Awkward, Not Awful

“What would it take,” she asked me, “to be comfortable there?”

She was referring to an awkward and complex relationship I’m in.

I think it’s obvious, the work will have to be internal. I can’t expect the people around me to change. Not everyone thinks like I do, or communicates in the same way or likes the same level and color of light in a room or has the same beliefs or interests as I. No one even agrees on what to eat . I can’t expect the world out there to micro-adjust to suit me. No way. If I want to be comfortable, I have to be able to adapt.

So what would it take?

I’d have to find reliable ways to ground and center myself. As it is now it is easy to throw me off balance. The work has to be done inside my own skin.

I need to be agile enough to adapt to different physiological and psychological states. I need to know that no matter which side of my toast I butter, I am still a whole human who has a right to exist regardless of what is going on. (I won’t complicate this by bringing up the fact that we probably can’t be ourselves without interacting with others)

But I need to validate my existence independent of what others think of me.

That means I have to trust my ability to interpret cues from the environment and reject the things that threaten my core values while accepting the things that nurture me. So if so and so says, “Try this Fire Sauce on your vegan eggs” and I don’t like it, I don’t have to worry that the sky will fall. I need to speak up for myself without trying to push my values onto another person.

That means, of course, that I have to know what my core values are.

I’d need to go deep into the part of myself that simply hums I am and figure out what matters to me. That way I won’t be teetering back and forth, buffetted by the changing opinions of others lke a like a wobbling Weeble.

And I’d have to remember that no matter how centered and balanced I am in one moment I may be thrown off in the next and that it’s no big deal. In time I’ll recover; wth practice, I’ll recover faster.

Right now I don’t handle change well, nor do I accept spoken or unspoken criticism without feeling like a total loser and giving up. But thanks to my friend’s insightful question, I know how to work on the lines of communication, at least I know what my own strengths and weakness are and I’m willing to believe there is a better way to be in relationship with others.

I proceed with hopeful caution, one step at a time.

Awkward

Turmoil surrounds you like a mote around a castle.

I can’t get close.

Permission to speak freely?

I don’t think so.

Not on the shaky bridge between us.

I lose my footing.

And I’ve lost my voice.

What did you lose?

What devastating loss caused you to dig a mote in the first place and then fill it up with tears?

Come To My Senses

I am choosing to get out of my head and come back to my senses.

What are my senses telling me? What messages are overrided because I think I already know all there is to know about a thing, or even about myself?

Of course I can’t dismiss the cranial processing of what my senses gather, but very often there is a short circuit between what I see, feel, smell, touch, and taste and what I think about the information and experiences I gather from my interactions with the environment.

So, today, at least for a little while I am going to come to my senses with an open mind and let curiosity rather than expediency guide the interpretations of all the sensory data I gather as I go about my day.

For example, right now there is cramping in my thighs because I’ve been sitting in a awkward, toes curled under position while I write. I’m wondering if a nice stretch is in order before I charge off to a new task. And my coffee tastes as good as it smelled while it was brewing; I think I’ll have another cup.

What will my day be like with fully engaged senses?

What sense will I make of it all?

You Are Like the Sun

You are like the sun and I am a sleeper;

Your light pours into my life

no matter what I am dreaming, and

day after day, in such a reliable way,

you dispel the darkness.

Your light doesn’t say, “Look at me!”

But makes it possible for me to see

what’s all around me:

beauty and decay are not opposite forces

or something to either be sought after or shielded from;

but like the sun who makes all things visible

you show me what it is like to be awake.

Two Snakes, Two Dogs

Getting onto the floor to lie on my belly is difficult after ten years of anger towards yoga and a knee replacement. But I am not angry anymore and I want to bring yoga back into my life.

To be clear, though, even though I stopped doing Hatha Yoga because I was angry (and I was angry because I had practiced since the age of twelve and then still got sick with an autoimmune disease) I never gave up chanting and one form of meditation or another.

It’s time to roll out the mat again. My ten plus year old rage against the machine is over. But my poor body has been put through hell.

Tons and tons of medications, surgeries and an eating disorder have left me less than nimble.

A yoga teacher once said that what we gain in yoga we never lose. She said we may have to pull the benefits out of the closet and brush them off if we stop using them, but they never go away, not the core value of each pose anyway.

So I have committed to start a routine because that is what I miss the most about yoga. I miss getting up every morning and rolling out my mat which I call the Field of Kuru after the place where Arjuna stood, perplexed by the prospect of battle and then enlightened by his charioteer, Krishna. Every morning I stood in mountain pose to begin the series of poses and worked my through no matter what.

I’m ready to stand on the mat again, but not ready for battle. I don’t have to be so arduous for the Great Bright Light to shine; I just need to show up.

Satichananda said that it is better to read one book on yoga and really understand it than it is to read volumes and not absorb the message. I think the same goes for poses.

I get skittish when I think about doing every pose I used to do in one session, so skittish, in fact, that I won’t even begin, I won’t even try.

So I had a conversation with myself and agreed to do two cobra poses and two down-dog poses. One dog for getting to the floor and one dog to get off the floor to move on and two snakes in between to feel the charge in the core of my being. I am motivated by my muscle memory of how good it felt to stretch and how easy it was to hold poses after I got the hang of them. I am approaching the mat with a totally different attitude. Instead of feeling like I have to fight for or earn the light, I am just eager to be there in the stillness. I don’t have to claim victory of light over darkness; I only need to appreciate the divine light that is already shining, right in the middle of all the muck. I don’t want to accrue light for myself, because my self sort of dissolves as I enter into the light.

I have all the resolve I need today, but tomorrow is another day and there is no guarantee that I will do what I want or what I think I want right now.

What if I do not set a goal? What if instead I invite myself to remember this feeling that I have right now, this overwhelming love for that which I seek in all this seeking for enlightenment. What if I exercise my ability to trust that love is already present and trust that love will lead me to do whatever I need to do. What if I simply hold this good intention in my heart as I inhale and exhale and trust that even if I can’t control everything that happens, including whether or not my body is healthy enough to do an asana practice, I can still breathe and be aware of the moment in the moment, no matter what the moment looks like.

The Beginning

There are 108 beads on one string, a handmade mala that I use for prayer and meditation. It is not made in the traditional way with the big bead and tassel to mark the beginning and end; it is just a string of jasper beads. The only way I can tell if I am at the beginning or end is to feel the rough spot where the string is tied together. No matter how I try to cut and tie the ends together there is always a little rough spot.

When I start to chant, I start at the rough spot and when I get around to it again I know it’s time to stop. In between I can explore the mantra, get to know it, get lost in it or find myself at a new understanding of some aspect of my life.

Today I was aware of the rough spot and realized that very often when I am at a rough spot in my life I am either beginning or ending something. Somehow, just knowing that makes it seem less dramatic.

When I begin my meditation I know I am beginning and I know how difficult it can be to make myself sit still; the rough spot on the mala helps me shake off distractions and focus. The next time I feel the familiar roughness it is a welcomed event; it means I am finished for now and I can assimilate what has just transpired.

I wonder if I can look at the flow of living in the same way. I wonder if when I experience hardship I can ask myself what is it that is beginning or what has come to an end.

When I pick up my mala I feel a reverence for the meditation that follows and when I put it down I know that I will eventually come back to it, again and again and that every time I pray and meditate I am changed in subtle but significant ways.

I want to try to remember this while I am living day to day so that when I get to the rough spots I can stop and honor what is just beginning and what has come full cycle. Maybe then I can be more appreciative of all that comes between the beginning and end; I can grasp that the part of me that is aware of the changes is also the part of me that is beyond beginnings and impervious to the end of a cycle, the part of me that simply knows that I am curiously alive and ready to grow. Maybe then I can be the instrument that sings I AM whether I am in the flow or at a rough spot, that I am more that the cyclical rhythm of change. I am the one who holds the beads.

Connect Me

I had to go offline for a few weeks, not because I was fasting or anything noble. I just moved and it took an expanse of time to get connected again.

Also, I moved to a place where the trees talk to one another throughout the day and into the night. Sometimes they speak with so much heart that is scares me a little; there is a palpable level of quiet in this neighborhood that feels like something I enter into to as I would walk into another world with a different set of rules for how to behave. The quiet welcomes me and it has become something that I respect, something that protects and nurtures me. I wouldn’t dare disturb the peace, not if I can help it.

I missed being online and connecting with the friends I’ve made all over the world. I don’t want to give that up. I don’t want to give up the search engines that enable me to explore both micro and macro worlds of infinitely curious phenomenon. But I pray that I spend time every single day listening to the trees and I hope they’ll know how much I love them. I hope that when I communicate with friends, they will hear what I hear and fall in love with wherever they are.

– Robin Wall Kimmerer said it better than I can when she wrote about coming back to our true nature in Braiding Sweetgrass. She said:

“I come here to listen, to nestle in the curve of the roots in a soft hollow of pine needles, to lean my bones against the column of white pine, to turn off the voices in my head until I can hear the voices outside it: the shhh of wind in needles, water trickling over rock, nuthatch tapping, chipmunks digging, beechnut falling, mosquito in my ear and something more–something that is not me, for which we have no language, the wordless being of others in which we are never alone. After the drumbeat of my mother’s heart, this was my first language.”

Warehouse

I was trying to wash a mountain of dishes that had been accumulating for God knows how long. It became obvious that I’d have to unclog the drain first.

I started pulling out massive amounts of garbage. Rotted food, towels, grocery bags, old Levi’s. I realized I’d have to go deep to get it all cleaned out before I could fill a sink with clean, soapy water so I kept digging. I soon realized I’d have to go into the drain to get to the end of the garbage, so in I went.

Once inside, I saw that it led to a huge warehouse with high ceilings and heavy equipment. There were workers there too.

There were valuable items mixed in with the garbage and I made a note to self to retrieve them on my way out. Most impressive was the pale green depression glass bowls and plates.

I thought I could take what I wanted but soon realized the stuff belonged to the workers who were collecting items to sell so I left everything there.

When I tried to back out of the drain back into the kitchen it was too slippery and dangerous. I realized I’d have to find a way out through the warehouse.

I wandered through giant rooms searching for a way out. I found an opening but it was flooded with sea water and too deep to cross. Also, it was miles and miles from the house.

One of the workers was irrate because his paycheck was only half of what was owed to him. I told his wife I’d go get a twenty to make up the difference. Apparently he was owed 41 dollars and was short by twenty.

I couldn’t find my way out of the warehouse.

In one room there were two men making giant wooden chairs. I wanted one of the rocking chairs and made a mental note to come back and order one for myself.

here were many other aspects of the dream but to tell them would require too much of a back story so I’ll keep it simple for the sake of clarity.

The drain seems to be a pun about what is draining me of energy. It was stuffed full of old food and the rest of the stuff mentioned above.

The warehouse was, I believe a play on the word aware-house.

In other words I had to go into a state of deep awareness to clean out the garbage preventing me from having a clear, clean place to wash all the dishes that were piled up all over the house.

It was clear, in the dream, that the dishes were mom’s responsibility but since she wasn’t going to do them I had decided to take on the task.

At one point I realized I was never going to find a safe way out except to go back through the drain. I also realized it was a dream and kept ordering myself to wake up. But I didn’t wake up. Instead I would just end up in another warehouse room.

Obviously I did finally wake up. Now I have this dream puzzle of how to get back through the source of drain on my energy system so I can get back to my room to get the 20 dollars I promised the wife of the short changed worker.

I think the fact that he was owed 41 dollars is significant. 40 is the number of maturity and 1 above and beyond seems to indicate the required work in one area of my life was completed.

I am currently working to clear the channels in my body and mind of old fears and I’m convinced that is represented by the dream drain. It is also clear that the garbage in the drain was put there by the woman in charge of the family kitchen.

I’m awake now. I’m ready to clear out the garbage with Reiki and prayer.

Forgiveness, more than forcing the woman to clean up her mess, is called for. It’s the only way to accomplish such a huge task.

This Longing

This deep longing for God, for miracles, is as natural as longing for spring after a cold winter.

It is as natural as longing for a bountiful harvest after a summer of growing, and as welcomed as winter after the work of harvest.

So now, when I hunger and thirst for spiritual sustenance I don’t worry that my appetite for heavenly things is unnatural.

But I am still and happy in knowing I will have everything I’m hungry for.

I can be, as David sang, as content as a hushed child in its mother’s lap. “Like a weaned child in its mother’s lap, so is my soul within me.”

A Master

When a student begins to master Reiki she or he crosses a threshold whereby the process of sharing reiki becomes authentic and specific to the student. She begins to have courage to translate the ancient practices into a process as original as her fingerprint. He begins to trust the flow of divine love because he no longer seeks to posses the good stuff except to share it. The more true he or she is to their unique design, the more mazterfully they keep coming back to the place where they don’t know what will happen next. They exude a childlike sense of awe because every moment is the very beginning of something miraculous; NOW is a living thing and now is the best time for original quirks that heal like only he or she can heal. A Reiki master may come from a lineage of master teachers but it is a line of absolute original first editions, not reproductions of one masterpiece.

Holding a Space

I just completed a Reiki session for you and I followed it by holding a space for you in my heart.

It wasn’t a cosmic space with spirit lights and whirling vortices as often happens.

It was, instead, an afternoon sometime in your past or future–doesn’t matter when because in this space it is always now.

You are calm, filled with joy for the simple pleasures of golden sunlight, the sound of the fountain gurgling and birds singing, the prayer flags and ribbons dancing in step with flowing, unseen yet undeniable grace.

You sip water infused with cucumber and mint.

You are content.

Divine Intervention

I was at a breaking point. I was suicidal. But something gracious intervened.

I want to protect the identity of the other parties so I will be careful to say only the truths as they pertain to the miraculous events of the past week.

I was, to say the least, under a mountain of stress. I was in an abusive relationship.

I had decided to be like a ninja and block the blows of the other party. I paraphrased St Patrick’s prayer by asking the holy spirit to go before be to be at my back, beside me, all around, above and below me—to be my thoughts, words and actions–in fact I named all the steps of the Noble Eight-fold Path and gave full charge of myself to the holy spirit.

Then one day when I was dodging the arrows of the enemy I realized that it was ABUSIVE to attack someone the way I was being attacked. It was not that it was just mean and rude, it was literally verbal and emotional abuse with threats of physical violence thrown in for added torture.

Somehow, finally, I was able to step beside myself and feel a little empathy for the part of myself that was taking the abuse. I decided that it was not okay.

I kept turning it over by chanting my prayer and as “luck” would have it a fully furnished apartment fell into my lap. I must add here that I am also doing a world wide sadhana practice with Spirit Voyage, so the prayers and chants of all those others were working in my favor as I hope my prayers are working in their lives as well.

All I had to do was say yes. (Well, there was more work than that but it all flowed with such ease it may as well have been handed to me by angels.) I have never felt more secure. All my life I searched for security and never found it until I completely gave myself over to the care of my higher power. That is not to say I stopped using my brain and creativity and all my resources to accomplish the tasks I was faced with, but the way it all played out was so much above and beyond what I could have orchestrated on my own that I am delighted to think it was divine intervention.

Which brings me to a statement I found in A Course in Miracles.

“Anxiety has been replaced with celebration. Now [I am] carefree knowing I am cared for.”

Tell Me A Story

Please! Please tell me a story,

One I can believe, one I can believe in.

There is truth inside of me waiting to be told

And the only way to tell it is to say it bold.

I’ll tell you a dream instead because dreams don’t pull any punches.

Dreamed I was Jesus for a day;

There was a play and we were asked if we wanted to be the enemy or the saviour.

I picked the saviour, of course.

But it was cold on the battle field and I wanted to crawl under the covers.

There was a sick boy there, though, and he needed to be comforted

And since I was role-playing Jesus I sat beside him and pulled the covers up to his chin.

I smoothed them over his shivering body

it was easy

To put the child’s needs before my own.

Not easy to bear the sound of a broken rooster.

My heart broke because outside the boy’s window, a rooster was tied with a rope around one leg so he couldn’t wander.

He had lost the will to crow and made sounds like a whimpering puppy.

It was heart wrenching when I, who was role-playing Jesus, realized all I could do was pray.

Fear of Getting Fat

For years I’ve lived in terror of being fat.

For the past 40 years I was tied up in knots of fear, resolutions to not eat, resolutions to exercise more, I wanted to be thin more than anything in the world.

For 35 of those years I starved by any means necessary. I smoked, I took diet pills and laxatives and diuretics and used speed in high school. I didn’t use drugs to get high, I used them to stop my appetite.

The only time I gave myself permission to eat was when I was pregnant. Somehow food was a non issue when I was really feeding another human being.

Being skinny was the code for happiness. I believed all my problems would vanish if I were skinny. I still feel that way, but there is beginning to be a shift towards something other than fear.

At first, when the shift started, I was angry. When I was 35 I got really angry at myself for all those years of starving. I was angry at my body for needing food. I was upset about being weak. I was closing control.

I started to eat compulsively. I was ok during meals, but after meals I started sneaking food, hiding what I ate from other people. And I felt compelled to eat fast, to cram large amounts of food in my mouth quickly so that no one would see me eating.

As I started to gain weight I became despondent. I felt defeated. Food won. It was more powerful than me.

I’ve had different kinds of therapy and I told each therapist that my main problem was with food. (Remember, I still believed that being skinny would solve every problem.)

All the different therapies helped in their own way. But I didn’t really find relief until tonight.

I’ve been “tapping” to deal with all sorts of complaints and tonight I noticed I was feeling anxious like I usually do when evening comes. So I went inside, as they say, to find out why I felt so much tension. I discovered right away that it was FEAR that was causing the problem, specifically the fear of being fat.

I rated it a 7 on a scale from 0 to 10, 10 being the most fear I’ve ever experienced. I started tapping as I talked about the fear of being fat. When the roots of the fear or the very beginnings of the problem came, they came in flashes or mental images of events that left their marks throughout my life.

I tapped until I felt a shift. Something inside shifted and I suddenly realized I don’t have to be afraid anymore.

Even if people judge me because I’m fat or thin, and people DO judge, I don’t have to live by anyone else’s guidelines. Not the guidelines of my ancestors, or the media, advertisements, music and films, even if all those people judge me, this is my body and I decide what to eat or not eat. It’s up to me.

When that realization happened I felt the imaginary belt around my middle get looser. I breathed deeply, a long yoga breath.

When I rated my level of fear after the exhale I was at a 4.

I can live with 4 for now. In the near future I would hope to ease the fears even more and I will do more tapping to facilitate that.

I know a lot of people suffer from eating disorders. I’m sharing my story as away to extend my compassion for the others who suffer from the Fear of Being Fat. I offer you compassion and comaraderie.

I’m finding relief through mind/body integration and cooperation. I find tapping and mindfulness meditation, kundalini yoga and music as a visceral experience to be useful tools;we probably all have our own set of tools and things will inevitably work or not work depending on our constitution.

(Look for information on EFT or therapeutic tapping of the end points of the energy channels in our bodies. Also search for the Tapping Solution, #Nick Ortner, Heart Centered Therapy. #John Diepold, # Why Do I Eat When I’m Not Hungry, #Roger Callahan and many other sources.)

I still have work to do, but with tapping and other mind/body practices, I know I can do it.

I am free. You can be too.

The House is Tilted

I don’t know if it started out this way or not but this house is crooked. The chest of drawers and revolving book shelf slant toward the east. The tall bookcase in the middle room leans to the north and the floors in the front room are just warped in weird, unpredictable angles. It’s like the house has arthritis.

I’ve always loved it’s quirkiness but right now I just wish for normality. Level floors would certainly center and ground me.

Coming undone seems to be part of the nature of living. Structures, some of them miraculous, come together and then loosen up more and more with time.

When I was 30 I noticed that my hands had changed. One day my hands held the steering wheel with a light touch, slender fingers barely needing to touch the wheel. The car practically drove by itsef. But when I hit 30, as I was driving to Mount Holly from Moorestown, I glanced at the steering wheel and noticed that my hands had changed. For one thing, they gripped the wheel as if my life depended on it. And they were getting swollen around the knuckles. It really grabbed my attention.

Now, at 60, when I see my reflection I don’t recognize the woman who has replaced the young hippie. I see someone who looks like she’d be happier in the lotus pose even as she slumps across the table reaching for her coffee cup the way the drowning reach for life jackets.

I catch her looking at me while I’m observing her. Now that, my dear, is a head trip. It makes me feel like a fractal.

Just this week I noticed another change. I noticed I’m beginning to disappear, but not really disappearing. More like water color when it seeps across thick paper, changing the whole atmosphere in a way that cannot be easily replicated. Less is definitely more when you’re 60.

To Disappear

I am not the person I dreamed I could be because she was a mirage. 

I’m becoming nobody, the real me. 

Don’t worry! It is not that scary, 

It’s a relief to be free of the constant striving to be 

More proficient, more productive, 

 pure and more pristine in matters of the heart. 

It is good to let go and know that the world will continue to turn 

If I stop. 

Now that I know who I am not I am curious about what’s left 

And I’m left with choices, 

One after another. 

I choose to pray gratitude when I wake up, 

For the taste of roasted coffee. 

I choose to take ownership of my thoughts and to nurture 

Those that are either soft or fierce as I let the others flow by 

Like leaves on the stream. Or maybe I will let them all flow by, for 

Far from complacent I am engaged and unattached, wondering 

what might happen next,  

Curiosity is my soul’s sole guest. 

I am not at peace, as you may have guessed 

But in the middle of a transition, a look out point on the way to 

My next destination: the accumulation of all those matters of choice 

With which and with what tone of voice I say, “No.” or “Yes.” 

House

I have recurring dreams about being in a house that I’ve just moved into. For years it was always a big house with rooms that were haunted. But it has been changing over the past year or so. I still dream I’m moving into a new house but now it is a house with light and air, big and roomy but not haunted.

Last night I dreamed there was a room with a hot tub. I was unpacking some boxes of stuff that had been left there by a previous owner. There were lots of white clothes that would work for my Kundalini practice. (I know I don’t have to wear all white like many Kundalini practitioners wear, but I have always wanted to.)

I had just unpacked a giant swan vase that would go perfect in the training room, which is what I was calling the room that housed the hot tub. The role that water usually plays in my dreams is that of the Truth. The water always represents truth. If the water is murky or dirty then the truth in my life is not clear. The fact that the hot tub was fully functional in a clean, white, marble basin full of clean hot water is a good sign. To me it says that I am getting to the truth of the matter, a matter that once caused me pain. And the truth will be giving me relief from pain.

There was also a Japanese woman there who was going to teach me the tea ceremony. The ceremony was also going to help me with my relationship with my children. In fact, the Japanese woman and her husband were both there to help me heal the damage caused by years of the trauma they endured because of my long history of severe depression.

I woke up thinking about the value of ritual and ceremony.

I woke up thinking that some of my most heartfelt wishes were going to come true.

To practice Kundalini yoga in a more consistent manner and to show my devotion to the practice by wearing the white clothes would be a big commitment, and to go by my spiritual name 24/7 would take some getting used to, but it is something I see happening in my future, when I’m brave.

Having a good relationship with my children would be the real dream come true and is my real-life goal.

I wonder what I could do today that would be brave and move me closer to my goal.

Pajarita’s Prayer: A Short Story

The day of Pajarita’s liberation came without commotion.

 An ordinary day full of worries and wishes;

an itchy day of discontent but with enough music to make it bearable.

She had been walking forever; she looked at her dusty feet, then her wings.

Her wings were a burden;

 they gave her a false sense of pride. “Such pretty feathers.” 

 She made them fan and she peeked demurely through their silver shadows. 

“Who am I kidding?” She said to herself, disgusted and weary from hope.

 “These things are useless.”

She came to a place where one road became two.

Both roads looked a little pretty and a little ugly.

 Both had crooked houses colored pink, turquoise, adobe.

 Both had bright white shirts and patched pants that flapped 

and chattered in the crisp language of clothes on the line.

Yet there was a discernible fork and one road was not the other. 

The dilemma was that she didn’t know which way to go.

 A  breeze threw its purple shadows here and there,

 fragrant shade, sympathetic and offering the only comfort it could offer..

“Arru, arru. ShahhShahhShahh.”  It whispered.

Pajarita marked the road she was on with a little stone 

And used her wings to fly to the willow.

 Suddenly  the whole blue sky tumbled over on its side; the tree fell too but was limber enough to regain its balance with a gusty heave-up.

A peacock screamed and pierced the fabric of time and space: day was separated from night: and evening was as soft as silk. 

The houses looked like they were keeping secrets, their windows were too wide open like someone feigning innocence; their doors were shut tight.

Pope Francis said,“The kingdom of God does not come in a way that attracts attention.”

Pajarita said her evening prayers and prepared to sleep.

She trusted that the good road would reveal itself if only she sat still.

We Need The Gift

Precious wounded past,

There is no way to leave you behind any more than a river

can leave it’s bed, because where the water goes, there go its banks.

And why would I leave you

before accepting the gift you offer at the cost of a terrible pain?

Patient, you wait, sometimes for years

before I recognize what you’ve offered but always, when I have received your gift I see that my existence

has expanded, inwardly so that the bed upon which my life flows is deeper

and goes to places that were not there before I exhaled,

grateful for the awareness you’ve brought me.

Always, the gifts you bear restore my faith tenfold

and I can barely contain my joy as I try to hold the roving water.

To Eat or Not to Eat

My heart is breaking.

I think ahead to an hour from now

When the day is in full swing,

I’m trying not to feel this way, but everything I want to do seems further away from me.

I want to eat less and exercise more because that is what the media says will be my ticket through the door of good health and good karma.

Eat less, exercise more has been my mantra since elementary school. It was easier to accomplish when I snorted “whites” in the bathroom before sitting in class to learn about Mesopotamia.

How could I care about other civilizations when the size of my jeans was the most important thing?

A good day is measured by how little I manage to eat.

I need to stop trying to starve because it only compells me to feed.

I restricted food for years and years till I got angry and in a fit of tears I felt the pendulum swing to the other extreme.

I want to care about something beyond how much or how little I eat but I don’t know how.

No matter how sublime my philosophy, it all boils down to

“to eat or not to eat.”

How can this be?

Solid Ground

Put my feet on solid ground,

Well, as solid as anything

That’s made of vibrating strings

Of energy and emptiness can be.

I’ll walk, assisted by gravity

And hold fast to the flow of constant change.

Under it all or through and through, above and below there is a hum,

Something to rely on.

Stay with that.

Sing.

The song is the only stable thing.

I Invited Pinky

And ring finger to do spider exercises on the guitar.

It’s time I learn to stretch and strengthen.

For too long I’ve been afraid to really learn to play and practice in a more technical manner. I usually just get all dreamy and make up funcky chords.

I’m stretching beyond my comfort zone because the same old strains are getting old.

It’s part of getting younger. We grow and grow comfortable then inevitably change.

Growing with no fear of growing old makes your whole life stretch out before you, 60 is the new 16.

My Mind is a Rabbit

Running all over the white page.

If only I could be as still and quiet as snow

Maybe then I’d know where and how to begin the Great Work I feel I ought to undertake.

The piles of rubble from one attempt after another hem me in so it seems all I can do is wait for a strong wind to shake things up, to change the landscape. The castle walls have crumbled.

Thank goodness!

See? A dandelion grows up through the cracked bricks and a bee, sipping her morning tea sees me watching and is not disturbed.

She is surely a teacher using metaphor and nectar to drive home the point that too much planning brings a kingdom to its knees.

Maybe that was the Great Work that I needed to accomplish, to be brought to this place of humble suplication, asking for assistance, for guidance, for a way to make sense of all this.

The dandelion, a weed with many medicinal properties sways by the weight of the bee’s tiny feet. The wild beauty that grew when I let the walls fall down turns out to be the most valuable thing.

Temple Of Light

This is a litany very similar to the one in I Claim This Life; in fact it is just a version that is easier to memorize and chant. Also, it felt wrong to say I claim instead of I offer because it is God who heals and does all the work. It seemed awkward not to make that distinction. I wanted to make the distinction that I am offering all to my Higher Power and not simply swelling up my ego.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light, I am.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I am well.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I am young.*’

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I am strong.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light, I am a healer.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I am in harmony with nature.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I love.

‘I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I serve.

‘I offer this body as a temple for light and by the power of Light I am joy.

I offer this body as a temple of Light and by the power of Light I work.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I play.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I sing.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I rest..

I offer this body for a temple of Light and by the power of Light I have everything I need.

I offer this body for a temple of Light and by the power of Light I praise the light.’

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I am kind.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I am humble.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I have compassion.

I offer this body for a temple of Light and by the power of Light I have serenity.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I am patient.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I have clarity.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and by the power of Light I am generous.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and because of the Light I have hope.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and because of the Light I radiate peace.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and because of the Light I am confident.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and because of the Light I see Light.

I offer this body as a temple for Light and because of the Light I am holy.

Now repeat the last 27 lines only focus on the mind instead of the body.

Repeat again and focus on the soul instead of the mind.

Repeat again only say, “My life” instead of body, mind or soul.

That will take you to the end of 108 beads on a standard mala

Conclusion:

I surrender my entire life, body, mind and soul to the Light with gratitude and peace.

Amen.

  • What do I mean by saying I am young? This is in reference to Psalm 92 in which God promises we will be young and full of sap even into our old age. It is true, too. I think that 60 (my age) is the new 16. I feel weller and weller every day

Wishing Well

I wish there was a well where we could gather at the beginning of each new day,

to greet one another and consolidate our desire for holiness.

Even if our eyes are sleepy and no matter what we were dreaming minutes before

we could meet with our empty cups and fill ourselves with life;

we could drink deeply and splash our faces,

we could start out fresh

to do our best.

Billy Pilgrim’s Boots

They were handed down from my father’s father

and worn everyday

and slept in for fear of them being stolen in the night.

Actually, there was nothing to hand down except the thought

of a boot.

Crunching gravel and snow in winter and in spring

and tromping through mud in summer,

or slipping over fallen red, orange and yellow leaves in the

month before Halloween.

Walking on, round the circut of houses; it’s not far now,

it’s not far from here.

I could see the green siding of the house from down the street, but no matter

how close I got, it was still not the right time/space zone

to call it home. The house was always under construction

and mother was a zombie

amongst other zombie’s whose intent was to torture.

But I flew out of the pseudohouse as fast as I could,

and I trust in the wind,

the unpredictible wind.

Reiki III

It has not been easy for me to adjust after the attunement. I feel like a stranger in a strange land. I can tell that old fears are being dislodged and moved out of my system so the discomfort I feel is worth going through to clear the way. But it has been rough!

When thoughts are the problem and they are rolling around like fog in my thoughtscape it is a scary place. I feel like I’m losing my mind, and it’s true; I am losing my mind.

I’m putting on the new mind, but not till the old is gone.

When Jesus raised Lazarus from the dead, Lazarus was still covered in wrappings from the burial. The people who witnessed the resurrection had to help Lazarus out of the burial wrap.

I’ve needed people I can trust to help me out of my burial clothes. I panick if I can’t get them off fast enough.

Thank you, Barbs for your attentive and kind help.

Crysalis

It’s the crysalis that I find painful.

There’s no room for words.

Too focused on becoming to see what is

About to emerge.

What if I told you that here in the dark

We are not so far apart,

We who use our shoulders and spines to push against what confines

Our dreams.

As safe as it is inside the crysalis,

To stay is to die.

Struggle makes me strong

Enough to break free.

Let it be.

The Cold Makes Me Lonely

I have to interrupt the chickens by making my own sound: fingers tapping out my inner state on a small keyboard.

The chickens make a lot of sense as they carry on converstations and follow social rules,

it seems.

I watch them from the kitchen window as they share with some doves but not with others.

Why?

Better than vision is to listen to them speak to one another on the patio where they gathered

to get out of the rain.

Tonight they will all sit close together in their little house on the upper level: the loft.

The door will be closed against intruders

and they will sit as close to one another as they can.

Listen To Me!

I want to scream it in the streets:

Listen to me!

I don’t even know exactly what I want to say,

But this yearning to be heard is rumbling

around like thunder and I’m learning

that I have a right to be alive

simply because I am.

I want to sing.

Listen to me! Please.

It’s a good song that will make you

feel

something

and when you find out what that is you will want to sing too.

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I want to whisper

purple and rose phrases

and take you through the stages of waking up.

It is good to voice the life inside me

because it is love and love needs somewhere to go.

Listen to me.

It will make you

feel

something.

Who Am I To Argue With A Bird?

Raven flies through periwinkle skies,

Beck’ning me to see tomorrow through her eyes.

So I take a peek as she soars

through an open door on the horizon.

And there I am ! Stronger than I’ve ever been

dancing with an indigo lion.

He’s all aglow in his golden halo,

and who am I to argue with a bird?

Now I know some say fancy is for fools

and I ought not waste a sober moment.

But there I am! Stronger than I’ve ever been

dancing with an indigo lion.

As he glides by my side he say, “Don’t be shy.”

And we dance till the new sun is shining,

yes we dance till the new sun shines.

Oh I take a peek as raven soars

through an open door on the horizon.

She beckons me to see tomorrow through her eyes,

and who am i to argue with a bird?

Always A Tornado

There was always a tornado in the top left side of my brain. Only my brain was encased in glass, not like in a museum show case. No, not like that. It was more like there was a group of people in those seats that are enclosed in a glass box at a football stadium.

And they were all there, watching the sky instead of the playing field because there was a tornado twisting toward the part of the glass window that would have been my left frontal lobes, if, you know, my brain was not organic material, but the box seats at a violent sporting event.

The tornado dreams leave me feeling drained; exhausted but wide awake at 3:00 am.

In the dream, it was the worry that wore us out.

All the people in the box seats were ragged with worry because the tornado never hit the glass. It was in a locked formation of imminent doom.

No one can live like that for long without becoming tornadic.

What is the solution to such chronic stress?

Waking up.

How does one know when they have awakened?

What do you think?

There Was A Little Girl

There was a little girl

Who had a little curl

Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she good

She was very very good

But when she was bad…

That would have been me, then,

Horrid.

When she was bad she was horrid.

That was what mom called “my poem.”

I suppose it’s true. When I’m bad, like today, I went to a scary place.

I contemplated suicide.

I envied the dead.

But I talked, sang, wept and tapped my way away from the ledge.

I called for help. I sang curses with a guttural flare when I was alone in the car.

I tapped out my suicidal ideation: tap the hand, the eyebrow point, the temples, under the nose, under the lips, collar bone and 7th rib.

Tap tap tap as the words poured out: even though I feel like slicing my wrist and letting the chaos fall silent, even though I feel like I want to die, I accept myself. Even though I don’t feel like I deserve the air I breathe, I accept the mess I am as I am right now. I accept (tap tap tap) all these feelings and let them go. Tap tap tap.

I was shaking uncontrollably.

The last time I shook like that was when I went into septic shock while waiting to be seen in an emergency room.

But when the shaking stopped I was in a different head space.

I made dinner.

I played my guitar.

I checked Facebook.

Now I’m here.

Tap tap tap.

The Scribble Tree

The Scribble Tree

I’m at a point where I scribble and tangle wires together. Sometimes I paint or string beads, but mostly I scribble.

Scribbling is a state of mind that allows me to idle. I’m awake and aware, prepared to flow like calligraphy, but not yet.

Not yet.

Because the pre-event horizon is a power point.

A place where the boundaries of Now, expand: tomorrow is a flash I see clearly when my eyes shift.

Or when I scribble.

So I scribbled a wire tree on a green and white stone.

And I curled up amongst its roots,

It’s strong and thirsty roots.

Dear Future Self, Welcome To My Body

I have to tell you that I was quite surprised and very pleased that you decided to come and stay with me here and now. I thought I’d have to wait who knows how long to actually get to hang out with you. But here you are! In the flesh. In my flesh, to be exact.

It is very gracious of you to not turn your nose up at our living conditions. As you can see, I am a work in progress. But this is a very busy construction site and wonderful things are in the works.

Yesterday, as “fate” (I don’t know what else to call this underlying symmetry that permeates all things)–as fate would have it, I had a wonderful conversation with a woman in a waiting room at the hospital who confided in me her worries about her son. As it happened, I had had similar experiences with my son, so I was able to be of comfort and offer a little help. We were both brought to tears during the encounter; both of us felt touched by grace to have met and shared our stories.

Little did I know that a yogini friend was sending light and love to me at that very moment. I had asked for her blessings with a kundalini practice we were doing with Spiritual Voyage Global Sadhana. I have no doubt that her blessings played a part in the flow of conversation between the waiting room friend and I because I had stated that I wanted to learn the yoga to be of greater service in my home and community.

The next evidence of the efficacy of this spiritual work is that I had a dream that I am sure was connected on a deep level to work being done in the area of suicide prevention. I can’t explain it in this letter; this letter would turn into a novel.

Future Self, as you know, I want to be an instrument of God’s peace more than anything. And the fact that you are here early, even before I can share your wardrobe, fills me confidence that God is hearing my prayers. I see the work you do and I hope to learn more about in dreamland. Now that we share the same body, watching our dreams will be like going to the movies! You can show me the future, and I can show the warm and fuzzy nostalgic films.

It is already different with you here. Just this morning, when I attempted the kundalini practice that I was having trouble with, I knew I had help from the spirit realm. I felt the assistance of teachers and friends guiding and encouraging me with each breath.

Oh, let me just give you the juicy details.

I was practicing the Thunderbolt of Shiva and had previously been unable to coordinate the breathing with the locks that are to be applied. I just couldn’t do it without becoming breathless and tense.

I also had not been able to sit in easy pose because my bones were too arthritic to fold that way.

But today was different. I saw a way to use my exercise ball as a prop for my crossed legs while I sat on the window seat. So there I was, in an easy easy pose, ready to try the practice again.

I had a vision of a beam of light from Livtar’s eye flash when it met with mine at the beginning of meditation as if to say, Ah! Glad you showed up! There were other’s there. Kelly was one, and gentle Snatam Kaur,

I was guided to breathe normally for a few moments while I silently chanted the mantra, letting myself fall into the rhythm of it.

Then I felt as if I was on a big swing in a beautiful tree. Like a little kid, I was being gently pushed to and fro, one teacher in front and one behind.

When ever I was ready, they instructed, i could apply navel lock at the next inhale and hold it while silently chanting the mantra. Then,I was told, I was to let go and breathe normally, to just keep up with the mantra while swinging in the tree swing.

“Then whenever ready,” they instructed, “apply root lock on an exhale and hold the breath out as long as it didn’t cause any panic or strain. And, as before, breathe normal breaths, chant silently and and enjoy being in the swing until ready to try another lock-breath.”

i went for 11 minutes with no strain.

i didn’t want to stop at 11 minutes, so i started the music again and this time only focused on the visualization aspects of the kriya, seeing light around my hands and thunderbolts moving through the top of my head through out my body, especially into my hands.

At the end of that session i used the time and space to send reiki to those who are in need of it, including myself, but especially those who are feeling like there is no option left to them except suicide.

It was a fruitful practice. It was a good day, and now you, future self, are here, in the flesh, as well! What a boon.

The sun has just gone down on our first day together. Let’s make tea and a gratitude gift. I am thinking of a wire tree necklace–or a few necklaces.

The dog is curled up, cozy beside me and the cat will wander in here soon.

Tell me, now that you have come to stay in my body, do I have a place in the future with you as well?

Can you tell me a story about what it’s like there? Can you start with the trees? What kind of trees are holding the wind chimes? (I know there will be wind chimes and gongs.)

Dear Future Self, May I Borrow Those Jeans?

I don’t want no fancy pants; I’m not looking for flash and dazzle.

Well, okay, maybe a teeny bit of dazzle.

I see you in a pair of good hiking boots. You are standing on a large rock outside your home. Of course, you have a staff that your uncle Raymond gave you, and it’s got all its crystals firmly attached.

But it’s the jeans you are wearing that I want to borrow. I just love those things!

They are the perfect shade of blue and those pockets are so easy to get to. You never have to fumble to find them.

Those jeans are not too tight and not baggy. I want to wear them because you bought them when your other jeans were too big. Remember how good it felt when you’d lost all that weight and were in such good shape that your old pants kept falling down? Hahaha! So you went out and bought new jeans.

You bought new hiking boots too. Your feet were healed completely. The podiatrist was flabergasted. He had done the x-rays himself, both the before and the after. The before x-rays looked like an earthquake had shifted the bones in your feet and the after shots showed normal, healthy bone structure. He could not explain it and would not have believed it if he hadn’t treated you himself.

When you used to talk to him about yoga and Reiki, he thought you were a little flaky. Okay, he thought you were quite flaky, but he liked you because you had such a positive attitude.

Now when he sees you he just shakes his head and looks deeply puzzled.

Your other doctors had the same reaction when you went back to see them after taking your health into your own hands.

What was it that convinced you that you were not getting well by their treatments? Their medicines, which only treated individual symptoms, actually caused more complicated problems because they ignored the real cause of the dis-ease.

But you started listening carefully to the wisdom of body; you finally recognized body as ally and not enemy. You cared for her. You made sure she had good rest, good sleep, good work and good fun. You learned to fine tune her senses and seeing, hearing and all the rest became a highly developed art. The whole world sprang to life and every multidimensional moment was magnificent in its own right.

You learned that body is an excellent transmitter of beautiful, helpful energy. You became a source of healing for your family and friends.

Even your relationships, especially the difficult ones, got better. Old conflicts were resolved and ancestral wounds were healed.

Another thing I like about those jeans is that you don’t have to change clothes to sit down to meditate. You can just plop into position anytime you like. Man, I like that kind of freedom of movement!

So let’s do some of that freaky shaman stuff you learned how to do where you bend time like a rainbow ; you know, where you make a great bridge from hither to yon. Let’s meet in body and start the molecular process of positive change.

What’s that? It’s already happening?

Cool.

I’ll be thinking about the color shirt I want to wear with those jeans.

Bubble Universe

It seemed so solid

Till I gained the perspective

That I’m living on the Outer Edge of a bubble,

Looking in.

Ah! Look! There you are. And there is Auntie Em.

Tender heartache, too, for my ex-husband, Tim.

There go the living and the dead,

all the enemies and all the friends

some who are still fighting and others who

smile and say, “You win.”

Pop.

Adi Shakti

“The body occasionally goes through what is called a healing crisis. This often occurs just when an individual is working to consciously reshape his/her health.” –Ted Andrews, The Healer’s Manual

I can’t deny that all is exactly as it should be.

I have been doing a lot of Reiki for people near and far over the past two months. That means I have been doing a lot of Reiki for myself as well.

I started meditating (doing Reiki) with crystals on a cedar staff as a way to focus my attention on the chakras of the person I am treating. It seems to amp up the effect. Some of the people I treated said that when I place the staff near them, they feel a palpable increase in the Reiki.

Then it happened. I had a healing crisis.

I didn’t recognize it at first. I just thought my world was crashing.

But tonight I see evidence of grace.

I had painted an entire page of nothing but red when the crisis first hit. I wasn’t thinking about what it meant, I was just feeling it.

Red.

I thought I was just intensely angry and hurt.

But today I started cutting the painting into pieces to make a mandala which I intended to use as a shield against all the bad vibes flying around, and I also wanted to make a little red house for my vision board; I wanted to remind the Universe that I needed to move out of where I live now, the sooner the better.

Well, the house idea didn’t work so the red pieces of painting were just lying on my desk in a heap. The mandala wasn’t working out very well either.

I’d been chanting Adi Shakti all day after downloading it from Bandcamp. I’d just received a random email notifying me of a new recording by one of my favorite singers, Brenda McMorrow.

Now, if you backtrack to a poem I wrote earlier today you will see that the healing crisis I was having had to do with my mother.

So chanting to the divine feminine was a good prescription for what ailed me.

Here is the part where it all started to come together.

I picked up a piece of the red painting and was going to paint one of the Reiki symbols on it. I stopped, though, and looked again at the fragment. There was an image there. It was completely random. {Yes I am using the R word again because it matters.} There was an image of a woman’s face appearing in the different tones of red.

So I outlined it with whatever drawing thing I could find in a hurry.

Intrigued, I kept looking at the image I’d traced.

I was still chanting Adi Shakti, but I needed to look up the meaning again because I had forgotten what some of the words meant.

The more I read, the more certain I was that this whole mother crisis and the red painting and the fluke occurrence of getting one of my favorite chants in my email were not so random after all.

I wanted healing. Deep healing. And there I was, having to work through the core issues of my dis-ease: my own birth, my very existence as it has played out in the messy and emotional maelstrom of my relationship with my mother.

There were angels and midwives all around to help me through; I relied on texting friends, phone calls and all sorts of art projects to keep me from losing my heart. I even made an ocean drum and played it till my hands tingled. And I have to mention the exquisite music of Lisa Gerrard, who gave voice to the evolving parts of my being that I could not release on my own.

And then, there she was. The face of the divine feminine, a silver outline on a stormy red background. It was a calling card from God that said, “I got your back. All is well. All is as it should be. Well done.”.”

I feel like the crisis is over now. Meditating on the divine mother helped me work through some of the most painful issues I have with my own mother.

Love won.

Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo

(I bow to the creative power of the Kundalini, the Divine Mother Power)” –3ho.org

(I bow to the Primal Power)

Sarb Shakti, Sarb Shakti, Sarb Shakti, Namo Namo

(I bow to the all encompassing Power and Energy)

Pritham Bhagvati, Pritham Bhagvati, Pritham Bhagvati, Namo Namo

(I bow to that which God creates)

Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo

Almost Midnight

!!:26 pm.

I wonder if too much kundalini will cause me to have a nervous breakdown.

This is what I worry about at midnight, when I should be asleep.

Maybe I don’t need to worry about an impending breakdown; the current madness is sufficient.

It’s just that sometimes the energy work—the Reiki–makes me feel so Energized!

I am looking for balance. I need to bring the lights down from time to time–I need to find shade.

I used to find shade, or respite, in a fairly routine spiritual practice. It didn’t matter if I did my practice in the middle of the living room or in a secluded place, the practice itself was a refuge. It wasn’t just something I did, but a place that I went. And going there changed me.

But these days, I find it difficult to stick to anything like a regular practice. I jump all over the place, from mantra to mantra and this to that.

I might freak out about the seeming chaos, but I know better.

I’ve seen this happen before.

It seems like my life is out of control in one area or another, but when the dust settles, there is a whole new facet of humanity to explore, with new eyes and a stronger heart. It’s like dawn after acid.

I am doing a lot of Reiki these days, and kundalini yoga, which is wonderful. I am learning and learning everyday and acting on what I learn to serve in any way I can to bring comfort and healing. But Along with the cozy-rosy warm and fuzzy feelings comes confrontations with my ego.

(Dramatic pause.)

I am learning how petty I can be, how much confusion I can cause, and how easily I can pick up bad habits and destructive behaviors.

And I am learning how to walk away from those wake up calls with my eyes wide open, willing to learn a better way. Only sometimes I linger, because I am like Saint Augustine who wanted to become a saint…but not yet.

Sometimes I like salt.

Well, there you are.

After the meetings, after Facebook and checking email, and after messaging people and making phone calls, it is quiet.

I have to face the quiet.

But I can’t do it alone, so I am with you.

And who are you, anyway?

I get so lost in my own head. I forget that your reality is not my own. You have a completely different world to wake up to, full of different values and different emergent beliefs.

Emergent is defined as something that is coming into being or becoming prominent. or in nature, emergent is a tree or plant that is taller than the other vegetation.

An emergent belief is one that stands out in the basic structure of a person’s days and may even become more prominent or less so with changing times.

My emergent beliefs are that the world is a good place and and I am glad to be of it.

But when I am disconnected from you, I am not entirely me.

I mean, “I am, I said.” and all that self realization stuff; I existentially am AND am more than that, too.

But I seem to be the kind of human that needs other beings to be entirely who I am, even when I am by myself, and I am not entirely sure I’m okay with that.

Barbara Streisand seemed to think people like me were lucky.

All my life I thought I wanted God more than anything in the world, and I still feel that way. But lately I see God in every one I see and all I want to do is give myself away as an offering to that divine light.

I am shaking as I write this.

To be so honest is risky and transformational.

It is the end of the day.

There is no where else to go, no one to talk to, nothing more to do but be

Quiet.

Terrifying.

440 Down Slide

“I had to tune my guitar to something that resonated with my bones.” Said, the elder of three sisters.

I tuned it with an app on my phone, first, so it was in 440 Hz, standard tuning. Then I tuned down until it resonated in my bones. Each string had to have that effect. I don’t know if it matches any scale known to anyone else but me, but it sounds and feels wonderful to me. I’ve been playing it all afternoon. It feels like my heart and soul is singing through the guitar.

Some kind of new song is trying to be born. I have been in labor for two days now. The contractions are getting stronger but there is no real sign of a substantial song, other than this new tuning.”

The sister with the sunbeam hair said, “If you sit back and relax, it will come to you in it’s own time. So many times we fret for nothing; if we just let it be, things work out just fine.”

The sister called Guruji, half for fun in a teasing way and half out of deep respect that would have embarrassed her if the other two sisters had not joked about it, laughed and the room filled with diffuse cobalt electricity.

This was the first gathering of the three sisters since the early days; it had been so long since they had gathered, in fact, that it was not a memory they shared, but a common twinge of homesickness for a home they couldn’t quite bring into focus–something long ago and far away, like a fairy tale with a bit of heartache.

The sisters sat facing one another and pooled their energy.

The galaxies were spun in this manner, and the three sisters fell easily into the rhythm of spinning.

Fall came, and winter, and all the seasons in their turn.

“I just can’t tell what this song will be.” the laboring sister moaned.

“The contractions are stronger.” Said the sister with sunbeams for hair.

“Hum.” Said the one they called Guruji. “I can almost hear the new song. Almost.”

Trout jumped in rainbow river. Fox walked on tiny fox feet five feet over to the neighbhoring den for five o’clock tea with her fox friend, and a wolf swallowed thunder on the ridge.

“Yes.” She said. “I can almost hear it.”

Fragments

The child’s dress is handmade from cotton material that was pink 75 years ago. Its tiny buttons go through tiny, handstitched buttonholes all the way from the bottom to the little scalloped collar.

A pair of black, high top baby-shoes hang by their laces around the neck of the dress on the hanger. There is 75 year old mud on the bottoms.

How absolutely precious it is to me, a grandmother, to think of my own mother when she wore that baby’s dress and those black shoes.

If I could, I would go back and tell her what a good girl she is. I would pick her up and show her a mirror so she could look deeply and squint in the right direction in order to seee the princess in the looking glass.

I would hold her and tell her I’m sorry for breaking her heart as I have done so many times over the years.

And I would ask her to share a peanut butter and jelly sandwich with me on the front porch of a house that doesn’t exist anymore.

We would sit there, together, and forget the time of day.

Dear Future Self

I woke up almost as close to tears as I was when I went to bed last night.

It is the season of rejection.

What can I learn from all this?

Like a ball of mercury, every rejection bonds to the times I have been rejected before.

It seems like one giant ball of mercury

And I am pushing it up a hill.

No one can push a ball of mercury up a hill. Better to tilt

the hill.

Lion’s Paw Kriya.

I have had an unexpected shift in my view of yoga practice, an easing up of my almost militant approach to doing any given kriya.

At day two of the Lion’s Paw Kriya that I started with my Spirit Voyage Global Sadhana group, I had so much resistance to getting started each day that i rolled up my yoga mat and have been using it as a back rest in my bed.

The first day, I was right there. But by day two I was already finding excuses not to start. And this time I know my reluctance is not laziness. The resistance is a natural reaction to the changing energy in my energy system. This Kundalini yoga is powerful yoga and it is already doing its work. I was resisting, not because I’m lazy or bad, but because the yoga is that good.

I could feel the difference in my energy field as soon as I’d completed one practice. I couldn’t even get through the entire time set for the kryia, but I did my honest best. And what I am saying is that even that small amount of kundalini yoga made a difference in my body/mind and spirit–and in my life circumstances as a result of the shift.

It has been very healing, but it has not been fun to go through the massive cleansing process created by this practice. I feel very grateful for the help and support received over the past few weeks, and grateful to recognize detox when I see it.

Day 15 or day 1—it seems like the same day. I am stronger and more grounded than I think I have ever been because I didn’t give up when I couldn’t be perfect—whatever that means. When I could not bring myself to the mat or think about doing a formal practice I could at least chant a single Ong Namo.

So I did what I could. I chanted whatever mantra would come out of my heart, from that field of Kuru where the yoga actually takes place.

Day One caused my life to be stirred up. So my practice was to try to keep a calm center while I put the pieces of my world back together in a way that would be more conducive to the life I truly want to live.

Meanwhile, I chanted the Ang Sang mantra as much as I could even though I could not do the full kriya. The mantra was like a fulcrum and as long as I kept in the eye of it and trusted that this commotion was just a cosmic detox, I was okay,

My poetic translation of Ang Sang Wahe Guru is this: every cell of my being resonates with divine light–the light from the beginning of all created things and how glorious is the light that leads me from darkness to the source of life,

It is a powerful chant when sung with all your heart, or even listened to if your heart is too broken to sing.

Today I am able to chant; maybe I will be able to do the arm motions and breathe fire along with the rest of the group later on.

All I’m saying is that when I begin a 40 day practice with an intention for good, I am going to ease up on myself and appreciate the work being done on or off the formal yoga format of the kriya and count the days of good, honest intent to practice as [art of the process.

I will do my very best to keep up, but it may take time between attempts to digest and incorporate all the energetic changes happening as a result of the bits I can do,

I could make a game of it and call it :Where is the Yoga Working in My Life Today? I could point out (to myself) that it is working on this attitude or that, or this physical or financial problem.

It is a little like watching an inner network buzzing with life, watching the lessons repair one broken connection after.

It is impossible to verbalize, yet I have been talking about it for quite a while.

It boils down to this: If you are like me, you will benefit in the multitudinous levels of the life you are living. The yoga you do will make a signal and the universe (for dire lack of an adequate word) will respond as only a living thing responds.

It is not like putting coins in a jukebox; yoga and its benefits is e a living and breathing experience, limited by nothing, boundless in love.

Stone Lions

I was being evicted, unjustly. A tyrant had burst into my home and found a litter box and said I had to leave because I had a cat.

He was screaming; the veins in his head were bulging and angry.

Another man came and sat on the floor beside me. He said he could help me buy a home so I would not have to rent. It sounded too good to be true.

He had to run out to his car because his baby was crying. He brought the baby in and put her beside me by the window. She was in a car seat. I was disturbed when I uncovered her and saw that she was a mechanical baby and not real because this man obviously thought his baby was real.

I was forced out of the house by the army and went across the street to an abandoned house where my friends were waiting to offer support. The cats found their was there too.

But I know the police would come for me and the did. I was wearing a long, red velvet robe with black trim. I was naked underneath.

I told my friends to save the two stone lions that were in the window guarding me. I told them I still wanted to keep the Lions even if I had to surrender to the authoroties.

There were two other main themes of betrayal, but I won’t go into them here.

It Is So Easy To Be At Ease

I am light.

At my core, I am light.

I am energy. At my core I am free.

Every cell of my body is made of this light

and every morning, I remember my true nature.

Every cell of my body remembers truth

and vibrates accordingly, washing away falsity with waves

and waves of light.

When illness or fatigue surfaces, I can easily and objectively

recognize it, treat myself with lovingkindness and tune into the

light that I am at my core.

I don’t have to control this light; I trust it.

I know who I am. I am love.

Love is the energy that propels me onward.

Love is the energy that holds me close and protects me.

I am light. Light is love is action. I know who I am.

I know just what I need to do at each moment of the day or night.

I draw on the light and energy that is alive and well at my core; I invite the light and love that I am at my core to flow through every aspect of my life here and now.

I trust the intelligence that scatters the stars and stacks the grains of sand in the sea to take care of my needs. I can let go of all anxiety and float on a sea of light, carried by waves of love in an ocean that says, :I am…I am…I am. and all is well.

I am, I am, I am, and all is well.

I am, I am, I am, and all is well.

I am a conduit of light. I can be of service just as I am. I am good for the planet and good for my community. I am light. I remember who I am and act accordingly.

It is so easy to be me. It is so easy to be.

 ” tayatha om bekandze bekandze maha bekandze radza samudgate soha.”

— The Medicine Buddha Chant

(Poetic translation: It’s like this: Freedom from all suffering in mind, body and spirit, great and small suffering gone, like a kingdom of abundant joy, this is the medicine of enlightenment; this is the medicine on your lips and in your throat as you chant. All beings benefit.)

For Hailie

I’m feeling morose,

but for the most part, I know

it will go away tomorrow–

this feeling that time is flying by

and I am only dazzeled by the sky

when it is full of clouds.

Because when the sky is clear

I too clearly see what lies in front, to the sides or behind me.

But when the clouds are up to whatever they care to be

I feel, when I look, like it’s only Infinity and me.

No one can hurt or chide or scorn someone who’s got her eyes turned up

and out. The sky makes one feel as if all that is out there, is actually in.

But have you ever tried to hold a cloud in your arms and sing lullabies

to the fleeting wind that floats them away before you can tuck a Mare’s Tail blanket under their chin?

A cloud, no matter how brightly it reflects the sun

can never hold your hand, or sing a song that you once taught her, to one of her own.

In 1984, a star fell from that very sky, and brought to me, a daughter.

The tune, by, Earth, Wind and Fire, Shining Star, got me through labor.

I still sing those words, though it is dark without her for company.

“Shining star for all to see what this life can truly be.”

You are a shining star and the sky is not empty.

Cloudy or clear night or day, when I look at the sky,

not only do I remember from whence you came,

but I remember holding you, tender and near,

before any of my stupid mistakes

made my daughter, my sunshine, only seem to disappear.

i know you are there. Somewhere. Shining for someone,

for all to see,

what this life can be.

Bitter With Age

This is a peek into the world of an elderly woman in our community; a plea for help with the problem of depression and uselessness that our elders face in a society that values youth and novelty over time tested wisdom.

It was dark in the room when I awoke and I mistook the mirror for a man’s heavy coat.

But that’s not as bad, (or as funny) as when I woke up hungry and took a nice, big bite out of a page of my coloring book.

Or how ’bout when I fell asleep at the computer and thought my mouse was a coffee cup. Ha ha!

Some of the things are comical, it’s true. But you wouldn’t like it happening to you.

It’s not just the fact that I do mixed up things but my whole life is mixed up.

I can’t stand my daughter, miss goodie two shoes and my other daughter is far away, and besides that she’s changed. I used to call her my angel and I could count on her for anything but now she seems angry and when she talks to me it stings.

My boys have all died, my mother and father and one brother, too.

I don’t know why I’m still here.

It hurts when I walk or move my arms, I choke when I eat and I can’t breathe.

Every day is a struggle; I hate that I’m losing the strength I once had.

My mother and I built most of this house with our own two hands with wood we salvaged from some old barn.

When I moved in here it was bare and hot and now this property looks like a park.

Honeysuckle, Apricots, Mulberry tree, Date trees, Cotton Wood and a gigantic Evergreen. We’ve got Catalpa and Elms, Bird of Paradise, Iris, Spanish broom and Mexican and Pampas Grasses, Morning Glories, Marigolds, Amarillis, and Blue Salva that just sprung up one summer on its own, I don’t know how it got there. Hollyhocks cover the north side of the house and the back of the property is lined with Bamboo.

It just doesn’t seem fair that all this work, and all this beauty is just going to go back to nothing but dirt.

I’m discouraged today. I’m a little depressed. I feel bitter and I can’t get out from under a sense of impending doom, of uncomfortable unrest and meanglessness.

I think it would be best for all concerned if I could die today.

But wait, my little kitten wants to play.

I found her in the bushes a few weeks ago. She was starving and her eyes were covered in gunk; poor, pitiful baby.

I took her in and got her cleaned up and fed and with the help of my neighbors, we got the medicine for her eyes and stuffy head.

She is so soft and snuggly and really smart too.

I guess I’ll have a cup of coffee and see what my Facebook world is up to.

I don’t mean to be glum.

I want to be cheerful.

I’m not growing old with graceful charm.

I’m fighting tooth and nail but

We all know Time has already won.

So what do I do?

I sip my coffee while it’s hot and enjoy the morning while it’s still and quiet.

I vow I’ll not start another riot with my daughter or with anyone else for that matter.

I’ll put one foot in front of the other and pray that there is more to life than growing old and bitter.

Evidence of Efficacy

I was still alive and kicking when my pulmonologist used the phrase Evidence of Efficacy. He assumed there was ample evidence for the efficacy of his treatments since asthma wasn’t killing me.

I just liked the phrase and I repeated it to myself to commit it to memory. I told him I’d write about it someday and today is that day.

Evidence of Efficacy sounds like the title of an opera– some epic love story in which a thin, easily broken thread of hope carries us all the way through harrowing perils to a place where we are likely to give birth to the strongest, most loving generation on earth. Our triumphant survival is all the evidence we need to prove that the plan to save our butts wasn’t carried out in vain.

Why, then, don’t we feel like it is time to celebrate? What are we waiting for?

When I was growing up, there were people in my life who would throw a party for any excuse at all.

Someone made a new quilt top? Let’s have a party and quilt it together.

The girls want to play dress up? Let’s have a make up party and dress up in lace hats, gloves, and high heels that are too big for us.

There were more Tupperware, Avon or Stanley parties back then. No one had money. None of our families were rich. But we always managed to have enough to celebrate because parties were important.

I miss the little pencils we used to play games with (and used later to fill out order slips.)

I think that having a doctor say there is evidence of efficacy for the life saving measures he suggested is reason enough for me to celebrate.

What factors can you find in your life to suggest Evidence of Efficacy? What works better now than it did before?

What would the invitations say if if you decided to invite people over to celebrate with you?

If you could throw an impromptu party what would it be about? What would you do? What is stopping you?

What evidence of Efficacy for the good in your like today can you list?

I’ll get you started:

You are reading this, so you are alive and breathing.

Can you add to the list?

Not Pride, But Hope

I am not proud to be an American right now.

I’m ashamed of our president, of our politics in general, of our national consummeristic identity that says if I want it and I can’t buy it then I’ll take it by force.

I’m not without hope, though.

Our history, as a country is about more than its wars and corruption of leadership responsibilities.

For instance, I’m proud of my great grand father, Ed Archer, who staked a claim on land outside of kenna, NM. He didn’t kill anyone to get it. He was just a man who wanted to find a way to live day by day. He lived with wife and children in a humble dugout until an above ground house could be built. He was the kind of man who would re-light the kerosene lantern for his daughter because she said, “Daddy, I can’t see to close my eyes.”

I’m tired of being identified by our leaders whom I, as an individual, seem to have very little control over.

How can those of us who are just trying to live each day in a way that is kind and meaningful, reclaim our stake in this country?

From where I stand, I need to acknowledge that it wasn’t me or my family who took this land away from those who had first rights to it. I had no control over what happened in our country’s infancy. I don’t like it. I don’t like the idea that someone can force a whole people out of their place just because greed and entitlement so dictate. But I can’t change the past.

I can’t change where my great- grandparents raised their family, where my grandparents lived, or where my mother lived when I was born.

So much of a person’s daily life and world views depend on circumstances far beyond an individual’s control.

I’m trying to find a way to say to my international friends that I was born in America, but that does not tell you who I am, what makes me feel proud or what makes me cringe from shame.

I am the great grand daughter of a man who raised sheep and goats on a homestead in New Mexico.

I am the kind of mother who would turn the light back on so my child could see to shut her eyes.

I am the kind of neighbor who makes a cake for the selfless and hardworking woman who lives next door because she did our yard work, without being asked, when we couldn’t do it.

I’m the kind of American who struggles with health and money and relationships just like everyone in every other country I know.

How can I reclaim my own identity and shake off this national shame? How can I show the rest of the world that I extend my heart and my hand even if my country won’t?

I am not proud to be linked with an image of the America our current politely system portrays, or that of a new country that forced it’s way onto land that didn’t belong to them. But I am not without hope that after a diet of crow, I will be able to stand up, extend my hand and say to anyone from anywhere, “Please, come in and let me get you a cup of tea while we put our heads together and work to solve the problems common to every single one of us, no matter where we happen to be born.”

Joy

Joy Brown is a genius and is the smarter and prettier of the inseparable pair that we were in college.

She and I grew up our soulfulness together. We were nourished with thought food like The Bat Poet, by Randal Jarrell, Finnegan’s Wake and everything Joycey. We were dazzled by Arcularus and James Dickey made us cry while we waited for Godot in the parking lot after classes.

She has begun to channel a colorful portion of her genius into making quilts.

This is after raising baby birds that had to be nursed back to life, making so many beautiful, sturdy baskets and bassinet by hand that she had to dye them because her own blood stained the weave.

She goes with her husband, Michael on trips to disaster areas to feed, clothe, house and comfort people after hurricanes and tornadoes. And this only accounts for one day of the week. Lol.

Anyway, she gave me permission to show case her art a la textile.

Here are a couple of quilts to start. Please keep checking back as I will add more when I get my photos together.

This is a pic from 8/26/19
This one has a fancy three dimensional dog effect
New quilt top came in the mail. I’ll spread it out in a minute

I Don’t Like Him

I don’t know when I started to feel this way, but I really don’t like my shaman right now. He farts and scratches himself and he won’t change his Levi’s if he thinks he can get one more day out of them. He is not a holy man. He is just a man.

I guess every relationship boils down to this: disillusionment.

The woman isn’t captivating anymore; the man is suddenly weak and ineffectual.

It is proving to be the same with shamans, only it has happened much faster than usual.

I still want to meet with him; This might just be temporary disenchantment. I suspect a hidden lesson.

Some of the saints talked about going through dry spells during which their prayers felt phony and they got zero consolation for their spiritual efforts. They said the best thing to do in dry periods was to do the practices anyway because soon the good energy would come back and they would have a deeper understanding of God and the universe. But it is hard to muster up a real prayer when you are not feeling it.

It’s hard to stay with someone when we start to recognize that our dream lover, friend, or beloved project, doesn’t thrill us anymore.

Shaman is inviting me to go deeper into the dissatisfaction. My body resists. I feel sleepy and tired. He tells me to go deeper into the discomfort, to simply observe it.” He says, Remember who you are.” But he is not as intense as I am so it’s not taxing. He says it plain and simple like he’s waiting for something.

(I feel Shaman’s eyes on me now. He is smiling because I am getting his message.)

There is a connection that goes beyond liking or not liking a person. we can get to a point where we are flowing with a natural current of energy. I am trying to develop that kind of awareness

Alcoholics Anonymous has a slogan that encourages members to use respect even if we don’t like what someone says. The spirit in the room is allowed to flow freely because our focus is on “principles before personality.”

Shaman is teaching me to appreciate what I have here and now. The comfortable and uncomfortable are blessings and I am learning to accept them both as grist for the mill.

The mourning dove cries out: :Straw-ber-ry soup! Straw-ber-ry soup.

Voices

Communicating with my shaman is not the same as listening to God. There is a difference between the still small voice and Shaman.

Shaman is a living, flesh and blood man who lives in North America. He is alive and well. He teaches all over the place.

I wanted to be his student but figured I’d have to wait a million years to have the means to travel.

Then, out of the blue I heard him speak. He was in the Quiet World so his voice was inaudible. He said, “Why wait?”

I didn’t believe him right away. I have a lot of the proverbial voices in my head that dowse creative ideas, hopes and dreams as soon as they spark.

“What if you are just a figment of my imagination?” I asked.

“Ha! Imagination is necessary in this kind of work. It’s like the gas in your car. The car takes you places, and that is like the actions you will take from these teachings. But the thing that makes the car go is imagination.

You gotta use your imagination for this; you think I’m gonna do all the work?”

My Secret Shaman

I am told that I am supposed to share this experience. I am at the beginning, so you haven’t missed a lot so far.

I guess I’ve always been able to walk between worlds; there is hardly a veil at all.

When I was sick as a little girl, I’d see the “white faces” looking in on me at night from outside my window. I wasn’t scared of them, but it usually meant I was really sick.

Later on, when I was an old woman and had knee surgery, someone gave me a card with a picture of spirit deer and I recognized the faces I had seen as a little girl. They looked a lot like the deer in this painting only there where at lease 40 of them.

Spirit Of The White Deer.  White Deer, Symbol of prophecy, Messenger of change, Telling us to follow our path of growth, With an open heart and pure spirit, And it will lead us in a direction, Beyond our wildest dreams.
Spirit of the White Deer Carol Cranbury

They looked more like people sometimes, but deer people, if that makes sense.

There were other things that happened that were evidence of the different worlds. I don’t know how else to talk about it. It is all the same world, but there are different realities. Some things happen here, in the Noisy world. Some things happen in the Quiet World. Some things in the Spirit World and so on. It is really very beautiful and not at all confusing when you move from one to the next. It is all very natural.

Now let me get back to the shaman.

I have always wanted to make people feel better. I never wanted to go the doctor or nurse route, although I thought about massage therapy as a possible calling. But whatever I chose, I wanted to work in healing arts.

Now, in my grandmother years, I don’t want to mess with anything other than the deep healing that comes from working directly with spirit and energy.

I have started sharing Reiki with people and I love that. But I am drawn to learn more, and not only to learn, but to be.

Old ladies dream about a lot of things, but becoming a shaman was not an ordinary daydream or wish. It was a calling. I could hear voices (not in the auditory manner of hearing) that told me I could be a shaman. Me! Plain old me.

I am too old to go traipsing off into the mountains or jungles in search of a shaman de jour. I figured if God wanted me to do this work, I’d come across someone who could teach me.

It happened.

Now we meet in the Quiet World for a little while in the mornings. Sometimes he pops in on me when I have a question throughout the day.

He is funny and he can sing!

You’ll learn more about him as we go.

I’ll just tell you what we talk about and what happens from now on, OK?

Rocks From Raymond

Raymond is my uncle. He is a rock hound and he spoils me with beautiful gifts of crystals and all sorts of unusual stones.

I am going to try to catalog some of them—I can’t get all of them.

My photos don’t do them justice, but it’s a way to jog our memories and save the times we have together peering through the light that shines through stones.

Dog Mountain, for Raymond the Rockman, painted by Janice Bisset and Janna harvey
My sister, Citrine
More stones were waiting for me when I got home from Dallas.
Looks like I need to tuck and tighten the tiny wire that holds the hear. This is mahogany Obsidian and there is an amethyst crystal in the heart. Obsidian is good for redirecting negative energy in a person’s energy field. Produces a calming, grounding effect.

Nick’s Ashes

I think I know where to let you rest:

In the care of the mother of lullaby:

my old Umbrella tree

that was chopped down, but came back

As a different tree.

You know, I discovered God there when I was eight;

I’d sit in the emerald sanctuary for hours and sing Amazing Grace,

watching the teeny ants walk in their predetermined paths

up and down the living branches while I sang and dreamed

of nothing in the future or past

but in the present moment, where time seemed to expand and contract,

expand and contract, like a mother, breathing with a child in her lap.

What if, when I spread your ashes there

I don’t say a word,

but let the wind and time and the sky pass by

and come back as night and day.

What if I could never articulate how much I love you,

and how I miss you, and how I give you back to the mystery

that brought us together in the first place.

Trust that all is as it should be

With the Catalpa tree, and you and me.

Love Loves Love

I might have given food to a demon.
This woman had no warmth. She sucked warmth from the air around her and it went into nothing where it became nothing.
At least that is how I perceived it.
Me judging her makes me the evil one.
She came looking for food.
I was out back, next to the alley where I have a sound garden.
I was hanging new chimes next to the ones already hanging.
She and a man walked by and asked if I had and groceries to give them.
I told her I’d go see and my heart was full of joy. I was happy to give.
When I handed the bag to her I looked directly into her eyes; I wanted to communicate love so she would know she mattered.
But when I looked, no one was looking back.
I’ve never experienced anything as chilling as her gaze.
She left after thanking me and I went back to my sound garden.
A few minutes later, a big dog from their yard came to my fence by himself, peed on the fence and then turned and went back to his yard.
A huge grasshopper that I’ve been unhappy to see eating my garden slammed into the ladder and stared at me.
I took a deep breath and texted a friend who was not happy about getting such an intense text.
I took another deep breath and prayed the Our Father.
Then I just relaxed.
I knew in my heart that my intentions were good. Nothing else mattered.
I wouldn’t give my judging mind or fearful, crazy thoughts any more time.
I prayed the morning Office of Hours after that and felt restored.
Caving in to fear would have fed the demon. Giving food to stranger passing by, a stranger who is no doubt ill or on drugs or both, is practicing love, no matter how you size it up.
Love loves love.
That is all I need to know.

A Good Fight Is No Fight

Honestly, I am taking the easy way by following the still small voice and choosing to stay in this house with my mom instead of moving into another place after a fight.

Yes, mom and I have problems. That is why I moved here in the first place.

I want to make the most of the time we have left. I want to do my very best to repair and reshape the relationship we have so that we can enjoy all the wonderful times we’ve shared, and heal from the times that were painful.

It’s not always easy, but 90 % of the time it is enjoyable. It is worth it to me to work harder 10% of the time to learn how to solve our common problems and grow.

The phenomenonemnal thing is that I am doing what my Greater Wisdom is telling me to do instead of what my rational or thinking Mind would have done.

Thinking mind has had enough therapy to know that I can’t fix another person. I’m not attempting to fix her. I’m attempting to change myself and my knee-jerk reactions. I want to change things on a spirit level too which means I continuously take problems to God and ask for help.

It feels good to do what my still small voice says to do, even if it goes against conventional wisdom, like to stay and take up a chanting sadhana instead of moving to another apartment, for example.

The directions are very clear, which surprises me. It seems that they are only confusing when I fight them. When I follow, the directions are quite precise!

So, I’m not fighting right now. And I seem to be winning the war.

Another Way To Fight

I’ve decided to try a 365 day spiritual practice in the Kundalini tradition to fight my familial demons.

Instead of moving away, and instead of jumping from frying pan into fire, I am going to try to transcend both through spiritual practice.

In other words, I am going to consciously let go and let God handle my family issues on a daily basis.

I am going to use the 12 step program of recovery suggested by the Big Book of Alcoholics Anonymous as well as a spiritual program outlined by kundalini yoga to figure out how to let go and let God take over.

Although I am not on schedule with the 40 day global practice, I am starting from where I am now. Today is day two for me. I will post the practice in case anyone wants to join me. It is really a beautiful practice which combines a pranayama which activates the “7th rib,” which according to kundalini tradition gives us a new spirit, or renews or childlike spirit. The exercise is followed by the recitation of the poota mata mantra which is a mother’s blessing for her child. It is a holy prayer for her child that the child would remember God always and never forgets, not even for a moment. The mantra is repeated 11 times.

I am chanting for my children, for my relationship with them and for blessings in their lives. I am also chanting for my relationship with my mother, and with my siblings.

I am chanting for children who have troubled lives and for orphans and kids in war zones and refugees, for families everywhere.

It seems like a better use of my energy than to simply run away.

I will keep you updated on my progress.

https://www.spiritvoyage.com/Globalsadhana/ElevatingOurselvesBlessingOurChildren

Fighting Demons

I fought demons in my dreams night after night for years. It felt like I was training for battle.

The past few months have presented opportunities to use those fighting skills in real life, and I’m glad I trained so that my defense was automatic. If I had had to stop and think about what to do, I would have been torn to pieces.

I moved back in with my mom because I thought I could be of service. I thought we could keep each other company and help each other get through day to day stuff. I wanted to cook for her and do all the things a good daughter would do. I wanted to repair the damage done from early childhood trauma.

I’ve been here for over two years now. I’ve tried my best.

Like the demons in my dreams, she attacks everything good in my life. All that I hold dear, she mocks and tries to destroy. Or worse, she convinces me to destroy.

I tore up my sculptures and paintings and poetry and stories because she told me to.

That happened before I realized I was fighting a demon.

The way she laughed at me and took such pleasure in my pain told me who I was fighting.

So I stated to pray.

That infuriated her. She intensified her attack, but only for a little while.

Before long, she left the house.

I burned sage and prayed, waiting and wondering what to do next.

It wasn’t clear to me right away that I would have to move. I wanted to keep trying to make things better.

That changed after this last battle.

I sat at the table and found myself seriously contemplating suicide. I was very calm about it, and that is what scares me. I felt that suicide might truly be the only way out of this situation and that cold thought that was so unlike one of my normal thoughts, shook me up.

It is time to go.

She does not want to change or heal or work things out. She wants to hurt me.

I want to live.

I have to leave.

Conversation Conclusion

What would you say if you knew someone was going to pour over your words? If you knew someone was going to sift through your words, looking for bits and pieces to frame and treasure, what would you say?

It would have to be completely spontaneous. Anything rehearsed would be clunky and trite.

You were a fountain of insight and naturally flowing poetry when you came down from the mountain. Like seeing a reflection of the world in a water droplet, your words dripped with meaning, and shimmered as they fell.

I tried to put them in a jar.

I may have thought I was doing it for you. I did want to make a gift of your own insight–something to frame and give to you when you needed to remember the experience.

But the beauty of your enlightenment is in its flow. To capture is to kill.

Fortunately, at least some of what you said, the things I was moved by, is still viable in my every day life.

I hear the world in a new way; I am listening with more curiosity as to what I am also, not hearing.

I am making sense of ordinary life by engaging sight, hearing, smell, taste and touch as I make coffee, carry out the trash and wash the clothes.

But maybe the most important take away is that I am not going to stress over what to save and what to let go of.

I am doing what you would do, laugh and let go of it all. Moving on. Gate, gate, paragate, parasumgate, bodhi soha.

https://youtu.be/a8GF2Yz-O6E

Evolution of Conversation

I want to save the conversation we began when you came back from your trip to the mountains. I want to print it and put it on a water color sky and keep it in a journal.

Everything you said was poetry.

You had been to the mountains and your spirit had been restored.

I say that like it’s past tense. That isn’t right. Your renewal is ongoing.

Something is different.

Remember the story about the man seeking enlightenment. He goes to the mountain where he meets a sage who puts him to work chopping wood and carrying water. He gets frustrated with these mundane chores and wonders when the real work of attaining wisdom will begin.
Then, Oh! happy day! He awakens to the truth that what he was seeking is right there in his ordinary chores.

He realizes he must return to where he came from; He comes down from the mountain and back into the marketplace.

I always thought the story ended there, but it doesn’t, does it?

I am wondering if that man did not bring the whole magical experience with him when he came home and if his light did not have an effect on the people around him.

It does seem like there is something fresh and new in the atmosphere, now that you are back and you’ve shared some of your marvelous light.

You received a blessing when your hands went into the creek and you poured water over your head. Your baptism brings grace to all of us.

I want to go back to what you actually said and how you said it.

I was too much like a hungry dog, lapping up all the story in gulps without tasting anything.

I’m sorry I didn’t listen better the first time. I am listening now.

Songs That Can’t Be Sung To Anyone

King David, there are songs

in my own heart that need to be sung


and I can’t sing them to anyone.


Strains the tree trunks make

when it’s quiet enough to hear,


and Cottonwood leaves and branches that abandon their music


to the changing forces of time and weather-


these are my teachers as much as you.


Dogs barking on either side of my house, somewhere in the distance,

communicating all the goings on of their people, or who knows what dogs talk about!


Birds calling out what they will each bring to supper.


Wind chimes in the window, fairly constant. subtle ting-ting-ting.


Traffic humming like a rolling ocean,


and I’m the one holding the shore. 


These waves of

wordless language

assure me

that what I thought I needed to sing

already resounds,

and only needs my quiet

and appreciative listening.

Not Hungry For Dog

I’ve decided that after my little adventure into the dog eat dog world of writing to get published, I’d rather not eat dog.

I just finished a writing class that I thought was geared to teach me how to become a published writer. I expected to learn how to write query letters, where to look for prospective publishers, how to tell a good deal from a scam, and how to prepare our work to submit to different publishers.

Now Don’t get me wrong, I’m still absolutely glad I took the class. I just learned something I didn’t expect to learn.

The class was great fun for two weeks. We met every day and had time for free writing, and different exercises each day to foster the flow of creative ideas. We even did yoga one day.

We spent one day going over lists in handouts about publishing. It was all a blur to a novice like me. I thought we would go over it again in more detail later on. But that never happened.

At the end of two weeks the class went online.

The fist week was dead silence.

The week after, minimal communications.

Final results, the instructor was pleased with my work and said I should submit it somewhere for publication. She didn’t offer suggestions as to where. She just left me with that vague feedback.

When I voiced my disappointment with the lack of focus on publishing, the professor accused me of thinking I was too advanced for the class and several other odd criticisms that basically hinted that I should grow up and stop being a cry baby.

“Grow a thicker skin.” I was told.

“Don’t be so sensitive.”

“Writing is hard work.”

Hey! I am willing to work hard. I just don’t know the business. That is why I took the class: to learn.

So to the world where dog eats dog and people hate one another for trying to learn something, I say, ” No thank you, I’ll not be having dog, today.”

If it means losing sensitivity to compete in the writers market, I don’t need to sell my work.

I will keep writing for people I love and sharing it here. If you are meant to read it, the right writing will find you.

I’ll take magic over mean competition anytime.

Mermaid and Dragon

The evolution of this song was grueling. It seems like such a happy song, and it is! But can’t you still see the intense pain in my face as I sing? Can you see the residual anger at the dragon who left me behind for his beloved guru?

I worked really hard to get my glow on with this one. I had just gone through my Reiki II attunement (which is totally wonderful but can really kick your butt and shake things up as well) and I was in an intense online relationship with someone in an (ONLINE) Ram Dass class on relationships AND the biggest factor was that my son had died a few months prior to the class. I was on the healing side of a break down when this song was finally finished. In fact, this song was part of the glue that help put me back together.

Now I feel like Jimmy Fallon writing a thank you letter, “Thank you, song writing, for helping me go crazy in a softer way and bringing me back with something to show for it.”

Scattering Light Over Fields Of Uncertainty

“… [T]he prevalent sensation of oneself as a separate ego enclosed in a bag of skin is a hallucination which accords neither with Western science nor with the experimental philosophy-religions of the East.”  Alan Watts, The Book of Knowing Who You Really Are

Your first word was light.

It’s ironic that you grew up to wear such a dark costume. I guess it wasn’t a costume as much as it was a uniform. When you were home you wore a tee shirt and shorts with your flip-flops and your hair in a pony tail and you looked relaxed, friendly even. But when you went out you put on several layers of chains and your skull and cross bone ties, the all black button-down shirts, black pants, Fedora, knives in your pocket, and the face. You put on the face that said, “Don’t fuck with me.”

But I knew you.

It’s all about perspective. Isn’t it?

For instance, right now, I am awake, so I think that to be awake is the normal state of awareness. I believe other mind-states are not as important, but that’s only because I have limited vision and not because they are of lesser value or less connected within the spectrum.

What if dreams and altered states of consciousness are just bits of our reality scattered over space and time like a beam of light scattered over a stretch of atmosphere and are of equal validity?

What if, even before you are born, and after you die, you are a part of a cosmic dream, and you are scattered over a field of macro-dynamic uncertainty in which life and death are alternately particle and wave?

 Uncertainty is your sky, the by and by your story unwinds in, your hopes and your worries spiral round in, down to the beginning where it all begins again until something causes a new event in your horizon.

I am just daydreaming now, because sometimes daydreaming pays off; we don’t always know how we know what we know; we just have to wait and be open to whatever comes to us.

One time I wanted to paint a candle flame representing divine light. I wanted to show the flame and the light around it.

I was sitting in a doctor’s office, waiting for my scheduled visit, mesmerized by the idea of a single flame that I could only see in my mind’s eye. I like to doodle while I wait so I kept drawing the lines over and over, trying to get it right. All of a sudden, I realized that light attracts light like a magnet. I knew instantly, on a visceral level, that light would cling to itself.  

It was such a strong intuition that I quickly got out my phone and did a Google search about light and electromagnetic energy and discovered that photons are indeed cohesive. I used other people’s information to back up what I intuited, but I learned about the cohesive properties of photons by drawing a candle flame and daydreaming about divine love!

Some people can train themselves to tap into the power of dreams to help solve everyday problems. I have a friend in Finland whose cat got lost in a snowstorm. He is a lucid dreamer. He went to bed with the question, “Where is my cat?” He dreamed that the cat was in an old pig barn not too far away, so when he woke up the next day, he went there to find the cat.

No luck at first.

But he started asking around that neighborhood, and someone said they had seen the cat in the pig barn.

He went back and searched again. This time he found the cat hiding in the rafters. She was thin and scared, but okay otherwise.

He found his cat because he dreamed where to look for her.

I want to dream about Nick. I want to find him; tell him I love him and miss him.

Maybe death is just a trick of the light.

When a beam of light hits the atmosphere all those molecules of gas and stuff break it up; they scatter it, and the short, blue waves are what you see hanging round in the sky, and that is why the sky appears blue. The other rays of the spectrum are not gone, you just don’t see them.

Maybe that is what happened when you died, Nick. You hit Death’s atmosphere and your light was scattered. I can’t see you but that does not mean you are not here.

I like patterns and rhythm. I make stuff up all the time just for the flow of sound, for the click and pound, for the sharp and round of the ups and downs. I like to talk to myself “just to hear my head rattle” as grandma always said, and because it helps me think. Maybe it drowns out some of the other noises I don’t like to hear as well, I don’t know.

I sense the world that already is as it is, or I build a world and it’s the real deal. Isn’t it?

Isn’t it?

You call that table green, so it is green. But it doesn’t look green to my husband, Tim. Everything green looks brown to him. So, we have a problem with reality, or perception, anyway.

It’s cold. It’s hot. It’s late. No, it’s not. You’re a flake. You’re deep. You make me sick. You make me think. It all makes sense if you get far enough away, or close enough, look through a microscope, dig deep, go to sleep. Ask Freud what he thinks. Or better yet, cause you still Jung, dream a little dream to meditate upon.

Someone asked why the sky is blue, and it reminded me of you.  During your last two years on the planet we got to watch a comedian almost every night. You lived in apartment 9 and I lived in 11 so we were right next door to one another. Jane used to run from apartment to apartment. She learned how to ring my doorbell. She’d jump up, hit the buzzer and then wait patiently for me to open the door. The first few times it happened I thought it was a prankster because I didn’t see her sitting there. She is such a smart dog. And maybe she is a prankster too.

Anyway, there was a comedian we liked who did a bit about a kid asking why the sky is blue. And in my mind, I see Harland Williams onstage. He says this kid comes up to him, tugs on his sleeve, and says, “Hey Mister, why is the sky blue?” And Harland says, “Well kid, the sky is blue,’ but then you and jump in and go, “because of the scattering of light over macro-dynamic mighty  molecules – because the molecules pick up the blue light, see, as light enters the atmosphere, the blue waves, like a bunch of college  kids on spring break, are all over the place, just scattered all over, abundantly visible and they are fucking everywhere, all these short, wavy light packets, blue blue blue.” And Williams looks at you, dumbfounded while Quentin Tarantino snaps the black and white clapperboard shut and says, “That’s a wrap.” Still staring at you he says, “Oh, sorry dude.”  Then you fade to black.

There is canned laughter and applause as music from Lost Highway starts to play and Woody Harrelson offers me a slice of white pizza from Sal’s on the corner of that place in Hainesport. I am beginning to realize this must be a dream. I look at the back of my hand. Old habit.

Scene changes. We are walking down the hall of the apartment building together and a neighbor says “Hello, Nick.” You swear he is making a rude statement—it was always like we were in two worlds because we could be in the same hallway, experiencing the same set of circumstances and I’d see it one way and you would see it another way altogether. You’d interpret the greeting “Hello, Nick.” to mean that the neighbor thought he was better than you and that he was disrespecting you  –that he had to make some statement about the way you dress, had to say something about the hat you were wearing or the tattoos all over your body or the skulls on your person or whatever it was that you thought people were judging you harshly for.

Because of that dream I had before you were born, I knew it would be hard for you in this lifetime; You knew it too. We both knew what we were signing up for and we agreed it would be worth it. But we didn’t know we knew! I mean, I sure didn’t sit around thinking, “Oh wow, I’m going to have this kid and he’s going to have a really fucked up, hard ass life.” God, no! It was never like that! It was more like we knew it in that other dimension, in that spiritual dimension, where we go when we dream, or where you went right before you had seizures.

The deal we made in the prenatal dream was that we had to forget the details of the dream! Was it some kind of dream land Fight Club rule? The first rule of this new life together is that you don’t remember this little chat we had about this new life together.

I used to beg you to try to remember anyway when things were bad. Sometimes if I could wake you up as you were starting to seize it would stop the seizure.

I dreamed I was in the delivery room and a baby was lying on my belly, only he could talk like (a very wise) adult. We had a detailed conversation about how he could help me during this lifetime and how I could help him. It was exciting to think how we could work together and all the things we could learn. We also knew that our life together would be terribly difficult, but that every second of it was going to be worth it. We agreed that we would have to forget the conversation in order for the lessons to take hold. At the end of the dream we forgot all the details.

“WAKE UP! WAKE UP, NICK!” I shouted and shook you, desperate to come between you and a seizure. Whispering on another level, “Remember why you are here, Please, Nick.”

And you would say, “I’m trying, I’m trying.”

Sometimes you woke up, weak and trembling, not sure what had transpired, but ready for the day to begin.

Sometimes darkness took you, beat the hell out you, tried to kill you, choked you, turned your face blue, tore up your mouth, knocked out your teeth, cut your head, twisted your neck, bruised your back, and scraped your legs and ankles raw.

Anyway, in the hallway, I thought the neighbor just said hello. I thought he was being friendly. I wanted to offer him a cup of tea sometime and a little Reiki maybe. I always said there is more than one reality and you said, “No! There is only one reality!” It made you very angry to think of alternate scenarios for the way things were for us, even though you were highly imaginative and came up with all kinds of possible situations for characters in your art.

Einstein said we have to decide if the universe is a friendly place or unfriendly, and you believed it was neither, but that people were just assholes. I always argued that people were basically good; you said people were just out to take what they could.

Your seizures made you rage. The nurse at the children’s hospital in L.A. explained that intense rage was just part of the seizure itself, that after the petit mal or grand mal, a person might feel any number of things, and you happened to feel angry.

You were five when the doctors figured out that the staring spells and behavioral problems were seizures. Before that everyone thought you were just being rude. It makes me angry to think that you were sick, and everyone thought you were just a bad kid.  And you couldn’t remember the seizures so you couldn’t figure out why people were upset. What a confusing world that must have been! One minute you were watching Scooby Doo or M TV and the next minute people were yelling at you for no reason apparent to you, anyway. Or later, they were putting you in in restraints. Or they were putting you in jail and spraying you with pepper spray.

But you were still young when you started hearing the noises at night. That was before we knew you were having seizures. You called me into your room. You were sitting in the bed calling me, “ I hear the noises.” you told me.

Scared the shit out of me! It was creepy as hell. I had to silently pray the Our Father while I walked into your room because I was so scared. It triggered memories of when I thought I was being possessed by demons as a little girl. When I saw you sitting there, staring into a corner of the room with that weird smile on your face, I have to tell you, Nick, I know where folks in the old days got the stupid idea that seizure disorders were caused by demonic possession. I am ashamed to admit that I was afraid, and I never wanted you to see my fear. I shiver to remember.

When you were five you went into status epilepticus which meant that you were seizing and not coming out of the seizure. They flew you and your teddy bear from Lancaster to Los Angeles Children’s Hospital. Tim and I were divorced by then. I was married to John. John and I drove in what seemed like cartoon style traffic to meet you there because they would not let us go in the helicopter. Someone, a nurse told me we were connected to you through our prayers. I guess it was nurse. Maybe it was an angel. They pinned wings on your teddy bear. You were still unconscious when we got to L.A.

I felt helpless to help you.

When you were a baby, I could rock you and nurse you and protect you from everything, but I didn’t know how to protect you from seizures and not even the doctors knew what to do.
You kept going to the window, talking to someone out there. We were 6 stories up. Who were you talking to?  

If someone asks me what I want, I have to tell them the truth.

I want to wake up under a tree like Siddhartha.

I want to fly like Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

I want to be like St. Francis of Assisi who asked an almond tree to speak to him of God and watched it bloom in the dead of winter.

I know in my bones that the dreams of my heart are not impossible; I have already experienced enough everyday miracles to know that I would have missed them had I nothad the perception or receptivity to see them. That is why I love the idea of lucid dreaming and neuroplasticity.

Some people may think conscious control only goes so far, but I say, let’s see how far! And still, we ain’t seen nothin yet!

I heard something on Youtube the other day about Tibetan monks who practice lucid dreaming to attain enlightenment. They have been doing dream yoga for over 1000 years and draw fruits from their purposeful hypnagogia that scientists can measure with graphs and scales. I learned how to lucid dream when I was 18 by staring at the back of my hand while I fell asleep with the intention of remembering to look at my hand while dreaming. That was the first step toward conscious control of dreaming. Once I gained control, I had hoped to learn all kinds of things from cool people like yogis and saints; I wanted to do things I couldn’t normally do while awake.

Today my dream life is haphazard and I doubt if anyone would want to measure or chart anything about it.  But it got to the point before that I was aware of falling asleep, of dreaming and then waking up. It was like walking into a valley and then walking out of the valley in the morning. But I was more interested in hooking up with Tim, your handsome, sax playing dad with the Dan Hicks record that I wanted. I started focusing more on him than on lucid dreaming, so I stopped training.

That doesn’t mean I stopped dreaming.

I have always been a dreamer and my dreams have always been vivid and memorable. Dreams are not something you work at; they are gifts; the dream of you was a gift that I cherish more than ever now.

I know it’s selfish, but I wish the lions were here now. There were two of the them in my dream.

One Lion, by Jabicatma, 2018

I could share one of them with you. One for you and one for me.

Where does the stuff we dream up come from? I wouldn’t say these dreams come from myself because my first important dream, the Lion Dream, happened when I was 4 and there is no way I could have made up a dream as complex as the Lion dream at age 4. I couldn’t understand it all then, not enough to verbalize it or tell anyone about it. But I never forgot it.

It took me years to unpack it.

I dreamed it was the end of the world. I could tell it was the end of the world because the ocean had flooded the city and the sidewalks were bulked into little pyramids. All the houses were destroyed. The people and animals were gone. Everything was gray. Except for one house where I was hiding in the kitchen. The house belonged to a lady named Mary. She had skin the color of polished mahogany and she had a serious face with a soft smile. It was her house, her kitchen. There were two giant lions who padded through the house. I could hear the sound their paws made as they went through every room checking to make sure no one could see me. I had been split into many separate versions of myself and I was hidden in the different cabinets in Mary’s kitchen. The lions made sure none of my toes were sticking out

I guess I still feel that way. Even if I die, I am OK. Even if I die, if my body dies, there is a light inside of me that cannot be extinguished, and I know that because I have been so close to death I have had so many close calls. Woke up in ICU more times than I like to remember, angry about being there, but glad now, of course. It is so stupid to want to kill yourself. It is just like walking into the next room.

I had this dream the other day about being in the old house on North Abilene. In the dream, white means pure, garden means life, and terrycloth means hard work.

I was in the bathroom of the old house on North Abilene and I really had to pee! The room was just like I remembered it and I was a little apprehensive only because the cellar door was behind the bathtub and it always gave me the creeps.

I noticed water gushing out of the water faucet in the bathtub, so I got up and struggled a little to get it turned off. The water was clear and clean; it was very cold.

When the water was off, I noticed a lady in the bathtub. I didn’t recognize her and thought it was weird to have a stranger bathing in grandma’s tub. Her bathwater was all milky from having used so much soap.

I headed toward the door (at a casual pace which means I wasn’t scared) and she got out of the water and put on a clean, white, terry cloth bathrobe.

I turned and asked her, “Are you a ghost?”

No.” She said. “But you are.”
Weird, huh.

Now this wasn’t a dream, but it has a ghost in it, so it counts.

One time when I was in Jr High, we had moved to Roswell. We moved a lot back then. I went to school and everyone looked at me like they’d seen a ghost. I was freaked out. Apparently, some rumor was going around that

A: I had been killed in a car accident.

B: I was killed in an empty swimming pool fiasco.

Either way, according to rumor, I was dead, and they were shocked to see me at school.

I was shocked to see how shocked they were to see me; I saw the ghost they saw. I walked over my own grave! Shiver.

When I was 12, people thought I was a witch because I was very observant, and I read a lot of weird books. My family was strange.

We had to move out of town. We moved to a house in the country. It was one of the worst times in our lives. But it holds some of the happiest memories as well.

Mom, who was too young to have four little children, was also very lovely. She’d gather wild sunflowers, dry them and winnow them on a blanket in the sun. Then she baked the tiny seeds into loaves of sourdough bread. She baked them in soup cans so that each of her four children could have their own loaf of bread. Sourdough, government cheese, tiny sunflower seeds, hot from the oven with fresh butter.

And we didn’t care when the truck loads of cowboys rode by shouting “Witch and Whore!” We just made signs in the air at them.

Mom made me so angry the other day I thought I was going to explode. But I moved back here because I love her, and I want to repair our relationship. There is enough hate in the world, enough turmoil. I want to do what I can to make peace. I wanted you to understand.

I remembered that day at the winnowing blanket. I made this chant and I have been singing it ever since. Not just for us, but for every mother and daughter, and really, for all of us all over the planet. Listen, I want you to hear it, Nick.

Sunshine Mother

Your children honor you

We’ve all have troubles

that have burdened us

Let us gather, then

at the winnowing blanket

where we can separate

the good seeds from the chaff

and let the playful breeze

take away what we don’t need

and leave us something good

to feed our creativity

oh sunshine mother

let us be the peace that this whole world needs

oh sunshine mother let us be at peace, let us be at peace.

I love my mother with all my heart. She taught me to talk to grasshoppers and to see the world in a drop of water.

She almost killed me; we’ve had our problems.

It is complicated.

We are never finished learning.

I wish you could see that.

But DAMMIT Nick! Your last words to me were “If you have her in your life, I can’t have you in mine!” And then YOU DIED! That is so not fair! That is so not fair. How can you say that I can’t have my own mother? I love my mother. I need my mother. And I need my son! I need you BOTH. How could you say those words to me and then die?

I know. I know. Of course, you didn’t know when you said it that those would be your last words to me. If we could pick our last words, they would be different, right? We would pick funny last words. Let’s think, what would yours be? Oh, I know! You’d quote what’s his face—your favorite

comedian–Reggie Watts. You would, say, “Molecular structure ain’t nothin’ but a thing.” And I would probably say something from Bill Burr. Oh, yeah. I’d say, “But [Nick], I just want to look at ya.”

If only we could choose our last words.


One neurologist explained that there are four stages of sleep, and that when most people get to stage four, they dream. But when you get to stage four, you have seizures. That is a pretty fucked up deal if you ask me. I am really sorry, Nick. I don’t care if I have to take you to fifty thousand doctors, I will keep trying to find someone who can help you. I am sorry, but 20 seizures a day is unacceptable. I can’t believe that one doc said, “Well at least he doesn’t have to wear a helmet.” Fuck that shit!


I remember walking you to the bus on the first day of kindergarten. You had on a He Man tank top and Red shorts. You had a He Man lunch box. You were holding my hand. You said, “Mom, I don’t want to have seizures.”
When you were 7 we went for a ride in the country in New Mexico with your grandma and great grandmother. There was a small herd of buffalo beside the road and I said “Look, Nick! Buffalo! They were almost extinct at one time.” You said, “I know. I can smell ‘em from here.”


When we were waiting for your sister, Hailie to be born, your favorite book was Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel Dig the Panama Canal. Somehow you got things mixed up, probably because I was always talking about your sister being born and one day you told me that when you grew up you wanted to work in the birth canal.

You were dark. You wore your heavy metal, bloody gore and skulls and devils, your zombies and death themes; you defended darkness and when I asked you why, you waited to answer.

It was the end of a long day. You asked in a humble way, “Did you ever think that some of us had to choose the darker way so that the rest of you could shine? If there was no night, how would you see the stars?”

I was silent, for once in my loud life.


Your first cozy bedtime toy was a truck– not a soft truck. You had to have a Six Million Dollar Man truck tucked under your arm before you’d go to sleep.


You published a book of photography and a novel and you published three excellent cd’s.

You were talented and not enough people got to know your work.


You died alone in your apartment.Well, you were not completely alone. Jane was there.

But your last words to me were, “If you are going to have her in your life, I can’t have you in mine. She is poison. She will hurt you and I can’t stand by and watch it happen.”


You didn’t want me to move in with my mother, but I felt like it was the right thing to do.

I felt like you needed the space, like I was cramping your style being right next door.

You said you wouldn’t talk to me anymore, so when you didn’t pick up the phone, I thought you were just angry.

Days went by. Then a week and I was worried.

The police called.
Even now, a year later, the March wind stirs sand into miniature dust devils on the patio. It steals my breath; I gasp for air.

It is not fair. To love one person, to try to repair one relationship and lose another forever.

To never hear you laugh at something Bill Burr says, it just sucks.


But when I despair, I feel you kick me. You kicked me in the shins under the table at the La Paz that day, on your Breath Day.

No, really, I swear, you kicked me in the shins under the table at the restaurant.

I was talking to my friend about not knowing what to do without you and I felt you kick me in the shins! But it doesn’t hurt to get kicked by a beam of light, so it made me laugh.

You wanted me to know you are right here with me, just in a different way now.

I can still hear you play your guitar while you wait for the green flare at sunset.

You told me why you play your guitar while watching the sunset every day. You said there is an old myth that sailors tell that if you see a green flare in the rays of the setting sun you will see the face of you worst enemy. You were convinced it would be your own face you would see. But you kept watching.

You liked hearing my crazy dreams.

I can still see you shake your head and stare at the air when I’d tell you one.

You’d say, “You should write those down, someone might want to hear them someday.”
“Yeah, right, In your dreams.” I laughed.

I Am Ready For The Storm


Bernadus Jahannes Blommers (1845-1914)
La Hague

Sam, Hailie, Brittany, Nick, I am so sorry.

I started taking pills early that day so I wouldn’t throw up. Esther stayed with me and I listened to Dougie Maclean until I passed out. Then she called 911.

I saw the kids coming in the door, or it may have been the EMT’s. Actually, they came in at the same time. That is the last thing I remember before waking up in ICU.

Let me tell you, suicide is not always about feeling sad. In my case, yes, I was horribly depressed, but that is NOT why I thought I had to kill myself. I thought I had to get myself out of the picture in order to give my kids a chance to live a normal life. I felt like I was such a horrible person, even though I didn’t know of anything I had actually done wrong, that I needed to die. I thought that because I had a history of abuse and depression that is would just fall off of me like a contaminate onto everyone around me. I assumed suicide would clean up the toxic waste.

It is not that I didn’t love you; It is because I loved you so much that I thought I had to die. I know it doesn’t make sense and that is because it is a sick thought. It is the thought of a sick person. I was certainly not in my right mind and I am very sorry you had to suffer through my depression with me. I loved you more than anything in the world and everything I did, everything I fought for was for you. But I fought the wrong battles. I didn’t know what I was doing.

I did make things a little better than they were for my siblings and I, but not much.

The spiral goes round and round and we keep trying to move to higher ground.

I didn’t want to write about suicide. But Granny Bisset died this morning. She was in her 90’s. She tried to commit suicide when her husband died many many years ago and fortunately she was unsuccessful, so you kids got to spend a lot of good years getting to know her.

Life is hard; it hurts to be human. But there are ways to prepare for the storms and I am just barely learning them now that I am almost 60. Nick has already gone to the next realm, but here the rest of us are in this one. I just wish I could gather you up, gather you in, call Nick to the shoreline where he could hear me and say, “I’m sorry! I wasn’t ready then. But I’m ready for the storm. I can help you, help us all. I’m stable. I’m okay. I love you.”

A Flowering Tree And Me

Arthur Hacker, Contemplation (1858-1919)

“How dare you say such a thing! You are just a flower, not a woman. You can’t have any idea what it is like to be flesh and blood like me, to feel passion and pain so intense you think you will die from it. So shut up! Do not speak in fragrant whispers of the moonlight you bathed in last night. I am like twisted wire with all my nerves on edge and you are full of sap and green; how could you know a thing about being me?”

The Scent Of Hyacinth

Right now I look like a human being. But I am no more human, or should I say only human, or always and forever human because someday I could be the stuff that makes up these sunflowers, or this sky, or any aspect of this garden. We all live and breathe together. Be still a moment, here, with me, in this magical space. You inhaled the scent of hyacinth and lavender, fresh grass and the happy earth, growing eager roots, busy with earth worms bringing air where it’s needed in the dark. The garden is part of you. And you and I, we are made of the stars you are wishing upon this very night! Why does it surprise you, then, when I tell you I want to be like the milky way, only tiny, the size of a flower in a garden like this. And you would discover me and paint me along with all my brothers and sisters.
It could happen, you know.
And someday, a woman with gray hair would sit on the side of her bed in the dead of winter and write a poem about us. She would swear she could smell the garden and feel the soft prickle of the sunflower stem.

She would look at the the sky and the scent of hyacinth would make her cry. She is really human, only human, especially tonight, with a tiny- twinkling-spiraling galaxy in the petal of one eye.

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Gustav Klimt, Country Garden With Sunflowers