#BlogBattles, Stories...

“Selective Perception” by My Perception Selector… #blogbattle: intercept

I was wandering through this decrepit old house of mine, exploring the dusty and shadowy places I haven’t visited in a while. Amazed at how sprawling this place has become, reaching out in so many different directions at once! I came across a forgotten wing, and paused… remembering.

It was here I used to play a lot, seeking answers, and dreaming of all I wanted. I studied and read, meditated and prayed, pursuing change for change’s sake. “Yeah. And where did that get you?,” I laughed at myself, knowing full well the practiced response, “Here and now, of course!”

“Of course!,…” So arrogant that sounds! But it isn’t intended to read that way. A statement of fact. Indisputable. Absolute. For what else is there? Ever? Real-ly?

As I strolled past a darkened room, shades drawn tight against the approaching gloom, slight movement caught my eye. It was enough to draw me in, curiosity alight. “Hello?,” I called out as I entered the room. “Anyone in here?”

“Other than you?”

Laughing, I turned toward the voice that had spoken. “Is that even possible? Since this is my space?”

“Hmmm,” she responded, careful, deliberate. “Is this the beginning of one of your infamous debates?”

“Hardly,” I chuckled, as my sight zeroed in on the shadowy figure lounging in a comfortable chair. “I’m not feeling a need to explore things too deeply. Just a tad bit nostalgic as I pass through this wing.”

“Whew…,” came the sigh, a sound of relief. “Then feel free to join me, thanks and please.”

“Interesting order,” I murmured to myself, but being the only One present made that distinction utterly pointless. “Do you live here?,” I thought to ask, politely inquiring.

A full-bellied giggle was her initial response, with an eventual verbal follow-up. “But, of course!,” she answered, delight still evident, her smile beaming from every syllable. “Are you saying that you don’t recognize me?… Or are you choosing to deny what has become too familiar?”

“And what, pray tell, is your role in this house? That you sit in the dark and amuse yourself?”

“I am Protector and Guardian of all that you see. A Keeper of Secrets. A Caretaker with Keys…”

“A perfect analogy, if I say so myself. You certainly have a gift for expressing yourself!”

“I’ve learned from the best,” was her reasoned response. “Words are a tool to be used with respect.”

Laughing, I followed her lead, knowing there was no coincidence in our meeting. “So… now that you’ve captured my attention and captivated my wit, what did you want me to discover here?”

She waved vaguely at the window, but spoke bluntly and clear, “the shades may be drawn, the light may be gone, but Life still goes on… beyond this wall.”

“Yes,” I whispered, barely a sound. “I’m well aware of that, my friend.”

And tears silently began to fall…

Rising, exhausted, I prepared to take leave, but she had one more point to make, it seemed.

“You know who I am, then?,” she asked quite directly.

“But, of course,” I responded with a touch of old arrogance. “You select my perceptions, as Perception Selector, protecting me from what I choose not to see.”

“Also your Interpreter, your Lens and your Focus,” she added for clarity’s sake. “Why not just call me your personal Interceptor?”

I turned for the door, ignoring her laughter, eager to leave this place and find some distraction.

“And denial is more than just a river in Egypt!,” she called after me. “That never really gets old, does it?,” I heard her chuckling.

(602 words)

Check out #blogbattles for the August prompt and our writers’ responses…

https://blogbattlers.wordpress.com/2019/08/13/blogbattle-stories-intercept/

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Poetry

”Caught Up in My Own Drama…”

Caught up in my own drama

a single person play

a solo performance

on a tiny little stage…

Writing, and rewriting, the dialogue

rearranging the scenes

so very little to work with

so very much to change…

Missing out on what’s around me

as I toil at my craft

convinced if I can get it “write”

the rest will fall in place…

Delusion, like fantasy, the dreamer’s media

presumptuous assumptions

those foundational mis-sumptions

guaranteed to lead one astray…

Yet here I am, complaining again

how nothing turns out “right”

when caught up in my own drama

directing the soul actor of my play…

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Reflections

Laughing at myself today…

… but not out loud, I’m afraid.

Not sure why, really, unless it’s just that – I’m afraid. Afraid, but not fearful. Is there even a true distinction between the two? I don’t know, but my internal vocabulary coach seems to think there is. At least for today, anyway…

I’m laughing at myself today because I cannot name my own feelings. Me?! The person who frequently preaches the need to expand our emotional vocabulary? The person who believes that accurately identifying such feelings lead naturally to resolving the foundations of them? Me?! Seriously?!

Oh yeah… Dead serious. I’m playing the cop-out game today: tired, numb, depressed(?), apathetic, detached, unmotivated, peaceful, still, nonreactive… They all feel the same to me. L, but not OL…

Change is happening. Necessary. Wanted. Expected. Hoped for. But not happy making… L, but not OL…

I am exactly where I want to be. But I am restless in the extreme. So long as I don’t have to physically move, that is… L, but not OL…

I can feel the creative impetus stirring deep within, rising up as pure potential waiting to be formed and shaped into something shareable. A cauldron boiling, glimpses of possibilities in clouds of steam, liquid manifestation just reaching the lip, poised to spill upon the world. But it is nothing attempting to influence nothingness… L, but not OL…

I am complete. My true, authentic self. Yet I am completely empty inside… L, but not OL…

How is this even real?

How can it even be real?

But if it’s not real, then that laughter echoing in silence is nothing more than madness. Perhaps that is why I am afraid…?

Laughing at my self today. But not out loud, I’m afraid…

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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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Conversations, Reflections

A conversation with An’Other About…the Four of Cups?

Whas’sup?

I’m sorry… Did we have a meeting scheduled for today?

(Laughing…). Oh, do I need an appointment to drop in these days?

[A steady stare and nothing more…]

Feeling a little off?

Could that be why I’m here?

I don’t know. And honestly, I don’t know why you’d expect me to!

Umm… Hmmm… Avoiding the obvious. This can’t be a happy sign.

(Settling down on the edge of the bed…). Want to talk about it?

Nothing to talk about, really. Everything is progressing as planned… Mostly, anyway. At least they seem to be moving in the proper direction anyway…

But…?

[Chuckling softly…]. No “but’s”; I’m supposed to be working on eliminating those, remember?

Sometimes “but’s” are necessary. How else would you sit so comfortably? Or open and close doors?

[A half smile is the only response…]

Wow, you are in a mood, aren’t you?

Feel free to leave at any time…

So… what exactly are you feeling? Sensing? Anticipating?

[A long pause before answering slowly and reluctantly…] I feel like the walls are closing in…

Explain?

Work posted my job as open, looking for my replacement. All well and good, and a necessary change I’ve been pushing for, in spite of being reluctant to move on… BUT, so far as I can see, they’ve made no move toward clearing out the position I’m supposed to be moving into…

It makes sense, sort of, as the transition should be done slowly (per my request) to ensure it goes as smoothly as possible, with as little disruption to operations as necessary. I mean, obviously I can’t do both jobs (that was the breaking point, after all), and I have to train my replacement. Still… I feel uneasy that the person I’m replacing doesn’t seem to have any clue whatsoever that it’s about to happen…

My daughter is finally in a position to look for a house, BUT her options are severely limited. Any hope of an in-law suite for me is out of the question, meaning best case scenario puts me in the house with them. Not sure I’m up for that; very much a case of jumping from the pan into the fire. And my roommate is already considering potential replacements for me…

Yeah… So it feels a bit like the walls are closing in, and the door to leave this space has not yet been revealed…

So… you’re getting what you want, but not the way you want it?

[A long glance at the Other without any animosity. Curiosity wins out…]

Is that what it is? Could it be that simple?… It feels much heavier than that. It feels like I’ve set myself up to fail again, pushing forward too soon, not insisting on guarantees… Trusting too much again.

Or not trusting enough, maybe?

[A long pause to contemplate…] Yeah, maybe… Just doesn’t really feel that way, but I tend to be biased towards worst case scenarios, as you know…

Are you truly worried?

No. And that’s the weirdest part. I’m certainly not convinced it’s going to play out the way it’s been planned, but I’ve no doubt I’ll weather it ok. And most likely wind up in a better place in the end. Just maybe not where I expect to be, is all…

The Four of Cups messing with you again?

[Genuine laughter responds…] Yeah, maybe that’s all it is!

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Poetry, Reflections

Fractures…

Fractures…

Glaring defects in all we know.

Micro glitches in my CD, bringing dissonance to those soothing sounds.

Shattered lines and missing pieces in the mirror I hold, distorting every image it reflects.

Spider-web cracks spreading across the window glass, blocking every vision that might exist beyond the pane (pain)…

Simple lines bisecting bones, altering every relationship I hold with gravity on this Earth.

Eliminating any weight-bearing strength I might once have had…

Fractures…

Massive movement on a global scale.

As continental plates rub against one another, creating heat in friction,

threatening to overflow in melted stone and ash.

Shaking up this world in trembling anticipation of what is yet to come.

Ice shelves slipping gracefully into the sea, drowning out the sound of whispering winds,

roaring out a challenge and a warning, so remote it’s voice is barely heard.

Icy winds drive massive storms, burying the cities and the plains in blinding snow,

freezing every person, place or thing in time that moves without changing anything.

A sun that rises, strong and warm, driving out the chill,

Melting all the evidence of all that we’ve done wrong.

Water rising as clouds cry, and snow recedes,

washing away the memory of death breathing down our necks.

Almost…

Fractures…

In the dams that keep the floods at bay…

In the foundations that keep us standing up…

In the beliefs that kept us calm through so many of life’s storms…

In the hope that life will triumph over catastrophe next time…

Fractures…

In the rose-colored glasses and the ego-driven classes.

In the delusions and the promises and the trajectories of our time…

Not broken… Yet!

But soon enough we’ll see

the fractures running through each and every one of us.

Giving up and giving way

collapsing under our own weight

destruction of all we’ve made

creation of a whole new day…

*** *** ***

And with Day 8, One Truth made manifest,

the blinding Light chasing protective Shadows away,

leaving a Mind to crumble and cast about, seeking something solid to hang onto.

But there was Nothing left…

And so it fractured, and fell into a heap.

And tiny pieces trembled as they lifted themselves from the ruins of all-that-was,

seeking Wholeness,

seeking Peace.

“I am alone,” One thought.

And her Heart broke at that realization.

New fractures replacing old…

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Poetry, Reflections

These are the reasons…

When I stop to question why I bother to survive

in a world hell-bent on destruction and dying

I realize…

I don’t have to travel far

to see the smiles or feel the scars

to ride the highs of excitement and joy

or wallow in the depths of disappointment and sorrow.

For all around me are excuses to be

whatever we want or expect to become:

the rich, the poor, the sickly and well

the humble, the prideful, the angry and lustful.

And whether or not I agree with their choices

I acknowledge their right to choose.

Soo…

Looking into the “eyes” that surround me

wherever the place, whatever the time

I accept

These are the reasons for all of the seasons

Life to be lived without rhyme or reason.

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