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!
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!
A bit later... OMG... this is what I am doing and noticing, right now! David Whyte again, same talk as the one mentioned in the last post.
“Make a nesting now, a place to which / the birds can come, think of Kevin's / prayerful palm holding the blackbird's egg / and be the one, looking out from this place / who warms interior forms into light. / Feel the way the cliff at your back / gives shelter to your outward view / then bring in from those horizons / all discordant elements that seek a home. // Be taught now, among the trees and rocks, / how the discarded is woven into shelter, / feel the way things hidden and unspoken / slowly proclaim their voice in the world. / Find that far inward symmetry / to all outward appearances, begin to welcome back / all you sent away, be a new annunciation, / make yourself a door through which / to be hospitable, even to the stranger in you. // See with every turning day, / how each season wants to make a child / of you again, wants you to become / a seeker after birdsong and rainfall, / watch how it weathers you / into a testing in the tried and true, / tells you with each falling leaf, / to leave and slip away, even from the branch that held you, / to be courageous, to go when you need to / to be like that last word you’d want to say before you leave the world. // Above all, be alone with it all, / a hiving off, a corner of silence / amidst the noise, refuse to talk, / even to yourself, and stay in this place / until the current of the story / is strong enough to float you out. // Ghost then, to where others / in this place have come before, / under the hazel, by the ruined chapel, / below the cave where Colman slept, / Live in this place / as you were meant to and then, / surprised by your abilities, / become the ancestor of it all, / the quiet, robust and blessed Saint / that your future happiness / will always remember.”
I absolutely love to listen to On Being. I've discovered so many fabulous and thought provoking pieces and people. One of those people is David Whyte. I discovered a bit by him on my pod cast this morning and one of the subjects was friendship. I copied and pasted from the website then edited it down to the phrases I found most moving. The entire piece is available at the On Being site David Whyte also has an amazing Facebook page...
“Friendship is a mirror to presence and a testament to forgiveness. Friendship not only helps us see ourselves through another’s eyes, but can be sustained over the years only with someone who has repeatedly forgiven us for our trespasses as we must find it in ourselves to forgive them in turn. A friend knows our difficulties and shadows and remains in sight, a companion to our vulnerabilities more than our triumphs, when we are under the strange illusion that we do not need them. An undercurrent of real friendship is a blessing exactly because its elemental form is rediscovered again and again through understanding and mercy. All friendships of any length are based on a continued, mutual forgiveness. Without tolerance and mercy all friendships die.
In the course of the years a close friendship will always reveal the shadow in the other as much as ourselves. To remain friends we must know the other and their difficulties and even their sins and encourage the best in them, not through critique but through addressing the better part of them, the leading creative edge of their incarnation, thus subtly discouraging what makes them smaller, less generous, less of themselves. Through the eyes of a real friendship an individual is larger than their everyday actions. Through the eyes of another we receive a greater sense of our own person-hood, one we can aspire to, the one in whom they have most faith. Friendship is a moving frontier of understanding, not only of self and the other but of a possible and as yet unlived future.
Friendship is the great hidden transmuter of all relationship: it can transform a troubled marriage, make honorable a professional rivalry, make sense of heartbreak and unrequited love and become the newly discovered ground for a mature parent-child relationship.
The dynamic of friendship is almost always underestimated as a constant force in human life. A diminishing circle of friends is the first terrible diagnostic of a life in deep trouble: of overwork, of too much emphasis on a professional identity, of forgetting who will be there when our armored personalities run into the inevitable natural disasters and vulnerabilities found in even the most average existence.
Through the eyes of a friend, we especially learn to remain at least a little interesting to others.
When we flatten our personalities and lose our curiosity in the life of the world or of another, friendship loses spirit and animation; boredom is the second great killer of friendship. Through the natural surprises of a relationship held through the passage of years, we recognize the greater surprising circles of which we are a part and the faithfulness that leads to a wider sense of revelation independent of human relationship: to learn to be friends with the earth and the sky, with the horizon and with the seasons, even with the disappearances of winter and in that faithfulness, take the difficult path of becoming a good friend to our own going.
Friendship transcends disappearance: an enduring friendship goes on after death, the exchange only transmuted by absence, the relationship advancing and maturing in a silent internal conversational way even after one half of the bond has passed on.
But no matter the medicinal values virtues of friendship, of being a true friend or sustaining a long close relationship with another, the ultimate touchstone of friendship is not improvement. The ultimate touchstone of friendship is witness, the privilege of having been seen by someone and the equal privilege of being granted the sight of the essence of another, to have walked with them and to have believed in them, and sometimes just to have accompanied them for however brief a span, on a journey impossible to accomplish alone.”
I've been trying to live and understand friendship for the last years... since I settled in this place and it's been an ongoing lesson. I appreciate these insights and agree.
Keeping it real today, here, in beautiful upstate NY. The edges of the leaves of the trees are beginning to turn orange and yellow and red. Perhaps it will be a radiant leaf peeping season. I hope so, for my parents, visiting from Colorado in a couple weeks.
I'm not sure I remember how I came up with this or where I read or heard it but I find it's very effective as a mantra...
Notice! Don't Think...
I have it printed on cards and post it notes scattered around the house and car to remind me. Shit, it's hard to stay present to anything for very long. This little phrase has helped me to stay in my body and paying attention... just aware... just watching, listening, feeling, touching the ground or the inside of my shoes. I tend to breathe deeper and feel more serene. I definitely find I have a much better chance of a thoughtful response rather than a rash reaction. I notice the thoughts that do creep in and fly by... the undertone is always rushed, hurried, frequently fearful and negative for such an optimistic person! Holy crap! Thoughts are really just one more thing to notice I guess... maybe the mantra should be Notice! Don't Attach... how about Notice! Don't Stick or Notice! Don't Adhere... or perhaps Notice! Don't Latch On... Notice! Don't Hook Up... or Hook In?
(I'm on a roll here... am I thinking too much... probably but that's OK, that's what this blog is for. A thesaurus always gets my juices flowing and helps get these crazy thoughts out of my head!)
I like the original, but it is something to keep in mind that it's easy to change whatever you do AFTER you NOTICE... because you are present. I think, thinking observations are pretty powerful and it's challenging to control the thought stream/train. I imagine anyone who meditates or has ever tried to meditate knows this. You could Notice! & BREATHE...
Notice! & Be Grateful... Notice & Be Loving... the possibilities are endless.
For now what I noticed repeatedly, regardless of the scenery or smells or whatever my senses were aware of, behind the scenes like the cloud over Pigpen... was a constant subtle defensive, frightened, wary undercurrent/hint/tint/atmosphere... Not even any specific thoughts but behind the thoughts. I could describe it as the background or landscape. The grey color of the wall, which I barely notice, as I observe thoughts like a window or a painting hanging ON the wall. That's what I want to get at. That's what I want to shift to a nicer, brighter, more compassionate and friendly to ME color! (I'm open to pink or lavender.) I've noticed this before... my poem Fearless... "Something lifted, like a cloud I couldn't see and didn't know was there. And light of a lighter quality was present all around me. And the burden of living in subtle, constant, nagging fear was lifted."
So... I was led to or discovered or whatever a pretty fun and powerful affirmations meditation on Insight Timer (I pay the monthly fee for that now... totally worth it!). It's a bit old school and corny AND incredibly awesome. I AM UNSTOPPABLE COURAGE by Kenneth Soares. It's a wonderful 22 minutes long and I had it set to repeat while I detailed my Jeep. Notice! Tune in... to the words... scrub, scrub, wash... NOTICE! Tune In... Lather - Rinse - Repeat, Literally!
I AM GRATITUDE is another one that's amazing. My goal is to shift my default thoughts, my thought landscape - wall color to something more like what this guy is turning out in these meditations! Thanks man! Really, I appreciate you! Stay tuned!
Once upon a time I made a monthly journey on a road called Flagstaff. It was steep and twisted, narrow and scenic. You could round a switchback and practically catch a rock climber dangling down. It flattened out a bit at the top... still curvy now rolling and a bit rocky on the sides as I recall. There was a sudden uphill dirt driveway... was it a jetta I was driving at that time? I can't quite remember or an old 4 door subaru or a rodeo. No matter. Parking was tight and it was early on a Saturday morning... could be VERY early depending on my assignment for the day. Participants in the sweat could arrive later on, the fire tenders had to be there very early indeed. That was my favorite... I love fire, especially sacred well tended and intentional pampered fire! There's nothing like it in all the world. It's magical of the first order and the stones in the center being turned into glowing beauties were a thing to behold.
Those were the days when I first got to know Sue and Trishuwa, Margaret, Maggio, Angela, Wren, and many more names and faces. Years later the ceremonies moved from Flagstaff to Tum Tum, WA just outside Spokane. Sue followed them there and I followed them as well as a visitor. Vision Mountain and the long house all originally founded by Sun Bear...I slept in his cabin on one visit. Boy that was quite an interesting night!!
But I digress and now the the thread of thought is gone. The Medicine Wheel was part of the teachings of Sun Bear and those who studied with him. I learned it as part of the sweat and pipe ceremonies. Now I will create a sacred wheel on my own property... all my own. I had hoped to walk the land and pick the spot with Sue this very weekend. Now I can do that still but she will be with me in Spirit. Miss you Ms. Sue!
Wow... I have to be quick here today. Brevity may be the best antidote any how... My friend Sue Fischer passed away August 5th. She was suppose to come and visit me here over the Labor Day holiday. We hadn't seen each other for awhile. I figured out via Facebook and the fact that her phone was disconnected and no response to email that she died. Holy fucking shit! She was only 63! OK... let that sink in a bit.
This is my first experience with the death of a friend. My first experience with death of a person close to me since getting sober. Holy shit! I'll write more another day but I have officially turned over yet another page... and once again started over at the beginning of figuring out how to take care of MYSELF! Here's the funky poem that floated up this morning... so happy to snatch it off the surface, here you go. Dedicated to Sue!
I had to go outside
To experience the
Coming inside again.
I had to BE inside
To feel the freedom
Of flowing outside once more.
Outside to inside
In to out again
Over and over
Back and forth
To and fro
As the seasons go
So we flow
I can only SEE
The in from inside
And the outside from out
Both ever flowing
And outside in.
Again & again.
Laurie McCauley 8-13-2018
Dedicated to Susan Fischer one of the most giving and amazing people I've ever known! Put in a good word for me will you, Sue! Published at 11:11am
Perhaps this is a true and unadulterated testament to getting older. Although I do have friends older than myself that are all about their time in the sun. I even have at least one friend who actually pays to go to a tanning salon. I was sure that the better part of darwin would have closed those places by now. Wow!
It got me to thinking, remembering the last time I actually did care about a tan line. I guess it was about 5 years ago when going out on the boat on Lake George I would wear a tube top dress to avoid strappy lines. Now I don't even uncover to let my arms show when I'm gardening. My forearms are covered with darker brown splotchy patches that don't scrub off and only get darker when they get sun. What the hell is that shit? All I know at this point is I don't want it to get worse and I have a sneaking suspicion that it is a direct result of already getting over exposed in those areas.
I have rose hip oil that I use now, Shirley swears by it. She uses it for morning, noon and night cream too. It's oily... so I guess I do glow and I'm not sure if that's really good... probably attracts the sun? Who knows. This getting old stuff is for the birds!
I know I have or should have way more interesting things to write about but I'm fresh right now. I am in the process of updating and recreating really, by business website. The test address is www.onupward2.weebly.com I'm pretty proud of myself really. The old website is dated and was created by my web guy who is AOL. I wanted to redo and regenerate anyway so here's my golden opportunity. Bye for now...
PS. I'll have to take some screen shots of the old site just for shits and giggles some day in the future. (www.onupward.com).
There, I said it! As much as I would love to completely avoid the topic it's variably impossible! For the record I'm an Independant. I have little to zero faith in politicians of any party. I voted for Trump because, as usual, the options were slim to none. I didn't vote for a statesman I voted for a businessman that I hoped may, at least, be capable of correcting the course of our national financial inefficiency and bankruptcy. I had no pipe dreams about any other area of government... but I digress. During the course of the week at Mountain Top Inn a writing prompt was presented by Gary Margolis in an afternoon session: "personal - political - playful" and here's what surfaced word for word - unedited.
"I find politics personally divisive and annoying. The framework stereotyped all around is: all-or-nothing, black-or-white, fight-or-fail, live-or-die... there is NO gray area - no room for conversation, playful curiosity. humorous creative solutions. There is only dread - lost lives - black oceans - lost species - dying neglected ignorant people filling jails and working for non-wages in fields. Fields I imagine from Grapes of Wrath... (thanks media).
I create a new politics, where people approach with optimism and kind compassion (for EVERYONE). Where magical inventions are possible and humans are allowed to evolve and stop rotting in the pessimistic past of greed, judgement and uncaring or passionate ignorance!"
Believe it or not I woke up this morning and remembered snippets of a fabulous dream. I was in conference rooms and board rooms and the oval office itself coaching leagues of resentful obsessed politicians and law makers and media talking faces and media editors... my word, that I repeated over and over... "SOLUTION" Is that a solution? That's not a solution... look for a SOLUTION... be creative - be fearless - be bold in finding and discussing SOLUTIONS... present me with only solutions that WORK... The fabulous part of the dream was some of them were actually LISTENING!
I just returned... shit it's been a week, unbelievable! So I recently returned from my first writer's workshop / conference. I was invited by my friend and poetry coach, Bev. In retrospect I'm uncertain why it took me so long to get myself to a seminar around the written word. In a time of frugal thinking I traded my annual photography workshop time and money to experiment with writing. Was I intimidated? unaware? uninterested? Did I deem the topic overwhelming or just unessential... All these questions mere curiosities as I enjoyed it immensely and will be going back, definitely! I believe I was also fortunate to lucky, perhaps my true self was just waiting for the "right" writing conference to present itself. The Green Mountain Writer's Conference is an "anti-conference" or the antidote to the typical writer's workshop... I'll have to take their collective "word for it" as this was my first one. The next few posts I create will provide more insights and information as I "spread the love" over several days here.
I enrolled serendipitously in Justen Ahren's morning intensive, website description: "Justen Ahren will lead a workshop entitled A Devotion to Writing. This is designed for writers across the genres. Borrowing from principles found in monastic practices throughout the world, each day Justen will lead discussion on a different topic, such as surrender, gratitude and intention and tie the discussion to several writing prompts. The idea is to help you develop strategies to stay on task, to find time in our busy lives for writing, to learn how to concentrate." Even though I have the practice of morning pages and daily stream of consciousness writing, this appealed to me and ended up being an amazing platform for "jumping off and jumping in!"
OK... Here's a piece I wrote on the third day... the prompt: "the things I carry"
Justen set the scene by describing how he witnessed monks taking a small bowl out each morning to beg for their food for the day... bring a small bowl to your higher power and ask for what you need without judgement or expectations...
The Things I Carry:
The bowl is small and so the pack, the canteen, the blanket, the cup, the spoon, the bags and containers. Because life is short and uncertain.
Because life is short and uncertain I carry too much - too many. I stuff myself and my mind as if there is no tomorrow. What I carry is the fear of an unfulfilling future. I walk around with pillows tied around me, bumper guards - a giant jock strap around my chin - shin guards and steel toed boots. All of this weighing me down - physically - emotionally - intellectually - spiritually. Not just hanging... but clanging and dragging and catching on things as I lumber past.
Peeling it off layer by layer - inch by inch - item by item is drudgery THEN enlightening; ferocious and unfathomable THEN blessed and bright. I may imagine a breakthrough only to discover in short order yet another murky - moody - mulchy - layer of moldy shit. Fuck! Is there no end to this?!
Let's take food for example... I know less is more. Smaller amounts of delicious tastiness is perfectly satisfying and wonderful. I feel airy and light and energized - "I feel MARVELOUS - just MARVELOUS..."
And then I look down to see my hand going for another - then another - pre-programmed - mindless - unconscious - even as I witness the packing on and stuffing in.
Is there some mysterious, untouchable lesson yet to fucking learn? Reveal yourself already! Is it stuffed anger that calls for the extra turkey stuffing? Is it fear - or grief - or loneliness? Perhaps a lack of self confidence or support?
What the fuck? I keep asking faithfully and faithfully, in Spirit's time, I will be answered. I'll strip off the jock strap and shin guards - perhaps a pillow or bumper or two or ten and remember it's SAFE (BIG SIGH) and I'm OK and all is right with the world.
P.S. Hurry up - please -
Drink your tea slowly and reverently, as if it is the axis on which the world earth revolves - slowly, evenly, without rushing toward the future. -- Thich Nhat Hanh
At The T-Shirt Factory in Glens Falls I discovered Pottery, Tea & Crystals of all sorts. My fabulous and magical journey continues to unfold daily in amazing and wonderful ways. (Knock wood.) My gratitude is a fountain ever flowing over and over in the center of my piazza. (Nice image for gratitude, that, ever present, ever flowing and at the center of everything!)
As one of the tasks in one of the three Julia Cameron programs I'm playing with weekly with friends... I think it was for the Never Too Late to Begin Again... I was asked to create a list of 25 things I LOVE... This was MUCH harder than I had imagined it would be. MUCH more difficult. It was also an incredibly marvelous mind / thought toy. When I am gardening or driving and notice that a particularly un-flattering or negative thought pattern is run amok I can switch / flip over to considering what are some things I truly, truly LOVE in life. What an amazing alternative to pessimistic - future fearful - or just plain stupid thought spirals! I dig it. I have, of course, surpassed the original 25 and created categories for top ten lists... Top 10 Things... (Fire, Sky, Thunderstorms, My Jeep, Books, Office Supplies, Surprise Presents via US Mail, etc.) Top 10 Activities (Gardening, Writing, Organizing, etc.) Top Ten SMELLS (Baking Bread, honeysuckle, jasmine, sandalwood), Top Ten People (Christian, Mom, John, Renee, Pam, Melissa, Shirley, etc.), Top Ten Songs/Music, Top Ten Foods, Top Ten Beverages (Coffee... OMG!)... you get the idea.
It has truly assisted me in distinguishing out what I love from what I like or tolerate. I can also have fun with/for myself and send myself something in the mail and bake bread or learn to make tom yum goong nam khon (ต้มยำกุ้งน้ำข้น) a Thai soup that I LOVE... So in addition to a thought toy I can also create a fun to do list of projects I would love.
It's interesting to discover that I have developed preferences, of course, over the course of life. I can also readily identify those things that I DON"T LOVE... or LIKE. The LOVE exercise has rendered an internal conversation and debate about what LOVE is and then what it feels like, tastes like, smells like, sounds like, where to get it, when I had it last... or NOT... to savor in memory to attempt to reproduce or simply appreciate more in the very moment I'm in. Wow, How Wonderful, Fascinating and Curious, Yeah!!
More to come later on my connection to the Greek Mythology of Cassandra and my discovery of a new author Sonia Choquette. In case I forget ;-)
I went to a wonderful workshop "Creative Myths & Monsters - The Artist's Way" presented by Julia Cameron and hosted by Kripalu last weekend. It seems like a year away already, it's unreal and crazy how time flies.
I don't have the time or inclination to share all the details and amazing breakthroughs that have resulted from that shared time and since, at least not at this moment. Suffice it to say that I highly recommend the book... and that's the understatement of the century. The tools provided by the process of awakening your creative self in The Artist's Way are beyond miraculous. There is also paradox in their simplicity... paradox as you know, is a requirement of mine.
I will detail breakthroughs in coming posts but for now... a poem straight from my morning pages...
Just A Little Diggin'
What is buried
Ain't so hard
Just a little diggin'
Just a little spade
Just a little time
You gotta push
the dirt back from the hole.
You gotta make space.
Sort the weeds.
Spread that dirt out a bit.
Integrate it, what's bein' dug up!
What you'll find.
Not all the world
Can tell you.
Gifts - for sure.
Shiny or smudgy
Seems like buried treasures
Seems like - maybe
I buried them long ago
for me to find...?
Not all the world
can tell you,
but you'll know.
Just a little diggin'
Just a little spade
Just a little time
And smilin' !
Post Script... I've been amazed how often the previous post has shown up in my mind chatter. Did I say that?? OMG... I should qualify, change, or Jesus... just erase the whole post.
Who do I think I am?
I haven't changed it. BTW. I've learned a lot about my true self by writing it to begin with and by sitting with it. Who will judge me? Does it matter? Is it representative of what I really think/feel?
Discussing the topic with friends yesterday and remembering the following Tolle quotes... I don't need to defend... I need to remember it's not personal and choose one of the most effective responses which is nonreaction... (Chapter 3 page 62)
Three aspects to true freedom and enlightened living according to Tolle
(A New Earth Chapter 8 page 225):
That's interesting... in the words of the Zen Master... "Is that so?" So I'm hanging out today not spreading black mulch in the rain. Grateful for the time to just BE and not do or go anywhere. I happened upon this TED Talk by Luvvie Ajayi - Get Comfortable With Being... Uncomfortable.
Listening to her choked me up. Excellent! I'm no domino! ... Maybe?
I guess I've finally had enough and that's saying something folks because it really takes a lot to prod me to talk about politics. For the record I am an Independent and I voted for Trump. In general I don't give a good holy shit about politics.
For the record, I'm not politically "informed" about anything and I admit it. There, you don't have to go hunting through my past to "reveal" me as politically ignorant. I also voted for Obama. OMG, I know, the horror of it all. I formally vote to support balance of power with the parties. Either party in charge too long, in my humble opinion, is a recipe for national disaster. No one is right 100% and no one is wrong 100%. Respect, flexibility, open-mindedness, moderation and balance has worked for me, personally. I also grow tired of the sound of their voices!
For the record, I like the fact that Trump has stirred up so much conversation. I think that's called democracy...? I also have noticed that a lot of my friends are VERY liberal and VERY judgmental. Yikes!! I respect the decision of the majority and I think everyone should. Perhaps Trump is a bit abrasive... hee hee... he's not the first president to rub people the wrong way and won't be the last... thank goodness!
For the record I've never been a big fan of the media and their VERY slanted and not so subtle opinions about everything. I can't even find truly non-biased reporting on NPR. It's a little frightening, actually. The incredible un-ending fear mongering is so normal I don't think people even notice it any longer!! I haven't watched network news for DECADES!!
For the record, there is nothing news worthy (to me) about fake news... really? What took everyone so long? I haven't had an iota of faith or taken stock in ANY statistic, poll, survey or other such source of "fact" since my freshman statistic courses in college. It was perfectly clear to me after only two semesters that any stat could be twisted to mean anything anyone wanted to... simple, adjust the results, the sample size, the sample circumstances, the wording of a question or outcome... you name it. All very legitimately in the statistics world, too, by the way.
For the record... guns don't kill people, people kill people. Enforce the fucking laws on the books instead of making new ones. Seriously!
For the record... what you resist persists, try some different approaches when wars on things are NOT working, just sayin'. We are bright, creative people, right?
For the record I don't want the laws/government in the car with me... or in my pantry or refrigerator telling me to wear a seat belt, have tire pressure gauges or not to eat trans fats or sugar. I'm a fucking adult and I can manage my own tire pressure and decide what to eat on my own, thank you very much.
For the record, just now, I had momentary hesitation about speaking my mind. Afraid of retribution in some way. THAT'S not healthy in a democracy. I had a friend call anyone who voted for Trump an idiot... I had another friend say that Trump is shaming the office of president... Maybe the time has come for the people to remember it's everyone's country and a bit of respect goes a long way. For everyone!
Ok... then. I'm done thinking about it for another ten years or so. Good grief people! This too shall pass!
Here's a poem that came to me 4/23 and was more than a bit prophetic. The day after I participated in a Jeep Offroad playground event... I'll explain more after you read it...
I was brave
I was courageous
I was sociable
I was helpful
I was fun
I was supportive
I was excited
I was expressive
I was enthusiastic
I was ME!
Enough about yesterday.
What am I being today?
It was a pathway moment.
I don't even know what I mean by that.
I sense a path
Unfolding - unrolling
A path of my design
Yet unknown to me
In it's subtlety & nuances.
I feel the road is rising
The air clearer
The sky a bit brighter
Or just different.
I do feel an opening
A new door
A new room
A new way of SEEING.
Something lifts (again)
Eases the struggle
Lightens the mood
An agreement is reached
A new treaty
Ready to be signed
All parties aligned
On this for now
For always on this
What is "it"?
Just a new way of being
A sensing of everything
In a new way.
A partnership - true - existing
Since the beginning - always -
Is newly ratifited - clarified
Released and surrendered.
Into a partnership
or RELATE - TION - SHIP
There have been two HUGE breakthroughs in the last bit... I think I wrote about one... the tri part beingness... the openness now to just experiencing my body without expectations or judgement is a monumental shift. I'm constantly reminding myself of... checking my thoughts. The whole idea that my-ness includes such an incredible, intelligent, grounded amazing "machine." Fucking Wow!! Everything is miraculous every moment... when I remember to be present which is more and more often. Tolle videos are amazing also... so concise and clear and resonating with me. Check it out... THE POWER OF PRESENCE...
That is all for today. Oh, I remembered what LOVE feels like. More on that later.
My emotions are right under my skin lately ready to pop out at any moment. Shit! I was a speaker at a meeting this morning and I got choked up. I can get choked up at the drop of hat lately. I'm actually tuned in enough to cry on cue. I know the exact story to focus on to get it going. That's a lifetime first. Times were when nothing could make me cry!
I finished the 12 week Artist's Way program with a friend and we've started another one called Finding Water. I was moved, touched and inspired to start yet another program by Julia Cameron... It's Never Too Late to Begin Again... Discovering Creativity and Meaning at Midlife and Beyond. The title of this one strikes a cord with numerous friends of mine! More than half the people I know can relate. The daily morning pages and weekly artist's date are now flanked by a twice weekly walk and a weekly exploration of my past in four year segments..
I've been listening to Conversations with God in the car... so check this shit out..
"You are a tri-part being, made of body, mind, and spirit. You will always be a tri-part being, not just while you are living on the Earth." (Let that shit sink in, like really!) There are those who hypothesize that upon death the body and the mind are dropped. The body and the mind are NOT dropped..... In truth you are all one energy, yet with three distinct characteristics..." (Book 1 page 181) So this blew my mind and I'm still processing. I was obviously raised in the school of death being the end of the body/mind part. God was a tri-part being Father, Son & Holy Spirit. More on all this later once I digest it further...
Today is a rainy day. We had two sunny ones in a row. I'm sitting at my favorite table in my observation lounge at Providence Lodge. The grackles are finishing off the suet and the rest of the rain swept yard is quiet. Yesterday there were at least eight tree swallows doing airborne gymnastics. I LOVE watching them. We have eight bird houses ready for occupancy. After watching them yesterday I think we may have a few new tenants. The new windows are in the garage to be installed soon. I'm moving rocks around. I feel great when I'm doing stuff outside. No big surprise there really.
I'm feeling a little "off" still. The anniversary thing, perhaps. I'm also experiencing a huge transitional space... I've spent more time now at Providence Lodge (I am calling it that, officially! I've decided it's FATE... ) I'm loving it more or at least as much as I imagined! It's over the top amazing and breathtaking in every way!
I think of posting probably once per day... the inner critic/censor attempts to berate and make me feel guilty for not posting. Sorry... that's not working out for the critic. I post when I'm inspired to do so... not because I should... just sayin'... so THERE!
Born & raised by a workaholic - still recovering!
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!