Poetry, Reflections, Visions

“Convergence…” (From the Book of Other)

I offer this post to Sha’Tara, in explanation, as an example of, the kinds of entries I might discover in the Book of Other.  I found it in my draft folder here, where there are currently some 22 unpublished posts.  It was “dated” June of last year, a useful bit of information made possible by the medium itself…

But, like so many such entries, I don’t “remember” writing it, though I clearly recognize it as “mine.”  The word choice, metaphors, the rhythym itself, all sound like “me,” but the memory of writing it is gone.  The tone, itself – light-hearted and whimsical – sounds like a different “me” entirely, which it most likely was.  I was clearly reaching out across the timelines, attempting to communicate with my Others, and I was describing the same Center Space as in my previous post.  The Crossroads is another frequent metaphor for describing the place, one favored by a different version of self…

And it is encounters like this that explain why the “powers that be” chose to label me schizophrenic in the first place. Lol!  And perhaps they were not wrong, after all…

 

Standing at the crossroads

waiting…

not expecting or anticipating…

but waiting nonetheless.

And here they come, like happy children

skipping down the paths toward me…

ideas…

thoughts and feelings gathering here…

to be incorporated into the family tree.

They come in waves, and crowded rushes

and some arrive individually…

all related…

and connected to the Whole that is Me.

Are they merely thoughts and feelings?

Transitory and epheme?

Or something more compelling?

Real…

Comprising parts of me…?

The cells of my body

speaking to me…

of individuality…

of interconnectivity and healing…

Much work left to do here,

before we are free to leave.

Gathering the missing pieces

memories…

of things not yet in play…

Converging in this place of peace…

Emerging in every breath I take.

And so I speak, and pay no heed

to whether or not

anyone else is even listening.

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Reflections

Where has my compassion gone?

I’m standing on the deck this cold winter morn, reflecting on all that is around/within me.  I notice the waning moon, face brilliantly unexpressive, shining dispassionately against the perfectly blue morning sky.  The crows caw their morning greetings, but I can barely force myself to respond.  As the chill seeps through the layers of my human made winter wear, I cannot rouse an ounce of motivation to push it away.  It reminds me of something… something close enough to feel, if not yet to name.

My mind reaches for happier thoughts… connections to the world around me.  I recall the joy I felt yesterday at the first stirring of the trees.  They are nowhere near awake around here yet, but I felt the rootlets twitching slightly, and the sap begin to soften, as the trees baked in the strong midwinter sun.  Soon… soon enough, my dear friends will waken, and our work together will commence once more…

I listen, and can hear my grandchildren giggling at last night’s party; such carefree abandon always makes me smile.  I see my grandaughter’s impish grin as she watches me, looking for a reaction as she manipulates the adults surrounding her.  I think about how my 6 year old grandson put himself in a “timeout” (yes, he called it that as he sat down), for accidentally knocking over an empty bottle in his enthusiastic play.  He is always so hard on himself, but I cannot help but admire such self-discipline in one so young…

And then my thoughts drift to the others, those in pain, who crossed my path yesterday.  My focus, however, is not so much on the pain they expressed in countless known or unknown ways, but in my reaction to it.  Because everyone is in pain these days, and such pain must find release…

My concern is about how I felt about it, how I reacted.  The person who told me a dozen times over a 4 hour visit how tired they were became annoying.  The one who worked so hard overcoming sadness and grief that their faux happiness gained enough volume to become excruciating.  The injustices shared, to which I could only mildly respond, “such is life.”  The person whose physical pain mirrored my own, so much so that I was grateful when they finally left.  Even my own discomfort captured less than my full attention, as I crawled up stairs with hands and feet, involuntary groans escaping (in front of people, even!), without me caring what others (or my self) might think…

Tears slip silently down my cheeks as I write these words, but no sobs accompany them.  They are the hopeless, unacknowledged grief of something lost, without the desire to even identify the cause.  But I suspect I know already, if the title of this piece carries any significance at all, for what I do NOT feel this morning is compassion.  Not for myself, nor for anyone (or perhaps any thing) at all.  I feel a void where it used to exist, an emptiness that holds only fading memory.  I remember caring.  I remember hurting.  I remember helping.  But all of that is in the past…

My eye is drawn back to that brilliant moon in a flawless cold midwinter sky…

Yes… dispassion is the right word for today, and it has crept in to every aspect of my awareness.  I guess that answers my question, doesn’t it?

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Reflections

Fight, Flight or Surrender…? (Or a Whole New “Level” of Empathy?)

I’m sitting here this morning, experiencing…  something.  Knowing words (even my vast and deep aquaintance-ship with them) will fail to adequately capture, yet compelled to express what I can…  Restless.  Unable to sit still long enough to seek comfort in meditation or other focused activities.  Too grounded in “what is” to escape, too flighty to “act” in any coherent or productive manner, too lost to feel secure, too beaten down to want to try, and yet…

And yet “I” still exist – empowered, connected, secure in my Self, certain of my ability to navigate and survive.  Questioning, but not truly seeking answers, for the rhetorical seems to suffice.  For behind the experience of everyday living is the echoing timbre, the consistent, measured heartbeat of single, simple words…  What?  Why?  Where?  Who?  When?  But not one of them sticks around long enough for a reply to form.  It’s as if the answers themselves are pointless, and the questions a habit carried over from some other time…

I used to play a game at times like these (I started very young, my earliest memories of it around three years of age).  I would sit quietly on the sidelines of life and watch others, then “make up” stories about their lives, based on what I “felt” when I looked at them.  The stories took on more nuance and advanced plots as I aged, but the process was always the same.  I would mostly never know if my “stories” reflected any truth about the people I observed, but the process itself helped me fine tune both my ability to identify and name feelings, and my understanding of people, relationships, and life in general.  It also taught me a great deal about compassion, about putting myself in someone else’s shoes, about real “needs” versus stated “wants,” and about my self, as every such experience was tainted by my own expectations and desires…

Over the past few weeks, I have delved deeper into my emotional cauldron than I have in recent years; there has not been the option of skating across the surface of things, simply naming, ruminating, and letting go.  I find myself immersed, drowning, yet easily able to breathe when the panic subsides.  I have known a rage so real (my own, no less), that the “beast” within me quivers with the need to lash out and devour all within range – friend, foe and stranger indistinguishable in the red haze.  I find myself commiserating with those who act out in seemingly senseless acts of violence, wishing that I, too, could find some relief that way.  But I cannot separate myself enough from the victims of such acts to make such an outcry possible for me…

I have felt so completely defeated that I wished for nothing more than to curl up in a ball and cease to exist in this present time and place.  But I cannot “give up” on my Self, or abandon those others with whom I have so deeply bonded (people, animals, and trees alike)…

So I walk through each day, head spinning, feet stumbling forward, simply trying to acknowledge each new wave or experience as it happens, reeling from the onslaught of sensory and emotional data.  Shielding does not appeal to me, as dulling the experience does not nullify it or erase it; it merely minimizes its intellectual impact, driving my thoughts ever further from my feelings about life.  Such distancing is not true detachment, after all, just a dilution of the poison that will allow me to “suffer” longer…

A few days ago my 17 month old granddaughter visited me in my dreams, just as we were both awakening.  She stood there as her baby self (not the spirit self with whom I have so far interacted), and babbled baby talk at me.  When I acknowledged her by name, and asked if she had come to visit Grandma Lisa, she smiled.  I told her I loved her, and she giggled.  And when I mentioned I needed to wake up, and waved good-bye to her, she waved back…

I found this encounter significant for a couple reasons.  One, it was the first time she projected into my dreams, and she did so as her current, chosen form; that seemed huge to me, that she now has such a strongly developed sense of self.  Two, it seems to take our bond to a whole new level.  If she is expressing such an ability in dreamwalking, at this age, I can only feel excitement about where it might lead…

Yesterday I attended a kids Halloween party with my daughter and grandchildren.  It was noisy, chaotic… frantic almost, as if the need to “celebrate” something, anything had long since overwhelmed the significance of form; it didn’t matter why we were all there, just that we were.  My granddaughter appeared shell-shocked through most of it, her usual curiosity and fearlessness swamped by the immensity of the experience.  I could relate, and yet I found myself eager to engage.

We wandered around, aimlessly, while my grandson played, and I found the “stories” seeking me, rather than the other way around.  I saw smiles and laughter, intense enjoyment, plastered on faces beneath vacant eyes, as though the masks on everyday faces had long since lost touch with the reality of individual lives.  I saw surprise, and glimpses of presence, when I reached out to acknowledge individual beings, complimenting costumes, praising performances, or thanking them for being there.  That first moment of shock in those vacant eyes when they realized I was speaking to them was… I don’t know…  heartwarming and heartbreaking, all at the same time…

There was a young boy who no doubt practiced for weeks to get on that stage and sing for a crowd that never even looked his way.  He and his father walked away dejectedly from the stage.  When I caught up to them to shake the boy’s hand, and tell him I thought his performance was amazing and to thank him for performing, neither he nor his father knew how to respond…

Then there was the man I was suspicious of.  No reason, no overt acts that appeared irregular, inappropriate, or threatening, and still…  I actually warned my daughter to be aware of him.  I found myself stalking his presence through the crowd.  I even had my daughter pose for a picture so I could capture his image in the background, just in case…  In case of what?  I have no idea.  But my feelings were real.  And whenever my eyes crossed paths with him, I felt this tension, this certainty that a breaking point was near, and that certainty triggered fear…  More than once he locked eyes with me, and though I “felt” calm, nonjudgmental peace toward him, I could not deny the desperation that shone back at me.  His eyes were not vacant, and he was clearly in pain…

A friend recently suggested that perhaps this is just the way things are now.  The past is no longer an adequate map for navigating the present, because its rules no longer apply.  The future can no longer guide us because our goals cannot align with the way things are developing; it is too unpredictable, unstable and unstoppable to shift.  There is only now – fight or flight in each moment, and radical “surrender” to what is, forfeiting all hope of wants being met, and most cases of need…

But I cannot help but wonder if this is all just a reflection of a whole new level of empathy…  Which would actually represent “progress” would it not?

Hmm…

 

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Dreams, NoBloPoMo, Reflections

Living “Debt Free”…

I had a dream almost a week ago in which my dream mentor told me, quite plainly, “all your debt is paid…

When the words were first spoken, shock set in, followed rapidly by disbelief, which morphed into thoughts of consequences and caveats…

“But what about the taxes?,” I asked.  “Has any provision been made for that?  I mean, if you write off that kind of debt, there are tax consequences…”

My mentor cocked his head and just looked at me, exasperated.

I didn’t say your debt has been forgiven; I said it has been paid…  You are now able to begin living debt-free.

As these words were spoken, I allowed my doubt to leave, watching as it burst into a tiny flame burning somewhere near my heart.  Slowly that flame grew into excitement, anticipation, and yes, even hope, spreading rapidly throughout my body.  The expanding warmth finally reached my head and toes, and with it came clarity…

Laughing, I said to him, “ohhh…  You’re talking about Karma, aren’t you?”

And then I awoke…

Ok, so maybe my financial debt remains, a holdover from when I believed I owed the world something, simply for taking up space here.  But still…  this “gift” is huge!!

Debt free, karmically speaking, what does that really mean?  How does it feel?  How does it translate into daily activity?  These are the questions driving my experiences today…

The first thing I noticed was a certain “lightness,” a lifting of an ever-present weight upon my shoulders.  I stood straighter, calmer, more confidently in my space.  I realized, with a growing sense of wonder, that I owed nobody anything (can’t figure out how to make that work, grammatically, but you get the idea…).  I understood that everything I do now truly is by choice, a choice freed of guilt and expectation.  What do I want to do, right now?

And the first thing I did was go to work.  Of course.  😉  Not because I felt I had to, but because I wanted to.  I looked forward to spending time with coworkers, to enjoying my work for its own sake, to doing something helpful and productive with my physical being…

Then I went for a walk in the woods, spending time with the trees and the animals who shelter and live there.  Only this time, I wasn’t there seeking messages, lessons, or learning, but simply enjoying the beauty of the moment, the sharing of time with Other beings, similar to, but so unlike my self.  It was quite gratifying…

And today…

Several days have passed, and slowly I revert to the “should’s” and “ought to’s” of life…

***

One of my “grandkitties” had to be euthanized two days ago, and I ached all over, for my daughter, her family, and the animal himself.  I know it was the “right” thing to do.  I struggled with what part I should play in that unfolding drama.  I offered myself to my daughter, whatever she needed.  But I understood that she was the “adult in charge,” and the decisions were hers to make.  I respected those boundaries, even when it became obvious she didn’t “need” me at all…  My baby is all grown up now, and I couldn’t be prouder of her, or the way she handled this unexpected tragedy…

But I had to catch myself, more than once, reminding my self that debt-free goes both ways; I may not owe anyone else, but neither do they owe me.  She didn’t need my “help” this time, and she did brilliantly!  There is absolutely nothing I could have said or done to improve that experience; she, quite literally, got the job done in the most compassionate, loving, and responsible way possible.  With no urging or guidance from me…

And it truly came home to me this morning, after two days of “grieving,” that this, also, is part of what it means to live “debt free”…

And being free just took on a whole new dimension for me…

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Dreams, Reflections

“Listen… And Learn.”

(This post is a follow up to one I wrote on another site.  It stands alone.  But if you wanted to know what prompted it, that answer can be found here… maybe):

http://bayart.org/shhh/

***

So, my dreams were very clear this morning, the message precise and to the point: Don’t waste time looking for causes or assigning blame these days; just deal with the consequences and move on

* ceremoniously donning my cloak of hypocrisy *

So I wake up on this glorious Easter morn with this message running through my mind, and the first thing I hear is an adult exclaiming loudly “what a ripoff!”

Three times I hear the message repeat, as it slowly dawns on me that they are referring to a commercially prepared “gift.”

Finally a child speaks up.  “I am so disappointed,” he admits…

“Are you going to complain about it?,” the adult asks.

“Yes,” he responds, hesitantly.  Then with more certainty, “yes I am!”

And suddenly I see myself, sitting with a group of adults, discussing the state of the world.  And we are complaining about how ungrateful and materialistic the youth of today seem to be.  We share stories about how “kids today” do not appreciate the act of giving, focusing solely upon the perceived value of what is given.  We shake our heads sadly as we lament the deplorable state of society today…

* shifting my shoulders under the uncomfortable weight of my hypocritic cloak *

Yeah…  Been there.  Done that.

Sigh…

Happy Easter to those of you who celebrate it!

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Reflections

“Trust…”

Powerful word; shaky concept.  What does it actually mean to “trust” someone, or some thing?

Trust is a common enough word, bandied about in conversations, essays, politics, and video exposes (read expo-say-s; I can’t find that little carat character anywhere!)…  If we mention to someone that we trust them, they get all warm and fuzzy inside, but if we suggest we don’t, claws and teeth are a more common result.

We are told that relationships must be based on trust to last.  “In God we trust” somehow conveys strength and justice to our cause or country.  Trusted brand names are imbued with some mystical quality that makes them better than any other similar product.  And learning to trust ourselves is the penultimate spiritual goal…  So what are we actually saying here?

Taking on my role as devil’s “ass” (because I’m about to make a lot of assumptions), I’m going to say that most people define “trust” as that belief that the other will take no actions that would knowingly harm us.  We trust our parents to care for us.  We trust our partners to be honest with us.  We trust our neighbors not to steal from us.  And we trust our governments to act in our best interests abroad…

Perhaps, given that, trust might better be defined as naive or gullible…  But we keep trying to believe, don’t we?  We trust that eventually we will find someone who is trustworthy.  And we all believe ourselves to be that person…

Being trustworthy means we can be counted on to “do the right thing,”; it means we are moral people with an ethical code not easily abandoned.  “Yes, yes, you can trust me,” we insist.  “I can keep a secret!…  Now dish the dirt, please.”

“No, of course I would never cheat on you!  And I will always tell you the truth!”

“I didn’t do [that]!  I swear!!”

Well…  You get the point, I assume…

There is a difference, I believe, between morality and integrity: morality is what you publicly profess to be right and wrong, while integrity grows out of what you do when you’re alone.  Take stealing, for example.  Most of us have been raised to believe that taking something that doesn’t belong to us (without permission or paying for it) is wrong; such an act is a crime in both legal and moral senses.  And yet…

And yet, I went looking for silver crucifixes for a customer the other day, only to discover that 19 had been stolen in the last 3 months!!  Nineteen!  Crosses and rosary connectors – stolen?!  Am I the only one to see the irony here?

Or how about a roommate who uses your coffee, in a house where everyone buys their own?  Is that not stealing?  Deny it all you want, but if you take it, because it was there and you “needed” it, without asking for or paying for it, you are stealing!

Integrity, on the other hand, occurs when you’re staring at your roommate or co-worker’s creamer in the fridge, and your cup of black coffee, and the thought occurs to you that they’d never notice…  But you choose to drink your coffee black, because there is no one around to ask for permission…

Morality is an agreed upon set of ideals that allow us to live together in groups, but integrity is what allows us to live with ourselves, even when we’re alone.

And trust is just another word for expectation, one heavily connotated in my favor.  So yes, I trust people.  I trust people to be who they are, to look out for themselves, first and always.  And I am rarely disappointed.  When I say “I trust you not to hurt me,” what I am implying by those words is “so long as it serves you, and doesn’t conflict with what you really want in that moment of decision.”

Am I cynical?  Maybe.  But at least I am honest.  And when I tell you your creamer is safe with me, I actually mean that, because I do have integrity.  Trust me on that!

And when I look you rare few in the eyes, holding back the tear in mine, and say to you with all the earnestness I feel that “I trust you, and I need you to know that,” what I’m really saying is that I value the integrity I sense within you.  And that is the highest praise I can offer you!

And next week on “Lisa Preaches” we will be considering the topic: “Nice Guys Finish Last – True or False?…”  (HINT: if you cannot answer this correctly at this point, I’d ask you to go back and re-read the preceding article, and save me having to write another 800 words on human hypocrisy.  Please and thanks!)

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Reflections

“Blood…”

Blood…  Cold as ice, or in a boiling rage…

Pulsing through my veins…

Pumping through my heart…

The liquid of my physical life,

containing all the secrets of my physical existence.

I’ve never truly felt the “call” of blood, being so physically detached from the concept of family, and completely denied the knowledge of my own genetic history.

Except when I was young, and it was us against the world.  I understood then.  But “blood” back then was a battle cry used to separate us from the influence of others, to isolate, and protect our darkest secrets…

I felt it again when I birthed my child.  A fierce need to protect the product of my womb.  An innate understanding of my daughter’s needs and moods.  It was profound, pulling me out of my self-imposed shell to tend to the needs of another.  In that case, “blood” became a measure of sacrifice, for what wouldn’t I do to ennable her as she carved her own initials upon the world around us?

And then, again, as each of my grandchildren were born.  “Blood” once removed, it’s call gentled, but deeper somehow.  A strong sense of the profound, continuity, as three generations stood together upon the same ground…

But then last night came.  And went.  But as it passed, I came awake, if only for a moment.  Sitting there, three generations complete, in blood, bonded in a way words cannot convey.  Those children “knew” him, their grandfather they’d never met.  Something in them recognized him, and responded, as only family can do.  No hesitation, no holding back; tears and laughter merging without fear or shame…

Comfort…

Contentment…

Completion…

It must be something in the blood…

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