Monday, December 26, 2011

Wings and Arrows ~ A Year in Review

In more ways than I can even possibly express, the decision to create this blog last February was just the thing I needed to help me walk through this year.  I've written it here before, and I'll write it again...Life, is strange and beautiful.  There is no way I could have foreseen what would come from a decision made from the stance of a Last Hurrah.  A kind of "Cindy's Last Stand" kind of thing.

While I've actually been writing for many years, I couldn't find the courage within me to put what I write "out there" for public consumption, even though I held the dream of it tucked, unseen, inside my heart.  I don't know that it was any one thing in particular that finally had me sitting down and going for it. Where do you look for the beginning of a thing?  Was it a friend giving me a space to write, allowing me to pour myself out onto page after page, never having exposed any of what I felt and believed to other eyeballs, until I could finally find my voice?  Was it author Tom Bird, who so generously offers free webinars, providing inspirational food for the hungry writer's heart?  Or was it the love for my daughter, seeing she was beginning to give up on her dreams, and the only thing I could think of to help her was to be an example...by going after my own.  I don't like saying a thing to a person without having walked it, or at least in the midst of walking my own talk, and I heard myself saying to her, "You can do it!"...and thought....Yeah...about that...

What I do know is where I was inside myself, and in my life.  I was at the end of my rope, hanging on by a tattered thread.  My decision to jump probably came more from desperation than anything else.  With no where to go, no money, no job, nor even the glimmer of hope for one, my life having literally fallen apart and upside down, I took what felt like an insane, flying leap off a very steep cliff, not having the slightest inkling of where it would land me.  If I was going down, then I was goin' down singin' my song.  I felt like I was flinging myself into my own sunset.  Life, as I knew it, was coming to an end.  I know that sounds dramatic, but truthfully, I had run out of options.

I can still remember how I felt, the very first time I published my blog.  I didn't think I'd ever stop shaking.  If I felt exposed and vulnerable before, publishing this blog sent me to a whole new sense of nakedness.  I thought, "Well, since I've lost my mind anyway, might as well go the distance and expose myself to public and family alike!"  I put a link on my Facebook, where family and friends could take a gander at tarring and feathering me if they so desired.  My having little faith in the moment, I remember gearing myself up for the backlash.  It never came.  I got support instead, from the most unlikely places. 

Then, like an arrow pointing, my friend who had allowed me to pour my heart and soul out on a page, also led me toward one of the most loving community of writers there is on the web.  ( I'm still not quite sure if that was his intention or not.  Either way, he was again instrumental in providing a safe place to land on the Great Big Web :).  The most important one, for me, was j's Love Project from Zebra Sounds

While my blog didn't necessarily reflect my dedication to the project, I can say in all truthfulness that I've not missed one blog she has written since I joined her project in early March.  (See here)  Whenever I got behind, mainly because of a lack of internet connection, or because there really was just too much goin' on, I made sure to catch up when I could.  The funny thing is, whenever that happened, I generally found it was in that moment I needed to read what she shared most.  Or a comment made by one of her readers, the majority of them also writers who inspire, was just the thing I needed to hear that day.  Sometimes, it was a link she provided to someone else whose blog she wanted to share that made the difference.

What I needed, and what j and her readers provided more than anything else was a reminder.  She helped me remember what I'm all about.  She helped remind me of what I already knew within me.  She helped me stay true to my course, by staying true to her own.  She provided stability by being stable, in her steadfastness to her project, and in herself.  I found a kindred spirit, a person as dedicated to Love as I have been.  I needed the grounding exercises she gave, and I did them, because there's nothing more important than connecting our Love with the world around us.  I needed to sing along, write here, because by singing along, it kept me true to my faith, providing an anchor in a world that had gone mad.  I needed to stay in my practice when it would have been so easy for me to chuck it all in the fire.  Being loving instead helped me ground love in my life. 

But the most crucial moment, and most powerful lesson for me was during the Month of Self Love, when j asked us to write a Love Letter to Self.  That simple act opened my eyes more than anything else ever could. Who would have ever thought writing a loving letter to self could be such a challenge.  Yet, we all struggled with it.  That truth had me seeing the profound necessity for all of us to open ourselves to receive love.  We are taught that it is better to give than to receive, and perhaps that is true, but we must never forget it also means giving to ourselves.  I knew this, up here (pointing to my head), but had not really made any decisions, acted on it, based from that knowledge.  In the heat of a moment of decision, I habitually went the other way...giving, giving, giving until I was spent. 

A week later, with all of it shifting through my consciousness, ( think tectonic plates moving the earth ), I had a blinding moment of clarity that brought me home from a journey I'd been on my entire life.  I came home.  Home clicked into place within me, and I haven't left it since.  From there, from the love "home" represents, and has always represented, came a merging of idea and earth as one.  The fountain of love I knew to flow through me, I finally allowed to touch me, opening to include myself in it's healing waters.  No longer did I feel separated from it.  I saw with an astounding simplicity that love has always been there...available, ready to support, ready to give, and deciding to take that step and trust it, I haven't looked back. 

I moved toward love.  I handed myself over to it.  I sent prayers on wings, and Love answered, with arrows pointing the way, and open arms to receive me. 

I'm home.

I felt inspired to make a video last night.  I was up all night creating it.  I've only made one other before in my entire life, so please forgive me, being such a noob.  I just wanted to share a bit of my journey in pictures.  Thank you all for all you have given of yourselves.  You are the reason my faith still stands.  Happy Holiday wishes to you all.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Pace

Hold On

Hold on to what is good
even if it is a handful of earth.
Hold on to what you believe
even if it is a tree which stands by itself.
Hold on to what you must do
even if it is a long way from here.
Hold on to life
even when it is easier letting go.
Hold on to my hand
even when I have gone away from you.

~ Pueblo Blessing ~

For many years I thought something was wrong with me.  A question nagged, gnawing at my insides.  Looking outward, toward others for an example as to how to belong in this world, I found myself falling short in many ways, yet two things in particular had me struggling to the point that I not only began to seriously doubt my self and my capacity to navigate through this life, but I also felt my very worth as a contributor to this world was on the line.  One was pace, the other focus, which for many years I didn't know actually go hand in hand.  The world seemed to move at a much faster pace than I could ever manage, and everyone, but me, appeared to have the ability to multitask, when I could only focus on one thing at a time.  Hell, for a long time I didn't even understand what multitasking was.  Entering the workforce in our society had the effect of shattering my confidence further.  Compared to others, I was not just one step behind, but so many steps that managers eventually had to let me go, or more often than not, I finally got so disgusted with myself I just quit to keep what sanity I still had.  Either way, we had an agreement.  I may as well have worn a sign that said, "Not fast enough, can't multitask." 

I began to think perhaps I was born mentally challenged in some way, and no one wanted to tell me.  I do know for years I felt mentally and emotionally disabled.  Not only did I find myself lagging with the inability to do several things at once in the workforce, but found these characteristics were expected in personal relationships as well.  From the simple act of communicating, to keeping up with chores, to having sex -- all were expected to be performed all at once at a pace I apparently didn't understand.  Folks in the business world are a little more polite than we find in our interpersonal relationships.  I've lost count of how often words were used against my person to convey what a failure and disappointment I was, most of it pointing directly at my inability to keep up, or my lack of being able to perform several tasks at once, and perform them perfectly I might add.

In hindsight, I can now see clearly that my attempt to keep up was one of the main culprits that lead to my fall into despair 20 years ago.  I remember hearing a voice from deep within me, silently screaming to stop.  Stop.  STOP.  I didn't understand, so ignored it, pushed it down, trying to snuff that voice out.  I couldn't stop.  I had to keep running, had to keep trying, even though I was feeling beaten and battered by staying on that wheel.  I didn't even recognize it as a wheel.  Now I look back and want to give myself a big hug, and tell myself, "You're okay.  Shhhh...be still.  You don't have to strive and struggle."  Yet, by definition, at the time, I thought love and keeping up went hand in hand.  I either kept up, or I was ostracized, shunned from family and society alike.  The very last thing I wanted was to be a failure or disappointment to my family, friends, and society. 

I look back and find my fall into despair as an event that changed forever how I'd approach life.  While others may have looked at it as proof of my being a failure, I look at it as the very thing needed to help free me of this world's frantic pace to keep up with the nefarious Joneses.  For it had me reaching, and reaching hard, to find another way to live.  I could no longer hear myself, nor did I even recognize myself in the mirror anymore.

I spent years on a porch, with what felt like the Hand of God on me.  For as much as the part of myself that was of the world longed to get back on the wheel of it, I came to know there was a much larger part of me that belonged to Spirit.  And Spirit wasn't letting me go anywhere until I learned what Spirit desired to teach me.  It took me years to learn what I would at the foot of my Father.  And while others couldn't, and didn't understand what was happening to me, and judged and measured me by the world's standards, I learned to drop comparisons all together, finally understanding that comparing myself to anyone else was extremely self destructive, and one of the most unloving things I, or anyone else, could practice. 

Within those years I found myself, unknowingly, caught up in Another's pace...a more loving one, even though it seemed to cause conflict in the world around me.  I could not name it at the time, wasn't made to be consciously aware of why it was I experienced myself in a flow where time wasn't even considered.  I only knew I felt more relaxed inside myself, and the more I relaxed, the better I felt.

When the time came for me to rejoin the world, armed with all that I had learned and had been given, I discovered the world had picked up it's pace even more, and had become what has been termed as a fast food world.  To me, in my humble opinion, it is more like a bunch of little children demanding what they want now.  If I thought it a challenge before, to get along with the world's pace, it was even more so once I re-entered it, the only difference being this time I no longer measured myself against it.  I didn't have to, with so many others doing that for me in unbelievably cruel ways, which eventually led to the breaking of my heart.

If not for a new friend who came into my life, to help me be able to name the conflict I was experiencing, I'm not sure my heart would have mended.  He helped me see that it was simply a difference in pace.  There wasn't anything wrong with me, personally, or necessarily anything wrong with anyone else.  My not listening to my own pace, and honoring it, or even recognizing I had a choice in the matter, was working against myself.  I finally understood, ( and I still say that with a huge breath of relief ), that my pace was okay, no matter how much it didn't line up with the rest of the world, and it did not mean, no matter how many folks said differently, that I was dumb, or that I fail, or that I'm slow, ( said in a tone of derision ), or that my worth, my value, and what I have to contribute to the world in general, was useless and pointless if it  didn't coincide with folks who wanted what they wanted right this very minute.

I find myself lucky.  I feel blessed to have a pace that allows me to see things folks generally let pass by unnoticed.  I like going slow, breathing in and savoring each moment, no matter what I might be feeling in it.  I like pointing out a sunrise, or a beautiful night sky, and watching the face of a person light up in wonder and surprise as they pause, just for a brief moment in their busy lives.  I like the silences between conversation with another, when just the presence of one another is enough.  I feel I miss too much when I go fast.  My pace is my focus.  Dividing my focus does me no good, and doesn't make me a good listener.  I like listening.  I like giving something my full attention, no matter what that might be in the moment.   There is so much to taste, see, experience in this beautiful world, not the least being in the company of loved ones.

And I don't want to miss one moment.

It is my life after all, and I'll play it, make love to it, in whatever way I like, at the pace I find is right for me.  It is for no one else to decide, or judge, but me.  If the price to pay is in losing the world, then I'd much rather have what I've found in it's stead.  This world is just a temporary residence.  My spirit knows a place outside of time and space, and it will continue to sing long after the music of me here has played it's very last note, with it's echo rising into the heavens. 

---

Friday, December 16, 2011

What Wasn't

He walks his life
in a dream
making busy attempts
to manipulate
those in his life
to fit a picture
he carries in mind
not knowing his dream
is long gone
and never was

His mother will never be
what he needed
His father will never be
there to help
His family will never be
what he desired

Eternally, he asks
make it right
make it right
make the picture right

All the rest of us
are merely stand-ins
empty caricatures
for the true stars
of the show
puppets to enact
what he didn't receive
constantly disappointing
We can't make it right

If he could but see
all he ever desired
is before him
love is here, embracing
caring is here, touching
sharing is here, giving
yet he is not here, receiving

He walks his life
in a dream
trying to correct
the long ago
and make what was
not so

---

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Silent Flight

"Therefore it is given to abide in you; the record of heaven; the Comforter; the peaceable things of immortal glory; the truth of all things; that which quickeneth all things, which maketh alive all things; that which knoweth all things, and hath all power according to wisdom, mercy, truth, justice, and judgment."  The Pearl of Great Price, Moses 6:61

"Nothing appeared closed to me:  because I was the door of everything"  The Odes of Solomon, Ode 17:10

"And peace was prepared for you, before ever your war was."  Ode 8:8

Life is strange and beautiful. 

Some years ago, I experienced a strong vision during meditation.  While I love meditating for the centering and balancing affect it gives my being and my life, I have to admit visions like this one were not a common occurrence.  Generally, it was me driving a vision, meaning, I was fully aware I was the one visualizing whatever scene I chose at the time that brought the result of a sense of peace within me, which was usually some place by a body of water.  So when I began the meditation, it was business as usual.

I can't say for certain when this particular vision took over, my only awareness of it having done so being after I came out of the meditation, which was right after the vision ended.  It felt more like a dream, but I was fully awake, alert, and aware of my surroundings.

I heard a woman weeping, and shifted my attention to the sound, for the sound of her weeping was like none I'd ever heard.  My heart was evoked, and all I could think was to bring this woman some measure of comfort in whatever way I could.  Then the vision opened up to a woman kneeling on the edge of a high cliff from a mountain top.  The panoramic view before her was gorgeous, yet I knew the woman didn't see any of it.  I felt her heart to be broken into a million jagged pieces, the depth of her grief more than anything I had ever experienced.  So all consuming was her grief, I feared she'd die right where she knelt.  I even considered death may be a mercy for this woman.

Suddenly, there appeared a man on horseback.  I recognized him immediately, and rejoiced, and as I did so, I became the grief stricken woman.  I was she.  He called my name, and I raised my head to look at him.  His expression was stern, and I remember feeling he was behaving as if he had no compassion.  He called me to him, so I stood and walked the short distance to stand by his side, looking up at his stone faced expression.  I didn't know what I had done to displease him, and I felt my heart break a little more than I believed was possible.  He sat silently on his horse, looking down on me with what I thought to be displeasure.  I remember feeling as if that would be the final thing to undo me beyond repair.  It was good I was drawn away from the edge of the cliff, for the pain alone from the mere thought of having displeased this man would have surely been the final thing to send me over it.  Instead, I stood broken, fragile, my heart wide open under his gaze, the grief all consuming. 

A commanding shout suddenly emitted from the mouth of this man as he flung his arm out before him, and as he did so I turned into an owl, and flew to land on his outstretched arm.  I felt the gaze from his eyes penetrate me, and then his face became like the ray of the sun as it broke into a beautiful smile, he shouted again, and then his laughter filled the air as he lifted his arm and set me free to fly. 

I lifted myself up and up and up, glorying in the feel of my wings, strong, powerful, silent in flight.  With each beat of my wings, I felt grief and sadness drop from me, and the warring of my heart and soul eased, and my spirit rejoiced in true freedom, my being filled with awe and wonder, no longer bound to the ways of this world.  I rose toward the stars, until it felt as if the night sky blanketed me with its soft, velvety beauty. 

And there I remained in Silence. 

I never wanted to leave it.  Yet out of the vision I came, back to this world, and into my life.  I had no idea at the time what this vision meant, yet I never forgot it, nor the experience and feeling of that silent flight.  It was the most real thing I had ever felt.  In the days and years to come the vision's meaning was revealed.

I began to walk that trail of tears in life several months later.  What I considered to be a betrayal of love merely the doorway to it, and a grief struck my heart with such force I honestly didn't know what hit me.  I couldn't even name it at first.  I only knew my heart felt like it was suddenly exposed and bleeding, and I felt as if I was being undone from the inside out.  

In my darkest moments, when I'd come to a point of laying myself down in complete surrender before a God I wasn't even sure existed anymore, for I could not feel Him, the light of that memory of the silent flight of the owl would come to me, like a beckoning star, asking me to hold on...asking me to trust.  In those moments, it felt like a promise given, so I clung to it with all I had within me, even when it took everything in me to believe it.  I clung to the hope that somewhere, at some point in time, that promise would be fulfilled in me.

And here is what I learned:

Why is it a challenge to be still?  For in the stillness rises all that we have ignored or denied in our life.  Once we begin practicing meditation, placing our being in stillness, we are sometimes surprised, and misunderstand what begins to bubble up from that stillness.  It is only in stillness that what needs to heal can come.  It comes first as a trickle of water, emotions long left behind...or so we thought.  The more persistent we are in remaining still, and reaching for understanding, and allowing what will come to come, the wider the river gets, until one day it floods our being with tears long left unshed. 

All that I thought I'd left behind, all the grief I thought I'd sidestepped, the pain from love lost, the pain from a myriad different episodes in my life rose to the fore.  Long had it been ignored, put on the back burner to be felt another day.  That day had come, and it flooded my being like a river.  Our emotions go nowhere, until we release them through our tears.

I once read a quote:  "Tears on the outside go away.  Tears on the inside stay, and stay, and stay...."

I wept for dreams unrealized.  I wept for pain unfelt.  I wept for things I didn't have, and would never have.  I wept for love unmanifested.  I wept for love lost.  I wept for all I have ever loved.  I wept for those I didn't love.  I wept for those left behind.  I wept for you.  I wept for me.  I wept until there was no reason for weeping.  Reason...eventually got up and walked out of the room.  And when it did...my eyes finally opened...

For what I did not see, but could only sense as a distant promise, was that there was a Force behind the waters of emotion.  A Presence that was beckoning me to clear the way with my tears.  Once the river was flowing, the dams broken, this Presence could come.  I had made the way straight in my heart for It's coming. 

There is a Peace that passes understanding.  There is a Love behind all things.  Even the tears we shed.  When I thought I could go no more, when all tears had been released, leaving me feeling emptied, hollowed out, and when I stepped into complete surrender, I found myself wrapped in Silence, and within that Silence, Peace came, grief left behind, and Love filled the empty spaces.

I cannot truthfully say that it was my wings, my effort, that lifted me up to the Silence of the Stars.  Its more that it was the Love in the wind beneath them that carried my being to freedom. 

Now I have eyes to see...and my eyes will remain on the One thing behind all things....Love.  For Love is the Glory of God, and Love is the only thing that will ever bring peace.  The Truth will set you free.  That Truth is Love.




---


 

Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Healing Waters

Deep within the tissues
of her body, lay pockets
of grief she put aside
for another time
"Tomorrow," she said. 
I'll feel it tomorrow."
As the days passed
months turned to years
a hard shell formed
around her heart
her tears held prisoner
behind the protective wall
From afar off
she began to hear
within, a silent voice
banging, begging
to be heard
Its wailing grew louder
"LISTEN...to me!"
She built the wall
higher, thicker
worked harder
in the attempt to halt
the lamentation
Touch
was not allowed
for she knew it would be
her heart's undoing
Then one day
all diversion was
done away
and only Silence
remained
From within the Silence
came a Presence
and with Love's
tender mercy
touched her heart
The walls
melted
the dam
broke
and the tears, held back
for tomorrow
rushed forward
The waters
finally released from
their captivity
Do not be afraid
the heart was
meant to break open
broken is the wall
that was made
the healing waters
have come, for
long ago, He said,
"If I do not go,
the Comforter will not
come to you."
"...you will grieve, but
your grief will be
turned into joy."
His resurrection comes
through you
on the waters
of a heart, broken
wide open

-----

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Fallen Leaf

Fallen from the tree
that nourished me
gave me life
now a free agent
floating along
the current of winds
where nothing binds me
I wait for
the touch of the earth
and her last embrace
to absorb me


----

Saturday, October 8, 2011

Take a Moment...

Just for a moment

think of me

as your friend.

Go there

I am NOT your enemy

in ANY way

allow that to sift

through your mind

 Just for a moment

go there

How would you

behave differently

toward me

How would you

greet me

Truly, I say to you

how you see me

is on you

If you see me

any other way

than as your friend

then you do not see me

----

Friday, October 7, 2011

The Eye Of The Storm

You appeared out of nowhere
a surprise gift from God
in a time when chaos reigned

You didn't know me
still don't know
perhaps never considered
the great prayer uttered
from my heart long ago

For I saw they didn't know
what they had done
or had made, in their carelessness
My heart grieved
over the arrogance
of every unloving act
and what it created

I saw the typhoon
well off in the distance
dreamed of it's coming
could only feel dread
A different spirit
inhabited this storm

I tried to tell them
begged them to turn
around and see
but in their pride
blind, they refused

So I stood in the way
of the Accuser
I saw the return coming
from what they had given
knew the reaping
would destroy them
I knew what they'd done
and offered mercy, forgiveness
by taking on a portion
of their consequences

what was done
would be undone
what was made
would be unmade

I thought I was prepared
I wasn't, but God was
oh i of little faith
thought God had deserted me
when the winds of reaping
began their beating

He said, "Leave
your heart open.
Do not try to fill
the empty space."
I didn't understand,
but obeyed
the best I was able.

The sea, stirred
from the deep, rose
to meet the winds
of reaping
I stood between
the sea and wind,
emotion and mind,
trying to keep my heart
simple and true
defenseless

And just when I thought
I would be carried away
feeling my limbs torn asunder
the wind and sea whipping my skin
an eye in the storm appeared
providing a pocket of peace
a breath, a ray of warmth
a soft melody

When I wanted to blame them
agree with the Accuser
give up my post
it was your soft whisper
that sang me back
to center, to love

For God knew
when I could no longer
do it for them
I would do it for you
I would keep love going
for you

You appeared out of nowhere
a surprise gift from God
in a time when chaos reigned

I am planting here
for a time, my friend
my work is done
my spirit, a bit weary
The lush green
the simple turn of seasons
dragonflies, lightning bugs
fat breasted robins
simple work
replenish my soul
I'm allowing the earth
to swallow me
with her simplicity

And I think I'll write

fiction :)

-----

Monday, September 26, 2011

From a Tiny Wellspring of Connection

Perhaps I should wait to write until my life is better.  All sunshine, love and roses.  Then maybe I'd have something more interesting and inspiring to write.  Perhaps I'm being selfish, or self absorbed, or a bitch because I write about stuff like grief, poverty, and things folks don't really want to hear, much less face that it exists in our world.  Ever driven or walked by a homeless person, or a person so obviously beaten down by life, and find yourself averting your eyes, or worse, judging them?  Why do we do that?  I know why...fear.  Let's keep the lepers on their own little island, far, far away from us.  We might catch what they've got, and not be human anymore, a pariah of society, shunned, untouchable.  We don't want to see, or think about how they got to be that way.  We don't want to see that perhaps we hold some responsibility.  If you only knew.  For it isn't God who created this mess.  Stop blaming Him.  And I've got news for you, it isn't some devil either.  Nope, the responsibility can be squarely placed on mankind's shoulders.  We are way more connected than many people can even begin to comprehend. 

Yes, perhaps I should wait until I've got all my ducks in a row, a nice and tidy life.  Or just write about what's good in my life, which I have done.  Perhaps I shouldn't write about myself at all!  Maybe I should just take myself right out of the picture, and think of only what others want to hear.  Maybe I should think only of others, and make it like I don't exist.  But wait!  Oh yeah.  I've actually been there, done that.  Didn't work out so well. 

Perhaps I shouldn't write about the past, and how it's shaped me, affected me.  Perhaps I shouldn't write about the dark experiences I've had, like molestation, rape, hatred, dark things that would, and does, tear at the mind , heart, and soul of a human being.  From the time any of them occurred I've heard, "Why can't you just let it go?  It's in the past!"  Yes, and I should just be able to get myself right over it, and be happy, happy, happy!  I've had people treat me like they think I don't want to get over it, that I don't want to heal.  Show me the way.  Show me how I can just snap my fingers and poof!, all better!  Or better yet, let me just pretend I'm all better so you can feel better!  So you don't have to hear about it.  So you don't have to consider that maybe, just maybe, these things exist in the world. 

The past isn't popular is it?  No, everyone is all about "the now."  The ironic thing is, now includes past, present and future.  There is no exclusion of anything.  We can no more escape our past, wipe it clean, than we can escape the hard reality of our life right now.  We can't pretend what happened didn't.  But we do give it a good try don't we?  Running on a wheel that takes us nowhere.  Best to turn around and just face it...that past we can't seem to get away from.  We can only make peace with it the best we can. 

What if my now sucks.  What if the next moment sucks, and the one after that...yep, still poor, a leper, a beggar, living at the mercy of others, trying to figure out how to make it all work.  Fighting on a daily basis, a now basis, a spirit of discouragement.  Trying to hold my head up and my shoulders back the best I can.  Trying not to miss those I love.  Trying not to be disappointed when I miss my best friend's wedding.  Trying to figure out how I can make it to the birth of my grandchild.  Trying not to be freaked out about not having any money, or an internet connection, a phone, anything that connects me with those I love, or to the world in general.  Trying to figure out how to keep this dream of writing alive, how to keep my blog alive.  Trying not to feel like a victim, or come from a victim mentality.  Trying not to feel so alone in a new place.  Trying to figure out how to bring love, touch, and all the good stuff into my life, that others have and take for granted.  Trying not to be envious of that.  Trying to hold myself together in the deep night when all of this hits me hard, so I sleep with my futon like a couch, my body pressed hard against it's back pretending it's someone holding me in their arms saying, "It's all gonna be okay, Cindy.  You're okay."  Then I can go to sleep. 

But I'm a bitch if I want more, or suffering from pride if I don't fall all over someone's feet groveling with gratitude for what they've given me.  How low would you like me to go?  I should be thankful for what I have!  If they only knew...I am.  And the very fact they can't see it saddens me. 

Perhaps I should just shut the fuck up and not write, or give a voice to any of it...so you feel better.  So you don't have to go to the hard place.  No, let someone else handle that.  We pass off responsibility like a hot potato.  Get away from me!  I only want pleasure!  My mother wrote and told me she admired my strength.  I don't feel strong.  I feel afraid.  I was afraid when she had a stroke.  I was afraid when my marriage came to an end.  I've been afraid with having no money.  I am afraid that none of what I'm doing here will come to anything.  I am afraid.  But I'm not supposed to feel anything about what's happened or what's happening in my life.  And God forbid I should talk about it when I do feel it!  I'm supposed to be all chipper, full of sunshine, and make sure I consider everyone elses feelings and understand what they are walking through before I deal with my own!  Or...I'm not spending enough time with my emotions...I wonder why that is?  I know why she said it, why she admires my strength.  She admires that I am walking through what I am without trying to fill it, or escape it, by getting high, or drunk, or using sex.  No, I'm walking with a clear mind, sober, letting the experience touch me, and teach me.  I figure while I'm in it, I may as well seek some kind of silver lining in the experience.  I don't put a lot of stock in someone telling me I should lighten up, or I don't have it so bad, when they are high.  They say, "Look at me!  I'm happy!"  Well...of course you are!  You're high!  Not even dealing with reality...or your emotions.  Yay for you! 

Yes, perhaps I should behave better.  Perhaps I shouldn't have moments where I'm freaking out.  Just hold it all in...so everyone else feels better...I know where that leads.  It's like a pressure cooker.  Ever wonder why Mother Earth suddenly explodes?  Look at how we treat her!

Know what the main issue was that destroyed my marriage?  My ex-husband couldn't figure out how I could love him and be okay with him not having much to provide materially.  I didn't care.  I just wanted to be with him.  It was him I loved, not what he could provide.  It totally boggled his mind.  That disturbs me...greatly.  Because it's what I see in mankind.  They wait...to be open to receive love, thinking they need to be in a better place before they can even have it.  They need to be all sunshine and roses, and upbeat, and full of inspiration, and good stuff, have material things before love can come walking in.  Why is that?  How did that belief even come into existence?  God showed me that I am enough just as I am.  That love comes pouring down from heaven, waiting to pour!, when we open ourselves, our mind, to receive it.  God has taught me He is there through the shit and the good.  Love is there when we walk through the valley of the shadow of death.   But how can we know that until we actually experience it?  Even allow the experience of it? 

I chose a road to learn all I could about Love.  And I am saying to you here and now, that love needs to be present in the dark places.  We need to not avert our eyes from any human being.  My aim is not, and hasn't been to inspire you.  My aim is the sharp arrow of Truth.  My aim is to open your eyes to include the dark places, inside and outside you, and to say to you that those dark places are there because of a lack of love.  Those dark places need love brought in to heal.   They aren't evil, and they certainly don't make you evil.  The only evil there is is in not giving love when it's upon you to do so.  And it is on you to do so.  You don't have to be perfect at it before giving it.  Just practice it, start now, at home, with a plant, or animal, or something easy, that doesn't talk back.  Start.  The only way you're going to learn is by doing it.  We are the bringers of it to this world.  It isn't some airy fairy idea or feeling in our head!  It's touch!  It's eye contact!  It's actual, real, getting your hands dirty connection!  It's the comforting pat when someone is having a bad day.  It's a smile given.  It's fighting through our own reactions and giving love anyway.  It's actually seeing the other person who stands before you, really seeing them, putting yourself in their shoes, reaching for understanding, letting your heart break for them, and for God's sake...listening!  Listen to them, let them talk, let them cry, be a part of allowing them to heal, and do what you can to help them heal.  We are the bringers. 

And if we don't bring it, mankind is lost. 

----

Sunday, September 18, 2011

The Test

There are those
who said to me,
"Your faith is being tested."
I felt this was true, yet
faith in what...exactly?
My faith in God
was a given

Speaking of giving;
i had thought my giving
had come to an end
only to discover
it had simply changed shape
There I was
giving anyway
and it is i who believed
it's value was meaningless

God's faith and trust
in me
is sometimes -
okay, most times -
uncomfortable
His gaze never wavers
from what He sees in me
the Good He created

i believed i was
not that Good
the I am that I am
that i couldn't quite
meet what He saw
i wiggled, and squirmed
even tried to
prove Him wrong
"See?  i'm not that person!
Look at what i just did!"

He laughed...laughed!
at my antics
knowing, trusting
I'd eventually come around
For how could I not?
All that ugly stuff i made up
about myself
all the ways i behaved
wasn't even true
just a book of my life
i wrote
not what God wrote
(thank you, God!)
an attempt only
to keep myself from growing
into something beautiful
i was like a flower
refusing to share it's bloom,
a chick looking at the shell
surrounding it, and saying
"i can't do it.  Besides,
i don't know what's out there." 
a caterpiller, afraid
to come out of the cocoon
and fly

Now I wonder
what took me so long?

So, where was my faith
being tested?
In You.

Every kind of personality
was thrown before me
When i wanted to say,
"Yes, I see the truth,
the Good of them
..but,
look at what he does!
(or doesn't do)
i cannot give to that
i cannot love that
i cannot tolerate that
i cannot show patience for that
i cannot forgive that
i cannot, will not, throw these,
my pearls
to this swine!"

God remained silent
His gaze unwavering
through my disappointment
in mankind
Until I saw
it was my disappointment
that needed to be healed
Throughout all my refusals
and rebellion, and resistance
throughout all my attempts
to wiggle out from under
His faith and trust in me
did i ever once
feel God's disappointment in me?

Not once.
Not ever.
Only His faith
His love
His trust

Who was i
not to give
the very same
that i had been given?
The test
was to steady my gaze
unwavering
and trust, believe in,
all the Good
I see in You.

God smiled.

----

Monday, September 12, 2011

Wasted Good

i've been told
more than once,
and i've also read
in many wise books
and articles,
to listen to, and
trust my Self
funny how
when I do that
and act on
what I know
to be true
someone, invariably
tells me
I am wrong

they say
I don't feel
the way I feel
my thoughts
are incorrect
I suppose I should
trust myself
only when they agree

hrmm...

yet, when
a thing persists
refuses to die
inside me
over time
aches
to be made manifest
I do know
through experience
that what I feel
sense
to be true
is confirmed later
to be right
on target

for how many times
have I had someone
come back to me
sometimes months
or years later
to tell me
I was correct
after all?

too many

it saddens me
because what
I felt was right
and true
was Good
for all
it's never been
just about me
so why did it take
so long
for the other
to come to
that same
true Goodness?

I don't know
and I don't understand...

Because, sometimes
after being told I'm wrong
doubts plague me
a war breaks out
inside me
and when the day comes
the truth dawns
bright
and the confirmation
of it is spoken
I am faced with
all the time I spent
warring against myself
and what I knew
to be true
all along

And I think
what a collossal
waste
and how extravagant
we are
with time
and the claiming
of our own
Good

---

Sunday, September 11, 2011

The Hawks Called Her Name

She was three weeks late
taking her sweet time
would only enter this world
when she was ready

It was worth the wait
and the hawks called her name

When I first gazed upon
that sweet, sweet face
held her in my arms
my heart broke wide open
and I think I truly loved
for the very first time
in my life

For there, in my arms
came the light and joy
of my heart
My soul leapt forth
in recognition,
singing in celebration

I made a vow
I'd do right by her
She was, and is
my inspiration
to be a better human

Ah, the memories
of her growing years
like precious gems
full of beautiful colors
in my mind...

dancing
swimming
tumbling
jumping
riding
storm chasing
laughter
tears

her light
her joy
her zest for life
her enthusiasm

her love

she was three weeks late
coming into this world
she'd grace us with her being
when she was
good and ready

she was oh so worth
the wait

and the hawks called her name

Happy Birthday, Pooshka Pie
I love Ba!

Friday, September 9, 2011

"Do You Feel Fortunate?"

During a job interview I had yesterday, I was asked this question, "Do you feel fortunate?"  I can honestly say I have never been asked this question by anyone where I have applied for a job.  The question had me stumped for a moment.  Not because I didn't know my answer, but because it was even asked by someone representing a global company.  The company gave the questions for the interviewer to ask.  She asked me questions from a list given to her on a piece of paper, and wrote down my responses in the space provided.  I got the feeling the interviewer herself didn't really care what my answers were.  She was just there to ask them, and would then turn the list, and my answers, over to someone who does care. 

My answer?  Yes, I feel fortunate.  She then asked, "How so?"  I didn't tell her all that I am about to say here, but I did give her the short of it.  So I told her in so many words...

Many people would look at my life the past several years and wonder how it is I can say I feel fortunate, and mean it.  For I have lived in a state of poverty, not having any means of supporting myself.  I haven't worked, couldn't find a job, or anyone to hire me.  Most of the time I didn't even have any money to put fuel in my car to go out there to find work.  So I used the internet.  I was fortunate to have access to the internet, saving what fuel I did have for the drive to a prospective job opportunity.  Other than that, I really didn't drive anywhere.  I was pretty much house bound.  Which, for those who know me well, was like a kind of torture in itself.  I love to go for a drive...just because.  From day to day, I literally didn't know where my next dollar was going to come from.  Yet my basic needs were met.  They were met by the good graces of people who cared. 

I walked through a devastating divorce, then my mother had a debilitating stroke, and so I lived in a family of people who were nearly as poor as I was.  My mother was not receiving the care she could have, and it grieved me beyond words that I could not provide for her what she needed for healing.  My daughter and her husband struggled with finding jobs as well.  We had people, family who had an opportunity, and the means, to help us in so many ways, yet chose to "help" by letting us know what we had done wrong to get where we were instead, while also pointing out what we needed to do, and of course, anything we were doing was all wrong in their eyes...all good reasons, they told themselves from afar, for not giving, not reaching out a helping hand to those in need. 

Yet they didn't see us as "those in need."  We were just poor relations, failures, losers who were looking to "take" from them of their precious material good.  I sensed an almost palpable feeling of gladness in them that we had actually fallen.  Proof that "giving" leads people to where we were.  They were right about not giving, and we, my mother, were the perfect example of why they were right.  Like they could finally be proven right about what a mess we all were, which gave them the opportunity to say what they'd wanted to say for years. 

I've often wondered what the definition for "those in need" is to them...these good Christian folk they pretend to be.  How is it they can live their lives helping those in need from their church or political affiliation, and completely ignore those on their very doorstep?  Well, that's too messy isn't it?  No, they judged instead.  What they did actually give they expected a return.  Oh, not money, but a say in how to lead our lives.  The message behind the giving, "do what I say or you don't get anything from me."  Like folks who will give to a poor man on the street only if he doesn't buy booze with it.  Whose to say that that drink he buys isn't the very thing to keep him alive for one more day, giving him Grace, until one day he wakes up and says, "I'm done.  I'm getting help."  You could be the one to help him stay alive one more day to reach that day of awakening.  So...Fuck you.  Not one actually listened.  Not one.  You were too busy wanting to hear the sound of your own voice. 

Through it all we faced judgment and were attacked on all fronts, while our lives reeled out of control.  We got talk...that's all we received from these folks who claimed to give a shit.  Talk.  Not one stepped out of their nice comfort zone to give anything but talk.  Thanks. 

And my mother...my mother was slowly waking up to the fact that not one of you gave a damn about her.  Not where it counts.  Her greatest fear was realized on so many levels I don't know how she remained standing.  Her strength and perserverence inspires me.  Perhaps she did put it into play, perhaps she did bring it about, who am I to say?  But that doesn't mean that she is not allowed Grace.  That doesn't mean that when she falls, there is no one there to pick her back up.  She and I have had our battles, and we've not ever really seen eye to eye, but she is, at the bottom of it all, a human being just like the rest of us, fumbling along, trying to get it right, hoping for the best, even when the best never shows itself.  And you judged her for being too giving!  Even stated that if she got rid of her children...her children!...then you'd be more willing to help her.  Again...fuck you!  Do you have any idea what you were asking of her?!  The love for us has been, and continues to be the very thing she needs to keep going.  You suggested she rip out her heart!  Who are you to judge her, and what she does?  Even if you do not agree with what she does, or how she does it, or to whom she gives it, it is not, has never been, and will never be, for you to judge, and let that be your reason for not giving when she takes a fall.  I'll say it again...fuck you! 

So I left, for many reasons I left.  I considered my action carefully.  I prayed for the highest good of all of us.  Yet my hope was that by leaving, then maybe, just maybe you would stand forth and finally give her the help she so needed.  I left so you would not have any more excuses for not giving.  You still found excuses.  You still did not help.  So I came back.  I came back to help the only way I could. 

By being present. 

For my mother.  For my daughter.  For my son-in-law.  For my own conscience.  If I could give nothing else, then I could give my presence, to show that I gave a damn.  And you know what?  I learned, through it all, I learned that even if I have nothing else to contribute monetarily, I still have something of value to give.  I can give myself, my very presence, and all the love I have to bring, whatever that looks like.  And that means more than any thing this world has to give.  I can stand for my daughter and son-in-law.  I can be the voice of encouragement, the voice of "can do," the voice that says yes to their dreams, the touch, the massage, the hug, the voice of compassion and forgiveness.  I can stand for my mother, and be the silent presence that loves her even when she doesn't believe it.  I can be the voice of hope in her hopelessness and despair.  I can be the tear that cries when she cannot.  I can voice the prayer of her heart when she has lost all words.  I can be her words.  I can be the one who sees she can stand up again.  I can be her faith when her own faith has faltered.  I can be there by her side holding a hand out to her when she finds the strength to lift herself up and reach out.  I can let go when she needs to learn to walk again on her own, even if it pisses her off.  I can stand there and take it when her anger and rage over her situation needs an outlet.  It is no less than she gave to me years ago.

I can stand.  I can stand for those I love until help comes.  I can give what I understand to be Grace until the real Grace shows up.  And it did come.  It came through my brother, and my neighbors who are not much better financially than we are.  It came through my friends who saw me through it all, even when they could do nothing because they themselves had little, but they gave me a voice to vent, to work out my own shit.  They gave me a pocket of time and space so I could heal and restore, so I wouldn't burden my family with it.  It came through my roommates who moved mountains to bring me here when the time had come for me to leave.  It has come through Ben, the man who owns the house in which I live, who provides a space of such peace to be unequaled anywhere in this day and age.  He guards this space well, sacred is his way, and I am now a guardian of it as well.  It came through his mother, whose generosity is what moves her.  It has come through the people I work with at Mcdonalds, who love me and my presence, in such a short amount of time, and are not afraid to show it and say so.  They have already moved in ways to keep me close to them, keep me on their shift.  They have no idea the balm they've provided for my soul.  Grace came through the poor in spirit, those who give for Giving's sake, because they care, who expect nothing in return. 

Blessed are they. 

Do I feel fortunate?  Oh yes, I do indeed.  For while it was tempting to lose my own faith, to give up hope, to see all that I don't have, I had the capacity and presence of mind to face each day with gratitude for what I had.  I am thankful for the practice of gratitude, and for God revealing it to me so many years ago.  I am thankful that I can even be thankful.  I am thankful for my ability to see that in the midst of seeming lack, I have something of way more value than any material thing on this planet.  I have Love and Grace.  I live and breathe, have my being, within It...and from there I have more than enough to contribute to this world and to fellow human beings.  I can care, I can give a shit what happens to you, and do more than even that, I can show it, manifest it.

Yes, I am fortunate indeed. 

---

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Thank You, Father...

...for this day
thank You
for my waking up to, and living, breathing
this day
thank You for my breath
and for the Life that courses through my veins
my being
Bless this day
let Your love and light go before me
making the crooked places, straight
Let me glorify You, Father, today
thank You for my body
this beautiful temple
for blessing it with strength
and flexibility
it's ability to dance
bless every organ, every cell
with your love and light
Let my body glorify You
let Your love and light
shine through every pore
Thank You, Father
for the Love in my life
revealing Itself, through
my daughter, my roomies
my mother, my friends, my co-workers
my Saki cat
the light of Love, showing up
everywhere I walk
Bless them, all
Thank You, Father
for my ability to see Love
feel It, give It
thank You for my capacity
to Love
Let the Love in me
speak to Love in everyone
and everything
I encounter, today
Thank you, for all that I have
shelter, food, warmth
my car, my job, time
my health, music, internet
(although I'd appreciate better internet ;)
a place to rest my head
Ahh, Father, thank you for my room
this Sacred Space
Thank you, Father
for opening my eyes, my mind
my heart
to see the beauty
that surrounds me
everywhere
I walk
thank you for the magic
the wonder
of nature
You really have
thought of everything
Thank you, that I can feel
such awe
Thank you, Father
for my ability to see
the beauty and love
within everyone, who
I encounter on my walk
through Life
Thank you, Father
for my life
Let it glorify You

----

Friday, September 2, 2011

...You Cannot Love Me

I was given a Gift beyond measure.  Oh, I didn't know it consciously at first.  It took some time, years, for the fullness of the Gift to break through the blindness of my mind and hardness of my heart.  I wasn't even aware my mind and heart needed to be softened, opened, to receive it.  When awareness did finally hit, the full knowledge of it literally brought me to my knees.  I remember weeping with a mixture of joyous gratitude, and profound shame.  On my knees, a blubbering mess, I whispered, "Thank you, thank you, thank you, oh my God, I'm sorry, forgive me, I didn't know, I didn't know, thank you, thank you, thank you, forgive me..."

I didn't know Love had come calling. 

The sense of shame I felt was in the knowledge that every bit of resistance and rebellion within me was toward Love Itself.  I didn't know that I was in essence saying, "You cannot love me."  I didn't know all the many ways I thought, behaved, and acted were the very things closing the door to Love.  I didn't know that what I defended most of all was all the ways I wasn't lovable...because that is what I was told, in so many ways through out the years, all the myriad reasons, like a coin collection in my mind, others gave for not loving me.  I was making myself right about them, and in my self righteousness, I was virtually and literally, keeping the door of my mind and heart closed to Love.  I saw where love didn't show up, where it wasn't, not where it did and was.  And it was there the whole time...holding It's hand out to me over and over, and I didn't even see...I didn't see...

Is it any wonder I didn't feel loved?  I didn't know I was rejecting it, with all those reasons...

...you cannot love me because I am too young, too old, too fat, too lazy, too ugly, too angry, too poor, too this, too that...you cannot love me until I fix all of that.  As soon as I fix it, then You can love me, then I'll open the door to You.  Yet Love, persistent, consistent, taught me otherwise...It said, "I do not see all that you see in yourself.  I will never agree with all those reasons.  You don't want me to agree with them.  It is only you who validates them.  It is only you who made them real.  Open to the way Love sees you.  You do not need to be perfect for Me to love you.  You don't have to do, or be any other way than what you already are for my love.  My Love already IS.  The only thing for you to do is simply open yourself to receive It.  I love you.  I love you.  I love you..." 

So I stood up, and made a decision to trust this Love that was given to me.  I decided, in that moment, to open all that I am to the Light of Love.  I brought down every defense I held against It one by one.  I allowed It's Light to shine on the dark places within me where love had not had a home for a very long time.  Through arid places I walked, places filled with darkness that made me tremble.  I traveled every inch of my mind, body and soul, making the way straight for love to come in, opening...opening...asking, "Bring love here...to this dark place.  Let It's waters heal me." 

Along the way, I noticed the more I opened to receive Love within me, the more I gave it to my world.  It's light and touch were now extending from me to others, from plants and animals to mankind, to the earth herself.  Wherever I found darkness, places where love was not, I gave, I prayed, "Bring love here...to this dark place.  Let It's waters heal them." 

There came a time when Love set me loose on the world.  With the fullness of Love in my heart, It spoke, "Go....pour."  What did I find?  Various stages of my own journey within.  Various stages of blindness of mind, and a hardness of heart.  Various stages of resistance and rebellion against Love.  I knew...they knew not what they did.  The very same way I didn't know long ago.

Every smile given in kindness or welcome that was not received, or trusted, or even seen, was someone saying,

"...you cannot love me." 

Every time a hand was extended in love -- every time peace was called for, and it was not given; every time forgiveness was asked for, and not given, with not even a glimmer of hope to allow a person to redeem themselves; every time you're met with anger and distrust, or hatred,  apathy, or disinterest;  every time you allowed money, or the lack of this or that in you or the other to stand in the way -- these moments you were saying,

"...you cannot love me."  

For I've seen the love in you...love you refuse to give.  And in the refusal, I know, I do know, that there is the place you need healing.  For your refusal to give it is the very place you think love is not in you to giveWhere you love easily, letting it show, through acts of forgiveness, tolerance, patience, kindness, self control, is the place you know love to already be. 

I'll say it again in this way, please hear me, the very place you cannot love, or return love, is the exact same place within you where you believe you don't have love.  It is the place in you where you can't even see that love is already there...given.  It is the place in you where you are not open to receive it.  For once you receive it in that place, once you see it, there will be nothing holding you back from giving it. 

And one day you will see it.  One day, you will see the love that was there, all along, given in tiny moments of shining glory...just as I did. 

Love remains.  It is alive and well.  Extending Itself, shining It's light, through the human heart of mankind...waiting, waiting, holding It's Gift open throughout all time...for you... to let it touch you, heal you, and the only thing you have to do is open yourself to receive It.  Once you do that, there will be nothing holding you back from giving it.

"...you cannot love me."

Ahhhh....but I do.

----   

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

What You THINK You Know

I want you to
take a moment...
just a moment
and step back
from self
your self
and go over there
to
the other
what you consider
the other
now
what are their thoughts?
what are they feeling?
could it possibly
just possibly
be somewhat different
than what you think
they are thinking
and feeling?
open your mind
open your emotions
open your soul
and go
OVER THERE
what if
they actually meant
what they said
that their WORD
was true
what would that do
to your world?
could it be
that all you think
you know
of them
is wrong?

God forbid.

What did I ever say
or do
that had you turn
against me?
Look
at the facts
the facts
what was my crime
exactly
other than some
thought
that entered
into your mind
and whispered
"She is your enemy."

---

Monday, August 29, 2011

Shimmering Pools

What is this sadness
that lingers?
It tugs
without much strength
like fingers of a child
grabbing hold
what it can
of my apron
And when I turn
to look down
into those pools
of loveliness
the color of the sea
shimmering with wetness
I remember
that I forgot
in my grown upness
what it is like
to play

---

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Peeling Off The Princess

When I look back over the past 50 years of my life, I am surprised. 

I have a memory of sitting down on a stool in front of the television, and watching the Oscar Awards for the very first time.  I think I was 6 years old, and I was captivated.  It was like a kind of magic to me, where a world of beauty existed, full of smiling faces, and what I thought to be love and abundance.  I felt a longing rise up in me...I wanted that to be my world.  As I sat watching the show, I made a decision that one day I would know that world, and perhaps stand on that stage, and know the love of the world.  From then on I began playing dress up.  In my mind I wore beautiful, flowy dresses, and wore my hair in an upsweep, decorated with lovely bows.  In my mind, everyone loved me, and thought I was beautiful. 

I entered the world of pretend.

I carried that dream for many years to come, not aware of what motivated it.  I only knew I wanted to be someone different.  My mother tells me she'd catch me sometimes, looking in the mirror at the image of myself, saying to it, "I hate you!"  Experts in child psychology say whatever is happening within a child will be manifested in play, and their relationship with self will be displayed in their treatment of dolls, or in their drawings.  I changed the appearance of every doll I ever had.  I cut their hair, marked their faces, and rarely treated them lovingly.  There was always something I wanted to change, never happy with the way they were.  My drawings reflected the emotions I had for my image in the mirror, dark, twisted, the characters malformed.  Then I'd tear them up and throw them away. 

Of course, now I understand the little girl that I was, and I know why she so desperately wanted away from herself, and the harsh reality she lived in.  Now, I understand what situations like sexual abuse, neglect, and abandonment, etcetera, etcetera, do to the insides of a little person.  Not yet equipped to handle all that, much less be able to even articulate what's going on, I found the only creative way I knew to survive.  I entered a dream world where everything is lovely, bright and shiny, clean and perfect.  The unfortunate thing was I had people around me who inadvertantly fed that pretend self...seeming to like it better than the real thing.  And so, I carried that self to adulthood, which, now I understand is how ego, or the false self is born.

Yet... throughout my attempt to make my world, and myself, different than what it was, I'd have sudden flashes of awareness drop in, where I'd find myself mired in the earth as if I'd been suddenly dropped there from somewhere up above.  Here I was, a princess in my own mind, being dropped into a village with the "common folk," and worse yet, behaving like them!  I suspect those were the times I'd find myself standing in front of the mirror afterward, spewing hatred toward my image. 

How could I be so earthy?  How could I like climbing trees, going barefoot, chasing cows, playing in barns, running through orchards stealing apples, and sliding down fire escapes, not caring if my backside got black with soot?  How could I like laying on my tummy, planting my nose in the grass, curious as to what lived underneath the surface?  Or flopping over onto my back, staring up at the sky for hours on end, lost in it's ever changing beauty, and not giving a damn that I had grass stains from the endeavor.  How could I have this adventurous spirit, that didn't shy away from a challenge, even if it was deemed only fit for boys?  How could I like freeing my hair from it's perfect little "do," allowing the wind to blow through it, setting my unruly curls free, frizz be damned, not caring how it looked?  How could I love getting wet, standing in the rain, arms outstretched, calling down the lightning, daring it to strike me?

How could I be so sensuous?  Loving the touch, the scents, sounds, sights, and taste of this earthly existence?

So back up into my lonely little castle in the clouds I'd go, pretending to be something more...dignified, I guess.  Until one day I lost sight of that earthly creature, who became a stranger to me, the persona I'd created taking on a life of its own.  I couldn't understand why my world was so small, so filled with fear.  Why couldn't I feel my life anymore?  Why did I feel so disassociated, and isolated, with no sense of connection with anyone or anything?  Why did that "other" part of me seem so much like an enemy I needed to keep down?  Why did I feel like I was just one big ball of pain, and was weeping out of every pore of my body?  What the hell happened to me?  This wasn't the way it was supposed to be!  Instead of bright and shiny, perfect and clean, I found I only saw more filth and ugliness and drudgery I needed to get away from, hating my existence, and hating the world, but most of all, hating my very human-ness.  Every part of my being yearned to jump right out of my skin. I despaired.

And in answer to my despair came a Presence.  I don't fail to see the irony here, because at the same time I was living a life of pretense, I also began earnestly searching for the Truth.  I began to realize the world I was wanting, the world I saw on television long ago, was also a bunch of people playing dress up, living a life of pretend.  That truth came crashing into me one night after I finished singing for a crowd, and stepped off the stage only to hear several people say to me, while smiling I might add, "You would be such a fabulous singer if you only lost 20 pounds!"  Sure!  Because the sound of my lovely voice has everything to do with the way that I look!  Was there no real escape from this human existence of ugliness?  At the time, God was a huge no go for me, because I perceived Him to be too judgmental and punishing for my liking, so I went searching in other areas, avoiding God like the plague. 

But there He was, all Big Presence Like, no mistaking Him whatsoever, and the funny thing is, I recognized Him.  Like something in me already knew Him.  How could that be?  I didn't know, and didn't think about it too much at first, because I was initially floored at His Presence showing up to me personally, little anti-christ that I perceived myself to be.  But more than that, the thing I rebelled against, the thing I resisted more than the knowledge that He was indeed real, was His Love.  Everything in me recoiled from It, way more than His actual existence.  Because it wasn't some general oooaahhh kind of love...no, it was directed specifically at my person.  God...the Big Kahuna in the sky, loved me.  And worse, I felt the first stirrings of my own heart in answer, desiring to love Him back.  Which is when I put the brakes on and pretty much took the stance, "Hold on, You!  I don't have to love You!"  Weird...I know. 

It took awhile for me to trust Him, to take the blame off Him for the ills in the world, and in my life.  It took awhile to adjust to His consistent Presence, and His Love for me.  But once I did trust Him and His Love, there was really no going back.  I let His Spirit move me, teach me through experiences, recognizing His hand in them, not so much re-shaping me but taking me back to my original shape.  It only felt like I was being re-shaped because the princess, the mask I'd donned over the years, the false self that had taken on a life of its own, was being peeled off layer by layer. 

It felt like I was being taken down, but I know now I was being humbled, false pride stripped away, to be replaced with something more glorious than I could possibly comprehend.  The past few years I've lived in relative poverty, living, what I thought, at the mercy of others.  For the life of me I could not get a job, or keep it if I did happen to get one, and its almost like I stood by watching as so many material things I held dear were lost to me.  I also watched people who I thought were my friends slip away, people who I thought loved me.  They didn't love me, they loved some representation of me.  They loved the princess...the person I wasn't.  The person I made, not the person God made. 

When I was finally stripped down to the core, no defenses left, heart broken wide open with a love beyond words, exposed, what I found was...little ole human me, imperfect, who loves getting wet, getting lost in a song, touching the earth, lifting my face to the sunrise, dancing...and a love for humanity.  Being one with the common folk.  Then I was led back home, by the love of a Father, Who reconnected me with the child that I was, His child.  I live close to where I was born...in an environment that evokes the now welcome memories of the love that always existed within me for the earth, and this very human existence. 

The child has come home, her love standing forth, healed, embraced within me.  The princess is gone, and in her place stands a woman.  Nothing special.  I'm just a woman.  And oh so grateful, and surprised at my gratitude, to be just that. 

---

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

Inspirational Food

Josh Spector shared this video on his site several days ago, and it was like inspirational food for me.  I thought to share it this morning with Ben, one of my roomies, and he loved it too.  In between writing another post, I've been chatting with my daughter online today, and sent her a link to watch it, and she loved it so much she told me I should post it here to share with you. 

In Josh Spector's words, it "features an unusual pairing as Detroit’s Selected of God Choir has put together a cover version of Detroit native Eminem’s hit song “Lose Yourself.” It’s a good take, and proceeds from the song are going to three different Detroit charities."

Enjoy :)




---

The Switch

Imagine
if you will
a world
with no people
Perhaps
it would look
something like
Mars
Does love
or hate
exist on Mars?
Or
do they need
a channel
say
like the heart
of a human
to express
and show
such things
exist?
When harnessed
doesn't electricity
a force unseen
need a circuit
to follow
where it then
can manifest
itself as a light
seen?
Who controls
the switch?

---


Saturday, August 20, 2011

The Choice

Right now, in my lap, sits an outline for a book I started writing years ago.  I dug it out last night from the crypt I'd been keeping it in, and after seeing and reading it again, I sat holding it tightly against my heart.  It felt like I had just reconnected with an old love, and I clutched it to my breast, weeping with joy and gratitude for it's resurrection.

I mentioned in a previous blog that since arriving in Ohio I've finally found a measure of peace, and a glorious sense of freedom.  I feel no unfinished business tugging at my soul, with the exception of one thing, but that is something for the future, and I'm okay with that.  But for the most part, it feels exactly how I'd imagine it'd feel if my karma was wiped clean.  And let me tell you...the experience of freedom I feel within my soul has been worth every step I've taken for the past 20 years. 

Within that freedom I recognize I am in a state of Grace, and I have been allowing myself to hang out there, unencumbered, soaking in it.  I needed to let everything go for a time, give myself a much needed break from many things, including writing here.  I have found the practice of fasting to be profoundly beneficial, and I'm not talking about fasting from food, although that has it's place.  Years ago, I took the practice of fasting into other areas of my life, like fasting from speaking for a day, or a behavior, or from anything we do from habit, without thinking.  Fasting has a way of bringing it back to our consciousness, and if you ever want to find out why you do something, fasting from it for 24 hours, or a week, will bring you that discovery quick enough.  It is a practice to self awareness that brings amazing results.

I also know from experience that when we make a conscious decision to seek the establishment of peace, love, or freedom within us, anything in existence that is not of these things will rise up from within to be dealt with.  Call it what you will -- ego, shadow side, Ed -- makes no difference, because the experience of it is the same within everyone.  We humans aren't as different as some like to believe, and ego is extremely predictable.  That's it's weakness.  Consider it an upside down version of the good you are attempting to establish within you.  It is the false god, one that looks and acts like the version of the real thing, but without the true Spirit of the real thing to back it up, i.e. put in action with true feeling...not with pretense.  A person can say they love another, or give a thousand apologies regarding the same deed, but until it's backed up with action, and followed through, it means absolutely nothing.

But I digress, and only bring all this up for this reason...

After a couple of weeks of basking in Grace land, I became aware of a decision I thought I'd made, but really hadn't, and once you know something there really is no going back to not knowing it, so I had to face it down, which wasn't too much fun.  I would rather have ignored it all together, and probably would have, but for one thing...it had to do with writing -- my passion, the thing that makes my heart quicken, that brings me alive, that makes my soul sing wildly.  I discovered there was a conflict inside me whose time had come for a resolution.  I listened to both sides within me, talked about it with my roomies, and the longer I hung in indecision, the more discomfort I felt, until it finally came to a head a couple of nights ago.  Many times the past few weeks I have considered just giving up the ghost by deleting this blog, and hanging up my pen.  I came up with so many reasons for doing so, mostly pointing my finger away from myself.  But I finally had to face that ego within me, do away with false pride, and finally look at the truth...

I was fucking terrified of being hurt and rejected once again.  Of having rage and hate thrown in my face, and at my person.  I didn't trust that I would be able to handle one more rejection, one more set of eyes rolling up in mockery, one more look of scorn, one more person telling me to shut the fuck up, one more person asking me to be different than who I am.  Asking me to be this way, talk this way...then they'll love me.  I was scared I was alone, and rather than be alone, I would have rather given up the thing that is closer than hands or feet...

God.

What brought me to that truth were three articles I read starting with, If I Could... by Zebra Sounds author Judy Clement Wall, then the journal entry This Moment, by Raav Dem, and finally, the brilliant finishing touch, The God of Doing It Anyway, by Rumpus columnist, Sugar.  And how sweet she is!  My heart is filled with gratitude for these people, and it is for certain I ask that God bless them.

God and any creative expression, no matter the form, are so closely linked they cannot be separated.  But I was trying to separate them, even though I knew better.  I was trying to write, express about love, humility, kindness, peace, abundance...all things of God, but with the attempt to Etch God Out.  Ego.  I would not fully claim my God, nor be claimed by Him for fear of experiencing hate filled rejection and belittlement once again.  Compare it to someone who goes out in public with their spouse, but pretends not to know him, keeping a clean distance, for fear they will be shunned.  I haven't been true to the God who loves me, and as a result, I haven't been true to myself.  And the light He gave me, the very light of the Divine within me, will not ever shine through my talents and gifts until I bring together what was separated by me.  Only then can I come from a truer place.

The God I know, the God I have had a relationship with for the past 20 years...that God is nothing like what those in organized religion teach, and the irony is His Spirit isn't far from what I see happening in so many people.  The Spirit of God is alive, and He lives in every heart that loves, that offers forgiveness, that offers healing words, or art, whatever.  He is the Good expressed in this world through each and everyone of you, and more.

I don't care to convert anyone!  I really don't give a shit if you believe in God or not!  It's none of my business.  But I need to bring Him up.  I need to write about my relationship with Him, and the experiences I've had...for it is God that taught me about love.  It is God who taught me all I know about spiritual matters, and the soul.  It is the Spirit of God that moves me.  And that need was never made more plain to me than when I decided to write about abundance.  Because God is a part of that too.  God is my supply, for my supply comes from the Divine within. 

After I made peace within me, and with my God, amazingly, the decision was clear, simple, and oh so welcome.  My roomie, Ben, told me last week during one of our conversations about it, "Cindy, you'll find the choice is already made."  I asked him if he could see it, what my choice was, and he told me he could, then he grew silent.  I finally asked him if he would mind sharing, and he smiled, and said, "Yes, I'd mind.  It's not for me to say, but for you to do."  I felt like slapping him.  Yet I knew he was right.

I dug out the outline, notes, and work from a book I started years ago about my relationship with God, and what that had given me, how it had profoundly changed me, and I held all of it to my heart, so glad for it's resurrection, and more than ready to finish it from a truer, more faithful, peaceful place within me.

----

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

A Hand Suspended

When she saw her weeping
her natural instinct was
to reach for her, hold her
comfort and reassure
As her hand extended
in love and kindness
she paused mid way
a silent struggle
of indecision
And there
her love remained
an act replayed
for years to come
When asked what
stayed her hand
she replied, "I thought
my love would be
rejected in anger."
She thought...
I picture that hand
halted, suspended
in the air between
and the power
a mere thought has
to dam up
love's natural expression

----

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Before I Die...

Last night, during my meanderings on the internet, I noticed a common theme take shape.  First, I read this, zero sum, a wonderful post by Michael David Lockhart.  Then I read Before I Die, a quote by Candy Chang shared on Odyssey, a site I'm in love with, which lead me to Chang's project who, "..with help from friends and neighbors..turned the side of an abandoned house in her neighborhood into a giant chalkboard to invite people to share what is important to them."  I am in awe with such a beautiful idea put into action.  She also provides a link to submit our own dreams online here.  Read the list, it's breathtaking.

Finally, I read bentlily's Ode to Tears...and my heart knows thirst as well, to experience an authentic life, lived and loved to it's fullest potential, holding nothing back, going for my dreams, from the simplest ones to the grandest.  It doesn't even matter if they don't manifest before I die, just as long as I try.  None of it has to be perfect, only that I begin, and keep going, grace to grace, one by one.  Here is a short list of things I still dream about experiencing before my sojourn through time is done...

I have a T-shirt I wear that I received from Writer's Digest that says, "Pulitzer Prize Winner in Training."  I don't necessarily dream about achieving that prize, but wearing the T-shirt reminds me how important writing is to me.  I'll go for published...lots :).

I want to be a witness to my grandchild's birth, watch my daughter and son-in-law raise him/her.  Be a part of his life, spoil him rotten, watch him grow to adulthood, loving him all the way. 

I want to see this, the Cumberland Falls Moonbow in Kentucky...not too far from where I live :D.  I just learned about it.  I had never heard of a moonbow!  How cool is that??  Look it up, it's worth it :)


And this, Ohio's Great Serpent Mound


Those are just a few of the things I dream of doing.  There is so much more!  It's more than a bucket list, because I don't think we should wait until we reach a certain age.  Life is too short as it is.  I've seen too many folks waiting for retirement, or waiting for the perfect time, waiting for the perfect mate, waiting to love, waiting to live, waiting, waiting...  We waste precious time waiting....

We can start now...first with allowing that our dreams are possible, and then by making a decision we are gonna do it, then taking action, one little step at a time until that dream is fulfilled. 

I want to be like the man in bentlily's poem, when I'm at the end of my life sayin' to my love, "It was exquisite." 

How 'bout you?  What do you dream of doing?

---


 

Thursday, August 11, 2011

My Daughter's Good News


I had another blog planned for today, but....

I've been antsy since Tuesday, when my daughter told me she may be pregnant.  She told me she'd let me know today...

I found out this afternoon she is indeed with child!  My baby is gonna be a Mama!  I'm so excited I feel I'll burst from the joy of it! 

I'm gonna be a Grandmama! 

And I am so, so happy for my daughter and son-in-law.  They are gonna be fantastic parents! 

I am so in joy right now, I can't sit still, or think to write... 

Woot!

---

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Muchness

One night, last winter, I lay dreaming...

I saw a huge storehouse with a massive door.  I knew abundance was inside, infinite.  To the side of the door stood an Angel.  I walked up to him and as I came to stand beside him he turned, and swinging his arm toward the storehouse, he said with a smile, "It is yours."  It took me a moment to realize what he was saying.  When it finally hit, I looked at him and said, "Mine?"   He smiled, but didn't reply.  Indeed, there was no need...I knew it was mine, and as I looked toward the storehouse door again I felt a nervousness begin to tighten my gut.  I backed away, suddenly afraid, feeling a responsibility I didn't understand, and as I did so, I asked the Angel, "Um...can it wait?  Can you give me some time?  I'm not quite ready for it."  He gave me an amused look, and I knew I was being foolish.  I also knew that door would be opened, and the time would come for me to do so.  I woke up with a nervous, unreasonable fear within me...

Suffice it to say, I've worked through the fear, and the time has now come for me to open wide that door to abundance...and you are invited along, as I aim my arrow toward it's mark, and give it wings to fly. 

Below is a scene from Alice In Wonderland.  My daughter shared it with me a couple of months ago, before she moved to Texas.  As I watched the scene it struck right at my heart, and I felt a yearning rise up in me.  I knew what he was talking about.  I had lost my muchness too, in recent years, and I wanted it back. 

I've found my muchness, renewed, and now I'm about to become much muchier.  I've learned how to slay the fear. 



---




Thursday, August 4, 2011

I Am Coming Back :)

I know I've been a bit absent from this blog since my arrival in Ohio, but seriously, I have never in my life felt this way...so free.  It is the most delicious thing ever.  It feels like the Spirit of Life Itself has been freed within my being, and I am keenly aware of It's Presence within me, like a clean river, strong, steady, and peaceful as it flows through my veins with each breath and beat of my heart, quickening every cell in my body.  I feel so gloriously alive. 

I have more to share, but for now, I am delighting in this new sense of freedom.  Peace is establishing itself within me, and those who think that peace is boring have another think coming.  It is actually the very thing needed for Life to be experienced and expressed more fully, and with added richness.  It is not an absence of anything, but rather an all inclusiveness of everything, past, present and future within an individual life. 

Really, make friendly relations with all that lives within, and outside you.  

I'll be back soon...I haven't forgotten you.  I've been making plans as to the direction I'd like to take as I enter the third act of my life.  It is a brief intermission only.  And perhaps a costume change...:) 

I'm so excited! 

---

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Forget Me Not

He leaves trails
behind himself
Quiet announcements
of his passing
coins dropped
where he has sat
a kitchen in shambles
where he has cooked
art materials
where he's been creative
tools and screws
where he was handy
Like arrows pointing
at what he gave
and that his presence
matters

---