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.

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.