Essay, Reflections

Surrender…?

I know it seems counter-intuitive, but sometimes you have to lose big before you can win. Sometimes you have to let go before you can move forward. And sometimes, you have to surrender before you can be empowered.

I learned that mostly through getting sober in a 12 step group. Being a stubborn lass, I often push myself well beyond my limits, convinced that “if I give up now, I will never get back in the game.” And too often, that has proven to be true.

But there occasionally comes a time when I know I can’t continue, when there is simply not enough left in the tanks or the reserves to carry on. There are times when the battle, for survival or supremacy, simply isn’t worth it anymore. And times when even my wild imagination cannot fantasize a happy outcome, no matter how bizarre and impossible I allow the parameters for “success” to become. The question is knowing when that is…

Hello, Time, my ever present nemesis…”

Because letting go of something that isn’t working (at the right time) may ennable you to notice opportunities you would otherwise have missed; aka the other door or window that appears in the vacuum. Or it may allow you to accept help, whether it comes from other people, some Divine influence, or a quirk of fate. It certainly forces you to re-evaluate your place and your priorities, perhaps leading you to more realistic and attainable victories. Such re-orientation brings new strength to bear in the struggle, new hope, new goals to pursue. It reinvigorates the life you are presently living, however diminished that might be from the one you were pursuing…

But giving up too soon is a cop out, a failure, a loss of momentum; it makes you a quitter, rather than a winner, no matter how successful your “lesser” life becomes. Surrendering too early makes you weaker rather than stronger, presenting as a failure of will rather than an unwinnable contest. It creates a sand pit, a muckhole full of regret and “what if’s” hungry to suck you in at your first hesitation during any subsequent efforts. It is a loss from which you never truly recover…

So, how do you know where that line is? How do you figure out the timing of any surrender? Do you just push on, bruised and broken, until your only coherent thought is “enough, already!”? Or do you push on after that, preferring to err on the side of trying too hard, rather than quitting too soon? Do you literally press on until death drops you while still in harness? (Romantic thought, yes, but unrealistic, as the body usually stops functioning well before death actually comes to claim it.)

I was watching a show the other day, some apolcalyptic, end of the world scenario, where different factions fought about the best way to save the world. And as those “in power” argued amongst themselves trying to one-up each other, a doomsday cult grew up among the common people. The common folk accepted the inevitable end of humanity, seeking love and comfort from each other, while dreaming of how some other form of life (better than the plague that humans have become) would one day rise up to take our place.

Sound familiar?…

But then some renegade science geeks found a way to possibly save humanity, risking all to fight against the powers that be to achieve their vision of possible survival. And just when it seemed they might have succeeded, against all odds, the doomsday cult interceded with an act of terrorism to destroy that fragile hope, and the miracle device they built. Apparently, having accepted the inevitable end, having properly surrendered and found peace, they could not now accept that such an end might not occur. And so they acted out to make sure it would…

Have we, as a species (the masses, not the elites), surrendered our “power” too soon?

That’s the question haunting me today. For I believe I have accepted that humanity, or society anyway (as it is currently structured), is doomed; it simply cannot be saved. Nor do I believe it should be. Too much damage done over too many centuries, too many repeated failures and mistakes, too much proof that “good” can never truly triumph over the “evil” that rules. So, like many others, I wait for the inevitable end, the collapse of society as we know it.

But that end never seems to come, does it?

I mean, all the indicators are there – climate change, mass extinctions, vastly disproportionate allocation of resources, constant discord, increasing violence, an absolute refusal by those in power to change course, and an inability for the common folk to make them. Doomsday cults are a dime a dozen, and the major religions all seem to be preaching “end of days” scenarios. Countless apocalyptic dates have come (and passed), and more are predicted ahead. Most people seem to agree the “end is coming”; it’s really just a matter of when…

And yet…

And yet we keep on keeping on, limping through each day crippled but not dead. Individuals and entire species die off, while new individuals are born and live. Microscopic life forms are thriving (at the expense of others, of course). The sun rises each day on a planet more polluted than the day before. The moon transits through her phases, bearing witness to growing sorrows. But life, and more importantly here, society, continues. Why?!

I believed people who said the economy would collapse. I believed those who said humanity would turn on and destroy itself. But it hasn’t happened. Yet. And that’s a problem for someone like me. Why?

Because every day is a struggle. Because I want nothing more than to lay down my “coping tools” and give up. And I suspect I’m not the only one. But we can’t do that. Not really. Because if we give up too soon, we will only increase our suffering, but not speed up our relief. We won’t die, at least not right away. And while we wait for that, we will lose everything we are barely holding onto now.

I, personally, don’t like how it feels to be homeless and hungry. I’ve been there (long ago), when I was stronger and more physically capable, but I was still miserable. I can’t even fathom going through that now! So I continue to drag myself to work, day after day, juggling bills I can’t actually pay off, waiting expectantly for the day when these struggles become meaningless. But that day never actually comes…

I watch people I love struggle the same way, knowing how little I can do to actually alleviate their pain, because I have none of the resources that might actually help them. And I know they feel the same. I’m starting to feel just a tad bit envious of every death I learn about, knowing they, at least, have escaped. It’s getting to the point where I’m no longer sure if the “grief” I experience, the tears I cry, are to honor those who’ve passed, or to lament the fact that I haven’t!

And those doomsday predictors have all had to “walk back” their predictions, claiming now that we will not pass from this place with a boom and a flash, but with a whimper and a slow rotting away. Maybe in my lifetime, or maybe three generations away! The end, however inevitable it may seem, is not necessarily imminent…

“Time, my old enemy, you have a wicked and cruel sense of humor!”

Is giving up even an option anymore? Is there any chance that surrender could hasten the end of this war? It doesn’t seem that way to me, but perhaps I’m missing something here. Please feel free to enlighten me…

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Poetry, Reflections

Caught in the Crossfire…

… of too much

happening all at once…

Battered and bruised…

Confused…

But certain I’m on the “right” track.

Consistent themes?

“Save the children!”

“Just say No!”

“Letting go…”

Familiar slogans demanded now

in new contexts.

Nothing ever truly changes, does it?

Cycling round and round…

Learning?! Really?!

Covering new ground…?!

Doesn’t feel that way today.

Repeating…

Endlessly…

the same old tired game.

But then…

I’m caught in the crossfire…

… of too much

happening all at once.

So what can I expect to see?

When I’m constantly forced to…

DUCK!!

*** *** ***

Keep your heads down, friends, for Change be upon us…

And there is nowhere left to run.

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Poetry

“Emo-ting”…

All dressed in black…

heavy bangs hung low to hide my eyes

from those soul-less zombies of society

who thrive on peering…

…and prying inside.

Hungry ghosts seeking me

to feed upon my fear…

…and anxiety.

Driven to explore…

the shadowed recesses of my mind

confronting my felonious nature

my angst and downcast eyes…

…the only outward signs.

Of the price I pay every day

for the crime of Being…

…and staying alive.

 

** NOTE: Please don’t take this too seriously, folks.  I’m just exploring my “emo” nature a bit, having had the word “angst” appear in the comments section of my last two posts…  😀

 

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Reflections

Notes to “self” (including all Other selves choosing to read them as well)…

Crawling forward on bloody hands and bruised knees, I fall inward through the door to Center Space again.  It is all I can do to just breathe once more, safely reaching this Timeless haven…

“Whew!  That was a rough trip ’round this time,” I vocalize aloud.

I understand the necessity for going out there, and the limitations imposed by doing so, but sometimes…  I don’t know…  sometimes it’s good just to get home again…

I peer out the windows at the other loops visible from here, checking in on what might be happening in places where my consciousness has not been, then settle in to rest a while, recuperate, and consider what this latest effort has taught me.

From here I can see it All, but I can do nothing to affect it.  I must leave this sanctuary and travel the loops of Time, if I would act at all.  But out there I am so limited (and vulnerable), restricted to what lies before and behind me, in rigid order, with real consequences.  Useful for short jaunts, but always heavy with the risk of getting lost, of forgetting this Timeless place where experience can be transfigured into Knowledge.  Had it not been for the whales guiding me with their Song, I might not have made it back this time at all…

So…  what did I learn on my latest adventure into the trenches of 21st century America?

Reaching for my journal, I begin to write…

I think the Paradoxes I encountered this time around really threw me off balance, for I could not reconcile them out there.  That, in itself, was unusual, but the consequences of not being able to were devastating to both my psyche and my soul…

There was the web, for example.  It was the trees who taught me of the “underlying” community, the root structure that supports Life and Otherhood.  And perhaps it was their long sleep, leaving me without the wisdom they had so easily shared, that left me vulnerable and unaware of the changes taking place.  But as the roots awaken, and the sap begins to flow, two things have become clear to me, though explanation still escapes my troubled heart…

First, the web beneath my feet feels stronger than it ever has, but the world I interact with seems shakier and less certain than ever before.  If the web is strengthening, should we not be seeing positive results in the world around us?  Or has it truly all been for naught?  Must we accept that Life cannot survive all the damage we have done, or are my senses merely reeling under the assault of evil so blatantly exposed abroad?

Second, the non-human beings entwined in the web seem to be connecting on a deeper, more productive level.  Will they do away with predation as a way of life?  I think probably not, as sacrifice has always been a choice that some will make, and what lesson can be learned if no one/thing accepts said sacrifice?

But what is worth noting is that the boundaries between non-human species seem to be fading.  They are much more willing to accept, support, and live together in peaceful communities.  A living example for humans to follow, or a necessary survival instinct?  I do not know…

Also worth noting is the willingness of non-human beings to interact with humanity these days.  Are they reaching out in an effort to save themselves, or are they merely demonstrating what is possible when we choose to work together?  I admit struggling to “understand” their speech, but there is no mistaking their support, their generosity, and their courage in reaching out to those of us responsible for so much destruction in their world…

I also had the good fortune this time around to meet some non-humans who chose to wear human forms.  The Fey, in particular, nature spirits of many kinds, have chosen to live among us humans, as humans!  It’s fascinating to meet them, for they remember some of what they are within, especially when they are young.  To encounter them, to see that familiar spark in ancient eyes looking out from such young faces, to feel the joy of Life restricted by a very human body in a depressingly human society… well, it was both awe-inspiring and debilitating at the same time.  To want to protect them, while not wanting to interfere with their purpose here was quite the conundrum for me…

It’s almost as if all of the Earth’s true beings were reaching out to help us humans in our time of crisis, and yet we still have not made significant progress toward joining them!  Which is not to deny the work and effort of many individual people out there.  There are many doing their part to rectify things.  But none of it seems to be enough…

Laying down my journal, I allow my thoughts to drift, pondering these observations and their significance.  Lazily I let my eyes wander, looking out the windows, and wondering what my Others may be experiencing out there.  I consider heading out again, but in a totally different direction, needing to experience something a little less oppressive than where (or when) I’ve been…

“Not yet, I think,” I answer myself.  “I need to recover first.  I lost too much on this last venture, I hurt too much to want to rush back out again.  I think I’d rather read a while, catch up on others’ stories, and see what I can learn…”

And so, reaching for the journal once more, I flip back through the pages to see what entries I might have missed…

 

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Poetry, Reflections

Immobilized…

I stand alone, within a crowd

immobilized.

Calming breaths, burrowing roots

still my restless self.

Every ounce of fortitude

every spark of will

every bit of discipline

required to rein Me in…

Now a statue, not stone, but flesh

my focus turns without.

To see the world pass me by

unmoved by my existence.

In every face, despair

In every voice, fear

In every life that passes

a story of distress.

For chaos rules the world today

and wicked winds of change.

Perhaps, if I can hold my ground,

my life would feel more sane…

But even here, unmoving,

reality seeks its claim…

Lightning strikes me from above,

attacks quite unanticipated.

Raging cyclones chip away

at balance, strength, and certainty.

And flocks of birds fly overhead,

to defecate quite purposely…

Yet here I stand, immobolized,

completely unprovoking…

So how am I to name this space?

What judgment comes to mind?

How can I explain this?

Or justify my time?

Is standing still the least destructive

for me and those nearby?

Or should I slip into the flow

let chaos be my guide?

Hanging on or letting go,

the difference is extreme.

So, caught between the consequences

Immobile I remain.

 

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Essay, Reflections

“The snakes are coming!! Step away from the road!”…

“Knowledge” is a peculiar thing, really.  I mean, if you think about it.  There are different ways of “knowing” and different levels of “what is known” (aka knowledge).  At some point (and I can’t say when or where with any consistency or accuracy), hunches, intuitions, dreams, prophecies, facts, data, and wisdom somehow combine and/or crystallize into “knowledge.”  And by doing so, said hunches, intuitions, dreams, prophecies, facts, data and/or wisdom become something else entirely.  They become real…

Perhaps that’s all there is to it, then.  Maybe.  Maybe it’s as simple as becoming “real,” and “knowledge” (that which is known) is the accumulation of what has become real.  In which case the transformation between supposition and belief into knowledge occurs entirely at the quantum level, when an actual path is “chosen” and made real…

What intrigues me about this possibility is that all true “knowledge” becomes past tense the instant it transforms into said knowledge; no longer a possibility or a choice, but a path already taken.  Hmm…

Why does any of this matter now anyway (other than to amuse my self)?  Because this is the time of year when prophecies abound, when speculation looms heavy in the public mind, when everyone looks forward to what may be coming, and tries to position themselves accordingly.  We are a forward looking species, who make decisions and resolutions based on past occurances.  Trusting, somehow, that there is a consistency or pattern to reality such that there will be similarities between how things happened before, and how they are developing now.

It’s not our fault, really; it’s simply how our minds work.  We (humans, anyway) reason by analogy.  We see “patterns,” and those patterns allow us to extrapolate, to draw conclusions.  Not always accurate, of course, but accurate enough to allow us to learn.  And we are not the only species capable of such learning, though we often credit ourselves with being the “best” at it.  Higher order thinking.  Cause and effect.  Symbolic representation.  These are hallmarks of human existence, though not limited to human use exclusively.

There is a saying (I have no idea who to credit with it) that says “insanity is doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results.”  And “insanity” is, by definition, irrational; it does not make “sense,” it does not pass “go” or collect $200.  “Insanity” is the antithesis of reason and/or knowledge.

Or is it?

Because if reason is based on analogy, then it is, in fact, learning gained by mimicking past maneuvers.  Knowledge itself may be a past tense phenomenon.  So perpetuating “bad” ideas, habits of thought and action, and mistaken assumptions would be par for the course.

To be fair, of course, the key word in the saying is not “insanity” but “same.”  It acknowledges that true learning occurs when subtle changes are introduced, prompting different outcomes.  Sometimes those changes are not subtle at all, revolutionizing both our thoughts and our actions, and creating a whole “new” system of belief, action, choice and knowledge.  People (and their circumstances) can change…

Maybe…

***     ***     ***

So I’m wandering through this world today, observing Others (as I tend to do), and I notice things.  I notice, for example, that people are swinging on vines of belief between extreme certainty and extreme confusion.  The world we live in has become so adept at denying “reality” and sowing doubt that humans cannot seem to accumulate anything resembling knowledge.  They vacillate between shrugging their shoulders and shaking their heads in defeat, and defending, vociferously, that which directly opposes the observable.  Red is not blue, and blue is not red, no matter how much you want to believe, or how loudly (or meanly) you defend your point of view; it simply isn’t -period.

But the real confusion and chaos arises from the “fact” that it isn’t any one group or individual swinging between these extremes, but everyone!  Every single human I meet today exhibits these symptoms – one minute totally confused and unsure of what to expect, and the next minute defending the indefensible belief most currently guiding their actions!  Myself included, as I recently heard myself explaining to someone that my words, however confidently they were presented, should be taken as my opinion only; I don’t know anything, but I have lots of beliefs and opinions…

“Fake news.” “False flags.” “Doubt everything!”  “Research yourself.” “Ulterior motives.”  “Trust no one!”  Clarion calls and slogans for the “new age” of enlightenment.  And impossible to implement.  How do you truly research anything, when all data, all information, is merely an expression of someone’s beliefs?  How can knowledge exist if no one can make a decision about what is “real,” or if we cannot agree on those basic assumptions?  We can’t.  We can only create and defend our own little worlds.  But we cannot change others’ without some willingness or ability to achieve consensus.  And that would entail accepting belief and opinion over knowledge.  Until that belief and opinion transformed into knowledge…

But then, knowledge would not equal Truth…

So be it…  And change, if it is to be achieved, must occur pre-knowledge, proliferating only in the realm of supposition, belief and opinion.  Hunches, intuitions, dreams, prophecies become seeds of potential change; when acted upon they find resonance and connection in the “real” world, creating facts and data, acceptance of which mimics “wisdom.”  And when all of that combines into a quantum choice, “knowledge” is born…

***     ***     ***

I had a series of dreams today, all vaguely connected, though dreamed seperately.  They seem relevant to this discussion somehow…

Dream 1:  I am at some sort of huge gathering of people with my “group” (family, friends, tribe or clan).  Everyone is excited about what is about to transpire; hope, love and happiness infect the crowds like drugs or disease.  I’m wandering around, observing, but not engaging.  Eventually I arrive at where my group is gathered, unpacking for the upcoming events…

I notice at once that they are annoyed with me, even angry.  They tell me my role, my purpose within the group, is to speak (the/my) truth, to “inform” them about what is happening, and what is coming.  They are angry about my continued silence…

I try to explain that no one is listening, that no one wants to hear what I have to say, that I am simply wasting my breath when I try… but that does not appease them.  So I give in, I capitulate, I begin to speak of what I “know.”

And they completely ignore me, refusing to acknowledge even the sound of my voice, much less what I’m saying.  I carry on, valiantly trying to speak and be heard over the crowd and their personal chatter, but I fail.  So I wander off, to be woken by my cat entering my dream to get my attention; I wake to find my cat waiting expectantly, as it’s my normal time to arise…

Dream 2: (only vaguely remembered, as it was sandwiched between the other two)  I am somewhere with a small group of people, in proximity, if not in thought.  I am coloring, filling in patterns with colors that please me, not worried at all if they reflect reality.  Others around me are doing the same.  We occasionally glance at each others’ pictures, commenting on color choices and such, but none are affected by the others’ opinions, content to carry on in our own creations.  I am very happy…

Dream 3:  Another huge gathering on a beautiful day, only this one is not organized.  This is small groups – families, couples, individuals – out enjoying lovely weather in a pretty city park and surrounding streets.  Everyone is focused on who they are with, though pleasantly acknowledging others who cross their path.  The weather begins to change, skies darkening and wind rising…

I hear a distant announcement, barely audible above the sounds of crowd and wind, warning people. “The snakes are coming; step away from the road!”  Most people around me seem not to hear it, or react to it…

In my mind’s eye I see a water containment system (a dam, levee or water tank) let go, and a flood of water rushes down the main street, washing away everything in its path.  I realize the announcement is attempting to save lives, though most are oblivious.  A few random individuals have picked up the message and are attempting to pass it on, telling everyone they pass that the snakes are coming, as they, themselves, move away from the street.  But the strangers do not understand the message, first staring at the messengers, confused, then shaking off their warnings as irrelevant to them.

So I pick up the call, yelling at maximum volume: “The snakes are coming!!  Step away from the road!  For your own safety, move away from the road!”  I walk along the road, shouting, trying to reach as many as possible.  Some move away, if only to avoid the crazy lady walking down the sidewalk yelling about snakes…

Suddenly I see the water coming, rushing down the street, overwhelming all in its path.  As it passes me, I notice the foam in front looks distinctly like two snake heads roaring at all they pass.  Their fangs and their eyes flash in the fading light, while their intertwined bodies eventually merge into a single body of water.  And suddenly I understand the warning…

I smile as I move away from the road, unhurried…

***     ***     ***

Higher order thinking.  Cause and effect.  Symbolic representation.  All hallmarks of human existence…

Depending on your beliefs, snakes can represent healing, transformation, or knowledge.  And depending on your opinion, they can represent “good” or “evil.”

Knowledge is, after all, a peculiar thing…

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Poetry, Reflections

“Abandoned!…”

Tossed to the roadside

left to die…

Like garbage from another time.

Pushed aside, out of sight

out of mind…

Irrelevant am I…

So who am I?

Who am I you left to die?

Who am I you pushed aside?

Who am I?

You decide…

Am I pride, dignity, or hope?

Trust or faith?

Reason, responsibility, humility perhaps?

Conscience, purpose, or justice?

For all of these are now abandoned,

drained of their power to motivate

and empower…

What then is left?

So… who am I, left here to die?

Whose relevancy has been pushed aside?

You decide…

Am I humanity,

and the planet on which we reside?

Or am I greed,

and the system on which it relies?

You decide…

Knowing no answer is an answer this time…

For abandonment is an action,

passive or aggressive,

the results will be the tide

that wipes away our history…

Tossed to the roadside

left to die

the garbage from another time…

 

 

 

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