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…

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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?

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Reflections

Who is she…?

Who is this “mother” who gave birth to me, more than half a century ago?

She was more than just a conduit through which my spirit could connect with another physical body. Wasn’t she?

She had her own thoughts, her own feelings, her own needs, her own demons. Didn’t she?

She might be a faceless stranger to me, but someone must have known her, right?

I don’t actually know, as we never truly “met.” At least not here, in this timeline, while I’ve been Lisa. But, of course, we shared the same space. Even the same body. Some trace of her must remain within me. Somewhere… Right?

My conscious memories of this timeline don’t truly begin until I was almost 3 years old. Everything before that is hazy and vague, and by that time, she was long gone. But I never knew why…

My brother remembered her, and he loved her. So much so that he never stopped waiting for her to return. The few stories he told me merely emphasized her abuse, made me grateful I couldn’t remember her. But he never gave up on her. Ever… Why?

Was he simply another abandoned child, longing to be cared for? Or was there something special about my mother that he craved to connect with again, in spite of the abuse and abandonment?

Today is the anniversary of the day they discovered him dead. I remember that day, though the year escapes me now; sometime in the 90’s though… He’d been dead for days, and the smell drew his neighbor’s attention. He died alone. No cause of death was ever determined…

I remember him visiting me in my dreams on his first birthday after his death. He was happy. At last. Standing on the other side of a river with her at his side. In death he had gained what he’d always longed for in life – reunification with our mother.

So what made her so special that he never could let her go? Today I am wondering…

Science claims to have proven that much of our innate “intelligence” comes to us through our mother’s genes. Judging from the way my family has grown, I tend to believe that; my daughter is at least as “smart” as I am, and her children outshine us both… So, should I assume my mother was also highly intelligent? Maybe too much so to “fit” into the world as it was when I was born? She was a college graduate who made a living as a model, before being relegated to a lonely life as an army wife and mother… That would have made me crazy!

And she was “crazy,” every bit as much as I am, though my father tried to keep that from us kids. But we found out eventually. About her time in a lockdown facility, her “nervous” condition, the mysterious deaths of two of my siblings…

I am the only redhead in my family. I thought I was adopted. Turns out my mother was a redhead, too… Is that significant?

So many times through my childhood I remember my drunken father caressing my cheek, looking deep in my eyes, and murmuring about how much like her I was… Even my brother would echo those sentiments in his less guarded moments… Hmm…

So, who was she? This woman who gave birth to me more than half a century ago?

I honestly don’t know. But today I am on a mission to find out…

Today I choose to open my heart to that lost and closed chapter in my life. Today I invite her memory in, to meet with me, to speak with me. No judgment here. Just compassion. And an honest desire to know the spirit of the one who carried me into this place, sharing first her body, her genes, her home, and her madness…

I think it’s time we finally meet…

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Essay

Ignorance May Be Bliss…

but ignorance of how ignorant we are may be causing much of our conflict…

I just read an interesting article about the Dunning-Kruger Effect. It describes a common form of confirmation bias in which it isn’t so much what we don’t know that is the problem, but the overestimation of what we think we do know that is… That made an incredible amount of sense to me.

Let’s face it, we’re all guilty of confirmation bias to one extent or another. I know I am. Whether it’s in our perceptive bias (selective perception that primarily notices what we expect to find), our cognitive bias (more readily accepting as “fact” what we already believe to be true), or emotional bias (interpreting events to fit our current mood), we all shape reality according to pre-conceived notions. It’s simply how we are constructed. Our brains make connections based on connections already established; if it fits, it sticks. But what happens when you don’t know that you don’t know something? Worse yet, you don’t actually know something you think you do?!

Chaos rules…

How many others here have found themselves (recently!) shaking their head in bewilderment at something someone else said or did? I don’t mean simple confusion, or disbelief, but a deep-down, profound sense of wtf?! I can hear your thoughts here as clearly as my own, that moment when your inner dialogue sounds like this:

“Really?! Like seriously?! You didn’t just [say/do] that, did you?!”

The actions of the person we are interacting with are simply incomprehensible to us! We cannot even imagine…

THAT moment is a Dunning-Kruger moment… Either the person we are dealing with is downright delusional about reality, or we are. Either way, someone truly doesn’t grasp their own ignorance about the matter at hand.

I know I’m guilty of being on both sides of that equation. I recently heard myself “lecturing” my co-workers about something I strongly believed to be true. I sensed the resistance of at least one in the room, though she chose not to challenge me. The others all radiated validation my way, except one who chose to question my biases. It was then I heard myself admit, “of course, these are all just my opinion; there is no logical reason for you to accept them as anything else. I know I sound like I know what I’m talking about, but that’s just the confidence with which I express all my viewpoints you hear. I could be wrong. And if you can show me where I’m wrong, I’m more than willing to listen…”

The conversation moved on to other things after that. But that memory stuck with me. “Arrogance” is a word often used to describe me, and I can’t honestly deny it, though I would prefer to mute it. More like confident in my intelligence, my ability to grasp both abstract and actual “truths,” and make reasonable, sensible connections between them. But I understand that my basic premises may be wrong, that my intellectual bias may be leading me astray, that I may not have my “facts” straight at all. But to have to add that qualification to every “point” I make in a discussion makes any such debate cumbersome at best, pointless at worst. For how can we “learn” anything, if every sentence we utter begins with “I may not know what I’m talking about, but…”

Much better, in my opinion, to have someone challenge my assertions, point out where I’ve led myself astray. If your facts, reason, logic, or bias makes more sense after questioning, then I have no problem adjusting my point of view to be more in alignment with yours; I am quite capable of admitting I am “wrong” and you are “right.”

But if no one ever challenges me…? Or if those who do have nothing more to offer than insults and insistence on their own point of view, regardless of any contradictions or alternative ideas I might challenge them with…?

Then no true exchange of views, no “learning,” is possible. Right? Or am I missing something obvious here? Lol!

I’m not sure what the solution might be. I’m not even sure a solution exists! I can’t actually think for someone else, any more than I can make decisions about what might be best for them. But I can better discipline myself, and my own thought patterns. And I think it’s time to make a conscious effort to do so.

So, for a time anyway, I’m going to make a effort to add those annoying, cumbersome qualifiers to any discussion I have about “reality.” Maybe I won’t say them out loud all the time (since some already resent the number of words I use to express my point of view – lol!), but to myself, at least. While conversing with these people who make me want to tear my hair out in frustration, I will continuously repeat the mantra:

Ignorance may be bliss, but ignorance of my ignorance is not going to exacerbate this!

Or, in simpler, less verbiose terms…

I could be wrong here…

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Reflections

Wordy, wordy… the Message in the Medium…

I use too many words to express how I feel, to say what I mean, to get my point across…  If you follow me at all regularly, you know this.  I often meander way off track to get to where I’m going, taking the scenic path through unnecessary landscapes, just to prolong the journey.  I know this about myself.  I’ve heard it all my life.  It’s one of the reasons I’d never make it as a published writer, because I refuse to let those extra words go, and I will not allow my message to be biased by arbitrary (even if well-reasoned) word count limits…

So to be told by someone that I “sure take a round about way to make a simple statement” shouldn’t “hurt,” right?  But it does…  It feels like a rebuke.  Because it is one.  It also happens to be true!

My response?  Immediately shut up while silently going on the defensive…

[But I love words!  I want to use them…]

[So what?  No one is requiring you to hear me out…  I’m just making conversation, after all.]

[Sorry… My bad…]

And then I retire with my cup of coffee to mull it over…  And over…  And over again… [Just to be sure, you understand…?*]…

(* note where the comma is placed; it’s important.)

And then I ask myself, “what does it matter?”  If this is who I am (and I like that), what difference does it make?  People are free to walk away any time.  Why should this even bother me?

But it does…  Which tells me something more than mere words is happening here; some truth is trying to reveal itself to me.  So let’s chew on this some more…

Why do I need so many words to express my self?  [Oh, is there an extra space there, dividing the word “myself”?  ;)]  Why can’t I be content just saying what I mean?  Why does almost every direct statement feel incomplete?

Is it just my ego revelling in the sound of my own voice?  Is it my insecurity attempting to hold someone’s attention, now that they’re finally listening to me?  Or is there something more going on with Me? [Yes, that capital “M” was intended; it’s not a typo.]

The truth is all those “extra” words serve a purpose in the end.  They provide background, context, for what the words are “supposed” to mean, at this time, in this place… all relative, you see…?  They provide history (how I got to the point I’m trying to make), and connotative context (how and why I feel about what I’m about to say).  But mostly, all those extra syllables are there to illustrate the complexity and design behind simple statements, to show how Truth cuts through dimensional barriers, existing every where, every time, simultaneously, without contradiction.  That fact never ceases to create a sense of awe and wonder in me, and it is the closest thing (I’ve ever experienced) to the feeling known as “faith.”

I, personally, have never “trusted” an outsider to “take care of me.”  I’ve never believed that any human, god or cosmic plan existed with my best interests at heart, even in the best of times.  I’ve always waited for the other shoe to drop – the expectation, the exhortation, the exploitation…  It always comes…  Eventually.

And maybe that’s just the way life is done – an exchange of energy essential to keep things moving along.  Too much flowing in one direction creates an imbalance, requires correction.  Nature abhors a vacuum, right?

So… who’s to say all these extra words are not necessary after all?  If only in the way they hold the space, preventing any lesser truth (or greater falsehood) from sneaking in behind to fill the void.  So much left unsaid when word counts start to matter.  So much left open to interpret, outside my purposeful intent.  Yes, indeed, there are times for that.  But that’s what poetry is for…

And when carefully constructed poetry (or random intuitive ramblings) draw forth too literal responses (“what a lovely picture you paint with your words!”), however well-meaning and sincere…  Well, let’s just chalk that up to the Failed column, with so many other wasted words, because [clearly!] you didn’t get my point at all…

*** deep sigh ***

Words are easy… Communication is not.

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Dreams, Poetry, Reflections

Waking Up…

I feel the words approaching

rising up from deep within…

But they are nothing more than gibberish,

sounds that don’t make any sense…

There is no structure, no meaning,

no context or content;

Just random sounds of anguish

laced with lullabyes of love…

***     ***     ***

I woke this morning from a dream where I was being “taught” to wake an’Other, but nothing there was what it seems, and I was so confused… led astray…  misconstruing what should have been obvious, but was, instead, obtuse…

“You cannot wake them up directly,” I was told, for they do not understand.  “You may sound the same words, but you do not speak the same language.”

“You cannot touch them to awaken, for you will only startle them, and fear will block the process, and prevent you from connecting.”

“How then can I wake them,” I thought to ask, “if I cannot speak or touch?”

“Show them…,” came a sigh, blowing gently past my ear.

“Each One is unique, their response will be distinct.  But you must find the picture that most appeals, one for each…”

And so a slide show began playing in my brain, all unrelated images, and none appearing to have anything at all to do with wakening…

“How convoluted and confusing is all of this?,” I asked myself.  “How pointless and time consuming?  How can I possibly know which images will one day lead to somewhere useful?”

Frustration settled in, a rigid barrier to learning.  As I tried to breathe it out, I felt my Shilo start to stir.  He climbed atop my chest and settled on my heart, his purr a welcome respite from the lesson I wouldn’t learn…

He licked my face, and nipped my nose, beginning our morning battle, when he determines it’s time to wake, and I choose not to join him…

Finally I pushed him off, surrendering again, preparing to rise and greet the day, and leave the dream behind…

But as my eyes opened to greet the rising sun, they swept past the frozen clock.  And it was only then I realized I didn’t have to yet get up…

“You jerk!,” I snorted at my cat, annoyed and yet relieved.  “I don’t have to get up now; I’ve got 40 minutes left!”

And shifting to a more comfortable position, I closed my eyes, relaxed.  Grateful for the extra time, I drifted off again.  And somewhere, in a distant space, I felt him jump into his window seat, content now just to wait…

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Dreams, Reflections

Telepathy…?

So…  I finally experienced what true telepathy must feel like, and it came to me in a dream…

I’ve read a lot about telepathy, the “new communication,” and about people’s experiences with it.  They frequently share that it involves no words; it’s more like a transfer of complete thought, image and feeling, without a need for translation, explanation or intellectualization of any kind.  But I could never get my mind around how that might work.  (Duh!)

So this morning I’m dreaming that I’m hanging with one of my others, just chit chatting and being friendly.  Suddenly her phone alarm goes off.  I looked at her and commented that her alarm sounded exactly like mine, feeling kind of awed that we would choose exactly the same ringtone in our different worlds!

Then I realized it was because it was my alarm I was hearing, and I woke up…

In the time it took for me to think the words, “oh.  That’s because it’s my alarm,” we had already shared the humor of the moment.  We had laughed, dredged up similar instances of mistaken coincidence, and acknowledged that the friendly visit was over… before I finished thinking the words!

And as my eyes opened and I reached for my phone, I knew the completeness of that instant was what true telepathy feels like.  No words/images are necessary, no translations are needed, no doubt exists; there is a shared experience, complete, understood and timeless…

A beautiful moment, to be sure…

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