Reflections

Charlie Lucky…

Many years ago (back in the mid-90’s) I lived in an apartment with my husband and daughter. It was located in a small village set neatly in the middle of farm country. I loved the pastoral setting, the slow, diligent pace of country folk, and the peace of rural living. It was a time of great creativity for me, during which most of my current belief systems were discovered and explored, as well as the time when all of the full length books I’ve written (published or not) were authored. It was, in essence, the time that I evolved into me…

I have since refined that sense of self, of course, expanding my understanding and scope, while simultaneously letting go of all that does not fit anymore. But it was during that crucial time in my life that I learned to re-label my delusions (hallucinations?) as visions, that I gave myself permission to speak my “truth” rather than hide it, that I first started wrestling with Time and time magic. That I dedicated all of my resources toward understanding the “true” nature of reality…

And it was then that I first met Charlie Lucky. He was both teacher and test for me. He brought both unbelievable joy and unfathomable sorrow. He was every contradiction I’ve ever encountered, and yet he was as stable a presence as I’ve ever met. He opened my eyes to so many possibilities I might not have had the courage to consider on my own. And he shattered my heart when he left me. I learned what real heartache felt like. I learned I could survive it. But I could never close my heart to love again. No matter how much it hurt, I would never again be able to close off that secret inner place, to protect myself by hiding behind walls and masks, to block what might not feel right…

Without my realizing it, Charlie Lucky had cracked open my inner core and left it exposed to the world. Shielding techniques would no longer serve me. And so, the empath that I am today was forged, and would only progress from there…

Charlie Lucky was a cat…

To be fair, he was a very special cat, but he was still a cat. When I first met Charlie Lucky he was a ghost cat, a blurry white shape that crossed my peripheral vision from time to time. I wasn’t the only one to “see” him, thank goodness, which is one of the reasons I started to suspect that not all my delusions were false. His presence visited our apartment quite often, seen by both family members and guests who would often remark, “I didn’t know you had a white cat!”

To which we could only respond, “we don’t.”

Then one day I opened the back door to get something, and there he was. Mostly white with gray around both ears, and a fluffy gray tail stuck on his butt that appeared to be stolen from some other cat, for he was neither fluffy nor gray as a rule. But what really stood out was the large gray diamond on either side which marked him as both recognizable and unique.

When I opened the door that day, he was just laying there in that enclosed space (we never knew how he got in), looking sleepy eyed and comfortable, as though he’d always been. He rose when he saw me, stretched lazily, walked the few steps to the door, then sat and meowed softly, greeting me. I was instantly in love! I asked him, “are you waiting for an invitation, or do you need something else?”

He just stared at me, willing me to do something.

I stepped aside, spread my arm in welcome, and said, “come on in if you like. Of course you are welcome here.”

He blinked slowly at me, then pranced into the apartment as if he owned it…

Charlie was unique in many ways that we would discover in the short time we knew him. For example, he never required proper transitioning or introduction to our other cats; they accepted him without rancor, jealousy, or need to test him for his rank in the hierarchy. Charlie Lucky was in his own world mostly, and the other cats greeted him as a long lost friend, instantly cuddling with and grooming him. It was odd. But then, everything about Charlie was odd… Wonderfully, memorably, heartwarmingly (and wrenchingly) odd…

We soon discovered that Charlie had been born with a congenital heart defect, and a very poor prognosis. The vet warned us he wouldn’t stay with us long. And while it might of been wise to withhold a bit in preparation for the inevitable, it turned out to be impossible. He was too lovable, and too loving and wise to ignore. In the end we had about three years together. Three years that would change my life. Three years during which ghost kitty was not to be seen. Three years when every flash of white seen from the corner of my eye transformed into warm, furry, purring joy…

And then he was gone…

And ghost kitty returned… Only this time we knew his name.

When I left my husband in 2000, I found leaving my cats behind the hardest. But they were a family unit, and I knew my husband would care for them. Leaving Charlie’s ghost behind was a whole different level of heartache for me. But I packed up my courage and set out to begin the next phase of my life, leaving behind the peace and pace of country living to embrace a whole new set of unknowns in an unforgiving city. It was necessary, but terrifying and exhilarating all at once. And when I would think back on those transformative years in the country, I would remember them fondly.

More recently I would view them with a sense of wonder and awe, as so many of the things I “discovered” back then began revealing themselves in real time and space; not only had I evolved my self in that country haven, but much had been revealed to me that only needed a proper context in time to become relevant. That time has come. The threads that caught my eye in the tapestry of reality are only just now becoming visible again to my naked eye. And it is both welcomed and resisted, all at the same time…

I have grown more stable in my sense of self over the intervening years, and less vulnerable to the influence of others’ points of view. I have also become more capable of embracing others more completely as they are, without unduly trying to influence them. I have learned to love more, to hate less, to hurt more and blame less. I have more compassion and less expectation for others. I own my space, real and imagined, and grant it all the same level of authority to change my point of view. I genuinely like me today, in spite of flaws, shortcomings, mistakes, failures and lost hopes. I accept me. And so I am in a much better frame of mind to accept you…

So why this long eulogy for a cat two decades dead? Good question…

I’ve had other cats since Charlie Lucky, cats I’ve raised from near-birth to death. And while my relationships with each were unique and special, none have ever had the same impact on me, save one perhaps. That would be Shilo, my all black current partner with whom I share much of the “connectedness” I felt with Charlie. It was also love at first sight when I met Shilo, and though it would be a year or so before we could be together (he belonged to someone else at the time), our relationship has shared much of the same magic. We are empathically bonded, responding to each others’ needs without speaking, sharing dreams, and growing old together.

Shilo often comes outside with me when I smoke, exploring the back yard, checking for scent markers to see who’s been by to visit, hanging out with me like a loyal hound. But he is a cat, so more accurate perhaps to think of him as a peer, a companion, a friend. Last night, late, I went out back, and he joined me as is our routine. He explored, while I looked around, both of us seeking first around the area of our shed, where many visitors appear. There was no one there last night, so he came up to sit calmly beside me, waiting as only cats can do.

Suddenly he panicked and raced for the back door! As is our way, I was reaching for the door to let him in before my conscious mind could even grasp the change. Once he was safe inside I caught my breath, and started looking around for what might have startled him. It was then I noticed the pool of white by the shed. I stared, knowing it hadn’t been there before, and trying to identify it. It was too big to be my possum friend, and too white to be our skunk. It wasn’t the all grey tabby or the orange and white tom cat that often visit. As I stared, the animal turned to look me squarely in the eyes.

Sleepy eyed and comfortable, there sat a mostly white cat, with grey around his ears, and a fluffy grey tail wrapped around his loaf-like body. Watching him, I would have sworn that he was home, perfectly content, like he had always lived in that exact spot. My mind immediately ran through a picture list of all the neighborhood cats I’ve seen over the 4+ years I’ve lived here, but I couldn’t recall ever encountering this cat before. Then I thought of Charlie Lucky…

I called out his name softly. “Charlie, is that you?”

Two slow blinks and nothing else…

I thought of approaching him, but I was afraid I’d scare him off. So I stared. And remembered. And felt. A familiar mixture of joy and sorrow washed through me. And then I left…

When I got upstairs, I instantly fell asleep with Shilo in my lap. And I dreamed…

I dreamed of traveling with a group of co-workers, all around the world. I don’t remember now what we were doing, but it was a purposeful tour. I remember packing for it and thinking I should grab one or two more things; nothing I strictly needed for the trip, but rather sentimental and irreplaceable. I chastised myself, not wanting to over pack, but I couldn’t shake the feeling that I wouldn’t be coming back. In the end I left them behind, focusing on the more immediate needs of what lay ahead rather than behind.

Months later, we returned to this house, our tour completed successfully. But I soon discovered it was infested with ants and other insects, and completely unlivable. I knew we could probably bring out what we’d brought back with us, but nothing else, and I was angry at myself for not having grabbed those two small things I’d wanted to bring. But it was too late… I left, single suitcase in hand, wondering where I should hole up while planning out the next phase of my existence…

Upon waking, my first thought was of Charlie Lucky. And as I write these words today I am sobbing as though my grief is new and raw still…

Was that Charlie who came to visit me last night? Why? And why now? For one who seems so comfortable in crossing that Rainbow Bridge, in both directions apparently, he could have come to me at any time since leaving that apartment in the country behind. But he never did. Until last night…

And to show up now, when my life seems to be transitioning into something I do not fully recognize, seems significant somehow. On the surface I expect change; I am, in fact, looking forward to it. However, there is within me an almost certainty that, in spite of appearances, that change is not what I anticipated. Something is off. Not wrong, just off. Different. Unexpected. Unknown…

And I am motivated to record it here. And so I have…

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Reflections

Permission to Cry…

So often we are told, from youth through adulthood, to “suck it up!” To “deal with it!” To “feel it and move on…” And I get that. I get why that needs to happen. We cannot live our lives, meet our responsibilities, or accomplish our goals if we indulge too frequently in moments of unproductive emotional excess.

But sometimes…

Sometimes, I think, we need that time to express that pent-up emotional excess. And for me, today is that day.

There is nothing specifically “wrong” today (that hasn’t been wrong every other day this week). There is nothing unusual about the pain, the sorrow, the grief, the disappointment, the regret… There is no ebbing or deepening of the waves of loneliness, hatred (toward self or others), injustice, or suffering washing over me from countless others coexisting in this world.

In simple terms, today is just another day…

But as the cold rain spills down outside, as I contemplate another seemingly endless day of discomfort followed by a night too short on pleasant dreams, I hear these words echoing softly in my brain:

“You can cry. It’s ok. If you need permission, consider it granted. Cry at will. Indulge your tears. All will be waiting for you when you are done, exactly as it was before you started…”

So…

If any of you are also feeling this need, please consider this post as your permission to cry as well…

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Reflections, self-discovery, Visions

Immortal memories… Confession or Myth?

*( for Sha’Tara…)* These observations are all based on “memory” which may (or may not) be “true.” Memory itself is often faulty, morphing to better suit how we see ourselves, or how we think things ought to be. When carried with a diagnosis of schizophrenia, they could also be pure imaginings, as “reality” itself morphs to fit my expectations. But keeping all those caveats in mind, here is what I can recall… ūüėÄ

All my life (this life) I have been haunted by “visions” of other times, other worlds, other lives. Mine? Or someone else’s? I’ve never really been sure. They come and go, triggered often by whatever may be occurring around me. Some are outrageous, seemingly pure fiction, making me reluctant to share them at all with outsiders, except as stories to read or share around a communal fire. Others are muted, seeming “less” than they feel, overwhelming me with a sense of significance, while not revealing anything apparently relevant or important at all. But through these “visions” of other times are certain Constants…

1. “I” am always female, even if I am not human.

2. I “see” and use time differently; “time” being merely a means of ordering events, not written in stone, and easily re-arrange-able. A corollary of this Constant is an obsession with all things time-related, as I struggle to reconcile my sense of timelessness with the rigid standards of my current lifetime. This includes a sense of immortality and an unrelenting idea that aging and death are unnecessary, even in human form. (Though I clearly haven’t figured out how to make that work yet! Lol!)

3. A deep and abiding sense of “loss” and a vague, undefined sense of “hope” that somehow (must!) justify that loss.

4. A need to “hide” in plain sight, to remain anonymous, even when my ego craves attention…

5. A sense of purpose, even if unknown, often accompanied by enforced repentance (where I am the enforcer); a certainty that any “punishment” I draw upon myself is well-deserved, even if out of context.

6. A sense of waiting… for some time, some clue, some event far distant when All will be revealed.

In addition to these Constants are certain Patterns that repeat. For example, almost all occur in the northern hemisphere of Earth; I have no real recollection of having spent time south of the equator, though I suspect I visited once or twice. Mostly my time here has been spent in North America, in the Ohio basin and around the Great Lakes. I do have many memories in northern Europe as well, centered around a “home” feeling in the area known as Scotland, but I am certain I spent time on the mainland as well (none of which was pleasant, I might add, carrying feelings of terror, dread, sorrow and regret).

I also tend to remember many of my “deaths,” even now recalling and judging the least miserable ways to die. (The easiest way I remember is electrocution; one of the worst ways being drowning.) Along similar lines, I am downright phobic about torture and “zombies,” a very specific form of undead. I can’t even watch such scenes in movies or on tv without cringing, walking away, or changing the channel.

The mere sounds associated with torture, or seeing the tools used, will send me into a nearly blind panic. I can only presume that “not being able” to die, having some sort of regenerative capability while suffering some such cruelty is behind this “irrational” fear. I often speak of Death as a friend who abandons me, as a goal that eludes me, etc. Even in this current lifetime my friends all joke that I cannot die, only suffer eternally…

I have had multiple dreams about death (in this lifetime) arising from some flesh-eating disease, and perhaps my fear of zombies relates to this. Or maybe it is a memory associated with leprosy, or something similar…

I have an awareness of the stars, though no desire to go out and travel among them. I prefer the terrestial beauty of life on this planet. I tend to look up into the night sky, taking note first of moon and planetary positions, then finding the constellation of Orion (when possible), followed by a search for the Pleiades. My search is always the same, and always in this order; a habit I cannot break. I feel no kinship with Orion, though; rather it is a sense of wariness that causes me to seek it out. My love goes out to the Pleiades, the Seven Sisters, and though I often cannot find them in the night sky, my heart feels both joy and sorrow when I do, usually obscuring the image in a blur of tears…

I also have a fascination with “magick” – not illusion and subterfuge, but a true altering of reality to meet one’s needs. This is coupled with an interest in science, where all such magickal happenings can be explained. Quantum physics is both my nemesis and my mentor, drawing me in with potential and possibility seeming to match my “understanding” of how things work, but eluding me in technicalities I will likely never fully understand. But I suspect they are the “same” principles, ultimately, where magick is the intuitive grasp and use of quantum physics’ very real laws and processes.

So here’s what I “remember” of my life as an alien (not from Earth, but here nonetheless)…

I have no clear idea of how I appeared to others. Perhaps there were no mirrors and that is why, but I can only “see” myself from my perspective looking down. I was tall, willowy, with outlines that wavered inconsistently. (Not fully present, or a shapeshifter, perhaps?) I wore a long robe of natural fiber, off-white, which seemed to glow in the right light (or I did), mostly at sunrise and sunset, moonrise and moonset, transitional times usually.

I was here studying Earth’s wildlife and plants, learning Her ecosystems. I remember being amazed at how orderly it was all arranged, the symbiosis achieved by many species. It was then, perhaps, that I began to think of the Earth itself as being sentient. I also developed a deeply abiding sense of love for trees. Even in this time I am drawn to trees, often stating that I wish to be one. They have such a strong sense of community, of empathy, a wisdom gained through hundreds of years of life, passed on to future generations in amazing continuity. Perhaps it is that Earthian form of immortality that so appeals to me, as well as their innate desire to be of service to All life, in whatever capacity they can serve. Even in “death” their usefulness and blessing remain, enriching those they serve immensely (a truth deeply felt by those who survive in northern climes, whether acknowledged or not).

I was immortal, at least in the sense that I could not die by natural means. My race had regenerative capabilities, and immunity to most microscopic invaders. We had learned to enhance that ability, only growing to maturity, then maintaining that “peak” level of performance. There was something in our blood, a sentience not our own, that could be communicated with. It could also be “shared” for short term emergency purposes by an injection of our blood into other host bodies. But the Blood itself could not replicate or survive in a species other than our own (or at least we had not yet discovered how to do so)…

As a result, we were a peaceful people, valuing life (all life), driven by the accumulation of knowledge and wisdom. Since we could only “die” by catastrophic means (or violence sufficient to overwhelm the Blood’s ability to heal), we were deeply anti-violence. We also grieved each death as a loss of wisdom and community, felt keenly and personally, for all that would not now be achieved.

We worked in tandem with another alien race, more agressive and warlike. I, personally, had little contact with them, working in a field of study that only mattered to them in terms of results. Always looking for resources to exploit, I found them very “unlike-able,” although such judgements would have been anathema to my way of being. It was a constant challenge for me, learning to “love my enemy,” though we had no truly acknowledged “enemies.” Still, I never trusted them, and often blamed myself for both my failure to accept them as they were, and my failure to stop them from pushing through policies detrimental to the indigenous life on Earth…

I also blamed myself for “turning a blind eye” to what was happening. Like an ostrich burying its head in the sand, I hoped that what I did not acknowledge did not, therefore, exist. I was wrong about that…

I place my presence here (my arrival) at some 19000-21000 years ago, but time is such a vague and inconstant concept for me that those dates probably mean little. Perhaps that is when the “rebellion” took place, rather than my arrival, and that is why the time period sticks out in memory…

I know that I was not alone in my resistance. I know that others opposed the exploitation and experimentation taking place. I know that others found the courage to stand up against such policies, in spite of the consequences. And I know many died as a result, both human and alien, and that all were significant losses in my heart; losses I felt keenly responsible for…

I could not take up weapons for the cause, but I could work to destroy the portal through which we travelled, trapping most on the other side. It was an act of betrayal so profound that even now I cringe to think of it. But I truly believed it must be done, and I accepted the consequences of doing so.

(As a side note: when I returned at last to the scene of my crime last year – the Serpent Mound in Ohio – so much of this came rushing back. And I was appalled at the disrespect such sacred ground had attracted from those “happily ignorant humans with good intentions and a total lack of history”. For they have many theories of why the mound exists, and few ring true to me. For me, it is a graveyard, a place of death, a scene of betrayal where a great battle took place. It is also a reminder of so much that has been lost, and a warning of how easily those sacrifices can be forfeited. For while I was there, I passed humans seeking to re-open the portal so many paid so much to close! And I was angry beyond reasoning, truly wanting to hurt them all! It required much discipline to move beyond those rage-fueled impulses to discover that perhaps it is, indeed, time to reassess my position; to at least consider I may have been wrong before, or that the time has come to let the battle continue, without my interference. But it is hard…)

When my self-imposed exile began, I chose to continue my work, learning about this planet and attempting to foster peace and healing wherever I went. I moved around a lot, though mostly within a confined territory, choosing (once again!) to ignore what was happening outside it. I knew others (alien others) were also trapped here, but I purposely avoided and ignored them, leaving each to find their own way on this planet. I never even bothered to try and find out how many were here, avoiding many places where stories abounded of alien encounters. I believe today that guilt, shame and fear drove me, not being able to peacefully reconcile my betrayal of others with my upbringing. And I remained immortal for a time…

But the day did come when my immortal life on this planet ended, though I’m still not sure how. Perhaps I was murdered, or simply gave up the will to continue when my “blind eye” strategy backfired once again. For I saw much violence come to destroy the terrestial life I had nurtured and encouraged, and it was a whole new level of betrayal; like taming an animal with gentleness and respect, only to see it tortured and destroyed when it approached others in trust. I was responsible for that misplaced trust, and I saw the horror in their eyes as they discovered that themselves, too late to prevent their decimation and suffering…

Upon my death, I must have chosen to return in human form, though I remember feeling shocked (and secretly excited) about having done so. That first lifetime I remembered much of who I’d been before, retaining memory, knowledge and wisdom. But I would soon discover all three fading, with each subsequent life lived, creating a sense of urgency in me to recreate immortality (or timelessness) in human form. Until all that remained of my alien identity were those Constants and Patterns I mentioned. This is no doubt why I speak of “devolving” into human form; not so much a judgement of worth, but a measure of knowledge and wisdom lost through successive rebirths…

When I speak of having “retired” from the life-death-rebirth cycle, and my subsequent choice to come back at this time, I do not know if that retirement refers to my immortal alien life, or a completion of a human journey. I suspect, however, that both may be true, and that I have returned now because that portal may re-open soon. Am I here to stop it? Or finally face those I betrayed? I have no certain answers either way. But I am here to bear witness to whatever happens next…

*** *** ***

I have at times in this lifetime (and others I suspect) found “followers” behind me on the path. They are drawn to me for reasons even they can not elucidate, but it always involves learning or guidance in some form. I, myself, am always reluctant to encourage this, knowing in advance how it will end, for it always ends the same – betrayal and abandonment, for no rational reason they can recall. One day we are friends, and all is going our way, and the next day they will turn on me, naming me a hated enemy. When pressed for some explanation, their answers will be incoherent or not forthcoming at all, usually involving brainwashing, or magic, or some accusation of an imaginary crime, which leaves me standing there (alone again), shaking my head in bewilderment and vague denial. But I recognize the look in their eyes, for I have seen it countless times, and the name for what they feel is Fear…

I’ve even had occurances when people I’d never met were warning others to stay away from me. I have no idea why; and no one could (or would) ever explain it to me. I’m not a scary person. I’m peace-loving, gentle, understanding, empathic and sympathetic, and I abhor violence in all its forms – physical, verbal or emotional. But Fear, by its very nature, is irrational, and so all I can do is move on. Alone…

I know that every journey is unique, and each must find their own way to “enlightenment” or not. I fight the desire to judge others on their journey every day, knowing (though perhaps believing differently) that every path is taken by choice, and I cannot choose for another, even if I disagree with where they are headed. I stand by, trying hard not to interfere, when such choices will likely lead to harm, for themselves or others (including myself). And I wait…

For what I cannot say…? Redemption, perhaps? Forgiveness? A chance to “right a wrong” that can never truly be undone? An opportunity to weight the Scales of Justice, even if said justice be against me?

I know one thing for certain, and I feel it in my bones and in my heart – that Time is coming… Soon!

My personal past, the truth of who or what I am, will be revealed. To me, if no one else. And I will know exactly where I stand (at last) in the broader scheme of history…

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Reflections

Lamenting the “Loss” of Spring…?

All around me, locally, I hear people complaining about the “loss” of spring, the missing season. ¬†They are expecting summer to arrive without warning or transition. ¬†And they are miserable enough about it to make conversations, and memes, and facebook statuses dedicated to their displeasure. ¬†And the usual weather related conversations with strangers take on the same sinister tone. ¬†Even I have been feeling the chill…

So I wonder… what exactly are we missing here?

True, it’s cold and damp this April. ¬†And we’ve had snow, rain, ice and wind to contend with on a daily basis. ¬†The sun shows himself rarely, and when he does the ambient temperature hovers just above freezing, while the arctic winds bear down, robbing him of any heat, and leaving us shivering in his brilliant light. ¬†But here’s the thing that haunts me…

It’s early April here in western NY, and this is not atypical weather. ¬†It’s always cold and damp this month, with precipitation taking many forms, both liquid and solid. ¬†But the snows don’t stick to road surfaces or last throughout the day. ¬†Shovelling and plowing are not required, and salt is only occasionally required to de-ice after freezing rains. ¬†Only hardy, early spring flowers are surviving the wet conditions and frosty nights, but that is precisely why we don’t plant our annual garden fare until mid-May around here. ¬†Everything must be started indoors and later transplanted. ¬†Furnaces aren’t turned off until late May, usually, and air conditioners are not required until August at least. ¬†And here in Rochester, where we celebrate the Lilac Festival for a week in early May, it is not unusual to have snow for part of it and sandal weather for the rest…

So what are we really missing here?

And then it hit me today, during meditation, that it isn’t about the weather at all. ¬†We lament the loss of hope instead, the sense of promise that usually accompanies spring. ¬†The “misery” of winter isn’t climate related, but emotional, as we mourn the lack of progress, renewal, rebirth. ¬†Our world is dead/dying, and the majority are finally beginning to realize that things are not the same, everything is not going to come out right in the end, and summer will not arrive with endless sunny days of laughter and play…

Reality is sinking in…

And sunshine, alone, cannot salvage what has been sacrificed to apathy, ignorance and greed…

What is lost is gone, and cannot be recaptured…

Spring, like decency, justice, and truth, is dead…

So let us mourn together in the ways that suit us best. ¬†Let our tears mingle with the cold spring rains, while our hearts absorb the winter’s chill. ¬†And let us look ahead with courage and determination to reap what we have sown.

After all, acceptance may the final stage of grief, but it is also the first step to healing…

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