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Thursday, December 24, 2015

Grace: A Conversation With The Voice

     Is there space between love and hate?

     "There is but a breath between them."

     How so?

     "To love one must know the difference."

     But hatred consumes and then there is no love.

     "It is the same with love."

     How can there be hatred when humans have such a capacity for love?

     "Humans also have pain.  Hatred is a product of pain."

     Why?  Why do we have pain?

     "Pain is instrumental in the human experience."

     "That's stupid"

     "That's life."

     What are we supposed to do with that?

     "Look inward and find the space."

     Between love and hate?

     "Yes.  You're spirit resides there."


     "With Grace."

Friday, December 4, 2015

A Boomerang of Ripples

     This is a post from two years ago. It is a follow up to a piece I wrote recently published on elephant journal, The Bike Man Cometh. Because the news of the day/week/month/year/infinity is about the hideous events that can occur in everyday living, I decided to re-post. 

     Though my biking snafu was uncomfortable for the short time it lasted, it is in no way a comparison to the the awful shootings and deaths that have been occurring. What I learned that sweltering day is something that helps me cope with events that I have or will have no understanding of the whys/hows or what the fucks? 

     The day begins simply enough, it is one part of an island vacation after all. A ride into town, followed by a bike tune up for the Purple Queen. The wheels have a few miles under the treads and Tom the Bike Man on Madeline Island is home base. Three years ago we had a long discussion over her ownership, since I was first sight madly in love and he the reluctant seller of the unique cycle. It is an aged Trek and had experienced several previous owners who moved onto other bikes after returning the purple Queen. Tom had been adamant she was not my bike when I asked the price. He said the frame was too big, while I told him it fit perfectly His final throw down had been that this set of wheels needed to be ridden and often. This he tossed with a narrowed look at my over-sized body which may have given the impression i bought exercise equipment and looked at it from the couch. In the end I handed over a check and we shook hands after I swore three times the bike wouldn't rust alone in the garage.
     Today I sweat a little more than the heat of the day requires, fretting that the miles I'd ridden the past 36 months won't pass muster. There is probably a more than good chance the Bike Man knows a thing a tow about wear and tear. It is an even better bet he'd snatch the Purple queen back if she'd been side lined while I snoozed. I watch him anxiously as he fondles her lines and twirls the wheels.

     “Well, I can see she’s been ridden.”

He cocks one vivid blue eye in my direction,. I wait until he finishes.

     “And by the looks of it, she’s gotten quite a few miles since I last saw the two of you.”

Tom grins and I sigh. His words roll over me like warm syrup. This man had unknowingly helped with my healing and I want him to feel that his motto has been sustained.

     “I want to change people’s lives one bike at a time.”

     The Purple Queen needs new tires, plus a couple of other items, further proof of my biking integrity. I ride off into the early afternoon when the tune up is complete. Seven miles up the road and 5 miles from the water front rental, the back tire blows. Having just experienced a blessed moment of synchronicity I figure a car full of Deb worshipers will show up soon to give me a lift and a cookie. Walking alongside the treasured but wounded two-wheeler, I don't lose hope of rescue for several miles. I send a mental SOS to my daughter who is waiting for me to join her on the dock. We have a great ESP relationship, which is hugely beneficial for me when she's doing what 20 year old's do and hugely beneficial for her when she's wondering if I know of KNOW what she's up to. My thoughts wander around our relationship, the one we're creating on this trip. We'd bonded in the peaceful warm air, recalling the kinship of our first meeting at her birth.

    I wonder if she’ll heed the SOS.

     Another couple of miles, my feet begin to ache, a black fly swoops in for thirsty nips and the water bottle inches down to zero.

      Ugh. What the fuck.

I spend hot minutes trying to Zen myself so that I can share the achievement with a meditation group I’m running. The outcome is dismal which means the class will instead be told how difficult it is to be mindful when life sucks. I zap another rescue alert for the daughter who has got to be thinking I’m chatting up Tom or riding extra miles, wasting the sunshine for both of us.

     Alright Universe, what’s up?


Difficult situations tend to pass quickly if I accept what IS.

     Okay I get it, I’m walking five miles home. I’m still on vacation. I won’t die of exposure.

Another half mile trudging along as cars filled with happy humans whip past.


A few days before, my daughter observed that I tend to look for support or protection from outside myself. She was referring to a talisman necklace I wear and frequent shout outs to Gurus. If the young woman is right, technically I can magnetize myself with my jewelry, dragging a car to a stop. This strategy entertains me the next long mile. My mind drifts to our ESP connection, wondering if it is being ignored. The Wise One (God or other higher power belief it references for you), finally responds.

     “She senses you.”

      There you are, where the heck have you been?

      “You don’t always get to know why things happen.”

       Wow. Really? That's all you've got?

    “Events happen which have nothing to do with or about you.”

     Um, I’m sweating my balls off and a fucking dinosaur fly is munching my back to pieces. How is this not about ME?

     “It IS and it isn't.”

The All Knowing leaves for more enlightening endeavors, while I continue plodding toward the beach house. Around two more bends I sight the sign for our rental on the horizon. Glassy eyed and dehydrated the road swims in a possible mirage, until unmistakably I see that our car heads in my direction.

     “Holy shit Mom, what happened?”

The beautiful girl stares at me with concern and a wee bit of horror. I must look parched and lobstered.

     “The bike blew a tire back near the state park. I tried to send you a spidey SOS.”

She looks sheepish for an instant.

     “Oh my God I totally got that, but I figured you hung out with Tom or added more miles onto your route. When you hit two hours, I gave into the feeling to come look for you.”

In sync we thought the truth.

     Shit...but cool.

Later, after the Purple Queen heads to the mainland for more extensive repairs, I float on an air mattress in the chilly lake. The sun bakes my fly-bitten back, while my fatigued feet ice in Lake Superior. The water undulates toward shore in continuous half-moon waves. Each carries dozens of evenly dispersed ripples, as though simultaneously hundreds of pebbles have been tossed, creating thousands of possibilities. 

~May we be aware in each moment, even during tragic or difficult events. May we experience all the emotions that arrive. May we understand that there may be NO UNDERSTANDING of why, some things are simply beyond our understanding. Then with that knowledge may we create great change.~

Tuesday, November 10, 2015

Meet a Random New Friend Club

     We are not islands. Humans are bonded by DNA and life experience. All life experience, not just the preferred version of what looks, sounds or behaves like our individual perception.

     A few blog posts ago I wrote about Humans without Borders. It's an idea for living together without boxes defined by religion, race, gender or any other means to determine difference, getting us back to our tribal base. In the piece I wrote about creating a gathering to welcome a newcomer to the Midwest. The woman was someone I met in line to buy coffee. At the scheduled meeting, 11 greeters showed up, but the guest of honor had a dentist appointment. When we met for a repeat, 8 people came and some for the first time. 
     A portion of both groups knew one another and some didn't. The age range went from 30's to 80's, the backgrounds diverse, many religious views were present, while political positions were kept private. There were those who didn't have children, others still with birds in the nest and still more who had moved onto grandparent duties. Smiles lit with recognition of similarities and acknowledgement of differences with a simple bob of the head. The tribe gathered in to share stories, laugh and remember who we are.

     We walk together on most occasions without acknowledging that we are all in the same great circle.

This is the beginning of another new idea called Meet a Random New Friend Club. Once every 6-8 weeks I'll post an invite for a tribal gathering. It'll be a surprise who shows up since I've asked friends to pass the invite on to their friends, who are welcome to pass it on as well. 
      It's comfortable to sit with those who understand us, think like us and believe the same beliefs. It's comfortable but limiting. The smaller the island the less room to grow as individuals and as a human collective. By opening a channel to people we've never met, it let's in other perspectives which can ignite conversation not dictation. I believe we're onto something here. Please consider starting this in your tribal region and I'll post your stories on this blog. 
     Let's remember how big our circle is and widen our hearts and minds in the process.

Sunday, October 4, 2015

The Meaning

     Meanings are elusive. They change depending on what dictionary is used, who is interpreting the information and because an outcome of an action is not witnessed or known. In the previous blog, Humans without Borders, I asked locals to gather to welcome a transplant from Seattle. Fourteen humans circled with the intention of making a new friend. When the woman no-showed we sat together anyway. What we didn't entirely know is what this meant individually or globally.

     Every action ripples out on the pond of life. 

Every single one. Even meeting or not meeting someone in a spontaneous gesture of friendship. Take myself for instance. The last few months have been challenging. Not challenging like swearing during fifty push ups. That's just ugly. I've been choosing the kind of ordeal that strips a person down to the bone. 
     In April I got triggered into a PTSD response. I've had them before, but never for longer than a day or two. Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder occurs in individuals who have experienced something beyond their ability to handle. My childhood was well beyond my ability to handle. In my forties I learned why I had uncontrollable emotional reactions to stressful situations. With that understanding I carved my life around keeping stress to a minimum, going on to become a massage therapist and practicing meditation. My April triggering happened in an MRI tube. I completely lost my shit. You can read about it in the post, Trusting IS. After a month I realized it would take more than chanting OM's to get me out of the anxiety cyclone. I reluctantly decided to undertake EMDR, a therapy designed to desensitize PTSD. Part of the process involves recovering memories of trauma. Some of these can be known, but not fully processed. While other happenings may not be known, having scurried into a closet before hitting the amygdala portion of the brain. 
     For me, EMDR has been grueling and life altering. All summer I have been in the trenches of treatment. There are many days in a row that I wonder how I can continue. Last week's sessions dropped me into a pit of despair. Breathing felt overwhelming. I wasn't really up for being with people, but I was the only one who knew the woman from Seattle. Hitching up the big girl panties I went. Mingling with friends who want the world to be more welcoming became a surprising balm to my experience. It made me see that possibility always exists for healing, for change, for humanity. Each person seated in the circle gave me a miracle and they didn't even know it. 

   Meanings are elusive because an outcome of an action is not witnessed or known.

When I got back to the office a co-worker had thoughtfully folded the towels I'd left piled in a basket and an hour later an email arrived to let me know a writing deadline had been extended. I breathed. There is grace in actions that are not always witnessed. These gifts fly on a universal current to a life they are needed, lighting up darkness and opening the door of possibility.
     I reconnected with the Seattle lady. When I told her how many people showed up to welcome her, she smiled all the way through the phone line. We're meeting in a few weeks to fill the coffee shop again, with no idea how our actions will ripple across life.

Gratitude to the moon and back to those who send gifts of humanity without requiring a return address.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

A Tribal Circle

     Over the last several generations we have corrupted what is an innately human aspect. That we are tribal. Ever since more than one of us has existed we have collected as a pack, coming together for shelter, safety and companionship. Human gatherings eventually evolved into an "us" and "them" mentality when tribes began moving from place to place. Territories created a belief in "mine". The ownership of land has devolved to the point where humans stop other humans from leaving turmoil, war and death. This idea of "mine" means that the ground beneath our feet, the earth is fractured into pieces. 
     No one owns this planet or parts of it.

Staking a claim on a piece of a living, breathing organism, is like taking someone's heart or leg and expecting them to function well. Our gorgeous planet cannot continue in this manner without pain for the orb and it's inhabitants.
     When Big Business decided there should be no borders for trade, they birthed an idea. Humans run with ideas, occasionally making them something extraordinary. There should be no borders between humans. We each are a single aspect of a whole. We are one tribe. Earth, the other living organisms, as well as humans, are all aspects of ONE. To honor this would be to solve what is considered our biggest problems. 
     Last week I met a woman who is a new transplant to Illinois. She was having a tough go coming here from Seattle. I invited her to meet a few people from the area. At the time I had no idea who or if anyone would make themselves available. Trying to get friends together for lunch is a grueling process of scheduling. I tossed off an email and posted an invitation to meet at a local coffee shop to Facebook. 14 people turned out to welcome a lonely newcomer. The woman from Seattle never came. The tribe circled anyway. All ages, backgrounds, opinions and beauty sat together under the auspices of helping someone integrate. It turned into a meeting of people who ordinarily would not have sat together. Busy lives have limited the gatherings of anyone other than close friends, relatives, book groups, church goers and the ilk. It's great that there is still time to meet with people we already accept. But what about those not in our standard circle? What about the people who don't like the same books, believe the same religion, have the same blood, the same gender, children of the same age or have husbands who get along with ours? What about the people on the other side of our individual borders? The ones we aren't friends with on Facebook, the family in line at the grocery store or the thousands running for their lives in the Middle East. What about them?
     At the coffee shop each person displayed something of who they are, projecting who we all are as humans. That we are caring, concerned for our neighbors and unmistakably desiring contact with more than what we have already accepted. It is a hunger to learn more, gather more, accept more and open ourselves to the idea that we are more than the walls between us. I see this as the possibility for a change in our thinking and not just for small town Illinois. Activate what is true. That each person at their core is connected to our single tribe. Activate the tribal circle. Post the invitation, invite people and see what happens. Humanity shows up. It's who we are.

Monday, September 21, 2015

Being Hermione Granger

 A friend excitedly tells me about her new toy.

     "I got a power washer. "

I've only seen a woman look that pleased over dark chocolate or hiring someone to clean their house after throwing a party. 

     "What's so special about a power washer?" 

Her eyes are dreamy. 

     "I honestly don't know. But when I clean my concrete stoop, there is no better feeling." 

Over the next few days I think about power washers. Seriously, I do. Why does washing off a deck make someone that happy? What is it about cleaning off mildew that brings this woman bliss? I decide to find out. My husband is understandably perplexed.

     "Why do you want a power washer?"

I'm not known for craving power tools. I am known for wanting someone else to use power tools while I go somewhere else more fun. I can see the wheels turning behind his grey eyes. The man is concerned I've dreamed up another project for the few hours allotted for that sort of thing on weekends. He is relieved when I tell him it's a research project for me. Thrilled it isn't necessary for him to participate, he goes to the hardware store to find exactly the right one. Apparently there is always a "right one" when it comes to power tools.
     When I open the box I'm not excited. The machine looks complicated and unwieldy. It also seems like I will have to read the instructions. The power washer already has one black mark against it. I hate reading instructions. My husband hates that it's unlikely I'll ever read the instructions. Looking at my face he sighs while picking up the box to put it together. Only a few swear words later it's ready for action. Suddenly Power Tool Frenzy comes over my husband, causing him to swipe the wand out of my hands. Power Tool Frenzy is a wife-known phenomenon. If a man sees a machine hum with fast moving parts, he can be overcome with a need to tear something apart. Wives also know that it's never a good idea to interrupt the inflicted mid-crazy. My shoulders slump realizing my research will have to wait until something else catches his eye. Several eon long minutes later he looks up feverishly to catch my disgruntled stance.  

     "Oh yeah. Um here you go."

I snatch the wand lest he forget there are a million other things he could be doing. He looks back over his shoulder wistfully as he moves onto another project.

    "Let me know if you need any help."

A little unnerved that I'm in charge of something requiring safety goggles, I double check that they are in place. Pressing the lever, the machine jets out water and I learn why my friend is so happy with her toy. 

     Instant gratification.

Moving the wand, I zap grime from the deck, Adirondack chairs and concrete stoop. With each swipe I feel more empowered, wondering if this is what it would feel like to be a witch like Hermione GrangerThere are very few things in life that change with a simple wave of a wand. I imagine using it on my old lady dark spots or the floor in my kitchen. These dreams make me cackle with glee. Over the next several hours I become the arch enemy of mildew on siding and anywhere else the dark crud has encroached upon. I feel as though I'm taking down every scumbag who has ever walked the planet, like a superhero bad ass. When the sun begins to set I pry my cramped fingers from the wand to survey the landscape. There is a delineated line of before and after.
     Sitting down on a like-new chair, I think about the vast amount of things I cannot change instantly, like worldwide hunger, poverty, wars and the insanity of our political system. These problems, as well as the personal ones I'm trudging through aren't prone to heal with a quick abracadabra. Which is sadly unfortunate but also understandable, because I've come to learn that it will take a great tsunami of change to bring hope and possibility back into fashion. A tear escapes as I accept that important trans-formative change takes great intention and exhaustive work. Until then I have my power washer.
     Using this amazing machine settles down my angst about how long it takes to create change in me, in the lives of the people I love and the people I have never met. With my magic wand I can zap away decades of grime in a blink of an eye. The other things I care deeply about will take more time. 

Sunday, September 13, 2015

The Deep Still Lake of Anger

     When a tree is tousled by the wind until it thunders to the ground, there are no "I'm sorry's". Wind does not stop to apologize, wait for a response and then make amends. The fallen tree dents the ground, dislodging inhabitants with its presence, but does not mend the life beneath it. The natural world witnesses and accepts this disruption of normal to abnormal, incorporating the new information, while striving to bring balance back to the forest. 

     A release of ownership of existence is a peaceful thing. It enables life to co-exist without strife, jealousy, judgement, hatred or retaliation. Certainly there is pain as well as loss, but it is accepted in the current of IS.

     Humans are hamstrung by an emotion called anger. The wild and ferocious trait has been allowed to roam without restraint, enabling it to encompass our community. Anger, a product of the limbic system, began as a flint for change. At the root, anger isn't an out of control raging beast. It is a deep still lake connected to an endless source of power. Originally anger enabled our people to leap from cave to home to space. This was possible because it wasn't mainly utilized for payback for a wounding, instead it was focused on change. Think MADD, Mothers Against Drunk Drivers.        
     Focused anger becomes productive and positive. Frothing, non-managed rage destroys all possibility for change in thinking or behavior because the endless source of power, that all life is connected to, mutates into a rampaging beast heading over a cliff. Fury then jets from one human to another, an out of control mob tumbling through space, unable to stop before hitting bottom. 
     Currently, our wounding both individual and tribal is causing an imbalance on the planet. The upset rhythm has arced so far it begs a correction. Without splattering into pieces, there is a reset button. It lives beneath a breastbone, within the loving confines of a heart. The reset button is compassion, empathy and grace.


Create Change


Monday, August 17, 2015

A Lingering Moment

I've said good bye so many times
The wave should come naturally
As I walk in the other direction
Leaving tasks and humans in my wake
It should be easy

I was told this is how it is
That life is about leaving
Stay then go
Breathe and stop
It should be easy
By now

Fall leaves when Winter arrives
She doesn't throw a tantrum or cry endlessly
Wailing over another good bye
Instead she sheds naturally in fits and spurts
Until there is nothing left of her at all
It should be easy

Letting go
Watching them fade into their future
Wisping into the next whatever
The smell of them fading last
Until memories are the only hangers-on
It should be easy
By now

I wonder if Fall is crying in subterfuge
Her teardrops the dew 
Mingling in leaves
Those triumphant colors a ruse
While she grieves in private
It should be easy 

I linger for a moment
Begging for subterfuge
The ability to shed
Under a blanket of brightly colored leaves
Until the scent of them fades
 Memories drifing in their wake
It should be easy

Friday, July 31, 2015

A Sunset Kiss

     This summer has been the opposite of the imaginings of a school kid on break. From the start it rampaged out in several directions. I decide (a little late), it would be a good idea to have a handhold, a place to wedge in so I don't get lost. Hunkering down to consider where to wedge, I come up empty. 

     "Is there a sturdy structure that exists?"

I'm a spiritual person. Surprisingly so. The depth of it lays hidden beneath my questions, the sort I've been known to toss at the sky.

     "So where the heck are YOU?"

     "HELLO! I could use a hand or a two-by-four or a chocolate milkshake!"

Considering wedges, I ask another question.

     "Do you believe in me as I believe in You?"

I get a sunset kiss for an answer.


Monday, July 20, 2015

Rainbows and Unicorns

     Several years back I wrote a piece called "Rainbow Heads". I shared my idea that some people (who will go unnamed due to a rule they created that says I'm not allowed to write about them), are living a perfect souffle life. Well, as with most every damn thing that occurs, it has come to full glorious circle. I have now been categorized as a "rainbow Nazi", a "middle aged privileged white woman being fed pablum" and a believer in unicorns. The people doing the sorting are not actual friends, just the indirect, waving across the pond kind on Facebook. So we don't really know one another, which is why it can be easy to take a human being and toss them in a box. The squared off descriptors were comments about a blog written by Chloe Ann King that skewers presenting the benefit of having a positive attitude to anyone who is poor, handicapped, without employment or living a life that is under serving them. I reference this same post in my previous piece "Hope and Possibility." Ms. King states that those who pass on the idea (Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Gala and the ilk), are making cash off humans struggling to survive. Going further, she says these same delusional individuals are singing a concerto with the rich and powerful, in an effort to keep the underclass underfoot. I'm assuming I would be considered a minion in this unicorn army since I frequently pass on "enlightenment pablum" through blogs, classes, coaching and Facebook. As for some of the comment adjectives, I'm a nearly all-white woman and rainbows suddenly began following me after I gave up disgruntled unhappiness, though none of them were associated with Adolf Hitler. 
     It is a combination of the rest of the assumptions I'm having a bit of a tantrum over (I'll get to unicorns later). I take particular issue with middle aged and pablum feeding. As a group, my fellow halfway minions are being maligned as no-doer's. Historically speaking some periods of great change have come about because of middle-aged women of all color. The right to vote was primarily due to this demographic. MADD not only saved lives but has transformed people's thinking on driving impaired. Wars have been ended, countless lives saved, raised and birthed by middle-aged women. It is arrogant (and young), to assume our nearly wrinkled army is no-doing away social change, let alone consuming copious amounts of "pablum" (an ancient, infrequently used word that's now mainly for barbs directed at stupid unfortunates). What I find most bothersome about the label of pablum ingesting, rainbow lover is the disdain that drips from the words as though they are defining someone or something that is stupid. Women have been called stupid for as long as there has been someone to point out that we are different from men. Unfortunately the denigration I am currently referring to is coming from other women, which seems to be a frequent activity of my female posse. It ranges from the idiot moms who believe in free range children to the dumb shits who stay married to a philanderer, (for God's sake can we all stop hurling tomatoes at people who think or behave differently?) The labelers further decree that the populace of women to which I belong are over-feeding on a steady diet of positive attitude at the expense of social change. They believe we are being used to keep working adults in middle to low or no income from coming together to create a better world. What if women who see endless possibility are actually holding a door open? What if change requires a positive attitude? What if noshing on rainbows is social change?
     The disparage-rs of positive thinking are pissed that our world is unequal. I'm pissed that it's unequal, that some of us are hungry, homeless and without hope. But as much as I want it, life does not have an equal sign. Living things are predisposed to want more of the pie than the other guy, lest they go hungry. This includes humans, squirrels, kudzu and cockroaches. In some sci-fi film this would be where someone turns the survival mechanism off to see what would happen. SPOILER ALERT...kudzu and cockroaches would win. Which means all human consumers of pie will need a coping skill for the vast inequity of life.

     Find a way to enjoy the pie. 

Whatever amount that exists, be it a crumb, 14 slices or the dreamed for taste. Ignoring that there is not an equal sign between birth and death is a waste of this experience. We are each pieces of the whole, living unique, fucked up, magical and awful times on this planet. Seeing ourselves as one of ALL can bring about a change in thinking, which can lead to a better way to live with ourselves and each other.
     10 years ago I had no historical reason to relate to what Oprah or Deepak Chopra said. They had wealth, which I had never experienced. Both claimed they had achieved happiness. I didn't even have an understanding for what that word meant. I'd have tossed someone like me into that multi-hued box alongside other judgment grenades like delusional, wacky, unhinged and not living in the real world. At that time I lived a miserable existence. My container was filled to the brim with physical pain, old traumas, loss, financial collapse and unhappiness. Having not come from privilege, rainbows or unicorns I didn't believe in those things, especially since most every aspect of my life was wretched. I only believed in gritty reality, the hardcore kind of mere survival. In other words I could have written the blog I referenced earlier. I eked out breaths in retaliation toward those who desired a world in which I did not exist. My anger knew no bounds. I raged at what I saw standing between me and the glitter filled life I craved. I hated anyone who was happy or had found happiness. There was only room for red hot rage. Glitter could not bloom in that box. There was no joy left to scrape from the sides, arriving at a point of literally feeding on myself. Physically this meant organs dropping to the wayside and deep soul denying depression. 
     At what was surely nearly the end point, far-fetched notions from a couple of "haves" reached into my "have not" cave to show me a way out. It took grueling, agonizing work lit by the unicorn brigade, for me to imagine happiness. Even then I doubted and coped my way out of awareness until another flashlight illuminated that what I imagined as good enough, was in fact a 2/3's life. I am currently digging up the other third because why not? Why not live a whole life? Why not achieve happiness? Why not believe that nothing is standing in my way but me? 
     I speak from experience when I say a positive attitude works. I don't offer this for others because I think it may work. It will work, it did work, it does work. I don't know if all those who speak of enlightenment believe in the message they are sending or if it is all show for ratings and money. It doesn't matter as far as I'm concerned. I'm not stupid, delusional or a minion of those looking to keep the miserable masses miserable. Instead I have come to my own conclusions as an explorer in this life adventure. 
  • I make my reality.
  • Believing something is impossible makes it impossible.
  • Hating brings hating.
  • Judgment brings judgment.
  • Letting go of impossibility, hate and judgment brings endless possibility, love and peaceful coexistence. 
  • Humans have the power with their beliefs and their thinking to create change in the world. 
  • Rainbows arrive to remind us that a storm has a beginning and an end.
As for unicorns, I have yet to meet one. But anything is possible.

Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Hope and Possibility

 I read a post from a blog called Millennial Posse.

The writer, Australian activist Chloe Anne King has the viewpoint that there is a "positive attitude" avalanche in this country stemming from Oprah, Deepak Chopra, Gala Darling, etc., and that is only available/possible for "privileged white women". The author declares that the political underclass would find it impossible to access yoga, meditation or any other mindfulness practice that would be of benefit in their struggle to find employment, pay bills or achieve "happiness". Not surprisingly I have issues with the statements she makes that have been aimed at "positive thinking gurus". 
     Ms. King's basic premise, that the world is going to hell or is hell or can be hell for some is a given. Open up a conversation in 2015, 1980, 1880 or on any year humans have been communicating and this same idea will inevitably seep into the discussion. Life is tragic, horrific, splendid, beautiful, ugly and wildly unpredictable. From my perspective this is where I leave Ms. King on her path, while I walk on my own. I believe the big brain at the top of our pyramid is powerful. Far more powerful than it's given credit for. 
     What is accepted as true in our electrical circuitry translates out into this life experience. I discussed my premise in Everybody Wins, 2 blogs ago.

A old 54 year perception was that "If I'm strong for myself, someone's got to lose." This idea drove my horse from start to finish. The concept worked if I had to do something which was perceived as beyond my abilities. 

     All for one and one for all!

Plenty of people gained with this perception. A ton of shit got done and I became quite good at my profession. I didn't balk if a day was start up to sun down for others. I described myself as wearily dragging a cart of tourists, one foot plodding after another with a carrot just out of reach. The belief carried me through grueling situations of a traumatic childhood, miscarriages, postpartum depression, financial disasters and most recently to the awareness door of PTSD. What this belief did not do was help me to heal or find joy. It certainly kept me alive long enough to get to this place, but it did not in the end serve me completely. It was an idea that could not evolve
     The positive attitude avalanche is in direct counterpoint to a massive blob of angry negativity which circles our beautiful planet. What is mixed in the miasma of misery is a piece of the same idea I carried clutched in my brain. "If someone else is winning, I'm losing." That idea, along with the one I operated under is UNTRUE. It creates a global belief that to make it in this world it is necessary to kill others to survive, stepping over the dead bodies to become the rats in that long ago famous science experiment. From this virulent perception, comes the need to point a finger at anyone who shares a differing approach that works for them, to call these individuals a name and attack them for wanting to see this experience in its possibility, not the box of limitation. Oprah, Mr. Chopra, Gala Darling and the rest, are holding a flashlight for others to follow. Attacking these people is no different than the wealthy hating the poor for not being wealthy, the religious disdaining the non-believer, the losing team despising those who hold a trophy. For centuries humans have operated under the old narrow construct of a win-lose perception and for centuries a few stragglers have brought forth the opposite idea that Everybody Wins. I can only speak for myself on whether positive thinking works. I imagine that if a world is seen from the view that our brains create the experience and there is beauty in the quagmire, then it can become true. 
     I read The Diary of Ann Frank when my childhood was controlled by dysfunctional adults. Ann was able to see possibility even though her situation was impossible. Her attitude made her last days not only more peaceful, but made me believe I could survive. I have now made it long enough to come to know that my shitty early life wasn't more shitty because someone else had a "perceived better" experience. My shitty life was frankly just my shitty life. 

    What is, IS.

Which means, what is, IS...until it isn't. From the beginning of this experiential story of evolution there has remained one constant, that change is possible. Whether humans recognize this it or not is irrelevant. Whether Chloe King thinks a positive attitude changes anything or not is irrelevant. What matters is that our brains have the ability to change our perceptions. That those same perceptions can change our viewpoint, can make us feel better, calmer and more alive. Even when life is a living hell.
     The only thing that changed while I read Ann's diary was my perception. It didn't make my childhood better. It didn't do anything but light something within me. If she hadn't shared her positive attitude, I may have found it on my own and I may not. In the end I'm grateful that despite her horrific last days, Ann Frank wrote about her belief in the wonders of this tragic and magical life. From the words on those pages, her haunting message lingered. Bringing hope and possibility to another little girl who had none.

Monday, July 13, 2015

Magical Reality

     At a meeting of the In Print Writers Organization, the participants are asked to name their reading preferences. Barnes and Noble street signs fill the room.




     "Literary Fiction!"

I try to fit the books I like into a genre box. Typically I reach for novels that reflect my life. As an adolescent I leaned toward stories about kids going through difficult childhoods or not fitting in. When I hit my twenties I fantasized with romance novels while my own love life swayed up and down. As a young mother I gravitated toward articles about parenting and how the world was going to hell in a hand basket. Now fifty-four, I settle in to read about overcoming obstacles with awareness, humor and magic. In a split-second I shout my preferred book genre to the room of writers.

     "Magical Reality!"

The room answers back.

     "What's that?"

     "Don't you mean fantasy? Or Magical Realism?"

It isn't a new thing, describing what I mean in reference to a word seen from most folding chairs as something that describes impossibility. To further confuse the issue I have linked it with what is understood as the exact opposite, reality. I give it a shot, sharing a teaser for the concept.

     "It's like when weird things happen after you meet a shaman or when feathers drop in front of you on a bike path or getting your aura read and it leads to crazy stuff happening."

This would also be a description for my life and the memoir I've recently brought back from the dead, 20 Gurus and a Dog. The group conversation ends without making myself clear. 
     Magical reality is everyday events sprinkled with pixie dust. This isn't a religious concept, a schizophrenic imagining or a need to make 20 Gurus sit on its own bookshelf. I have come to view this life experience in technicolor, not black and white. Which means that I expect the unexpected. These can be many things, most of them usually tossed in that bag called coincidences. Examples such as when an adult you runs into a childhood friend on a bus in a far off city or there are feelings of danger the entire day before your offspring calls at 4 am to say they need help or how the smell of tortillas arrives when thinking about your deceased grandmother. 
     Another, what I would consider Magical Reality situation happened recently. The photo at the top of this blog shows three feathers. Two of them are from a Great Horned Owl. The other is a gift from a Red Tail Hawk. They were deposited on my path the last few weeks while I have been engaged with a therapist utilizing EMDR (Eye Movement Desensitization and Recovery). I discussed this in more detail in the previous post, Everybody Wins.
Because of these non-random, yet random feathered occurrences I researched the spiritual significance of each raptor online (Magical Reality believers often look for the meaning behind "signs").

The Great Horned Owl:
  • Extractor of Secrets
  • The Quest Within
  • Able to Hear What is not Spoken
  • Harbinger of New Cycles
The Red Tail Hawk has these aspects:
  • Awareness of the Big Picture
  • Truth
  • Illumination
  • Observation
Apparently (also according to, the two predators are sisters in their spiritual aspects. They similarly seem to be compatriots on this current adventure to retrieve memories from my past.

     I am on a spiritual quest within to observe my illuminated history, extracting secrets to hear what has not been spoken; seeing the truth for what it is while keeping awareness of the big picture, with the knowledge that it will give rise to a brand new cycle.

I don't expect Barnes and Noble to recognize my genre choice with a Magical Reality street sign. But then again, I have come to realize that anything is possible on this curious journey that is forever unfolding.

Sunday, July 5, 2015

Everybody Wins

     I left writing for a time twice, the first leaving showed me that it could be done, while the second nearly severed our love affair for good. Word love flooded into my hormonal world at 16 in a creative writing class. I wrote stories until there were enough to freely give to classmates struggling with sentence structure. It didn't occur to me to charge them, since having someone read the pages felt more sublime than being paid. 
     At 18 I set forth to seek my fortune with little more than a dream of writing plays. The quest quickly failed, sending me back to my complicated childhood home until I had more money and a car. This time I morphed into grown up life, shoving my round wordy peg into the square notch of the restaurant business. There was no time to write or dream, my curves began to corner until they neatly fit in. Decades passed, the arrival of my marriage to a good man, a pair of incredibly opposite twins and a new career in massage therapy. There was an absence of writing until a day when there were no words, no adjectives or nouns or verbs to describe the anguish of losing my best friend.
     This great companion was a beautiful mutt named Bonni Blue. She, unable to speak out loud, managed to remind me that words are a spiritual river without sound. The motion of expression is alphabet-less, dancing from one to another. Bonni's love for me rode a circle from her to me and back again without complete sentences. I found this to be true weeks after her death when the silence of loss was deafening. In an effort to be reunited with our relationship I began the process of thinking about writing, which every writer knows is the necessary precursor to actually writing. My brain fondled words as though I tasted expensive champagne, allowing ideas to bubble up through synapses until some measure of Bonni eased out from under the grief. I continued to think about writing until a title exploded into existence while I sweat none to delicately in the sauna.

     20 Gurus and a Dog

I wept alongside my overflowing pores until finally I was ready to write. For eight years I did just that. I wrote, edited, added in, took out, deleted, rewrote, revised, burned, fell in love and fell out of love with writing, until finally I declared the opus complete. Which brings me to why I left writing for the second time. Agents and an editor did not appreciate my scribbled efforts, they in fact were full of thoughtless words, the kind that stab a knife through the heart of a book about love and healing. So I stopped. I thought about writing but not in an effort to write again. I thought about how to go back to the time of no words. The time when letters were merely for lists or instructions not for sounds expressing the motions of my spirit. After a few months I checked to see if my reverse direction had taken and found that not only could I stop thinking of words, I was unable to write at all. Sitting in front of my laptop brought on a tidal wave of anxiety that lasted for hours. My efforts had been successful.
     This would be the end of the story if I were into sad endings and it wouldn't have been written down (quite obviously), I'd instead have shared the experience with friends over a Panera lunch. In earlier blogs I've offered my belief about how directed intentions can use the leftover fuel from the Big Bang. On the day I gave up writing, my desire must have harnessed a jet pack version because not only did I have anxiety near letters, it encapsulated every breathing moment in a day. I gasped waking up, while working as well as working out, with my feet up in front of the television, after several glasses of wine and standing in our wooded backyard with the wind gently caressing my hair which was rapidly falling out. My skin looked sallow, I slept for no more than an hour at a time, in other words I was up to my eyeballs in adrenaline. Instead of getting a drug to cover up this anxiety, I went back to basics, my basics. 20 Gurus and a Dog was about healing from my complicated and abusive childhood in a non-traditional manner. This crushing anxiety needed the same quirky approach but with a new component. I went into the deep end of my memory cesspool, with a therapist specializing in EMDR (Eye Movement, Desensitization and Reprocessing). Basically I decided to discover the whys around the words and reroute those synapses into peaceful coexistence. What I found has changed everything.
     Somewhere in the coagulated spaghetti between my ears lay an aspect at the center of why I stopped writing. 

    I believed that if I was strong for myself someone else would lose.

The motivation to write 20 Gurus and a Dog had been for my own healing. As the chapters unfolded a broader idea arrived to help other people going through loss or healing from trauma. This was the useful purpose that went beyond my own recovery. After agents and an editor left me with little hope of publishing, writing no longer seemed to have a reason for existence. The book had already healed me, thus it became no longer worthy of my time. If the business world of words found little use for my pages, than why should I?
     After several weeks of leaping into the murky memory pond I have retrieved what is actually true.

     If I'm strong everybody wins.

This is the first time I've sat down to the computer in months without a jitter bug dancing in my chest. 
     What I learned is that words are the translated current coming from spirit, a simple offering in an effort to help heal humanity. Healing isn't about arriving at a less painful piece of earth on which to stand. It is about the plethora of discoveries along the way that set us free to experience the miraculous view from any place on Earth.