Archive | Essays

Time For New Thoughts. . .

July 30, 2014 journal entry scribed . . . . (we do not want your readers to think that the hero’s journey can only be undertaken when one has free time.  We want them to see that it can be undertaken when one is in the midst of chaos and that it does give some kind of civility as well as calm to what is going on in the midst of life.  It was not as your friend did taking to the woods for the good of nature as well as inner life.  You had an inner life as well as public life and were the parent on premises to a trio of sons, good as they were.  The ten year illness and horror of what awaited with your son, the office every day for 10 years and the last 22 years of a mother in law’s life ((the arrival of my inlaw who lived to be 97,  the birth of a preemie grandson at 1 lb 13 oz. and the transition of our David happened in a 3 month period))  and still considered were home and property maintenance.

 Most of the males who had a cosmic experience through the centuries had groupies or what today would be called gophers (go-fors).  They were mostly of a religious bent or philosophers.  A woman occasionally was mentioned though anonymously.   If Jesus’ time were now, the disciples would be called groupies  .)

 When my world crashed long before all the above happened, the word mystic was only a cloudy, wispy,  ancient term.  But when different doctors used the word,  I took note.  It is a person who never completely left the world they came from.  One foot is always in another world or worlds as they step over boundaries not seen.  Today’s quantum theories are no mystery.  Mystics live them.   In mental dialogue the exchange given is day long thought.  It often  is called prayer. It requires mental agility to work the work that living requires and keep one’s balance.

Physically,  it is just plain hard work.  And it has cowed many an able body down. The mystic I am inclined to think is born thus.  It is the child who upsets the family and has parents blaming each other for the difference.  Not mine!  Oh yes, just like!!!!  More often than not,  a head is closed up and evolution stagnates and the world tips easily into another war.  What should be welcomed is shunned and hidden.  And a world waits and cries in the night.

 

Old Comforts. . .

Exhaustion is the state
with the barbed tongue.
I would smite to the death
with what I hurt
and am angered by.

I will use my anger
to force a new attitude of thought
on those who wallow
in their comforts.

Old beliefs are
a security blanket.
But already they become
bare from nervous fingers
pulling the fluff out
in straight lines.
The nap has been neatly picked.
It is time for new thoughts

to cover old butts.

(July 2014)

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Never More Than A Heartbeat Away. . . .

Never More Than A Heartbeat Away . . .

The wind had blown over the huge tomato plant and he was out of patience with his mother with her directions as to how to support it.  Her instructions were explicit and he shouted it’s only a plant!  And she almost in tears shouted back, it’s alive!  And ended up doing it herself.  And the reason was sufficient.  It’s alive.  With due respect and gentleness,  it’s alive.

And that is the difference, as small and as large,  as it is with perspective.  Where to draw the line in outlook because it takes time,  energy and may take your life eventually.  It is no easy task to discern what is important enough to warrant attention to make a difference.  As small as a plant or as large as a human life.  There are only so many hours in the day and everything seems to demand the immediate now.  Many told me  I took the fun out of life because everything to me was important.  And important in itself that it did not need exaggeration.  But each has to discern whether the action should be pulled through one’s heart.  I would caution with this that when the least has no importance, it is sooner than one thinks that all things assume little importance.

I asked a friend who was a nurse,  why do you go to church Kath,  and she said because I hope what Jesus said is true.  I say that life is a continuum,  that it is everlasting and all is god.  And for me it is not a hope but it is knowledge and I know that what meaning there is in life I bring to my corner of it.  The thundering, noble force that rumbles through all is put within the each and here as I create my wonky wall quilt of evergreens and am accountable in my declining years as my conscience demands and  body enables me,  I have also created the world I worked for all the days of my life with the talents given me.   And I will give a hand to pull you over if you have doubt.  Because if there were not worlds as my mentor said,  I would care enough to create one and I would pull you over.

Excerpt from
We Can Go Home. . .

When the cardinal sings
I will acknowledge his song
to show that a life can be lived with
a mind open,  to hear muses sing
their songs of joy or pray their
mourning songs. . .

. . . to show that a heart
can be stripped of itself
like layers of onion skin
and still keep a steady beat.

I’ve taken the long way home and
nearing the gate, please catch me I say
and pull me on through.
I will answer c’est moi, it is I,

to prove we can go home again and again.

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To Want The Priceless Gift. . .

 

I Want For Mother’s Day. . . a grown up world. . . .

As I approach  my 86th birthday in a few weeks, and  on the eve  of another  Mother’s Day,  I hope I am closer to understanding what life is about and maybe have you understand why  this white haired woman sees nothing in the playthings of life that seem to enchant others.  What do I want and what do I need  are one and the same.

Simply,  a grown up world.  Children who are children are a wondrous thing to enchant.  But big bodies in motion with childish emotions are an eyesore and they break my heart.  How to help raise adults to be examples for the young?  Be one.  Just be one.  You all have played the field with your games and have been doing the bedroom gymnastics around the world.  Now look at yourselves in the bathroom mirror   and please, without alibis,  say from this moment on I will be the example I never had.  Grow up or go sit in the corner until you do.

We have seen the heartache engendered by your antics and even those who have been innocent hurt beyond repair.  Now from this day onward a new set of rules.  The powerful will not take advantage of the young and innocent.  And those who are not well endowed with monies or looks will be given a self esteem that will demand others to behave with decency and  above suspicion at all times.  There is a scorekeeper lest you think not.

We will see mothers who will  mother and fathers who will  father.  And we will see children with open heads being given a childhood that will surely enchant  them.  And we will see a world where steps will be taken and people will grow to maturity with a range of motions and emotions befitting adulthood.  I want a grown up world.

There will be chaos in the bedrooms and there will be arguments at the dinner table and there will be a change in behavior when people are given to know what behaviors engender what consequences.  It will not be done overnight,  but I was asked what I wanted for Mother’s Day and I have told you.  I want children growing up adult who are true humans.  Human and divine.  True beings of whatever system of belief is held by them, but true humans.  I have pulled my life through my heart and given it my best shot.   This is a big want.   Make it happen.

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To Richly Endow. . .

To Richly Endow

My head swiveled when I heard the elder blurt out, ‘but you are lucky you like to pull weeds!’  I stared openmouthed because she was serious!  I thought of the past hot week where the sun did not blink and the temperature and humidity hovered at ninety.

Upon her arrival for dinner she marveled at the lush lawn and neat garden.  It wasn’t by magic but by adherence to a vision in my head of other lawns and gardens.  A vision so firmly held that my hands worked while my mind was in dialogue.

Property to me was as far down as I dared to think and as high up as I could see.  Large enough to raise children and then one day too large to keep as I desired.  But that Sunday afternoon the conversation turned to those poor people she said who only had one or two interests.

I ventured to say that was what libraries were for and fields and parks and many things free.  Parents were supposed to expose children to these things so that interests would expand.

‘Not everyone is lucky enough to like to pull weeds’ she reiterated.  Across my mind were the hot summers growing up where our livelihood demanded that we work together to cultivate cucumbers, vegetables weeded if there was to be produce for the market.  And I thought of my mother who listened to us harangue about friends who went to the beach while we worked!

But early on secretly of course,  we enjoyed our siblings.  We learned what it meant to contribute to everyone’s well being; our contribution was meaningful.  We had fun with each other but our hands did something of value.

I followed suit with our children as my siblings did with theirs; an added dimension to life that sustained us all.  Taught we were to learn to do useful things.  Preceding beautiful was useful.  In time we found a certain comfort in what our hands could do.  In trials and crises when Spirit needs comforting, we turn to those things learned with hands that were practical and creative.  Mother’s patience endowed her children to a degree she could not have imagined.

A priceless gift was bestowed.  Our confidence was affirmed though I am sure the initial attempts were more bother for her than help.  She could not foresee the carpentry or the iron sculpting, the artistry in her children’s lives.

Our minds paint pictures for us.  Some dismiss them without thought.  Others of us try to duplicate what we see in our heads.  As I walked and saw early attempts in the first balmy days of spring the efforts to make beautiful,  I wonder the people’s early teachers.  Who loved them enough to stay the early pains to set the example.

The elder relative perhaps was right.  I was lucky I liked to pull weeds.  To go beyond the sweat to see the beauty in labor, the virtue in making beautiful.  I have been lucky to be able to appreciate the wonders of life and the great good luck in helping to keep it beautiful.

 

photo by
Kathy Qualiana

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This Road Traveled. . .

It was a very vivid dream and I wrote of it in detail.  I was moving the garden hose on the front lawn and looked up and David was walking up the sidewalk.  Oh David,  you are alive and well I said,  and he said it is a wonder.  They make as many mistakes as we do.  And I remembered Jesus saying along with on this rock I will build my church  he also said,   that whatever is loosed in heaven is loosed on earth and whatever is loosed on earth is loosed in heaven.  Conveniently forgotten.  I have known since I was a child and remembered the place from where I was born,  this dream visit was real .

Heaven is not a font of wisdom and they make many errors.  Proof is the world we inhabit.  We do what we can while we live here to make it better.  Whatever we do with all the compassion we can muster is better than leaving things as they are with little thought.  Now having said that,  what do we do now.  We keep on working, keep on keeping on.  Joining the host workers who in the past gave their utmost to promote human welfare.  Who wrote the music to remind man from where he had come.  Who worked to keep man upright and off his belly in the mud.  Who made water pure and drinkable and still  working on that.  Who grows food in arid land to put bread, not cake, on the table.  Who write and teach and feed the minds of men to lift my brother up.

There is no effort as great as man’s effort.  There is cooperation with man’s god only insofar as man works in cooperation with his fellows.  And there is no rhyme nor reason anywhere unless there is reason where man is.  The majority of my generational peers grew up in prejudicial homes where bigotry and racism were rampant.  Our parent  gods  said they hated what they were taught to hate.  Doesn’t every generation?  When do we put a stop to it? The changes have been slow in coming.  We are running out of  time and resources.

Let us hide God the three wise men said.  The ocean, said one, because man would never go deep enough to find him.  The sky, said another, for man would never go high enough to find him.  Within, said the third, for man will never think to look there.  Within.

Dante took Virgil on his journey to the heart of himself.  Virgil was a philosopher of note and took up the challenge though Dante was a Roman Catholic and did not take the Christ.   Christ was not real but Virgil was.  I, being, uncredentialed,  took the highest and best frame of reference I knew and that was the Nazarene.  In my independent study of a lifetime I found  him a man to be of no thought except to release man from the prison he was kept in by other men who themselves were also imprisoned.  He showed me that to be utterly human and utterly divine was a concept that man carried and so long was it hidden that to uncover it was such a heartrending process that few attempted.  It is a long journey and a hard route.

And never ending.  A grandson said to me in awe that you are not afraid of anything, are you grandma.  Fear is the hangman’s noose.  Knowledge gives one freedom from fear.  It is accessible through the everyday tool of learning.  It is man’s choice to use it.  Now is a good time to start.

 

art by Claudia Hallissey

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Connections. . . everything teaches. . .

 

 

The Dinner Table . . . Everything Teaches. . .

There was a little boy who sat at the holiday table with all the family and their friends.  The table was set with the white cloth and the numbers of gathered friends were many.  The little boy sat high on his chair and when the little hand shot out uncontrollably and the cranberry juice spread its stain over the white linen,  the face of the little boy crumpled and he said,  ‘I can’t do anything right!’

And the mother of the little boy said everyone has accidents and we can make it right.  So the paper towel sopped up the juice and another white napkin was placed over the stain and the little boy never remembered the incident.  It was an incident but the mother remembered and the little boy was more important than anything at the moment.

The dinner, one of many, would be forgotten and so would the incident.  That scar never formed except in the mother when she remembered the face and wondered who told him he couldn’t do anything right?  He has done many things right in his life and some things in error.  But that incident he never remembered and it formed no keloid because there was no scar.

The rest of mankind will also wash out.  The stain will be bleached and man will not hang in the sun and wonder how he can possibly get that stain out of his soul.  Too many centuries in the process and no nearer now than when he first catapulted into waiting arms,  if he was lucky enough to have those arms waiting.

A son wondered if he should drop Philosophy.  He was told that there was no other class worth taking.  Except History.  And Humanities.  And maybe a couple of others like Biology and Literature and the Religions of Man.

Excerpt from . . .

Philip Framed The Mystery. . .

Our tears filled the rivers with fatigue
which filled the oceans with frustration
as the fruits of our fields were dispersed.
All the while we continued to labor
for redemption.

Ahhhh. . . .the mystery?

Who first told us we were no good?

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Where Are You Going Absalom? . . . .

I’ve Been Before To Paradise. . .

I was told that you cannot wait for anyone else to do what is yours to do.  They do not have your particular understanding nor your vision.  The future  will be turned one page at a time and you will find your name on it.  But do not scythe every blade of grass with one fell swoop.  It cannot be done.  You will do those things closest to your heart.  This is all the universe requires.

This time in March memory appoints itself guardian of a time that forever changed us years ago.  This was the quickening time for our David’s departure toward the month’s end.  I don’t  need journals to freshen conversations because I do not forget those.  By rote I did the maintenance of body and house and mercifully have forgotten the dailyness of driving to the hospital and the visual encumbrances.

There were hot months preceding and the cold months succeeding.  On the way to the hospital in the  city,  Michigan Ave. separated the poor, the destitute and those with no hope on either side.  Nothing to ease  their days and not a fresh towel to dry themselves.  Not a bath of water to ease the hurt body nor a clean pair of underwear.  Such was the poverty.  Not a hot meal in the winter nor a glass of cold something because the refrigerator did not make cubes.  It bogged down my thinking and there was no separation between what surrounded me and the even bigger loss awaiting me.    It leaked through my skin and my blood circulated my misery.

The skyline with its new buildings and skyscrapers seem no more than makeup on an aged skin filled with lines and creases.  There was not a time lapse but a raging against what pushed us all.  It was the quest for immortality that one expects from one’s children.  What I was then involved with on a daily basis as a parent should not have been in my frame of reference.

I do not function alone.  I am privy to the minds who have linked history of man to his future.  But I am mother to those sons who considered themselves a triumvirate.  When one sneezed, another withdrew his handkerchief and the third said God Bless no matter what part of the world they were in.  To watch this dis-rupture in this union was to watch this union disrupt.  It should never be part of a mother’s bank of memories.

Yet never were there those who were far enough into the perplexities of modern times where the questions arose, even subliminally.  And where I know now that there are no answers anywhere , except in our Self.  I make my peace with that.

Where Are You Going Absalom?. . .

‘to where the moon
can melt the sun,
the cactus blooms at high noon
and the darkness bids good morning. . .

where cowled thoughts
and taut skin need never cover
hot bones and the cactus
no longer pricks. . .

to fly wingless to the mind’s ankh,
taking only me, only me,
and find that I suffice. . .

I’ve been before to Paradise,
but forgot.
Reaching in, I reach out,
touching my own nimbus.
I’ll not be gone long.’

David wept.

 

Photo by
John Holmes

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No Place To Go. . .

No Place To Go. . . .the children have to grow up. . . .

As I look back on things,  as we are apt to do when we wish to make sense out of a life that at times held little,  I find more things connect.  Yet small incidents were crucial  for the larger events to play out.  When I think back on the arguments that have taken my energy,  I still have difficulty understanding where sacrificing one life so that another can live is fair or rational. Religions have been based on this principle.  I put myself in the time of the Nazarene and think as I did when I wrote the poem,  Day of Decision,  and he said He has sent me to

‘proclaim release to the captives and recovering
of sight to the blind . . .
and to set at liberty those who are oppressed.’

And I think you idiot!  My lungs gasp an
intake of air for it will be my last.
He has hung us all.
You sell yourself to a hungry multitude
and you will never be free.
They will clutch you to them
and never be the wiser.

My friend you are crazed.
They will never buy what you give away.
Better were it for you to go away
with knowledge baking your brain
and rotting your heart.’

It was never self  sacrifice to me when a child was concerned.  One’s child of course had a lifetime to live and there was no question whose life was more important.  But a world of big bodies who refuse to grow up and be accountable learned nothing when all they had to do was never to sin  again because there was a god to forgive them who let them off scot free.   My upbringing had the hymn in the Methodist  Hymnal,  What A Friend We Have In Jesus ….
all our sins and griefs to bear.
What a privilege to carry
everything to him in prayer.

And 2,000 years later,  the same wars are being fought, ancestors’ anguish they say never appeased.  For all we know, we are killing our mothers and our fathers and who is to say we don’t?   Jesus fulfilled the old testament by giving people what they wanted.  His life.  He mortgaged himself to fulfil the readings.  Do the people grow up to be accountable?  They hang on to the child in them for they believe as the Book says,  such is the kingdom of heaven.  And the forever little boy and girl go to the end of their days the way they came in.   Childish.

In the course of days I learned that only when one views this world as the only world does it seem insane that one would sacrifice one’s life.  In the larger scope, knowing this is but an instant in a universe of many worlds, does giving your life for your brother  take on nobility.  Physicists already give credence to parallel worlds and quantum physics heralds others.  Life balances itself so that nothing is ever lost,  including self,  then the following I wrote  makes sense in. . .

Old Friends Breaking Bread. . .
Everything gained they agree.
Lives lived splendidly
according to script.
Lives mortgaged knowingly
so that the Other could know
their moment in the sun.
They needed to learn they were worthy.

 Also in the poem. . .
You Must Not Think. . . .
It’s useless to have trudged
the overgrown path
to make a road
easier for the one to follow.
We must develop discipline
to house the night’s pleasures
and discipline to work our days.
Evolution is the name of the game,
but it really is life;
a way station only to the stars,
On the way home.

And in the poem, 
You Stayed the Course. . .
And the ancestors will rest
and man will look forward
to what he can accomplish.
And the world will blossom;
all worlds and all times.
The path in the jungle has been cut.

And finally in
A Great Gain. . .
It showed me true
that life is everlasting.
Where else to have learned that?

Has it changed much in 85 years?  I learned that the smallest incidents were necessary for the larger ones to be played out.  I learned much, but to make a difference?  Only in myself.  Only.

 

Photo by
Joe Hallissey Jr.

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Worlds I know. . .

 

The psychiatrist sat at his desk in that small office and said tell me what you see when you go down Michigan Avenue.  Everything?  I asked.  Everything, he said.  I closed my eyes and began.  When I was finished he whistled through his teeth.  You know, he said, others don’t see what you see.  I was too frightened to ask what others saw.  My world had crashed and we were trying to put it together again.

I remembered when my senior class in high school was having difficulty in social studies not understanding how all men were created equal.  Mr. Kane was hearing us out.  Everyone agreed we were not created equal.  Different status,  different talents, cultures, education , some with no talent and no money, and the list went on.  Come on think,  he pleaded, think in what way we are equal.  Silence.  In God’s eyes? I ventured, because that was my upbringing.  Only in our humanity he said.  Only in that we are human, and I was to learn differently because I was already searching and learning the twig is already bent apriori,  a history arrives.

So many differences that even my mother questioned why I had to be different.  I was too young to know that I had the freedom of a decision. I was who I was.  Why can’t you be like your brothers and sister?  Who put the cry in crisis for me and the said in the unsaid.  We have heard you can’t stay home from school with another stomach ache.   A child was told you have to take your ulcer medicine before school , yes.  Another headache?  Familiar?

Before we can have a world at peace we must accept the different ones at our table before we send them out the door.  Wars are waged within the family before they are taken out in the streets.  Every child must have the right to be wanted by parents who have loved wisely and well.  It should be a sacred obligation we have as parents.

Many years ago I wrote the following poem,  Detrevni. . . inverted spelled backwards.  I tried to show how the varied world appears to some of us, as an introduction to differences in approaches.  There are more planets circling around that are being discovered with a different sun.  Years ago Frank Herbert had his Reverend Mother in ChapterHouse Dune say what would people think if they truly thought they were the only life in the Universe?  Or if they were not?   Truly thought it through.  Think on it.   Different life elsewhere will one day have to be dealt with.  No matter their size, the children must be prepared.

Detrevni  (Inverted)

or sometimes called a learning disability

It is a world I see where ‘was’ is ‘saw’
and ‘eht’ is ‘the’
and everyone speaks this peculiar language.

The trees grow leaves
cushioning sturdy trunks,
blossoming with sturdy roots.
Daffodils bury their golden heads
while bulbs, transparent,
shoot hairs out of themselves.
They are beautiful.

Men stand on heads
with toes balancing words,
and eyes are located in their belly buttons.
Hands helplessly try to manipulate a world
and that is the same everywhere.

I do not speak of this other place
because you would think me even more peculiar,
though my eyes and nose and arms
are appropriately spaced.
What it is I see and hear you cannot measure
because I cannot see what you want me to see.

‘Evol’ is love in any language
because love shines from the heart
and arms embrace from any direction.
Sometimes it is called a learning disability
but there are places I know
where I fit right in.

Make this world one of them.

 

Painting by
Claudia Hallissey

(I am ever grateful to Jane Roberts and the Seth Books who let me know I was part of the world.  And Frank Herbert who reminded me of worlds I could not forget.)

 

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Beneath My Heart. . .

I was lying in the hospital bed and knowing that my body was having a difficult time.  I was clear of head knowledgeable when I saw the figure at the foot of my bed.  And an arm was raised clothed in a grey robe and the hand was outstretched.  I lay there with both arms rigid by my body like dead weights.  I could not lift them if I had wanted to, even  if I felt that my life depended on me lifting them.

I was not surprised by the visit nor frightened but somehow with an of course.  My question was,  ‘but who would take care of the children?’  There was no answer and the figure faded away.   The nurse walked in and took one look at me and said Oh my god and turned and ran.  She came back with an injection and murmured something about turning sour.

There have been several incidents of this nature in my life which threatened the insecure security of many people close to me.  The science doctors have done an excellent job of disclaiming any experiences like this  to convince people that only what can be seen and measured and named is real.

I have felt my commitments strongly and had always assumed other people felt the same.  That they do not is an aspect of humanity and evolution I have had a difficult time dealing with.  I still have mountains to climb.  One though I was born not having to is that my arguments with heaven are real and because as my mentor promised my eyes are not veiled and my ears are not clogged,  I see and hear.  When I choose not to comment,  it is to preserve peace.

On the eve of our son David’s birthday who transited 32 years ago when he was 31,  I wish to thank him again and again for reaffirming my philosophy and verifying that the unseen is as much of an obstacle as the seen and most often a help.  He was a philosophy major firstly and a lawyer to boot,  and I still miss his conversation, arguments and his eloquence.  But most of all,  thank you David for choosing me as your mother for this leg of the journey because I chose you.

 

(the following was written in response to a cosmic question)

Beneath My Heart. . .

How could I not love them?
They grew beneath my heart,
waiting for my heart to beat
so that theirs’ would continue beating.

Did you not think
I would not know that?
And they would be reason enough
for me to keep breathing?

You did not know me. . .
Like a bear
I would fight for my cubs.
I made them. . .

They wear my name
and one day they
will remember. . .

who taught them about love.

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