UNANSWERED PRAYERS

Dedicated with gratitude to Lonesome Cowboy Tim Once my “Footprints in the Sand”

Restlessly, my soul roams from this realm to the next during my early morning hours of sleep. Nirvana, always my destination, remains an obscure shimmering mirage just beyond my reach.  As I catch a fleeting glimpse of her distant shores, I recognize this as my sacred place, the province of Unanswered Prayers.

Great waves from the rushing river far below splash upon the huge fallen log making it slippery. In the quiet sigh of the wind, I hear the implicit question. “Are you sure you want this?  Are you truly ready for your final journey?” I had been offered a precious and rare second chance at life.  It felt like I had spent a lifetime caught in those deep troubled waters.   Battered and gasping for air, I clung to the rocks that ultimately had become my prison.  The undercurrent, my nemesis, was the very force that could set me free if only I wasn’t so afraid to simply let go.  If only I could trust that the force of nature, my creator, couldn’t, wouldn’t destroy me.  I had to learn the hard way that control was but a laughable concept born of Ego.

Like a period without a sentence, the unanswered question hangs statically in the air, waiting, “Yes,” I whisper under my breath. Looking over my shoulder one last time, I wasn’t so sure.  I knew there would be no turning back.  “And, what if you could do it all again, with the gifts born of experience, compassion and wisdom.  Would you?”  With trepidation I look down at the force of the roiling waves far below.  As fear and hope beat wildly side by side in my battered heart, I feel estranged and disoriented by a sudden onset of vertigo. Tentatively I take my first step towards a new destination, this, my answer.

My life now seems like two lives, the one before Chad died and this one.  Real and palpable, with emotions raw, sometimes it feels like it was just yesterday; and other times it feels like someone else’s memory.  I feel like I am shedding one life for the next, but yet as painful as it is, it is still hard to let go of what was a beautiful life, ending abruptly in a moment of impact.   I’ve found peace for the first time in my life, yet I miss the younger me, so invincible.  I roamed the most beautiful wilderness areas on horseback, howled at the moon and heard it echo back to me.  I enjoyed years of camping and skiing with my kids and great friends.  Thought of as fun loving and entertaining, I always dared to dream in pursuit of happiness.  I traveled with a different zest and purpose then I do now.  I looked for love in all the wrong places and was lucky to have found it in the right ones.

Relatively sedate as a native of the heartland, I could never have discovered the amazing people and things in my life by simple coincidence.  One day when I was a teenager, before television was sophisticated enough to broadcast around the world; a thought, actually just one word, came to me.  “Vail” was whispered into being out of the blue, perhaps some sort of premonition.  I had heard of it but was incapable of envisioning a famous ski town.  With only a mild curiosity, I never thought of it again.  Without a destination, ironically, it was a series of events that eventually lead me there, my new home ten years later.  God had far more imagination than I; but my heart listened.  I was less afraid to be daring then; and now, less afraid of dying.   The realization that everything can change -forever- in just one potent instant keeps me honest as I embrace life.  And, sometimes I just really yearn to be her once more, fearlessly alive with my whole life in front of me.  To feel the innocence of bliss and to live her all over again from my new perspective as I am now.  I feel blessed to get a second chance as the shadows of time grow longer.

What if there is no ‘out there’ – out there. No place for me to go and nothing for me to do but be my most imperfect and yet precious self.  Would carrying my burdens be enough as I march down the road of good intentions?  Would I be able to accept with grace that being unbearingly human was all that I had to offer in this lifetime?  If I had not stalked existentialism in my youth, if I had not chased Buddhist/Hindu monks around the world while searching the outer realms for my son, and met those who had gone to the “other side” and came back to describe it, how would I have ever found the grace to accept the unacceptable?  Perhaps God made the earth round so we can’t see to far down the road.

It started one day when I was very young, this dance with my mysterious omniscient God.  Feeling quite humiliated by my first-grade teacher, I found myself on a small knoll kneeling in the tall grass in a place where God could hear our prayers best.  I remember distinctly that I was wearing my favorite little gray dress with the tiny white flowers and my black patent leather shoes.  I folded my hands in prayer like they taught us.  I was telling God that I wasn’t happy. That I wished that my teacher would not be my teacher ever again.  I wished she would die.  The next morning the principal came into our classroom and informed us that Mrs. Prusha had died during the night.  Shocked, I told no one, least of all my mother.  Now leery, I would become more distant from this scary God of burning bushes and pillars of salt that I had read about in my Bible School Class.

There will come a time in everyone’s life when believers and nonbelievers alike will collapse to their knees, begging for a sign that there is a GOD up there somewhere, some higher power that cares what happens to us. That can save us.  Sometimes, our prayers are answered, and our dreams seemingly come true.   We get the job, win the lotto, or marry our soul mate.  Most of the time our dreams don’t turn out quite the way we envisioned.  And, inevitably, there will be times when no matter how hard and long we pray, accidents happen, parents get divorced, loved ones and pets still die, and people betray us.  In the myths of old, it was said that if the Gods wanted to punish us, they answered our prayers.  Sometimes, only in retrospect are we able to see the beauty and synchronicities that an unanswered prayer may bring.

In my early thirties, terrified, I flew Flight for Life to Children’s Hospital with my firstborn son. It was all so surreal as he lay, fighting for his life, on a gurney beside me as we bounced wildly through mountain air currents in that small plane.   A staunch nonbeliever in God by this time, I felt so incredibly scared and completely helpless.  I had nowhere to turn- no God that would hear my prayers.  My son survived.  He was the lucky one when two other small boys from the mountains died that same week without ever making it to the hospital.  I was beyond ecstatic and relieved.  Is it just random who lives and who dies?  I had my son in and out of the hospital three times before he was diagnosed with Meningitis, the same disease that stole the life of the other boys. Ten days later, my heart was broken to learn that my baby was left with a profound hearing loss.  I was a new mother of only one year and my dreams of motherhood and happily-ever- after came crashing down around me.

Thirty-eight years ago, when my son lost his hearing, there was much controversy in deaf education.   The “Hearing Impaired” were at that time labeled “Deaf Mutes” or “Deaf and Dumb”, not a very encouraging vision for our future.  Over the next ten years I carried the burden of making all decisions for my son’s welfare with little help or real support from “special needs” educators, medical professionals, or my own husband.  I just prayed I was making the right decisions, which included a new and dangerous surgery for a cochlear implant when he was eight.  As Brandon faltered in local systems that were unable to support his needs, I had to make a hard decision.  Even though it broke our hearts, I scraped together the steep tuition and enrolled him in a very well-known residential oral school for the Deaf, focusing on ‘teaching children to speak’.

As brutal as the separation was for me, my children couldn’t understand.  Words were just words to Chad, only three years old at the time.   Hyper sensitive to my sadness, he always seemed to move spiritually in three dimensions.  In retrospect I now recognize that I suppressed my emotions of separation from Brandon by inequitably leaning emotionally on Chad.  For at least another two or three years, Brandon would have no concept of language with which to understand why and for how long he would be sent away.  His teachers called regularly, concerned for his first few years about how hard he took it when he made mistakes in class or on tests.  Only years later could he share that he knew I was proud of his successes and he thought if he could keep getting good grades, it would make me love him….. again.  I cried for all those years and all the misunderstandings that I could never take back or fix.  Praised for his every success and achievements in my letters and later in person, his was a misconception easily understood.   He made the Dean’s List, was an Eagle Scout by the time he was fourteen, spent time with Miss America who was also deaf and was invited to Don Johnson’s home in Aspen for the fireworks.  He learned to be independent and to love travel after flying alone from the age of seven.  Everyone in the Vail Valley knew my son while I was just “Brandon’s mother” to many.  A very determined little boy and young man, my son has thrived.   My marriage didn’t.  Children of a Lesser God became the story of our life for the better part of ten years.

Despite all the heartbreak and uncertainties, there were so many diamonds in the rough.  Randomly, perhaps even miraculously when viewed from hindsight, people who could support us and help with Brandon’s learning skills seemed to just show up at exactly the right time with another piece of the puzzle.   One of the people that came into my life became my footprints in the sand.   He was able to help me find a different God then the one I had pushed away in my youth, a power greater than me.  As vague as that may seem, it was at least something and it changed everything going forward in my life.  I would dare say that I would not, could not have survived the things that were looming in my future had I not had Spirit, God or something to believe in.  Hope is like sunshine, if you never see it, you’ll never make it through the night.

Most of life’s instances pass us by like a series of images along a byway. But sometimes we are stunned in a moment when life stops us in our tracks.   Every part of that moment will live on in us forever, capable of flooding back to vibrant life at a mere suggestion; a vision, a scent, sound or even a song.  These moments of impact move us emotionally back through time where we stand trembling helplessly, rolling deep in its embrace once more.  These are the moments where for better or for worse, Unanswered Prayers are born.

Albert Camus said, “Blessed are the hearts that can bend, they shall never be broken.”  I say that a heart that’s broken was a heart that loved deeply.   I wonder, if hearts didn’t break, then there would be no healing.  Healing is how we learn, through the struggling that seems to be an inevitable part of life.  So, must all hearts be broken?  Even the hearts of our children?  I feel sure that if I had not been so deeply touched by death, I would not recognize Nirvana on those distant shores. I would have missed the brush of angel wings against my face when my father passed. I would not have been able to accept my son’s release from a physical life into the Omniscient slipstream. And, as painful as it is, I would never in a hundred years have had any idea how to say goodbye to him if I knew it would be the last time.

There have been times that I’ve touched people deeply and times that I’ve made my share of mistakes.  I have gained immeasurable empathy throughout my life as I’ve loved and lost incredible friends and lovers.  More than anything else, I feel so blessed to have raised two sons, both truly my heroes.  They loved me into who I am.  They are truly the most amazing individuals I’ve ever known.  My heart breaks for kids who must struggle. I wish I knew how to take the hurt away.  Frequently we see those childhood pictures, a collage of big toothy grins, freckles and eyes of innocence.  It’s difficult to recognize them not so many years later, adolescents on the streets living in a harsh world precipitated by just one moment of impact.  They become shadows of their former selves, broken in shame and torn from the guilt of loved ones.   They are haunted by demons of substances that possess their minds, own their bodies and steal their souls.  The wail of heartbroken mothers and loved ones torn apart, echo around the world.  I strongly believe that these same trusting and sensitive little girls or boys of those photos are buried alive inside just trying to survive.   More and more often they don’t.

“There is never a guarantee of survival, no matter your strength or skill or wit.  There is only the day you are conceived and the day you die, and all else is a series of moments you either embrace or endure.”Rachel L. Schrade, Forsaken Kingdom

While I’ll never fully understand, I suspect we all have karma to work through in each lifetime, creating and recreating our life circumstances from the karma we bring with us. Just watching the news exemplifies a dose of harsh karmic reality before our eyes every day.  While I don’t believe everything is a coincidence or written in stone; nor do I believe that our lives here on this planet are just random and meaningless. I suspect that we are all intrepid survivors just trying to find our way.

Each day since my son died, as a means of survival, I have disciplined myself to disengage whenever I can from that wheel of Karma. I always return to nature and the precious “Present” a place where ego cannot tread. There, its trivial chatter, memories and future plans are nonexistent.  Just as a young pre-language child peers through the eyes of wonderment, I push myself to see through those same eyes of mystery and pure innocence. Only silence, inside and out, resonates through this impenetrable domain where ego, always eager to narrate and label my environment, will not find me.  Priceless, these are moments when God breathes me.  With amazement, these rare and fleeting moments are when I feel his infinite peace, strength and compassion in my heart.  I live for these precious moments – when “the present” is all there is.  Moments of Impact, whether the best of times or the worst, shatter the boundaries of your story and suddenly you meet yourself there.

So many nights I still dream of my son being here with me, the result of my subconscious trying to make things right again. When I awaken, for a moment it’s all so real.  The shock of reality all over again comes rushing back– my Albatross.  He’s gone.  Except in my dreams, I’ll never see or touch his face again or hear him laugh or say I love you.  It’s like tearing the scab off a deep wound again and again just as it appears to be healing.  The fresh blood prevents the ugly buildup of proud flesh, the scars that can strangle your heart.  God’s nature is to heal. The alchemy of our love and wounds make us who we are.

And, sometimes I still cry out in the dead of night- the question that begs to be asked, “Why God? How could this have ever happened to us?  Why does being human have to be so painful?”  And, when I am able to open my heart even for a moment, I catch a glimpse of the infinite wisdom in everything that I have experienced, the answered as well as the unanswered prayers.

With my first pregnancy, I prayed for my unborn child to be a boy as I had no idea how to nurture a little girl. I miscarried while on a cross country hut trip. Years later, on my knees for the eight months that he was missing, I prayed that my son would be found.  Ironically, I’ve been told by more than one seer that my little girl, Dani, is seen walking with my son Chad on the other side.

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MY SACRED PLACE-One of my “Moments of Impact” – A place where all prayers are answered

I can see them there, shimmering light just beyond the thin gossamer veils of time. In a sea of vibrant colors, hummingbirds and butterflies flit amongst flowers and tall grasses that rustle gently in the breeze. In the distance, I hear the rushing glacier stream as it roars down the mountainside; its echo reminiscent of a great Norther dancing through the pines.  Far above the alpine forests lush with ferns and blossoming trees, the peaceful scene is interrupted by a loud cracking noise.  I feel the shock-wave move through my chest as suddenly all the birds take flight.   A massive slab slowly and methodically calving from the glacier sends shards of ice somersaulting over the head-walls of surrounding cliffs where a dozen waterfalls spill into the grassy meadow far below. Like a bare wire sparking in a storm, the atmosphere crackles as millions of ice splinters tumble in slow motion through the sunshine, collecting rainbow prisms as they go.  I know this place of my dreams for I was once there.  It was magical beyond belief.  I climbed her mountain and stood on her glacier.  Exhilarated by the awe-inspiring power of the Tasman Sea, I raced along her empty beaches on a warm-blood named Jack.

One day, whether in body or spirit, I will return.  Until then, this is the sacred place of my dreams where I can meet my loved ones.  Like footprints in the sand, I can see that my unanswered prayers were God’s answer all along.

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Tasman Sea on Jack

He cannot heal who has not suffered much,

For only sorrow, sorrow understands:

They will not come for healing at our touch

Who have not seen the scars upon our hands.

Stigmata: Edwin McNeill Poteat 1892-1955

 

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…And So I Write

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Driven by a passion I can’t understand, I endlessly arrange and rearrange words on a page.  Excavating through the chapters of my story, I hope to fumble upon just the right sequence that will resonant my essence.  If I’m lucky, perhaps it will even reveal why I’ve come.   I have to stop and wonder, though, “who is the I that wants to know?”  And while I’m at it, “why does so much shit always seem to happen in my story?”

When it comes to writing, for me it’s more of a journaling thing since I haven’t mastered any of the professional writing jargon, styles or techniques.  I rarely pay attention to present, past and future tenses; and switch from first to second and third person like I have multiple personalities.  I don’t have any idea how to develop a character.  I can talk a blue streak, but dialogue that ‘flows naturally’ escapes me.  Worse yet, the climax may be anticlimactic and without resolution.  In other words, I just write, and my writing breaks a few rules.  Oh, and I love clichés, how cliché of me.

Shaking its head, Ego says it’s a huge waste of time. “Turn off the computer and go live your life.  You’ll never figure it out, Einstein.   You have a million things to do and time is too short to think that just the right words will ultimately make any difference. It’s not like hitting the jack pot, all techno happy sounds”.  So, I guess Ego isn’t the I that wants to know since it already seems to know everything. I beg to differ, but Ego is the only I in its eyes and knows a multitude of ways to kill a buzz.

One Halloween day in the 80’s, I first became ignited with a passion to write.  It was one of those monumental moments.  Could it have been an invitation from Spirit?  The thought just hit me out of the blue as I was walking to my office, feeling particularly apathetic about working that day. I will never forget, largely because it was so uncharacteristic of me to think I’d have time for something so frivolous.  It was a long time ago, but I probably thought, “Hey, why don’t I write a fantasy today?”  I’d never written before, other than in a diary when I was a bit – well – actually alot nerdy like some teenagers were back then ….even before that word was invented.

So, pen in hand, I started writing a very steamy Halloween Fantasy.  That seemed like a natural place to start given it was Halloween and all.  As for steamy, that was just my take on it.  At that time, essentially the dark ages, they hadn’t invented computers or the World Wide Web for reference.  How in the world would we know what people were thinking about if they didn’t just tweet and twitter the first thing that popped into their minds?  It was a time that did have its good points.

My fantasy involved a sensual, provocative Vampiress that showed up all Sigourney Weaver-ish of Ghostbusters fame.  Sigourney, possessed by Zuul as you may recall, answers a knock at the door, she, the Gatekeeper.  “Are you the Keymaster?”, she asks seductively.  Electrified by an otherworldly energy field, her hair is wild and her eyes and lips beguiling, her face glowing.  “Do you want this body?” she hisses in a whisper.  “Is this a trick question?” Peter, her date (Bill Murray) asks calmly.  (Ya think, Peter?)  Trying to keep things light when she demands in Zuul’s very threatening voice, “take me now”, Peter teases, “Oh Zuully, you nut.  I think there are as least two people in there already”.  She then levitates above the bed in her tawny silk gown shimmering as it flows around her body in an ethereal manner.  So that’s what my Heroine looked like only with darker hair, fangs, of course, and with all that shimmery energy going on.  Oh, and she didn’t have that deep, ‘I am possessed’ Zuul voice; but she was probably really strong.  We aren’t sure because her guy was unable to move for some reason… he was probably strapped to the bed or something.

So, my heroine didn’t knock at the door.  Her prey was a handsome man, of course, who had just locked the door after the last Trick or Treaters left.  Just as he was dozing off, she simply vaped or vamped (or whatever they do) through a moonlit open window. With the full moon at her back, she stealthy and seductively moved over him, casting a shadow as she purred her way up his body.  Skipping way forward, after she hypnotized him with her repertoire of amazing competencies, she bared her fangs of course.  The victim thought it was an erotic dream or maybe a nightmare, he wasn’t sure which.  That is until he awoke the next morning, (amazing what they can sleep through), and noticed the blood on his fingers…and eventually the gaping holes in his neck.  Maybe it’s just me, but I’d say it probably was a nightmare.  Well, anyway, you get the picture.

OK, that was fun, I thought.  Why?  I found it entertaining to just conjure up this unreality. It was very empowering to be able to manipulate the outcomes of my rather undeveloped characters when I seemed to be but a hapless mortal in my own movie.  At that particular time in my life, a lot of shit had just gone down, (including divorce).  I was a single working mom with two boys that were nicknamed “The Marines”, if that tells you anything.  The worse part was I couldn’t seem to control any of it, not a good feeling for me.

They say, passion burns deep in the heart and is nurtured by the Soul.  It keeps you up at night and you have boundless energy for something that lights you up.  It’s a life line or maybe even a life-force.  Unlike Ego, usually a naysayer as protector of our species, Spirit, ignites us, stirs us up, rekindles, incites, inflames and arouses us.  Never Ego, but Spirit gently helps navigate us back to our path when we stray, as stray we do.

And, if we (Ego) remain stubbornly asleep or looking the other way, it may necessitate poking the bear, instigating, and even provoking us with the use of stronger measures. If we still can’t seem to self-ignite, Spirit may need to strike a flame in our hearts or cut off an ear or perhaps use a flame thrower, as it did in my case…I still have two ears though.  The arts are and always have been the lifeblood of our society.   Without passion, why be here? Everyone has a passion that sets afire that delicate thread of connection to the Spirit World and other kindred spirits. Therein we may find our purpose if we look closely with an open heart and mind.

And then there are times I write to placate an Ego “who” pretends to know who I am and why I’m here.  And, just when “I” think I’m getting close, the universe may shake my world once more; and like a snow globe, there is nothing but a blinding blizzard before my eyes and I can’t see a future.  Ego is all “I told you so”, thinking it has the last laugh… or does It?

In the past I’d try to endure the flurry; and with a lot of toe tapping and moaning, wait for the sunshine after the storm.   Today with just a little whisper of encouragement from Spirit, I’m more able to embrace the beauty of the storm.  I have learned that some things are better left to sleight of hand and the mysteries of the Universe.  If you observe closely with an open heart, you too can believe in Magic.

 “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.” –Albert Einstein

 

THE OTHER SIDE OF GONE

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You are open air flying through the canyon chasing bliss.  Rushing water plunges and swirls around misplaced boulders, pursuing its destiny to the sea.  Low autumn light catches the spray of sparkling white caps, each drop effervescent as it leaps for freedom before being swallowed once more by the river.  Sometimes your life felt like that.

Red canyon walls rise stoically above you, echoing wisdom of ages. Their shadows play hide and seek with the sun.  Its flickering warmth kisses your face a thousand times as the wind tosses your hair to and fro like a kite in a thunderstorm.  If this was a small taste of bliss, what did he feel, silence roaring in his ears, as he sailed through the atmosphere?

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You constantly cautioned him.  He had been born too sensitive, too brave; and his pain too deep to mask.  He always seemed illusive, like an unattended balloon floating aimlessly through the sky.  An old soul, one day he calmly looked you in the eye and said, “If you can’t feel truly alive, why be here?”  Today you agree; but back then you were always afraid for him.  Or, were you just scared for yourself?  Your courage was the timid kind that said prayers.  Sometimes prayers weren’t answered.  Sometimes it wasn’t the answer you wanted to hear.

Funny how time marches along, randomly changing lives without notice or permission.  True love ephemeral, unplanned babies, broken bones, amazing careers, raging fires, hurricanes; and always, if you lived long enough, losing someone you have no idea how to live without.  After the perfect storm blew over, you found yourself standing alone in the aftermath, wondering how this could have possibly happened to you.  And, why?

“Why?” was the question you chased around the world.  The voices of many Gurus rang true; but they could never tell you what you needed to discover for yourself in your own time.  Through it all, he was there, your best teacher.  You thought of him now.  In your mind’s eye, you see him grinning, like it was yesterday.  You swear you can hear him laughing as you fly through the canyon.  His is an infectious laugh; and you could always read his mood by the color change of his blue eyes.

There had been so many teachers since.   But it was he who stuck in your mind like glue, like a well-worn shoe that fits just a little too tight, but you wouldn’t even dream of ever throwing it away.  Subconsciously, you step hard on the accelerator.  The speed of the sports car is addictive as it lurches forward.  Purring in obedience it handles the curves with precision.   You know he is loving it as he watches you fly by, shaking his head knowingly with a crooked smile.  He thinks of you as amazingly Jedi; and sometimes more like a yard sale, all over the place.

Happiness, flamboyant yet fleeting, had always been a powerful and addictive elixir.  Entitled, you had chased it for years like a hungry dog, insatiable.  With practice you were eventually able to hunker down in the small moments of quiet that elude a busy mind.   It is where you finally found the grace of peace, maybe for the first time in your life.

Bliss is different from happiness.  Whimsical, yet all in, it gives you wings.  You own it in the small moments as you watch one white line, and then the next, until they become a blur.  Bliss, ethereal, cannot be bullied.  Requiring complete surrender, it is simple but not easy.  Choosing it’s time carefully, it slips in quietly.  A deep Zen-like peace washes over you.  You catch an elusive glimpse of true being, an all-encompassing and expansive oneness, an alert stillness so profound its palpable, so soundless, it can only be heard within.

Wide eyed with wonder, you found bliss only in the truly magical moments at first. The miracle of childbirth and holding your baby in your arms for the first time; or falling madly – puppy dog, head over heels – in lust with the love of your life.  Eventually, awe found bliss in the simplicity and candor of nature as you humbly lay witness to a thunderhead rolling across the ridge, crashing waves on a rocky shoreline, the cry of a hawk on the wing, the enormity of a sunrise over the Himalayas or a sunny marsh where cattails wait.  Here wonder replaces words.  These moments are enchanting and rare when Ego, like a well-behaved dog, rests obediently by your side- once an overbearing master, now servant to your heart.

Never again would you take an innocent goodbye for granted. Years after the police told you that hikers had come across his body, you had finally suffered enough.  Life sang your song back to you; and you knew you could never go back the way you had come.  With nowhere else to run, bliss was kind, waiting patiently for you to fall to your knees one last time, a place where you could finally hear its subtle whisper.   And, like that hidden image in a painting, once you saw it, you couldn’t un-see it.  And once you had felt the brush of its gossamer wings, you would always know its touch.

Destiny has a way of turning a perfectly good life upside down.  Like a rag doll, it shook you, nearly to death, testing your resolve.  Yours felt like a painstakingly slow return from insanity where you had vacillated between feeling too much or feeling nothing at all. What if you had suffered through it all, and never got the point?  What if there was no point?  It was a fine line when you had to choose.  Simply fade away, drifting like that untethered balloon or intentionally seek all the things worth fighting for.  You chose life.

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If it is true that suffering is optional, you summoned the alchemy of unimaginable pain to transform like the Phoenix rising – victim to Intrepid Survivor.   You were stronger and more courageous now, even without prayers.  Once blinded by grief, with tears of gratitude you could finally see that your loved ones had never deserted you.  They stood with you in the fire.  Theirs were the footprints in the sand.

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Bliss feels like happiness on drugs as gold, red and orange leaves skitter erratically across the road, crunching beneath your tires. You close your eyes for a dangerously long moment inhaling the musky smell of earth.  Oh how you love fall, a final goodnight kiss before winter’s embrace.  Surrendering to a passionate presence welling up inside, you fall in love with life all over again, nature your solace.

He had been born into sadness.  You thought of the early months when he was a baby.  For weeks he cried each night, kicking his little legs in anguish as you tried helplessly to comfort him.  It was always with a sigh of relief when he stopped hurting and you could lay down with him.  Placing him on your chest, you could still feel his soft breath against your face as he slept, his little heart beating in rhythm next to your own.  These special moments were indelibly imprinted in the timeless spaces.

Intuitively, you take one hand from the steering wheel, placing it over your heart.  In the glow of the sun, a smile plays at your lips as you remember all those years, the psychics, self-help books, friends, family and Gurus, a cast of thousands who lifted you from the mire.  Ironically, it had been here all along, his precious heart beating within yours…just patiently waiting for you to notice.

You had only touched the edges of bliss, a place you one day hope to live.  There you can feel the expansive love of pure essence as it whispers, calling out to you.  In your grateful moments, you are able to appreciate the gifts that have come from such sacrifice, his and yours, knowing that the people and things you love most will always live on in your heart.  Because you know that nothing can ever hurt that way again, you begin to savor a life lived as if there is nothing left to lose.  He lived his life like that, his legacy to you.  He is right here beside you, as you learn the art of flying in the face of fear, even when it feels like falling at first.

Ernest Hemingway, A Farewell to Arms– “The world breaks everyone and afterward many are strong at the broken places…”

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Everyone is different, and grief takes as long as it takes. Yet when I look back, I wish I had learned sooner, the tools that were so useful for my “healing”. With so much pain and grief in the world, I’m hoping that by sharing the things that have helped me survive; I can make a difference for someone else trying to navigate through the process of grief. Watch for my forthcoming post concerning what I’ve learned along the way on my difficult trek back to life – “From Pain to Bliss- Returning from the Dead”

SUICIDE

The following are just a few sobering statistics relating to suicide, which is how my son died in 2004. The crisis is only getting worse according to statistics, most of which are still dated 2016. It appears that the age groups most at risk are also changing since 2016, further exacerbated by the more recent Opioid and social media related suicides. I would expect 2018 figures, relating to the Opioid addiction, Millennial media/social interactions, and population isolation, to soar even higher. No longer able to boast about rising life expectancy rates, (largely due to increasing suicides), the US rates have declined for the third year in a row. Why are things getting increasingly worse instead of better?

Suicide is the 10th leading cause of death in the US (123 suicides per day-51% involving firearms). For our youth, 10 – 24, it was the second leading cause of death increasing more than 30 percent (2016).

Statistics are understated due to the stigma of suicide, unreported suicides and attempted suicides. It is estimated that for every death by suicide, there were 25 attempts nationally. In 2016, 7 of 10 were white males and 3.5 times more often men than women.

Colorado ranks 9th (since 2016) in the U.S. for suicide, (6/11/18 Becker’s Hospital Review) 20.5 per 100,000 with our Colorado teens dying at nearly twice the national average rate in 2017. According to Colorado Public Radio News 9/6/18, the statistics for our young now surpass death from car accidents, with overall young people of Colorado now the highest suicide statistics in the nation.

Eagle County statistics (Vail Valley) have always trended even higher than Colorado state statistics and well ahead of the national average with 12 deaths so far in 2018 (23 per 100,000 versus Colorado at 20.5 per 100,000).

Check out some of the following links for more insights into cause and effect:

“…overdose misuse associated with the opioid overdose epidemic could be driving the suicide rate higher.” Another factor under consideration by CDC is the impact of social media. “Social media can exacerbate bullying, romanticize suicide and provide harmful content on suicide methods.” https://thehill.com/opinion/healthcare/409176-suicide-rates-are-rising-across-the-us-and-the-numbers-are-not-subtle

“There’s much not yet understood about the rise in suicides, but one finding of the CDC’s previous research was that it’s not necessarily linked to mental health: More than half of the people who died by suicide in 2016 had no known mental health problems. Instead, as Vox’s Julia Belluz reported this summer following the death of beloved chef and author Anthony Bourdain, researchers have found that the majority of suicides are related to problems with relationships, substance use, health, jobs or finances.” https://www.vox.com/science-and-health/2018/11/29/18118601/suicide-rate-highest-decades-life-expectancy

“What is making so many Americans turn to alcohol and drugs and still others to take their own lives? Explanations will run the gamut. Usually, people will cite their own particular hobbyhorse, and I may be guilty of that. My obsession is family decline. Due to unmarriage and divorce, more Americans are living alone than at any time in our history. Let me quickly acknowledge that the steep rise in adolescent depression in recent years may have more to do with social media than anything else. Jean Twenge’s work suggests that girls are particularly vulnerable to online cruelty.” https://townhall.com/columnists/monacharen/2018/11/30/why-are-we-so-sad-n2536748

WHO’S DRIVING THE BUS-TIMEOUT: I’m going to need a Road Map

article-2154929-1376A9CD000005DC-502_634x350If I can lay my thoughts down on a page, placing the words just right, perhaps they will tell the story that will help me better understand who I am and who I am not.

Since my personal route of exploration is usually a long and winding road, I decided to pause, get my road map out and make sure I know my destination.   Below, I have laid out some special road side attractions that we might find along the way.

Most of the time these back roads are full of twists and turns, never going in a straight line from A to B the way men like it.  That may be a result of the way I think or, perhaps, the way women think in general. If you haven’t seen the following video about the differences between how men and women process, it is amusing and right on.  It will make everything so much clearer.  Stay here and check it out while I look for my map.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=3XjUFYxSxDk Talking Heads Man vs Woman

DESTINATION:  NIRVANA THROUGH CONSCIOUS, SUBCONSCIOUS, EGO, & PHYSICAL BALANCE
curvy road map
Road Map to Emotional Intelligence

 


SHORT BUS

  • 1) Squishing expansive Consciousness into a Short Bus, i.e. (the physical body)

    • Emotion: Our First Language
    • Story:  Conjecture vs. Fact

 

  • (2) Childhood Stories-What Does  Our Story have to do with it? 
    • How our family life and stories effect how we show up in our lives
    • Lost in a karmic circle of recreating our stories and outcomes
    • Looking for the Truth in Our Stories
    • What does Love have to do with it?

(3) TALKING HEADS ARE DRIVING BUT WHERE DID THEY LEAVE THE BUS?

  • How do you know when you are disconnected from your body
  • What is the end result of disconnected Consciousness

white lines

  • (4)  WHITE LINES ON THE HIGHWAY
    • The Mind is here to Serve the Heart
    • Consciousness provides observations for “being” so that humans can find themselves within their experiences

WHO’S DRIVING THE BUS?

The wheels on the bus go round and round. The people on the bus go up and down.   But, does anyone know …article-2154929-1376A9CD000005DC-502_634x350

WHO IS DRIVING THE BUS?

If I can lay my thoughts down on a page, placing the words just right, perhaps they will tell the story that will help me better understand who I am, and who I am not.

Last week, frustrated during meditation when I couldn’t seem to quiet my thoughts around some particular office drama, I realized when my time was up and I opened my eyes that I had simply been sitting for twenty minutes “thinking with my eyes closed!” With a deep sigh, I concluded that I was still a work in progress, alas, “a mere human” when it came to being addicted to my thoughts, stories and the act of thinking.    How was this possible when I had worked so hard to remember to be present in the moment and in my body?  Was I simply a “Talking Head”?  As Trump would tweet, “FAKE MEDITATION…SO SAD!”

None of us were born “Talking Heads”. In the beginning, we were awakened into an altered state of reality, consciousness seemingly stuffed into a physical body.   After being squished into existence through a tight dark tunnel and landing in these huge slipper hands; we were slapped on the ass and welcomed into this three dimensional mish-mash of existence we call life on Gaia.  Imagine being confined in a small physical existence when we were used to soaring freely through the jungles of space and time as omnificent creator.

When we were babies, until we were around five years old, emotion was our first and only language. Since we couldn’t form thoughts without a language to support these thoughts, we floated around on a cloud of feelings from the surrounding emotional atmosphere.  We had our first taste from the smorgasbord of emotion as early on as the womb.  These feelings were those of our mother; but we adopted them as if they were our own.  They most likely were a “mixed bag of treats” including love, excitement, anxiety, shame and/or fear.  With no way to employ our own special reptilian skills for survival, we had to rely solely on these emotions to tell us when something was wrong, such as there was a lion in the bush or a prehistoric Pterodactyl circling overhead.  A lot of good that would do, however, when helpless, we couldn’t even roll up in our blankets to hide from view.

Slowly, with the waning guidance and support of our friends and guardians from the other side, we got used to the giant “Talking Heads” that were all around us.   Before long we learned we could wrap these big folks around our little baby fingers; and they would come running –most of the time- when we cried. Dependent, we didn’t know who they were; but they seemed to be the only ones who would arrive to help us survive in these new body-vehicles we were test-driving.  On the other hand, they could cause major body damage if they dropped us or shook us to hard; not to mention they could also squash us like a bug if one of them accidentally stepped on us.

As toddlers we were off and running; motoring through life every waking hour.   Each day, we connected and disconnected somewhere around three million neuro-pathways and synapses as we alternately crashed and burned our way through time and space.  We were developing new skills of survival and learning what did and did not work with these new little special buses called physical bodies.  When we got hurt, pooped our pants or were hungry, we cried.  Hopefully, one of the “Talking Heads” would come running to our rescue.   Sometimes these big people would stick their big heads in our face and cooing, put kisses on us with their big lips.  They’d tickle us and then laugh when we laughed, snapping endless pictures so they’d never forget how darned cute we were in their own image.  Subsequently, they also tried to convince their friends and family that we were something special by posting these pictures in cyber space for all the world to see.

Now, I like everyone else, have a very personal and selective memory of my youth. I’d like to preface the following by saying that I realize that we adopt “our story” making it absolute truth when in actuality, it is a story we created initially, oftentimes with the mind of a child, based on very little fact in deed.  Whew, that was a mouth-full.  Most of us then live and relive our story, creating and re-creating people and outcomes over time that will actualize what we believe to be true; that is until we can recognize our stories as just that, “a story”.  At that point, walah, we may then be capable of extracting the truth from our story and alchemizing any past suffering.

Now I’m at a turning point,  I can choose whether to write “The End” or I can continue to share my story in spite of the fact that I know most of it is conjecture.  Although, because I started a story that like a dangling participle didn’t even make it through all of the conflict, introduce the characters, or even enjoy a climax, or resolution, I don’t feel complete.  Thus, please stay tuned for Part II of Who’s Driving the Bus.sign

To be continued…

 

FLYING HOME

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yWi0HhZqykE

One of my dreams and goals is to create a platform for the purpose of being able to offer a remembrance, a gift of Legacy to others.  I feel it would be meaningful to be able to assist with helping a family sift through the pictures, keepsakes and memories of their lives to find their own very special Legacy; and in doing so, perhaps help them to see the gifts they brought to others.  I believe that everyone needs to be heard and to understand the impact and measure of their life.  Most of us want to know that our caring and love mattered.

My father, a very young eighty-six, looks to be closer to sixty.  Still enjoying riding motorcycles around the country, he says, “if you can’t do what you’re passionate about, why be here?”  This week he is facing a fairly serious surgery, which is why this subject came up today.  My father has always known that I believe stories need to be remembered and told so that we may know why we came and who we are within the experiences of our life.  Dad has always loved telling his stories and especially enjoys reading them over and over whenever I get around to writing them.  In the past couple of years, however, I’ve noticed that his storytelling has taken on a tone of desperateness.  He becomes visually frustrated when family members dismiss him with, “yeah, I’ve heard this one a few times now.”  I imagine this is common for aging people and certainly doesn’t make them feel important or heard.  I’ve been on both sides of this now that my own son reminds me from time to time that I have already told him “this or that”.

One night about a year ago, my father and I were having a midnight chat.  I was sharing things I had learned from talking with people who had Near Death Experiences and gave him a book to read that was written by one of these intrepid survivors.  He was noticeably relieved after reading the book.  I was surprised when he started to reveal different stories; ones I personally hadn’t heard before.  How was this possible with me being the question person?  These stories were raw in the telling; and I was able to detect some underlying fear about dying.   He made the comment, “well, I don’t suppose you know where you’re going when you’ve killed people.”  In shock I said, “What are you saying Dad?  Have you killed people?”  “Well, not exactly,” he admitted to my relief.  He then went on to share about the atrocities of war, in his case, the Korean War.  Raised in a traditional religious philosophy where hell’s fires was a real place, my father seemed to harbor fears of uncertainty as eldership quickly approached.  Even though I don’t personally believe in hell, per se, I can see hell on Earth most days on the news.

My father was just twenty one when he was drafted into the Marines; but oddly, he never talked much about it.  I was still being wheeled around in a baby carriage in the few pictures I saw of our new life in North Carolina at the Marine Base. I love the picture of mom holding my hands so that I could stand in the waves of the ocean.  My mother who was deathly afraid of water, ironically always dreamt of living by a lake, river or the beach. Even though she remembers those days as some of her best, even she didn’t reveal any real stories about their life there.  That night, as we sat sharing our thoughts about  life, it became clear that Dad was proud of how quickly he had been promoted through the ranks to Corporal.  It was important to him that I understand that this was not common.  He seemed to be flattered and laughed as he shared that his fellow marines called him, “The Wildman” even though I feel sure I have not yet heard that entire story.

I feel privileged that my father finally felt like he could open up to reveal the stories of what it was like to be so young with a new wife and a baby; and to be suddenly faced with the horror of killing or being killed.  He said that it was not that rare to lose fellow Marines during training maneuvers, and disclosed racial in-discrepancies that were difficult to imagine.  These were things I had never even thought about.  Unfortunately, the ravages of war are not unfamiliar even today to so many others in the world.

I watched the movie “Sully” last night.  Within the first few lyrics of the Theme song, the profundity of the words was a straight shot to my heart.  Since the time when my son passed, I have chased the mystery and the meaning of life, purpose and our roles in each other’s lives around in my mind and heart for a decade.  The lyrics for the song “Flying Home” were profound in their meaning to me.  I believe they say it all and I wanted to share my thoughts about Legacy with other’s who just may need to hear the words to this song today.  I hope you’ll take a moment to really listen. I have added Flying Home to Chad’s Playlist.

FLYING HOME by Tierney Sutton Band

Theme Song for the Movie “Sully”

TELL ME YOUR STORY, I’LL TELL YOU MINE

SING ME YOUR SONG, I’LL FOLLOW LINE BY LINE

DRAW ME NEAR, LET ME HEAR THE THINGS YOU’VE TREASURED

PATIENT AS FALLING SNOW

STANDING INSIDE THE QUESTIONS

ONLY GUESSING BY WHAT TRUTHS OUR SOULS ARE MEASURED

EACH OF US RISING FROM WORLDS UNKNOWN

WITHIN YOUR TRIUMPHS I SEE MY OWN

STILL THERE ARE JOURNEYS THAT ARE YOUR’S ALONE

YOU WERE BORN FOR THE STORM YOU HAVE TO WEATHER

TRUE AS A WINTER WIND YOU FACE THE MOMENT BRAVELY

YOU AND I, WE’RE ON OUR OWN AND YET TOGETHER

WALKING A PATH WE CAN’T DEFINE

TELL ME YOUR STORY. I’LL TELL YOU MINE

SING ME YOUR SONG, I’LL FOLLOW LINE BY LINE

LET THE NIGHT FALL WITH THE LIGHTNESS OF A FEATHER

TRUSTING THE COMING DAWN

WE CANNOT HOLD THE MORNING

YOU AND I WE’RE ON OUR OWN AND YET TOGETHER

FOR IN THE END, WE’RE ALL FLYING HOME

THE GOLDEN EGG- Conclusion

golden-egg

I had dinner with a very strongly opinionated local French girl who had a near death experience.  She said, “you probably meditate all wrong”.  My ego reacted with self righteous indignation, “how dare she!”  I explained, politely for the most part,  that she was obviously full of shit because I had learned from the best of the best.  And, every day for years I did this routine…20 minutes, incense and candles, emptying my mind..blah blah blah.  She said you’re just chasing the good feelings, the light (well, who wouldn’t want to do that, that’s the point, right?); but what about really feeling the dark shadow side?”  (These are my words, not her exact words).  

I’m thinking, where you focus is what your reality becomes.  Where your energy level is, is the place from which you create your thoughts, emotions, your projections, your reality.   Well, they say, when you’re ready, the teacher appears.  I seem to have a flock of them, dropping out of the sky, showing up at the end of my driveway or from behind the barn.  I pay attention to some of them right away and others….maybe I have an “Aha” moment a year or two later.

…For example, a year ago, I met this stranger on an airplane.  He referred a book to me that had some “aha” things that I felt were important for me to know at this time. Ironically, a year ago I was not yet at this point, which is probably why I carried his note around for months, even losing it from time to time.   Only recently had I become intrigued with examining Big Love, to find my version of the “Golden Egg”. 

I found the referred book to be all Quantum and combined Eastern and Western Philosophies.  It spoke more specifically to the interplay of light and darkness, and other dualities that cause chaos within ourselves and in our Universe….

The book that Airplane guy wrote down for me was “The Science and Practice of Humility” by Jason Gregory.  It turns out that Jason is a teacher and international speaker specializing in the fields of Eastern and Western philosophy, comparative religion, metaphysics, and ancient cultures, studying the masters in Buddhism, Gnosticism, Hermeticism, Hinduism, and Taoism and produced the Sacred Sound of Creation.”  I have gathered and would like to share some concepts as I understood them, as well as excerpts from his book.  I found it all quite interesting and believe it to be my next stepping stone in my search for “Big Love.”

Jason Gregory says, “The mind is like a paint brush and the world we see is our canvas.  Mental alchemy is the art of manifestation, which is not as simple as thinking glorious thoughts.  Throughout the ages these teachings have given rise to the illusion that we can create our own reality by just focusing on what we want.  That is only an attempt to gain something in the material world to boost and perpetuate the ego.  It maintains the illusion of separation.  A mental projection coming from the ego won’t be what we truly want or need.  Such delusions will not result in the manifestation of our conscious projections.  In such a case attention will not be focused in one place, and there will be no force behind it to become a reality.  Those who attempt to create their own reality from the egotistical side of their psyche are no better than those who are not aware that they create their own reality.  Both are contributing to a collective projection of chaos and entropy because their mental states are not focused in one direction.”

The core of our spiritual awareness is to know that the universe is not separate from us but we are joined as one living, breathing conscious organism.  If we are the eyes of the universe, we see that all of the war and discord on one level is actually harmony on a higher level.  The chaos is necessary and is the rhythm of the eternal harmony.

                     ALCHEMY AND THE PHYSICAL PLANE

Physical Relationship Relative to Subatomic Particles:

Most of our problems throughout the cosmos originate from our not understanding how subatomically our world is connected to our thoughts and emotions.  “Subatomic particles are controlled by the mental plane of consciousness, which creates the physical world.”  Thus we create the reality we experience, every moment of it.  We are distracted by ego, which focuses on the inauthentic “love and light” and wants only to experience pleasant realities.

Physical Projection and Mental Alchemy::

If we can understand the energetic world, we will begin to understand why certain situations and events cross our paths.  Soon we will gain a deeper knowing and intuition.  The physical world is only energy driven and shaped from the mental plane by the energy of the mind.  Magnetic opposites, the physical and mental planes exist under a universal law that allows one to flow to the other.

“Physical matter is condensed energy formed and created by the force of the mind.  The wisdom traditions of eternity know we create our own reality…..focusing their energy on the mental plane toward conscious manifestation, they created an ancient science known as ‘mental alchemy.’  Alchemy is the science of turning mental thoughts into golden projections upon the physical world or, in other words, turning the lead of the ego into gold.”

To find out who you are, you can use the art of mental alchemy  by exploring your consciousness to discover the things that are natural to your inner being.  “Then your energy will naturally flow toward that passion and then your art will be expressed on the physical plane – hence you create your own reality.  One of the main goals in mental alchemy is exactly this discover of one’s purpose, which leads one down the path toward deeper realization of the true self that unfolds like a flower.”

EGO AND CHOAS

Focusing on Love and Light is not the answer:

He says,  that individuals who believe they are creating their own reality by just focusing on ‘love and light’ while ignoring our darker aspects of being, are contributing to the disruption and chaos. “The result of ignorance within our being is that the subatomic world we create manifests as the physical world in a perpetual state of war.  This stimulates a deep fear of all life, which maintains the illusion of separation.  War is nothing more than a symptom of an individual’s conditional psyche projected into the physical plane.”

Duality and the price we pay in our search for Pleasure only:

We are focused on the illusion, as human beings, of being separate.  This breeds fear but fear is not the enemy.  Fear can be a guide to become more humble.  We do not want to feel fear or pain, so we control that instinct by seeking pleasure.  This is a control based on duality and denies that the existence of both pain and pleasure are not really separate feelings.  Pain can only exist because we know pleasure and vice versus.

If we truly knew this and were able to genuinely embrace both, then we would not be gripped by fear and pain.  When we identify with pleasure, we then cling to it, trying to hold on; but this only contributes to a form of suffering.  In actuality, the moment we seek to hold on, we have lost the pleasure of being in that moment of pleasure.  We become so attuned to the false ego that this creates the disharmonic state of mankind.

Healing Chaos:

We want to believe that the chaos of the world –such as political, social, or religious–can be rectified leading us to our next evolutionary step.  Evolution is dependent upon the growth of the individual and not the order of a society.  Dwelling within the body-mind state of consciousness, we are trying to heal a chaotic world with a chaotic mind.  When we believe they we are the identity of ego, we believe in separation.  Separation is the seed of chaos.   The flaw exists in all of us and our world is a reflection of that.

SEPARATION FROM EACH OTHER AND GAIA

Most of us do not understand that we are part of Earth, not separate from it.  That belief is apparent today more than ever as we challenge, insult and destroy our planet, our home, thinking of it as a place to live without truly knowing that it is ‘conscious intelligence’.  Ego is a manufactured mental program that operates within most sentient beings, keeping the physical plane in a state of chaos. We see the planet in a narrow form and don’t see ourselves as an integral part of a grand planetary unfoldment.   “Ego is the ultimate extension of a planetary system’s sensitivity” but cannot see that the universe is constantly unfolding.  Nothing begins and nothing ends. It just changes.

We accept the illusion that the source of the universe and eternity are found outside of our consciousness in the external world.  This includes socially accepted slavery through transactions to obtain what we call money.  This makes us even more separate in what often appears to be a dog eat dog world.

Duality and Ego Transcendence:

“The duality existing within the mental framework is built on the premise that there is the false ego and the true self.  The problem with this view is the fact that the ego does not exist.  Many people who tread the path of spiritual cultivation make a common mistake in this view of their own mental framework-after identifying the ego chattering within their head, they set out to battle against it.  Some arrogantly set off to transcend the mind, not realizing that nothing is more egotistic than that.”

To transcend the mind, we must empty our mind in order to reestablish connection with the spiritual plane.  This is the only space where duality no longer exists and opposites within and without dissolve.

Separation and Conflict:

“Humility allows the universe to be what it is, looking upon it with the same clarity as the child who sees the world with no boundaries. As the dance of chaos continues, the humble individual is unfazed, as they do not doubt their own experience.  The idea that the world needs to be saved is a conditional opinion, based on our fears and anxieties, which feed our ego.  The opinion of one is the opposite of another, which fuels conflict.”

SO WHAT ABOUT BIG LOVE?

It’s Bigger than carnal Love:

Throughout the ages, a collective parasite has infected us with the illusion that carnal love is real love.” Believing that our animal drives are love suppresses the evolution of consciousness.”  True Love is limitless and sexual desire is a distant cousin which only ties us to the animal kingdom.

Conditional vs. Unconditional Love:

“Loving an individual or some object is conditioned by ideas and opinions about how the other and object should be”.  This is not the attuned and receptive nature of the universe, thus it cannot be humility or love.  “What love truly is cannot be experienced unless one is humbly receptive to all experience.”  When we finally truthfully realize that love is unconditional, and not bound by the limitations of our judgments, only then can we let go of the common conceptual idea of love.  In the great work of eternity, if we can truly let love go, then our real love will become present. False love is also a symptom of the illusion that the great work of eternity is in the external world.”

Every person who I’ve met that has experienced a “Near Death Experience” or every NDE’r who’s book I have read, talks about the profound understanding that all of us are connected and how they can suddenly telepathically understand everyone else.

Jason says, “One of the resulting insights into consciousness is that even though individuals appear separate from all life in the physical plane, we are more intrinsically interwoven into the fabric of matter than we can imagine.  In this pure seeing we can gain knowledge that we are not only an integral part of the cosmos, but are in truth the eyes and the ears of the cosmos and planet Earth.”

From Lao-tzu’s eternal scripture the Tao Te Ching, on Duality

When people see some things as beautiful,

other things become ugly.

When people see some things as good,

other things become bad.

Being and no-being create each other.

Difficult and easy support each other.

Long and Short define each other.

High and low depend on each other.

Before and after follow each other.

Therefore the Master

acts without doing anything

and teaches without saying anything.

Things arise and she lets them come;

things disappear and she lets them go.

She has but doesn’t possess,

acts but don’t expect.

When her work is done, she forgets it.

That is why it lasts forever. 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

THE YOUNG POPE-Part I

young-pope

After my “Young Pope” Marathon this weekend, I imagine I was not alone wondering if Lenny, known as Pius XIII, was a Saint. Or was he diabolical and somehow miraculously voted in as Pope? Did he become Pope against all odds because God willed it in those final moments of his fervent prayers? Or was the vote rigged and manipulated on behalf of others in power? I know I’m not the only one who thought that there might be some parallels between the institution of the Church, or Vatican, and the climate of our latest U.S. election. That’s the beauty of the creative people of Hollywood or maybe it’s all just in my mind.

For me, this question of political environments and the question of “Who is God,” are parallel topics of exploration and, as always, writing is my tool for excavation. I know one thing about politics and that one thing is that it is way too huge for me to wrap my mind around. I am not deluded enough to believe I am capable of being unbiased and objective. I don’t pretend that I could possibly know the problems that face those who choose to be in office. I have no idea just how corrupt, greedy and diabolical the world governments are, but I’ve seen evidences that support some of the conspiracy theories.   So, the question is, if we don’t truly know the big picture, how can we promote change?   Instead of being a member of the flock, throwing out accusations and judgments that only seem to add fuel to the fear and the problem, what are our options?

There are a lot of people a lot smarter than I am that seem to be flinging their arms up in despair.  Of course, I too want change. I trust we all do. My question is, if we don’t get outside that political box where people are bought, and where power, greed and control has in the past tainted even the best of intensions, how can change ever manifest? Do we hope for a miracle?  Maybe this entire bar-rattling and foundation-shaking experience is a necessary first step even if the pendulum swings wildly out of balance for some interim amount of time?

With that being said, I’m not suggesting we pop some corn and sit back and watch the movie (or the horror show) unfold. Yet, I can’t help wondering if this is yet another invitation, similar to the one we experienced after 911; an opportunity to see the good in people who step forward and bond together in their common causes? To be a voice and to be heard in ways that don’t contribute to the problem.  As they say, we have to be the solution and not buy into  violence, hatred, fear, control and greed; the very things we want changed in the first place.  And consider the possibility that Einstein was right, “There are only two ways to live your life. One is as though nothing is a miracle. The other is as though everything is a miracle.”

What if it’s true, that the foremost progressive first step we can take in the direction of change is to become the catalyst for change within ourselves? And in so becoming that platform for change, are we willing and capable of being forthright, honest and our authentic selves? Can we recognize our own weaknesses; the duality of being corporal, the gifts of being incarnate? Or do we believe we are just one side of the coin, the shiny side?

We live on a plane of duality. If in fact, what I’m hearing from those who have experienced Near Death Experiences, we are all connected, then we ALL must be all things, the Saint and at the same time, the thief.  If we only focus on love and light and push away our shadow sides, how can we fully achieve self-love with disowned parts of ourselves lurking in dark places?  (To learn more, watch for the Golden Egg, Part III coming soon).

So, as in the Pope’s final speech, ask yourself the hard questions.   Are you good or bad? Peaceful or violent? Happy or sad? Sane or insane?   Are you honest and, at the same time have you lied your ass off?  Are you good or are you self-serving? (Did you vote for promises to lower your taxes at the expense of others or the planet?) And, if so, are you willing to accept your responsibility in the future and step into the fires of sacrifice so that our children have an opportunity to thrive as we did?

Are you over identified with your positive characteristics, while you frantically push your shadow sides deeper into the recesses, a place where they may never see the light of acceptance and the alchemy of integration?  If we were pure love, could we hate ourselves, let our neighbor starve and allow our sons to fight in “fake, self-serving” wars,  or would we stand united in the good for all?

And, what IF this is an opportunity to smile, even through our tears? To love in spite of everything? Out of the worst circumstances, you can learn new perspectives. Out of the darkest storms, there will eventually come streamers of light and hope. There was a time that I would have questioned that after my son died. I was filled with so much despair; I couldn’t imagine there would be light once more. I was a person, a year later, standing on the edge of that precipice, ready to jump. But just as every silver lining has a cloud, every cloud has a silver lining.

…….TO BE CONTINUED TOMORROW ABOUT DUALITY, LOVE, ABANDONMENT AND PURPOSE…..How could The Young Pope heal and perform miracles for others when he couldn’t heal his own broken heart?

 

 

THE DILEMNA OF BEING HUMAN

This is the  screensaver that I ignore every day when I turn on my computer.  Surprisingly, today I saw it through different eyes.  I’m sharing this because MAYBE I’m not the only one that needed a little wake up call or a gentle reminder before it’s too late.

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I remember waiting in line at Starbucks one day a few years ago shortly after my son had died.  A Colorado man who was in his final stages of cancer wrote a book that was displayed for sale at that local Starbucks.  At the same time my son died, I had just lost three of my closest friends, two who had died of cancer.   I wanted to know what this man was thinking and going through; so I bought the book.

The author started out talking about the company he had built from the ground up and proceeded to give detail upon detail of how he had made it successful.  While I would expect that, especially of anyone who had tied their value to their accomplishments, I was shocked when the entire book, other than one chapter was all about what he had accomplished in his career.   This man relegated one token chapter to the introduction of his lovely wife and children as if he felt they deserved being mentioned.  With a flourish, he then finished his book with his legacy, his company.  I felt sorry for him.  He had all the money in the world but he couldn’t save himself from himself.

Most of us probably weave our loved ones in and out of the different chapters of our lives.  We are the lucky ones.  What is the measure of a life?  I’m sure for some it is being a big movie star, a rock star, a President or famous author like Hemingway.  That would be awesome, coming here to experience that.  Many times there is a huge price for that fame and glamour as told in their stories or evidenced by movies about their lives.  And, what about the rest of us?  If we are a “nobody” in our own eyes, was our life a failure?  A lost cause?  Will anyone even care if we lived or died?  I’ve always had a dream to write Legacy Stories for others.  When I asked, I can’t tell you how many people said humbly that they didn’t have anything important to write about.  So, I’m asking you, what matters or is important to you about your life?

I believe at the end of the day, every one of us yearns to know the measure of our life.  We want to know that our life mattered in some small or huge way to someone, that it was worthwhile.  We want to believe that we will be missed and remembered when we are gone.

What if there is nothing to do but just be fully invested in each moment of your life, seeing and living it like an innocent child full of wonder?  Watching it unfold through the Omnificent Observer instead of the eyes of Ego?  What if the only reason you came here was to experience you being you?

A VIEW FROM THE EDGE – He Said-She Said – Part I (continued)-Suicide

HE SAID

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Chapter One

My Life’s Story

By: Chad Kesler

Hi!  My name is Chad Kesler.  If we didn’t meet, I wish we could have.  I’m sort of writing this, but not really.  A lot of the words are mine, things I’ve said to my family and friends, things I want you to know, some of my goals, and papers I’ve written. I would have been 20 years old now.

Some people thought I was shy; and, I guess, I had kind of a “tough guy” act.  If you were my friend, you would know that I would stick by your side no matter what.  If anyone messed with my friends, my brother, who is deaf, or made fun of a kid having troubles in school, I’d have a “word” with them.  On vacations, I noticed that the homeless people just seemed to know intuitively, when they saw me coming, that I’d help them with money, food, or whatever I could.  In the end, the drug dealers took advantage of me that way; and that is something that changed many lives forever. I regret so much the day that I got involved with drugs and the people who sell them!

I wish I would never have gotten into drugs.  I swore all through high school that I never would.  My friends and I used to talk about it all the time.  We couldn’t believe anyone would want to “do that to their body.”  From the first day I stepped into Eagle Valley High, I could get any drug I wanted.  It was up valley too, and it was being peddled by the kids that you would least expect.  The jocks, that used to make fun of my friends and me for smoking cigarettes, were even doing them.

I remember one Prom night, a few of the kids that were using drugs, stopped by our hotel room.  We were trying to get some sleep, and they were up all night just staring at us.  We laughed at them and called them idiots and wondered what the point was.  They were killing themselves, man!  We had countless conversations about that.

I found out, the hard way, that it’s not always bad kids and losers that do drugs.  I wasn’t bad and I wasn’t a loser, but I made a choice one night that turned out really bad in the end.  Drugs are everywhere.  By the time I graduated, cocaine was at most parties.  Kids would disappear for awhile.  Like lock themselves in the bathroom, disappear for a while in the parking lot or a car, and you knew what they were doing.  Lots of times I wouldn’t even let my friends or girlfriend go to some of those parties.  It was really hard to find something to do around here anymore.  I was alwaze scared the police would show up, and we’d get busted along with the users. A lot of the upper classmen, especially the year I graduated, were doing cocaine or crack.  I mean, a lot, maybe as many as one-fourth of them!  For some reason drugs were just everywhere this year.

Chapter Ten

“My Last Day”

I was up all night.  Mom woke up, and she was upset again.  I just hate that she’s alwaze upset; and I don’t know what to say, so I just try not to make noise or be in the same room as her.  This morning I threw some clothes in a bag.  I’m supposed to move in with my Dad tonight.  I called Paul to see about getting a ride to work.  I need to save gas money.  I gave Mom a hug, and I told her that I was going to quit on my own in the next month or I’d check myself in.  I was going to go meet Paul but I just felt so depressed.  I was out of drugs, I was out of money, I owed the dealers so much money that I had to alwaze hide from them.  I spent my grandma’s college fund on a motorcycle, then sold it for half what I paid for it.  I feel like there’s just no way to win for me.  I’m so depressed; and I just want to stop doing this, but I know I can’t.  I know that my Dad will be so disappointed and upset, and I don’t want them to have to spend money on rehab.  Man, how did my life get so screwed up in four months?  I feel like such a failure.

Maybe it would just be better for everyone if I was dead.  I called my Mom and told her I loved her and that I was sooo sorry.  I was crying.  That was the last time I used my phone or called anyone.  I never said goodbye to anyone, because I never would have thought I’d get low enough to actually want my life to be over.  I really thought I could stop using this drug.  I tried so many times.  I drove away from my home, my dogs, my friends, and my family that I love.  I hid my truck, so hopefully no one will have to find me.  I didn’t know what else to do to stop what the drugs were doing to my family and my life.  I just couldn’t see waking up one more morning like this.

Chapter Eleven

“If I Had It to Do Over Again”

Looking back from where I am now, it doesn’t seem real.  I watched my Mom and Dad and saw how worried they alwaze were.  My mom was frantically trying everything to find me.  She talked to the police everyday. Put up missing posters and visited homeless shelters.  She hired a Private Investigator.  She followed users around, the kids that I did drugs with, asking questions.  She talked to psychics.  She prayed.  She cried, and she cries even more now; and I just wish I could hold her and make it alright again, but it’s too late.  I just wasn’t thinking about what would happen.  I just thought everyone would be better off but now I see that their lives will never be the same.  I see how much they miss me, and I miss them.  I see how much guilt they carry because they wish they could have helped me.  I never even said goodbye to my friends.  They felt bad that they couldn’t help me either.  I was right before when I said drugs were stupid and committing suicide was stupid. Dead Right!

Yep, one bad choice, in a few minutes, had ruined my life and the lives of everyone that loved me.  I wish I had it all to do over again.  It’s too late for me, but it’s not too late for you!  I hope you are  listening!  I hope you or someone you love won’t make the mistake I made.  Believe in yourself; and if you’re in trouble, there are so many people out there that want to help.  I hope you’ll be able to reach out to someone, anyone.  I wish I had!

FROM MY POINT OF VIEW

EYE1

SHE SAID-

To Be continued soon-Suicide from my perspective after entertaining those thoughts too, a Legacy of Suicide, in the darkest days of my life after Chad died.   

POSSIBLE TOPICS TO FOLLOW:

  • The Beginning: Imprinted emotional Neuropathways during the first seven years of life;
  • ADD/HD: Behaviors and being sensitive to being victimized; 
  • ADD/HD and Learning Challenges: Education the critical part that learning and self esteem issues play with regard to successful integration of “Sensitives” into Society
  • ADD/HD Brain chemistry/imbalancespros and cons of Pharmaceuticals, holistic treatments, and self-medication
  • Addiction:   AA and Rehabilitation Methodology and Success rates
  • Grief:  The process of Grieving and Surviving the Legacy of Suicide and losing a child
  • Spiritual Growth-There is Life after Death
  • The Other Side:  Stories of connecting with Chad on the Other side

 

  

GOOD GRIEF