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 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, 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


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. 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 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.