Walking into the storm
head facing forward
typhoon fever pitched
determined feet rapidly burning
the cracked pavement
to stare a perching bird
in the eye
on the healing spirit
They would take the time to play more
They would spend less time gossiping and more time listening
When they were afraid, they would just go hide for a bit instead of becoming bullies
They would take lots of naps so they would always be well rested and not stressed out all the time
They would love other species like family
They would smile more
They’d be OK with their bodies
They would learn to wait patiently and to trust
And to forgive and forget
They would learn to love those different from themselves
And that love is unconditional
That you just walk away, rather than fight if you get angry
And that territories are defined by sniffs and pee not walls or bombs
That most of us aren’t purebred anyway, but we are just as wonderful
That everyone just wants a home
That we should save our voice only for the important things
If when we were frustrated, we took it out on our own stuff, not other’s….
That tongues are not for lashing, but for kisses and we are each unique in our own crazy way
And if our lives were as short and precious as theirs, maybe, just maybe we would live more fully, play harder, rest more deeply, love more expansively, trust more easily, be careful not to destroy stuff and even share all we had…. For they are gone so quickly, but leave with us lessons that we carry forever.
So they will continue to play
And we will continue to struggle
But maybe one day we’ll tip our head close enough to theirs so we can really listen to what they’ve been trying to tell us all along.
During my walk through my ‘village’, I am constantly struck by what an alien landscape it is to me. Even the name of the place reminds me of some sort of Sci Fi novel where you can’t be quite sure who is human and who might appear so, but is really a look-alike with highly functioning artificial intelligence.
The homes are all blazingly white, with only specifically allowed colored shutters and all laid out with the same floor plan–this giving the effect of some weird colony created by Big Brother (it was actually in the ’70’s, and BB was the usual group of condo types trying to create the ultimate paradise), but getting cookie cutter instead. It was a good thought and the prices were good, so the humans came…
But as I stroll around a corner and am by myself, the southern sun shimmering off the dazzling white homes, I feel transported to decades into the future. Maybe I am the last ‘real’ human left here, wandering the streets, pretending to be one of ‘them’. They sit behind their curtains, with no honest food in their refrigerators (because they don’t eat) and their hollow laughs echoing in my mind. Who are they really?
I walk and wonder. Do they know who I am? Do they watch me from behind those standard colored shutters? Am I safe? My heart picks up a pace. The heat beats down.
Then I turn a corner. Music drifts from one of the identical homes. I listen: some 60’s tune I recall… And in the driveway next to this home, a car has a bumper sticker: COEXIST. You know the one: with each letter representing some spiritual symbol.
And I snap back: maybe they are really human after all? I remember now, it’s 2017 and it might be OK.
As I’m walking, I briefly look up at the empty blue sky above me. And just for a moment, I imagine a huge billowing mushroom cloud. I lower my head and keep walking…
Today struck me as a day to reach back and reach forward. So I sent out some emails to folks I have lost along the way: partly on purpose, partly because life just happens. Feeling disconnected might do that to us I suppose…make us want to see who is still out there; those that were a part of our lives in the past. It’s interesting to see if they still care at all, how they are and what they are up to and if the connection still lingers. Sometimes the world can seem an insulated place.
And one email was sent for future connections: to put a feeler out to see about a Friend’s Meeting at a Quaker Meeting house not far from where I live. I’ve attended them before and would like to check it out. Who knows if it still exists–they are often small gatherings in out-of-the-way places. So rather than go, I figured I would see if I could find anything out first.
Moving into my second year in this new place, I still feel alienated in many ways. While many things are good in my life (like the wonderful relationship with my Mother), there are other things that feel hollow. I’ve heard repeatedly from folks that this area is a hard place to feel a sense of community or to make friends, but I don’t completely blame the area. It’s my mental space too.
The older I get, the more introspective I become and the harder it is for me to find my tribe. Even one friend can be a challenge. Sometimes the confines of my four walls are a space that give me a comfort that can be hard to replace with other kinds of satisfactions. Being home is sacred, comforting, safe and peaceful. But I know the danger in being lulled into never venturing out.
So, I push myself to reach out: to the past (although it took dropping some walls on my part) and to the future which means letting go of some fear of not fitting in, to see if this sense of drifting I feel at times can settle down.
Maybe today dawns bright and hopeful, whether or not it’s raining where you live. So often our days are filled with news that is brimming with despair and gloom making it hard for any of us to feel there is reason to move towards any kind of joyful tomorrow.
But for me two rather monumental things took place recently. Two things that show maybe, just maybe we have can have a reason for small glimmering hope. It may only be like a thing that is crouched in a small corner, hiding in the darkness, fearful to show itself in the full light. Afraid that if it does, it will be recognized and laughed back into its anonymous place. Yet, it’s there, and it’s creeping out….
There are those, though, in this world of ours that do great work! Those that fight against the despair. These warriors battle for the future, our future and all the injustices and crimes against the planet so that we may go on.
It’s to those, that I dedicate this blog post. They are our heroes.
Recently, many nations met at the 2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. It was an incredible and, in my opinion, unprecedented conference to come up with concrete goals to combat climate change and all the horrors that come with it. Most of the Big Players were there, which is huge! Finally! The world is paying attention to something that can truly end our planet. Read about it here:
Another giant step forward for humankind was that this was the first time that Saudi Arabia allowed WOMEN to run for office and vote! Quoting NPR: “Today, the government announced that several of the 979 women who ran had been elected to the council.” Also 130,000 registered (which isn’t a lot, but it’s a start). For a country that has been decidedly sexist against women for decades, this is truly hopeful!
So, I see this as progress in an otherwise bleak forecast. Baby steps these may be in the vast amount of work there is yet to do in the damage we create and the inequity that exists, but at least it’s forward movement.
With this year rapidly coming to a close, maybe we can each evaluate our own lives and say: how can I take up the battle cry and head to the front line? I know I am going to try.
My father has been visiting me quite often lately. This is quite an interesting phenomenon given he has been dead a very long time. In dreams he has come visiting, though foggy memories as I awake, it’s clearly him–warm and wise. This is unusual as I rarely had dreamed of him before my move.
A door seemed to have been opened, a gate to my subconscious thus allowing an ancestor to cross over into my realm. What smoothed the way for this meeting and caused the crack that let slip the apparition to appear?
When an aperture is created, whether actual or unintentional, it gives the opportunity for its opening to allow entrance. If the gate is purposely opened and we welcome whatever is on the other side, then we are prepared for our guests.
But often this may not be the case. A hole can happen suddenly in our lives, unexpectedly due to an unforseen accident or illness. This creates a gap that opens the floodgates of fear, anxiety and depression. Then the uninvited visitors may march into our deepest self and take residence without our permission.
Sometimes a planned change in our lives, like my own move or a divorce, can surprisingly pry open parts you might not think. My sweet, new relationship with my Mother is now tender and loving. It catches me at moments where I find myself overwhelmed by it. This passing through has put me on the other side where I have always longed to be.
These wells, doorways, keyholes can be tangible or deep within our souls. Maybe we dig them with shovels and spades or instead they can be created by a diagnosis or footsteps walking away from us. Either way, we can ultimately decide to walk through–welcome the ancestors, walk over the threshold and see the gate as something to open, not slam shut.
So look for your openings, guarded gates, daring doorways and hold in wonder what may be on the other side. For maybe they were flung wide beckoning you to enter the life you have yet to discover!
As the drum beat gets louder (or is it my heart?), pulling me closer to my new world, everything suddenly feels topsy-turvy. My perspective is beginning to change and everything I look at in this world seems different.
With my new eyes, I begin to wonder: what will these same eyes see when I look a month or so from now? When I rise from my bed in the morning and throw open my shades, what will be the landscape outside my window?? Will it feel alien, or will I quickly adapt to my surroundings?
When I was young I was able to unpack boxes in a day and make a nest almost immediately. I’m not so sure this will be the case now in my second half years. Moving forward now, there is a slight sense of dread lurking behind the sense of adventure. Having been a home owner for the last 30 years or so, can I manage living in a tiny apartment surrounded by other potentially noisy tenants? How much will I miss my gardens, my privacy and my sweet home? Will I find a job I love? Can I find friends?
I won’t lie: I’m scared. I’ve always lived on the east coast. This change is huge and I’m doing it alone. Even the drive with my pets is very intimidating to me. It really surprises me that the young woman who took crazy challenges on now seems daunted by something like this, but life’s battles has left me scarred and wounded. I don’t have the stamina and energy I once did for the unknown.
And true, I’ve learned to find much comfort in the everyday routine and the predictable. That black tunnel I’m facing is leaving my pulse beating just a bit too fast and my sleep patterns haphazard.
As each question finds an answer, things will calm down I’m sure (as long as the answers are satisfying and comfortable). But while I’m still in limbo, purgatory–the grayish fog of inbetween, I will continue to feel unsettled and yes, like maybe this wasn’t a great idea.