The Reluctant Muse
he once asked
and i had no answer
i still don't
it wasn't something i sought
not the result of some lonely-night thought
it started with a look,
a moment, a whisper
a handshake, a glimmer
a hint of
new, yet familiar
an astonishment that
men like him
did exist, in this world
an acceptance of all that i learned to
question, deep, within myself
and i had to save it
again and again and again
and i still do
i knew i couldn't write him into my life
but i could write him into the hearts of so many
and light them up
win their hearts
the way he ignited mine
once upon a time
he lives now in my pen
in my heart
in my head
in all the thoughts
that are still left unsaid
and why wouldn't they be?
to imagine you stepping out of the page
at this point
seems quite surreal
another lingering mystery
i never pretend there's a
you and me
but i'm intrigued by you
and all that you see
to speak, i wouldn't know where to start
but to imagine, to write, to sculpt you into art?
this appeals to my heart
and these stories of you
shiver cold and burn hot
i don't know
perhaps you could ask
what if there is no Meaning?
what if we are here, simply to Love?
To relish in what was once an abundant paradise?
what if...we had it all:
rivers, streams, wildlife, waterfalls?
conscious thought to appreciate it all
and to see and connect with each other?
and maybe somewhere,
in the realm of conscious thought,
we began to question and seek.
the seek for meaning, we had to assign meaning
great, grand, unquestionable meaning,
to such simple beauty and abundance.
we had to explain it to ourselves,
a prime reason for existence,
for what was once Heaven on earth.
to be sure, such paradise came with perils:
natural disasters and unexpected events;
the very wrath and ferocity of nature, Herself.
let us always remember that to be natural
is to be both beautiful and serene,
while also being savage and unapologetic.
utmost beauty and Light in contrast
with destruction and darkness.
this is Life. at its most simple, without pretense
and the delicious sugarcoating that we love so much.
the glaze that makes our lives so palatable and sweet,
the desire to magnify the beautiful
and look past the broken and raw and ferocious.
but we had to find meaning,
we had to, and we do still.
and so we created belief.
and then there were divergent beliefs.
this caused conflict.
and hell on Earth,
as humans battled with their beliefs
in their attempts to understand and explain what was given
in such simplicity and ease in Being.
we are here to work and to Love,
to care for ourselves and others,
to nourish and replenish,
to celebrate, to dance, to smile.
in our search to create meaning,
we've lost our true purpose.
what Life ought to mean:
Love, effort, abundance, celebration, creation, consolation, connection
what we've created in our time here:
conflict, judgments, illness, imbalance, cruelty, distortion, stagnancy, hatred, greed
we've also created:
progress, growth, art, masterpieces,
bold and unabashed testaments to our collective existence.
we bear witness to our searching hearts,
we provide proof of our existence,
we leave imprints, we plan and calculate memories
in a desperate attempt to scream out that
WE WERE HERE.
but what if there is nothing to fix?
what if this is who we are?
what if... Life... is simply this?
but not just to live
but to dive in deep
and live loudly.
to communicate, freely.
to express, to feel,
to move beyond,
to not conceal,
but to show, to share,
to glow, to be aware
of each other, so gratefully.
and how precious is this?
these strings, these precious things,
these tethers, these threads,
a simple tug, a lonely moment,
travels and connects us
to each other, but really,
back to ourselves.
because to see each other's eyes
and to breathe each other's sighs
above and between the
clenched fists and the cries
is to be Love
to be in connection
to be awakened
to know that we are all in it together
it's not how long Life is,
but it's what we do with it.
perhaps this is the question to ask:
not the why, and wherefore, and how-come
of it all, but the what.
deep into Life.
what are we doing with it?
As many of my readers know, I am a big advocate for anxiety. I've been through it, in every possible manifestation. My mind has entertained every possible reality or un-reality, in my lifetime. So...I know.
I just get it, like that. I'd out-weird you in 3 milliseconds.
That said, I've been paying attention to my own ebbs and flows, lately. Because the point...the meaning... the message in ALL OF THIS... is to keep learning and keep sharing out. When we focus on ourselves, and our small, narrow spot on this hunk of rock, we become overwhelmed and anxious and get stuck. But when we flip it, find the lesson, and share it...we let it cycle through us. In and then out.
I've often wanted to survey people with anxiety and "personality disorders" and look for common denominators. I know straight off how many folks have gifts that they struggle with and it often results in anxiety, depression, cyclic emotions. And there are ongoing debates about this: is it mental or spiritual? Was John of God...a true healer and mystic? Or would the DSM categorize him as mentally ill, and his followers as naive fools? Or do we just not know enough yet about the brain, mind, soul to even guess? This is an ages-old debate, and there is no answer. It's like trying to solve and impossible riddle; God or not? Things that can't be proven or disproven take on a special sheen, an allure of the unknown, they become surrounded with mystique and drama and excitement and worship. Because it engages us in searching. it's delicious, we get to go on a quest. A journey.
I'd also be curious to see how many of us, who struggle with these ways of seeing and being in the world, have been close to death. And this is a part of my new writing project...how a near-death experience can create pathways into new and alien understandings, never before witnessed. And how those moments change us, eternally. And I think true anxiety stems from something so simple: awareness. To be awake, alive and attentive in one's life, is to notice. To notice what is happening all around us, to internalize and empathize and wonder. To associate and try to understand. Always questioning. And such awareness leads to deeper awareness, within. It's a true paradox: because to remain in safety, in the middle, not disturbed by the goings-on of the physical world, is to be disconnected to much of Life. Numb. It's a bit of a bubble-wrap existence. Which sometimes, is needed and preferred, for our own well-being. But on the other side of that, if we venture out...we face those unknowns, which induce fear, anxiety, panic...there's no easy way about it. Unless, you are numb and in the deep-seated routines of our mechanized society, like Cipher...back in The Matrix, enjoying his steak, and are truly oblivious. Ignorance as bliss.
I once saw this psychic, out in Dix Hills, her name was Karen. She was the most in-tune, spot on, detail-driven reader that I'd ever seen. She had a true gift. I do believe, and know, that some of us have true gifts, and now more than ever. Although there are also plenty of enterprising folks who are great actors and will gladly take your money to confirm that yes... you are sad and "your soulmate is coming. Please by the True Love candle for $20 and light it on the full moon." It's an old line and they all use it, because it's such a common plight. Be wary of those. I call them "record-players," because they all repeat each other. They are well-trained and play on insecurities, they can read body language and subtle cues.
Those with true gifts have met and communicate with Spirit and can read subtle energies. They gather clues and symbols from the ether...and steer through the fog to some Truth that resonates with you, that helps you, that validates concern and points you toward a path of healing and growth. True psychics are teachers, sharers, ponderers...they just can't not. They often make money, but they can't not share, or their gifts will literally tear at their psyche propelling them into distress and disorder. Often they have troubled pasts until they come to terms with what they are experiencing. It's really fun when they're skeptics because it turns everything upside-down. Anyway. I greatly admire those true teachers, I've been very, very blessed and humbled to have crossed paths with some who are really out of this world. Selfless, humble, kind, compassionate, and never enabling. Always empowering, even when it's hard. Role-models. Superheroes, in my eyes. Living to teach and inspire and not indulging in nonsense. Which is also teaching; it's leading by example and showing us how to set boundaries. My heart goes out to them, my soul honors them; deep bow, deep bow in gratitude.
But Karen... well, she gave me specific dates, she did auto-writing, and everything panned out, perfectly. She wrote down the birthdate of my son...years and years before I met his father. She just saw things. A beautiful soul, one that melded with and changed mine, as some special souls do. And way back when, she also made a comment that always stuck with me: "I see squirrels in the attic. You're sitting there, watching life from the second-story window. You're commenting, and watching, and imagining, and pointing. Packing away your little nuts and berries, for later. You're safe. But you're not really living, are you? You're watching."
Wow. Haunting. For years and years. No more attic windows, I declared.
And writing, well...it's a peculiar thing. To me writing...is like a self-inflicted torture. It's isolating, challenging, heartbreaking, scintillating, exhausting, invigorating, maddening, and yet...it's salvation. It's induced madness, it's breaking your own heart, it's bleeding for art, constantly. And i love it. <sicko
But it does keep me in "the attic." Which is why I always push myself out. A new adventure, a new story, a new enchantment, a new mode of creativity to employ. Something to start the creative fires burning, something to make me feel alive, something to connect me, enliven me, jumpstart me. I'm someone who must feel and live the bits of story before I write them. That doesn't mean Ana was autobiographical, but that certain scenes and moments were flavored with truth, from actual experience. Well, some...Antonio was made up. A dirty mind is a terrible thing to waste. :)
And the current project is also inspired by real-life. Lessons that are lived through, painfully, in many cases. It's a bit psychotic, to intentionally hurl myself into lesson-bearing experiences, but I'm learning loads, and at the end of the day, I get to be someone who can lay out some cold, hard truth, from the ground, from the front-lines of Life...to throw it back to those stuck in the mud: Here are some things that work...you're not alone...and you can absolutely get through this. What a gift to even be able to do that. Grateful for every encounter so far, in this Campbell-esque journey, truly. Deeply. I take none of it for granted.
So, one thing I became keenly aware of in my throes of anxiety, a few years back, was the isolation. Having an entire world to fear, a thousand voices, every word a possible threat, and not being able to explain it to anyone. And the disillusionment, which is the killer for so many of us. We idealize and wear our rose-colored glasses, and when those ideals crumble, as they must, we are distraught. Illusions fall, and once again, we are naked and trembling, lost in the void, climbing out of the primordial soup, searching for anything to cling to. That's where that spark inside is found.
And it is there, right there, in that deep pit...where the choice is made. Give up, start the dying process. Become bitter and stagnant and lost in your pain. Or fight. Lost your mind? Make a new one. Reconfigure your life as you would your hard-drive. Defrag and dump what doesn't work, limit interactions and input to those that can lift you up, inspire you, remind you why it's worth it. Environment is key, internal and external. We are amazing, resilient, self-healing machines. As much as I jokingly bash tech, I admit that we, human beings, are incredible, electric machines that work on and with energy. It's all the same, I see that now.
And anxiety can be crippling. It can stop us from living the lives that we want to. But there are ways to reinvent ourselves, find focus, notice and steer away from destructive behavior when we need to, our own or someone else's, and find ourselves back where we should be...within ourselves, present, alert, and ready to experience Life. Committed to the work, which is different for each of us.
And for me, spirituality has been a cornerstone. And it's non-negotiable, it's a reality for me. Religion is not, but spirituality is. It's an undercurrent, a coming-home, a knowledge and wisdom, deep inside, that we're all connected. I've seen it and felt it. That unconditional Love is real, that these connections are real. And that God is Love, and that we can heal with Love. Which is why I have no problems when people get religious around me, because I don't put men in white robes or any of that into my equation. So I don't get turned off, really. Each individual has their own God or figure head in place, to represent that pure Love. God is Love, I might even go so far as to say that God can be... all of us, aligned, in service to each other, for Love. I might say that we, collectively, joined in consciousness, are God, or at the very least, channels for God/Love/Universal energy to flow through. And how often we forget to connect, within. MEDITATE. It starts within.
Love, the most powerful force in the Universe. The most formidable weapon that we have against hate. But don't listen to me, I'm a hippie. Naive. I take kick after kick, live in constant disillusion, and still choose to understand and Love people that don't understand me. And that's fine. I don't do it to get it back, I do it because the world needs it. Because when we send out those tendrils of hope, compassion, understanding, when we resonate and acknowledge, a new world is born, leaving its new inhabitants changed...hopefully for the better. I believe in waves and ripples, I believe that energy is contagious, I believe that it's never a mistake to genuinely care for someone and wish for their best.
And it doesn't always work, because...anxiety, all around. We're brilliant on our own, wrapped in our art and our safe spaces. And then we interact. Enter variables. It's become an act of courage and bravery to be the first one to consider perspective, and choose empathy. To put down the shield, to lower our guards and say...hey... it's all good. We're cool. Go do you. Nothing but Love, here. And yes, it's exhausting and confusing and trying and sometimes, we make mistakes. And there are times we need mile-high barriers because not everyone means us well.
Because we are also human and fallible. And we get nervous and confused and we overthink and get further and further away from those little kids inside of us that just want to play, and we put up these walls to push people back and away from us, because we just don't know if we can trust them. Because Life is hard, and things suck, and we grow weary. That happens. Oh well. But I still Love. Like one of those inflatable dolls that you punch and it bounces back, smiling like a dope. < yeah, me. Let me try this again, I know I'll get it right this time. But not forever, I know when to let go and move along. And we're just not compatible with everyone. (I'm like a fungus though, I grow on people. :) Just give it time...)
Anyway, I'd rather walk through Life knowing and appreciating this magic, this force, that connects and drives us. If its all in our heads, why choose to live in a self-created hell? No, not for me. Not anymore. I allow myself to flow in and out and experience different ways of being, to gather perspectives. I will take any hardship or challenge and spin it around and try...try... to make something beautiful with it. Sometimes we can't. But I always try, first. Gullible? Maybe. But determined to spread Love and sincerity and wide-open humiliating heart-sharing wherever I can. Because we need it. I've wanted to rebuild the world in Love since high school. Finally, all these years later, it feels like the world is catching up. Or...I'd just been in the wrong places and didn't see or feel it. Environment.
Many think that being spiritual, is being religious. Believing in a God-head, following a set of rituals, and all the rest. Not so. True spirituality is found in our humanity. In compassion, kindness, altruism, loving attention, forgiveness. Seeing the best in people and urging them on. Planting seeds of hope and encouragement, to combat the negativity that surrounds us. Choosing to hold the torch...the lamp... beside the golden door. To illuminate the path. To support, without harm. To acknowledge, to appreciate. To understand. And this is huge. I think one thing that an anxious, deep-thinking mind craves, more than anything, is understanding. That moment of: I see you, I get you, you're not nuts, I think that stuff too. Lots of people do. You're not alone, in there. There is a huge clan of us that see the world differently and take in the world in different ways. We're all weird and squirrely. And we're all in it together. <3
So, I'm finally getting around to telling this story:
Her name is Ilana Limoni. She's a local library patron, a sweet soul, and a woman with a lifetime of stories and...art. If you Google her name you might find some blogs about her needlework. She's devoted endless hours to scripture (The Torah) and to visualizing and creating her masterpieces, which are wall-panel sized creations of epic scope.
She showed us (a co-worker and I) to the table where she prepared lunch: a simple German potato salad, with peas, pickles (yum), eggs...it was delicious and light. Served on romaine leaves with cherry tomatoes. Lovely.
Later, she showed us around. At first, the jaded control freak inside me started to rumble..."we have to get back to work, we punch a time clock!" Raaaaa... shush, I said to myself. Surrender...
The more we gazed, the more transfixed I became. She showed us her easel, her worktable, where she conceptualized each piece, the images, the Hebrew characters that would tell the stories that she wanted to convey. So many of the epic parables that we grew up with in the West, these grand and lasting stories: the stone tablets, Moses parting the Red Sea and the Exodus...the detail was impeccable and her devotion was touching and astounding. This woman is a true artist. A slow, deliberate, meticulous, and deeply inspired artist. A master at her craft. Some of these pieces should be in a museum of some kind.
In the other rooms, were some non-religious pieces. She offered some of her pieces to my co-worker and I. (I should mention that we help her get books and have known this woman for quite some time, there's a friendship here. It's not normal for us to visit the homes of our patrons.) Anyway. I saw this piece, the one pictured above, and I was smitten. Drawn in. Women and changing seasons? Um....yes, please. Oh my Goddess! Me, up and down. I loved it and I was grateful to accept it. It will hang in my bedroom.
The experience blew me away. Here was a woman that I spoke to on the phone, she asked after my son, often gave generous gifts on his behalf...and behind closed doors...she is this artist. I was blown away.
How often...do we take people for granted? Not knowing what happens in their daily lives, what and who they are, in their private time. What might they truly think and ponder, what might they be creating. What gifts lay hidden, beneath the surface.
"See the Light in others, and treat them as if that's all you see..." - Wayne Dyer
I always say that each of us has some special gift, maybe more than one, if we're truly blessed. And something happens. If we're not raised in an environment that supports free expression and exploration of the Self, we often stuff these gifts down, where they become hidden. Pushed and shoved into a box, smaller and smaller until they're barely noticeable. Because sometimes, it just hurts too much to feel the desire to create and the inner knowing of more, with no freedom to pursue such things. So, we get into school and we're expected to conform. To fit. To quiet our inner impulses to see the world differently and spit it back out; digested and reformed into the way that we see it and understand it. We're dissuaded from a path that might foster growth and the celebration of our gifts and creativity by those who were wrapped in their own fears and ideas of Life. And so another cycle continues...go to school, memorize facts, don't question anyone, and then get out and exhaust yourself making money for someone else, savoring the weekends, longing for those getaways. And becoming dependent on a cyclic system that keeps us in one place. Work, eat, sleep, spend. Etc...
And in the "rat race" as they call it, in this blind stupor, this routine, that we've become accustomed to living in, day in and day out...we lose that...spark. That thing, that tingle that sets us on fire, from within. That thing that connects us, so deeply, to something bigger, something vast, something unseen and magical and powerful and passionate. That thing that makes our eyes open just a bit wider and the hairs on our necks stand up. That makes our heart beat just a bit faster, at the idea of being able to pour ourselves into it, uninterrupted. That thing that pulses, deep, deep inside, and we just know that others are waiting for it, that only we can shape it in our particular way, and share it. The thing that we can lose ourselves in, lose time in, and find ourselves in after a matter of deconstruction. Our...art. And it doesn't have to be visual art. I'm talking about song, dance, sculpture, writing, poetry, painting, speaking, film, photography...needlework. Anything, really. Anyone who can imagine a thing and pull that idea from the ether and manifest it, into physical form, in the present....is an artist. A creator. A force of all that is natural and vital and primal and pure.
Because at our core, beneath the busyness and struggle and complaint and rushing back and forth, beneath the bills and obligations and appointments and people-pleasing and noise...we are creators. Way back, before industrialization, before becoming so "civilized," human beings had a psycho-spiritual connection with their home...our planet. And we celebrated the Sun and Moon, the tides, the stars...oh, the stars. The Gods, in the Heavens. The elements: Fire, Water, Air, Earth...plus, the all-encompassing Spirit, the energy that holds us all together ...made up all that is Life.
"Learn how to see. Realize that everything connects to everything else." - Leonardo DaVinci
We are amazing creatures simmering with all sorts of potential to feel, hear, and see our world and everything, everyone in it...with the eyes of God, with the eyes of Creation, itself. It's already within us, sometimes deep, so deep, that we forget. Sometimes it takes a shaking, of sorts, a vigorous change of perspective, a world flipped upside down...in order to find that spark. An awakening. A reckoning, a moment of realization, that yes! Yes! There is more, I am more!
You are. We are. All of us. And being there, sitting with people, and living in a way that encourages them to explore, within, and look for that spark? Is becoming a life's quest and purpose for me, in and of itself.
I remember when driving back from my failed Boston adventure with my father (the historian), and the epic conversations we had. Remembering...as a species...how much we've created. In the history of the human being. Look around you. At anything. At the device in your hands, right now. Once upon a time? Sand, maybe.
Imagine a world, raw and vast and teeming with unimaginable dangers and beauty at every turn. Unexplored. Brand new. Raw materials, only. Earth. Water. Air. Fire. Fire meant heat. Heat could alchemize and transform things. We could melt things, cook things, change things at a molecular level. Imagine having to take sand, mud, water...and create all the synthetics and materials that you'd need to build an iPhone. With a microchip, to make it work. And an unbreakable rumble-cover. And the cute little decals on the back. Could you possibly fathom how to do that? With a handful of dirt? No. Unlikely. We're too far removed from our innate capacity to create new things out of raw materials and inspired ideas.
We're too busy. Buried beneath sound, clutter, routines, and obligations. We've forgotten who we really are.
I don't expect anyone to duck out of society and abandon everything that they know and love, to go live a la Lennie and George, "off the fat of the land." But I will say, that carving out time to hear ourselves? To allow new ideas and inspiration to bubble forth? To allow time for crafting, creating, inventing, theorizing...creating time, for the New? Is life-changing. Even the thought. Even entertaining and holding that thought, "I will create time alone, and allow my Self...to take the floor. I will spend time with just me, for me. And see what happens." Just in that declaration, you are making a choice. And that choice creates a ripple that tells the rest of You, that this is important. And all the little beings and systems and ideas and energy that make up You...begin to get to work, in creating that time for you. Sometimes, even that, just making Time...is a first step. And it's huge.
And it's absolutely worth taking. You are worth that time. And i'm sure, I know, that beneath everything that you believe about who you must be and how you must show up, there is a magic within you that wants to express something. Something that no one else, not one of us, can. Not how you can, because it's yours. Alone. And the more we let it out, the more rises up, and wants out...too. Choosing to honor your creativity sets a new standard for how You do You. It builds momentum. And you get to step out there on that ledge, over and again, a new journey, each time.
More and more alive, each time. Until that nearly damp still smoldering ember becomes a burning flame, that can light up all of humanity, eventually. I believe this. I believe it truly is contagious. And I believe we are underway, toward a new way of being in this world. Awakened, alight, alive, inspired, compassionate, honest. Toward a collective good, an evolving populace, that will raise up all of us, into a thriving future. Not an unbalanced utopia, but a balanced and healthy world, that represents the best of all of our divergent ideas. Brought together, for a greater good, that serves all of humanity.
Big dreams, yes.
Where clean waters have the freedom to flow and nourish, wherever they meander. With towering, cleansing trees and greens and lush forests, to filter and heal our outdoor spaces. With restored and nourished soil, that grows vibrant living food, in a way that makes sense, for all of us. For all of us. It's a huge planet. There is enough. If we can start to shift how we live on it. And these are the waves that we see, toward focus of the Self. Energy imprint, healthy lifestyles, knowledge of Self and less co-dependence, compassion, caring, and a desire to serve in some way. A longing, a deep-seated need to uplift for the greater good. And it's loaded, for sure. Because we are so divided, with the remnants of old ideas that don't serve anymore. Not where we're going.
It's epic, really.
There is me. And then my family. Friends. Community. Town, State. And somehow...we've all jumped to a worldview, a global village. While countries deteriorate and fight, within. Something is missing. We need to focus on our countries, so that each limb of this current working (?) surface-built system called Life on Earth can flourish and heal, even as we heal, underneath all of that. Healing in the physical, in real-time, at the country level, and then participating, together, at a global level, will help usher in a healthy and sustainable global village faster than depending on individuals, even working collaboratively. We must all work on multiple levels, not just in energy, not just on the ground. It's both. Together. The connective energetic tissue and the physical manifestations that lead us in body and daily living. It's both.
Just my thoughts, of course. But I do know that it's all connected. We don't get to skip things because they're hard. The hard is where the work is. it is my wish to work toward rehabilitating and uplifting the American Dream, in a way that is reverent and respectful, of this land's first people. I don't think we did it right the first time. I think our current leadership is a huge wake-up call to get our shit together. To restore the values, ideals, freedoms, creative pursuits and inventions...that came with a New Frontier. This land is great one, for many reasons. Regardless of who is in charge, I LOVE this country. I love the initial idea of it: a land free of persecution, where new and emerging ideas could flourish. The United States of America, was in and of itself, an idea, brought into being my rebels and visionary thinkers. Bells ringing? And it's still a good one, if we could fix what we broke when we first got started. And we broke a lot of stuff, we stole from people, we hurt people. We just did it wrong. All around. I just want us to do our part, in trying to get it right. For our children's children. And our planet. That's all. No biggie, really. <3
I woke up this morning still sleepy, having stayed up too late writing, as I do sometimes.
I would've slept later, but in remembering a dentist appointment that I had, I did my thing and rushed out the door. I had "cleaning, 10 am," in my planner. I was ushered right in, no problem. I sat down.
"So, you're here for a filling..."
Gulp. Uh, no...? "No, I'm not, I'm getting a cleaning, I thought it was a cleaning." I'm prepared for a cleaning!
"No, it's a filling. You had a cleaning last month."
Gulp again. The mind, the mind...the inner dialogue beings...
I'm not prepared. I'm not ready for this, I was counting on it being something else. This isn't what I thought, what is happening? This is all silently, mind you. On the outside, was, "hey, whatever, I knew I made an appointment for sumthin, haha...no worries..." Inner turmoil continues. Novocain. Jaw tightness. Pressure, drilling, numbness, not being able to eat... I haven't even had coffee yet!? Shut up brain, shut up.
And so it went for a minute or so, until the dentist and assistant started their weird conversation about Tiger Woods and all kinds of other weirdness. It began with a chat about Father's Day, and how my Pops likes to zone out in his chair and just watch the Open. All day. Golf, golf, golf. Then we went into Tiger. And behavior, and addiction, and cheating, and Hollywood and affairs, and the otherworldliness that celebrity-lifestyle can bring. It was starting to circle the drain for a bit, but the conversation shifted, quickly. In every conversation, every interaction, there will be whisper of deep truth, almost as if from the universe to you...if you listen. You have to wait for it, listen for it, but always something poignant and meaningful and worthy of exploration will pop out. And it's usually accompanied by a momentary shift in perspective. That rare glimpse when we jump into another's shoes.
Doc said, "although, I can't imagine...being so much the center of attention, not knowing what people truly want you for. For the fame, the connections, the money, the places they can take you... or are they being loved for who they truly are, the person beneath the image?"
Wow...right? Deep thoughts on the dentist chair, while the novocain set in. I can't imagine the challenges in identity, and how important it must be to stay grounded, and know who you are, who you can trust. I'm not excusing Tiger Woods' behavior, for even a minute, but rather...appreciating the environment in which celebrities and phenoms live. Life under a lens. I can mosey in and out of a movie theater, no problem, no one cares. If I were Tiger? Nope. Spotted, chased, hunted, reported on, judged, scrutinized. It must be quite a challenge today, taking the celebrity route. I can imagine it would be quite lonely, at times. Here's me! (Not really though, that's my image...) So the real person is tucked away and saved for friends, family, trusted folks. It's a kind of schizophrenia, it seems, if you've got to be on or off in different environments, am I me, or the real me? Goodness. It can't be easy.
But this is changing a little. I feel that as humans, regardless of celebrity status, wealth, gender, ethnicity, religious beliefs...that we are all learning to respect, understand, and know each other, moving ahead with kindness and compassion in our hearts, and speaking our truths, with reverence. Balancing rationality and emotion. Nurturing wholeness and authenticity. Healing together, as a world, as a people. Wave by wave. Ripple by ripple. I can absolutely tell you that it's a real thing that is happening. A transformation in the way we communicate, feel, empathize. I'm awed to able to witness and experience it. What a magical moment to get to live in.
So, back to the chair. The conversation got lighter, we cracked some jokes, and we laughed. And in that moment, letting the experience be what it was, rather than what I planned for, I released the anxiety about it. This is what they talk about, when they say, surrender. Giving over to what is. In doing so, the thoughts swirling around in our heads...just poof! Evaporate. As we step into the new moment, fully.
So, in a world full of unknowns, often uncontrollable circumstances, and all the rest...can we... truly prepare for experience? We can make plans, we can rehearse, we can idealize, we can imagine...but really, it's only in the showing up and surrendering to the moment, letting it be what it is, that we get to be fully present in any experience, leaving expectations at the door. It's those tendencies to revert back inside, into the mind, to analyze, mull over, calculate, emote frustration...and repeat, cycling over and over in receptive haze, until we work ourselves into just...wretchedness. This is where we hide from realities. Instead of simply...opening our eyes, diving into the moment, accepting what it is, and living in it.
Hello lovers, searchers, fighters, hiders, seekers, friends...readers:
I may ramble a bit, today. Here's why. In the vein of "keeping up with writing," I'd been doing Morning Pages, a la Julia Cameron. And it's great. Gets the funk out, clears the pipes, information and inspiration flow through much more easily. In high school, I called it journaling, in a trendy lil notebook with lots of doodles and NKOTB and Bob Marley lyrics and puffy unicorn and/or faerie stickers. In my twenties and beyond...I mean they started AOL dial-up in homes just as I graduated high school! Imagine??? Yes kids, you'd have to leave the room to upload that new pic of your crush, because it took like a half-hour...pixel by ever-creeping pixel...so my output became blogging: my out-loud, crossing the void, searching for souls, diary...of sorts. "Is anyone out there?" And I'd wait. And even then, I made new friends in the ether, over the internet, mind to mind. Soul to soul, as I saw it. What a fascinating new medium this was...how...magical. Ones and zeroes harnessed and sent in packages at a time through the air itself to form images, sounds, where they touched down...OH! ... I was hooked. Wow.
I'm an adult now. A Mom. A known and recognizable member of the community that I love and live in. A public servant, to boot. So, I find myself...filtering. How much do we put out there? Be authentic, but not that authentic. Write to bleed! But not that much. Keep your juiciest bits, and write what suits your "image."
What a bunch of bullshit. Sorry. I can't keep up falsehoods for long. Not a bit. It's just not me. I'm all out there, as many of you know. Hell or high-water, as they say.
So, as a wanderer, absorber, seeker, explorer, a new soul, as it were...with old soul tendencies... I've come back to what comes naturally for me. Instead of maintaining: morning pages PLUS sculpted, careful blog entries PLUS the work in progress or two PLUS a day job, a child, laundry, and adventures... well, I am consolidating. Because efficiency. And sleep. And well-being. And priorities.
To keep in practice with blogging, I am keeping it real. Morning pages became anytime pages which have become my blog. Again. Funny how that works...I guess I just have my ways of doing things, and as much as I try to obey the self-help books, sages, gurus, teachers, and all the rest...I just have to do what works for me. That's it. (The wind just blew over the mouth-hole of my Shakeology cup and made music.) :) So cool.
"The Earth has music for those who listen..." - Wilmot Hyde Bradley
Speaking of science...this was strange.
I was driving around today, getting things done. I made more than one stop at Starbucks, that kind of day. Fully caffeinated, here.
So, I've be reintroduced to Michael Franti, a favorite from back in the day. Just a great beach vibe. So, I'm doing my little car-concert, bouncing along to this tune...and I maneuver to put the top windows up, because: too windy, eating hair. A/C on. Windows up, and it's like I went through a wormhole... "this one is much more violent!" The car shook, the pressure was unequal, my ears were popping... WHAT THE FUCK? Had I driven through a space-time ripple? Was I in the Nexus, a la Star Trek Generations? And if so, what time had I landed in? No such luck, it was way more simple...
I turned around and low and behold, one window in the backseat was still down. What actually happened there? Why would one window down, in a car driving 55 mph, cause such violent weather inside? I didn't know. So, I let Franti sing to me some more. He knows one thing: he loves me, he loves me, he loves me. And we sang a diddy together on St. Thomas, in my mind, for 5 nanoseconds. I got to shake the sand-shaker. I was good, you guys. Right on. So. Window forgotten, temporal energy ribbon or not.
And then Starbucks happened: Now, my new drink, since Iced Caramel Macchiatos are about 4,000 grams of sugar, and I'm trying to curb sugar intake, is a doppio over ice with a smidge of coconut milk. Yum. I've found that I love strong coffee, or espresso, I don't even add sweetener. Because I am so badass. So good, though. And it's half the price of the fancy, sugary, syrupy stuff. So. Win. But here's what happened...I felt deep guilt about the plastic. I didn't bring my travel cup. So, at Starbucks the Sequel, I handed over my slurped-on-lipstick-strawed-used plastic cup from before, and asked for another doppio, please. I got a look. Yeah... one of THOSE looks. The no-she-didn't look. I did, I really did, though. It's called reusing and it's good. Try it. Punks. Anyway...he carefully handled it like the test-tubes in the infectious disease labs. I imagined him in a yellow Hazmat suit with the weird breathing apparatus, like in Outbreak. DON'T RIP THE SUIT! You don't know what's in that cup!
So, I got my drink, and all went well, but the way it creeped these kids out, was funny to me. The credit card machine that they handle every single day, the cash that exchanges hands, the air they breathe, the pump at the last gas station... all of these things that they touch, daily, sometimes...have WAY MORE GERM POTENTIAL than my lil old cup. I'm just me. My mouth, that straw, that's it. One universe of germs there, manageable. And I'm pretty healthy, I eat sauerkraut and drink kombucha, so. I mean...yeah. You know what I'm saying.
I might be the nosiest person I know. I can't not observe, when I go places. When I do anything, really. How does this work, who are these people, what are they saying, what do we have in common, what do we not, why are they behaving like that? Why am I? WHAT DOES IT ALL MEAN?
And then music. And words. And music and words and words and music. And Gaia.
With fully opened eyes and mind, the realities we face, daily, can be overwhelming. We all need our anchors and grounding methods. Sometimes Life is terrifying, sometimes, manageable. Sometimes we get beyond fear, to that place where it becomes utter magnificence and effortless Bliss. Yes...that. Oh, that. We LOVE that. Let's just always be THAT! Ah.... (mental vacation to the beach...) But, the truth remains, that potentialities can be paralyzing, too, EVEN WHEN THEY'RE GOOD! What is that? Why, humans, why, do we do this? Why do we shield ourselves from those things which enliven us most? It all boils down to two things, with every experience in Life. As I was reminded, by a mind body coach friend, during our epic girl-talk sesh on the beach, recently: I am not enough... vs... I am enough.
"You are a ghost driving a meat covered skeleton made of stardust riding a rock floating through space." Right? So what are we all so afraid of? Yet, we are. Fear exists, it's real, it's genetically encoded in our cellular and energetic memory, although our threats have diminished, greatly. Is that right? Am I reading that right? No lions and arrows flying at us as we scavenge for berries and wash in the river basin. Got it.
Still. I don't think we "get over" fear. Waiting for it to leave, to transcend it, to arrive above and beyond it, through whatever self-help scenarios that we try...I just don't think that's how it works. I think our psyches are far too stubborn and like to hold on to what they "know." We thrive and learn experientially. Our animal selves have to look at it. See it, up close. Study it, flip it over, move it about with our big toe for a while. Check in with our counterparts... "looks okay, right? I don't think this will eat or dismember me, do you?"
Fear is right to keep. And we still need it, because there are still harmful and violent forces out there. And maintaining a good, reasonable radar, is just smart. I am all for adventure, but I won't tape cash to my naked body and stroll through Central Park at midnight. Because that's not brave, it's idiotic. Most of the irrational fears that plague us, as a society, these days...most...are fear of emotional experience. Fear of feelings. Yes, it's true. I can't because... I'll be scared. I'll be timid. I'll screw up. I'll say something dumb, and get embarrassed. I'll do it wrong, and then I'll be sad. I'll get rejected, and then I'll be sad. "They're all gonna laugh at you," like in the Adam Sandler skit. Fear of feelings, fear of...not being enough.
You guys...Life happens, and not every path leads to eternal Bliss, but sometimes they do. Sometimes it's for a long time, sometimes, it's a whisper in the breeze and it's gone. Whether it's a job, a relationship, a romance, a friendship... That's reality. But I promise you. I promise you, whatever it is, you are enough to engage in new experiences. And you are enough to recover and keep going if it's a mistake, and you are enough to let your heart open more, and keep going if it's intriguing and worth it.
You are enough. We all are. Take chances. Live. Experience. Wonder. All of that. Life is short. So am I...but it doesn't stop me from living my Life. Ha. Off to write some wild horses into a corral... such a beautiful day here. Sunny, warm, yet breezy. Ah...just blissful.
Ciao for now. xoxo
So I am "on vacation..." away from it all, on location. A writer's retreat, an artist's date. Right on the southwestern tip of Florida, dancing in the gulf. Paradise.
Ongoing conversation this weekend, originally inspired by exotic meat on a stick. But applies... to... ya know. Everything:
Me: what is this?
Life: try it. do you like it?
Me: I love everything about it, I love how I feel right now, I love being ABLE to FEEL right now. I love BEING so ALIVE right now. Free, yet tethered to some current of magical unknown-ness yet connectedness. But what is it? What are the ingredients? How can I repeat this?
And so it goes...takeaway? Sometimes we need to not think and extrapolate. Sometimes... we just plug into it, whatever IT is, and we charge up there. Resonate there. Shine, glow, learn and unlearn there. Love there, as long as we can. An environment of Bliss in which to explore the reflection of ourselves so deeply, that we nearly melt into the mirror, examining likeness. The sublime surrender of particles melding with particles, into new ways and understandings of beingness. Because the YOU then and the YOU now are different, thanks to one subtle, yet powerful change in input.
Unclenching those curled up fingers, that are squeezing that elusive control and need to know things.
Sometimes, yeah. It's about Being, experiencing, and celebrating.
I'M IN LOVE!
Life itself. And isn't that... isn't that why we're here?
I've decided / have learned that I can be grateful and delighted about all the goodness in Life, and still voice my Truth when things aren't right within it.
That I can adore, cherish, and celebrate the opportunity and gift of motherhood, and still enjoy my work, my creativity, and enjoy a vacation, on my own, as a woman.
That I can be noncommittal to any one religion and still seek, unravel, explore, and alchemize with Spirit, Love, Light, Faith, and the great energetic web of Life.
That I can Love all life forms including myself and still eat meat, sometimes.
That I can respect people and not have to agree with them.
That I can keep writing, always, even when I don't know where it's going yet.
That I can evolve and outgrow myself, in layers, as sure as I can outgrow others and they can outgrow me.
That I can make idiotic facepalm mistakes, often, and still be worthy of my place, my direction, my goals, my Life.
That I can like who I like, that preferences are allowed, that I'm allowed to want things, while always seeking to serve.
That I can follow my path into complete nihilism...and still rewrite my Universe into Love. Over and over and over again.
That I might not ever really know what I'm talking about, and yet, still feel called to share.
Because I choose to. Because it's why we're here.
Learn. Love. Repeat. 💜
No More Bullshit
I was planning to write a nice, sweet post about how inspired I was at the Peabody museum, visiting the reconstructed Chinese House there. And it was lovely, indeed. I do have stories and magical moments to share.
But I listened to a podcast on the way home that made my blood boil... it was "for empaths." I consider myself an empath, one sensitive to subtle energies, intuition, etc... But as I tuned in, the speaker, whom I won't identify, simply sounded tortured and in pain and miserable and angry, so angry, at the whole world for not coddling her. Which can be a quite harmful way to live. Just my opinion, of course. It didn't soothe me or calm me or validate me at all, as a lot of other speakers can: it felt like a hateful attack against confident people. Like someone who'd been bullied too long and just never quite healed and grew through it, got stronger, etc... Like she just carried the pain, the wounding, forward with her, into every corner of her life. Casting aside anyone who might threaten her safe bubble where everyone is bland and nice. And knowing that I am a balance of both of these... as we all are... I couldn't finish the podcast. She was just hating herself, and others, it seemed. And loudly. So... I sat with that, I rolled around in it. Thought about it. Thought about all of these understandings and explanations about how to do Life. I fell asleep with it.
Epiphany/rant upon waking this morning:
We are all narcissists and we are all empaths. We all have light sides, we all have dark sides. The harder you lean to one side, lifting one, condemning the other, the more you divide and disrupt what should be a natural sort of harmony. Yin/yang.
No, I'm not saying embrace true sociopaths: those who choose heinous acts, beyond normalcy: like incest, rape, harmful crimes, unwarranted destruction, manipulative cruelty against other people, they may demonstrate cult-like and controlling behavior, those who seek to control your mind and design your life-choices for their own gain or insecurities, those folks who make your hair stand up and you just KNOW something is wrong... etc... most of us, simply aren't this. We're just working, searching folks looking for connections, meaning, and smiles, trying not to muck things up too bad. So don't read into any of this and internalize. For clarity, I consider Hitler to be in the above category. The unibomber. The psychopaths that shoot up children in schools. Not *you* because you were a bitch at the grocery store... we all go there, sometimes.
I am just sick of seeing good people categorized as "evil narcissists" because they are simply honest and assertive and successful. Because they chose a different path than you did, and won, even if they made mistakes along the way. Most...learn and grow.
Just like not all "empaths" are weak, broken, and victims of awful abuse.
That's just not so. We all have the potential for these gifts if we focus and allow them. It's a gift of mind, and of life-experience, available to all of us, and it's not "chosen" or especially selected for a blessed few. That, right there, whether you like it or not... is... narcissistic thinking. Sorry, sweet angel empath. (I identify as an empath and work hard at investigating this potential, but I am no angel... I am human.)
We are all both. All of us. Nurture BALANCE. Stay in the middle. That's it.
"Which wolf do you feed?"
I think these extremes are dangerous and do more harm than good for humanity, as a whole. Just like religion and any harsh dogma or strict ideologies that favor one group over another. They separate and push us away from each other. Just more labels to further complicate things. Republican, democrat. Hipster, hippie. Lover, fighter. Flowers, weeds. Religious, athiest. Christian, heathen. Giver, taker. Paleo, vegan. "My way is better than yours..." It goes on and on and on. I'm fed up.
I'm so done. I'm just... so done. We are all...everything. We have good days, bad days. We get upset and say stupid things, we come through when needed and do amazing things. We are selfish and want things, while also being compassionate, while we give things ... when appropriate. *When appropriate.* And it's within all of us to figure Life out.
I had a vision, last night, like I was flying over the country, the world, in an airplane. And all I saw were circles of BS. This one, smearing and spreading his BS over everything, covering up his lot of believers. The other one, she was doing the same, and then that one, and that one...and on and on and on. Circles upon circles of BS. But from up there, it was ALL BS. Everyone, laying dormant, beneath circles of BS, spread by someone else. They couldn't even see the sky, the clouds, the birds: all they saw was this ceiling of BS. Imposed upon them by others. "This is who I say you are..."
Show me the folks that are cleaning up the crap that distorts the view that we are truly peaceful, kind, loving folks at heart, and I'll show you a true leader. Those that teach us to think, to decide, and not to follow along, blind...for a super-low price of $49.95.
Color me disillusioned. Yet, smarter, stronger, and more focused on my place in the world, than ever before. I'll elaborate, it's fairly simple: the universe is already balanced. Good things happen, bad things happen.
I'd rather enjoy my Life, and make beautiful things, then sit around worrying about it.
I don't post these bits of writing as often as I used to, although I'm still writing, offline. These days, it often seems as though, if it's not posted on social media, it didn't happen. We post and share these snippets, these moments, these mere fractals of who we are and get to paint pictures of each other based on these snippets. They are just that, though. Snippets. Tiny little pieces, glimpses; some real, some not. Although more and more, I think collectively, we can tell what's authentic and what isn't. And that's okay, we learn to be discerning. All of it is for a reason, for our growth and expansion. I say as long as you get something positive as a takeaway, be it a church, a "tribe," a Facebook group, new connections and friends, whatever it is...as long as you can grow and learn things about yourself and improve, then it's worth it. It's all worth it. In this world, I think it's absolutely worth the cost of some subscription fee to find a community of people that think like you and love you the way that you are. Caring for our minds, for our mental health, is abysmal, in this country. So, in this new path of awareness, we somehow end up caring for each other. In our communities, our friendships, our relationships of so many forms. In the knowing how interconnected we are, self-mastery is really evolving all of humanity. So, it's not selfish to explore, know, love, and care for yourself, it's vital. For the whole.
This is our world now. Global. Interconnected. Electric and pulsating with webs of energy, holding us together, and it's not just the internet. We feel each other now, all over the spectrum. Hot and cold, happy and sad, nourished and starving. It's permeating into everything, our media, our TV shows, it's all over popular culture. (I've just been introduced to Sense8 and felt myself nodding fervently... YES, JUST LIKE THAT!) And why? Why are these new and unique ways of feeling and sensing the world and each other becoming entertainment? Because people feel something that stirs and moves them, and write or create something to capture it. Thoughts spread, they plant seeds, and create clusters of new thoughts. And so it goes.
I've read accounts that say it's all Mind. Consciousness. Everything. And I believe this. I believe that soul and consciousness are one and the same, I've said as much before. And as such, the mind/soul runs on programs, or ... stories. (Enter Joseph Campbell.)
Our existence, at the core, is thought-based. How often does science-fiction become science? And how? Because some creative somewhere glimpsed a different view and brought it out of the ether and into our mind-space. And it then became something tangible, something imaginable, something...real. Much like a chef visualizes a dish in the mind: how it looks, its textures, how it feels in the mouth, how it tastes on the tongue ... and then gets to create it in the physical. It all starts with thought. So, let's be careful what we wish for, lest we bring it into being with us. Yes, the human mind is that powerful, it's all connected. Everything. Always, through energy. Imagine and create, imagine and create. It's what we do. It's who we are.
I do love to wax philosophical. But moving on...
As far as my own writing goes, I've been struggling with focus a lot. Too many projects working, not enough focus on one particular piece of writing. I think I get ahead and figure something out, dive in, strong, and then I lose focus and go chase a butterfly into another state, past a waterfall, stumble into a new patch of green, a new path, a new trail, a new shining face, a new story. Or a new city. I adore novelty, anything new. Always exploring, seeking, searching, learning. Not looking for more, or chasing something, but because deep inside I have this inextinguishable desire to experience my life. Up close. I want to feel the sculpture and allow my mind to time-travel back to its creator and absorb those sensations and perspectives (see: psychometry). I want to see original works of art, up close, with my own eyes, not reproduced. I want to inhale the sweet scents of tropical citrus in the evening breeze, lingering with the ocean spray and twilight air. I want to savor the exquisite flavors of new food prepared in another country with ingredients local to that place, with a passion steeped in culture and tradition.
I can use my extra-senses so easily now, and I love that, but I am a grounded, physical being, and I want to dive in and FEEL my life up close. With my body, my fingers, my toes, my face. Which is all great for inspiration, but when do I actually use that...and WRITE? Well, I have in fact, been quite distracted. It's true. All the while, I've had this other project on the front burner...
"You can't ride two horses with one ass, sugar bean." - Sweet Home Alabama
So. I've been working on the book of ME. The most challenging, yet most rewarding project that I've ever had the courage to work on...has been myself. What do I want, what do I not like? Who am I, really? Am I a novelist, or something else? What do I believe, what do I fight for, what do I value and hold closer than anything else? What kind of world do I want to live in, what kind of world do I want my son to grow up in? What do I eat, what makes me feel good, what keeps me the most healthy? Do I like the gym or do I like yoga? Or both? What collections of preferences make up...me?
Big questions, and I'll be honest, I still don't know how to answer some of them. As I've stated many times, I am a spiritual seeker. A quest person, a path person, a lesson junkie, a soul who seeks to evolve and grow at all turns. Sometimes, I make mistakes and pull back into myself and realize that I let my ego drive. Sometimes, for months at a time. And that's okay. All of it is. We are spiritual beings, with very grounded earth-based bodies that need attention and care as well. We often pretend that we get off path, off course. That we lose our way, that we fall. What if it's all the same course? What if every trip and fall and stumble and mistake is all right where it's supposed to be?
I don't know. I know 3% of what I used to claim to know. That's not to say that I am offering the idea that I am unintelligent. But merely to say that...there is more that we don't know, as a species, than that which we do know. Which is what makes it all so fun and exciting. Facts or opinions don't become more powerful or more true the louder they are ranted. They just morph with the rest of the noise. And that's all we have is noise, everywhere. Phones, gadgets, watches, tablets, computers, TVs, magazines, books, and on and on and on.
Life is to be felt, experienced, chosen, and learned from, I feel. Individually, toward a collective contribution, as a species on a diverse planet. I only know that I can listen. And transform, toward the call of my own soul, my own path. We might cross from time to time, but your path is yours...it is not mine.
Finish Wild Horses & Mistakes
Embark on a quest of further spiritual study while pursuing next creative endeavor... which is hard to summarize, but to say... that my real story lies in my humanity. In co-parenting, in managing anxieties, in choosing happiness and seeing beauty in life despite what seems to crumble around us. And the tools, techniques, and lovely explorations of self that help us along the way.
Here's what I do know, an unabashed who-am-I:
the light side:
a loving and learning Mom
a giver, a sharer
a creative, free spirit
an empath and a healer
a kid at heart
a cheerleader and well-wisher
an optimist, overall
a kitchen/car dancer, with dreams of live salsa or samba lessons
a family-centered person
an awakened woman, who has an arsenal of tools and techniques for living a joyful and connected life and feels it's a mission to share with these with others
the dark side:
often plagued with anxiety, mine or someone else's, although the healing is the same
independent and quite stubborn, yet often feels lonely
scattered and unfocused
often puts way too much on my plate so that something always falls off
has trouble with setting healthy boundaries, at times
has binders of healthy recipes and doesn't make time to prep or cook
too self-critical and quick to self-sabotage
given to eating sugar-laden comfort foods when overloaded with sensory information
sends mixed signals, due to anxieties and trust issues
sometimes internalizes and shuts down and seeks solitude when overwhelmed
lives in a world of energy that most don't/won't understand and thereby has many walls up
I'll catch up soon... xoxo