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Thursday, March 22, 2012

Wake Up Mr. Turtle

Photography by Dakota

     There are certain spaces which can suck the life out of a minute without trying; the DMV, a seminar on college tuition and the holding tank for potential jurists.  Signing in at the desk, donating time for enforced community service my breath slowed and the blood began to coagulate in my veins.


Across the aisle a man in his fifties, (oh my God he's my age!), became still. His body began collapsing into itself, his neck accordioning into his shoulders. With a long breath Mr. Turtle fell asleep and soundly from the looks of it.  My envy knew no bounds.  
     There are life skills for which I'd pay big bucks, sleeping in an uncomfortable chair in a room full of bored humans is near top of the list. As is having the ability and nonchalance to change the oil of my car and owning a steady hand to paint the edge of a wall. But numero uno, would be the ability to wake people UP. There are books, seminars and tragic events which create environments for a self bitch slap.  These were the methods utilized in my own Good Morning.  Deep inner wisdom, bottom of the sea deep, decided I'd been napping quite long enough and set about introducing me to Eckhart Tolle, a couple of shaman and a new career.  Even then I snoozed another couple of years until all hell broke loose.  Apparently I learn best when unable to think straight.
     Passing the prerequisite Life Sucks 101 with an A+, I am currently attending Life ROCKS, a course which has no end date.  Waking up was puke worthy, filled with agony and snot.  Unlike internships, there is no desire to see the incoming class endure the tsunami without a life raft.  Thus, with healing so recently in the rear view mirror, my greatest wish is to have the ability to I Dream of Jeanie each and every sleepy head a gentle splash of cold water.


     Wake up, wake up, wake up.

     Asleep, life is far, far away.

     Joy behind a curtain, pain under garbage.

     It is all one in the same.


     Wake up, the world waits for no one, not even you.
     The baby grows, the trees leaf, the planet rotates.
     Each is a part of the whole you see.


     Wake up, without you it's not the same.

     Pieces of a puzzle, a blend of humanity.

     A fusion of all.


     Wake up alive connected to everything.

     One breath, two, eyes open wide.

     See the Sun, the moon, the stars.

     One breath, two, oh my.

     The Universe unfolds.


Tuesday, March 20, 2012

The Dumbass Middle

     Two days of jury duty brought more reflection than I expected.  A room filled with people living in the same time zone and grocery shop alongside one another, provided clues about my perception of the world.  Awhile ago I likened life to The Hokey Pokey and this is still my belief with the addition of picking teams.  A postcard arriving in the mail demanding a citizen sit for hours in an uncomfortable chair at the beck and call of justice is at the core a lesson in picking sides.  Supposedly everyone who votes is in the jurist pool and as my son explains it this is true even if I get called every 2-3 years and the entirety of the populace I polled wonder where the panel is drawn from as they have yet to serve.  According to the statistician offspring, it doesn't matter how many times a name goes into a grouping, odds remain the same and yet I never win the Lotto.
     The approximately 120 people looked unusually twin-ish.  99 percent were of the same color, white, all similarly dressed, all above the age of doing this or getting a tattoo and by close of day two, each wore an expression of bored irritation.  99.9 percent of the seats had a grown up butt sore from sitting in a crappy chair.  A sampling of county humanity "randomly" turned up the Geek Squad.  I'm not doubting statistical probability I'm questioning the veracity of county government turning up solely members of Good Guy Team.  I'm fairly certain a $100 bill could have been left in the bathroom and not a single person encountering it would have done anything other than turn it into the woman at the desk.  Perhaps being in the same location as individuals facing prison time, scared the collection into proper behavior, but the air felt crisply "goodie-goodie". There is only one way the perception of righteousness holds up and that is if there is a Bad Guy.  Enter anyone who came to court as a defendant.

     "Every person is considered innocent until proven guilty."

This statement was made by a judge giving the low down prior to jury selection.

      Is that even possible?

The large group of Rule Followers, nodded and looked as though they listened carefully.  Thirty of us moved into court to pass by a defendant.  From the door I could see he was not Caucasian and that fear rolled off him in waves. 

     Should I make eye contact?

     What if he thinks I'm a friend?

     Will I feel sorry for him?

     Better not look at him.

Once seated both attorneys approached the bench.  The defendant left the room with his head bowed.

     "Ladies and gentlemen you are dismissed.  This case will either go to bench determination or settlement.  Thank you for serving.  Just having you here allows cases to move forward."

     How does a middle aged group of Straight and Narrow Walkers move cases forward?

Halfway back to the waiting room, a few members of our tribe began chatting with the bailiff. 

     "Guess we scared him into taking an offer from the DA."

     "Did you see his face?  Better think twice about breaking the law around here."

     "I wouldn't have wanted to face this jury.  Dude was going down man!"

     Humans appear to have an incessant need to categorize themselves to differentiate between one another.  Rip away skin, strip eye color, remove sexual organs, drain bank accounts, lose the ability to speak and we're goopy blobs trying to survive in a harsh world.  Boxes are containers with lids, stifling living breathing spirits from soaring, labeling people into corners.  Defining citizens sifts out the chaff and separates humanity.  When picking teams for dodgeball it is important to remember whose side one is on.  Good Guy?  Bad Guy?  Or perhaps just some dumbass stuck in the middle. 


Monday, March 19, 2012

Jury Duty IS Dodgeball

     PE was one of the most hideous experiences in public school education for a non-sporty.  It was particularly difficult for the wanna-be's.  We of the un-chosen stood anxiously in our white gym issued Keds while sweat dripped down the polyester mixed snap up top.  Depending upon school colors, the gym shorts were a shade not seen anywhere else on earth and the balloon shape guaranteed a roundish bum was covered by an umbrella top.  Adult jock females in charge of the cheer leading squad, cherry picked team captains.  This meant the twosome deciding fate of the class were either dating the Homecoming King or pumping iron regularly. 
     I fit somewhere in the middle, but out in the Mojave Desert middle.  There was a mad desire to wake up one morning blonde with big boobs and a darker fiendish side that wanted to pummel anyone in striking distance with a dodge ball.  The cheer leading squad never looked my way avoiding the matter entirely, leaving me to sidle up to the hard core kids and ultimately warming the bench.  Once or twice the gym teacher forced me into the rotation, bringing groans from the ensemble.  Big beefy girls on our side slam dunked the opposing squealing females trying to avoid breaking a nail.  In between I'd attempt not to become the squishy part between a girl's gym shoe and the hardwood floor.
     The person not picked is something I'd grown to be quite good at and did not find entirely unpleasant.  Hiding is an art form; blending into the background until softly disappearing, fading until zip gone.  In families with a history of trauma, there is the time to be wallpaper and the time to be a firecracker.  Human so thin, the molecules have begun to intertwine with furniture, a voiceless object in the room until slowly the cells gel into solid form for an explosion.  It's quite a nifty act and can bring lots of attention.  This life skill was left back at the curb a few healings ago.  Which is why when encountered out in public, I am fascinated by the different colors of the gym shorts. 
     Feeling my brain cells die one by one in a jury duty waiting room, stories drifted by on the stale air. 

     "Don't feel bad if you don't get picked to serve on a trial.  They aren't trying to hurt your feelings."

     "Some guy put his roach clip attached to some weed in the key bowl going through security."

     "One time during the selection process, the defense pointed at me and said "no".  To this day I don't know what it was.  Do you think they didn't like the look of me?"

     "Do not bring a water bottle water filled with alcohol.  Yes, I'm telling you this because someone has done it before."

     "It may seem we aren't doing anything while you wait, but believe me there are many things happening behind the scenes."

     "Do not under any circumstances take information learned at trial and go investigate on your own.  Do not go to the scene of a crime and take measurements.  Yes, I'm telling you this because someone has done it before."

     "Even if you don't get picked to serve on a trial, you have done something for democracy."

     "Don't take it personally, it's not about you."

As they called the names for each trial, there were those who had sweat dripping down their polyester blend shirts, sitting on the edge of a chair with an insane urge to scream,

     "Oh, oh, pick me!  Pick me!"

Mixed in were sheets of wallpaper, the invisible populace, fingering a roach clip or taking a swig from a plastic bottle and hoping not to be picked.

Wednesday, March 14, 2012

Guest Post

     A new friend from Twitter asked me to write as a guest blogger for his site  We've known each other for a little over a month and he's earned my friendship, as well respect.  The subject written about is difficult to look squarely in the eyes, because the reader may have emotion or hear a whisper to take some responsibility for the way things ARE.  
     It is a suggestion to take a few moments to read a few of Bear's Rants and listen quietly to the message which comes from deep inside, the voice of your spirit.  From this sacred place originates healing for those not able to write for themselves.

After the Storm - A Rainbow's Rant 

Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Buddha Deconstructed

     The long torturous process of unwinding snafus trickled from the spigot of an unruly life.  Being me, I became irritated, cranky and impatient.

     "When the hell is all this crap going to stop exploding?"

Dear, patient husband offered the usual assist.

     "Is there anything I can do to help?"

     "You can say, "Boy Deb, that sucks."  I'll rage and bitch while you follow with that."

     "Boy Deb, that sucks."

Aside from computer hacking, banking errors and shirts on backwards and sideways, a new element swished into view.  Friendships from high school onward were showing some wrinkles.  Nothing major, but minor skirmishes to bring my daily dash to a pause.  Waiting for a planned phone call which never came, a get together cancelled last minute and a scheduled Skype chat lost in the shuffle left me confused.  Under the elements lay a common whisper.

     "You have left your power behind."


     "You must claim your power."

     "Balance requires discipline, power requires discipline to remain balanced."

     Sounds like me and the big girl panties have a date.

     Mid-summer I had become enthralled with writing.  Obsessed, a giant tub of love butter surrounded by glorious words and life drifted off into careless disregard.  Writing became the new hot boyfriend and everything else the distracting chore list.  A wobble was heard across the land, while I got lazy, myopic and dreadfully out of balance.  Big enough wobble and even a Weeble will fall down.
     Entering the office one morning, grumbling because of the early hour required to engage in shamanic practice, even though there was no intent for being a shaman, I noticed Buddha near the door.  This particular Buddha head owned a chipped ear from being knocked from his perch once or twice by the gardener and currently resided just inside out of the snow.  

     "I can't believe you've made it unscathed this long."

Buddha didn't respond, his face a bland mask of serenity.  With no advanced preparation I became overcome with a need to vacuum the office immediately.  This unlikely event was accompanied by a finite amount of time for practice before the first client arrived.

     "You are a bloody idiot.  I know.  You don't have time for this.  I know.  Oh shut up.  I know."

Zooming through the two rooms and nearly finished, something or someone told me to turn around.  Perhaps it was the cord of the vacuum or my foot or Big Dude Himself, but flying majestically end over end through the air was Buddha.  

     "Grab him!  Go on make a flying gazelle leap and save Buddha!  Forget bodily injury, you're not too old, you can do this!"

     "Be still."


     "Be still."


Buddha deconstructed at my feet.  I stood for a moment or two in stunned wonder.

     "Well Dude, you waited a long time to do that and it was freaking magnificent."

     Later in the day a young woman showed me what balance looks like.  She appeared with a ukulele to demonstrate the position while playing.  I'd asked her to do this to discover out why she experiencing back pain.  Strumming the tune of my favorite song, "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" by IZ, Gabri told me what filled her days.  

     "Well, I like college and I'm pretty sure I want to go to culinary school.  I've got a ukulele club and thinking about creating a comedy performance routine, plus the volunteer work at the local theater and I really love my restaurant job."

The beautiful girl's face beamed with joy and purpose.  There was no discussion about not enough time or too little attention.  Though a bit lopsided sitting with the ukulele, in all other ways Gabri was the tree pose of life.  Somewhere between twenty and fifty-one I'd lost the ability to add, allowing subtraction to rule the game.  
     When the day wound to a close, I collected Big Head's pieces to throw away. The stack contained an eye, a large chunk with an ear and half of his face, plus parts unable to describe.  Buddha's swan dive served great purpose and deserved a bit more than a toss into a can.  Lying the disassembled figure head alongside pine boughs and natural materials I began constructing a visual art of chaos collected.  There are plenty of places I'd misplaced my power, including relationships which were more about hanging on than human interaction and those would be handled in much the same way as the morning rituals.  Remembering to practice balance with all things dreamed of all those years ago as a young girl full of purpose.  
     A regular day begins and I light a candle at Buddha Deconstructed, moving on to access my power by practicing discipline.  Each moment is a wonder of pieces flying through the air creating chaos and humility.

Thursday, March 8, 2012

Post It Note Protest

     "The more voices used in truth heard in the universe, the more universal truth there will be." 

     I said these words to a friend of mine not long ago and wrote them down to remember.  Every once in awhile a piece of wisdom drops out of the big library in the sky and a bit of something miraculous will happen in that I will speak a thought not my own.  It used to freak me out, sentences rolling off my tongue with ease.  "Me-me" is usually flumoxed by the action.

     "Who the hell just said that?" 

These days I've gotten pretty used to being inside out listening to an amazing gift not my own.  There have been a few occasions the writing from this blog has come from that same place.  It's pretty great when it happens because I don't even have to use spell check or edit to see if it over lapped itself sideways with a run on sentence.  My kind of words of wisdom, the type generated all by myself don't usually end up being a motivator for the public good. 
     One weekend I took a trip to Minneapolis.  A really lovely city I would have enjoyed immensely if not sleep deprived due to sports fans partying because their team lost each game played in the baseball playoffs.  I can't imagine how it could of gotten worse, but I'm guessing if they had been celebrating instead of commiserating I'd have been at the airport three days early.  An end of my floor of the hotel was devoted to passionate, depressed Twins fans and I was in bondage to their festival of woe.  Every half hour became a ritual of calling the front desk to complain, the elevator dinging to a stop, a tap-tap-tapping at the main party door, a whispered conversation and finally twenty minutes of hushed laughter.  A few seconds past twenty one minutes, after finding a fitful slumber there would be a cacophony of sounds ranging from puking, to thumping, to screaming.  Around 4:30am the wake finally over, they buried the season.
      After 90 minutes of blissful sleep I began preparing for revenge.  My mind raced with thoughts of torturing the now slumbering guests with "housekeeping" knocks on their door or throwing luggage at the wall every twenty minutes.  Finally arriving at the conclusion they had been drunk enough to in all likelihood snore through any disturbance created.  The next plan of action was to write a toasty letter and shove it under their door, which would probably go unread as they stumbled out of the hotel.  Still fuming while dressing for the seminar, I noticed a stack of post-it-notes.  The next ten minutes involved writing out a message and finding the perfect location in front of the elevator up/down button.  I post-it-noted a protest.

      "Dear party people, want 2 know how it was 4 the rest of us?  It sucked!" 

That bit of intelligence made me giddy with glee.  Sauntering into the elevator I headed off to breakfast thinking I was magnificently brilliant.  Within the hour, my display was removed.  I must have been videotaped by hotel management and it is unlikely a single "Party People" saw my effort.
     Deflated, I headed back to the elevator for class, coinciding with the arrival of  a very hung over twenty something guy. Yes, angels were singing in my head.  As the doors shooshed shut I turned my best "mom gaze" on the pathetic creature before me.  

     "Hung over?" 

He swayed a bit before answering, clutching a bottle of soda.

     "Um, no not really." 

Looking closely I noticed he was unshaven and beginning to sweat. 

     "Really?  You should be.  In fact, you should feel as shitty as I do since I got the same amount of sleep as you." 

His mouth opened and shut, open and shut.  Slowly the young man's cheeks went from dirty dish towel to Bloody Mary and his eyes shifted away from mine.  Ding, the doors opened and I sashayed off to the gathering.  That little ditty did not come from the spiritual library, it came straight from a vast volume of Pissed Off Mom 101.
         "The more voices used in truth heard in the universe, the more universal truth there will be." 

     Some truth comes from a sacred place, some doesn't and that's okay.  In the elevator I didn't get stopped by my own politeness or fear of being considered mean and didn't wait for universal guidence.  I spoke to a young man whose mom wasn't around to tell him he was out of line, stepping in to in the blanks.  There are moments when even I know what words to use all on my own.


     The chore list has been overwhelmed with broken bits of this and that, computer hackers, banking snafu's, allergic reactions, multiple doctor visits, one late night ER adventure and a year anniversary of a visit with a Shaman.  Today in the midst of brushing teeth I looked in the mirror and noticed my shirt was on inside out.  This mishap has occurred roughly 10 times the last two weeks.  Chaos emblematic in outerwear.  

     "What the hell?"

This was raged out between the gushy foam of toothpaste and in a room by myself.

     Change is an interesting phenomena.  The protagonist for most stories, little understood and is a topic for which I am completely enamored.  That is, if enamored means enthralled, bamboozled, flabbergasted, befuddled and standing with a look of gob-smacked horror with drool traveling unnoticed down my chin.  The rampaging Sun has thrown bits of matter through space and lowly computer software is unable to withstand the storm.  While Big Mr. Glow was readying for the task of a mayhem shower, the steam of fortitude built up to a mountain of power.  In other words for the last 21 days, my life has been far, far, far screwier than usual.
     Having dismissed random as an illusion a few years ago, there is no other place to begin than with a statement starting off the awareness travels 13 years ago.

     "Pay attention there is something to learn."


One of my finer qualities is that I am consistent.  A personality trait with less than stellar results is laziness, which lurks behind most masterful events of change in this experience.  A few years ago I embarked upon a study of Shamanic Healing.  Funny thing about opening doors, they tend to let in more than the expected.  The knowledge has been astounding and life affirming, providing healing for old pain, as well as deeper understanding of my beliefs.  Gratitude aside, there has been a little trinket recently discovered.  After the presents, came a question.

     "So, what are you going to do with this information?"

As a practicing manual therapist, the obvious answer would be to offer Shamanic Healing.  

     Have you seen what that looks like?

     No way.

     You work in middle class America, not in Woo-Doo Town.

     You'll be strung up by your feet and worried villagers will throw tomatoes.

Thanking All That IS for the transformation, ambivalence set in and I lived with the trinket buried in back of the closet.  This is what usually happens.  Lose ten pounds after working my butt off, become overjoyed and eat Oreos while basking momentarily in pants that don't pinch.  Perception altering healing arrives, which required concentrated meditation practices, become overjoyed and eat Oreos while basking momentarily in the wide open spaces of life in sync.  
     Pebble sized blips of difficulty arrived, just as the pants slowly hugged in for the python squeeze and then the Sun Spot Shower of Snafu pitter pattered on my rooftop relentlessly.

     "There is no un-learning what has been learned."


We are now entering my interpretation of the discipline phase of adulthood.  The age where not going to the gym for a week has repercussions far beyond a pound or two and using a credit card can outreach possible years of work expectancy.  Those damn chickens have come home to roost.  I can continue to watch the view of my ass bloom over my shoulder or step up the workouts. There is no mandate from the heavens to perform Shamanic Healing for others, but once a truth has been accepted there is no daydreaming it away.  Brush my teeth, put my shirt on correctly, go the gym and balance the mayhem with practiced attentiveness.  


     Sun erupts in unpredictable beauty


     Ooohs and ahhhs shower forth


     "What does it mean?"


     Answers are an illusion, a daydream to distract


     Focus there is a wave at hand


     Breathe, paddle, breathe, catch the rhythm


     Blending with the motion of life.