Poem: Stillness


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In stillness

times when I sat

hushed under ancient pines

back brushed up against wizened skin

small

yet safe

cradled silently

beneath an immobile mammoth

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In stillness

near a whispering brook

whose words spoke sense

when nothing else could

they drifted past

in bubbles of music

floating by

in ripples of spray

to be caught in moments

of calm

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And in stillness

sitting upon the hill

with warmth from above

creatures close by

and sharing the peace

near by voices are small

and my belly is round

while the world is spinning beyond

In stillness

In stillness

It lies

 

 

 

Awakening


Much of life can be spent in a dream like state–or sleep walking through it, appearing awake, but really unconscious. In looking back on my life, it feels as though I’ve lived it like this: half here, half somewhere else. Maybe my eyes were open , but I wasn’t really seeing what was around me.

Then I try to look back on this life, I have very few memories that I can latch onto. Friends of mine will often recall great details from the past. It amazes me when they pull minute details of a situation, place or conversation, and I have giant gaps from these times. It’s as though I wasn’t there: a dark figure, lurking in the background. Maybe I was really just a statue, a wax figure of the person that was me. Or I was dozing in another world, perched in a land where no-one could really reach me.

Or maybe I just have a bad memory?

It makes me sad sometimes that I can only grab glimpses from my past or put few pictures together of good times to weave the mosaic of my life. Here and there I see some if I think really, really hard, but they are distant and blurry.

But now I am waking up. I’ve begun to pour cold water in the recesses of my mind and slap myself the way doctors did years ago to get babies to take a first breath. I want to breathe. It’s time to breathe now the fresh desire of creation. To take footsteps forward in the land of the living, where one looks around and everything pulses with energy. That stone figure crouched in a corner has metamorphosed into a spirit. It has taken on life. Looking around it sees the beauty of the world, hears the humming of the planet and tastes the nectar of nature. It absorbs at a deeper level, tucking these senses within.

Aroused by the pulsating beat of the earth, my life is beginning to finally happen. The start was slow and messy, taking the circuitous route, but is coming back on itself to the now. It can take flight and the quickening of it all leaves me light. The weight falls away, and now I flutter open….

Yes, I am awake. I am awake.


Drifting


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.

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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.

I Pray 


Tomorrow is an important day in the United States of America. I can’t say I won’t be happy when it’s over and done, but I am very nervous. There have been plenty of years that I don’t care for certain candidates running for president, but this year I’m positively freaked out about one of them possibly winning.

It’s a scary thought. I’ve been saddened by the way our country has become such a place of turmoil and divisiveness that creates an environment for such a person.

No one human is perfect for the position, especially in such a complex and torn nation as we are today. Finding harmony with the Congress, the people and other nations makes the job almost impossible for any leader to do successfully.

The best we can hope is that the person coming into the position is a decent person deep within, intelligent with compassion and the ability to be diplomatic. 

Having a big mouth, ego or a narrow view of the world won’t help in my humble opinion. But I am only one vote.

So I pray the majority of people feel like me.

The Real Deal


I feel I’ve always been pretty good at telling what’s the real deal. Of course this can refer to many things in life: food, merchandise (like diamonds–Marilyn would especially want to note), maybe love even (admittedly I’ve not been good at this). But in this case I’m talking about people. Are the people we meet, either at work, in social situations, on the street simply real?


You might wonder what I mean by this I suppose. Like, get real dude. It just seems the older I get, the more superficial people seem to me. Or at least, the less they are interested in things that involve anything that may mean thinking too hard, caring in a big way or really, really standing up for what you believe in.

It’s just easier to go to work, talk about your nails or hair, pretend that you’re friends with the person standing next to you, casually mention the horrors of the world, then hop in the fancy car and go home like nothing is happening. Like nothing is real. Like the horrors are really happening. Or your friends may not be really suffering, or maybe someone who isn’t your friend, just a co-worker, might need something from you more than a passing smirk.


No, it’s all about our own little microcosm. Our little floating bubbles that encase us and keep us separate but make it appear as though we’re able to see each other. But it’s just an illusion.

And in many ways I’m just as guilty. Oh I cry when I hear the news, but I don’t do anything about it. I just drive back and forth to work wishing I could do more. But I don’t. Not yet anyway. Swearing I will someday…when I can. At least I care I say to myself…it’s more than some. Does that make me more real?


When I’m with people, near people in real pain though, I do react. That much I can say. I can never sit by and just ignore it. And things like fingernails and doing my hair are not important to me anymore (well, they never were). It’s OK that they are to some, but there has to be more. Our worlds have to connect with people who have nothing.

So who is the real deal these days? Let’s get real here. Open our eyes to the real world. The war, the famine, the terror, the rape, the killing, the fires, the homeless, the poor, the racial disparity… And even the people close to us in true pain.

Let’s not pretend. Even while we live our comfortable lives, keep a piece of discomfort in our hearts to keep us real.

Permanence


When were kids we expected the world to fall at our feet and for everything to go our way. We didn’t know that were supposed to work at some things to make them happen, or for them to be right because we were the center of the Universe and everything else revolved around us and our needs.

Ahhh, if only it could still be like that……

But, alas, this is not so when we grow to be adults. Unfortunately we learn, sometimes the hard way, that we must work (often with much effort) to make our lives come out the way we hope. The plans may be laid thoughtfully either in our minds, or even very carefully in real-time, and still end being tripped up when they come to fruition.

This may be due to any number of factors: our ‘dream’ may not be what we had quite imagined it to be or maybe some monkey wrench gets thrown in to burst our bubble after our tidy plans were hatched. Either way we can be hit we a huge wave of disappointment, which may turn into sadness, depression or even anger–anything but the joy, happiness and excitement we had been dreaming about.


For me I had experienced something like this with my move from the North where I had been for so many years to the South where I am now. It was a huge decision and took a long time to decide to do. There were many factors that made me chose to come, some pushing me from the northern end, and others pulling me from the south. So when the move finally came: I felt more than ready!

But after I had been here for some months and found myself away from my friends, my home, leaving a career I had for many years, in unfamiliar surroundings–suddenly I found myself second guessing myself. I was scared, down and leaning on my Mom a lot.

I’m not sure what the turning point was for me –when I realized that the world, this place  I was now living in, was not going to come to me. I did know that one reason I came was because I didn’t want to be miserable anymore! It was for change, not more of the same.

So, when I heard on NPR about a book called: “This Is Where You Belong: The Art and Science of Loving the Place You Live” by Melody Warnick and the interview with the author, it gave me a whole new perspective on my dilemma. I have not nearly completed it, but it made me realize that I’ve barely given this place a chance, and that I personally have done nothing to make this place home.


While I’ve been grumbling and seeing all the negative, life has been passing me by here. All the good reasons I came have still been here and I’ve ignored them and focused only on the negative. When I changed my mindset at work and decided to love it there, things got so much better. It seemed time to do that with living here too.

In discussing this with my Mother, who has been my constant companion and confidant here, we decided that buying a condo, rather than renting–could possibly be a better option. Prices are high for rentals and many are such bad options. For me, I know that it’s all about mindset more than anything. Feeling more permanent here and a part of the community is what I may need, rather than feeling like a drifter. So I’m at least looking at a few places. Who knows if it’s possible, but it gives me hope anyway.And hope is a powerful tool.

The bottom line is that a main reason I came was to be closer to my Mom and I am very lucky to be near her. She has been steady when I’ve been unsteady. It’s been hard to express how strange it’s all felt at times, but she’s done her best to understand. She’s my rock and I’m so grateful to have her close after so many years.


So maybe I’m not a kid anymore and can’t have the world falling at my feet, but I try my hardest to make my world positive. And as long as I’m here and have my Mom around, I’ll still be her kid and she does the best she can to make my world the best it can be.