multiple points of view. To get into an’other’s perspective. To walk a while in their shoes… But I can’t really do that anymore. People have gone so far off the deep end that I can’t reach them anymore. It’s like everyone around me is speaking an entirely made up language of their own, and without the verbal and facial clues (I live in a mask mandated state, you know), I don’t stand a chance of interpreting what they’re saying! I just stare at them blankly and let them speak, until, in their frustration at not being heard, they turn ugly and intimidating. And then I walk away. Because what else can I do? Listening while not hearing them is not helping either of us; nor is it improving any of our moods…

I’ve given up… There is no “saving” any of us. But that’s just my opinion, of course…

And I’m an asshole these days. Just like everyone else!

I’m watching my physical body deteriorate, day by day, while I’m still trapped within it. I’m watching my society crumble around me, so corrupted that it cannot be salvaged, while I’m still trapped within it. I’m watching the very planet that gave me life suffer and die slowly (suffer so greatly and for so long!), and I’m still trapped upon it. And there is nothing I can do about any of it! No-thing! But watch. And withdraw. Into my own little point of view…

And everyone I know, whom I still respect, are slowly coming to that same conclusion…

Yes, opinions are like assholes, restricting my point of view. And if I can clench my butt cheeks any tighter in the tension of this moment, maybe I will no longer be able to even see any of you. And then maybe, just maybe, I can finish writing this damn letter…

So I can finally say, “I quit!” And well and truly mean it. So there is no lingering regret…

… when I turn and walk away.

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Reflections

Irrelevancy…

I wanted to write a piece titled “The Watcher,” to share where I’ve been these past few months. And yet, I could not write it without miring myself in hypocrisy so deep as to make the story irrelevant (at best), or self-destructive (at worst)… Or maybe it’s the other way around…

You see, the Watcher is a tale of perspective. In that role I sit as an observer of all things, but never truly interacting with any. I use my cosmic remote to change the channels, allowing me to safely view many lives, without actually experiencing any. Human or not, across multiple timelines. I can binge-watch any that intrigue me, and skip through those that bore me. I can fast-forward through scary moments, and rewind to savor the exciting times. I can, in essence, control exactly what I observe without actually being in control of what happens. But it only works because I am present in all those variations…

But if I am truly present in any of those scenarios, then I have rendered my self power-less by making it impossible for Me to affect those separate existences. I can only observe!

And should I truly want to interact with any of my stories, then I must first abandon my role as Watcher. I must lose myself in a particular storyline, forgetting the vastness of my existence, thus limiting my perspective to my immediate surroundings. I must blind my self to all other possibilities. That path is one of Self-destruction.

Which ultimately, and eventually, leads back to my role as the Watcher…

*** *** ***

These past two nights I’ve had the strangest dreams…

Last night I dreamt of my greatest fears, and all my efforts focused on turning away and avoiding them. I knew that I was dreaming, of course, but I still didn’t want to confront them. I kept yelling at the characters in my dreams to stop trying to show me, and I would physically turn my head away before they were revealed. That turning of my head would waken me enough to shift positions. But upon returning to the dream state, I would discover the same dream , albeit in a different setting…

Finally, I declared “enough already!!” You are all so determined to force this on me… “let’s get this over with!” And so someone slid the box of baby bunnies out from under my chair. Baby bunnies! And my alarm went off, leaving me exasperated as well as exhausted by my less than restful night…

Tonight I am dreaming of my character flaws – those very traits I’d like to think I’ve shed along the way. Like arrogance, for instance. I’ve worked hard to drive that feeling of superiority born of insecurity from my consciousness. But as I dream tonight I hear myself shouting, “why is everyone trying to make me look and feel stupid?! I am not an idiot, no matter how many idiotic things I’ve done! No matter how many bad decisions I’ve made! I am still smart, while sometimes doing not-smart things!!”

Deep sigh…

What was I saying about arrogance and insecurity? Hmm…

*** *** ***

I know there is relief to be found in irrelevancy. It is uncomfortable at first, learning that nothing I do, think or believe truly matters to the outside world. But when the shock of surrender fades, and the Ego truly relents, there is only peace left. An endless (pointless) calm that serves no one but my self.

And I can sit back and watch Others striving to become. While I can simply be…

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Reflections

Cleansing the Palate…

Suppose I told you this was all a dream. That none of it was “real.” Would you believe me?

Would you take such a statement at face value, or look for some “deeper” meaning? Would you suppose I was creating some allegory, or perhaps that I was claiming some easy cop-out to the bizarre narrative we live in today? How would you react?

I’m actually asking here. Not telling. I’m curious to know how you think. And feel…

Because the stories we tell our selves tell us so much about our selves. And I want to know you a little better than I do. I want to know where your hearts truly live. Where your minds truly wander. I want a glimpse (just a glance) behind the human mask you wear…

This is not about your culture, or your color. It’s not about your beliefs. I’m not interested in your history. I don’t need the distraction of your experiences. I just want to know you in this endless, infinite Now…

Could you show me that?

Would you?

I remember, a few decades ago, developing workshops on this very topic. “Self-Myths” I called them, the stories we tell of, to, and about ourselves. The roles we instinctively adopt and perpetuate. The means to an end, but also an end to the means. Self-limiting, restricting, biased in the extreme. And so often unconsciously (or at least subconsciously) embraced.

Imagine “waking up” to read the writing on the wall, recognizing (finally) that there are only shadows there. And all you have to do to “end” it all is turn around.

And face the fire…

What would you do?

***********************************************

That’s okay, you don’t have to answer that. I think I already know.

The real question here is, do you?

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Reflections

The Reckoning…

Sirens wail as the city burns. All around me violence seeks its voice. I am surrounded, and there is nowhere left to go. Outsiders came among us, altering the narrative, realigning the rules of engagement, redefining the very purpose of the Gathering. What started as a peaceful, legal protest, a desperate attempt to unify hearts and minds in common cause has, instead, become a threat to our very existence…

Mobs roam the streets now, comprised of locals willing (even eager?) to be corrupted. They loot. Not just corporate white America, but local Mom and Pop stores, too, ripping out the very roots of our sense of community. Shots are fired at both ends of my street. One of the houses here burns. I have friends willing to come and evacuate us, but why bother? The hatred is everywhere; the sense of entitlement pervasive. There is nowhere safe in this city tonight. There is nowhere safe in this country tonight. There may be nowhere safe in this world anymore…

Yet I feel no fear…

The time of the Reckoning is Now. And I am as “prepared” as I will ever be. So bring it on, already. And let’s get this over with…

*** *** ***

Days later and my feelings haven’t changed. If anything, they have solidified. The sun rises and sets, commerce begins its slow grinding efforts toward reopening, the daily gristmill calls me from my home under dire threat of what might happen if I refuse to answer it. And yet none of it truly matters. It’s like background noise, static on the line… leaving your radio or tv on, but not really engaging in either. For I have seen my Self, have learned my truth, and I can no longer hide behind my ignorance. But can I explain it to you?

Hmm…

Why should I want to?

Because… because I want a record of this moment, even if I never get to review it. Because I want a chance to explain myself before I resort to silence. Because my Ego demands acknowledgment of its existence, before it gives up the reins. Because my heart cries out its final resistance before it submits to my purpose.

So be it, then… I will speak my truth and see where it leads, and where it follows…

I know two things now. I was young once. And now I’m not. I am a crone. And with that knowledge comes a knowing of its own…

Long, long ago, before I was even human, I made a decision. I stood for a cause. I chose a side. I decided to aid the humans I had been assigned to merely observe. And by doing so, I betrayed those to whom I owed some sense of fealty, if only by virtue of sharing some species-specific DNA. I turned my back on “my own kind” to support the underdog. It was a path taken of my own free will, with eyes open and heart heavy. It was a decision I hoped to never regret. Until I did…

Idealism is a luxury of the young, and young at heart. But with lifetimes between me and then, and with crone-hood firmly weighing down these all-too-human shoulders now, I realize that the “wisdom” of aging is really no more (or less) than the acceptance of Life on Life’s terms. There is no room for judgement left. There is no time for waffling between what I want to be true, and what is. In fact, time itself no longer exists when every moment is Now. It is, quite simply, what it is. Period…

Which is not the same as saying that Change cannot occur, because it most certainly can, and will! Of that I am quite sure! For Change has proven to be the only other constant I have found in my experience. But I will not be the one to direct its course. Not anymore.

The other constant I have come to recognize is Balance, for the Universe itself seeks it through all times. And through Time itself. For what is Time if not the greatest equalizer ever devised, devious and supreme, and triumphant always?! Time is the Great Delusion by which all “things” are measured. Time is what defines us in our separate realities, but Time itself is not real. The irony is both appalling and awe-inspiring. For it is Time that has brought me back to my own beginning, so that I may experience, first-hand my own ending.

And yet… I shall not end.

Stepping away from Time shall make me time-less, aka immortal. For that is my true destiny, as it is for each of you…

So how does any of this relate to the riots raging just beyond my line of sight? How does this understanding alter my course? How do I reconcile then and now?

Simple math really. Connecting the dots. If I chose a side before, then Now I must not!…

Sides and causes are for idealists, not realists. Balance teaches me what I always knew (and thought I understood), but never truly owned until the endless Now. Opposites not only support one an’Other in their mutual existence, but in fact, actually create each other! Shadow would not exist but for the light that gives it form; light would not be but for the darkness it can banish. Each contains within its self the seed and sustenance of its own destruction! And with Time having absolutely no relevance, it matters not which comes first. Or last. They come into existence together, like the splitting of an atom. Or the division of a cell in living form…

By choosing sides I become a mirror of, and for, my “enemy.” I manage to create an enemy of equal passion, equal power, equal determination. “Power up,” (advantage) may alter over time, but such changes are always temporary. For Balance will always assert itself, eventually, and Change will always occur. And Time… [laughing]… Time does not exist!

The only way to win this war is not to fight the battles!

I know this will not be a popular stand to take. I don’t truly expect any others to agree. Of course I have feelings about what is occurring! I have a sense of right and wrong, as well as a grasp of moral ambiguity. I know what I personally believe. But that is just opinion now, and there are way too many of those flailing violently about! This world doesn’t need mine. It likely never did, though the youthful One I identified with would not so easily admit that. What this world “needs” is less of Me, and significantly more Neutrality!

I am done with fighting my self…

So if you come to me, bloody and broken, I will not ask what politics you embrace before tending to your wounds. If you come to destroy me as a symbol of your strength, I will not oppose you. Nor will I martyr my Self. I am Nothing, no thing of consequence to you or any Other.

I am a crone. A grandmother. My role as such is simply to accept. And to love. Unconditionally. Without favor or expectation, but with a fierceness that defines who (or what) I have become!

My reckoning has arrived. And all my choices are behind me…

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Poetry, Reflections

The Other…

I see you…

I see the struggle you undertake every day.

I see the smiles you fake along the way.

I see the haunted looks you hide

and the tears you haven’t cried.

I see you…

I hear you…

I hear the words you say

and the ones you’ll never speak

I hear the strength that’s gone,

your voice now tremulous and weak.

I hear you…

I feel you…

I feel your pain in the day to day

I feel the joy that slipped away.

I feel your fear that nothing will change

I feel the certainty that we’ve lost this game.

I feel you…

I know you…

I know what makes you different

I know what makes us the same.

I know where you are headed

I know because I’m going that way.

I know you…

My Other isn’t other

Any more than I’m my Self.

Interchangeable…

Unique…

Separate…

But together.

I am Me.

I am We.

I am…

Quite simply

Every thing.

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Essay, Reflections

Lie to me…?

Everybody lies…

Including me.

That being said, I have to wonder why it bothers me so much? Is it the kind of lie that gets to me, or the reason for lying? Or is it merely my pride balking at the idea that you think you’re “getting away” with something because I’m too naive or gullible to question it? I don’t know. Honestly…

I mean, there are simple “white lies,” usually meant to protect someone’s feelings. Unimportant in the larger scheme of things, or so we tell ourselves. And yet somehow they are “important” enough to justify themselves. Because not telling them would cause harm to someone. Or so we believe… (And that is quite likely the truth!)

There are “lies of omission,” when we could tell the truth, but we don’t. We imply things, tell half-truths, but shy away from telling the whole truth. And usually we do that to protect ourselves. Because we don’t want to be judged. Or because we fear the consequences of being judged.

Yeah, I could tell my boss I was late today because I was shopping online, but why bother? I told him I was going to be late, he didn’t ask why, so I gave no excuse at all. Would there have been work consequences if I told the whole truth? Probably not. But he would have thought less of me, perhaps felt disrespected because I thought shopping was more important than doing the job he hired me for. But it’s unlikely I would have faced any “real” consequences. So I left a blank slate between us; no harm done, to the relationship or my sense of integrity…

Lies of omission are good for avoiding embarrassment as well. Could my friend have told me she was headed out for a possible late night booty call with a stranger? Of course! Not my place to judge her, and there’s nothing “wrong” with her wanting such, but still… Is that something she wants to openly admit? Apparently not. Better to say she’s “going out to coffee with a friend.” That way, regardless of how it turns out, there are no awkward follow-up questions, no voicing of concerns or friendly warnings, no attempts at explaining desires, and no fear of “I told you so” if it goes poorly.

And then there are the unintended lies, those told for expediency’s sake, but never meant to be untruthful. Like my boss promising me a different job within the company. He always meant to fulfill that promise. But it’s been more than five years now, a hundred “excuses” later, and I’m no closer to that job than I was when it was first promised to me. I’ve lost my old job, and now they’re making up busy work for me to do, just to keep me around. Still not the job I’ve been waiting for.

Are lies the necessary consequence of living in community? Or is the truth enough to really set us free? I’ve not seen a lot of truth living in communal circumstances, but I have seen a lot of hurt arise from it. Even if that truth is only what I admit to myself…

People call me gullible because I so easily accept people as they present themselves. That doesn’t mean I cannot see what lies beneath the lies they tell themselves. The truth is, I accept the version of reality that someone else chooses to show or tell me because it’s not my place, usually, to correct them. We all live in a fantasy of our own creation. Who am I to spoil your delusion?

Seriously…

I have my own delusions, too. Including the one that tells me you’re lying to my face, intentionally or otherwise. Even if you aren’t. According to you…

So go ahead and lie to me. It’s what we do. It’s what we want. Even if it’s only because I want someone to blame when the truth seeps through, and reality becomes a glaring, blinding, painful thing to witness. Comfort me with an alternative fact, however absurd, so I can tell my Self that I’m ok.

It’s ok… Really.

Everybody lies, after All…

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Reflections, Uncategorized

The Endless, Timeless Now…

As I rev up the old writing machine, feeling the sluggishness of the gears, the stiffness of disuse, listening to the grinding of rusted pieces beneath the surface of things, I can’t help wondering if this exercise is as pointless as any other…? Is there any thought worth sharing here, any voice worth listening to? Is there any part of my experience today that an’Other could relate to?

And the laughter moves within, like gas bubbles in my intestines, swelling and growing, eager to be released in a fit of uncontrollable hoots and giggles… For Now has finally arrived for many of the masses – the endless, timeless Now…

Late last summer, I finally moved. Living with my daughter now and her two children, in a house we can call our own. A “dream” come true – a multi-generational living space I can call my “forever home.” It even included a chair, the one thing I’d yearned for more than any other; a place to sit on the main floor, away from my sleeping space…

At the same time, I started training my own replacement at work. The first attempt was a dismal failure, resulting in conflict, and firings, and worse. The second attempt hasn’t fared much better, though the threat lingers on, temporarily on hold while the economy shuts down…

But the changes within Me ran even deeper than that, reorganizing overnight in a profound way I could not articulate. Nor did I want to, as there seemed no point. I had nothing of value to share, and no voice volunteering to speak. I unpacked only enough to resume the daily grind, then sat back and watched my new life unwind…

Took me months to realize I wasn’t even driving the vehicle anymore, content to sit back and silently observe. Rarely engaging with any outside force, I became the Watcher of all things Me; amused, frustrated, compassionate to a point, but virtually emotionless at my core. Or perhaps dispassionate is a better choice of words. I felt things, to be sure, as deeply as I ever had, but those feelings were not sufficient to move me anymore. I watched. Things happened. I thought, briefly, casually, without embracing any causes. And more things happened, while I watched them conform…

It no longer mattered whether the thoughts created the things, or the things generated the thoughts; I was caught in a cycle of “in” mirroring “out.” And I named it off-handedly as us language people do: the endless, timeless Now. For that is exactly how it felt!

Only now, with the world on pause, and the people feeling lost, have I found a common cause to relate with you all. For so many others at home and abroad are reaching out to describe this state of Nothing-ness while Time marches on.

It is really quite peaceful when you stop trying to stir the pot and muck it up. Thoughts and feelings wash over me in waves, impersonal but moving, indistinguishable as they roll away to lose themselves in the warm seas surrounding me. An ocean ever-changing with the motion of the tides, but monotonous as far as my human eyes can see. And all I need do is think thoughts that ignite activity somewhere near me. A brief visit from another denizen of the deep, or a storm washing over its surface will shake things up for me.

No time to be bored here; no need to be scared. A simple experience of day after day. And suddenly seasons have changed, sort of anyway. (There was, after all, that snowstorm this May!). I’ve watched moon after moon cycle through, aware that Time passes without carrying me, too.

Welcome… a voice whispers. Welcome, my friends…

… to the Endless, Timeless Now that I’ve been living in.

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Essay

Happy Mother’s Day…?

This post is likely to be wildly unpopular, and I’m ok with that. If you happen to be one of those who are easily offended, I suggest you move along without reading any further, as I expect this may trigger some deep-rooted trauma or sense of self-doubt. I’m not writing it to purposely upset you, but because it epitomizes a trend that deeply disturbs me. And this is, after all, my blog…

In an effort to be sensitive and all inclusive, I’ve noticed a tendency in recent years toward expanding the definition of “motherhood” to all who have considered the role, at some time, to be desirable. After reading several traditional expressions of sentiment aimed toward actual mothers, there will be some voice that speaks up and mentions those who would love to be mothers, but aren’t…

“Let’s not forget the women who have tried to get pregnant and been unable to…”

Or…

“Be sensitive about how your happiness affects those who’ve had repeated miscarriages. This day is especially tough on them…”

Or… Worse yet…

“Be aware that some mothers have lost babies in infancy. Imagine how they must feel today!”

Why?? No, seriously, why? Why should I, or any other mother, be guilted into minimizing their mother’s day? Let’s be honest here…

Mother’s Day is a made up holiday, created by cardmakers and promoted by anyone with a gift item to sell. Like so many other holidays, its primary purpose is to separate people from their hard-earned cash with yet another excuse to buy goods that are likely not needed, or even wanted sometimes. And yet, in true opportunistic fashion we, as a society, have coopted the day and transformed it into an actual thing – a day to honor mothers. We honor equally those who have birthed or adopted children, but we honor the role they play even more…

Today is a day to remember both the good ones and the bad ones. And it’s a day for acknowledging the courage, the love, the protectiveness, the nurturing… the sacrificing that motherhood always requires. If you’ve been one, you know what I mean. If you’ve loved one, you know what I mean. And if you’ve been loved by one, you hopefully will figure it out, someday if not yet today…

If you haven’t experienced any of those scenarios, by choice or circumstance, then today is, quite simply, not about you. I say that with absolute compassion, even if it doesn’t sound that way or feel that way to you. So please… stop trying to make this day about you, and the troubles you’ve known! Stop trying to draw attention your way. Believe me when I say that the maternal instinct, once awakened, will want to reach out to comfort you. And that’s not fair, or just, or justified, just because you’ve suffered by not being a mother yourself!

Every mother I know has made sacrifices in life. They have often put others’ needs first; it’s kind of a presumed requirement of motherhood. They’ve experienced, or will, what it’s like to be irrelevant in the eyes of those they love the most. To be completely ignored when asking for help or cooperation, while simultaneously being expected to act immediately to address the child’s perceived “need.” To be heartbroken countless times by callous words or actions thrown their way. To be held accountable for every “mistake” they’ve ever made, while others expect immediate and total forgiveness. The hypocrisy, the double standards, the judgment that every mother deals with is astounding!

So let it go, already! Let them have their made up holiday. Let them have this ONE stinking day that is about them, that acknowledges them, and they will fade back into obscurity tomorrow, like the other 365 days this year (yay leap year!)… Find another way to express your sorrow and grief today, that doesn’t rain on mom’s parade. Please…

Turn away from social media if the happy posts trigger you. Avoid the Hallmark channel on tv. Don’t try eating out, or ordering in, because it’s a day when families celebrate by not making mom cook, and the waits are endless. Or, better yet, go outside and honor the earth in some significant way, because no mother has sacrificed more, or suffered more, or deserved more respect than She who nurtures all life! Including yours…

And we can get back to your sorrows tomorrow…

… … …

Yeah… I said all that.

And I meant every word…

Let the backlash begin if it must.

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