Why Is The Sky Blue?

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

Your first word was light.

It’s ironic that you grew up to wear such a dark costume. I guess it wasn’t a costume as much as it was a uniform.

When you were home you wore a tee shirt and shorts with your flip-flops and your hair in a pony tail and you looked relaxed, friendly even.

But when you went out you put on several layers of chains and your skull and cross bone ties, the all black button-down shirts, black pants, black Fedora, knives in your pocket, and the face. You put on the face that said, “Don’t fuck with me.” 

But I knew you.

1.

I didn’t always know you. Aside from when you were a child, I saw the uniform, the tough guy and didn’t get to know the tender hearted guy underneath until the last two years of your life.

2.

It’s all about perspective. Isn’t it? One shift in perspective can change everything. We can wake up.

Dreaming or awake, I think that is the thing to be. Right now, I am awake, so it feels right and true.

It seems like other states of consiouness are not as important because they are not immediate.

What if dreams and altered states of consciousness are fields of potential scattered over space and time like a beam of light scattered over the atmosphere.

What if, even before you are born, and after you die, you are light, or energy in a field of uncertainty where life and death are alternately particle and wave?

I am just daydreaming now which is an important and useful state of consciousness, because we don’t always know how we know what we know; we just have to wait and be open to whatever comes to us.

3.

I wish I could have shared with you a revelation I had the other day. You would have loved it.

I was trying to sketch a candle flame on a scrap of paper, to capture the concept of divine love as a flame. It seemed like the candlelight was hugging the flame.

I kept drawing the lines over and over, trying to get it right.

All of a sudden, I realized that light attracts light like a magnet. I knew instantly, instinctively, that light would cling to itself.  I could almost feel the magnetic pull.

It was such a strong knowing! I had to validate it. I did a Google search about light and electromagnetic energy and discovered that photons are indeed cohesive.

I used other source information to back up what I intuited, but I learned about the cohesive properties of photons by drawing a candle flame and daydreaming deeply about divine love! 

4.

Night dreams are valuable too.

Some people can train themselves to tap into the power of dreams to help solve everyday problems.

I have a friend in Finland whose cat got lost in a snowstorm. My friend is a lucid dreamer.

He went to bed after posing the question, “Where is my cat?” He dreamed that the cat was in an old pig barn not too far away.

When he woke up the next day, he went there to find the cat.

No luck at first.

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

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

He found his cat by using information he’d gleaned from a lucid dream.

5.

I want to dream about you, Nick, so I can find you, tell you I love and miss you, tell you how proud of you I am.

I want to believe that death is just a trick of the light, a shift in the energy of consciousness.

When a beam of light hits the atmosphere, molecules of gas break it up; they scatter it. The short, blue waves are what you see hanging around in the sky.

The other rays of the spectrum are not gone, you just don’t see them.

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

  6.

I like patterns and rhythm. I make stuff up all the time just for the flow of sound, for the click and pound, for the sharp and round of the ups and downs. It helps me think.

So, does the world my senses show me portray the world that is as it is, or do I  create my reality?

You call that table green, so it is green. But what looks green to me is not green to Tim. Everything green looks brown to him. So do we have a problem with reality, or perception?

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

7.

 During your last two years on the planet we got to watch stand up comedy almost every night. You lived in apartment 9 and I lived in 11 so we were right next door to one another.

There was a comedian we liked who did a bit about a kid asking why the sky is blue. His name is Harland Williams. He says this kid comes up to him, tugs on his sleeve, and says, “Hey Mister, why is the sky blue?” And Harland starts to tell him some tall tale but you jump in and say, “because of the scattering of light over macro-dynamic-mighty  molecules – because the molecules pick up the blue light rays that come in to the atmosphere, and that is why the sky appears blue.

Williams looks at you, dumbfounded. 

Quentin Tarantino snaps the black and white clapperboard shut and says, “That’s a wrap.”

Still staring at you he says, “Oh, sorry dude.”  Then you fade to black.

There is canned laughter and I am beginning to realize this must be a dream. I look at the back of my hand. Old habit.

Without pause, the dreamscape changes.

We are walking down the hall of the apartment building together and a neighbor says “Hello, Nick.”

You swear he is using a disparaging tone of voice.

8.

It was like we were in two worlds because we could be in the same hallway, experiencing the same set of circumstances and I’d see it one way and you would see it another way altogether.

You’d interpret the greeting “Hello, Nick.” to mean that the neighbor thought he was better than you and that he was disrespecting you  –that he had to make some statement about the way you dress, had to say something about the hat you were wearing or the tattoos all over your body or the skulls on your person or whatever it was that you thought people were judging you harshly for. I think it’s safe to conclude that your experience of life was torturous.

I thought he was just being friendly.

9.

I had a dream before you were born, and because of that dream, I knew it would be hard for you in this lifetime; You knew it too. We both knew what we were signing up for and we agreed it would be worth it in spite of the hardship.

We’d agreed to forget the details of the prenatal dream after our conversation in the delivery room. The lesson wouldn’t have had the same impact if we knew ahead of time what was going to happen. So even though I couldn’t remember the particulars, I  never forgot the dream.

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

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

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

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

You’d come to, weak and trembling, not sure what had transpired.

Sometimes darkness took you, beat the hell out you, tried to kill you, choked you, turned your face blue, tore up your mouth, knocked out your teeth, cut your head, twisted your neck, bruised your back, and scraped your legs and ankles raw.  And there were realms and caverns of suffering in you that I couldn’t even fathom.

So when the neighbor said hello, I  wanted to offer him a cup of tea and a little Reiki maybe.

But you interrupted the very same greeting as a threat.

I always said there is more than one reality and you said, “No! There is only one reality!” It made you very angry to think of alternate scenarios for the way things were for us, even though you were highly imaginative and came up with all kinds of possible situations for characters in your art. 

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

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

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

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

I felt helpless.

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

10.

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

I want to wake up under a tree like Siddhartha. 

I want to fly like Jonathan Livingston Seagull.

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

I know in my bones that the dreams of my heart are possible; I have experienced enough miracles to know that I would have missed them had I not had the receptivity to see them.

Some people may think conscious only goes so far, but I say, let’s see how far!

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

But I lost interest in trying to control what seemed to be more suited for free association. Dreams are not usually something you work at; they are gifts; the dream of you was a gift that I cherish more than ever now.

11.

Where does the stuff we dream up come from? I wouldn’t say my own dreams come from myself because my first important dream, the Lion Dream, happened when I was four and there is no way I could have made up a dream as complex as the Lion dream at four.

One Lion, by JB 2018

I couldn’t understand it all then, not enough to verbalize it or tell anyone about it. But I never forgot it.

It took me years to unpack it.

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

11

I’ve always thought that to die is not the worst thing. If my body dies, there is a light inside of me that goes on and I know this to be true ( for me) because I have been so close to death. I have had so many close calls. I woke up in ICU more times than I like to remember, angry about being there, but glad now, of course. It is so stupid to want to kill yourself.

I had this dream the other day about being in the old house on North Abilene.

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

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

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

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

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

No.” She said. “But you are.”

12.

We are never finished learning.

I wish you could see that.

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

I know. I know. Of course, you didn’t know when you said it that those would be your last words to me. If we could pick our last words, they would be different, right? We might pick funny last words.

You’d probably quote your favorite  comedian, Reggie Watts, “Molecular structure ain’t nothin’ but a thing.”

If only we could choose our last words.

13.
One neurologist explained that there are four stages of sleep, and that when most people get to stage four, they dream. But when you get to stage four, you have seizures.


I remember walking you to the bus on the first day of kindergarten. You had on a He Man tank top and Red shorts. You had a He Man lunch box. You were holding my hand. You said, “Mom, I don’t want to have seizures.”


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

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

I was silent, for once in my loud life.

13.

You didn’t want me to move in with my mother, but I felt like it was the right thing to do. I had a longing for her that made me feel homesick all the time. I was hoping I could help her with things now that she is elderly and we could mend our broken relationship at the same time. At least that is what I say. I don’t know if it was at all a rational or thought out decision.

You said you wouldn’t talk to me anymore because if I had my mother in my life then you couldn’t have me in yours. You said she was bad for me, that she would hurt me and you couldn’t stand by and watch it happen.

So when you didn’t pick up the phone, I thought you were just angry.

Days went by. After a week I was worried.

The police called.


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

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

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


But when I despair, I feel you kick me in the shins like you did under the table at La Paz.

That day at La Paz was amazing. It was the first time I felt your presence since your passing. It was your birthday, so I went with a friend to your favorite restaurant. I was trying to tell her it was your birthday but I accidentally said breath-day instead. It was then that I felt a rush of energy; it seemed to be a sign that wherever you were, you were okay. It was your breath day.

I was talking to my friend about not knowing what to do without you and I felt you kick me in the shins! It was like I’d been kicked by a beam of light.

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

15.

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

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

You kept watching and didn’t look away.

For Annesley

This is actually part of a story I told before, but it has evolved, so I’m telling it anew.

I remember a day in 1976 when I went with my housemates to Sandia Peak
Outside of Albuquerque.
I had an apple that tasted like cotton candy, and I had sipped water
From a natural spring that was almost as sweet.
I was leaning against a giant boulder, basking in the New Mexico sun.
Someone snapped a photo.
It was such a powerful shot that it crystallized the age.
Suddenly and forever sixteen would mean sun, water and sweet apple.
Now it seems that sixty is the new sixteen.
The things that satisfy me the most
are opportunities to relieve suffering,
even when that means I have to look darkness in the face and not look away,
especially when it’s my own face I see.
To share the delight of discovery with a child, and become young again through play,
to watch her face light up at the sight of a tall stand of wild grass that has gone to seed,
to marvel at the feathery tops swaying in a brisk summer breeze,
these are the things that satisfy me.
Unlike a captured, snapshot of bliss,
where goodness was locked into a place and time, sixty is open ended.
My whole life stretches out before me,
radiant beams of possibility
in rich shades of light and dark as far as my eyes can see.

Patio

The eaves wait and listen, Wondering if I’ll have nice things to say about the patio

Or not.

Birds have already gone about their business And they’re flying from the gutters on the roof to the trees.

The cat thought he was stuck up there And I told him to get down the same way he got up there But he didn’t listen.

He finally figured out another way, though, And managed to jump from the top of the porch To the highest step below. He’s already moved on now to another adventure, another tree with branches that lead to the air.

The patio is packed with caked mud, dead leaves, a jug of gasoline for the mower, pieces of a pallet that will feed the fire next winter, and so many salvaged nails and screws, Boxes of shingles, bags of lawn food and the last two boxes of the stuff we gathered From Nick’s apartment when he died.

Its hard to know what to do with it.

Its mostly clip boards and trapper keepers, But some of them still hold his artwork.

Of course I’ll keep the art

Even though it breaks my heart to look at it.

My dog must know exactly what I’m thinking And she decides enough is enough.

She fusses till I acquiesce

And take her back inside.

15 Minute Physician

An elderly woman goes to see her geriatric physician. She has multiple medical issues for which she is being treated and is on many medications, some of which make her throw up in the morning, but she can’t figure out on her own which medications are making her ill.

Her doctor, after giving her the news that he doesn’t know how to help her, abruptly opens the door to leave stating that she has already taken up too much of his time. She is left alone in the room with no plan for forward action other than “See another specialist.”

This woman worked hard until she retired at 62. She lives on a fixed income. Medicare barely covers the costs of her regular doctor visits and even less of the cost to see a specialist.

Almost all medical conditions are relegated to specialists today. Hardly any health concern is considered general care. She cannot afford to see another specialist.

To make matters worse, the physicians do not communicate well with one another, so the elderly woman’s care is fragmented and difficult for her to integrate into a cohesive plan.

Insurance won’t cover alternative medical health care. So the woman is left confused and worse off than she was before seeing a doctor.

This is health care in America. Land of the free, the brave and those left to suffer their old age poorly cared for by professionals too busy to offer the real medicine: hope.

Can we change this?

The Umbrella Tree

One of my best friends, when I was growing up, was an Umbrella tree. It’s leaves were large and spread into a green canopy on the top of a trunk that was like a giant lap. I could sit in it for hours and let my imagination go wild. But mostly I watched and listened. I watched the play of light on the leaves and branches, I watched the little ants that crawled in determined lines up and down the trunk. I listened to the rustle and whisper of the wind weaving in and out and through. I used to sing there too. It was my favorite thing to do.

I have a very personal and heart-felt connection to trees. I had my first spiritual awakening, as it is called, in that Umbrella tree; it was where I first became keenly aware that there was a benevolent force, bigger than everything that for some crazy reason, loved me. I knew it as surly as my next breath. I didn’t have words for the experience until years later when I wrote about it.

Listen, God is singing through the Elms, first as thunder, then as wind, then as trembling leaves and limb.

(I know I meantioned Elms instead of Umbrella tree in the poem; most of the trees around my house were Elm, and I felt connected to them all.)

The tree of life, as a symbol, appears in cultures all over the world. They are vital to our survival. Without trees we would not breathe clean air. Trees revitaize us and refresh our spirit.

The more we learn about trees the more they reveal how intricately they are all connected to each other and to the whole environment, including us.

They serve as a reminder that as people we are connected to one another and that each person is essential to the vitality of the whole. They remind us that we need strong, well nourished roots and that we need to stretch beyond ourselves to reach our highest potential. And they remind us that we are part of one glorious song that is being played out through the lives of every single one of us.

We listen, stretch, learn, grow and our own health is of benefit to those around us. And like trees, we support one another when one of us needs extra care. (It has been discovered that healthy trees will send vital nutrients through a fungal system to a tree that is injured or sick.)

Trees are a celebration of the life force coursing through them. We can be that too.

Strawberry Soup

I must stop listening exclusively to Mourning Doves.

All they do in May is chant about Strawberry Soup.

And they are louder than the other birds.

Or their song is so engaging all I can do is listen from the first note to the last, over and over.

As pleasant as strawberry soup must be, why would they all sing about it day in, day out, from every tree?

“Straw-berry-soup. Straw-berry-soup.”

Facing the Unknown

For Lewis

Hondo is a place in New Mexico where apples grow in crisp mountain air and yellow and gold Aspen coruscate in the clean, bright light of early Fall.

At the end of summer we would all pile into grandpa’s Chevy Nova and head to a cabin in Hondo. It had a tin roof that made music when it rained.

I rode in the back, on the floor with my head tucked down because I was worried that there would be nothing but air on the other side when we travelled to the top of a hill. In the pit of my stomach I just knew that we would all plunge to our deaths from the pinnacled summit.

Eventually I found the courage to stand up and peer over grandpa’s shoulder as he drove. (I was little enough to do that and car seats had not been invented.)

Over one hill after another, the road always rose up to meet us and the car never dropped off the edge of the world.

I’m trying to muster that same courage to look ahead when I face the unknown to this day.

There is no guarantee that I won’t fall, but experience has proved over and over that what is on the other side can be sweeter than I ever imagined.

It’s ok if I have to hunker down until I’m brave enough to look, but I’ve always been rewarded when I do.

Hungry Ghosts

I am the hungriest of all ghosts.

My appetite is like a raging beast.

Ferocity and weakness live in the same mouth

yelling for help,

cursing when it doesn’t come.

Nothing fills me up. Nothing

sustains me.

Only moaning and the sound of a dry wind

bring me in

to this place of reckoning. This

Battle ground

where hungry ghosts fight shadows and whispers

is familiar.

I have been

here before. I was as lonely then

as I am now.

I consume and consume and nothing satisfies.

There is blood in my teeth and on my hands

and no one understands the urgency with which I seek satiety.

Greedy, hungry ghost.

What hurts the most is the

is the heart that lies between

the large belly and slender throat.

The Stone You Said You’d Protect Me From.

You have cast a dark veil over my dreams and dashed my hopes against the stone you said you would protect me from.

But I trust You in spite of all that time has brought to light.

I trust You beyond the raw fright of growing old.

See how the wind picks up the dust and rushes like a dervish

to places I’ll never know?

You point and promise that You have so much more to show me,

and I believe You.

I trust You when you say stay calm, that it will be light soon enough, that the desert will bloom and everything will be born anew,

My prayers have become smoke curling around candlelight,

A delicate grasp on ephemeral hope.

If A Tree Could Take Your Pulse

If a tree could take your pulse, what would she whisper to the ground?


Would her words be soft and shallow, or would she tell a convoluted story attributing most of your characteristics to your ancestors and the loam where you put out your tenderest roots?


What would she conclude by listening to the murmer of your leaves and branches?


How would she react as you let the first leaf of August, fall?

Awkward, Not Awful

What would it take to be comfortable in an awkward relationship?”

I’d have to be able to adapt.

I’d have to stay centered.

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

That means I’d have to trust my ability to interpret cues from the environment as well as the prompting of the Still Small Voice.

I need to speak up for myself without trying to push my values onto another person.

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

I’d need to go deep into the part of myself that simply hums I am.

Awkward

Turmoil surrounds you like a mote around a castle.

I can’t get close.

Permission to speak freely?

I don’t think so.

Not on the shaky bridge between us.

I lose my footing.

And I’ve lost my voice.

What did you lose?

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

You Are Like the Sun

You are like the sun and I am a sleeper;

Your light pours into my life

no matter what I am dreaming, and

day after day, in such a reliable way,

you dispel the darkness.

Your light doesn’t say, “Look at me!”

But makes it possible for me to see

what’s all around me:

beauty and decay are not opposite forces

or something to either be sought after or shielded from;

but like the sun who makes all things visible

you show me what it is like to be awake.

Two Snakes, Two Dogs

Getting onto the floor to lie on my belly is difficult after ten years of anger towards yoga and a knee replacement.

Now it s time to roll out the mat again.

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

So I want to develop a routine, because that is what I miss the most about yoga.

Getting up early every morning to stand in Mountain Pose and begin.

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

I am motivated by my muscle memory of how good it feels to stretch.

I am approaching practice with a totally different attitude than I had before.

Instead of feeling like I have to fight for or earn the light, I am just eager to know it’s there.

I only need to appreciate the divinity that is already shining, right in the middle of all the muck.

My self is dissolving.

What if I could trust that love will lead me to do whatever I need to do.

The Beginning

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

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

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

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

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

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

Connect Me

I went offline for a few weeks,

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

I missed being online and connecting with the friends I’ve made all over the world. I don’t want to give that up. I don’t want to give up the search engines that enable me to explore both micro and macro worlds of infinitely curious phenomenon.

But I pray that I spend time every single day listening to the trees and I hope they’ll know how much I love them.

I hope that when I communicate with friends, they will hear the quiet that I hear and fall in love.

Warehouse

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

This Longing

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

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

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

But I am happy, knowing I will have everything I’m hungry for.

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

A Master

When a student begins to master Reiki she or he crosses a threshold whereby the process of sharing reiki becomes authentic and specific to the student.

She begins to have courage to translate the ancient practices into a process as original as her fingerprint. He begins to trust the flow of divine love because he no longer seeks to posses the good stuff except to share it.

The more true he or she is to their unique design, the more open they become.

They exude a childlike sense of awe because every moment is the very beginning of something miraculous; NOW is a living thing and now is the best time for original quirks that heal like only he or she can heal.

A Reiki master may come from a lineage of master teachers but it is a line of absolute original first editions, not reproductions of one masterpiece.

Holding a Space

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

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

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

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

You sip water infused with cucumber and mint.

You are content.

Divine Intervention

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Tell Me A Story

Please! Please tell me a story,

One I can believe, one I can believe in.

There is truth inside of me waiting to be told

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

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

Dreamed I was Jesus for a day;

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

I picked the saviour, of course.

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

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

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

I smoothed them over his shivering body

it was easy

To put the child’s needs before my own.

Not easy to bear the sound of a broken rooster.

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

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

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

Fear of Getting Fat

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’m finding relief through mind/body integration and cooperation. I find tapping and mindfulness meditation, kundalini yoga and music as a visceral experience to be useful tools; we all have our own set of tools.

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

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

I am free. You can be too.

The House is Tilted

I don’t know if it started out this way or not, but this house is crooked.

The chest of drawers and revolving book shelf slant toward the east.

The tall bookcase in the middle room leans to the north

and the floors in the front room are warped at unpredictable angles.

It’s like the house has arthritis.

I’ve always loved it’s quirkiness

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

Now, at 60, when I see my reflection I don’t recognize the woman who looks back.

I catch her looking at me,

One fractled aspect to another.

To Disappear

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

I’m becoming nobody, the real me. 

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

More proficient, more productive, 

 pure and more pristine in matters of the heart. 

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

If I stop. 

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

Choices, 

One after another. 

Gratitude

For the ordinary.

I take ownership of my thoughts.

Those that are soft

Like leaves on the stream.

And those fierce shifts in perspective

That leave me far from complacent.

I am engaged and unattached,

wondering what might happen next.  

Curiosity is my soul’s sole guest. 

House

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Pajarita

The day of Pajarita’s liberation came without commotion.

 An ordinary day full of worries and wishes;

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

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

Her wings were a burden;

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

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

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

 “These things are useless.”

She came to a place where one road became two.

 Both had crooked houses colored pink, turquoise, adobe.

 Both had bright white shirts and patched pants that flapped 

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

 A  breeze threw its purple shadows here and there,

sympathetic shade, offering the only comfort it could.

Pajarita marked the road she was on with a little stone 

A peacock screamed and day was separated from night;

evening was as soft as silk. 

We Need The Gift

Precious wounded past,

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

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

And why would I leave you

before accepting the gift you offer?

Patient, you wait, sometimes for years

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

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

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

grateful for the awareness you’ve brought me.

Always, the gifts you bear restore my faith tenfold

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

To Eat or Not to Eat

My heart is breaking.

I think ahead to an hour from now

When the day is in full swing,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

“to eat or not to eat.”

How can this be?

Solid Ground

Put my feet on solid ground,

Well, as solid as anything

That’s made of vibrating strings

Of energy and emptiness can be.

I’ll walk, assisted by gravity

And hold fast to the flow of constant change.

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

Something to rely on.

Stay with that.

Sing.

The song is the only stable thing.

My Mind is a Rabbit

Running all over the white page.

If only I could be as still and quiet as snow

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

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

The castle walls have crumbled. Thank goodness!

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

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

The dandelion, a weed with many medicinal properties sways by the weight of the bee’s tiny feet.

Wild beauty grew when I let the walls fall down

And it’s turned out to be the most valuable thing.

Temple Of Light

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Conclusion:

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

Amen.

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

Wishing Well

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

to greet one another and consolidate our desire for holiness.

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

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

we could drink deeply and splash our faces,

we could start out fresh

to do our best.

Billy Pilgrim’s Boots

They were handed down from my father’s father

and worn everyday

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

Actually, there was nothing to hand down except the thought

of a boot.

Crunching gravel and snow in winter and in spring

and tromping through mud in summer,

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

month before Halloween.

Walking on, ’round the circut of houses, I thought, “Its not far now,

it’s not far from here.”

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

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

to call it home. The house was always under construction.

So I must trust in the wind,

the unpredictible wind.

Reiki III

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

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

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

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

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

Crysalis

It’s the crysalis that I find painful.

There’s no room for words.

Too focused on becoming to see what is

About to emerge.

What if I told you that here in the dark

We are not so far apart,

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

Our dreams.

As safe as it is inside the crysalis,

To stay is to die.

Struggle makes me strong

Enough to break free.

Let it be.

The Cold Makes Me Lonely

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

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

it seems.

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

Why?

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

to get out of the rain.

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

The door will be closed against intruders

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

Listen To Me!

I want to scream it in the streets:

Listen to me!

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

But this yearning to be heard is rumbling

around like thunder and I’m learning

that I have a right to be alive

simply because I am.

I want to sing.

Listen to me! Please.

It’s a good song that will make you

feel

something

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

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

AHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHHH!

I want to whisper

purple and rose phrases

and take you through the stages of waking up.

It is good to voice the life inside me

because it is love and love needs somewhere to go.

Listen to me.

It will make you

feel

something.

Who Am I To Argue With A Bird?

Raven flies through periwinkle skies,

Beck’ning me to see tomorrow through her eyes.

So I take a peek as she soars

through an open door on the horizon.

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

dancing with an indigo lion.

He’s all aglow in his golden halo,

and who am I to argue with a bird?

Now I know some say fancy is for fools

and I ought not waste a sober moment.

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

dancing with an indigo lion.

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

And we dance till the new sun is shining,

yes we dance till the new sun shines.

Oh I take a peek as raven soars

through an open door on the horizon.

She beckons me to see tomorrow through her eyes,

and who am i to argue with a bird?

Always A Tornado

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

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

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

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

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

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

What is the solution to such chronic stress?

Waking up.

How does one know when they have awakened?

What do you think?

There Was A Little Girl

There was a little girl

Who had a little curl

Right in the middle of her forehead.

When she good

She was very very good

But when she was bad…

That would have been me, then,

Horrid.

When she was bad she was horrid.

That was what mom called “my poem.”

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

I contemplated suicide.

I envied the dead.

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

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

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

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

I was shaking uncontrollably.

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

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

I made dinner.

I played my guitar.

I checked Facebook.

Now I’m here.

Tap tap tap.

The Scribble Tree

The Scribble Tree

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

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

Not yet.

Because the pre-event horizon is a power point.

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

Or when I scribble.

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

And I curled up amongst its roots,

It’s strong and thirsty roots.

Dear Future Self, Welcome To My Body

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

i went for 11 minutes with no strain.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Future Self, May I Borrow Those Jeans?

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

Well, okay, maybe a teeny bit of dazzle.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What’s that? It’s already happening?

Cool.

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

Bubble Universe

It seemed so solid

Till I gained the perspective

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

Looking in.

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

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

There go the living and the dead,

all the enemies and all the friends

some who are still fighting and others who

smile and say, “You win.”

Pop.

Adi Shakti

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

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

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

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

Then it happened. I had a healing crisis.

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

But tonight I see evidence of grace.

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

Red.

I thought I was just intensely angry and hurt.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Love won.

Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Adi Shakti, Namo Namo

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

(I bow to the Primal Power)

Sarb Shakti, Sarb Shakti, Sarb Shakti, Namo Namo

(I bow to the all encompassing Power and Energy)

Pritham Bhagvati, Pritham Bhagvati, Pritham Bhagvati, Namo Namo

(I bow to that which God creates)

Kundalini Mata Shakti, Mata Shakti, Namo Namo

Salt

!!:26 pm.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ve seen this happen before.

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

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

(Dramatic pause.)

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

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

Sometimes I like salt.

Quiet

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

I have to face the quiet.

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

And who are you, anyway?

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Barbara Streisand seemed to think people like me were lucky.

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

I am shaking as I write this.

To be so honest is risky and transformational.

It is the end of the day.

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

Quiet.

Terrifying.

440 Down Slide

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

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

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

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

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

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

The sisters sat facing one another and pooled their energy.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Fragments

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Dear Future Self

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

It is the season of rejection.

What can I learn from all this?

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

It seems like one giant ball of mercury

And I am pushing it up a hill.

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

the hill.

Lion’s Paw Kriya.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It is not like putting coins in a jukebox; yoga and its benefits are a living and breathing thing, to be experienced and limited by nothing.

Stone Lions

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

It Is So Easy To Be At Ease

I am light.

At my core, I am light.

I am energy. At my core I am free.

Every cell of my body is made of this light

and every morning, I remember my true nature.

Every cell of my body remembers truth

and vibrates accordingly, washing away falsity with waves

and waves of light.

When illness or fatigue surfaces, I can easily and objectively

recognize it, treat myself with lovingkindness and tune into the

light that I am at my core.

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

I know who I am. I am love.

Love is the energy that propels me onward.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

— The Medicine Buddha Chant

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

For Hailie

I’m feeling morose,

but for the most part, I know

it will go away tomorrow–

this feeling that time is flying by

and I am only dazzeled by the sky

when it is full of clouds.

Because when the sky is clear

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

A cloud, no matter how brightly it reflects the sun

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

not only do I remember from whence you came,

but I remember holding you, tender and near,

before any of my stupid mistakes

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

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

for all to see,

what this life can be.

Bitter With Age

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I don’t know why I’m still here.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

But wait, my little kitten wants to play.

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

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

She is so soft and snuggly and really smart too.

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

I don’t mean to be glum.

I want to be cheerful.

I’m not growing old with graceful charm.

I’m fighting tooth and nail but

We all know Time has already won.

So what do I do?

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

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

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

Evidence of Efficacy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I’ll get you started:

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

Can you add to the list?

Not Pride, But Hope

I am not proud to be an American right now.

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

I’m not without hope, though.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Joy

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I Don’t Like Him

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

I guess every relationship boils down to this: disillusionment.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Voices

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

My Secret Shaman

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Now let me get back to the shaman.

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

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

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

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

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

It happened.

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

He is funny and he can sing!

You’ll learn more about him as we go.

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

Rocks From Raymond

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

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

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

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

Nick’s Ashes

I think I know where to let you rest:

In the care of the mother of lullaby:

my old Umbrella tree

that was chopped down, but came back

As a different tree.

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

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

watching the teeny ants walk in their predetermined paths

up and down the living branches while I sang and dreamed

of nothing in the future or past

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

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

What if, when I spread your ashes there

I don’t say a word,

but let the wind and time and the sky pass by

and come back as night and day.

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

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

that brought us together in the first place.

Trust that all is as it should be

With the Catalpa tree, and you and me.

Love Loves Love

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

A Good Fight Is No Fight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Another Way To Fight

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I will keep you updated on my progress.

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

Fighting Demons

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

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

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

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

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

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

That happened before I realized I was fighting a demon.

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

So I stated to pray.

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

Before long, she left the house.

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

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

That changed after this last battle.

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

It is time to go.

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

I want to live.

I have to leave.

Conversation Conclusion

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

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

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

I tried to put them in a jar.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

https://youtu.be/a8GF2Yz-O6E

Evolution of Conversation

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

Everything you said was poetry.

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

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

Something is different.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Songs That Can’t Be Sung To Anyone

King David, there are songs

in my own heart that need to be sung


and I can’t sing them to anyone.


Strains the tree trunks make

when it’s quiet enough to hear,


and Cottonwood leaves and branches that abandon their music


to the changing forces of time and weather-


these are my teachers as much as you.


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

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


Birds calling out what they will each bring to supper.


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


Traffic humming like a rolling ocean,


and I’m the one holding the shore. 


These waves of

wordless language

assure me

that what I thought I needed to sing

already resounds,

and only needs my quiet

and appreciative listening.

Not Hungry For Dog

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

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

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

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

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

At the end of two weeks the class went online.

The fist week was dead silence.

The week after, minimal communications.

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

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

“Grow a thicker skin.” I was told.

“Don’t be so sensitive.”

“Writing is hard work.”

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

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

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

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

I’ll take magic over mean competition anytime.