Saturday, August 29, 2009
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
But I'll be back all around the way
It seems like everywhere I go
The more I see
the less I know
But I know one thing
That I love you
I love you
I love you
I love you
The other day, when I needed a little sign to push me forward along the way to Greenbelt (nerves kicked in) I got one. The first voice I heard on the radio when I turned on the van was Michael Franti, the headliner from last year's GB Festival. He said..... "the definition of joy is when the human intersects with the Divine....." He went to describe his interpretation of communal joy..... when people congregate to celebrate and feel a sense of oneness. Not only is it a celebration, he described, it is also a life affirming opportunity to feel at one with many.... to recognize equality and common ties that bind.
For an hour, Franti had my rapt attention as he spoke of his experiences being on the stage and looking out at the crowds.... the collective joy vibrations lifting up into the air to where he stood singing and leading them on.
Smiles and tears..... laughter as well as those melting heart moments when the air feels thinner, when the air has that electricity you just want to inhale.
Whether its at a concert, in a church, outstanding in a field gazing at the night sky with a group.... whether its at a wedding reception, in the middle of a rousing game of capture the flag ... whether its in the middle of a peace march, on a hike along the Fundy trail with 10 of your buddies..... whether its at a hockey game, baseball game, rugby game .... at a Pub on Friday night or in a quiet chapel in the country with family .... collective joy contains the ingredients that affirms and reinforces all that we hope to feel in our lifetime. But, it's more than that, because it takes you out of your body and into a realm where you're greeted by the echoes of many souls..... A trip like no other.
As I gather my thoughts today before I kiss my family goodbye and hop on a plane, I know I leave with an essence of what is to come this weekend. Simply an essence...... gathered from what I've read, and what has been shared with me from my friends I have met through blogging and email connecting. Looking at the expansive itinerary of the four day festival, I feel like a complete neophyte.
Not one name on the list of "talks" is familiar to me, except of course my emerald friend Pip. I recognize (barely) some of the names of the musicians. I know I will feel familiar with some of the worship services, but many of them I won't. I don't know the rituals.....I have a feeling I'll know some of the hymns....but many will be new to me. It will all be new to me. What isn't new is that feeling I have experienced in the past with collective joy.....
Pip writes and BELIEVES ....... "Growth does not reside in a place called comfortable." I think he may even be expanding on that during one of his talks.... (I can't wait to see him up there leading the group I will be a part of....) Personally, I have taken on his statement and have allowed it to be a conscious guide in my life, knowing that I have always believed this myself. I just hadn't made the connection to it until my life intersected with him. When I reflect on my most important learning, it was when I felt the most challenged....the most stretched..... the most juiced up with itching curiosity. Thirsty for growth. Thirsty for the sense of standing on a precipice feeling humbled.
"It seems that everywhere I go, the more I see, the less I know........ but I know one thing, I love you..... " Franti's song is a bustling rhythm that lifts you up onto your feet... his words sing in my head this morning. The feeling I get when I listen this song is the reassurance that my joy is your joy, that my life is your life... that there is an inclusivity contained within collective joy. For me this will take place in Cheltenham England.... where oneness with collide with discomfort .... where learning will collide with knowledge .... where laughter will bring me to tears too .... where growth resides, both personally and collectively.
Ok, time to pack.....
Monday, August 24, 2009
John O'Donohue, Anam Cara.
....sometimes a want turns into a need.
Sunday, August 23, 2009
quiet joy stirrings
a melting knowing
falling down, shouting out, plunging in, popping up, pulling out, then looking around in awe and new eyes....
rapture leaves you with a message that it has nothing to do with stoic dignity and more to do with flailing like a crazy person happy to be soaking wet alive.
Brian, the appointed genius admits to the others that he is wondering what it will be like on Monday when they all go back to their groups of friends. Claire, the popular princess who lived above the minions states her truth...... she would not acknowledge them on Monday. She told the truth, hurting the others. They lashed back, pressing hard on the image she projected forcing her to recognize her transparency.
Like every member of the Breakfast Club, Claire was challenged and pushed into a place of self reflective discomfort. The detention gave them a chance to interact with others whom they never would've given any other circumstance. The need to belong, and the need to be accepted was so strong in their everyday lives that they wouldn't have dared to drop the masks plastered on their faces. A Princess, A Jock, A Brain, A Basket Case and A Criminal. Societal and self imposed labels. Like we do in real life. At the end of the movie.....oh, I'm giving it away, but since it was filmed 24 years ago I figure I'm safe in doing so....... the lesson learned? That they all had a little bit of each other in them.
Why do we hold onto pretences? Why does a person don a facade that is in direct contrast to who they really are inside? Are there times when posing and posturing in a role that doesn't reflect truth the way to be? If we wear the role long enough, we begin to believe it ourselves. Then its a big pill to swallow when someone comes into our lives and challenges us to strip down to the raw blemished goods. The more we are confronted, the more we deny.....who wants to look like a foolish liar?
Adolescence is a time of self discovery, of trying on new styles, of finding a true voice, the dance step that is uniquely you. Given how important it is to belong, to be loved by peers, to be accepted as themselves as teens, its no wonder that whatever role/label place on their heads (either by deliberately self imposed or by others) it is something they hold onto dearly.
Does it come down to being afraid to show one's true colours.....because what if what you decided to show isn't accepted? What then?
What about adults? We rarely have a chance to be placed in a room with a group of people very different from us. We tend to gravitate to common ground, common types and even if we aren't feeling any inner contentment, we remain there playing a role........filling our own boots with pretences. When was the last time you changed your boots??
Safe, phoney, pretty little pretences. Dangerous little jewels... They never bring true sustaining happiness.... The sooner we realize that we all have a princess, a genius, a jock, a criminal and a basket case inside us, the sooner we can celebrate our commonalities as human beings....
Friday, August 21, 2009
Its not a head thing. Its a heart thing.
Lean into the wind. Take a risk.
You may topple over and scrape yourself. You may not.
Either way, you gain knowledge of yourself once lost in a secret undiscovered pocket.
You will soften.
You will let go of the fear.
Trust your emotional intelligence as much as you trust your intellect.
For this is where we learn to accept fear as a friend and not a foe.
From the softness of our hearts, not from the hard wiring of our brain comes the discovery of why we harbour anxiety, depression, anger and restlessness.
If we look beyond the surface of our behaviour/our reactions to what is happening in our lives........beyond the head summaries equipped with rationalization, denial, avoidance......tired coping mechanisms, we find the courage to ask WHY.
When we ask why, we face down our fears.
Lean into the wind. Take a risk.
If you're never open to asking why? You will continue to stoke the fires of your own misery.
A friend told me a story this week about her first foray rock climbing. She didn't start on a beginner's rock face. Rather, she jumped right into the adventure and took on a steep challenge. She was ready to take it on, unwilling to be defined by her self imposed phobia.
All her life, she has been afraid of heights. She spoke of how she could never climb the metal ladder in her cousin's barn to get up to the hay loft because she would freeze halfway up....caught in her head anxieties. Determined to overcome this, she accepted an invitation to go out into the world of rock climbing with a friend who was an expert, who she trusted She never told how fearful she was. He had no idea.
Initially, she made it up 20 feet and froze.........her lifelong terror gripped her and for a few moments, she almost gave up. But something inside her softened. She allowed her heart to lead more than her anxious head, and she found her footing.
Halfway up, my friend lost her footing, fell off the face of the hill and dangled in the safety harness. High above ground, she looked around and realized she could trust the gear, trust the process. It was after she toppled over, and dangled in mid air for a bit that she found her real footing. Her fear evaporated right in the middle of a mistake.
She transformed into a warrior rock climber that day, ready to take a new risk....
A numbed down life........asleep at the wheel......it's easier to choose this route isnt it? We are protectors who long for comfort and calm. But we are also pilgrims.....in search of transformative meaning. It's difficult to find that balance isn't it?
We live in a world defined by change. Why do we humans try to avoid it at all costs? Is it the event that frightens us? Or is it the fear of encountering those feeling monsters that have the capacity to rip us open and leave us in a vulnerable raw state? Interestingly, it is when we break open into the realm of vulnerability that we feel the most alive.....our nerve endings glow as our senses heighten. Feeling alive brings us out of ourselves, where we can unlock the door to our hidden secrets.... Just the thought of what may be lurking can send shivers down the backs of the most brave of us.... !
However, If we yearn to be surprised by joy, we must learn to be able to loosen our hold on our menacing shadows and feel the suffering as well. They live in tandem, not on different streets across town from another. They live within our souls....together, providing the backdrop for all personal and spiritual growth.
Stay inside away from risks and opportunities.
Stay tucked in with your body and soul asleep, life will simply carry on without you.
Learn to trust your potential, gifts, innate curiosity...
Learn to trust the people who love you, who want the best for you,
Accept that change is opportunity, that crisis is opportunity for good reflections....
You will find yourself thirsting for transformative change, to see just what dawn will bring.
Me? I tend to nod off once in a while, stuck in a moment too long...... maybe its needed to recharge my batteries? Maybe a little downtime helps revive the energy? You can't be wrestling wildbeasts all day long! You can't be an exploring pilgrim day and night! Sometimes you've got to hide in a shadow and get some much needed sleep inside the lullaby of a prayer.
My conscious choice..... I'm awake. I slept for far too long. I'm as ready as I can be to step into the journey. Sleep isn't an option. There will be enough of that at the end of my life.
Thursday, August 20, 2009
I offered to stop in to help the brand new Mom, stressed and exhausted from the whole birthing process, but mostly from how she was treated in the hospital. Her immediate concern was her perceived inability to nurse Anna. She had no reservoir of confidence left. Everything is new and everything feels uncomfortable.....physically and emotionally. After being bullied by the breastfeeding Nurse Nazis, with their holier than thou attitudes about nursing versus bottle feeding and their abrupt dismissive behaviour, this new Mom didn't think she could do it. She didn't believe she had the "goods" to keep her daughter fed properly. It leaves me wondering, not for the first time, if they have FORGOTTEN just how strange and new it feels right after you've had your first baby. Shame on them!
Tired and sore, she was ready to give up and most of this was due to how these nursing Nazis treated her. How sad, when she is so keen to make it work. Her milk only just came in today. This is new......... and yet she was feeling like a failure because she was left with confusion, and many many questions that we all have when babies take over our lives. All normal stuff and worries, exacerbated by a health system that is pathetically understaffed and overworked and cranky!!!!!
Certainly there is a strong sense of maternal intuition that kicks in after you give birth. I felt it myself the first night the nurses brought Martha to me, all swaddled with her little lips pursed, ready to be fed. As much as I was terrified of the daunting responsibility ahead of me, I fell in love that night which kicked in my desire to interact with my new baby. A washing softening bathed me in this feeling. I asked Anna's Mom how she felt, and she described a similar feeling.
Most of what we do, however and how we approach our role as a parent is, in my opinion learned through our own connections. Luckily this Mom and babe have a many loving people in their lives who will support her as they learn together. They are surrounded by healthy connections and interactions. We are social beings.... and we need to recognize that we all need help. Life's events, life's lessons are overwhelming if we feel inadequate starting out!
In my arms, Anna turned her head and began rooting as she sought out sustenance. I showed the new Mom how to best to hold Anna in order to have her latch on properly. It took two tries and they were off to the races. Relief came instantly for both of them. While Anna was nursing....the questions tumbled out in a hurry...... and I did my best to answer them, while emphasizing how the whole bonding thing is really learn how to "dance" with a new being in our lives. I watched the loveliness of the scene with a lump in my throat. It was so beautiful. They were so beautiful together....
I reassured her (I think) by dismissing all of the silly breastfeeding myths.... (ie.... If you give your baby a bottle, they won't feed from the breast! OR you can't give your baby formula and breastfeed at the same time! OR make sure you put the baby on a feeding routine right away and don't feed them in between feeding times!) Why these puritans put the fear of God into new mothers is beyond me except they have become blinded by their chosen passion. The amount of judgement dished out by these people and the impatient nurses is beyond my comprehension. Every new mother is nervous. Every new mother wants to provide, protect, try their best.
The connection between a mother and a baby is unique to the two human beings intimately involved. And like any new relationship, it needs time to grow. Tonight, I think of the two of them learning how to figure it out together........ There will be frustrations and even tears from both of them. But, they will figure it out..... a new dance has begun.... bless them both.
Today, I held a three day old baby. A tiny perfect little miracle in my arms. You can't say that everyday. Wish I could...... wish I could.
Wednesday, August 19, 2009
I became obsessed with the oppressive heaviness brought on by the humidity which made the air temperature feel like 40 degrees Celcius. That's 104 dgrees Fahrenheit. My inner core growled in a rolling boil. Ick. My feet, which ALWAYS have to remain cool or I'm really in trouble with retaining any sense of decorum, were throbbing in their sandals. I thanked God I wasn't a roofer or a road paver as I kicked off my shoes in order to place them on the coolish tiles in my office. I tried not to move too quickly.
I did my best to conjure up the memory of what it feels like in February when the temperuature is -40 Celcius. But my fired up wiring wouldn't let me. I couldn't lift up out of the haze of the heatwave. It tackled me with the same feeling you get when you first open up the door to a sauna and you're left short of breath. What I did realize was that when there is an extreme in our weather here in Canada, we react the same way. February's icy glare slows us down as much and brings out the same moodiness as August's melting moments. We tend to shuffle in these extremes.....physically and emotionally.
Tonight, as I sit unlady like (so as to feel the cool breezes!!!) in front of two overworked fans, I purposefully attempt to count my blessings, recognizing that this always ends and I will forget just how gross it feels to be covered in a stickiness. Come February when I am scraping the snow and ice off my windshield on a frigid morning, when the sun is simply an illusion, I will have just as difficult a time remembering how hot it can get.
What I hold onto is that it will end....... relief is coming..... unfortunately so is the chance of some pretty nasty stuff. Thunder storms are in the forecast. So is Category 4 Hurricane Bill crawling with purpose up the east coast of the United States, with the potential of making landfall somewhere in Nova Scotia by Sunday.
Tonight, distant sky rumblings have begun, unless I'm hallucinating and hearing things. This hot lofty weather reminds me of two life lessons.....
1. We can prepare for whats in store to some extent, but then we have to let it unfold as it will.
2. We can only control how we emotionally react to a situation.
3. (I've lost my ability to count) I'm too sexy for this heat.
Now if you excuse me? I'm going to resurrect the art of midnight backyard pool hopping. Lets hope the neighbours have mercy on a naked middle aged woman whose lost her mind floating in the deep end.
This week's photo theme is summer. I had a variety of ideas and a few other photos I was considering most of which were light and colourfully airy beachy ideas, but my abandoned sandals took precedence. The lighting in this photo reflects a glare to me that was the most representative of how I'm feeling tonight...... For more summer theme photos, check out Carmi at Written Inc. He's got a great shot of swim goggles that I really like.
Tuesday, August 18, 2009
Father forgive us for what we must do,
You'll forgive us
We'll forgive you
We'll forgive each other 'til we both turn blue
And we'll whistle and go fishin' in heaven....... LOVE IT!!!
If ever there was/is a performer whose songs I can rely on for a smile when all else has failed, it is John Prine. Whether its a grinning acknowledgement to one of those "had to be there" moments in my past, an ear to ear smile that greets the rest of my body with a hearty handshake, I can count on him to produce the goods. Then, there are the heartripping ballads.....pure poetry which captures the complexities of the ordinary in a manner which raises it to our awareness.
I guess that's why I love his music so much. Its gritty, real and grabs me by my roots. Sometimes his songs are a silly as bag of hammers and sometimes they are as broken as a hard luck tear. Observant, quirky, yet with a steel edge to his stories he has a way of opening up his own life ruminations for anyone who cares to step into them.
Tonight, I have a date with Mr. Prine. I'm a happy enchilada....!!!!
You may see me tonight with an illegal....it don't cost very much, but it lasts a long while...
Monday, August 17, 2009
Participants plan their activities, make their own meals, facilitate the day, take turns leading and take turns following. They learn about other's opinions, how to listen, how to express themselves........ how cultures are different and how human beings are the same. It's a small manageable model of a global village, which promotes the open goodness of equality, human rights, independent thought.....
As far as I'm concerned every single 17 year old should have a chance to learn this way. And from what I heard tonight, the 3 week experience has the potential to be life changing at an age when there is such a desire to delve into the big moral questions..... at a time when personal values and life directions/options are shuffling as fast as a card dealer. Meeting and sharing deeply, thrown into a place of discomfort at the beginning where one's opinions are challenged, where secrets and new ideas are thrown out into the circle for consideration, contemplation, reflection, introspection.
CISV has become an important and very special organization for my family and I this year, and will continue to be front and centre from here on in, I imagine. We had heard of CISV through our friends when their children got involved and knew that the local chapter was very active due for the most part by one passionate woman. There are a variety of programs offered for all different ages, but was initially created by a another very passionate woman named Doris Allen, after World War 2 (yes, it's been around that long) who wanted to create a program that would promote cultural awareness and peace. Doris decided that the best age to promote these key values was 11 years old. At that age, they were still receptive to differences and similarities. Keen to learn and make new friends, 11 year olds were chosen as future "ambassadours of promoting peace on earth.
So, she started up a thing called a "village" and began to bring together 11 year olds to live in together multi-culturally for a month. Since then, it has taken off and other programs for all ages have evolved right around the world The purpose of the village for 11 year olds is to learn about one another by sharing of themselves and various characteristics of their home country. The real underlying SOUL purpose is to make friends.....lasting friendships with people from all over the world.
This time last year, my son began expressing his interest in attending a CISV Village. He had learned about it from friends at school and through our family friends whose children had attended Villages at age 11. Max is a keener when it comes to geography and history. Politics, which is a topic of discussion in this house came to life for him as he followed Obama's rise to Presidency. Ever since he was very young, he has asked a bazillion questions about countries, cities, capitals, flags, mountain ranges, oceans........ a large map of the world adorns one of his bedroom walls.
His interest in learning about other countries was flamed considerably by his Grade 5 teacher who orchestrated a year long project on Africa which included numerous interactive presentations ranging from music to poverty to topography. Because of his unflinching focus on all things CISV, this whole family began to take notice. We began to get involved. Throughout the last year, both of my children took part in various "mini-camps" run over winter weekends.... 25-30 kids, ages ranging from 10 to 25 came together for songs, games, discussions, learning, growing and becoming more aware of the issues and the need for global unity.... through peace and goodwill.
Last spring, when the "camp lists" were decided upon (ie. which ones the Fredericton chapter were invited to and would send delegates) both of my children put their names forward. My daughter, caught in a personal conundrum of applying for a summer camp for 15 year olds in Madrid or pursuing her original plan of applying to be a Counsellor in Training, finally chose the CIT route.......perfect choice for her at this point in her life. She is loving it.
Max, pushed forward and applied to be a delegate. He was interviewed by a parent whose own daughter had attended the year before, and had to explain exactly why he wanted to be a part of it. We were both so impressed with how much thought he had put into it, how he prepared his answers......made much easier because it came from his heart.
Well, he was chosen and will be one of 4 kids who will represent Fredericton and Canada at a 4 week CISV Village in Costa Rica (accompanied by a leader who is AMAZING btw). It takes place at the end of December. Our attention and fundraising efforts will support Max as he steps beyond his bedroom full of maps, sports paraphenalia and posters of Obama, towards a life opportunity that will most likely help mold his thoughts and feelings and actions as a member of this crazy world we live in. We are all so excited for him..... and he is beyond the MOON excited.
And as for the meeting tonight in my living room? Fredericton has been chosen as a CISV Seminar Camp for the summer of 2010. When they were looking for a volunteer to coordinate the planning of it, I found that my hand went up. Badabing! As much as I would LOVE to run the day to day show next summer...........to be the coach and facilitator, my role is to set it all up and get them all there...... I'm psyched.
This is one organization I am very interested in becoming involved in. If you have any interest, or think your children would, I highly reccomend that you google CISV and learn more about it............find out if there is a chapter near you.
ps. The photo was taken on the site of the camp. I have a feeling there will be many heartfelt conversations that will happen exactly on that spot.....
Sunday, August 16, 2009
She strives for bridal gown perfection,
in her faded dungarees
So determined to be decisive,
to know the direction of each breeze
It comes so easy during daytime
Unblushed certainty alights.
But when the scars go blind by darkness
Comfort curses sacred nights....
Comfort curses sacred nights
Close the curtains on certainty
but leave a little light
for a little bit of certainty
carries hope into the night...
Cross eyed blue above the truth
Tangled troubles shoved aside
Sobriety glares glass awareness
Taking on vengeful pride.
Hesitation dreams for affirmation
Doubt tussles arrogance to her knees
Bridal gowns are not for wrestling
Best to wear faded dungarees...
Close the curtains on certainty
but leave a little light
for a little bit of certainty
carries hope into the night....
C'est la vie....
Je pense que le mot "certainty" est une femme fatale.... je ne sais quoi....
Saturday, August 15, 2009
Maybe that's the reason why we gravitate to it like thirsty pilgrims in need of a sip of cool, cool water. The melodies which touch our individual souls, the lyrics which tap into the essence of who we are, the voices which we seek out during times when we need reflective solace is like stepping into paradise.... As Van Morrison sings so beautifully..... "this must be what paradise is like....it's so quiet in here, so peaceful in here. " Enlightenment is captured in the verses of the hymns we long to hear..... and I love it!
Even when the choice of music is in need of ripping volume, one can escape into the cavern of its notes and find a corner to sit and allow it to flow all around and inside you...... This is so at any concert I've attended. It's an encasement inside joy and sometimes if you're very lucky, rapture. Is there anything more life affirming than reaching into the core of rapture??
It all depends on our preferences too, where this rapture dwells ..... the sweet sexiness of jazz, the body movement tempo of a ballad, the heat of a rockin' guitar riff, the heartbouncing beat of a drum, the soulful sound of one pure voice, the blur of a metal band, the magical echoes of a group whose music grabs your innards and yanks it through your tear ducts. It depends on where we are, and what we savour. Music soars through our veins inarticulately.....
Me? I love all types of music, and often will choose based on where I am emotionally, physically and spiritually . Sometimes I want it to parallel how I'm feeling, or make me feel it deeper. Sometimes, I pick tunes that will lift me up and out of a grey cloud. Sometimes, I want to play music that I know so intimately in order to conjure up memories of gladness and loving security. I don't own an I-Pod because I prefer to have it playing in the air around me and not directly from machine to ears. I do like that at times, and have tried it, but it makes me feel like I'm not in touch with the rest of the world. If I am out walking or travelling, I want to hear the sounds around me...... they are just as important as music. However, I have asked for an I-Pod for my birthday this year, because my CD's skip!
Today, at the end of a slow pace.....an "in the long now..." leisurely kind of day when I am meandering through past and present reflections, my choices would seem quite varied to anyone who doesn't know me. But they all seem to represent different parts of my essence.
Right now, I am listening to a Van Morrison CD that my husband made me.....he entitled it "Celtic Soul." On it is the song we danced to on our wedding night....Irish Heartbeat. I remember the first time we danced to it....on a New Year's Eve when we first realized how strong our feelings were for one another. Somehow the song melted our hearts together. Somehow that song brought us together, and away from all others. It was a dance which began the courtship that continues.....
I smile today.....full of thoughts and feelings of what is and what was.....of where I am and where I hope to go.... captured in the chords of gladness. C'mon over. I'd love to share this quiet place with you. Please bring your favourite tunes to help with the meanderings inside a Saturday evening sanctuary. The piano plays on.....do I hear a saxophone....?
"this must be what its all about ..... this must be what paradise is like ... so quiet in here, so peaceful in here...."
Thursday, August 13, 2009
Carmi's thematic photo prompt this week is "abandoned..." I got carried away. In fact, I think I've written the first draft of a chapter, and I'm not finished. There are many facets of this topic I want to write about..... I'm very inspiried. The theme runs through much of what I've been reading lately as I prepare for a course Im teaching in the fall, and setting up my "shop" at the College. But, this is a blog and I have just written a post that is way too long for this venue. If you are inclined to read on, may I suggest you go get yourself a drink or you may die of thirst. A loo break is recommended as well......
ps. If you do decide to read it, I would really appreciate some feedback. Is this a topic which could benefit from more extensive writing and reflections? thanks....
You see someone looking at you and read longing in their posture and eyes, you hear someone’s voice that is similar to a person in your past, you feel tension in the air and in a quick flash, you're stuck by this strong desire to flee from the raw skin prickling. Even though for all intents the situation doesn’t warrant this gut reaction, you can’t help thinking that this is a “déjà vu all over again,” as Yogi Berra would say.
Emotional memories are scattered throughout the brain and not neatly filed in one place. Our senses absorb emotional experiences in pockets open to being touched again, resurrected later in life by one little trigger. That trigger can be simply a furtive glance, an interpretation of another’s body language, a tone of voice that somehow sounds familiar, a smell, a sound, the way someone touches you.....all through our self conceptualized filtering.
I remember bumping into a friend whom I hadn't seen in a couple of weeks. The last time I saw him, he was friendly and engaging. All cues told me he liked me. I was a friend. However, the next time I saw him, he looked up from what he was doing and in a split second eye contact, I was struck in the gut with a feeling that I was the last person he wanted to see. Not a word was expressed. It was communication through a unique flick in his eye. I was stopped in my tracks. A sick affirmation coursed through me, landing in the pit of my stomach. It was the strangest feeling. How could one split second look conjure up such intense feelings of rejection, worry, doubt, disbelief and dejection?
Where does this extreme sensitivity, this perceptual intuitiveness come from? We all have it. I’m far from clairvoyant in how I sense communication or lack of it. So, what is going on here?
Of course, I took it personally. I had seen that look before.... I had experienced the notion as well as the motion of rejection and abandonment in a relationship. My memory of that, suppressed in my shadowed pit of doomy gloom of unresolved need, wept out a primal recognition. Different scenario, different person, same damn feelings. Same damn reaction. Personal. Not a glimpse of a thought happened in my brain that perhaps he was having a shitty day and his reaction wasn't even focused on me.
Have you found yourself completely overreacting to a comment or a situation and then end up dumbfounded by your own response, be it verbal or behavioural? It happens all the time. And there are some people in our lives whom we react to more viscerally than others. I BET you've just thought of one. :)
Have you ever responded beyond the realm of normal empathy to a point where you are so emotionally incensed with another person's plight that you may as well have climbed into their skin? When this happens, we lose complete visibility, blinded by the rush of emotions, sideswiped by the intensity of feelings, overwhelmed by electricity shorting out in our system. Its like our whole spiritual being is roaring out "UNFAIR!" This is not empathy. You may have started with a feeling of empathy, but you crossed the line because you were triggered. Its your stuff you're dealing with. Chances are, it is tied to a previous experience that still haunts....Feelings that are sitting in a memory pocket somewhere in your brain. Baaaaa-zing!
But, you didn't recognize it as something tied to your own stuff. Instead, you looked around at the others, and for some reason they DIDN'T GET THE IMPORTANCE! DIDN'T GET THE GRAVITY!!! What, are they NUTS? you pondered..... "Why aren't they more incensed? Why doesn't this event/situation/occurance/story make them cry? rage? respond the way they should? Are they so cold and frigid......so emotionally shut down that they don't feel anymore????"
Of course, they were looking at you thinking............."This human has finally flipped her lid. Why is she overreacting all over the place? What a loonie."
Your anger simmered.....and all of a sudden you were feeling that nobody....NO.BODY understood you. Abandoned, rejected, shamed...........you once again created a toxic feeding frenzy inside you that bellowed in echos. Depressing isn't it? Can you relate??
Triggers. We are triggered by certain circumstances. When we loose the feeling of belonging and being understood, we do the damnest things to torture ourselves even more. For whatever reason, because the reasons are as unique as we are, emotional memories are whooshed up to the surface and thrown out into the light of day. Here's the kicker....we may not have a freakin' clue that there's a connection between then and now.
This is what I will call a transference and its emotionally claustrophic.It happens when an event or a person's plight or a situation hits too close to home for us to be helpful whatsoever. Empathy, even though you THINK you are embracing it, has flown the coop. Just like everyone else, or so you think. If you don't look beyond the reaction and not look at the "WHY's" then, you are doomed to repeat it time and again. It's a good thing we are reincarnated eh? Maybe that's why.....so we can learn to resolve our messes......
Think about the people you gravitate to, especially the ones who you are most inclined to allow into your intimate sanctuary....the ones you most want to feel accepted and loved by..... the ones YOU want to accept and to love. The ones that form so quickly, so intensely, so "magically." What do they bring to the relationship? If you need to feel needed, are they needy? If you feel needy, are they the type who are looking to help in order to avoid their own shit?
If you live with a sense of having been abandoned or set adrift when you were young, are the people you find the most intriguing project a sense of confidence much stronger than your own? This is all good stuff if you're aware that both sides of the relationship has much to bring to it. But, if you aren't aware....if you havent recognized and accepted the emotional schemas harbouring in your shuttered shadow, you just may be setting yourself up for a new way of processing what you have so purposefully suppressed. Suppressed issues/feelings don't go away. They arent resolved yet. Over and over again, we try through our relationships to get it right. However, we do damage to ourselves and others when we don't dig deep and ask the big questions.............. WHY do I always attract the same people and what big gap in myself am I trying to fill??
Here's an example.....it's a mixture of people living in my imagination, not anyone in particular, so relax!!!
A man becomes attracted to a woman who is competent, outgoing, confident and decisive. These traits are like a magnet to this man because he doesn't feel these in himself. He has always felt like a failure, unable to complete tasks, unable to stay on task. His focus is scattered. His drive waxes and wanes. However, he has never been able to give himself credit for anything. Despite the fact that he really is gifted in so many areas, is charming and intuitive of others etc, he sees himself as a loser and can never ever measure up to his own standards. This negative self talk and self image has haunted him since he was young. He never felt like he fit anywhere, and was considered very different than the rest of his family.
His desire to gain confidence and change his ways, so find focus leads him into many relationships. He can't seem to settle into one because he believes he's no good.... that the person will eventually see him for who he is. Instead of waiting for that to happen, he moves onto another partner who is the projection of what he desires in himself. It stirs him into a lather because he wants to be like that in order to feel more in control of his life... more certain. And like a little boy looking into the glass counter filled with candy, he swoons at the thought of having those traits to savour.
The woman on the other hand has a strong need to be needed, but she covers up her real self with a false self in order to grab hold of security. Growing up in a chaotic family who were unable to provide any emotional consistency, she was determined to gain control of how she projected her image through her extroverted abilities. She lived in survival mode. Her mother never told her she loved her. Her father never paid attention. He was too busy working and now in hindsight, she can see he was in survival mode in an irreparably needy marriage. The woman was in the way of an unheathly dance between her parents. She spent the first half of her life trying to gain attention and to please her parents in order to simply receive affirmation and love. It never happened, though she continues to try.
She then turned to men to find someone who would appreciate her. She was needy too...... and wanted to be cared for, but in a different way than the guy she has just fallen in love with. She figures that if she can find someone to care for, they will reciprocate and give her what she craves. Love. Unconditionally loved.
She was very attracted to this man, who was expressive in his quiet ways, who treated her like a princess, who needed her attention and love. They gravitated to one another like two pieces of one heart. Little did they know that they reflected to one another the needs and the gaps in each other's soul. Insight was lost in the sexual lust and in the cravings of feeling whole. Insight took a back seat to the hunger of filling each other's empty cups. Until one day.........
The man felt smothered. Somehow he began to feel even more incompetent to a point where his partner's nagged at pushed at his triggers. He began to feel a sense of disdain towards her because he felt he'd never measure up. His imperfections grew to form open wounds. He couldn't stop the bleeding. He couldn't stop it because he didn't know his reactions and lack of focus was tied to past experiences of abandonment. He was triggered, but didn't recognize it. Instead, he behaved badly, wrecking yet another relationship.
But guess what???
The woman felt smothered. Somehow she began to feel like she was giving, giving and giving and yet her need to be needed.....her desire to feel unconditionally loved increased as she realized his show of love had a cost. She raged because she felt he didn't know her, and didn't see her for who she was..... needy and lost, not competent and independent. Her imperfections grew to form open wounds, to a point where she couldn't stop the bleeding.
They both felt drained and the disturbing feelings retched up all over the place. Interestingly, what attracted them to one another in the first place was the same thing that repelled them in the end. Why? Because they were trying to find answers and resolution through the soul of someone else. They held up mirrors for one another that revealed the gaps.....the bleeds.
Their cups remained empty. All that had been supressed began to pry open the two pieces of the heart, creating a gulf of misplaced perceptions. Soon, they realized they didn't even feel like they knew one another. Strange, since at the beginning, they felt so close they could read each other's minds.
Abandoned, they both seek a sense of belonging somewhere else. First the woman emotionally leaves the relationship. Too intense....too needy, she thinks. (and yet she is still looking to help the needy!!!!) Having been abandoned as a child and in every single serious relationship she has ever been involved in, you'd think she would learn. Instead, she steps right into another relationship where the person standing in front of her is more than happy to be nurtured and coddled and cared for. This must be love, she thinks. This is how love feels.......
Then, the man emotionally leaves the relationship, but because he leaves with a sense of being abandoned again, he gravitates to another woman he views as strong and caring, someone who can mother him in a way he missed out on as a kid.
So, when does this stop? Can we stop this carousel of brokenness? Emotional memories, the ones that fester in pockets, the ones that we refuse to recognize create patterns of unhealthy and unhelpful behaviour, will only calm down if we conciously bring them to the surface and deal with them. Easy said than done...... who wants to feel such discomfort? Who wants to stare down the doomy gloom shadows lurking in the bowels of our spirit? But, if we want to move forward towards a place of self acceptance where authentic connections can and do dwell, its worth every night when you lie in bed wide awake. Maybe its time to listen to that primal weeping and look inside?
Monday, August 10, 2009
Those quick hit thoughts always leave me feeling like I've had a fearful shock to my system ... a realization of just how meaningless and miniscule I am and of just how unmanageably enormous eternity feels like. The full body sensation however, was more like having a warm shower touch my cold skin and sooth my tired muscles after bracing against tidal winds. You know those times when all you want to do is stand in the shower for an hour to feel its pulsing motion? It wakes you and soothes you at the same time that it cleanses.
I'll never forget the moment it happened. It was last year in July. I had found myself sitting by a campfire all alone, up on a cliff overlooking the Spencer's Island beach. It was dark and a bit foggy, but I was very familiar with my surroundings as I sat huddled in the chair leaning close to the blaze. 4 or 5 empty lawn chairs were my only company. Or so I thought. I could hear the waves roll in, lapping up onto the sand. The tide had turned again, ready to roll up the beach to cover the sandbars, the rocks and sand, the sealife it had left behind the time before. It would bring new gifts to the beach, ones we would comb for in the morning.........scallop shells, leathery dulse, intriguing stones with bits of gold in them, pieces of glass, frayed twists of rope in green and yellow, and driftwood bleached by the sun and salt and shaped like gnarly old men.
The tides are the highest and lowest in the world. Every single day they breathe in and out almost a mile. And every year when we return to the beach, we notice the subtle changes in the sandbar topography. The tides rule life in this small fishing and logging community, which now relies on tourists as much as the lobster and the woods.
Once a home to ship building, like most of the villages that dot this part of the Nova Scotia coastline from Advocate Harbour up to Parrsboro, Spencer's Island used to have a big lumber mill and a large wharf built in the nineteeth century where the famous Mary Celeste was launched from.....its hull and mast formed from the trees grown in the area. It had large working farms too, like the one my husband's grandfather worked (and then his Uncle Max and now his cousin Peter) and a very active general store that housed anything and everything from bolts to boots to butter. But, the focus was on the forests, the water, the tides, the wharf.......the boats,the fishing and the logging. It thrived during the period people call "The Age of Sail." Now, the population of Spencer's Island has dwindled down to a two digit number during the winter months. Wood is still a commodity but there are no mills and the crafted tall ships are saved for pomp and ceremonials sail pasts for people with clicking digital cameras.
In the summers the place reawakens with a different face. Cousins and family return for visits as well as the folks who have found the place. Though some have been returning to Spencer's Island for many many summers, they are still considered "come from aways...." Me? I straddle both groups because I married a "Spicer..." and have been introduced in the past as ..... " This is Isaac's daughter Mim's youngest son, James' wife...." Honest to God! My children are seventh generation Spicer's. They are the ancestors of one of the Sea Captain brothers who first settled in the area. But, I am still a bit of a "come from away...." an Upper Canadian no less! Horrors! It seems like every year, there are more and more unfamiliar come from away faces..... The place is changing, but the tides remain constant.
I love listening to the waves roll in and out. Nature's lullaby. Soothing in its tender sounding repetitive echoes. Mysterious too, especially when you're listening to it after night fall when most of the lights are extinguished. I sat engrossed, staring at the dancing flames of the fire, and listening to the unpredictable crackle pops which seemed to summon the lulling roll of the waves accompanying the wind up on the cliff. At one point, I lifted my head and looked at the empty chairs. I couldn't see anything besides the chairs, but I could feel a presence so strong and so comforting that I was left intrigued, not afraid. It was ancestral. All around me, this presence revealed itself, like it was attached to the ebb and flow of this beautiful little community. Then, I realized who it was..... and knew in a moment that eternity opens boundaries onto a limitless sense of belonging.
I used to wonder how my mother in law felt when she would arrive for the summer after being away from her childhood home during the wintertime and would walk through the back door of the old house for the first time. The house was filled with memories, all soaked into the fabric and the plaster. The property oozed past familial stories from the fields and gardens. The front porch held late night whispers and Saturday night laughter. All of the hidden coves, the tucked away beaches, the raspberry bushes and secret places where blackberries grew every year held late afternoon conversations and secrets in amongst the brambles. She was never alone in the house or anywhere in the village because she always had the generations before her tagging along. Sometimes it was a good thing, and sometimes I'm sure, it would've been nice to have left them tucked away in a closet for a day or two. Eternity can be haunting.
This past weekend, we visited Spencer's Island and once again I was filled with a sense of the eternal. I sat on the beach with my son and listened to the waves roll in and out knowing they do the same thing even when I'm not within hearing distance. We walked along the shoreline and climbed the newly shaped sandbar to chase the seagulls. We watched the small boats bobbing in the Minas Bay glittering in diamond ripples. We talked about his GrandMim and Grandpa Buzzie, his Great Uncle Max and his Great Aunt Patty.....all people who have since passed on, but have never left us, especially when we visit this beach. I watched my son stretch out on the hot sand and stones, relaxed and lost in the joy of being back in a place where he feels at home, a place where he connects to the clay and roots of his being.....the Spicer part.
The past is always within our grasp in Spencer's Island and when it touches down on the present, turning time away into the surf, eternity lingers like the breath of life all around. Eternity rests in Spencer's Island. It is measured by the tides.
It has a home there. It has a home there.... in every wave that touches the shore.
Does it fall from skies above?
Is it underneat the willow tree
That I've been dreaming of?
Where is she?
Who I close my eyes to see?
Will I ever know the sweet "hello"
That's only meant for me?
Who can say where she may hide?
Must I travel far and wide?
'Til I am bedside the someone who
I can mean somethin to ...
Where is love?
"Former child acting star Mark Lester said in a British newspaper yesterday that he donated sperm to Michael Jackson and believes he could be the biological father of the late singer's daughter Paris.
Lester, who played Oliver Twist in the 1968 film musical Oliver!, told the News of the World: "I gave Michael my sperm so that he could have kids - and I believe Paris is my daughter." He said he was willing to take a paternity test to establish whether or not he is 11-year-old Paris' father.
The 51-year-old Briton became friends with Jackson and is godfather to Paris, and Jackson's two other children, Prince Michael, 12, and seven-year-old Prince Michael II, known as Blanket.
"It's a been a secret for so long," Lester told the weekly tabloid.
"In 1996 Michael asked me if I would give him my sperm and I said yes. It was a gift to him, no money was paid, it was something I was honoured to do. He wanted children so badly."
Lester added: "I want to have contact with her, Prince and Blanket regardless of whether any or all of them are mine. I think it's cruel that I've now been excluded from them."
He said that since Jackson's mother Katherine had been granted custody of the children following the singer's death, all his phone calls and e-mails had gone unanswered.
Lester, who has four children himself, said there was a strong resemblance between his 15-year-old daughter Harriet and Paris.
He told the News of the World that Jackson first confided in him in 1996 that he was desperate to be a father.
Both were then aged 37 and Lester already had three children. "He realized having kids was a natural thing but that he just couldn't do it," Lester said. "I mentioned the fact there are alternative ways of going about it.
"I think he'd already tried using his own sperm but it hadn't worked for him, so I made an off-the-cuff comment saying, 'Try mine'."
Jackson agreed and the donation was arranged through a clinic in Harley Street, London, in February 1996.
Eight months later Jackson announced he had married nurse Debbie Rowe and three months later the couple revealed the birth of their first child, Prince.
Paris was born just over a year later, in April 1998."
Good luck to you Oliver trying to gain access to your daughter.........You've got a Jacksonian mountain to climb. But, I bet you'll land on Larry King in no time, and who knows maybe your acting career can be re-erected.
Friday, August 07, 2009
Just thinking about the healing powers of nature, she knows how true this is. When walking and absorbing the medicinal components of the world around her, she always feels the strong guiding hand of God. She wonders if all human beings are nomadic, in search of that loving Hand? Perhaps the desire for travel and exploration is in the blood of everyone. We build dwellings with the intent on settling into a sense of belonging, like somehow the walls hold some magical elixirs inside the plaster and in the concrete buttresses that hold up the high ceiling.
Yet, there are times when they seem to do the opposite....these dwellings.......vacuuming up oxygen into its pores leaving only the stale remnant thoughts of misguided pilgrims intent on sermonizing implausible fear mongering messages to the others caught inside. Those poor travellers, she thinks, for they have no room to breathe enough fresh air to emerge out of the fire and brimstone weeping out of the hearth. Stuck listening to stories, backs aching from the hardwood pews in unmovable rows, they begin to believe it at face value without the human gift of doubting. They listen without question. They sing when they are told. They kneel when the pilgrim nods and pray, eyes closed......hands in a fold.
"I wonder," she says to herself, "how do they know what to pray if they haven't taken the time to listen to their souls? Can they feel the words of a hymn chosen only because it "fits" with the theme rather than the mood? Does any of it mean anything if it isn't tied to life outside the walls?" hmmmm...... "maybe they are afraid to be different than the others around them. Maybe they have lost their nerve to question the messages bouncing off the walls inside the dwelling. Maybe they have forgotten that God is in all of us?"
Her own thoughts leave her feeling very claustrophic as she looks around the room, to a point where she feels her energy draining. Loneliness is beckoning like the coo of a lost dove. To combat the suffocation of thoughts, the Nomad closes her eyes and breathes in her vision of salt air from the sea, her imagination and strong will move her out into the colour of the sky, to a place where she knows there is a Hand waiting to be held.
And as she leans forward to tie her walking shoes, she smiles knowing a Friend is waiting for her out in the wild who has a few stories to share of His own. She can listen to them much better when they float amongst the mysticism of the stars.
Thursday, August 06, 2009
And the teacher says, "What's that you've got in your hand?" And Johnny says, "This is a lump of cow dung." The teacher asks, "What are you making out of it?" He says, "I'm making a teacher." The teacher thought, "Little Johnny has regressed."
So she calls out to the principal, who was passing by the door at that moment, and says, "Johnny has regressed."
So the principal goes up to Johnny and says, "Hi, son." And Johnny says, "Hi."
And the principal says, "What do you have in your hand?" And he says, "A lump of cow dung." "What are you making out of it?" And he says, "A principal." The principal thinks that this is a case for the school psychologist. "Send for the psychologist!"
The psychologist is a clever guy. He goes up and says, "Hi." And Johnny says, "Hi." And the psychologist says, "I know what you've got in your hand." "What?" "A lump cow dung." Johnny says, "Right." "And I know what you're making out of it." "What?" "You're making a psychologist." "Wrong. Not enough cow dung!"
Anthony de Mello.......... :)
Wednesday, August 05, 2009
hoping it leads to a primordial wing fluttering of grace.
Our capacity to love grows from seeds.
Sometimes when sorrow pounds on temples of loneliness, when fear rips open soiled hearts, when anger spits at crippled feet overused seeking solace, it takes one unleashed tiny beam of empathy to lighten big burdens. Empathy is the light shining beauty on purple welts.
Out of love grows compassion.
Out of compassion comes our ability to feel for others.
So much of what we learn is through imitation.
So much of what we want is to be just like another.
So much of what we yearn for is to be accepted.
So much of what we do is to feel we're understood.
So much of what we need is to know we belong.
So much of our actions are to show someone we exist.
So much of what we share of ourselves is to try to give love.
So much of what we cry out for is a chance to be loved.
Let much of what we do and learn be with gusto.
Let much of what we do and learn lead us to a sense of belonging and affirmation.
Let much of what we do and learn allow us to offer this feeling to others.
Let much of what we do and learn lead us to that place where we find comfort in our own skin.
Monday, August 03, 2009
"You have traveled too fast over false ground;
Now your soul has come to take you back.
Take refuge in your senses, open up
To all the small miracles you rushed through.
Become inclined to watch the way of rain
When it falls slow and free.
Imitate the habit of twilight,
Taking time to open the well of color
That fostered the brightness of day.
Draw alongside the silence of stone
Until its calmness can claim you."
Timely advice today. Sometimes the refuges we seek become too self-inclusive and we lose touch with our real footing. False roads? How do you know when its the real one?
Sunday, August 02, 2009
need to be spoken, written, owned
sewed into the fabric of destiny.
Only then can they be seen.
Only then can they reflect truth.
Only then will they have the potential
to become as real as touching the warm flesh of a friend.
colours poured into a dancing mosaic.
like an eternal echo of a whispered promise.
I have walked. I am walking....
This dream of mine is now within reach.
I sit within its moment of anticipation....
a place of excitement and trepidation.
At the end of this month, I will meet up with a dream as I take part and breathe in the Greenbelt Festival. I've stood next to this truth and inside these wishes and have seen it. Soon, I will live it.
this weeks Sunday Scribblings' prompt is "anticipation..." VERY timely indeed. For more interpretations, check out their blogsite.
Saturday, August 01, 2009
"Prayer does not use up artificial energy, doesn't burn up any fossil fuel, doesn't pollute. Neither does song, neither does love, neither does the dance." Margaret Mead....
stumble in your prayers,
sing off key,
find that love can hurt
or step on your dance partner's toes
you're still living
an environmentally friendly existence.