The Music Of The Universe


Lately, in keeping with all the inner work I’ve been doing and with the great changes coming out of the last few years of my life, it has naturally moved me back to the more spiritual side of myself. In my past, the spiritual plane was almost equal to the plane in which I lived on a daily ‘normal’ basis. This meant I often felt very in tune with so much more around me and on a much deeper level: people, animals, the natural landscape and of course: the mystical.

Then, the course of my life got in the way, and this beautiful and magical part of my life slipped away  without me really noticing. The spiritual habits that I had practiced left me; all the ‘unexplained coincidences’ that would so often pop up joyfully in my life seemed to disappear and life just became a dull and routine existence.

Like so many of us, the tether to the unknown–to that thing beyond us–(call it what you may), isn’t always there unless you are really looking or open to it. Many just don’t believe, being simply too rooted in reality.

But we all have our own scopes of what reality may be. And I know that my reality had encompassed many things which could not be explained by scientific or simple explanations. You just had to be there to understand. To have faith in the powers and energies that flow. And I did.

So the time has gently begun to seem right, bit by bit, to reemerge within my spiritual self. To put back on my garland crown and flowing robes and step back into the circle once again. And I feel my power returning like an old friend. It was just waiting for my call.

My dreams have been full of visions, visitations and clarity. I use a dream book that I have to help interpret them and I’ve been writing them down in my journal, along with other long and inspired thoughts about my journey.

My interactions with people feel more purposeful and I am often drawn into deep conversations on a sidewalk with neighbors. Seeing people now brings me warmth rather than anxiety and I’m happy to share these moments and feel they are all meaningful.

Most things now feel part of my plan, that I am drawing all things to me. Some days I pick a tarot card to see what it might say, and often it will reflect what I have been feeling during my meditation. That nothing is random: I am creating this reality around me.

It has a been a very long walk to this place of inner peace; to be able to shrug off the demon within each time it threatens to claw its way to the surface. And now that I am dancing on my spiritual path once again, my peace is sweeter: for finally  I can hear the music of the Universe with my whole soul.

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The Bird And The Seed


The Bird had been looking a long time. It knew by now, that when satisfying hunger, one must not give up. There were many others that were hungry too, and not much to go around–that’s just the way it was sometimes, but the Bird didn’t complain. The Bird understood The Way of things, but it also made him strong, willing to keep going when others just gave up. Finding what you are looking for may not be easy, but when you do, it’s sweeter for the trying.

Finally, The Bird landed on a plant. It was a rather flimsy thing, which barely could hold him up. But he had noticed that there on the plant was what he had been searching for: The Seeds. There weren’t many and they were hanging off a thread like stem, one that would never hold his weight, this he knew as The Bird balanced precariously on a nearby leaf.

But the hunger burned in his belly. So close he was to his goal and his journey long. Quietly he sat and pondered his predicament. Every time he moved closer to The Seeds, the more they seemed to get away from him. He moved slowly, but would slip down into the swamp below. He would contort himself, but The Seeds would dip into the waters with every move.

After much time and many different attempts, The Bird was eventually able to manage to grasp hold of a small part of the plant! And now, carefully he drew it closer to his beak and plucked two small seeds to eat. He had partially satiated his hunger and yet…as he grabbed for more–

He slipped! Now he was in the water below and what he had been there for: gone. The Seeds had fallen and plunged into the depth of the marsh and were lost.

The Bird, being the creature he was, simply climbed back up…shook out his wings and contemplated. He did not fret or cry out. It was The Way, after all.

And now it was time to move on…


 

 

Shadow Self


Since it is my preference lately to hang mostly among the shadows, I find the comfort of home is where I can be found. In the quiet, familiar backdrop, my everyday life scrolls forward in an orderly fashion. This too protects me and surrounds me like a warm blanket on a wintery day. It’s safe and holds me in its embrace–my four walls are my fortress keeping my truth free and the mystery of others at bay.

Going out can sometimes be a challenge these days, especially if it’s somewhere new. Uncharted territory on clogged and hostile roadways send my tentative energy levels to a heightened state. Honking horns if I am too slow, lost in the jungle, rattle my senses and the animal part of me takes flight. It’s disturbing, enough where I avoid putting myself in these types of situations as much as possible. 

My guide is technically based, thank goodness, or I would be completely lost and most likely never leave my apartment. I am a person who navigates by landmarks and memory, repetitive action. Once I am familiar, the anxiety goes away. Most likely it’s the OCD part of me that makes me like this–I need to know everything in advance in order to be comfortable. And because I’m simply not grooving with the outside world in general these days, it makes all this quite challenging. 

So, today, the trip to my city library  (after parking on the wrong block at first), proved to be fruitful on many levels. I love to read. And I’m reading lots while I’m unemployed, but buying books just isn’t feasible. I bought a kindle, which I mentioned on my blog. And I discovered my library has Ebooks! After figuring out where the place was, parking in the wrong spot and getting honked at in the parking lot–I am now connected after getting a library card! 

While I do miss holding a book, the trip to and from the library would be too much for me at this point of my weary journey. Maybe instead I can save the trips for some of the events they have there. 

And hopefully someday, when my spirit is stronger, I will venture forth again through the stacks…

Poem: Becoming Whole 


We may walk 

Through tangled and darkened spaces 

Low hanging branches 

Unexpected moments 

When we step off 

On to dangerous ground 

Then we crash along 

Torn and bruised 

Hoping to come out alive 

And if we do

Panting 

Dripping with sweat 

There is a change 

The creature that entered

No longer exists 

It has morphed

For we have now gone through 

From pain comes strength 

From chaos comes clarity 

And on the other side 

We become Whole

Beginning Of The End


So Monday starts the beginning of the end. Well, at least I think so. Monday is my first day of my new job at the hospital. What I suspect is, that it may be the last time that I work in this  type of job–official so to speak, a business, corporation, a career-type position. I will be 60 this year and am mostly here to be near my Mom.  When she’s not here any longer…well, who knows?

My last 20 years in the Emergency Medical field was ambiguous. It had it’s tremendously high moments as you can imagine, but it also left me–as an employee–often feeling inadequate.

There were, of course, a whole range of reasons that this was the case: the poor system of compensation, the attitude of fellow co-workers, the absolute rarity of a woman climbing any sort of ladder upward, poor management in most places, small town politics… Well, you get the picture.

I’m know I was partly to blame.

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When I first came to the field, I was very naive and hopeful. My aim was to help people and save lives. It became quickly apparent that this golden ring was almost a pipe-dream, and only grasped by paying the piper. Bitterness of many others I met along the way turned my attitude sour as well and the grinding days of low pay, long hours and patients without real emergencies took its inevitable toll. I simply became one of the caustic, crabby paramedics just doing a job.

When I had moments of clarity and was able to stand back and look at myself, I was saddened and ashamed of what I had become. It was not what I had ever intended. Never did I want to become impatient with those ‘frequent flyers’ or gossipy at work and angry with fellow co-workers. But the years ground me down into a person I did not like anymore.

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It is partly why I have stepped away and decided to retire. Believe me, it was a very hard choice to make. Becoming a paramedic was not easy for me and giving it up I do with a heavy heart. But I always said when I could no longer do it with joy every day, then it was time. And so it is….

So now I have a chance to recreate myself in a new job. See if I can be a better co-worker, an employee that my company embraces as much as I will embrace it. As I step through the doors Monday, I have many, many years of knowing what not to do for sure–and surely there were some things I did right too.

Hopefully now I can get it mostly right and enjoy each day that my alarm clock goes off telling me a new work week has begun!

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Putting The Brakes On


As the holiday cards roll in, and the enclosed letters, it reminds me more and more how much I have changed and how different I am from so many people. Contemplating my life during my meditation today, I couldn’t help agree that youth is indeed wasted on the young. It’s only now that I seem to have the ability to remotely peer into the depth of my soul and have a glimmer of what I might want from this life.

In my younger years, I blasted through life and its critical junctures, like one of those crazy Chinese super sonic trains that travel at lightning speeds. I imagine the commuters that sit within them who might dare to look out, only seeing a blur of scenery fly by at any given moment: flashes of color with no discernible lines separating objects one from another.

Such is my past it seems. A blur of memories and decisions. Ones made without much thought to slow the train down to decide which track might be best to travel upon and certainly not like the trains of old chugging along slowly enough to get one’s bearings.

Husbands came and went. Jobs and more moves, enough to make one dizzy. Always this underlying sense of discontent, that just around the next bend might lie the answer to joy or inner peace.

My journey has been up and down following a path to the highest mountaintops and then into the lowest valleys of despair as I rode this churning rail car that never slowed down.

And now, as I’m finally coming closer to the final stages of my journey, and wisdom has come in bits and pieces…I finally see that I am really the conductor after all. I’m not sure if those new fangled trains have a caboose, but they must be steered somehow, by someone none-the-less. So the time has come to put the brakes on and slow life down.

I’ve learned surprising and valuable things about myself; things I inherently knew, but maybe were just confirmed. A personality test confirmed that I am in the 1% (INFJ) of the population. The literature describing this personality type was so affirming of many things I knew about myself but could never put my figure on. (If only I could send it to all my ex’s!).

I’m learning that being a racing freight train is not healthy or good, and I ended up making poor decisions my whole life because of it. But I also understand better now why I did it. And I forgive myself.

The most important thing is to figure out how to live the next years better. How to stand at a cross-road and make the right choice? How to decide when it’s right to leave something or someone? When it’s right to start something new? And simply not to be rash when doing anything.

While it’s true I will never be your typical person, I still have a lot more growing to do and even a longer road to joy. Someday that old train will pull into some station and I will simply step off, walk towards the horizon and never look back.

My Journeying Roles


The journey is over and I am back in New England. It’s always great to be back home. As I said, I did play the role I had intended: as a (mostly) silent observer and witness to the often odd and sometimes disturbing workings of my family. One thing I did note, and it’s probably not unique to us, is that everyone seemed more excited to be coming home than going on our trip.

So, for the record, I traveled with my ex husband, his wife, my youngest and middle daughter. We made odd bed-fellows. While I have been divorced many, many years and they have been married for a decent time too, it was not the too distant past that we have had the typical ‘issues’ as a blended family. Because of this, I was quite apprehensive (down-right biting my nails nervous) about traveling as one family. But we decided to do it as it is an expensive and long journey with many legs. Sharing the financial burden seemed to make sense. And I guess we all hoped we could be mature and forward-looking enough to get through it all. It was very interesting I must say.

There were positives, negatives and unexpected surprises. Going with absolutely no expectations was the right way to approach it for sure! And taught me the lesson once again that this is the way to approach all of life. That way we will have no dashed expectations. So here below will be some of my backseat (literally) observations. Often I felt like the third wheel as they all had conversations about trips that I did not attend or people I did not know. It was like I wasn’t there anyway so to be a ‘reporter’ made sense to me. I wasn’t really a Mom going to a graduation, but rather played some other roles this weekend.

1. Airport Hobnobber: I’m the type of person that will talk to anyone, anywhere (which actually used to embarrass my ex). So while we were waiting for our flight to Denver, a man came over to our set of seats and put his foot on one. An older, rather bold woman came over to him and politely, yet firmly asked him if that seat was taken. There were hardly any seats left, and she and her husband, in their seventies, wanted a place to sit. The man, seeing the foolishness of his ways by putting his dirty foot on a seat, was quick to apologize and scurry away. This put the woman near me, so we struck up this wonderful conversation. We had plenty of time before the plane boarded and, as these things go, learned tons about each other in those ways we do about strangers we figure we’ll never see again. As we began boarding we said our goodbyes and good lucks for each other’s trips–and began the trudge towards the plane and our seats. But by those crazy twists of fate, as I squished my way down the aisle, it turned out we were seated right next to each other! We were thrilled! She and I ended up chatting the entire 4 hour flight to Denver, and even ending up exchanging emails and phone numbers. They live in the next state, and it won’t be unreasonable for us to meet again. My parents met on a plane…and were married for over 30 years. I believe in these things.

2. Dog Sitter: I decided after staying at my daughter’s (the graduate) apartment for 2 nights, once alone, that I was really invited to be her dog sitter so she could go out and party with her friends. I imagine most Mom’s don’t clean up dog poop and pee when they go visit their kids for vacation? Or maybe they do? It wasn’t really my plan. Or staying in her little apartment by myself either.

3. Protective Warrior: The relationship between my three girls is challenging to say the least. I know families all have these dynamics, but I can only speak to mine. My adopted middle daughter sadly takes the brunt of behaviors that I had truly hoped everyone would have outgrown by now. She is special needs and mentally challenged, but that doesn’t seem to stop the temptation to do the things that families do and not have kindness. Yes, she has her faults too for sure. Even her father seemed to have little patience, and there was surely a time I didn’t know how to deal with it all either. But one would think on a very short trip, everyone could just be on good behavior and try. She certainly brings some things on herself, but I have learned different tactics besides just being mean. I even noticed in the photos taken how she is always just the person out it seems, so I made a big effort to try to focus on her. The oldest and youngest had each other, so she needed me more. It just made me sad.

4. Tongue Biter: There were so many opportunities where I wanted to just open my normally big mouth and say something. There was too much talk about alcohol, too much drinking of alcohol (was this purposely to press my buttons?), too much bickering, too much putting down of Step-Mom, too much criticizing. But, very unlike me: I sat mute. No-one would believe it. I felt it was very important to not be the one to start anything this trip. I was really very much on the outside.

5. Third Wheel: It was so very interesting to observe my current role within the family now. It’s clear to me that somehow my girls think Dad is more capable than me. Maybe it’s because he makes more money, is married, lives in a big house–pays for everything for them? They tell me I’m ‘too emotional’ or that he never talks about me to them. He’s the ‘go to’ parent. I’m just chopped liver (as my Mom used to say). I was able to stay detached from this observation. Plus they spent lots of time talking about their other trips together, the people they knew, the fun times they had–as though no-one else was in the room! Lovely.

6. Ally: Being a blended family is not so easy as many (most) of you out there know. Ours is not so very blended, having only a step-mom in the mix, but never-the-less, we have had our huge challenges over the years. All of our egos, our wounds, immaturity and sometimes just plain meanness has, at one time or another, come waltzing out front and center stage. It’s never pretty and someone is always left feeling like they’ve just been knocked up side the head with a baseball bat. One of my former adversaries, on and off, was my ex’s wife, and my kid’s step-mom. While not a really bad person, given the right soil, she like anyone, was ripe to show her unpleasant side, which usually presented itself in a passive/aggressive way. And, I simply just found her so different from me, that this alone sometimes would often just irritate me. But despite all that, we often found our way to being kind to each other, especially in the later years. Taking time to send cards, giving Christmas gifts (because I know those gifts signed by the both of them were truly from her), and generally just being more careful. Well, this trip sealed for me the fact that she is truly the nice one of that couple and that we both have grown immensely. Being the odd person out and having no tie other than my ex, she presented herself as a real hero this past weekend. With sullen and often nasty step children, she has executed herself with dignity. She has paid for my kid’s education when I couldn’t without expecting much in return (which she didn’t get from them). This particular weekend, she went out of her way to include me, laugh with me, not make me feel uncomfortable about my ex relationship and let me know that I am still The Mother. All with grace. It’s hard enough to be a mother, but being a step mom is even harder I decided. You often get nothing back. I let her know how much I appreciate her anyway, and I vowed never to take that relationship or her for granted again.

7. Old-friend: While I was there, my youngest daughter’s friend came from Boulder to visit as she’s going to school there. And as it happens, her mother, my dear friend was in Boulder too. It was for a sad reason, as her nephew, a young man, is actively dying of cancer. She is there with her sister through the process. This friend is one of the first people I met when I came to this area almost 19 years ago and I have known her ever since. She’s talented, smart, soulful, deep and very kind. We don’t spend much time together as life goes. But while I was there, I got to spend more time alone with her than I probably ever have and it was just what I needed in a time of great contemplation. She is also very wise and her wisdom poured over me like the crystal clear rivers that were crashing nearby. I was lucky to have a number of things she said just make such amazing sense to me. It was a beautiful moment in time.

8. Chrysalis: As I sat back and watched all the action: how my ex had changed, how he interacted with this ‘new’ wife of his, how my kids now interact with him, I was able to think about how I have changed. It gave me great pause. I thought: what if we hadn’t divorced and had been taking this trip without the step-mom, how would it have been different? How would I have been different? How would my journey have been different? Or would I have been any different from who I am now? I knew I had changed from when I first knew my ex, but I also knew he didn’t see it. He would make no effort to get to understand it because it wasn’t important to him. Neither do my kids (yet) care to understand this about me. I don’t care much about my ex except how it pertains to my children, but I do hope that someday the girls do see the changing me.

9. Optimist: Going away from my current life gave me hope that there is more ‘out there’. Because I’m often discouraged with how I am stuck, simply getting away made me realize it’s possible. I saw the beauty of another part of this great country–it took my breath away. In fact so much so, I got altitude sickness! But truly it was amazingly beautiful. And it made me realize anything is possible: other horizons, other mountains, other views, other people and communities. I don’t have to be here forever if I don’t want to be. And I won’t. When the timing is right, I will leave. But it also made me realize that I have to keep diving down deeply within myself, like I did on this trip and find the joy within. Not to let the outside noise and distraction (or people or family) get you down or off your path.

10. Lone-Rider: Finally this trip only re-emphasized what I have always felt deep down in my soul and that is that I walk this planet alone without any real connection to anyone–not even family. While I have daughters and a mother, I felt on this journey, that–as of yet–the bond is not what I believe it should be. It seems to be woven with narcissistic needs, financial gains and obligatory moments. What’s lacking is true heartfelt desire to be part of familial system. That sense of love that we feel when we are all together and we know that this is truly home.

So this was The Trip. I did it and I’m so very proud of  my daughter for graduating. But I will never take a trip like this again with everyone else. It was too draining and too exhausting. And for what? I did reap benefits because I was determined to make some gains, so I did. In the future though, I will do my journeying on my own as this is how my heart lives anyway.

Seeking New Horizons?


For some time now (years?) I have felt this pervasive feeling of edginess, dissatisfaction and unsettleness. It has come in waves at various times throughout the last years, as part of my life has waxed and waned: kids coming and going, my career swelling or hibernating, men drifting in and out of my life. But on the whole it has been there–a solid undercurrent, flowing through my veins, something constantly just under the surface of my vision all the time.

After my accident five weeks ago this current of feeling has seemingly burst out and has landed right in front of me. It has put itself in my line of vision so it has become impossible for me not to notice. I’ve been trying to ignore it, to pretend life is OK. To go on as if nothing has happened, that I’m happy with where I live, with my job and with my life. But when I lay in bed at night, or I have a quiet moment-like walking the dogs at 5 am, – or when I’m talking to someone about my life, it smacks me right in the face.

So I’ve decided to look at it right in the eyes. To stop ignoring it and see what is really there. And to answer some really hard questions. Ones that have plagued me since the accident–well, that have plagued me for years. Am I truly happy? And if I’m not, just how far am I willing to go to change my life?

When I really answer that question: the answer is no. I am not basically happy with the life I am living now. With where I live and what I am doing. I’ve known it all along really, but haven’t had the guts to take the plunge to change it. I kept setting goals for myself like when the kids were gone. But they have all been gone for a while now. And then I convinced myself I was still OK. I guess I needed a traumatic event to make the picture clear.

Facing death so startlingly and then the weeks after makes one re-evaluate so much. I know it sounds cliché. But it’s true. And as my brain rattled around inside my head, I guess it shook up my status quo. And it settled everything back in a different place, a different order and gave me the confidence to make the change I’ve been wanting…needing to make.

And now I am formulating the plan. I’ve always been a person that made hasty decisions. I know this can’t be one. Because it’s big and life altering. But I also know it’s right. On many levels: for me and for others. There will be much to do to make it happen, but hopefully I will get my joy back. And for me, just having a plan is so healing.

New horizons maybe? Hopefully! And I will take you all with me on my journey on this second half….