Rain, Tears, Gray Skies and Wonderment

I was awakened by a dream of having three children in an Eastern culture. I was leading meditation practice with the natives in a hill tribe. Authorities did not like having the populace learning to drop the drama, to step away from the story and to turn inward for peace.

deconstructing beauty

They swept down upon the village and took each person and cut off his or her hair by scraping the scalp with a sharp sword. I said to my children,” This will hurt. Turn within to find a place to be that cannot be touched.”

When I was fully awake, I realized that much of what has been playing out in the world had permeated my dream state. The urge to believe that weather systems, earth quakes, governmental repression is somehow new and ultimately destructive was obviously leaving its dirty tracks on the clean floor of my existence.

I follow what is going on politically and international. Attempting to share events with others who are cut off by reposting information appearing on twitter and facebook, is an urge I follow out of a desire to help. Imagining what could be going on is always the path into even greater drama despair.

darkness and light

Those times when I have stood up in the classroom or at staff meetings; or during professional development days to say, “This is bull shit,” are from a deep place in my soul. The other aspect of my personality is the good girl. I want to be stroked by the powers that be and told I did every single thing properly. I want a sticker on my chart.

Well if that isn’t a game plan for internal conflict, I don’t know what is. So I share what I believe to be accurate information. I watch my mind and my thoughts. Taking positive action so that I can live “as if” becomes easier as I grow.

But the dreams that come out of an unsafe and war zone childhood can awaken me. My mind is telling me that I am not protected in the world and that speaking out is dangerous.

My sub-conscious habits have lead to isolating myself and staying quiet until I burst into some Joan of Arch speech and immolate myself upon my own burning stake.

I stepped out of bed with the dream still clothing me and attended to the rituals of self care. I attended a class on self development.

And ultimately, I mused on how much of North America is just growing up. We have not had our country over run by famine, by attacking hoards (an experience of the Native Indians). We have not seen our government overtly shooting people in the streets in a systematic manner. Europeans, Asians, South Americans and Africans have survived every type of stressor that can be named. But my generation, the baby boomers and after have not had a depression before. Some escaped the Viet Nam war experience and were too old for the Middle Eastern experiences.

So in the long run, perhaps much of what is happening now is part of the process of learning responsibility. It is about seeing that life is challenging. There is a wisdom that grows when hardship comes. And it is the kind of wisdom that can lead people to tweet, “The electricity is out, can’t leave the apartment.found out I have a boy friend living here with me.”

So when our world is shaken up by earthquakes or anything else, we turn to one another. We turn within to find a place of peace. We learn to see the brilliant, shining every day beauty of what we once thought of as a boring normal day.

look closely

The dream taught me that I don’t have to live in fear and that I don’t have to worry about “authority figures” changing my identity. Those are all images from my past, from my dark places. There is no drama. There is only turning to find who is there to love.

Always, always the question is, “What am I learning?”

What to do when you are doing nothing?

Yesterday I had another nothing day. I went out to an appointment and had the car loaded with books I intended to read and take notes from. I had a list of what I call the “this and that” of life in my head. Small things left undone end up like an assembly line at a factory just filling up until it ceases to move. When there are enough items that only take a few minutes, then I tackle them all on the same day. So I had that intention.

I returned home, sat down and could immediately feel the last two nights of short periods of sleep in my body.

Somewhere in between seasons hung outside. It wasn’t raining. It wasn’t snowing. The sun wasn’t shining. The air was a dripping dull gray. My mind kept circling back to, “I can start now.” But I was hungry so time for late breakfast at 1 pm.

maple leaves sudden shift to autumn

After reclining on the couch watching crap TV for a while, my mind started its tick tick the list again but I couldn’t work up enough enthusiasm to even check in and see what mind was putting on a list. It was like some background furnace noise blowing through my head space.

I read a bit of my book, I fell asleep for a while, I spent two hours on Facebook, I took the nail polish off of my left thumb then lost my focus. Thank God I had to pee because that got me up to clean the bathroom since I was already there and couldn’t be bothered to sit down and then get up AGAIN to clean. Walking past the washer, I started a single load before I sank back into the warm, worn flesh of the leather couch.

Thinking about marketing, my web presence, my web site, how I needed to “feed the blog” this week, make a poetry video, clean up some poems for the reading Saturday night. Oh! Now the things that I was not doing were becoming more clarified. The shapes through the mind fog were starting to sharpen into discernible entities.

My body was sore from working out every day for five days. So I fell upon the default rescue thought. If I am building muscle then not doing anything is what my body needs in order to repair. So while I am thinking I am not taking action, by not taking action I am allowing my body to take action.

intense colors signal an ending

There! I did it. Like a magnificent athlete, trained and conditioned. My mind can create a doing out of not doing. It is not about resisting the busy body music. It is a care taking.

But I wasn’t buying it. My internal dialogue was continuing the argument. The only thing you are successfully doing is converting time off into yet another item on your list. So you are trying to be working toward your goals even when you are not. Impressive.

At this point, I was exhausted by not doing anything at all with my day so I went upstairs to bed to read a motivational book about focus, commitment to goals and daily effort. Yes. You heard me. Even as I was rolling over in the down covers to take a nap, my mind was saying, “Good job. You are motivation yourself.”

If there were a gold medal for cognitive dissonance, I am in contention for it. Because I am always in contention with myself. I was even too blecky to sit meditation. The last thought before my second nap was, “Well this is some kind of meditation, isn’t it?”

So today I feel that I can get so much done because I rested yesterday. I have a list in hand. The “this and that” items such as buying a tiny bulb for a dark lamp are all written out on the notebook page. I have inventoried my web presences which I intend to realign to one another, reconstruct my marketing plan.

veins like river beds on the earth surface of the leaf

Are these days of no action easy for me? No. The guilt and the internal nattering are not relaxing at all. But I say to myself as if I were a space traveller that it is what the other earthlings do. It doesn’t seem to set them back that much. And after all, I can cross “rest up” off of my list now.

Better get out and rake those leaves.

What is it all about? Face into wind, words carry

Intention, attention, detention. Each day born like a chick. Pecking away the shell of sleep.

So shaky on first legs. Aware that each thought is creating the web lines I will walk each day. Visioning out, creating the universe my orb will rotate through before I can make it to the bathroom, or even put my floor into reality by placing feet upon it.

To catch myself, right then. To catch myself gently by taking my mind in hand is the goal.

When first waking, I place one hand on the scars where my three surgeries were for ridding me of cancer. The other hand I place on my heart and let both my chest and my hand warm one another.

Each day, I lay flat before the universe is constructed and I say to my mind, “You are radiantly healthy and you give and receive love easily.” Each day, I use Reiki or affirmations, or magic on my body in the two places that have to be calmed and assured. “You are radiantly healthy and your heart is full of love.”

Only after those moments do I stand, shake off the unbeing of night and sleep. Where ever I have travelled, I am back into the habit of mind-body connection we call awake. As I walk to the bathroom, I watch my thoughts. My mind has already made up the holodeck I am stepping into for the day.

“Whine, whine, whine,” the song goes in my brain. The hard stone of loneliness is still below my heart and above my belly button. Still there, I can feel the dark, heavy spot. Parents dead; children moved away; marriages done one after one. The house is quiet with only the blowing heat in winter or air conditioner in summer breaking into the white, clear silence.

I turn my mind to gratitude as one would help a child learn to tie shoes for the first time. I am patient. I talk to myself with compassion. “Let’s see. We will make a list. Wow, you had 8 hours of uninterrupted sleep. Your body feels good. You are not afraid that someone in your environment will hurt you, will be sneaking around betraying you. No one is criticizing you. Your body feels strong and rested. The bed is comfortable, the tree outside your window is beautiful, your car purrs when you turn the key, ….” On I go chanting to the trembling gray feathered bird which has broken from the shell of night, chanting that the world is a safe and wonderful place.

The coffee is excellent, the best and freshly ground. The orange juice is golden. I drink it standing at the window so I can see the brilliant color in between sips. I take my pills that help me build strength and optimism. They work for me. I congratulate myself on everything that I did to advance my sense of safety and confidence in the world yesterday.

The stone of past oppressions; of a war zone childhood; of bad choices and loss is still there. But I notice that it is getting smaller. I make friends with its presence as if it were a mole or a scar, only it is one which I carry within.

So many times during the day, I reach “no story” status. It is the top of the mountain for me. Something happens. My car needs $700 worth of repairs. And I say, “thank you,” to the universe for the mechanic’s catching loose bolts and a rusted arm that would have lead to an accident. Within one hour, I drop it and do not weave it into the cloth of thorns that I could choose to wear throughout the day.

Sometimes, I have no body or personality or thoughts. The sense of floating comes to me at times while I sit meditation on the deck. The feel of the sun melts the dimensions, my physical body, my aura of jagged thoughts away into no thing. It is beyond pleasure. It is just space.

The result of watching my self through the day is that I can see the four year old; the frightened 38 year old with two children to care for; the woman who ran bleeding after love appear in my thoughts. And whatever age my shadow self is, I see her. I know exactly where it is coming from. I know exactly why she wants to start the story, the drama, the cliff hanger, the adrenaline of anxiety which is her addiction. Sometimes, I am even able to soothe her and step away from her pull on my hand. “Follow me into victim land,” she will call out.

What has been most exciting for me in this process is that I am learning that I am not good or bad. I am human. I have a personality, a soul, a history, habits of mind, self destructive patterns and even cognitive dissonance that has me eating sugar while trying to become radiantly healthy. But I am learning.

By God, by all that is Holy the gifts this life has brought to me are starting to be evident. I can watch myself with love. The struggles with arrogance, judgement, social anxiety, over control, failure to allow myself to be close to others are on going. Even when I had past life regression, I could see the same lessons appearing. So how can I expect to “get it” in this life if I have been doing the work on the tendency to isolate myself since 1053 B.C.? I mean really, let it go sister.

When I awake with my feathers so young and wet they look like fur, and I lay among the shell fragments of dreams, I recreate my life. Each day is a new universe, a new energy field, a new web I weave with my thoughts. What is my life about? It is about learning how to live. It is about learning what I have created and taking full responsibility for each thought I use to speak to my self. I am after all brand new, unsure, trembling to be here.

I see myself so strong and soaring in the sky with no weight of darkness. I see myself light in light. So I touch my scars and my heart, and I talk to myself each day. I am teaching myself how to live. It is why we are all here. To understand. To live with no story, no drama, no victim/villian mentality. But thank God we are reborn each day, new, fresh face into the wind with our words carrying out into the world our intention to be loving.

And sometimes the sun shines.

Craig Jones, Wade Davis and Kevin Baker

It has been a whirl-wind lately. As the unmarked days of heat passed, the sense that all time was now and unchanging was pervasive. Now every day I awaken to some seasonal death. The flowers in the pots sitting on my deck are frosting dead limp in a way I can’t figure out. Why this pot’s Nastursiums are translucent strings holding onto dead flowers and fists of seed pods and the one next to it is still sporting the coarse, common flags of color I cannot understand.

Maple in background a fallen leaf from tree

The leaves are just starting to fall from the freshly pruned Maple tree. I have dug up all of the garden beds and shaken the soil off of the bulbs and corms and transplanted them for greater vitality in the coming spring. It is rather like an easter egg hunt because I inevitably forget where I hid the iris, crocus and tulips. When hope is reborn in the garden, I will be surprised and probably talking outloud. “Oh there you are!”

Old ties have been cut, letters, pictures any reminder of a life three years past are gone from the house. It is a new season.

Getting out the door is a promise that I made to myself and I have continued my efforts to establish new patterns. The public library brought in the author Craig Jones to speak. He was the government lawyer for the Bountiful trial against the Mormon polygamist community in British Columbia.

His book was the result of research which demonstrated that the effect of the Mormon lifestyle of polygamy was to increase violence within the Mormon community. His research lead him to explore the very nature of family structures and various cultural interpretations of “family.”

In 1947 Bountiful, B.C. did not exist. Harold Blackmore, who was a liberal leaning man moved there with his wife. Later he included her sister in their “family”. And thus it began. Harold was driven out for his left leaning views which included such abhorrent doctrines as the equality of men and women. Two generations later the society which brought 12 year old girls across the border to be traded as commodities was in full force. The Bountiful trial took 42 days and the result of the trial was determined not on the basis of religion but rather on Craig Jones’ evidence that the society as manifested in Bountiful was corrupt and violent.

Because only a few of the ruling males had many wives, there was no “breeding stock” left for the younger men and these men were driven out. It was a basic failure to provide a place for the very young that a culture creates in order to perpetuate itself. There was literally no place for the majority of male children to live within the cultural structure.

Craig quoted Robert Reich’s study which demonstrated that the way to dampen down violence in young men is by mating them to a wife. Craig pointed out that when the militaristic society in the Middle East wanted to disband and they had a group of young men trained to go to war which they no longer wished to use, the organization used social psychology. In the 1970’s parties were held whereby the men were introduced to single women. The newly married men were given jobs and bonuses to settle down.

In our society, Craig continued, we have effectively the same dynamic of entitlement as in Bountiful but it is not as pronounced. The rich men have serial relationship with women who deliver them off spring and take that breeding opportunity away from younger men. A primary example was when Newt Gingrich had three wives with overlapping periods of infidelity in which he had essentially taken two women out of the mating pool.

Monogamy was structured to ensure “paternity certainty”. To demonstrate the value of creating a child with known paternity Jones presented the hazards of the “step father” syndrome. One of the difficulties with step parenting is the statistical evidence of risk. A child of a woman who is living with a man who is not the child’s father is forty to one hundred times more likely to be killed. It is the most risky situation for a child to be placed in in North America. It is essential that the father and the society know the clear lines of paternity in order to protect and provide for the child.

Another interesting study within the Mormon community was that children of rich Mormons were more likely to die because the richest men were the most polygamist. If a man had forty children, losing one or two did not ultimately matter. The sexual abuse that occurred in a situation in which young men were guaranteed not to have a mate was another difficulty within the society.

In the end, the increase in violence, the control of who can and cannot take a wife and fulfill the promises of adulthood were the major factors to dismiss polygamy as an unhealthy social practice in Bountiful.

I came away with a lot of ideas in my head and a list of psychologists that I wish to study. Tod Shackleford whose area of expertise is the psychology of domestic violence has a wonderful web site with a detailed bibliography of every article and book he has written. I emailed him right away and said his work had been revealed to me from the Craig Jones case preparation study. Tod had no idea that he had made such an impact. It was news to him. I copied his list of articles onto facebook for some of my more scholarly friends to enjoy.

Two nights later I attended Wade Davis’ lecture which was an extension of his Ted Talk on the effect of global warming on Indigenous cultures. His combination of intellect, compassion and beautifully crafted language made the evening a transformative experience. Once I posted about him, many of my facebook friends reacted by saying, “You don’t know Wade Davis?” I have two friends who are on the Shamanic path and they have studied his work in detail. Wade has entered many ritual doorways into the exploration of the unseen universal forces behind form.

At the end of his lecture to a packed house at the Kelowna Community Theatre, a young girl got up to ask a question. She was moved to hear that environmental changes such as the end of ice, the massive destruction of the rain forest, the greedy striping of pristine land for the passage of oil pipes was resulting in the passage of native people from the earth. She asked, “If there is one thing that young people can do, that I can do to help the environment and stop this destruction what would it be?”

Wade’s answer was, “Tear down the Harper government. It is a government that took 130 million dollars from the green fund to build a Petro state.That is what you can do!!”

What amazes me is I feel like life is such a huge four dimensional puzzle. Sometimes I think I get a moment of clarity or I know that I have figured something out and then, for instance during this week, things just reform and new pieces fall into place.

The study of culture; the study of the framework of belief; of how we see ourselves and the universe that we construct in our heads is endlessly fascinating. There is self; there is self’s relationship with self; there is the state of mindless zombie existence based on habit and social ritual; there is self’s relationship to belief; there is the relationship with the culture and always, always the challenge of relationships to others. It is complex, shifting, challenging and provoking to be alive.

I went to Chapters on Thanksgiving day because I did not want to be alone in the house again on a holiday. Public places that provide a sanctuary for the lost, the seekers, the travelers are becoming harder and harder to find. There were two street people who smelled and had soot all over their clothes; a group of five Asian students who are in Kelowna to study English; a dying, insane woman who was spilling copious amounts of beer out of a paper bag she was carrying (almost immediately escorted out by the mall security) and me. I bought myself a rare treat coffee latte and sat taking notes on books. I stumbled upon an article by Kevin Baker in the Harper’s. “Why Vote? When your vote counts for nothing.”

Kevin early on stated that, “democracy… turned against us. Its institutions now reinforcing the triumph of money and fueling the growth of nihilistic and anti-democratic movements.” His analysis of the structure is that “Democracy is at its heart an exchange…”

In the early times when the system was young hard cider, whiskey and shoes, picnics, turkeys, no show jobs were offered in exchange for a vote. Tammy Hall handed out $2 “walking around money” in broad daylight. The political parties were no more than “machines perpetrating mass poverty.” After long years of struggle to repress the pay for vote system and with the growth of the social safety net, John Lancaster could say, “The most admirable societies that the world has ever seen…” are democratic societies.

The author quotes Naomi Klein in her book The Shock Doctrine as understanding that the governments have utilized ” crises… to roll back democracy.”

Baker summarizes his analysis of today’s governments. “What we are witnessing is the use of democratic institutions to degrade and disassemble democracy itself.” And it was Reagan who lead the way. “The move to uncouple campaigns from any true intentions came into its own during the Regan years.” In other words, promise them anything and then do what you want once you are in power in order to accumulate more power.

Regan was elected on the platform of fiscal caution and he tripled the national debt.

In England the recent coalition was blatantly not about politics or ideology. The new government was formed to create class solidarity.

The reaction of the people is to rebel against the disconnect between political promises and the dismantling of democracy. In France the workers have hit the streets to protest the raising of retirement age and the curtaling of worker’s rights. In Spain the indignados are demonstrating. Germany has the enraged citizens or wutburgers marching. And in North America Occupy was making its voice heard.

Baker calls for a solution. “These are rational reactions, for the people who now control most western political parties have already isolated themselves from their constituents in order to enrich themselves and their class. … Massive reconstructive surgery is needed. We will have to build the new political parties from the dried out husks of the old ones.”

This week, I have been given information and sources to study, I was asked to consider how societies form alliances in order to ensure the protection and survival of children. I have attended a lecture by a man who has visited 50 different societies and is calling out to say that the environmental degradation is resulting in the ending of societal diversity. And I have read about the political stalemate whereby citizens no longer have input into their democracies in order to fashion the society.

How does man fit on the earth; in his family; within the belief systems of his society? How can a person alter or change those things which threaten a rich, varied, tolerant wisdom which guarantees survival on the earth? There was so much to think about this week. Blessings to the brilliant creative thinkers who came into my life in five short days.

The leaves are turning red. We are in the driest, hottest weather in 113 years, governments are becoming more repressive. Ice is melting back. Oh yes. We are headed into a season of change that we can only imagine. Creative thinking will be the way out.

In my personal life I am learning to open to questions, to sit in the sun in stillness, to let go of that which does not serve me and most of all to reformulate my sense of reality. There is much more in the universe than the constrained window that our family structure and our society has given us through which we view the grandure.

Energy is the language of the universe