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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. 

https://millennialposse.wordpress.com/2015/07/08/positive-attitude-bullshit-on-the-dangers-of-radical-self-love-2/

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.

http://20gurusandadog.blogspot.com/2015/07/everybody-wins.html

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.

     "Mystery!"

     "Fiction!"

     "Memoir!"

     "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 woo-doo.com), 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.