That was always the tidy last line of every childhood story or fairy tale, yes? The ending we all secretly wished for. We were somehow magically satisfied and hopeful when the final conclusion included: "...and they lived happily ever after..."
If it didn't... we felt cheated somehow and miserable and dangling forever, the story left in a shadowy limbo without that happy ending. We still want this... BTW... Hollywood has also set it up that way.
Well I'm speaking for myself here, obviously, I wouldn't put words in your mouth! Today I'm wondering: "?What then?" what came next, for real, once Cinderellas' foot fit the fucking slipper and the prince came to carry her away? That's just it? Yep, that's just "THE END" because the wise fairy tale writers knew better than to say what it might be like in that magical place of happily ever after. Did you ever notice there's no Cinderella or Snow White sequel? That's up to us to imagine or figure out or just forget about it and let it lay undiscovered but hazy and "nice." We just kinda know that it wouldn't include loads of manual labor, being indentured to mean pseudo relatives, poor, alone, miserable and fearful.
Happily ever after... it's one of those end of line cultural phrases like "I'm fine." when fine is the one thing you are totally NOT. But it's acceptable and conclusive and the end of the politically correct not "TMI" story.
(There are so many things I take for granted on a daily even moment by moment basis. These crazy "COVID Times" have made that patently clear, for sure... take a moment and be grateful because you never know what's next! )
So what brought this on? Maybe it's my 55th birthday coming up tomorrow? Or perhaps it was the huge / small / constant annoying arguments with my partner that took place all day on Thursday? Those arguments left me wondering about myself and my rapport with long term relationships. Or the brush with death, not my death, a pet death, but still, death. Anyway, something cracked me open and hit me hard for some fucking reason.
All I know is they just showed up this morning, some of those <<<<BIG QUESTIONS>>>
Have I arrived? Am I already here?
Am I with my "soul mate" (another cultural knee jerk phrase).
Am I living in my "forever home" now?
Basically... Am I currently experiencing my own "happily ever after?" and if I am... is this what I want it to look like? What the Fuck do I want it to look like?
OMG? once those types of questions are posed I'm stuck, I'm hooked, I can't just drop it or let it go. I have to peruse, pursue, persevere, and ponder until some sort of answers settle in...
I have to start with. "Am I currently living with my forever guy?" Holy fucking shit... what a shit storm of bullshit expectations and crap cascades out of the past on that one! Wow!
I want details, daily schedules, annual and seasonal days of observation and traditions (like a fucking holy calendar of holiday and Saints days...). I'm looking for that Step by Step Guide that outlines nicely the "ups" to expect and the tell tale signs of "downs" to come as well as what to do with all the "in between times". I'm searching for the Holy Grail Instruction Manual for my own life and the relationship I'm "meant to have." What will the relationship look like? Sherlock and Watson... all crime solving and mysteries? Redneck backwoods preppers with awesome fire arms and bunkers, food hording and fall out shelters? How about an musical theme with a first chair and conductor, (or lead guitar and vocalist) loads of instruments and singing, like a 21st Century Sound of Music on steroids? We could go all B&B on the situation and cutesy and foodie and politically correct with yurts and composting toilets... Or we could just be ourselves, like our decor style, a mash up of craftsman, Adirondack and steam punk with a little art deco, Grateful Dead and Frank Lloyd Wright thrown in.
I do know a few things for sure...
Everything else is up for examination, definition, exploration and qualification... including how often, how much, when, what does it look like specifically? how does it feel exactly? how does it change with the seasons? Regarding things like:
Wicked Cool... thanks for the wake up call!
What are YOU up for in your version of "happily ever after" ?
I've been thinking about posting again. So... here goes. It's been awhile and the older I get the more I realize everything goes in waves... feast then famine so to speak. Ultimately I'm totally OK with that. Why not? Not much point in fighting it, really, although that never stopped me before. Yikes!
I'm listening to "When Things Fall Apart"... Pema Chödrön. (Another sign of the modern age, I'm not "reading" it, I bought the book but I'm listening via Audible.) Thanks to Krista Tippett and her interview with Devendra Banhart. I found Pema on my own decades ago but there's that wave thing again... in and out, here and gone and back again. She is of course much more eloquent... things come together and they fall apart, come together and fall apart... you just need to have room for it all.
I've been writing still to myself, for myself and reading every day. My favorite book lately is "All I Really Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten" Robert Fulghum. This morning the passage that came across to me was "Grandfather"... Fabulous. You'll need to get the book I guess and read it. I'll give my impression but I'm sure you will have your own revelation when you read it. Basically miracles happen every day to ordinary people like us... Murphy's Law works both ways. It is really about focus and perspective... I'm moving right along a flow of some sort... I just wrote a poem about my superpower. That's it! But the poem, I just realized, needs work before I post it. It has so many windy roads... fabulous and fun! In the meantime I have a bit about the fucking virus shutdown... sorry... not sorry. Yes the FUCKING virus shutdown, quite a cosmic cluster fuck, thank you government and media! It's all already old news. Holy fucking shit I wrote this little observation on March 24th... It's May 23 almost two months ago! I wonder what I will say about this five or ten years from now? I guess that's enough from me for now. I'll check in again soon. Promise!
How long will it last?
How long will it take?
For you to SLOW Down?
To Open up – to Breathe?
To sit quietly and
Contemplate your navel…?
Are you still rushing,
When there’s nowhere to go?
Have you noticed the tension?
The undercurrent of urgency?
There it is… constant, nagging,
Dictating your reaction and response
Judgement – expectation
Are you frantic and anxious?
For no apparent reason
Or something outside your control?
Time out friend…
Go to your corner
Close your eyes
Contemplate your navel
For awhile - Head down - No fidgeting!
The Universe – THIS universe
Where our planet lives
Has declared, decreed
Indubitably, Pause or DIE.
Stay home – take care
Be careful, pay attention,
Be aware, wash your hands
Or DIE or
Risk killing someone you love.
But - DON’T PANIC… =)
Take the gift
Accept the challenge
To look in - Press pause
Enjoy the social isolation.
Be grateful and consider our
Culture and society…
Who knew toilet paper
Would every become Currency…
Or we would declare war on a micro-organism…
Be careful, pay attention,
Be aware, wash your hands
Or DIE or
Risk killing someone you love.
But - DON’T PANIC… =)
Corona Virus shut down…
A ray of light and inspiration shot through the dark, foreboding, gloomy and threatening atmosphere yesterday. While I've been feeling and spinning and reeling with the political environment and the behaviors of ALL those involved (Media, Democrats, Republicans, "ad nauseam"), I've been searching for some sense. There is a reason for everything, yes? Muddled inquiring minds, like mine, are eager to attempt to draw it out, speculate, wonder and/or just sit back and be fascinated and shocked and disgruntled or all of those at once.
Yesterday I was curious how the media would report the recent acquittal and what the Democratic and Republican responses might be. Romney's passionate break from the party, odd how that got more airtime than Trump's acquittal? and I just can't get the image of Pelosi tearing up Trump's speech out of my head. (Probably because the media shows it over and over.) I don't want those hate-full things in my head! I hark back to political conversations with close friends or family, whose fangs came out, such that I didn't even recognize them. I became defensive and afraid for my own safety and sanity. (And I don't give a flying fuck about politics.) Some friends even expressed genuine FEAR for the safety of their family and way of life. Puzzling, disturbing... When considering whether or not to bring up or even respond to anything even remotely related to politics I, frankly, run screaming (in my mind).
What the FUCK is the matter with people? All civility and kindness, cooperation, collaboration, anything remotely resembling a curious, thoughtful, solution minded adult discussion is apparently not available. Civil war? Are you fucking kidding me? What media monster planted that notion? WTF people? Hate and war is never an answer to anything! I don't recognize our country. I'm embarrassed by ALL OF THEM, everyone!
Anyway, I've been wondering why it was all getting under my skin and bothering me so much. What is is? It's not the "issues" or legislation or guilt or innocence, really. I'm Independent and ALWAYS have been so I'm not wedded to either Red or Blue. The blame game bullshit is NOT NEW, people, it's just raised to a fever pitch. It has been building for about a decade, maybe more. Slowly becoming more acceptable to be rude and invasive, disrespectful and decisive. The public, my friends and family, everyone has been allowing it. What am I defending? What's really bothering me? The paradox of speak freely but don't offend or else... ? What is it? Really?
Perhaps, I'm upset because my friends are fearful. I'm upset because they've allowed themselves to become defensive and full of blame and hate. True, true... and I can go on and on how it's all the media's fault or the politicians run riot. Family and friends have lost their perspective and their serenity and their common sense about facts and objectivity and the concept of holding journalists responsible to actually report facts not opinions. I personally have ZERO INTEREST in their "informed" opinions, ANY OF THEM... CNN, FOX, ABC, NBC, CBS. I'm not interested in name calling and blaming. I would like the facts... the back ground, an inside look a FUCKING FAIR AND OBJECTIVE report. I'll make up my OWN MIND, form my own fucking opinion!! Anyway.... BREEATHEE see how easy it is to go sideways?! Yikes! Oh no, wait that's the co-dependent, care-taking me, worrying about others too much! My poor defenseless tribe, I have to take care of THEM! Please, step aside, let me be ENRAGED for YOU, because you are obviously clueless and being taken advantage of and can't take care of yourself. WTF!!??
Then the actual truth showed up in a moment of clarity and light, the thing I am most upset about is the mirror this is holding up for me. I have allowed them, all of them, to make me feel unsafe and afraid. I have chosen to react and defend or duck and avoid. The unadulterated hate and venom has poisoned me also and I've sanctioned, certified, endorsed, tolerated it ALL! I'VE SWALLOWED IT HOOK LINE AND FUCKING SINKER! Shit, seriously! No wonder I'm so upset! I've sold my soul to these assholes and ALLOWED them to sow hate and fear in my life. In my own living room and coffee shop between people who are close to me. Be what you want to see in the world, right?! The guilty one isn't OUT THERE, it's in HERE. I can be creative, I can be brave and face the nastiness and remind people to be open minded, patient, civil, kind and thoughtful. It will take effort and mindfulness and humor!
Somehow I've got to find the humor and lighter side, turn the tide through my own choices and "rise above" the bashing and spew. Horrible haters and manipulators of all sorts that have always been here and aren't going anywhere. Thank God I can choose to focus on the goodness, the solution, the grace, the serenity that is also always present.
That's it. Thank God for lightening bolts. It's been an uncomfortable environment lately. It's just a very scary side of myself that's poking out. Say hello, get to know it, shift and let go. The only thing I even come close to controlling, barely, is me. I guess I needed the powerful reminder and I do feel better.
Today I choose to be open, kind, serene, SAFE, honest, and responsible. I choose to remain aware and observant of anyone or anything I ALLOW to push my buttons or trigger me into any behavior or feelings other than those. Pass it on... if you choose!
Stand back, please!
I'm becoming - I'm just becoming over here.
Nothing to see.
I'll be back shortly, perhaps.
Or it may take awhile.
PLEASE DON'T STAND AROUND!
DON'T BOTHER TO WAIT, REALLY!
I'll be fine. I'm just becoming over here.
Nothing to see.
I get a sense that I'm becoming
what I once was.
I'm UN-BECOMING - really.
NOT "healing" over!
NOT covering up!
I'm simply removing some
Add-on layers of B.S. -
(religious - cultural - familial - corporate - emotional - environmental)
BULL SHIT thoughts and insane behaviors.
ILLUSIONS and B.S. all can go... Adios!
I'm just going to be un-becoming
for a bit
Nothing to see!
I'm doing fine!
Don't Wait Up!
I'll be "right with you" when I'm good and ready.
In the mean time... love you, miss you, be back soon.
Forgiveness is an essential element of enlightened, serene living... at least, I guess, that's what I heard. I haven't had much to do with forgiveness on my journey so far. I understand the concept of course. I hear about others and judge them easily regarding their ability and circumstances to forgive and forget or either or neither. I've had people do nasty things to me or thoughtless, hurtful things and I just let it go. At least I think I did, didn't I? It's so hard to really tell sometimes, honesty or just awareness of feelings is a tough one. More on that later.
For example, apparently, I've been exceedingly angry and resentful at myself for a long long time! Like forever! Fuck! I discovered this on September 19, 2019. I was determined to force some sort of memorable milestone worthy of the sweet date numerology so... I induced the labor so that 9-19-19 will forever be the day I finally forgave myself for being born on this planet.
That's a wowzer statement, I suppose. It assumes you know me, I guess. So, first off, I'm an introvert, I just found that helpful label (thanks to: The Introverted Mom, Jamie Martin). I'm very sensitive and baffled by how fucked up people can be regarding each other, entire races, the planet, religion, OMG... etc. etc. I also take full cosmic and physical responsibility for my life, how it started, where I'm going and where I've been. Expectations and overwhelm have been ongoing themes and I've had to develop a very tough, thick exterior to muddle my way through all the thoughtless insanity of the human race. I was born to a fucking child and wife abuser. If I was provided the universe of potential planets and experiences and lives to choose from, why would I choose that? I've been doing a lot of digging and "work" prior to this trans-formative date. Thanks to my abusive parent I was apparently left hopeless and insecure (see Pyschosocial Stage 1 -Erik Erikson). If the shoe fits! So without getting any deeper into my belief system... bottom line, I forgive myself for choosing this excessively beautiful and horrific planet.
So, big deal, really for sure! Totally worth the fabulous 9-19-19 date designation... why? What this means is I can ALLOW myself to align because I've given up the ghost, for real. I forgive myself for being here and all the shit that goes with that good and bad.
I'm in the process of forging a brilliant analogy: a prison cell, me in the cell. All the breakthroughs I'd had until the 9-19-19 allowed me to notice the cell, to find the lock, to see there was a key that was needed... to even find the key and a tiny step stool to reach the lock. Forgiveness provided that final bit on how to jiggle and twist the key in the mechanism to actually get the fucking thing open! A crack, perhaps, but open! Back in the saddle, indeed!
The Tree Swallows are here to nest again this spring. Chris has dedicated his considerable photographic talent to capturing their images in flight. The many warblers in the woods will have to wait for fame and fortune until next May. Dusk is best light for perfect swallow exposure from our south facing lodge. The camera has a special focus setting which provides the slightest possibility of successful clarity on such a speedy target. It's challenging to understand the difficulty of this until you try it yourself... just try to keep the little jet-pilot-like fliers within the scope of a pair of binoculars. I can barely track them with the naked eye - swooping and pulling up and dipping and diving suddenly, sporadically... with apparently no visible rhythm or reason. I wish I could also see the tiny flying insects they are after. Like they graphically track the golf ball on TV. Once the pros swing their club the ball gets a colorful tail that allows you to actually make out where it is and where it ends up. How awesome would that be if the swallow prey had digital trails. A massive, huge swirling colorful beautiful mess of flight patterns would appear and disappear across the sky. Golondrina Bicolor (Spanish)or Hirondelle bicolore (French).
Growing up in Colorado, in Lakewood, a suburb of Denver. Despite it's name, Lakes were few and far between spying a Barn Swallow was a rare treat. In the LA area I would be temporarily hypnotized by them at stop and go lights where they would nest and hunt. To have them here, literally in my back yard, has provided bliss beyond measure. Last Spring Chris installed nesting boxes all around the field and we had numerous residents take us up on the offer of shelter. This year the number and spread of options for shelter was expanded. It's safe to say we have our very own flock of tiny daredevil flyers to observe. There are at least 12 occupied aeries with a pair each so 24. As we excavate the land around the lodge apparently loads of ants and other insects are being uncovered and exposed to the feathered noshers. Seeing them on the ground momentarily gives your eyes a chance to focus and appreciate their color and fragility.
I am grateful for so many fabulous, wonderful, astounding and ordinary things daily. I had to pick one to discuss here today and the swallows delight me. Their flight is smooth and fast. Sometimes comparison provides clarity... other birds are choppy and drooping or dippy as they fly from A to B. Swallows just glide their flapping barely visible. What is it about that movement that I find and feel so pleasing? The ease of it? The graceful quality... the sudden changes in direction with such agility and finesse? Like watching anything that is expert at it's occupation. Now that I consider it, I absolutely relish watching Robins run and stop and listen and run and grab the earthworms they HEAR... under the grass I clumsily trod on. The little lines of evenly spaced Robins advancing across the lawn in an adroit and orderly fashion is another favorite sight.
So here I go about to wax philosophical... I'm a bit jealous, I realize. They are graceful and at ease because they were born to do that thing... perfectly suited skills to the tasks at hand. Their purpose matched expertly to their physical tools or vice versa. I have more faith than I once did. I do believe, now, that I'm suited for some purpose, perfectly and the environment will present. I can feel it getting closer and I'm happy to wait and watch the birds and love lodge life moment by moment.
Be well and blissful remember it's mostly illusion so you might just as well!
I've been reminded lately that poetry writing is a choice for me. That I can write whenever I choose. I'm noticing lately through the Coming Home to Yourself Insight Time course by Sarah Blondin that I am actually afraid of me... myself... pain, vulnerability, let down, hurt, etc. etc. The tattoos on my wrists need to keep speaking to me and I need to keep listening!
Pause to Wonder!
In the meantime I need to remember that even if the landscape looks repetitive and unchanging, facing what seems to be the same obstacles every day, day after day... I am making progress. The days were not the same each day in Ground Hog Day because the author had changed, the agent, the principle was always changing. So it is with me and my exploration. Don't be discouraged by what seems to be repetitive actions and observations... keep listening. The messages grow more subtle as the goal gets closer and closer. The distance from self love grows smaller and smaller, the focus more and more precise and clear and automatic until the switch flips and there is no going back. Going back is not an option because the pathway has been thoroughly cleared and considered.
Redesign In Mind
Out with the old - in with the oldest
I have a lot of forgetting to do.
To make space for remembering
This life designed
with redesign in mind
every path a part
every road perfection
Assemble - pretend
Awaken - realize
Dismantle - examine
Rally & reform
My life - my thoughts - my values
My ideas - my hungers - my body
My beliefs - my habits -
My mouth speaking
All subject to change without notice
exhaustive categorical renovation
completion not expected
until death due us part
Surrender to Wonder
Listen without Judgement
Enjoy the Journey
This is your life!
Laurie McCauley 4-15-2019
So that title needs some crazy fun explanations, yes?! You may say, like me, a week ago... Pat Meth who? Chris has been getting us tickets to various concerts at The Egg for over a year now. Apparently, Chris saw Pat Metheny in 1995 and has been a fan ever since. He's a Jazz Guitarist. I would never have chosen this concert, until Saturday March 30, 2019 I was not a huge fan of the disjointed-rambling funky style of Jazz. I am now a convert. It's official, I have a Pat Metheny Pandora station.
So that's not even half the story, I'm setting the stage... the last time I went to the Egg... for Robert Cray (also wonderful) - the lead in band was fucked up... the speakers or equalizer or some shit was horrible I was vibrating so hard I had to get up and go outside for a bit. Robert Cray's band was fine once he came on. I also had a seat next to a just a bit too enthusiastic fan who tapped his foot so hard it felt like the back of my chair was being kicked by a kid at the movies. Not a pleasant overall experience, enough said.
This time I took my intuition's cue and meditated before we left for the theater. I was much more calm and relaxed and open minded over all! I got the message in the first 20 minutes to just close my eyes and "ride" the music. I've often wondered how Chris could sit and listen un-distracted to his music for hours and hours. I guess I got a glimpse of the possibilities of that type of listening. I just enjoyed it... I floated and flew and soared and dived... I swam through the sensations and was present to the feelings of the sounds permeating me and then continuing... forever...
I got the sense of the wonderfulness of this particular arrangement with two additional amazing and talented musicians on stage the keyboard player, James Francies, and the drummer, Nate Smith. Holy fucking shit!! They sent me. I get chills just writing this. I could feel the spirits around listening also, like crammed in the space... CRAZY! It got me wondering, and this is the question that really moved me to another entire life breakthrough... wait for it...
How do spirits hear without ears? How do they experience sounds without the physical body to translate the vibrations? Weird thought, right!? The answer I got back was not an explanation but a realization of how fucking lucky I am to have a body... something I never really appreciated before. I've tolerated it, feared it, dealt with it... acknowledged the complexity of it, feared it, frustrated by it... anything but true love and appreciation, honestly. Now the spirits are actually envious... they enjoy the music in their way but it is not the same and apparently not as "tasty." I know the word envy and spirits or universe in the same context seems really weird to me too. I had never "dared" or even thought to think of my life and body on this planet as unique and enviable.
I don't feel as if I'm explaining it very well... maybe I'll write a book. Bottom line of all the lifeforms in all the universes that I could partake in I am apparently extremely fortunate for multitudes of reasons to be involved with this particular one. And I finally get it, like really get it! I sat in the chair and just opened to all the sensual input - so much... from every sense, all the time. CRAZY NUTS... that's what the big brain is for... we're storing all that info all the time? Like everyone has hyperthymesia (HSAM - Highly Superior Autobiographical Memory) our recall button just isn't hooked up. Maybe then when we "die" we get to keep all those awesome memories and sort through and relive and remember all sorts of things for a couple of lifetimes before we come around again? Who knows... just ideas that came to me. That doesn't matter one way or the other. What does matter is now I appreciate and love life, every experience, every feeling without judgement... at least I'm aligned now to do that. The resistance and resentments slowly melting away. I don't want to jinx it... but it is a whole completely new perspective that I want to shout from the rooftops.
Sometimes I have an idea what will show up on the page and other times not at all. I don't know then write. I don't twiddle and stress and digress over every word or punctuation or sentence. I write to know what my soul might want to communicate this day. I write to know that all is well and happening perfectly for a outstanding and possibly unknowable reason standing behind an ever fluctuating and glowing sparkling plan. The plan that I've created with my HP and I know, beyond trust and faith, I know that in the grand - grandest vision of the most incredible journey all is well.
My primary goal is to get out of my own way. To keep remembering that it is all illusion - my resistance - my fear - my anxiety - just one side of a joyful coin of beauty and love. Keep flipping it over! See... there it is! The image of flipping a coin, fabulous! Joy is the other side of sadness - serenity - anxiety all one and flowing with great waves back and forth - to and fro. I can use that tool today - I do write to know. Thank you Grace!
I think I'll call God - Grace - Grace be with you! Grace Bless You! Happy Day!
From my "Look Back" entry today... It got a lot of juices flowing.
1. feel like shit, hit bottom - it can be bouncy
2. perseverance, optimism, the miracle is around the corner
3. realization - shit, something't got to be done!
4. get inspired - or deeply depressed - or both
5. get real detailed, figure out what works for who you are (who's that?)
6. lather, rinse, repeat steps 1-5 aka time passes (quantity unknown)
7. final breakthrough, epiphany, decision, change, surrender
8. Thank God or whomever or whatever. You can now move on to the next thing and start over!
I finally had a breakthrough around exercise. I wrote a couple of pages, just now all about it, which I accidentally deleted somehow. Time to cut my fucking fingernails short again! Fuck, Fuck, Fuck! When you say it three times it's suppose to help! Anyway. I wrote the summary above, which is probably better anyway, and I'm out of time so I'll explain them individually later!
PS. I found a printed sheet of paper with this entry in a journal date range 3/13/16 to 10/12/16. The last entry:
I'm having an odd moment of clarity - finally-?!? regarding exercise.
I can be in optimal physical health - it is safe to express my love of exercise and feeling strong and powerful - there is nothing wrong with competition - with "winning" or possibly "losing" bottom line - it's SAFE & there is nothing wrong with BEING a powerful - strong - athletic - fit & fabulous person...
It goes on and on about resistant voices and fear of failure and wasted effort. "My body scares me - the complexity - scares me shitless... I have no fear of dying - I fear living. Curious and apparently I had not had the breakthrough yet... still trudging that mountain but making progress!
I just posted a Look Back page entry from Easter 2017. I love that the looking back posting is doing exactly what I originally intended: having me pause and reflect on where I was and where I am now.
Looking through several journals from the last few years (the older ones are still packed in boxes) there is so much about diets and weight. It got me thinking about how long I tried to stop drinking - decades. Looking back at my journals now it's plain to see when I was writing wasted and it's almost viscerally painful to read all the times I swore I would stop and how many things I tried before I finally "figured it out" and the time was right to be done.
That journal entry was on the pain and fruitlessness of expectations and "shoulds." I've come so far and yet that continues to arise, that surrendering. I had a new client way down in Troy, NY about a 55 minute drive each way. I took the gig. I like the serendipity of how she found me. I also like the drive time to listen to books. The one I'm still on is Communion with God by Neale Donald Walsch. I enjoyed his Conversations with Good books but this one is SO CLEAR and so incredibly enlightening and resonating. Everything, each Illusion, is so revealing of the truth of things that I thought I knew and, honestly, I was correct to resist a lot of what was being taught. I truly enjoy the extreme relief and ultimate freedom and love provided by the message and I choose to believe it's true. It makes sense!
I was asked to create a poem about/around/considering/wondering/pondering the word/idea/feeling/meaning/ of vulnerability. I read what D. Whyte had to say and transcribed quite a bit from his Consolations book on the subject. I wrote in my journal also that day or the very next the following poem:
The lines are down,
fallen on the page.
The way I saw them
in my heart.
Everywhere I gaze
the outline of my life
is perfectly cast down.
Like pickup stix
that form a grand design,
hidden until now.
Like an obscure Rorschach blot
now reveals my imagined
image when the light,
is just so.
Not all-but many
of the pages of my
coloring book are drawn -
beautifully - gracefully
lovely - sketched.
Revealing my true hearts'
desire and passion.
"There it is - Cherished One.
This is your life,
release into it."
As I color the pages
adding more life
I pause - I wonder
I HAVE NO IDEA WHAT I'M DOING!
I'm vulnerable and grateful
for each perfect stroke!
Laurie McCauley 1/2/2019
"There is no path, you make the path by walking." Antonio Machado
Being aware of my thoughts lately has been a bit painful. Painful only because I apply my judgement and expectations. From a purely observational perspective I could use some new and interesting distractions for my mind to travel along and beside. Perhaps a list in my pocket or on my phone; my own "Fun to ponder list". Left to my own habits it's pretty boring and hum drum in here. I find it repetitive and defensive, a bit scarcity based and constantly judging. I begin the CCE Master Gardener program today. I imagine that will provide fodder for my thought-scape.
I had a grand distraction Sunday morning. I mailed this poem to myself. It arrived Saturday. I didn't open it until I had a quiet moment to myself Sunday morning. I guess I had a feeling it would be powerful. To myself from my higher self, Trinity.
Laurie - Beautiful - Lovely - Brilliant - Laurie
All there is to do - is listen
to you own heart
Follow your own song
to the beat of the drum within.
Do not despair or grow impatient
Like the tides ebb and flow - as the seasons go
So turn the circles of your time.
Within each breath be grateful
Talk to me - Listen - Breathe
Gracefully your life unfolds in time's time.
with wisdom and magic.
There is no other time but now.
There is no other love but ours.
Thanks! I needed that! I think I'll try thinking of clouds and flowers and trees and travel... I don't know. I guess I do need to make that alternate thought-scape list!
Did you know? Did I tell you the story of Sue Fischer? I did on August 24th this year. The blessings continue through Facebook of all things. I noticed a private message from a woman that I also knew from the old days in Colorado. Sue and Margaret had kept in touch over the years. Sue and I had kept close. Sue was my link to Margaret. With Sue gone I expected the link to Margaret gone as well. Enter Facebook... Margaret saw a post I made on Sue's page and reached out. We spoke recently on the phone for the first time in decades. I was pleasantly surprised to hear the sound of her voice was the same and the energy and spirit was as loving and beautiful as days of old.
Have I come so far, really, from the time then? So much and so little has shifted and morphed; changed and stayed precisely as it has always been. I have an image of flying or swimming through layers of repeating color and temperature and texture. Like ascending the mountain the same view from different altitudes. The same feelings from a different place in time. The same and different at once.
For all this I am grateful and wouldn't change a fucking thing!
David Whyte, Krista Tippet Interview, On Being, December 27, 2018 "...the deeper discipline of poetry is overhearing yourself say things you didn’t want to know about the world, something that actually emancipates you from this smaller self out into this larger dispensation that you actually didn’t think you deserved."
Well, I always say that poetry is language against which you have no defenses. "
Vulnerability is not a weakness, a passing indisposition, or something we can arrange to do without, vulnerability is not a choice, vulnerability is the underlying, ever present and abiding undercurrent of our natural state. To run from vulnerability is to run from the essence of our nature, the attempt to be invulnerable is the vain attempt to become something we are not and most especially, to close off our understanding of the grief of others. More seriously, in refusing our vulnerability we refuse the help needed at every turn of our existence and immobilize the essential, tidal and conversational foundations of our identity.
To have a temporary, isolated sense of power over all events and circumstances, is a lovely illusionary privilege and perhaps the prime and most beautifully constructed conceit of being human and especially of being youthfully human, but it is a privilege that must be surrendered with that same youth, with ill health, with accident, with the loss of loved ones who do not share our untouchable powers; powers eventually and most emphatically given up, as we approach our last breath.
The only choice we have as we mature is how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we inhabit our vulnerability, how we become larger and more courageous and more compassionate through our intimacy with disappearance, our choice is to inhabit vulnerability as generous citizens of loss, robustly and fully, or conversely, as misers and complainers, reluctant, and fearful, always at the gates of existence, but never bravely and completely attempting to enter, never wanting to risk ourselves, never walking fully through the door.
I found this word powerfully just a few days ago in a passage from the Daily Reflections, December 29, page 372 "The joy of living. The joy of good living is the theme of the 12th step. AA is a joyful program. Even so, I occasionally balk at taking necessary steps to move ahead, and I find myself RESISTING the very actions that could bring about the joy I want. I would not resist if those actions did not touch some vulnerable area of my life, an area that needs HOPE & FULFILLMENT. Repeated exposures to joyfulness has a way of softening the hard outer edges of the ego. Therein lies the power of JOYFULNESS to help all members."
And so the journey continues to clarify and reveal. Thanks to Krista and David... AGAIN.
I guess I've had what amounts to writer's block for a bit. I still write daily in my journal, every single day. I don't feel quite so clever as I once did, perhaps? I feel a bit shy? The words just don't quite flow along the lines of a fun or curious idea? Not sure folks. I've been busy learning, growing, remembering, playing, working, hanging out, etc. Lots going on so I finally decided to just come here and write and see if, like so many times, the answer is provided just by actually writing.
Where I am RIGHT NOW - is utter disbelief because I'm living absolutely fucking EXACTLY what I dreamed of and wished for. There's a part of me that's holding my breath, not sure what's next... A bigger reverie? A continuation? I am blessed beyond my wildest dreams and am looking for a way to give back while I'm creating the next phase and being grateful for ALL of it. My last frontier at the moment is a consistent practice of self care. That's it for the moment. I have fun, I have friends, I have a partner and lover, I have work that's meaningful, I have volunteer work that's rewarding and I have every possible physical thing I can need or wish for.
It's an odd feeling to "arrive" in so many ways. The biggest and hardest and scariest and most transformational is still in my face... me... my body side. I've tried so hard for so long to find balance and fun and solutions that work ongoing it seems particularly challenging at the moment. There's such a subtle - nuanced approach that's needed as well as a decision. Perhaps I'm finally ready for the decision moment? Who knows!
I went to an after Christmas sale at Ann Taylor Loft and picked out a couple of very awesome sweaters - pullovers. I had the thought then, staring at the dressing room mirror, that I could tell the staff that I'm just finishing with a play and the character required that put weight on intentionally to be a little pudgy. I'll get back in shape in no time so I'm keeping that in mind as I buy these sweaters. There was something about that story, (that I only told myself... BTW) that really appeals. Is it appealing because it's partially true? So much of my life has been unintentional and only now am I truly moving into myself.
I've been a member of this body/mind/spirit unit for nearly 54 years and it's still such a mystery... I like to think that anyway... is it really? I'm noticing that I've hit a wall and had to spend a significant investment in awareness surrendering various layers of cultural conditioning around scarcity, urgency, mastery, competition, judgement, and disunity. Unlearning is challenging. It is like untangling a handful of beautiful necklaces that are currently in knots. You follow one for a while and that leads to another that distracts your attention until you find it may be best to lay it out with the knots in the middle and all the loose ends separated toward the outside... anyway I digress, you get the picture.
I'm currently reading and listening to Communion with God by ND Walsch. I wanted it to be enlightening but also touchy-feely or cuddly or something... I want to cuddle with God right now. I want to have a slumber party and hang out and paint our nails and tell secret stories and giggle and maybe have a pillow fight. It's not that, at least not yet. It's disturbing, quite frankly, it nicely outlines how the human race is incredibly off base - which I already knew - but the details are unnerving in their accurate descriptions. The 10 Illusions he refers to in the book are lining up all to closely with my discovery of the debilitating and annoying cultural conditioning I'm untangling. Perhaps the answers are in the book to continue to untangle them more efficiently. I will finish the book - eventually.... it's dense and intense. Maybe these instructions will help! =)
3 Easy Tricks to Untangle Necklaces by KAT COLLINGS
Apply baby oil to the knot with a cotton swab. This will make the chains slippery and the knot will come undone easier when you pull on the chain. If the knot is still tight, gently massage it until you begin to feel it loosen. Once you've untangled the knot, you can rinse the baby oil off the necklace using a mild soap.
Insert a straight pin into the center of the knot, then slowly pull up to separate the chains that your fingers can’t reach. You may need to work this a few ways to loosen up particularly complex knots. Be sure not to catch any openings in the chain of the necklace and risk breaking it.
Sprinkle baby powder on the knot. This will act as a lubricant to make the chains easier to pull apart. Once you've untangled the knot, rinse the baby powder off the necklace using a mild soap.
Maybe I'm totally typical. Who the fuck knows, for real!? What's typical?
I do know that I have been playing around with exercise again here in the new place. New house, new habits, new space, new me... feels like that anyway! I did my program every day for nearly a week and a half. Then, poof!! WTF?! I have managed to do it a few times. Just break it down into tiny steps... get up stairs, press power, press play. No really, just fucking press PLAY. DON'T THINK! Please just don't think about it.
I may have had a breakthrough today, time will tell. The comparison of exercise to brushing my teeth came to mind while journalling this morning. There's a lot more to the story, of course, but just to get this out and down... The transformation has to do with is something optional / negotiable / or just required... The distinction is, of course, in my head, although there is some cultural support. Maybe five times a year I go without brushing my teeth for a day. I can't usually make it longer than that, fuzzy feelings and nastiness. So I am exceeding lucky that I have amazing teeth. Some people do their tooth detailing in depth daily and still have major dental problems. For some flossing, brushing after each meal, treatments, etc. still they have inherited shitty teeth. So this thought was genned by Chris' news that he has to have root canal when he got back from the dentist yesterday. For some, their daily tooth routine may take as long as my workout.
Where are you going with this shit? Well... so... I make time to brush my teeth daily, no discussion in my head, no back and forth, no "making time" etc. etc. I JUST DO IT. Same thing with a shower at least every other day. So... daily workouts are now considered in that same category. That is all. Easy! I managed to do with with writing so I'm just expanding my daily self care routine to include exercise. Eventually I will work in reading, laughter, guitar, meditation, drawing and prayer.
It's all in my head so there you go. A sweet combination of the mini habits idea and a mind fuck, sorry, a mind game. No game either. I can do the exercise now or be doomed to some shit in the future, no doubt, knee surgery, hip replacement, who knows along with all the PT you have to do daily for that and you're still never quite the same. How about some simple, sane, low impact thorough exercise daily instead?? OK! Will do! Sold!
If I had kids, I would just make it part of the daily deal. Just like brushing your teeth before bed... did you do your jump rope? jumping jacks? push ups? Holy Crap... I just found all these good habits posters online. Serious!? I'm learning to be a responsible 5 or 6 year old! Good to know!
I had an odd experience this Thanksgiving. I felt emotional and on the verge of tears much of the day. The thoughts that stirred it up, similar to when my Mother left for home, had to do with solitude, intimacy, quality togetherness with another or the lack of it. The expectations, from my observing, pausing, awareness are curious. My first Thanksgivings are rather sketchy, quite frankly, There was lots of family and food always the events were held at my family home. But I digress... so if I can't remember specific traditions or really miss specific people trying to recreate it wasn't the problem. Where were these sad, deep hurt feelings coming from?
The next day as I journaled and with a little clarity and distance I was able to describe it as a connection to some energy of neglected goodness. The feeling of something beautiful and kind being lost or abandoned or ignored. The comparison to Deanna Troi, the counselor/empath from Star Trek Next Gen came to mind. Tapping into a wave of feelings just floating, hanging, following me around like the cloud over Eeyore. So hold that thought...
I recently read An Invitation to Celtic Wisdom by Carl McColman. "One of the loveliest and most poetic expressions of Celtic wisdom consists of the idea of 'Thin Places.' It's a sacred site, known to the Celts of ancient times, where the veil that separates our world from the other-world, the world of silence and eternity, is particularly thin."
I postulate that there are also "Thin DAYS." When the general atmosphere is host to intense energies just kind of hanging around. Whatever it is that is normally buffering these sensations is absent. or perhaps the energies themselves travel around and it just happened to be on the Holiday. There is also a full moon right now... the Beaver Moon, perhaps the wave is energetically affected like the moon affects the tides... Whatever it was has subsided now and I woke to feel a bit lighter and happier. It came on so slowly that until it peaked, I didn't notice it. Now that it's moved on, the contrast of it's absence speaks proof to it's previous presence.
What I can glean from this entire experience is that it is NOT PERSONAL. My immediate inclination was to search for some reason, in the present or the past... to make it wrong, to fix it, to mute it, to run from it or shelter or hide. Once I realized it was like coming across a bit of a river or creek in the way of the road and the bridge is out. Wading through the cold, ankle or calf deep tide, was disturbing but not life threatening. I could even stand and ponder and dip in and come out again and look back and down and up the coursing flow. I could see my part in it without thrashing around and becoming overwhelmed or disorientated or afraid.
It was similar to when Mother left, but not as intense. I'll have to check the moon calendar, October 19th might have been the last full moon.... Nope, full moon was 10/24. So much for that theory. What does astrology call those times you shouldn't make a decision... ? It's on the tips of my fingers... Mercury Retrograde... hold on I'll Google for that. Nope, doesn't seem to correlate either. Oh well, the mystery will remain... I could of course create my own mini cyclone of emotion and carry it around like Eeyore! =)
I have found and indulged in a Celtic fascination... I am nearly 100% Irish/Scotchwomen. I have, once again from Krista's inspiration, found an author, John O'Donohue, and his book Anam Cara. What a fabulous exploration of the idea of friendship on many levels. I prefaced this read with another author ("accidentally" found via a client) Carl Colman, Celtic Wisdom. The flow moves forward and finds another source and another outlet. My own sweetness, my own rhythm becomes my occupation and oblique journey. There's a section in the book, Anam Cara, page 57, in my edition, A SPIRITUALITY of TRANSFIGURATION... I would transcribe the entire section here... but I'll try to condense it a bit then share the fucking incredible impact it's having...
Yeah?! Holy crap! This is the most clear and true advice I have come across in a while. *It brings me to tears. Why? Who knows!? Because it resonates as authentic and true deep inside. How long have I been lost?
There is so much work to do and play to have "we do not need to put any strain whatever on our longing." SWEET! ** your soul knows, yes indeed, and no one else can tell you. THANK GOD!
I'm coming a bit shy of expressing how incredibly perfect and synchronicitous (I'm using it... yes! new word) it was to read and absorb and share these words. Yes it is another way to say that "I'm OK..." another expression of our divine perfection and the "cure" to go inward fearlessly and stop blaming and judging and messing around with outside. I wrote this poem a few days before I read this.
There is a dance
I call my life
Lining up days.
There is this dance
That is my life
Grateful - Blessed
Today I see
The steps flow
No rushing ahead
Or falling behind
Trust and Go.
How odd to ride
The wave just so
To be in step
As steps may go
There is this dance
I claim this life
All days before
All days ahead & behind
I am re-creating
I am re-learning
I am re-discovering
Free from false beats
Scarcity - Urgency
Fear - Pretense
Free to sweep the floor
Expecting the very best
blessings at each
turn and twirl.
Eyes wide open
Embrace the terror
Of living, of becoming
Your big dream
embrace Your dissolution
It is not a nightmare
Not a violence
to become Oneself and lose oneself in becoming.
I had the opportunity recently to observe my Mother in person, close up and for two weeks straight. I had determined in advance to maintain an objective distance whenever possible. We have worked out, over the years, our various mutual triggers and addressed them with respect and attention so it wasn't as hard as it would have been with a stranger.
One word showed up over and over... as a descriptor of various behavior. Since then I have noticed it is pretty high on my internal undercurrent tide of thoughts and instinctual reactions. (I like that image... high on the undercurrent!) So here we go...
noun, plural scar·ci·ties.
Synonyms for scarcity
dearth drought famine inadequacy
insufficiency lack paucity shortage
exiguity infrequency rareness rarity
scantiness sparsity stringency uncommonness
I notice it around food... you must clean your plate... don't waste... composting somehow makes up for some of the waste... and the underlying feelings are a bit odd. Let's see how to describe them... sinful, against nature, unnatural, disrespectful, thoughtless, (BIG SIGH - means I'm onto something here). When I don't honor the idea of scarcity it's disrespectful? Ouch! That will keep it plugged in!
I notice it around space... space on a page of paper, space here on the blog, space in a room, a closet, a shelf, a drawer... wasting space is disrespectful. There's not enough of it. I have to stop myself frequently and remind myself that there is plenty of paper... I have shelves of journals I can't wait to use... there is no limit to the size of this blog. I have all the space I want.
I notice it around money.... although I never have wanted for money, I know plenty of people who have which engenders a certain level of respect. Recently I have been wondering what my next money making gig will be... worrying about declining balances. My worry is remote-ish but constant. Once again, I notice - become aware of the worry thought and remind myself that all is well. Be patient (another BIG SIGH).
I notice it around love... not quite the right word but something like love... kind attention, listening, affection, caring, that sort of thing consumed in the company of special people. What I missed when Mom left town. A lack of loneliness. I do perceive still a shortage of this and have taking to just noticing and paying attention. Gaining clarity, when possible, on what exactly I "feel is missing."
I notice it around things... pens, books, clothes, cooking gear, blankets, art, journals, material things I covet... shoes, boots especially, coats too. I say I have a shopping addiction but it's more about seeing something I love and feeling that if I don't get it now it will be gone forever. A bit of rarity... a shortage... Whether it's something I truly love or something I think I "should" love or have... just in case.
There is an element of preparedness that comes into play. I've worked with lots of clients who tell their stories of days when you just couldn't get things. That is a good excuse to covet. I don't have that challenge... my challenge is treasuring and respecting the things I already have and being truly thoughtful and mindful and unattached going forward.
My debt to gratitude is paid
through trust in abundance ongoing!
My 2 week extravaganza is complete. From October 4th to October 19th my mother, Celeste, and her husband of three years, Ken, were here visiting from Colorado. I also spent countless hours and days in preparation so that I would be free of all obligations during the visit so it's probably been a month of accumulated time spent, wisely and well, that is now concluded. I'm spending some time now processing all that occurred and how it's made me feel.
Most extra-ordinary was my reaction to their leaving yesterday... all day I was very emotional and weeping, lamenting and grief stricken. My sadness was unfettered and fabulously violent and angry then despondent and sobbing. Mother somehow kicked it off by singing "Leaving on a Jet Plane" first thing in the morning. Holy shit! I have a softness for John Denver anyhow but that song in particular struck a cord and got the mournful emotional response rolling right along. I had a chance to steal a moment with Ken outside the Stewart's while Mom was inside and thank him for all his generosity and for taking care of my Mom so wonderfully. What a relief, I told him, I was worried for her and didn't even realize it. All this through a stilted, chokey, tearful voice and welling eyes. So unlike me... Miss Stoic (long-suffering, detached).
I proceeded to "let 'er rip" in the Jeep driving back to Vista. What a huge relief! How long was all that hoarded... whatever it was... sadness, sorrow, grief, loneliness, melancholy, rage, all that and emptiness... Armed with an entire box of tissue and no where in particular to be. I stopped for coffee and a quick tour of Home Goods to try to cheer up. It paused the firestorm but did not quench it. Once the distractions were removed I returned to the same mental, emotional, feeling space. It burned itself out some time in the afternoon while I was sorting clothes, packing the car and gardening. How odd... how grateful that I felt safe enough to let it flow. Thank Spirit for sobriety! I would have quickly squelched all emotions and drowned or smoked them to death not so very long ago!
Upon some reflection and journaling this morning I have come to some fabulous conclusions and some life changing distinctions and clarity. What was I grieving so heartily? What was I missing? What was gone with Mom leaving? Was this the state of life on earth? What's life for, suffering this horrible emptiness? What did she provide? An unconditional caring, supportive, kind, intimate knowing and understanding regarding me. She provided companionship and safety, fun and exploration of my surroundings. A sounding board I could trust a sense of comfort and warmth. No defense required, no struggle, no fear really. I made up my mind before she came to be observant and open minded and pay close attention to her BEING-NESS... I noticed and wrote about loads of things, for another post... but all this emotion was non-verbal, deep and pure. What I felt was "I'm so lonesome I could die."
the grief revealed the presence
of something profound and precious
staring in the gaping hole
I could recall what filled it
what's there no more
provided access to
awareness of that very thing...
hidden in plain sight
but the sense, the feeling
is clear and closely caring
fill the well -
dip in and enjoy
all at once
Like a sleuth, this morning, I have been tracking down the exact "it"... the precious presence the profound soothing space. My initial reaction was anger and fear and scarcity, lack and mourning. Now I realize I can provide sharing, intimacy, companionship, safety, trust, easy loving kindness, support and listening. In providing it to others I am creating it for myself as well. In this balanced, aware approach I fill the well and deplete it all at once. In paradox I am complete. Whew... perhaps this will be a daily prayer to remind me to focus on the creation of the safe, comfy, fun and curious companionship and community space.
This possibly the best fall colors I've observed since I moved here nine years ago. Amazing! What a wonderful time with my Mother and Ken. There is only to sit and watch and listen and be patient with myself and everyone around me all the time.
Pause to Wonder
and pay attention!
We make the trek yesterday to enjoy some leaf peeping. Holy crap, who knew it would so fucking amazing. We drove on from Keene to Lake Placid then back again to Providence. Absolutely stunning and amazing! I will write more later, for now photos will have to suffice.
My set of the Viking Runes has traveled with me for decades. The book, by Ralph Blum (fun video link, you can of course search Amazon on your own to find the book if you like). According to one reference it was the first written on runic divination, in 1982, and still remains my mainstay for interpretation. I've taken so many notes on every page it's a wealth of varied and insightful thoughts and ideas.
The beginning of the book has a generous foreword with sample spreads and basic information. I probably read it at some point.. or perhaps, more akin to my nature, I just grabbed a rune and dove in. Anyhow... yesterday I somehow decided to read the book from the back forward for a bit. My "read 3-pages daily" mini-habit kicking in on such a small "stupid simple" book! The rewards were outstanding and definitely encourage me to continue my small daily reading habit! Look what I found stashed away in the Afterword. What a gift!
"At our best, each of us is a channel through which Divine wisdom flows, and we are sensitive to the inner guidance that provides us with the intuitive knowing we require. But life can be hard and difficult and we are not always clear. The channels that we are become blocked by fears, silted up with self-doubt. We do not always hear the still small voice that is our natural inheritance. The Runes are available to be used as a bridge to you Knowing Self..."
I no longer try to change outer things.
They are simply a reflection.
I change my inner perception and the outer reveals
the beauty so long obscured by my own attitude.
I concentrate on my inner vision and find
my outer vision TRANSFORMED!
I find myself attuned to the grandeur of life and
in unison with the perfect order of the Universe.
What a fabulous gift! Stashed away in a small book that is never very far from my reach at any time. I'm so grateful to be born in this time in history where the world seems to be waking up a bit and there is access to this type of fabulous inspiration and support for my Knowing Self. This is the daily message from the Universe today (via TUT/Tom Dooley)...
"I have a favor to ask, Laurie. Could you please wait until after you take your baby steps, experience wild serendipities, and manifest eyebrow raising miracles, before you start telling people you're an intergalactic tidal wave of wanton love and magic for whom all the elements bow?
Bathe in the beauty and splendor of the world and life today... a reminder to myself!
What shall I forgive this day to amuse and delight?
I decided back in November 2015 to make my poetry available and journal online. I'm not exactly sure what "blogging" means but I am quite sure this is an online journal. Feel free to read on with an aire of open minded curiosity. At no time do I intend to offend, judge or pretend to know anything really, I'm just an observer and explorer, as we all are. Feel free to "boldly go" through my observations and perhaps it will spark or inspire. Comments are off because I don't want to be worried about political correctness when I'm writing. I'm not thinking about "you." I'm just writing because it feels "right". Feel free to enjoy or surf on.
Fibber McGee's closet!