The All is Essence. . .

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Prayer To The Essence of The Great God

To the essence of the great and holy god,
we offer ourselves in our bounty and
in our sorrows.  We ask that we be
allowed to enter with all that we are
and all we hope we can be.

Let us lift our heads
to the glories of the day and
allow us always to see
the brightness that surrounds us.
Ask us  in our gratitude
that we look to serve those
less fortunate while always seeing
to those to whom we are committed.

Let us be wise in our choices
and sensitive in our feelings.
We ask in times of need and
in times of great gratitude
that we neglect no one in our care.

In all names we ask and
in all names we wholly, holy, blend.
Take us as we are,

for we are on our knees.  Amen and amen.

photo by
John Holmes

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In These Sweet Hours. . .

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I was born a person whose breath weaves its own magic during the night hours.  When the world goes to sleep where I am,  my eyes widen to embark on their own journey.  Those sweet hours of the morning I have seen all the days of my life and have found thoughts traveling at a swift pace to their mark. When darkness appears, the air becomes electric with its own energy and the full symphony begins.

In These Sweet Hours. . .

In these sweet hours of the morning,
I sit in this chair, borrowed
from another room, where old bones
had not yet broken it in;  missing
the familiar one,  much loved
but grown musty.

Like me, I think, old and with thoughts
well worn but suitable for the mind
habiting them.  They’ve stood
the test of years that proved their mettle.

They’ve worn their courage
to the extreme and now will go
into the pages and take their place
as reference to a time long gone
but stable.  These thoughts worked.

They upheld customs and behaviors
and civilizations.  And families when they
could have crumbled never to be restored.
But when hand crafted was
a work of pride, so was the work of the mind. . .

stored now like vintage wine.

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In The Midst of The Secular. . . .

 

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Because of the head that sits on my shoulders,  I have worked this life the best I could.   Because I grew up in a house of brothers, I learned to do many things simply by observing.  They tolerated my presence and I learned to watch and say nothing that would get on their nerves.  I did not want to be banished.   I assumed all males knew how to fix things. (My dearest friend Jan said that the eleventh commandment should be ‘Thou shalt not Assume. . . .anything!)  She was right, as usual.

When married and our wringer washer malfunctioned I told my husband and he said call a repairman.  I looked dumbfounded and asked stupidly,  what’s a repairman?  Never with six brothers was there ever someone called to fix anything.  I soon learned though. After that, not much money went out of our home for services.

When a service person appeared I was at his heels watching as I did my brothers. I gave our sons haircuts because I watched as my father gave my brothers haircuts.  The boys put up with me until their teen age years when they worked for money to get the haircuts they wanted! Though I was called upon by my mate on many a Sunday night to cut his hair and when the owner of the local salon asked who did his hair my husband said I did.  And Bernie said I will give her a job anytime.

The home maintenance things I did like painting and papering and plumbing if not complicated with changing pipes.  I had a wonderful neighbor friend who was more adept than I and she did electrical stuffs.  I stayed away from wires for fear of getting fried.   But lawn mowers and  snowblowers were my forte .  My mate came in for me when he could not start the snowblower.   I went out and did my usual and it started. Over the loud noise  he shouted,  what did you do?   How did you do that!???  I knew not to go into what he did not understand so I simply said ‘prayer.’

It would never do to say I talked to the Master Mechanic.   I went into the house.   As he was rounding the back door with the blower, he stuck his head into the kitchen door and asked, ‘does swearing count?’

I tell you this to show you that one can live a normal life with work and children and home maintenance and a public life and still have an inner life that supports the secular.  One does need to set priorities.  I had my private times when the house slept that gave uninterrupted hours for study.  When my home priorities could be held at bay,  I took to my books,  and those things that gave me support for times when my world went gray.  An open head,  or more open than the average head I now learn,  meant for despair in all languages.   It is the kind of head that is in conference all day with its own eternal why’s. But it is possible to live a contemplative life of a mystic  in the midst of the common,  meaning average life.  One does not need to take to the woods,  nor to the mountain top.  Those are within.  They come to the pilgrim when the intent is noted.  And heaven does heed the crash at the gates.  Often with a ‘well,  look who’s here!’

Photo by
Joe Hallissey Sr.

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The Table. . . the altar of the family

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It was a different time frame and there were no credit cards nor funds to back what we desired.  Several elderly English/Scottish relatives had given to our growing family bits of china that had been cherished.  Not whole sets,  but pieces.  And I dearly wanted a hutch to show these pieces.  Decades later we found to our delight a hutch and 4 chairs but no table.  The owner of the establishment,  a dear friend,  said but if you settle for a pine table I think I can talk someone to finish it like the hutch.  We looked at the pine table and thought but pine to look like cherry wood?  The retired craftsman took a drawer from the hutch and in a few weeks delivered the table.  I have loved it to a fine polish over half my life.  We protected it with tablecloths and place mats worn threadbare.  But  for every day and 3 meals a day, it seated a loving family and friends and if we had ears to hear,  it would tell wondrous tales.  There is always much beneath the surface of what would be considered simple and dull.  But coming to light with tender care and deep desire is a story worth telling.  And learning from.

The Table. . .the altar of the family

It stands polished,
a reflection of the times we sat
and were fed as  family and friends.

It held the food that had us
leaning with our elbows and
sipping the coffee and the wine,
comfortably.

We shared our laughter and
our griefs and the latter can only
be remembered in spurts and hurts.

The good times, the salving
of the wounds we remember clearly.
Our words poured from our hearts
and whoever listened was
the crystal vessel that cupped them.

At this time as my body balks,
memories are awakened each time
I stand and view the table
crowded with them.

When we meet again,
we will sit and tell each other
what has happened since we last sat
and supped together.
We will again make new memories

in a world just created.

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The Teachers. . .

IMG_20140119_123506_773Running Toward a Truth. . .

In the prior mini essay,  I spoke of the larger picture,  the broader focus.  It was necessary for me to learn this practice because to see the immanent god,  the god within,  I had to be able to view humanity totally to be able to appreciate the individual.  As a result what I learned to do was to take the secular and marry it to the metaphysical and then to see the spiritual uniting all.  So this trinity I could understand.

Since I gave birth to three sons,  they were my first triumvirate, understood.  And they became inseparable in their unity.  Religions’ Father, Son and Holy Spirit has always been clouded for me.  The secular life,  and because my experience has included so much of the metaphysical,  with the spiritual which houses our divine self,  becomes an easily understood trinity and practiced part of life for me.

When starting the journey to the heart of oneself, one is never certain where  its path will take one.  There was no way I could foresee the place I would enter in my last quarter mile.  I could see its direction,  and because it has been a solitary journey,  I have my notes,  the poetry,  the scripts,  the journals.  And everything affirms the each,  even to the poetry where much has been a given.

In conversations with my philosopher-lawyer son before he transited, he marveled at the thought that I formed a philosophy to embrace my experiences and events.  He said I know you never had time to study the Great Books yet I watch as Aristotle, and Socrates evolve before me!  I think it has worked the other way.  That the philosophy has formed me,  and my experiences could only be explained within the philosophy.  I took  Jesus of Nazareth as my mentor and guide and one assumes a great responsibility when the cosmic consciousness becomes partner.  I have had good teachers.  I did more than knock.  I crashed the gates of heaven.

As our eldest has said of me that I even make vacuuming a spiritual exercise.  One sees every action, no matter size or emotional content attached  having an effect in or out of time  somewhere, whether it is life about us or worlds away in a universe unknown or unseen.  It is a hard way to live.  Try it for a day.  When Jesus said we are our brother’s keeper, he refrained from saying where.

The Muses Teach

Grasped within eternal concepts
are musings of the arch angels,
the gods in myriad forms,
the Teachers.

In like manner they reach out,
holding the vedas, the dictums,
to reach all parts of man.
Guaranteeing even him,
the lifeline to a reality which lingers.

Couched within commodious terms,
yet destined for the simplest creature,
it is with desperation,  spirit teaches.

Within the confines of the experience,
are acts designed with pupil in mind.
No avenue is without its lesson.
Hallowed, holy, each is destined

to perception, housed within
the limitless life, behind even,
the ghetto’s garbage.
For even within
the vividly apparent wealth,
poverty rides the impoverished spirit.

Meaningless acquisitions crowd
the confines of the empty mind,
deluding the empty house.

Liberation is even the squatter’s rights.

Sculpture by
Stanley Rybacki

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The Broader Focus. . . .

 

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The Larger Picture. . .

One of the first joys of kindergarten I remember was being told to connect the dots and behold!  A picture was formed within the larger picture and it was visible and I could identify it!  What joy.  It was a beginning for me then to look at everything to see what was hidden within.  This was a something I could do with ease and soon was applying it to everything and everybody.  Not always the kindest nor the pleasantest thing to do.  But the lesson within was always worthy.  For by looking at the larger picture,  the smallest something within would then be visible.

In talking to a grandson I pointed out that if I could not see the forest,  I would not see the beauty of the tree.  By looking at humanity,  I could see the beauty of the individual, the person.  It is an important lesson to apply to conditions that do not bring pleasure nor meaning to one.  Only by looking at the larger picture,  the broader focus,  does the significance of the work become important or vital.  And sometimes the meaning has nothing to do that the work at hand requires.  It might be a vital link though in the future of someone one cannot even imagine, nor the significance of the event in any given time.  The dots though will be connected and the picture will form and Mind will note the Giver of the gift that was given.  And the soul accountable will note with pride and an ‘I did that! will be heard throughout the worlds.

To Give Credence

At first the leaves of trees
take on the blush of color
that heralds their death;
preparing themselves for a long sleep
that will last through a white winter,

a white on white sparkling
jeweled fire of gems
spread acres across
the eye’s vision.

What more than this
to give credence to
the  profound question
of who made this?

And I in the stillness
hear with clarity
the voice of Creation whispering,

‘I did!’

Photo by
John Holmes

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Outside The Frame of Reference. . .

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Outside The Frame of Reference. 

Oftentimes I seem to speak in a language that is foreign to my listeners,  whether they be family or friends.  What I say is obvious to me, clear as crystal and  I am using the same words I hear from them all,  but  I stumble.  I strive for a particular word that crawls within my history for the particular nuance I try to relate.  It somehow is not a word that means to another what I want it to.  I struggle with this all the time.  I contrived an acronym,  TEGO.  The Eyes Glaze Over.  When I see this happen,  my frantic response are more words to explain what I am not obviously doing.  The following response from a recent journal from the Teachers is . . .

Keep in mind with your squabbles with anyone and everyone,  that when it is outside the frame of reference,  outside that frame, that circle, that boundary, when it is outside that frame of reference, one cannot relate.  Because each piece of information when it roots will push the frame of reference a bit farther out.  Each piece of information that makes sense, that roots, that finds sense or reason will have a magnetic action.  It will unite with something similar and it grows and fusion begins.  Another piece and unification happens and the boundary is pushed out even more.  Each new piece is absorbed to the first held item, rebounds and we have a macro something.  What happens is growth at a faster pace for awhile.  Enough so that it is noticeable and the frame of reference expands and we have another human in evolution again. 

When there is nothing in the frame that attracts what is given for free, it is worth nothing to the individual.  When something clicks, it is a grand feeling.  When one is given a drink that satisfies,  we satiate thirst for everyone.  Growth seems a snail’s pace,  but in evolution, no grades are skipped. 

Small Bear or Large Cub?

We can interchange
our adjectives
and the words take on
different meanings,  depending
on our frame of reference.

We may find that bigotry
is the same as prejudiced preferences
and my color may be other
than what you are.

It is quite right for where you are
if that is all right with you.
But I ask, will you clean house
and set straight your attitudes

so you can say gay with no malice?

 

 

Art by Claudia Hallissey

 

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Mega Observations. . .

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Mega Observations. . .

Oftentimes in retrospect, we would wish we demanded someone to grow up to matters requiring some degree of maturity.  But how to do that?  When a thing is outside our frame of reference, we will fight tooth and nail to remain innocent and free of taint of anything unfamiliar.  Or what might even show us to be inadequate in some way.  Many religions tell us to flee from what arouses fear even though new ideas might even broaden or enhance what we already believe.  Even as children we would strike out aggressively at anyone disturbing our zeitgeist.  One preserves one’s innocence and evolution stagnates.  Do we know when the unfamiliar will undo us?  That we will go babbling down the street and we will be caught by the fellows in the white coats?  I think so.  I think so.  Which is why we make the woo woo circles in the air with our fingers to show we know who are the crazy ones.

Memory, I hear, is the high cost of life.

*****

To be human is an excuse only to one who knows where man’s God resides.

*****

The heart is the organ of redemption.  It heals and with love salves the wounds of the world.  The psyche of man is healed by the heart.

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A parent is a parent.  And when the child is fortunate, there are two and it is a partnership.  It does not matter who nurtures.  What does matter is that the arms know the shape of the heart in their care.  And the heart will recognize its parent.  And the one who loves him or her.

*****

After buying a 10 yard bolt of burlap at almost 85 years of age, I cannot say I will sit and wait for death to arrive.  I will meet him halfway to the bridge.  I will take his hand and say let us walk the way together.  And we will together, be met.

(click on the plaque.  It was a gift to me  from Last Bird Sings and a favorite.)

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However Long. . .

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However long. . . .

Coming into every family will be what a relative calls a misfit.  And the label will stick.  This often is  a child with a need to know everything and talk.  And more often than not,  there will not be anyone to listen.  Because there will be other children, work to do, buses to catch, and fake reasons given on the spur of the moment.  I don’t have time to listen will be the mantra.  And the child grows to be adult with the need still unfulfilled.  Because in the course of life, there will be work and school, meetings and planes to catch and television.  Now of course we add hand held devices.  The need continues in those born with the desire to learn and talk but like souls dwindle in number.

The sweet hours of the night are filled with the best conversations.  No matter the fatigue of the soul, the mind conversations are filled with wonder and appreciation.    I awoke with the words,  however long the night is,  and wondered perhaps I read them someplace.  Years of research never found them anywhere.  It proved to me again,  that we are not abandoned.    It will be included in a work in process called Psalms of Love. . .    

However long. . . 

However long the night is,
is however long we’ll talk.
A tongue dismembered
from its throat
is punishment too severe to be humane.

It has taken a life of silence
to filter through its members
lessons enough
for the toughest skin to break.

I have marched with your words,
through endless tasks,
through nights not filled with magic.
And heard the harangue
from compressed lips tearing even
the plea of forgiveness from Me.

Now I promise.

In the stillness of the life you know,
I will come for you.
In the light of the night,
I will make my way and
no walls will bar my entry.

I will sit the night and
across the table a hand will clasp
the one you call your own.
And in the magic of words spoken,
I will listen to the story built
to house lives of wonder.
It has taken too long.

And we, the each, will speak and listen
and as the words flow like rivers
toward the delta,
in ribbons of courage,
we will stay the night.

And however long the night is,
is however long we’ll talk.

photo by
John Holmes

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To Breathe Again. . .

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Dog Days of The Lion

When at the end
of the dog days of the Lion
and the garden is again
conducive to prayer,
arrange the knees
bent in homage to the winter.

It is time to pray
the garden into being;
the stage for the winter solstice.
It is time to oil the tools
to store in barns
designed to hide
the hot and humid days
that made breathing difficult.

Spent flowers, weeping willows,
short term annuals,
having already died
their unceremonious death.
We pick up, clean up
the dried up dregs of the summer days,
and live to breathe again
the freshness of a cooling breeze.

Refreshed.

photo by
John Holmes

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