Seeing a new…

stonehenge-aerialAs I rolled up the hill and rounded a bend, I could see them. Standing sentinel-like, they stood in stark contrast to what they were there to see – or should I say – worship. In various colours and states of repair, they surely housed the last of those who had come for solstice celebrations. Only hours ago this place would have been packed with people hoping, perhaps, to connect with other worlds. As is always the case, traffic slows along this stretch of road where Neolithic era meets modern, creeping by as if on tip-toe.  I am one of them, breathing deeply, gaze fixed intently on the site hoping to catch a vision of some ancient contractor. Correct, I want to know how. I can figure the why.

Looking at it right now against a lack lustre morning sky, I’m underwhelmed by its size. Pictures do it more service because today, to me, it looks puny. Don’t misunderstand. It’s bloody awesome, just less striking than when seen in those shots with the sun blazing through it. Angles, it’s all about angles and maybe lenses. I don’t know anything about photography but realise in this moment how photos can put a sheen on stuff otherwise missed by the eye.

The rag-tag line-up of caravans are out of sight now, as are the stones. All that’s left are the birds – dozens or maybe hundreds of them. I marvel that they are always here no matter time of day or year. It begs the questions, “Why?”

The first time I drove to Stonehenge, the fence rows were lined with hundreds of what I called crows. And, crows they might well be because I’m not astute enough yet to tell the difference between rooks and crows although I’m working to become astute. Hmm. Regardless, if indeed they are crows, this land on which sits a marvel of the past might also be home to one of their courts. I’d hazard a guess something like a Supreme Court with all the feathery comings and goings. If these are rooks, I’m a tad confused because I can’t readily see trees for them to nest in. Rooks, I’ve learned, travel together in packs. I have several dozen nesting not far outside my window. Nevertheless, whichever black bird, they a plentiful in the fields here and lend to the magical, mystical air.

Around and about the monolith, the landscape rises and falls gracefully but a bit extremely, too. It is easy to imagine water flowing here in the low areas, reaching the place of worship by boat doesn’t seem impossible to me. The valleys are wide and deep still even after several millennia of silt fill. This landscape from Salisbury to Avebury and Stonehenge would have looked different 5000 years ago as would the people and their monuments. Today what we have left of them acts as a constant reminder of our own longevity, ingenuity, and very likely, ritualised brutality.

I don’t hold a vision of a better, stronger, smarter race from days of yore. Indeed, if there had been, we’ve let them down terribly. What I do hold to is our ability to learn and still love despite our many failings and continued barbarism. It’s easy to focus on the myth and legend and leave out the horror. It’s a cop out to idealise the past while vilifying the present. All we have is this very moment.

My wish is for seeing eyes and open hearts. Lately I’ve found it hard to like people. I’ve been short with many, judgemental, doubtful they’ve anything good going on in them at all. I’ve been self-righteous. When all is said and done, of course, it’s got to do with how I feel about me. All my imperfections and short comings shine very bright when I’m cutting somebody else down. So tonight, I see my own sorrow, and open my heart to me. When I do this, I hear a voice saying, “Forgive yourself and try again tomorrow”. And I will.

Until then. Until tomorrow…

 

 

Finding peace…

IMG_1736_LI (2).jpgToday was one of “those” days. I slipped hard, lost my grip. Of course I sort of knew it was coming on, but I also hoped it would pass. Mostly things come in waves, yes? Ripples to tsunamis. I think that’s true for the majority of us sentient types. I’m not really that different from everybody else, am I? My mind plays tricks preferring to gain the advantage, but surely that’s true for most. Since I’ve only seven days to sort things, however, I cannot afford to wallow too much, or focus on only one aspect of my life. I’ve five decades to review!

This is far from the first time a memory has given rise to shame so intense as to beg incredulity. I ask myself “what’s it all about?” and like Alfie struggle for an answer, all the while trying keep calm and remind myself that I’ve killed no one, started no war. Still, in the grand scheme, I don’t want to feel these feelings anymore, would love to reconcile them, let them go. I do have to ask if maybe I’m just simply insane.

Some of my worst memories are linked to booze soaked decisions like those words spoken under the influence that cannot be unsaid, or embarrassing one-night romps with “don’tknowhisname-guy”. Not all my guilt can be tied to demon alcohol though. Plenty of stupid things were done fully sober. Whatever my condition at the time really makes no difference. The end is the same. I recall highly regrettable events and am transported into a stomach turning, dank, icky darkness. Sickened, I always ask, “How could I?” meaning how could I have done whatever it is I’m remembering.

Tears can help release some of the vice-like grip these feeling have on me, but when they don’t come right away, the sorrow and waves of nausea hold tight. It’s horrific, suffocating, and being in this state can be too much. It’s too much today. I decide get some magic beans.

On the way to Doc G’s office, the tears finally start which causes me to lose the road a tad. It’s not easy driving in this place at the best of times. Luckily, despite the blur, I see the red light. Sobbing, I’m clearly not at my best but in full view stopped at the intersection. I can feel his eyes on me. His laughter rings in my ears. He’s thinking “stupid woman”, isn’t he? I muster a soupcon of chutzpah and catch his gaze as the light turns green. It’s full of concern and he mouths something like “…be okay.” I burst like the proverbial dam, water streaming down my cheeks joining the snot now pouring out of my nose. Stunning picture.

When I’m this far gone, which is seldom I should add, my GP’s nurses slip me into any slight gap in his schedule. I’m not left in the waiting room, instead am shepherded into an examining room where I can sit with the blood pressure cuff and cotton balls. They won’t judge me. Until the doc gets around to me, one or another assistant pops in for idle conversation. I know they’re reassuring themselves I’m not trying to commit harikari with a tongue depressant.

End excerpt from On the Seventh Day

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I wish for peace of mind for anyone who is struggling to feel positive, today. Guilt and shame, while necessary behavioural markers for human beings, wreaks havoc on the human spirit when imbalanced. When out of whack, those powerful negative emotions can have us walking gloomy paths of despair and relentless sorrow. Where does the balance get struck? Perhaps in ownership. Owning one’s feelings and allowing them to be ‘okay’ for a time. Or, perhaps with forgiveness. We can only really forgive ourselves but in that act, we open ourselves to ultimate, deep healing. And, perhaps in reminding ourselves that there is nothing done that hasn’t been done before, and better, nothing that cannot be forgiven. Here’s to the peace that comes from loving, forgiving, and owning.

Until tomorrow…

Subliminally speaking…

subliminalThe dark parts of her are growing. It makes me feel better. Why should she have what I was denied? I want to make damn sure she does not get what was denied me. So far, my plan is working.

Subliminal messages were successfully woven into advertising when I was little. I can’t remember when I found out about them, but when I did, I was even more determined. And, I can see my suggestions working in Elizabeth. My voice feeds the fire of her doubt, her confidence can’t take a firm hold. Oh, she’s strong, but I can see her weakening, gradually. I just have to be persistent.

After Nanny’s funeral, Lizzie returned to school, settling into classes and daily life with her friends and the nuns. Boarding school was nothing like she’d imagined it would be and she hated it. Looking back she always wondered why she didn’t love it, why she found so many things impossible to love.

Short excerpt from Adopting Elizabeth

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I wish tonight for a greater awareness when it comes to ‘subliminal messages’, the voice in our head that prefers a half empty glass. That voice speaks only to defeat us, encouraging our fear and doubt. It is the language of everything de-creative, filled with jealous judgements. There is no room for magic. Meditation can erase that voice and direct us toward awareness needed to fill up the glass. Care to join me as I sit? Om…

Until tomorrow…

 

 

It’s not mainstream…

churchill-stand-for-something.jpgEach night a Tawny Owl calls out from across this valley I inhabit. I never hear a distinct reply but occasionally there is a treble echo which might well be a response. I figure it’s far off since sounds travel great distances here, or do they? I’m not sure about that. Regardless, I don’t know whether the bird I hear is female or male though it matters not for my purposes. I’m no ornithologist. Anywho, the bird’s resolute call is over now. It begins and ends on cue so it seems. Wait, I hear it again. So it is not finished for the night, but perhaps it tires and that’s the reason the time between each call is longer. And now it’s done.

I love that I’m hearing something repetitive. I’m not good at repeating. Is that a failing? Perhaps. Nevertheless, it’s me. Lately, I’m back to ripping strips off myself as I watch my beautiful friends build houses for those in need, give up warmth to “stand” in the frigid cold, and finish a message long percolating. What good am I?

Each of us has a purpose. These beautiful souls are following theirs. Am I?

My wish tonight is that I “stand”. Simple? Maybe not. Standing, as we’ve witnessed lately, is not so easy. It means I stand up to stand for, stand with, or stand in my power. It means I get up, take a position, and get off the fence. Wow. It is so not easy, is it? But I wish for the strength to do that – because it matters. I want to matter, so I think I’ll stand up now.

Until tomorrow…

Running is okay…

brideIn the movie “Runaway Bride”, the heroine was an escape artist of sorts. She was moderately successful and accomplished, surrounded by the warmth of protective friends, and because Julia Roberts was the star, she was also, beautiful.

As the story goes, Maggie could step up and into almost any role until it came to what was, for her, a real commitment. Why couldn’t she finish what she started? Well, here’s where I’m gonna jump in with my two cents: because she wasn’t real. Her facade could only sustained during the superficiality of courtship. The day-to-day would have blown the lid off her pretense and she knew it.

Of course, as any good romance goes, she steps into her power and marries her heart’s desire. I like the ending because I’m a sap, but the middle bits did leave an impression on me.

Many of my blogs recount highly emotional experiences for me. For most of us, whatever has caused trauma in our lives can set us reeling over and over again until we peel back its layers sufficiently enough to stop the reeling. What do I mean by peeling back the layers of a trauma? Radical events are seldom simple. Like a tree that we can see above the ground, it’s easy to forget the roots underneath. So, for us, we might believe a hurtful time or event is dealt with until we are reminded of a part buried out of sight. When a memory is triggered, strong reactions are evoked. In my case, allowing my heart to open to all that I know while accepting what I do not or cannot know about one event or another, while rendering me somewhat breathless, is the only way to cope. I let myself get battered by feelings until I can be beaten no more. Once exhausted, I surrender and in that place I can recuperate. Just like the Runaway Bride, I run until I cannot, then I get up and try again. Am I only repeating myself? I don’t think so – not really.

Each time we fall and decide to get up, or as this story goes, runaway from something today and run back tomorrow, we afford ourselves the opportunity to learn valuable lessons about ourselves. To the onlooker, we’re on a merry-go-round, but inside we are growing. For me, I can pretend to know what my mother went through upon learning she was pregnant, but it’s only a rude guess. The result of all this guessing is a life’s story chockablock with scenarios based on fragments of this and that, and lots of secrets and lies. Shame, really. Still, it’s about trying again because I believe trying again is worth it even though I might say something quite the opposite. Somewhere inside I know that in time I’ll find my truth – mine alone – by running away and then running back toward myself.

My wish tonight is for the courage to run, but not always away. It’s true enough that sometimes we really should run away from people, places, and things. But there are times when we need to find the courage to run back, too, to try again, because eventually we’ll get it right. Being true to ourselves might mean finding out who that self is. Here’s to the courage and the stamina to run until we find them.

Until tomorrow…

Perspective…

Bird.jpgShe was dying. Those familiar sensations in her body were unmistakable. She was not resigned about it, rather she had surrendered. She was getting better at this.

It’s too easy to sail through life without ever knowing what dying is like. Not so for her, she had tons of experience. This time seemed a bit different, though, which had her asking, was this the big one, the last hurrah?

Most of us imagine dying on occasion. Our religious or cultural ethnicity might talk about angels of death, fiery pits, or those virgins some believe await them on the colloquial ‘other side’. There’s a belief for some that they’ll reunite with loved ones long past. She had no desire for that fate. There was no on she wanted to see.

For those who struggle with life, dying can be an intoxicating idea, a wanted release and blessed alternative to their current state. Somewhere beyond the hopelessness, a memory of Eden described at the knee of a priest or parent where the wolf lives with the lamb, lingers. In this place all is forgiven, nothing is lost and sorrow, erased. Thing is, it’s too easy to doubt that place exists, and she was a doubter even though soon, it was not likely to matter. Or so she was thinking.

Once home, she put on her favourite Loreena McKennitt track and swayed gracefully, arms lifting, legs stretching, head rocking side to side, lids heavy. Her body let go of the day while she hummed, her tone a perfect match to the singer. Had anyone been watching, they’d have been mesmerized, or aroused. She was very beautiful, her limbs loose but controlled, a gentle determination in each movement. Her hips swayed. No one could have guessed her secret.

When she crawled into bed, her heart was light though her mood a bit dark. It had been a good run, yes? She had loved someone once and pretty sure she’d been loved in return. Her faults and blunders were plentiful but surely insignificant in the grand scheme and, she told her self she was reconciled as her eyes closed.

In the morning, her new life began.

My wish tonight is that each transition we face, in whatever form it comes, be accepted as an opportunity, a new day, a new life, a new beginning. Each incarnation can open us, or we can close ourselves. We always have a choice. This is a big wish because it asks us to embrace goodbyes, difficult options, and grave hardships. Too difficult? Not if we practice. With time we might just get better at it.

Until tomorrow…