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 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 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 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 -
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
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
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


yet, when
a thing persists
refuses to die
inside me
over time
to be made manifest
I do know
through experience
that what I feel
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
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
and how extravagant
we are
with time
and the claiming
of our own


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...

storm chasing

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 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
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... cannot love me because I am too young, too old, too fat, too lazy, too ugly, too angry, too poor, too this, too 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 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 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,

" 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,

" cannot love me."  

For I've seen the love in 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.

" cannot love me."

Ahhhh....but I do.