Reflections

The How’s & Why’s

Last Sunday I spent time with my grandchildren, as I do every Sunday. My 2 year old grandaughter has entered the “why” phase of her development, engaging in rather lengthy conversations (for a 2 year old) where every “answer” prompts another “why?”… Personally, I love this phase, as I have spent a lifetime learning “why’s” and am always eager to share what I’ve learned. So I was happy to indulge her curiosity, remembering fondly her mother’s “why” time, and even much of mine…

My daughter, overhearing our conversation, thought to apologize. I laughed, telling her what I just told you, and she had a curious response. She pointed out that my grandson (now 7) never really went through that phase…

That got me thinking… (uh oh!)

And I realized that they are two very different kinds of people, my grandchildren. (Duh!) But, seriously, I think they may represent very different groups of people currently living in our society – the How’s and the Why’s…

How people are thinkers, builders, problem-solvers and creators; they want to know how things work, and then they use that information to create new things and ways of doing things. I’ve often said my grandson has an “engineering” bias, fascinated as he is by discovering how things work, and resistant to imaginative play. He wants to build things. And when I try to play make-believe with him, he always calls me out on fantasy projections, telling me how “that’s not real!” When I encourage him to pretend, the best he can do is take known facts and cobble them together into outlandish possibilities. Like he explained how he would build a time machine, not in terms of how it would actually traverse time or when he would travel to, but in terms of the door, the shape of the vessel, the materials needed, the types and numbers of dials and buttons. All very precise, while still being pure imagination…

He also happens to be exceptional at math, science, music and karate (having won first place at his tournament this week). And yes, that is a shameless plug…

My grandaughter, however, spends much of her awake time in imaginative play, happily conversing with her stuffed animals or the friends that only she can see. She also shares a love of nature with me (and her mother) that her brother does not feel in the same way. (The first time we took them on a walk through the forest to see the fairy houses, my grandaughter was entranced while my grandson was bored, except for when we got wondering if trolls were “real” or not.)

Why people seek purpose, meaning, understanding. They tend to be naturally empathic, as if carrying within themselves some basic concept of unity. (The first time she “met” a tree in person, she ran up to hug it with her baby arms. She also talks quite coherently now to plants and animals, with absolutely no fear of any animal she’s ever seen.) They look for ways to bridge problems and obstacles, seeking through similarity, metaphor and analogy another way around or over. They are the “big picture” people.

A couple decades ago, I would have classified them as left and right-brain biased, and I wouldn’t have been “wrong.” But those descriptions no longer seem adequate, as both children are exceptional problem-solvers (requiring both creativity and critical thinking), but each approaches those “problems” differently; my grandson wants to “fix” them, while my grandaughter wants to “understand” them. But together, they are pure genius! My grandaughter (the instigator) comes up with a purely “imaginative” goal, and my grandson immediately applies himself to creating the means to achieve it…

I suppose there are also Who and Which people, as well. The Who’s would be the community builders, the networkers, the connectors, figuring out who should be paired with whom to get the most productive results. And the Which’s then would be the decision makers, the organizers, the “leaders” if you will; their ability to rapidly compare and contrast multiple scenarios on the fly makes them ideal for that role…

And I think the When’s and Where’s are accounted for by the actual environment in which all of us have gathered. This is, after all, a 3 dimensional world of Time and Space…

Not sure why any of this is significant right now, except that it relates to a conversation I once had with my “teachers” about the different factors at play in “reality,” and their function in creating it. And since we clearly need a new perspective on reality (and by “we” I mean “all of me”), perhaps it’s time to revisit these concepts.

Hmm… Maybe my grandaughter will know why it’s important, and my grandson can figure out how to use this information. I’ll have to ask them this weekend… ;D

Advertisements
Standard
Poetry, Reflections, Visions

“Say My Name…”

A voice whispers nearby, though I cannot see its source

it speaks my name…

And there is love in every syllable

embracing shadow, light and shame…

And suddenly I’m not alone anymore

on this journey I have chosen…

I am not judged, for triumph or failure,

only acknowledged for my wholeness…

And there is peace beyond measurement

in that act of remembrance…

rectification, validation and atonement…

in the silence that once spoke my name.

Out of sight, but never out of mind

just say my name, and I will come…

Love…

Standard
Reflections

A Battle of Conscience…

Sitting here, actively ignoring every news report, opinion piece, or intuition regarding what is happening in the world. And still my guts are churning. Because truth will track me down and find me, no matter how deeply I bury my head in the sand…

So, I walk away from every device that might “poison” me today. I seek solace on our deck, in our private little copse of trees, with the wildlife it protects and shelters. And immediately Blue Jay is on my ass, yelling at me. I’ve seen only a few this year, and heard them only occasionally, but suddenly they are everywhere. Loud and obnoxious, the meaning is clear (for me, anyway), they come to remind me of the “proper use of power.”

And finally it occurs to me that I’m fighting for my very character here. Who do I truly want to be?!

I’ve “suffered” a lot in this life. I’m not alone in that. I’ve likely suffered through many lives here. And every trial, every abuse of power, every betrayal, every injustice has taught me about the “proper” use of power.

Until now, when empathy is more than just a word for me; it has become a way of life. Forgiveness is the rule, rather than the exception. The “high road” is the one that calls me forward. Always… I don’t even have to think about it anymore; it just happens.

Because there are always at least two sides to a story. There are always lessons to be learned. And forgiveness is what’s best for me. It puts me back in the power seat; it erases any hint of victimage. It puts me in charge of my own destiny…

That’s “good,” right? That’s how it should be. Right? Or am I missing something vital in this equation?

Because I don’t want to take the high road today! I am ignoring its call. I don’t want to forgive today! Some things are unforgivable. If people of conscience continue to do the same thing, making the “correct” moral choice, over and over again, then how is anything ever going to truly change? It reminds me of that quote (by whom, I do not know), that “true insanity is doing the same thing over and over again, expecting different results.”

So, today, rather than questioning whether those “in power” should pay, I find myself questioning how? I hear my own words, thrown out in rage last week, returning home to me now, ringing out in the voice of my own child: “let’s grab some of those NRA protected guns and seek our own justice, for the system has failed us for the last time!”

So I’m questioning now who we should kill with those guns that we grab? Obviously those currently in power, right? Let the revolution truly begin, and let it begin with those closest to me, including myself. Let those of us without dependents step up and face the consequences, taking down as many as we can along the way!

“But…,” I hear myself hesitate, not because I lack courage or commitment, but because I lack knowledge and skill. “How do I get near enough to any of them to act on my plan?”

So I start thinking perhaps we should go after their loved ones first, for they are less protected. And personally, I’d like to see them suffer first. I’d like them to get just a taste of what it feels like to be powerless today!

Or maybe go after those in lesser circles who still exhibit the traits of power and privilege, preventing that next generation from claiming its place in the halls of power?

“But no,” I hear myself saying. There is a difference between vengeance and justice. I do not wish to become a vigilante. I just want to stop what is happening. And voting won’t change a thing, really. The “bad guys (and women)” need to end; it is the only way to stop them. Remove them from the equation, and let others have a chance. That is justice…

“Yes, Blue Jay, I hear you!! But today, I simply don’t care!”

Standard
Reflections

Random questions…

As a dying person, is it better to tell loved ones it’s coming, or allow them to be shocked when Death arrives?

As a loved one, is it better to know it is coming, or to be shocked when Death arrives?

I ask these questions because of conversations I had yesterday at a family funeral. The now-deceased person had long been dealing with a chronic, eventually terminal, disease that everyone knew about. However, his condition was much improved, and his “terminal” prognosis appeared to be temporarily on hold. He went to the hospital for a “final” routine surgery, where “complications” occurred, leading to an antibiotic resistant infection, which led to his “untimely” death in a matter of a couple days. His surgery was so “routine” that most of the family wasn’t even aware he was going in for it (the patient having deemed it non-noteworthy in the greater scheme of things).

Everyone was shocked by his sudden and unexpected demise, in spite of his chronic health problems…

All except one, that is. A single family member who had been told by this patient last year that the doctors had predicted only 1-4 more years for him. The patient had sworn this family member to secrecy, choosing to live what remained of his life free of the “specter of dying” and all that it implied. The family member kept silence faithfully, even after the patient’s “unexpected” death, choosing only to share that info with me after the fact, and asking me to also keep that knowledge from the rest of the family. (I guess he needed to share the truth with someone, and that person needed to be removed from the inner circle so as not to taint the family view of the deceased one. My suspicions are that the family would be very upset that such info was kept from them.)

I asked these questions of some at the funeral, and unanimously they felt it would always be better to know than not know. Any feelings about this out there in blog-land?

Standard
Essay, Reflections

Surrender…?

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but sometimes you have to lose big before you can win. Sometimes you have to let go before you can move forward. And sometimes, you have to surrender before you can be empowered.

I learned that mostly through getting sober in a 12 step group. Being a stubborn lass, I often push myself well beyond my limits, convinced that “if I give up now, I will never get back in the game.” And too often, that has proven to be true.

But there occasionally comes a time when I know I can’t continue, when there is simply not enough left in the tanks or the reserves to carry on. There are times when the battle, for survival or supremacy, simply isn’t worth it anymore. And times when even my wild imagination cannot fantasize a happy outcome, no matter how bizarre and impossible I allow the parameters for “success” to become. The question is knowing when that is…

Hello, Time, my ever present nemesis…”

Because letting go of something that isn’t working (at the right time) may ennable you to notice opportunities you would otherwise have missed; aka the other door or window that appears in the vacuum. Or it may allow you to accept help, whether it comes from other people, some Divine influence, or a quirk of fate. It certainly forces you to re-evaluate your place and your priorities, perhaps leading you to more realistic and attainable victories. Such re-orientation brings new strength to bear in the struggle, new hope, new goals to pursue. It reinvigorates the life you are presently living, however diminished that might be from the one you were pursuing…

But giving up too soon is a cop out, a failure, a loss of momentum; it makes you a quitter, rather than a winner, no matter how successful your “lesser” life becomes. Surrendering too early makes you weaker rather than stronger, presenting as a failure of will rather than an unwinnable contest. It creates a sand pit, a muckhole full of regret and “what if’s” hungry to suck you in at your first hesitation during any subsequent efforts. It is a loss from which you never truly recover…

So, how do you know where that line is? How do you figure out the timing of any surrender? Do you just push on, bruised and broken, until your only coherent thought is “enough, already!”? Or do you push on after that, preferring to err on the side of trying too hard, rather than quitting too soon? Do you literally press on until death drops you while still in harness? (Romantic thought, yes, but unrealistic, as the body usually stops functioning well before death actually comes to claim it.)

I was watching a show the other day, some apolcalyptic, end of the world scenario, where different factions fought about the best way to save the world. And as those “in power” argued amongst themselves trying to one-up each other, a doomsday cult grew up among the common people. The common folk accepted the inevitable end of humanity, seeking love and comfort from each other, while dreaming of how some other form of life (better than the plague that humans have become) would one day rise up to take our place.

Sound familiar?…

But then some renegade science geeks found a way to possibly save humanity, risking all to fight against the powers that be to achieve their vision of possible survival. And just when it seemed they might have succeeded, against all odds, the doomsday cult interceded with an act of terrorism to destroy that fragile hope, and the miracle device they built. Apparently, having accepted the inevitable end, having properly surrendered and found peace, they could not now accept that such an end might not occur. And so they acted out to make sure it would…

Have we, as a species (the masses, not the elites), surrendered our “power” too soon?

That’s the question haunting me today. For I believe I have accepted that humanity, or society anyway (as it is currently structured), is doomed; it simply cannot be saved. Nor do I believe it should be. Too much damage done over too many centuries, too many repeated failures and mistakes, too much proof that “good” can never truly triumph over the “evil” that rules. So, like many others, I wait for the inevitable end, the collapse of society as we know it.

But that end never seems to come, does it?

I mean, all the indicators are there – climate change, mass extinctions, vastly disproportionate allocation of resources, constant discord, increasing violence, an absolute refusal by those in power to change course, and an inability for the common folk to make them. Doomsday cults are a dime a dozen, and the major religions all seem to be preaching “end of days” scenarios. Countless apocalyptic dates have come (and passed), and more are predicted ahead. Most people seem to agree the “end is coming”; it’s really just a matter of when…

And yet…

And yet we keep on keeping on, limping through each day crippled but not dead. Individuals and entire species die off, while new individuals are born and live. Microscopic life forms are thriving (at the expense of others, of course). The sun rises each day on a planet more polluted than the day before. The moon transits through her phases, bearing witness to growing sorrows. But life, and more importantly here, society, continues. Why?!

I believed people who said the economy would collapse. I believed those who said humanity would turn on and destroy itself. But it hasn’t happened. Yet. And that’s a problem for someone like me. Why?

Because every day is a struggle. Because I want nothing more than to lay down my “coping tools” and give up. And I suspect I’m not the only one. But we can’t do that. Not really. Because if we give up too soon, we will only increase our suffering, but not speed up our relief. We won’t die, at least not right away. And while we wait for that, we will lose everything we are barely holding onto now.

I, personally, don’t like how it feels to be homeless and hungry. I’ve been there (long ago), when I was stronger and more physically capable, but I was still miserable. I can’t even fathom going through that now! So I continue to drag myself to work, day after day, juggling bills I can’t actually pay off, waiting expectantly for the day when these struggles become meaningless. But that day never actually comes…

I watch people I love struggle the same way, knowing how little I can do to actually alleviate their pain, because I have none of the resources that might actually help them. And I know they feel the same. I’m starting to feel just a tad bit envious of every death I learn about, knowing they, at least, have escaped. It’s getting to the point where I’m no longer sure if the “grief” I experience, the tears I cry, are to honor those who’ve passed, or to lament the fact that I haven’t!

And those doomsday predictors have all had to “walk back” their predictions, claiming now that we will not pass from this place with a boom and a flash, but with a whimper and a slow rotting away. Maybe in my lifetime, or maybe three generations away! The end, however inevitable it may seem, is not necessarily imminent…

“Time, my old enemy, you have a wicked and cruel sense of humor!”

Is giving up even an option anymore? Is there any chance that surrender could hasten the end of this war? It doesn’t seem that way to me, but perhaps I’m missing something here. Please feel free to enlighten me…

Standard
Reflections, Visions

Clouds and Shadows…

Have you ever felt like you had something to say, but couldn’t find any words capable of expressing it?

Have you ever known you had something worth sharing, but not been able to do so?

I am haunted today by clouds and shadows, hints of something, flashes of “inspiration.” There is an urge rising up from deep within the creative well, demanding my complete attention. Yet when I look upon it, I see nothing there but empty space…

In my meditation this morning, I saw faces. Dozens of faces in a variety of situations and emotional states, but I did not recognize or feel kinship with any one of them. (Worth noting, though, that the original typing of the word “emotional” came out “emptional” implying the “empty-ness” of such exposures.)

It’s like a photographic collage blasting through my brain, accompanied by an expectation that I will feel or recognize something of significance. But only the nothing-ness of it stands out…

And the word “identity.” Presumably from the same Latin root that gave us “identification” and “identical.” Meaning something to do with “same-ness.” But I’m just speculating here; too lazy and too late to look it up right now…

But I am not myself today…, though certainly I am my Self.

Just thinking out loud here, folks. Carry on, carry on. Nothing to see here but clouds and shadows, and your own projections of what they might mean…?

Standard
Conversations, Reflections, Visions

Home…

I was out of form and exploring the lack of boundaries I felt, enchanted by the possibilities taking shape. I had reached out to an’Other I know very well, seeking connection in this formless state. But she hadn’t answered my call or responded in any way, and I knew time had passed in my world. So I reached out once again, more determined now to discover why she was avoiding me…

I felt my hand solidify, just a bit, as it touched something real somewhere, so I fed a bit more attention to it, and grasped at the object I’d found. Pulling it toward me with a jerk and a wish, I prepared to ask questions of my missing friend…

But the hand that emerged was not hers at all. It was large, and tattooed, and tinted slightly blue. I glanced up, quite startled, as the body came through – a tattooed man I’d never met, who stood there grinning like a fool. Acting like he’d achieved something wondrous that day, leaving me disoriented, and shy, with this stranger I’d nabbed…

“Uhh… you’re not Lea,” I pointed out, to cover my shame.

“Ummm… no,” he responded, though his grin never faded.

“Do I know you?,” I asked, unsure of myself. “Or should I?”

“‘Should’ is a word I don’t like to use; it’s weighted heavily with expectations, and leads too often to excuses.”

“Which doesn’t answer my question at all,” I pointed out. “So, tell me, my friend, who are you? And why are you here?”

“You brought me here. Quite insistently, I might add,” he answered with a wink, lifting our still joined hands into my field of vision.

It was then that I realized I was nothing more than mist, with a hand solidly attached to his. And as we moved silently across a sandy land, I thought to look back to see where we’d been. His footsteps were clear in the sandy soil, but my path was marked by a series of puddles. Remembering suddenly I was water without form, I focused more strongly on the hand that I held.

As I did so, a body began to take shape around me – lithe and tall and blue as a lake…

“You’re not even human!,” I suddenly exclaimed, aware in that moment of the size of the moon. For night was falling in that unfamiliar place, and the moon was rising to take her natural space. But she was huge, and purplish blue, and the stars that surrounded and worshipped her were all new…

“Neither are you,” he whispered close to my ear, and suddenly I knew it was true…

“I am now,” I said sadly. “Or mostly, anyway. And I have been for a very long time…”

***

“Welcome home, Lost One,” he continued softly. “You have been missed.”

Glancing around at the barren landscape, I felt bewildered. “But what happened here?,” I asked. “I don’t remember any of this…”

And suddenly a great noise arose, directly in front of us, as a crowd of like others came running to join us…

“You found her!,” exclaimed an old woman, leaning heavily upon a small child, while others babbled in laughter and other joyous sounds…

“More like she found me,” he reacted honestly, as our contact was broken by the crowd embracing me…

I was loved here. Completely. And joyously. And freely. And tears of happiness flowed easily from me. My heart felt full for the first time in forever, and I let it burst free to enjoy this phenomenon.

And as tears fell from eyes that were never quite dry, I noticed the very landscape around me had shifted. For now things were growing in the desert of before, becoming lush forest in the non-time we wore. And when I looked back at our footprints once more, I saw flowers springing from puddles where I had stepped before…

Glancing back at the tattooed man, I noticed his smile again. Only this time I felt it within me as well… He took my hands in his, looked deep into me, and spoke gently to the deepest sense of my being…

“As I said, you’ve been missed… Welcome home, Le-hAn-Dre-Elise…”

Standard