Smile

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I’m not sure when I scribbled this poem on a loose sheaf of note paper (now in the “Final” file along with empty cans and banana peals as all illegible scribbles later clarified end) that suggests there was at one time more to it. Still, it stands on it’s own as a contemplative piece.


Smile

Fall
Through memory
Catching on the web of it
Hurtling through the thick of it

Down
In to the past
Hanged on every word of it
Passing through the heart of it

Hurt
By the act
Bleeding with the pain of it
Shooting past that part of it
To someplace better

sometimes
I find
that stepping to the side
of the ongoing ride
to watch it rolling by
while I
frozen in a space
about the size of nothing
and staring
at the slowly melting something
leaving just the core
while the unreality of it all
falls away
just makes me want to smile

 


 

Image: “Orion” by Liu Yu

Seven Days

Black.Elk.Peak

Sometimes Life with a capital “L”, that interruption to our usual routine, can be an intrusion, unwanted. The car breaks down. The job I do becomes unstable. New bills. New hassles. Life getting in the way of Living.

Other times it can be a most welcome gift from the Divine. Unexpected and welcome. Invited. Life and Living working together to create new paths.

The last seven days of my life have been just such a gift.

Seven days of smoky skies and noisy rides and sunsets and of rediscovery and of joy and of meaning. Of long hikes and sweet nights and endless sunrises and hard laughter.

I have doubted myself many times over the years. Doubted that what I have been working for could be accomplished. Doubted that my constant calls would ever be heard. Doubted that I am who I present myself to be. Doubted even my faith in the Divine that I have devoted so much time to.

No longer.

A trip to Black Elk Peak, that sacred place in the Black Hills of South Dakota where the Divine always stands with outstretched hands and a compassionate heart that I have visited before when seeking answers, was made at the end of the seven days and this time the Goddess herself granted me an outpouring of blessings with a delicate rain from her very hand that crossed my face and mixed with my own tears of loving gratitude. An undeniable message that my path is true, my footing sure, my future promised.

There are times when Life gets in the way and there are times when it opens a doorway to a lifetime of meaning and purpose and of love. Be ready. Do the hard work now so when that door opens you can spread your wings and fly through it.

 

 

The Hermit

the.hermit

In the Tarot the Hermit stand alone on the top of a mountain with lantern held out to see and to illuminate. He is both student and teacher and he tells us that the answers we seek can be found within.

The card has two basic meanings;

First; the need to withdraw from society to become comfortable with himself.
Second; the return from isolation to share knowledge with others.

Several years ago I decided to withdraw from the world. There were many reasons for doing this. Some of them were valid. Most were not.

One of the biggest reasons I did this is because being alone hurt. It hurt so much that I became a hermit. Funny animals us humans; we withdraw when we feel alone.

I’d like to tell you that in those years I became wise, all-seeing, all-knowing, but I did not. What I did do is learn much about myself. Where I came from and how that affected who I am. How to reconcile my life experiences with where I was physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually.

When I raised my lantern on those things that shaped me, there were things that came into focus that made me uncomfortable and though they initially made me want to remain in isolation they also became the things that drew me out of it. By examining each act of rage or insolence or passion or love or joy or whatever, without passing judgment, neither good nor bad, but simply as a thing that happened or that I did, I was able to gain a clearer image of who I was and, more importantly, who I was not.

In that process I learned one simple truth: If you want to be who you are meant to be you must first stop being who you are.

Once I gained that clearer view I began the excruciating and liberating job of dismantling who I was and recreating who I was meant to be. I say “recreating” because I have come to believe that we are born exactly who we are meant to be and life, doing what it does best, getting in the way of living, rewrites that person. We may be raised or live in a way that is destructive and damaging or make mistakes or have experiences that reshape that person, but that original person, the ego-free infant with no concept of time or space or tragedy or love or hate or pain, remains at our core. Always there vying for our attention. Waiting to be realized.

This process is never ending. I am complete and whole but my work, examining and re-examining and freeing those parts of myself locked away and learning to become a better person, will never be done.

I chose to release myself from the isolation last fall. For me the process took seven years. It was long and painful and lonelier than I can possibly express but it was worth it. I am beginning to realize that person I was born as. Become the person you see now. I like this person.

This is not the only way to become a fully realized human. Not even close. It was my way and the methods I chose ran a high risk of failure so I won’t share those methods but for me they were worth the risk.

What I will tell you is that it came down to this one thing: Courage.

If you are not who you want to be all it takes is the courage to forget who you have pretended to be. There is nothing more liberating than being yourself.

I hope your own journey brings you home.

 

 

 

Beyond here be Monsters

rio.grande.nm

A little piece I wrote this seveal years ago when I was facing the necessity of rejoining “civilized society” after being off-grid and pretty much off the map for a time.

It’s interesting to go back in time and find these little sparks that encouraged the flame within that burns so bright today and to recognize the dark places they came from.

The lesson for me is clear; embrace my past and be grateful for what I learned. But never go back.

___________________________

Here, at the edge of the world, I find contentment and chaos. Old friends, both. Neither expected nor warranted.

I find myself frozen in this pivotal moment. Momentum gathers with the clouds that seem determined to follow.

Not long ago I sent them back to spread their seed of malcontent upon the shoulders of those who manipulated. The cries of their masters, now quelled by the wind that always lives in the canyons where I take refuge, were never heard. I cry instead for them.

Here, where the Universe Herself sings with such beauty that my soul aches to touch Her just once again. Such things may not exist.

Here, I am at peace.

Here, standing at the brink, I wonder; Stand or Fall.

Beyond here lay the rest of the Pack, ferocious and cunning and ready. I will join them for now, but they will know; I do not belong.

My guise will last, my purpose will be fulfilled, and I will flee to the Refuge of Love with Life renewed and Balance, at long last, achieved.

I will stand.

Light within.
Love and Life beside.

The view at the edge really is not so bad.

 

Image by J.M.Greff

This is my Heart

this.is.my.heart

I scan the news with horror
How can we
Presumed advanced
Assumed superior
Be anything more
Than most inferior
So long as we treat others
Our sisters and our brothers
With hate
Because of the color of their skin
Or the person they love
Or the person they are

They are Human
All of them Sacred
All of them
Us
All of us Carry
A Spark of Divine
All of us Sacred
All of us
One
All of us Sacred Human

I turn it off
There is no room for hate

This is my Heart
There is no room for hate
This is my Soul
There is no room for hate
This is my Life
There is no room for hate

My Heart is a place
Of Peace and Compassion
Of Truth and Passion
Of Hope and Sensuality
Of Joy and Sexuality
Of Teaching
and Learning
and Sharing
and Growing
and Acceptance

and Awakening

There’s no place here for hate
It has no place in my Heart
This is a place of Love
A place of Love
A place of Love
A place of Unconditional Love

This is my Heart

It is large enough for Everyone

 

 

Image by J.M.Greff

 

One person at a time

 

homeless-man-833017_640

As published in Elephant Journal 8/5/17

 

I see a young woman punished by a mind that differs from my own pushing a shopping cart through the dregs of society.

The aisles of humanity staggered randomly like blockades of sheeple that spite or ignore or pretend she does not even exist.

She winds carefully through the labyrinth. A test of the gods. A test of her worthiness that she believes she failed long ago.

I wonder: What test? What god would be so cruel to allow this woman, who carries the spark of the divine itself within her breast, to live like this? Why threaten to extinguish the gift of that spark?

I step in front of this woman, only occasionally glancing behind, and part the cascade of ignorance like Moses in a sea of flesh so she can make her way to the hovel that is her home.

I see a man on a corner with a worn sign that says “will work for food” and I know, without a doubt, that he has neither worked nor eaten in far too long. I watch the constant flow of people pass by like a river of wealth that is just beyond his reach while he slowly dies from dehydration.

I wonder: Why should he work for what the planet gives freely? Why should he be reduced to begging for that which comes naturally?

I step into the closest convenience store, a place convenient only to those with means, and spend what little is left on my debit card to ensure that he will not go another day without that which is his right, and I bring it to him with one request—that if he knows another who has not eaten, he share it. He looks at me and offers a portion, and I gently refuse because I have a job.

I see an old man struggling to carry his meager supplies to his humble home. He staggers under the weight of the few small bags that are his sole source of sustenance for the next month. His “retirement” is barely enough to pay for the two rooms in an ancient building that could, at any time, be condemned and leave him homeless.

I cross the street, add my own bags to his, and carry them all to the crumbling facade which represents the dreams of his youth. Without a word, I leave all the bags, including my own, at his door and walk away in silence as he speaks the only word we shared in those six blocks, “Why?”

I wonder: Where did he work so hard that I can see the memories of his past etched deeply into his face? Why did the system he paid into for so long leave him with not so much as cab fare to transfer a true month’s worth of food? Why would my actions, which seem so natural to me, leave him questioning my motives?

When I return home, I see myself in the mirror: this man that proclaims love, who shares it freely with the hungry, who widens the aisle with his imposing figure and intimidates the sheeple with a glance so the meek can pass, who carries the bags for those who are too weak to carry them, and leaves them with more than they started with—where would he be if not for the love and care of the one person who first offered the very same compassion that he feels for others: his Self.

I see their faces in my reflection. I feel their pain, know their suffering, and, in fact, share it.

Where would I be? Exactly where I am now—with them.

I quietly acknowledge my gratitude to a universe that gave me the gift of this vision and know that I am home.

If you want to change the world, begin with yourself, and then carry that change into the world one person at a time.

~

~

~

Author: J.M. Greff
Image: Pixabay/quinntheislander
Editor: Travis May

Speechless

IMG_5881

I am speechless
Not without words
They come too fast
Too many
To capture more than a few
I catch but snippets
Like lines from long forgotten songs
Begging to be sung again
Though they are songs I’ve never sung
Belonging to a life I’ve never led

“I long to feel the dance of our souls
To hear the mixing of our song…”
“… raised to heights
Of intense delights ..,”
“My lips pressed to yours
Our tongues touch and taste and tease …”
“… until infinity passes and we begin again…”

They come in flashes
Strobes of insight
Waves of passion
A flood of desire
that drowns out the words with its roar
and leaves me speechless in its wake

 

 

Image: from the Basal Roman Font Digitizations Project by the P22 Type Foundry