Archive | Essays

In The Mirror Is The Answer. . .

In The Mirror Is The Answer. . . .

THE TEACHER SPEAKS. . . .It is useless to say that we can be non judgmental when we make judgments of necessity all day long.  What we must not judge are the places an Other comes from when we look upon cultural ways. 

When we understand the cultures of other people, we then begin to understand ourselves.  But we know too, just as the decisions concerning our personal behavior are a matter of conscious choice when we reach the age of discernment, then we know too, to hide behind cultural practices is begging the question.

When we decide how it is we are going to approach the questions of life, we then begin to know where it is we are coming from.  If we sidestep ‘just this one time’ we are already setting the basis for future behavior.

Matters of character are personal decisions.  They are not based on anything except as we view ourselves.  And character is the basis for everyone.  And character is formed early, within the safety net of the family.  What is let go ‘just this time’ with no comment, is not to be viewed later with the question ‘how did this happen?’  when confronted with the larger implications. 

This implies that we are going to grow up, that we are going to mature at some point.  What is being said is that the process is never ending, never finished.  For along all junctions we will be pressed with character questions.  We will be expected to make character decisions.  And the final questions will always reside within the individual, ‘what will this say of me?’

 In the process we know that we can fool no one.  Especially the one whom we look at in the bathroom mirror first thing in the day.

 We know, know deep within us that we cannot be a better anything than we can be a person.

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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You Were Wondering. . . Mystic in Today’s World?. . .

I am often asked where ideas come from.  In reviewing my life with journals (why was I so detailed about feelings?) I see where poetry came to life.  I seem to have lived a life in conference, in conversation on a level understood with matched souls.

The photo is of our home for 45 years and I tried to explain to my oldest brother my feelings.  I wrote ‘the walls hold the sounds of my beloveds.  The hurts, the laughter, the tears and whoops of joy, the secrets and not so secrets;  all the living and dying of feelings and thoughts proving nothing is lost.

There is a vibrancy of life that is eternal.  The energies of all who walked within these walls stay contained within them.  Much alone, why I am never lonely.  When I think that I have been part of it, I realize that this is immortality for those sensitive enough to recognize it. ( the entry continued with)

Ophelia, I will say, do you think I am dead?
I sit on the very breath you breathe.

I will waft an orange fragrance o’er your head
and you will see me take form.  I will crash
the air with cymbals and you will hear me enter.

A cat cries in the night and you will hear the infant.
The moon will send its shaft of light through the north window
and you will be plagued with memories
you will scarce remember.

You will warm yourself with the sun from
the south window and it will nudge a time and place
on the edge of those same memories and
you will know and still not know.

I have taken you to my bosom, held you and
pushed you away.  And at once tightened my hold
so you will never be free.  You think I am dead?

I ask you, Ophelia, who indeed is dead?

And Ed said that he has never felt that tie to a house.  A mystic you are, he says.  Am I indeed?  Is a portion of my brain activated or aware or is it pain in the moving away?  A cutting of the umbilical cord or am I my phoenix, consumed by fire of my making to arise again with the freshness of the pubescent and the agony of acne?

(another time I will write of the breeze coming in the south window then with the promise of Fall.  All this was part of the entry, with the poem lifted from the entry I titled Listen, Ophelia…which I put into format.  One mind or a concert of compatriots?  And in the meantime the clock told me of schedules to keep and children to tend who said their childhoods were enchanted.  The only permanent fixture of life to me was the everlasting laundry and exhausting pressing and ironing that had to be done.  Such is life for today’s mystic. )

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In Memory of a Good Friend. . .

It is written that if you can count good friends on one hand, you are rich.  I was right to count myself as a very rich lady.  All have already transited, and another one or two still far younger than I, will follow long after me.

I want to write what is a good friend to me.  What I had in a friendship with Jan.  I met her at a crucial time of my life and we meshed upon meeting.  The following is from a journal entry edited for space.

I was then about to enter my fiftieth year.  This will tell my young readers that we do not appear full feathered just because we age.   It is a process and encompasses commitments  made even while the inner house churns about.

Less than three years after we met, my world fell apart.  And putting it back together was difficult.  One
never thinks about losing one’s ability to trust one’s Self, but simply stated,  it is a hard road back.

St. Paul and those who had their road to Damascus experience could take a year off and have their groupies care for them.   The times now have us blessed if we have a friend.

‘She has given me so much over the years.  She has pointed out how good and unique I am and has helped build my self esteem bit by bit.   From the first she had an open ear to what was said as well as unsaid.  She pointed a possible direction but never once said I was making a wrong decision. 

She understood from where I was coming.  And rejoices where I am today.  Everything teaches she says.  You are where you are today and go on from there.  She teaches.  You do not spend energy on regrets, but learn from them.  And she praises.

My parenting the boys she said had her and her friends wanting to throw in the towel.  They actually talked to me she said.  And we knew you thought we all were like you.’ 

We were best friends for over 3 decades.  It is now 25 years that she is gone from Earth.  It took a long time for me to stop reaching for the phone to call Jan.  Laughingly when there was static on the line, we said that obviously there was cosmic monitoring.

We matched minds on many issues and ‘all time is simultaneous’ we accepted.  She often said that what we learn is more a matter of remembering for those like us.  I am grateful she was in my life.  She was a good teacher.

From a line in another poem, I will say,  ‘ces’t moi, it is I,  pull me over.’

We Break Bread. . .

I have broken bread with old friends
for what seems to be many centuries.

We continue our conversations
begun when yet we were in other times
and were other people.

But it has been, you see, only a minute.
We bring to mind all things old and
some things new.

It was but a quirk of Nature, so that our hearts
would grow and become one heart.
It all has a familiar fit.  Don’t you think?

All things will be new again
when we break bread in the next of times.
But you knew that, didn’t you?

All things new are really all things old.
Even some of us.

 

photo by John Holmes

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Now, More Than Just Dogs. . .

 I came across something in my metaphysical research years ago that has guided my relationship with animals, mainly dogs.  It was written that when souls wish to taste  Earth life again, but do not want to take on human bodies, they send a fragment of their soul into an animal.

It is a belief of many cultures and societies.

On The Farm I observed my mother’s relationship with the cows.  She thought they were sensitive and much smarter than dogs.  In fact she had a symbiotic relationship with them  and was a marvel  to watch.

Since reading the text on fragments  incarnating, it explained much about human behavior .  Haunting it is when I find our Newfie seeking me out to share my solitude and my wondering in mental wandering,  who are you and why do we love each other so?

He takes my diminishing agility into account and knows when not to nudge nor lean against me.  I slowly get up and down and he respects that.  He is a patient one but alert and swift when something unexpected appears.  I watch him watching what appears empty space and yet unblinking.  Just a dumb dog?  Not so.

Just as when we needed to put Prince down because cancer was virulent and I stood at the window and thought I just can’t, just can’t do it again having had too many heartbreaks.  Yet turning to him found him watching me with the words as if printed above him ‘you’re not going to make me do this alone?’  I found myself saying out loud, of course not.

And followed him out of the house one last time.

We assume they see what we see but their perspective of the world differs.  Just as it does for all species.  We see only what we see.  I cannot see what you see.  Nor you hear what I hear.  Do you wonder why your partner of so many years does not enter in your longing nor understand why you do?

And yet the furry companion looks and sees and is at your side in a flash.

When there are dogs with a vocabulary of hundreds of words,  like a 3 year old toddler,  who know the difference between a red ball and a blue ball,  one does not in good conscience leave them to the elements.  They have become a companion species, looking like dogs or wolves but acting more like pre-schoolers.

They know our emotional states so well is because we share ourselves with them.

Prince 05/02/04

They don’t say we are silly and reading things into events nor do we ignore their
needs when the clock tells us it is suppertime and they sit expectantly
waiting for us to get a move on.

We know there is something different from years ago when
these sensitivities were not so well honed.  Technological changes in our lives
have affected all our rituals and habits.  Our history has shown our growth
in technology with pride as well as our decline in manners.   We mourn that loss.

Hopefully we will be open to what will always require heart and conscience
when we live with conscious beings, no matter where or what world.
Like when I told the Rottie to go to the front door and she turned and
went to the front door and I wanted to drop to my knees.

My god, what have we done here because we are responsible?  Do you see?

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All Children: Righteously Entitled. . . my need to see. . . .

This weekend the grandparents of Emma E. came to visit and brought with them a book.  This book is a creative endeavor of the artist Claudia who has graciously illustrated so much of my work.  This time the grandfather of this child has charmingly caught both granddaughter and grandmother reading.

When Emma E. comes to their home ten minutes away they go through an entrance ritual.  Touching, looking, identifying, naming all the favorite things Emma E. loves.

Emma has cupboards in every place she visits it seems.  She knows these are hers with safe things to bang and wallop.  Books are favorites and bookcases are treasure troves she frequents and positions herself as her grandparents do with the morning paper.

This book  is one Claudia put together for Emma with her favorite things at the grandparents’ that have meaning and delight.  It is an awesome endeavor and seeing the artwork and portraits of Emma embracing these events at their home has me wanting all children righteously entitled.

In a more perfect world it would be so and I wish it were.  That circumstances endow all involved with  talents honed making the arrival of each child a welcome addition but also a promise.   Not only would the body be fed but also the mind and play would be the obvious joy in learning.

Years ago friends visited and in discussing my latest manuscript that they liked, the visiting husband  said, it took courage to public autopsy oneself while still breathing.  He then said the unforgettable  and that was ‘it was easier to be philosophical on a full stomach.’

It applies to all endeavors and connects all, you see.   In an equitable world as children we would be born and welcomed with a promise to be fed mind, body and spirit.  Our talents would multiply and all worlds would benefit because our abundance of good would spill over.

The large animals like elephants and the wild jungle friends would not be lost in time and bees and butterflies would be profuse.

On a full stomach the mind can stretch to cover esoteric lives we may not touch but hunger for knowledge we would about all life.  It is difficult to feign interest when hunger pains beg for sleep.  The friend’s comment was apt.

If Emma E. needs art for her development, she made a good choice in parents.  And we needed some laughter and joy in our lives.   Hats and slurping pasta are such fun things to do!  And we the appreciative audience.

Ahhh. . .  you see and we know. . . .there is balance when there is patience.  It is just that the mills grind slowly.

 

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I Endow My World. . a hyacinth for her soul. . . .

A hyacinth for her soul. . .

When I first started blogging,  8 years ago in 3 months, I was given a voice.  I had just had my 80th birthday and hoped to crowd the ethers with a particular view.  I was told I was ‘many dimensional in kaleidoscopic perspective.’  Come again?

In the vernacular the complaint was ‘ not everybody sees what you see.’  But a grandnephew, in clarity and wisdom, with a many dimensional demeanor says, ‘everybody sees but not everyone is clearly focused.’  Thank you, Benjamin.

This attempt is to answer what I see when I sit in silence.   I endow my world, simply with what I say and see.

I am the girl in the mid east all boys’ school whose father thought she would be a smart lady and I am the monk carrying the cross on my back up the cinder street in the French Revolution.  I am also the girl sitting on her haunches with the clay pot in front of her and reaching for the Pewabic tile to the back of her.

I am also a carpenter with tools of my trade who sands and saws and bleaches the woods to a faretheewell.  I am the farmer who plows the field to feed the bodies of bloated children with grain I literally pull from the parched earth.

These things I know and endow my world and have written about them with dates from carefully kept journals.  From the farm woman looking through the window to see her love with swinging pails coming to her because he has been too long hours away.

I step over boundaries separating worlds stumbling over one another and  with worry that thoughts contaminate and are contagious.

Some are of my choosing and some choose me, penetrating my world of sight, smell and touch.  I have seen other hands over mine on the steering wheel of the vehicle I drove when conditions proved hazardous.

There are starving children sleeping too much and too ill to stay awake.  There are broken windows , broken spirits and broken bodies.  I would like blue skies and green grass and happy children.

There are sharp edged people arguing their argues, slicing hearts yet whose eyes with tears fastened on the horizon do not see the pictures they are painting and pushing into the memory vaults.

We bring to the world who we are and what we see.  All of us do with disclaimers to be sure.  And we say not mine, not mine.  But we say your name is on them.  Not me, not me.  We endow our world with who we are, what we say and do but do not see our input.

So today I photographed a hyacinth.  It has been dormant and because cleared away was debris, it breathed and blossomed.  Today I endow my weary world with a hyacinth for her soul.  Do likewise.

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How High Up You Reach. . . .

(Excerpt from a letter)

From what I know,  because my own hero’s journey was strewn with rocks and unbelievables, and has taken a lifetime,   I want to say if it has value,  mull it over.   If it does not apply, discard for the moment.    My good friend Jan often said,  ‘don’t laugh,  this time next week it will have meaning.’

When I thought about the young Veronica, I grieved for her.  I still do when I am melancholy.  I tried so hard and never measured up.  I was told what I grieved was my loss of innocence.   I realized this was true.   One of the things learned is that once you know something, you cannot un-know it without due process.

And if it makes sense to your mind and heart, it is impossible to un-know it if it was meant for you.  It was a real loss to me because it affected all of my life.

How I looked at people, wondering what they thought and didn’t they realize such and such, whatever the moment ordained.

How I looked at my Earth and loved it so, why did not my parents and siblings know what they were doing to each other, since it affected everything.

In losing my innocence, I lost the ability to take things for granted.   It is with a bend at the knees gratitude I live with for every moment, in the love I am given not only by my visible beloveds but also in the unseen world who are beloveds also.

Once you knock at that door for answers that the visible world cannot give, you open the door on a vast unseen and denied world of most of humanity.   You live differently to begin with, and you think differently and then must put all facets of your philosophy into question and rewrite your Self.

It is not called the hero’s journey for nothing you understand.   Most people want what you gain but they certainly don’t want the work.  To this day my light is on till after midnight.   I must take breaks because this body falters.

When the heavens see a light bulb go on in a human mind, they exalt because they have a live one there!  And they do not let up.  Not much anyway.  If this helps, use it.  If not, file it away and drag it out later on.  There was no one,  neither family nor friends to talk to.  I am grateful for both though.

Like the flyer who said he broke the surly bonds of Earth and touched the face of god, I follow him and say I too broke the bonds of my earth but headed straight for the mount.  Olympus, that is.  My Need to Know drove me to my knees because like Lincoln, there was nowhere else to go.

Added this day. . . 3/2/19. . . It had to work in this world where I am or for me there was no truth.  I did not know the change was to come in me.     (a sidebar to this:   in laughingly talking at the table our lawyer -philosopher member said they would not have to chase down letters when I became famous or infamous because I carbon copied all letters.  This is why this excerpt from one of those . .  the typewriter days.)

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Questions To Ask. . Life Giver or Taker. . .

There are 2 questions to ask of any situation.  Is it a life giver or is it a life taker? If it is a life taker, we stop immediately.

At the moment you feel life is threatened you stop.  To be less than compassionate is to befoul the learning.  To be less than one’s best is to compromise.

My poetry comes from many sources.  Some of it from ongoing study, all of it from experience and integrated in the process of living.  As I stated in the essay of Kiss The Moon preface, much was Given.  And when Given,  meaning taken as a dictation, there is a Giver.

Old studies and myths point to muses.  There is little spoken today of muses.  But once upon a fable or more honesty, it was accepted as something that was and each writer had his own explanation.

And the times come for most writers when the pipe through which the Muses speak becomes rusty through misuse or age, the muses choose to be still.  And the writer comes up dry.

We became very scientific in all of our explanations concerning life.  Like some, my journey started with the first step inward.  Not the easiest,  but rewarding.  Not the most rapid to enlightenment  which is never finished because the individual journey is individual and the scope of each depends on where the pilgrim is and what he hopes to learn.

With the universes expanding, the worlds keep multiplying and our needs growing,  we are never finished.

We must enlarge our premises.  We must move from the narrow focus of one god, one self, one body, one world, one universe as these are currently understood.  Man’s potential is unlimited.

Physics speaks of many worlds.  We know ourselves to be more than what we present.  And those, with credentials, who know this, cannot speak because of fear of reprisal.

Religions have borne the work of keeping alive the invisible world.  Rituals provide support for man’s innate need for solace, for connection.  It is because of this that we have not dismissed the invisible life practices  and have kept them alive.  It is not far fetched to say that each person harbors the thought that death is not the end of them but another beginning.

Perhaps one day we will realize that physical life is the dream and the longest sleep.  And  there is an awakening.

(I was with a dear friend taking a college course when outside the classroom I recognized the framed painting of this quilt I later made.  She saw my unbelievable shock at recognition of this world.  I knew the world.  It made me visibly ill.  It was a palpable confirmation of what had been a part of my life and knowledge. 

Her daughter now has the quilt with meaning.  It had to be done on burlap.)

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Bless The Experience. . .

When this was first published a letter arrived thanking me because it was used in a eulogy for a person who was difficult at best.  No words of gratitude for this life could be found by anyone who had not been deeply affected by this wounded soul.  That they found these words to give them a different perspective to view their experience with this person has given me a profound respect for the sacredness of language.  That words can pierce and lacerate and kill as any weapon must be held in mind.  It is with responsibility that we speak.  And use words as a blessing to heal.

 

 

 

       

        BLESS THE EXPERIENCE

I learned something today.  I learned to
‘bless the experience’.  For if the
experience has been a negative one, has
left me with a hurt so deep, has filled
me with anger, then I must bless it.

For in the blessing I remove its power
to hurt me again.  I leave it impotent, unable.

I’ve taken the wind out of its sails and
there it sits, blessed for the teaching,
but unable to wield power over me again.

If the experience is a positive one, I bless it.
In like manner, it will remain
powerful and upon recall, able to confer
its goodness time and again.  In my thinking
happily on it, I will automatically bless it again.

Life is a blessed experience, all of it.
Bless it generously and gratefully.  It
teaches us magnificently and impartially.
These are the magic words.

For in the unhappy experience we are taught
swiftly and surely and must bless the lesson.
In the happier one our pleasurable memory is our
reward.

In blessing all of it, we make our
truce with life and secure our place in it forever.

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it will follow as the night the day, the bard says. .

 

I guess it all is a matter of how you look at life because it will determine your path and your prejudices .  And you will ultimately determine how you go about your life.  My glaring fault according to my sister and my mother who no doubt discussed this failing in detail was that I alibied everybody.

I made excuses for everyone.  I always found a reason why they did not do what they were supposed to.

I  was attributing positive action to someone and my mate said that was not what the man intended at all.  A young friend was our dinner guest and watched this exchange.

I said that was what I heard him say and do.   And the argument again was, that was not the intent.  Then I elevated the man’s intentions to be better than he is?  There was silence at the table.  Well, I said, that is not such a bad thing to do, is it?  To see the good even in the not so good?

I have to because in my thinking it is the underlying rule in this universe that the good supersedes all else otherwise we would long have decimated ourselves along with all worlds.  We have gone down the tube before and managed to rise.

Good has Intelligence as its basis and whether it is called God or Father or Life, that primary factor is central to all Universes. This Intelligence explains to me man’s struggle in life.  It explains his belief that because of others or circumstances he has not succeeded.

Seldom does he take the log out of his own eye because to do that means he has to evolve to be able to take that step and own the responsibility.   Because at the center of the smallest particle which unites and grows to participate fully in life, Intelligence is innate.

Learning has always been the key to evolution.  How to survive was difficult for man without rudimentary knowledge.

I was aghast when someone did a something and my gasp was followed by how could he?????  It was a matter with a family and pointed out eventually in thought was the fact that even today there are persons with no ties, or ties which do not bind even with mates or even with their children.

That function within some persons has not yet been born.  It is a matter of evolution also.  Footwork must be done.

When we acknowledge that we teach with our every action, every thought, we will know we are accountable.  And then we take our presence on Earth, in this classroom seriously.

Then, as the bard said, it follows as the night, the day.

(photo by Joshua Hallissey)

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