Poetry, Reflections, Visions

Shifting Sands…

The world around me is a desert, drowning…

Blood, sweat and tears stain the ground.

I walk slowly, purposefully…

among the shifting sands.

The trees’ roots are strong beneath me, supporting…

granting peace, comfort and stability.

Allowing me to pause and wait, consciously…

when the ground shifts beneath my feet.

And when it has settled once again, temporarily…

I can adapt my course appropriately.

And this… these words… serve not to guide…

nor hamper any progress…

but to remind…

that I am both navigator and traveller.

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Poetry, Reflections, Visions

“Stream of Consciousness…”

I am teetering at the edge of an abyss,

but I do not worry about falling in.

I am standing in a room, watching, as the lights begin to flicker and fail.

Shadows creeping ever closer, my mind alert…

yet my heart no longer fears the coming darkness.

I am wandering through a dream, visiting with real friends,

when, suddenly, they start shouting gibberish at me…

I hesitate, confused, before shrugging and moving on,

understanding that this conversation no longer speaks to me…

I am walking alone in the woods, communing with the trees,

and suddenly realize that animals are now surrounding me.

My mind tells me to be cautious, for these are not domesticated wildlife,

but I cannot fathom them attacking me…

From whence arises such confidence?

To whom should I direct my gratitude?

For these very situations, not so long ago, would have sent me running,

seeking shelter, refuge, sanctuary

from others

who always let me down.

And I feel none of that today…

No fear of what lies before me in my path…

No anxiety or need to see (or know) what is happening all around me…

No concern for my own “safety” in this unknown world.

I trust…

Simply, and purely

I trust…

Whom or What hardly even matters anymore.

Until it does.

I guess I trust myself today…

To maneuver and adapt to wherever my path calls me…

To find my way through whatever darkness settles around me…

To comprenhend truth when it reveals itself to me…

To walk calmly among those seemingly so unlike me, knowing I mean no harm, and so expect none…

I trust myself to do the “right” thing,

instinctively

and not just “right for me.”

If I have lingering resistance within me, it is this:

Frustration.

With those who insist they can be counted on to always do “what is right…

for them”.

A principle for which they offer sound advice, direction, and justification.

It sounds “good”

in theory…

but it still makes me uncomfortable.

know the Universe has my back; so I know I can proceed…

know that I have my own back; so I walk forward confidently.

And I know that the Universe,

and All it holds,

is Me.

I am Its equivalency!

So “doing right” is doing right

without conditionality…

without a conscious separating

of “mine” and “yours”

of “one” and “otherhood”.

Unity.

No “true” duality…

No “real” plurality…

A stream of consciousness

spilling into a river of time

seeking a sea of potential

in an ocean of possibilities.

Deep sigh…

Behold the “Cauldron of Creation”

where I am both Stirrer and Slime,

and the Magick that makes it sublime…

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Essay, Reflections

A Question of Competence… or is it Commitment?

I notice these days that there are a lot of people out there “selling” belief.  I get inundated every day with emails and ads, suggestions for how to improve every aspect of my life through holistic healing, energy work, prayer, divination, spirit guidance, contemplation practices and fitness regimes.  Everyone has an angle that they guarantee will work for me.

But I’m not sure I agree…  Why?

Why can’t I embrace any of these techniques?  Why can’t I even bring myself to try them out?  Clearly my life needs healing in so many ways, and I’ve always been open to both mainstream and alternative means.  Non-judgmental.  Yep, that’s me…

Or is it?  Because I find myself discounting these believers and teachers without even attempting to test their theories.  I find myself hitting “delete” without even listening to their spiel.  Is it just a question of competency?

To be sure, times have definitely changed.  I remember, not so long ago, when “experts” in any field were judged by the length of time they had invested in an area of study, as well as by the efficacy of their results.  Anyone new to a particular field had to “earn” their stripes, so to speak.

But in this digital era of instant gratification, and You Tube, everyone becomes an “expert” by saying they are, and by earning a “following.”  An interested party does an internet search on their topic, then chooses what site(s) to visit, or what videos to watch, not so much by researching qualifications, but by the number of “hits” or “followers” that “teacher” has.  “Mob rules” defined and practiced…

But I’ve never really been a follower type, preferring to take someone’s idea or theory and research it on my own.  Always looking for flaws in reasoning or data, critical in my assessments, judging what part(s) appear to work, or not, for me.  Self-defined reality…

And I can’t honestly state which path is “better” or makes more sense in the end, because both ways have their pros and cons.  Self-definition provides flexibility and adaptability to any path or belief system, but it also prevents any commitment or benefits of dedicated practice; you basically believe or do what you want, while discarding the rest, and that rarely leads to deep knowledge or wisdom.  But mob rule, while clearly directing your practice and belief, without requiring deep contemplation, also requires you to accept a whole lot of stuff you might not normally agree with; much harm has been perpetrated by those following a path too strictly, without regard for how it may affect the lives of others…

Hmm…

I know that in these tumultuous times people are desperate for something hopeful to believe in.  I know everyone wants to feel empowered, capable and competent.  We no longer believe in the “system” to provide for our needs consistently and competently, and we are correct in questioning it; the society we knew and trusted is collapsing around us.  So spirituality has become big business, and gurus are hawking every corner.  And many are providing (and feeling) some relief.  That’s good, right?

Too bad it doesn’t feel that way.  At least to me…

I have been asked twice in the last week or so, to offer my advice/guidance in a public setting; to “teach” on topics I used to be well versed in and confident to teach.  I have refused both opportunities, claiming “incompetence” as my excuse.  I no longer feel “qualified” to offer advice, even on those topics in which I was formerly an “expert,” recognized by both “time in” and “results of.”  And I find the whole situation rather amusing; but then, I’ve always had a twisted perception of reality, and a great appreciation for irony.

The bottom line for me today is that I no longer know what is “real” or not, or what is worthy of believing anymore.  My daily life is so overrun with time inconsistencies, and “bleed-through” from other realities, that I feel like it’s one continuous, unsubstantial, channel surfing adventure.  It’s like being on one of those rides at Disney World, where you sit in a little car that takes you through different scenes, changing rapidly, each trying to capture your imagination and “feel” real, while a part of you remains focused on the hard plastic seat you’re sitting on, and the wealth of darkness framing every scene.  You want to throw yourself into it, to wholly embrace the vision before you, but that seat is so uncomfortable, and the people behind you won’t stop talking, and your stomach is growling (oh, did I forget to eat again today?), and…  well, you get the drift.

I had a dream recently…

In the dream I was one of a half dozen people or so invited to attend a special retreat.  At that retreat we were to be trained on how to “pray” for others, and to teach them how to pray for themselves.  In this case, though, “prayer” referred to the actual practice of miracles; in other words, we would be taught how to manifest real change in the world, and how to pass that skill to others.

At first, I was excited, but then the doubt set in.  I knew that these prayers (this technique) came from a tradition I was familiar with, but not a follower of.  I began questioning whether I had a “right” to attend, coming as I was from curiosity rather than belief.  I found myself speaking about my concerns to a friend I know in real life.  We do not “believe” the same, but we share a mutual respect for each other that often allows us to discuss ethical or moral concerns, and actually learn from each others’ perspective.  When I finished explaining the situation to him (in the dream), he grew very stern, pointed his finger at me accusingly, and said, quite seriously, “you better make damn sure you can commit to this, Lisa, before you go; otherwise, don’t go!”  His whole demeanor spoke of dire warning, as though this were not some trifling matter, which is very unlike him in real life.  I woke, telling myself I’d better test my commitment to this path before attending the retreat…

When I shared this dream with him in real life, he pointed out my use of present tense in the waking world (as in “I’d better be sure before attending…”).  I started to say that it was just a grammar/language error, then stopped myself.  He laughed, quick to catch that, as we both know how careful I am with words in the real world.  I believe our language affects our reality, so I am meticulous about saying what I mean, and meaning what I say.  So there is no room for such a “slip of the tongue” in my world, especially when speaking to him; he will call me on any bullshit he hears…

So…

It’s not really a question of competency plaguing me, I think, but one of commitment.  I know I could learn these “techniques,” whatever they are; I’m basically intelligent, well studied, and own a long tradition of learning and practicing competently.  I am a born teacher.  But I am hesitating, even knowing that such “techniques” may bring actual relief…  Why?

Because I am reluctant to commit to any particular path these days.  I am thoroughly enjoying the free flowing nature of my reality these days.  Because I do not want to be restricted by rules or expectations if something new and more appealing reveals itself to me.  Because I do not want to accept responsibility…

Ahh…  That’s it, then, isn’t it?

Commitment comes with responsibility, and I do not want that in my life.  I do not want to be responsible for others, to be held accountable for what they do with any knowledge (complete or not) they may gain from our interaction.  And that’s what’s missing in the wealth of big business based spirituality, too.  No one wants to be responsible.  No one wants to be held accountable for the “wrongs” committed by their beliefs and believers.  And while I have always believed that people should be held accountable for their own actions, rather than blaming their past or their preacher/teacher, I recognize that there is a line marking where such independence becomes hypocrisy. Because some people truly do influence others who want to be influenced, and we do become at least partially responsible for anything they do “in our name”…

Could I actually learn to change the world?  Could I make it a better place? Could I then competently teach others to do the same?

Can I wholeheartedly commit to finding out?

That is the question, isn’t it?

 

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Reflections

“Blessing or Curse…?”

I have a vivid imagination.  I always have.  Sometimes it is a blessing in my life.  It aids me in all things creative, including my writing.  It enables me to construct whole worlds where I can spend my time; worlds so real to me that their lessons and experiences become part of my daily growth; worlds so real to me, they are often indistinguishable from the one my body inhabits…

Which is where the curse part begins.  Because sometimes, I cannot tell the difference between them.  Sometimes my imagination conjures images and lessons that begin (and belong) “elsewhere,” but they are so vibrantly alive that they begin to take root here, in mundania, in my daily life.  But my daily self is not so well equipped to deal with them, as is my visionary self.  So trouble often follows…

Sometimes I succeed in constructing a fantasy so real to me that I begin to see signs of its manifestation in the “real” world.  But luckily (maybe) I recognize it early enough to deflect it slightly, so that it manifests completely, but for someone else…  The earlier I notice, the better able I am to cast it off, the more likely it will touch someone unknown to me.  But it often returns to me in story form, told by someone else, every detail complete and recognizable.  And sometimes, I barely catch it at all, and must watch it unfold for someone close to me.  And sometimes that is hard to do…

Not because I wish harm on someone else, either, as you might assume from what I’m writing.  It’s not that at all.  My clearest, strongest fantasies are mostly what others fantasize about – comfort, security, love, recognition, success, etc…  And yet they still bring harm to those who “benefit” from them…

I don’t know if I am actually creating these scenarios, or if I merely sense them developing, and transcribe those sensations into a story line that flows and follows.  I don’t know if the impulses that birth these stories are mine or someone else’s.  I don’t know if I am truly casting them off to taint an Other’s journey, or if I merely release them in time to witness to whom they really belong.  And I don’t know if the “consequences” of such success stories are inherent in the stories themselves, or a reflection of my unwillingness to claim them…

What I do know, is that I have recently crossed paths with Others who are “living the Dream” I wanted for myself.  Different versions for different folks, but the details of each are telling.  And yet…

And yet, not one of them seems truly happy or content…

Was I wrong about the things I value?  Are they not the kinds of things that could bring happiness and contentment to me?  Or are they not working out because of some other, unforeseen, reason?

Is it prophecy or manipulation I’m experiencing now?  It’s hard to tell with all that has been happening.  Now that we’ve begun to see the levers and gears that operate behind the curtain of what we call reality.  Now that Time itself has become quite malleable…

What I also know is that this process, which used to work so well for me, no longer serves me, and I have yet to find a replacement.  I used to seek refuge in my fantasies, when the mundane world became too much.  I used to try out different possibilities there, before acting them out myself.  But now…

But now…  I’m never sure which thoughts will play out in the world around me.  Now, when I seek these other realms to explore what options I might have, I find my steps faltering, just as I cross that line…  Now I practice a rigid, impulsive self-control that stops such thoughts before they fully form.  Just in case, you know…

And it feels silly, really, to worry about such things.  I mean, who does that, anyway?  Why concern my self with what has not yet happened, when so much truly is happening now?  And why care if it manifests, especially if it’s happening to someone else?  Especially if it’s a “good” dream I’m making now?

I cannot be responsible for how an’Other lives.  I cannot be responsible for how they use these gifts.  I am not raining curses down upon them, so I have nothing to feel guilty about; all that I have wished for me, and (maybe) cast upon them, is for success, prosperity, comfort, and hope…

And yet the smell of burning flesh still haunts me, and follows me around…

Everywhere.  Every time.  Every day.  My senses reel under its omnipresence.  A memory, or prescience?  Damning either way.  And I am left outside my comfort zone, wondering yet again…

A blessing or a curse…?

 

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Essay, Reflections

The “Value” of a Gift…

For all of my adult life, I have chosen to walk hand-in-hand with the “just getting by financially” crowd, and I have no idea why.  I know that it doesn’t stem from lack of talent, or even ambition, because I have plenty of both.  Numerous “investigations” into this facet of my life plan have led to some interesting possible excuses and explanations, but all of them have one common denominator: the primary obstacle to financial security in my life is, and has always been, me…

The why of this only becomes relevant when I am looking for ways to change it.  I understand that now (2017 America) is neither the time nor place to change my path, as everything in the state and economy is rigged against such success, but perhaps that makes it the perfect time to explore why none of my previous efforts to change it worked.  After all, there is nothing to gain, and little left to lose these days.  And as my working life becomes more difficult to sustain, the questions swirl in the background of what I should expect next…

One of the most common recurring themes revealed by previous research is a tendency to self-sabotage, to underrate my own value, to seek the least productive path, financially speaking.  When asked to rate my own value (as in setting prices for work I do, or services I provide), I always go low.  Perhaps I am lacking in self-confidence, or self-esteem, as most people assume, but it doesn’t feel that way to me.  Rather, I feel I am protecting myself from unsustainable expectations; after all, “you get what you pay for,” right?

The “problem” for me is that I have always believed I must “earn” my way.  Every acquisition of resources need be by “fair and equitable exchange.”  It doesn’t mean that the monetary value of the exchange be equal, but that the perceived value to both parties be equitable.  For those who value money (businesses, for example), actual dollars have been exchanged.  For those needing services, a barter might suffice, providing both parties receive something they consider as valuable as what they are offering.  That makes any transaction more difficult in its subjective assessment, but also ensures a more “even” exchange, providing both parties are open and honest about what they perceive as valuable…  It is also a test of integrity, to see if one party will try to “take advantage” of another…

In a society based on the selfish pursuit of all things “me,” such integrity is often hard to find.  For me, personally, I always choose to err in favor of the other; give more, take less, thus ensuring my conscience is clean.

But is it?  Really?

By under-valuing myself, am I being fair to me?  Could it not be said that I am taking advantage of myself?  How can I label such exchanges as fair and equitable if I refuse to fairly assess my contribution?  Am I not placing unsustainable expectations upon myself?  After all, if I am doing my “best” as my integrity demands, while asking for “less,” have I not just created a scenario where my needs will never be met, no matter how determinedly or diligently I work at it?

Disturbing thoughts…  Made more disturbing by their reflection in my reality.  For I have proven, time and again, that no matter how hard I work, I simply can’t get ahead.  There is no safety net in my life, no financial cushion to fall back on; there is only the knowledge that if I stop moving, the entire house of cards I’ve built may well collapse.  And while that collapse may cripple me, it will be unlikely to shield me from the consequences of it happening.  Eventually the piper will have to be paid, one way or another…

I recently ran into a friend who has a debilitating and terminal illness; less than 6 months ago, he was in a hospital, and medical wisdom determined he would likely never leave.  But he survived, thanks to new (and expensive) treatments.  Being a laborer by trade, he is unable to work, and yet he has been denied disability benefits (which would have likely only paid him a third of his “working value” in a best case scenario).  Furthermore, he told me he has to wait two years to appeal the decision.  And while it is common knowledge that all disability claims are denied at first, and later paid out retroactively when approved, it baffles me how this is supposed to work?!  With a home he needs to live in, and expensive medical care he needs to survive at all, what is he supposed to do in the meantime?  So, like many in his position, he has turned to criminal activities to provide a subsistence income.  Where is the integrity here?

I am not so foolish as to believe that life should be fair.  Nor do I assume that doing right means you will be properly rewarded.  And I realize that very few control almost all of the available resources to hoard for themselves, and use those resources to mop up what’s left for themselves, making sustainable living an impossible dream for most of us.  But still…

I love crafting, and all things creative, so I used to make things and try to sell them.  I wasn’t so much trying to make a living, as I was trying to get my hobbies to pay for themselves.  Such efforts were disastrous.  Not only did I undervalue my merchandise, just trying to get rid of it, but I invested a small fortune (for me, anyway), in opening the channels in the first place.  I found that if you under-price things, most will not buy, but if you over-price things, none will.  I would find myself at craft venues, reaping in praise, but only selling items $5 at a time.  It was necessary to have these low prices on some items simply to make up the cost of the booth.  And there was never a profit in it for me.  So I would wind up selling stuff to friends, and online, at below cost prices (not even covering materials, much less time invested), or giving stuff away as gifts, simply to get rid of it.  And now my tools rust in a damp basement, unused for years, because what, after all, is the point…?

Which brings me in a long, typically roundabout way, to the point I originally wanted to make.  Just this week a co-worker made a piece of jewelry partially inspired by a suggestion I’d made, that I absolutely fell in love with!  I wanted it, though I have no use for more jewelry.  Still, I want to encourage and support her efforts, as she does amazing work!  I asked her what she would charge for it?  The price, while reasonable, was far beyond what I can afford these days, and I told her that.  She offered me a “discount,” suggesting I pay her whatever I thought I could and/or should; a typical dilemma among my co-workers…  I struggled all day with how to respond.  I didn’t want to take advantage of her generosity, but I really couldn’t afford to buy it at all, being a non-necessary item.  I could sense her confusion growing as the day dragged on, and I did not make an offer, but I honestly didn’t know what to do…

Finally, I sought advice from another co-worker with whom I have often discussed this very dilemma.  I thought we were zeroing in on an appropriate offer, when she suddenly turned and walked away from me.  I was stunned and disheartened by her “abandonment.”  A little while later she reappeared, and when I questioned her about her abrupt dismissal of our conversation, she plopped the necklace on my desk and told me it was a “gift.”

I could not respond…

It was not her willingness to purchase it for me that rendered me mute, for she is often thoughtful and generous in the giving of things.  Rather, I later discovered, I was paralyzed by my inability to imagine how I could “make it up” to her.  For while she often gives graciously, she does not receive well…

A familiar theme…

So…  While there was much value in this gift she gave me, I found myself swamped by the many forms it took.  There was the necklace itself, which I love.  There was the revealing of the nature of exchange, as Lisa views it, revealing a worldview automatically biased against myself.  There was the acknowledgement that receiving is something I do not do well; I am so uncomfortable with it that my insides still cringe when I remember her dropping that box in front of me.  And there is a profound understanding growing in me that, though I may consider myself empowered and capable of manifesting whatever I truly desire or need, it does me no good whatsoever if I cannot receive the fruits of those efforts graciously…

Truly a valuable “gift” my friend has given me…

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Reflections, Stories...

Drowning…

“Fire looked at Water blankly, completely unprepared to answer. Laughing merrily at his sudden discomposure, Water reached out to embrace Fire. But Fire jumped back quickly, avoiding the contact.

“Are you nuts, Water?! What are you trying to do, kill me?” Responding to Water’s deep and disheartened confusion, Fire added more gently. “Water puts out fire, remember?”

Nodding sadly, Water concurred. “And fire destroys water… I remember.” “

(An excerpt from a short story entitled “Fire and Water: The Search for Life” I wrote many years ago…)

***

Relevant now, again, because I feel as if I am drowning…

Lately I seem to be inundated with water issues, from flooding to our most recent household disaster where the aforementioned flooding took out the hot water heater’s pilot, and we cannot get it lit again.  There are other minor issues, too, of course, like leaky sinks, and shower hoses suddenly spurting where they’re not supposed to, all of which lead my friends to believe that we are being overcome by emotions.  At least symbolically…

But I am more intrigued with the water’s effect on fire in our home, and my inability to keep the home fires burning.  Literally!  There was the power outage that left us without heat for five days during a wicked cold snap.  And even though we have a woodburning stove, I could not keep the fire going for any length of time because the wood was wet, and so reluctant to burn.  For 5 days I lived here, with internal household temps never getting above 40 degrees.  And then I finally got dry wood!  And the power came back on…

That was followed by a record breaking snowfall (within hours, no less) made so much more difficult to handle by rising temps throughout.  The snow was incredibly heavy and wet, with the sun shining brilliantly after the storm, making the shovelling out process a 3 day nightmare for the physically challenged, like myself…

All that snow melted quickly in the spring-like weather that followed, bringing on the first floods…  And so April arrived with steady, constant rain for days, until the whole world seemed to be drowning in it.  Everything was under water…  Until finally, this past weekend brought a taste of early summer, and we could finally assess the damage all that water caused.  And it was then we lost the hot water heater…

So… clearly my fire is being overwhelmed by my water!  My passion, creativity, motivation, even action, snuffed out, made impotent and ineffectual by the flood of emotions drowning me…

Just last night I came home late after spending some valuable time with a respected friend.  She left me with much to think about; intrigued, and moving in new directions at last.  I spent time alone after coming home basking in the light of a full moon shining from a nearly cloudless sky.  The cool rays of moonlight contrasted sharply with the unusually warm temperature, and it was a balm to my restless and disheartened spirit.  I let down my guard, as I usually do, and opened myself to the healing that only time alone at night can bring.  And so the feelings came…

Heart-wrenching, gut-twisting, rage-inducing pain from so very many sources, I could not begin to identify them all.  So much suffering happening in the world…  The tears came unbidden, as they do every night recently; impotent and pointless, but flowing nonetheless.  And this time I found I couldn’t actually breathe anymore, as the flood assaulted me.  I was, metaphorically and literally, drowning in sorrow!  The weight on my chest was so heavy, I seriously wondered if I was having genuine medical issues.  But no, not really, at least not the “fixable” kind…

And then it began to rain, softly at first, before becoming a deluge.  Lightning flashed and thunder rolled; an unexpected storm drenching me.  I just stood there on the deck, my tears still falling, and looked up at the brightness of the moon.  And there she sat in all her glory… in a completely cloudless sky.

A full blown thunderstorm raging from a cloudless sky?!

And my first and only thought was to question, “did I do that?”

The storm ended as quickly as it began, before I could pull myself together enough to seek shelter in the house.  But my soaked clothes and skin were proof enough for me to accept the storm was not my imagination…

And when I woke this morning with that same weight upon my chest, I recognized it clearly for what it was – anxiety.  Not fear.  Anxiety…

The world I live in makes no sense to me today.  I cannot understand what is happening anymore.  At all!  Rationality has left the building, and everything around me is in complete chaos.  And I do not know how to maneuver effectively through it.  Hence my anxiety.

Don’t get me wrong, I am not so naive as to believe that life should be fair; I know better, based upon only my own experience.  And I cannot deny that there are good people out there doing great things, even if it’s not reported with the same enthusiasm as all the bad.  I see good moments in every day… But there is no balance occurring, no matter how much I widen my view or broaden my perspective.  There is no way to justify, explain, or empathize with the purely destructive acts occurring all around me!  I am beyond bewildered…

These few people, bringing so much suffering down upon the rest, for their own tiny glorification are determined to destroy everything, including that which would serve their own interests!  I literally cannot comprehend the motives of such self-destructiveness; it goes so far beyond the limits of my vision and experience!  Even in the darkest moments of my life, in the very depths of my insanity (the antithesis of rationality), I retained a remote and distant sense of balance.  But there is none of that in evidence today.  Hatred rules, and people rush headlong into battle with no other goal than to destroy as much as possible before impaling themselves upon their own weapons!

And I am driven back, into my own past, looking for something… anything!… that will restore a sense of balance…  A life preserver of some sort to save me from drowning…

***

Warily, Water faced him. “But nothing can come of my love for you, Fire. You know that; you pointed it out.”

Thoughtfully, Fire responded. “Yet the Creator spoke to us of Love. We were left here together to find Life… Maybe if we joined forces?” Hopefully Fire looked to Water.

“But we would destroy each other,” Water reminded him, confused.

“I know,” Fire agreed. Then smiling at Water, he added. “But at least we wouldn’t be alone anymore in a vast, lifeless universe… And we would be together. Is that so bad a destiny?” Lowering his voice, he spoke once more. “I love you, too, Water. I know that now.”

Unable to contain her joy, Water rushed to Fire and embraced him, all thoughts of consequences lost in her love for him… The Creator of All-That-Is smiled at long last, marking this moment in a timeless eternity, and a miracle occurred. For out of the union of Fire and Water arose Life, not death; in the wake of that union, there were four in the universe, rather than two…

Where Water embraced Fire, Fire cooled, leaving in his place a solid element – Earth; so daughter was borne of the father’s essence. Where Fire warmed Water, steam arose, creating yet another element – Air; and son was borne of the mother’s flesh. From the love of Fire and Water came the twin elements Earth and Air. And a family existed where only emptiness had been…”

(The entire story can be found at the following links…  maybe… if you’re interested:

Part 1: https://theotherhoodofone.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/fire-and-water-the-search-for-life/

Part 2: https://theotherhoodofone.wordpress.com/2016/01/24/fire-and-water-part-2/ )

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Dreams, Reflections, Visions

The Trouble with Time Travel…

We are standing on the banks of a river, wide and slow in some places, narrow and quick in others.  He says to me, “a good time traveler skips across the river of time like a leaf…”

“A leaf?,” I think to myself, and immediately translate it to mean “stone”.

“So, like a stone, I would touch down only briefly, moving quickly along, and allowing momentum to carry me forth.  That way I could move forward or backward in time, but maintain a linear progression in whichever direction I choose to travel…?”

He looked at me blandly before adding, “or laterally.”

“Laterally?,” I asked, momentarily confused.  

“Ohhh… of course!,” I added.  “I could skip across the river of time, rather than following its flow!…  But that would allow me to be in multiple places at one time, wouldn’t it?”

He just looked at me and said nothing…

“Oh, right,” I responded when I figured it out.  “If I’m skipping across time, then I’m only touching down briefly in each place.  Therefore I can’t actually be in two places at once.”

He turned back to stare at the river…

“But wait!,” I finally began again.  “You originally said ‘leaf.’  But leaves don’t skip across the surface of a river; they float.”

He looked at me, but said nothing…

“So you’re telling me not to get too involved, perhaps?  As in float across the surface, rather than sinking down in, to any particular time?”

His return to staring at the river told me I’d gotten it partially right, at least, so I decided to continue playing with the metaphor…

“The leaf has no anchor holding it in place, so it’s entirely dependent upon the currents…”

As we watched, a leaf manifested on the surface of the river, gliding slowly with the current, spinning gently…

“Allowing me to view each moment from a variety of angles as I spin slowly on the surface of time…”

The current picked up, drawing the leaf into a vortex where it whirled in a circular current while still spinning itself…  Faster and faster it spun, while circling around the whirlpool…

“Well… that could be disorienting,” I pointed out, already feeling just a tad bit nauseous watching it.

A long, silent look told me he was not amused…

“Ok, then,” I continued, admitting to myself I was just a tad bit annoyed at his lack of humor today…  “So… being a leaf on the surface of time allows me to revisit a moment over and over again, while also viewing it from multiple angles…”

“(Assuming I can actually view anything through the haze of nausea drowning me…  Or keep track of anything I have viewed, while it’s all spinning out of control!”), I muttered to myself…

Suddenly a gust of wind blew by, as if irritated with me, picking up the leaf and dumping it unceremoniously somewhere else on the river.  That was followed by a cross wind, which snagged a corner of the leaf and lifted it away, leaving it to flutter randomly back to the surface…

I turned to stare at him, standing calmly beside me, unmoved by the wind or the dancing display of the leaf…

“A leaf skipping across the river of time, indeed!  Powered by the winds of change, I presume?”  I must admit I was unable to erase the sarcasm entirely from my tone…

He simply smiled, smug and snug in his version of the truth.

“But how the hell would I keep track of where or when I am?!,” I demanded.  “The movement is completely random and nonsensical!”

He turned to look at me fully, a truly amused smile on his face, and finally spoke once more to me.  “Be light.  Be flexible.  Be free.”

Then clasping his hands lightly behind his back, he sauntered off, walking along the bank of the river whistling a happy tune.  And leaving me behind to experiment, extrapolate and learn…

***

Which I have been attempting to do these past… ???  days.  And it has proven every bit as nauseating and disorienting as I feared it might be.  Until today…  When it became somewhat disturbing as well.

It began with a dream in which I was travelling with my oldest friend (whom I haven’t actually seen in a while).  We wound up in a situation very similar to those we used to get into as kids (or I did anyway).  And like it often happened in our youth, she went into another room while I stayed to see what trouble I could cause for myself…

My instincts told me to leave; that I had no business being there, that I would be disappointed with myself again (!) if I stayed.  The third party in the room with me was a stranger.  Until he wasn’t anymore, morphing disturbingly into another friend who has shown a propensity of late to repeat destructive patterns of behavior.  I said, “oh hell, no!  I am not doing this again!”

I got up and walked away, heading over to the next room to collect my other friend before leaving…  And simultaneously waking myself up.

I was relieved upon awakening that I had chosen not to fall back into that trap, but still disturbed by how easily I walked into it.  Like nothing had ever changed.  Like I had never changed.  I knew at once that there was something from my past still haunting me, though I could not name it now.  Having completely forgotten it once, I thought it was over…  But the dream warns me it is not…

I put it away, and went to work.  When I came home, I checked in with Facebook to find not one, but three separate messages (from three unconnected individuals) waiting for me, all telling me exactly the same thing: there is something from my past reaching for me, and I need to let go of it immediately; it is “dragging” or “weighing” me down, depending upon the source of the message…

In addition to those was a message from my long time friend in the dream, making and confirming plans to meet tomorrow…  Or today?…  No coincidence there, I think.

So…  the problem with time travel as I see it today, right now, from right here, is that it’s impossible to keep track of where, and when you are.  And it is far too easy to stumble into something you’d thought you left behind, and would prefer not to encounter again.  And being light and flexible and free has only allowed me to touch the surface of this thing; without depth, how do I exorcise it completely?

***

Tapping my foot impatiently, I wait for him to return to explain these things to me.  Knowing full well, already, that he may not be inclined to do so.  And there is nothing… absolutely nothing… I can do about that today.  I may be strong and stubborn, but I cannot push a river where it does not choose to go.

“The trouble with time travel…” I shout out defiantly…

Then I turn and run for the woods.  I think I may actually be sick this time…

 

 

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