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

A Place of Love

e.e.cummings

I sit in silent contemplation and awe of the direction my life has taken. Where I’ve been. Where I’m headed. I am amazed by the change that has manifested in my life because of my persistent dedication to my intentions but if I allow it, and I do allow it, I feel a pressure in my chest, a tightening of my throat.

It is anxiety. Stress. Worry.

It is a reminder of those things that brought me to this point; hard memories of hard times that led to hard decisions that brought me to who and where I am now.

I allow those feelings to express themselves completely. The disappointments. Failures. Shame. Guilt. They are the voice of my soul asking for my attention and tender affection. I listen.

I don’t ever want to forget those things. They keep me grounded. On my path. But I never allow them to control me. My past has no place here. Now. Except to keep me on course by reminding me who not to be.

I have allowed those hard times to make me soft. Vulnerable. I am ever grateful for that. There is strength in that softness.

With eyes closed, I breathe deep and slow, acknowledge those feelings, then treat myself with the same loving compassion I would treat anyone else who was suffering.

I lay one hand on my belly, the other on my heart, and, with honest sympathy, I repeat those same words to my Self that I would tell anyone I care about;

“I love you.
I am listening.
I am here.”

In doing so I release those feelings and love rushes in to replace them.

I keep a place in my heart
for my Beloved.
I keep her heart in my heart.
For it to be a place
where she feels the care
and compassion
and passionate love
I keep there for her
it must be a place of love.
For it to be that place
I must first love myself.
In loving myself
I love her.

This is what it means to love myself and why it is so important.

So I sit in quiet contemplation and awe of the direction my life has taken and in that quiet contemplation I find gratitude, even for the reminders of the past that led me here.

Timeless

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Time is as often friend as foe. It flows steadily. Never ending. We can tell ourselves that it is an illusion. That only “Now” exists. But that’s a half truth. Now is the only place we exist but we live in a progression of time. In our human form we have a beginning and an end. We are born, we live, we die. What happens in between is a combination of circumstances and events guided by will or careless indifference and interpreted by intention and understanding or misunderstanding.

I chose to embrace that knowledge some time back. To acknowledge that I had a beginning. That this body will at some point fail. That how I live now is entirely up to me. Not everyone gets that choice. Some are born into short and brutal lives. Some never get the chance to live at all.

I don’t know what tomorrow will bring. I see glimpses from time to time. Beautiful sunrises and sunsets in the arms of my Beloved. Compassionate days that flow into passionate nights. A flow of energy between us that builds and shares and expands. Perpetual. Timeless.

I want those things.

Time, however, often chooses the pace and, thus, can affect the quality of Now… if we allow it to. Plans made need to be shuffled again and again before they can be implemented and even then I must remain flexible to last second alterations.

This is where I am now: Making the best of unexpected changes. Unexpected changes making the best of me. Guiding the future with intention and understanding with one difference, mutual desire.

Not the base and often destructive sexual or sensual desire of immature love, though certainly that exists, how can it not? I do desire the physical connection of my lover. Intensely. More than that, however, is the desire to give and receive love. Physical. Emotional. Psychological. Spiritual. To create something together under the guidance of those intentions of compassion, connection, union, care, growth, and so much more that I so often describe as simply “love and gratitude” and through those intentions build something lasting. Eternal. Timeless.

Today the flow of Now across which time passes and at the edge of which I exist is both friend and seeming foe. It prevents immediate satisfaction of our goals. Blocks access to the woman I love. But every second that passes brings me ever closer to her and to Divine Union with her. In this it can only be considered friend.

I could focus on the obstacles or focus on the goal. The choice is made easy by these facts:

The obstacles are temporary.

Love is timeless.

I choose love.

 


 

Image: from the “Timeless” series by Moe Shirani

a moment in eternity

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you are in the kitchen
while I sit in silence in the other room
releasing my thoughts
and the energy that carried me through the day
soft music plays
a bluesy roughness
with hypnotic beat
that draws me near
I come up behind you
pull you close
kiss your neck
pull you close while touching you gently
with purpose
my hand raises to your heart
the focus of my attention
as I lightly caress the base of your spine
I offer the life that flows
from your heart to mine
expand on it
return it to each chakra
one by one
as I whisper love
reassure you
guide our energy with my hand
as I reach Vissudha
I replace my hand, now moved to your belly, with a kiss
then lower my hand to your pelvis
seeking pleasure and finding it there
I rest my head against yours
seeing Ajna light up
feel our crown, now joined,
freely pass our energy back and forth between us
a perpetual, growing light
as I breathe you in
feeling you fill me
and returning it
to fill you
with a peaceful calm
with life
with love
I hold you close
knowing
this is but a moment in eternity

 

Change

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Change is the only constant. Change happens. Which is just a nice way of saying shit happens. But change itself is neither “good” nor “bad”. It is simply change.

Sometimes that change is small, easy to deal with; a fender bender, a missed appointment. Other times it is larger and affects us in unforeseen ways; the work season, already too slow, comes to a sudden halt leaving us worried, possibly near panic, about how we will survive. Sitll other times it is dramatic, profound; our home is blown away in a hurricane so massive it clears the land, burned in a wildfire so out of control that the smoke covers 5 states.

Though change itself is often out of our hands, where those changes lead us is almost always up to us.

Do I give in to the panic? The rage? The fear? Do we rebuild our homes? These are choices. The choices lead to decisions. The decisions, if based on intentions of love and gratitude rather than fear and panic, can lead to unexpected new places. New lives. New love. All of them of our choosing.

It’s okay to be angry with the Universe for these things, She’s used to it. No one wants their home destroyed or to lose their job after barely scraping by, but it’s important to look beyond those events to the possibilities and opportunities they open. New choices. New paths.

I am leaving North Dakota soon. Change has opened new doors for me. Opened my heart and my mind to a new life. I’ll be damned if I sit here and worry about what I don’t have when what I can have is so much more.

Know that whatever change you are facing, we all face it at some level, all of us. In that simple knowledge you are assured that you are not alone. Know also that no matter how insurmountable that change may feel it is simply the Universe saying “I love you. Time for something new.”

What that something is, is entirely up to you.

This change will be good because I will make it good.

 

The Four Agreements

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A few readers have asked where my sense of spirituality comes from. What, exactly, do I believe?

Big questions.

Obviously, I believe in the Divine Feminine. I do not share the view of a masculine creator. I call her the Universe but just as often refer to her as God or a number of other names. I will address this as well as my belief in Divine archetypes (i.e. Selene) in later articles.

But what else? A lot. Too much to define in any single reply. So I’ve decided to start sharing some of that, starting with The Four Agreements.

The Four Agreements are a Toltec philosophy written by Don Miguel Ruiz. It is one of the pillars of my beliefs and practices and has been instrumental in my personal growth and change.

Before I describe them and their effect in my life I want to point out that there are no Toltec. Not for a very long time. Most of what we know about the Toltec civilization comes from a scattering of Aztec history which is most often discounted as mythology. The rest comes from the writer Carlos Castaneda who describes them as sorcerers who just happen to share the name “Toltec” with that ancient civilization.

It is upon the back of Castaneda’s work that Ruiz built his name. I guess he saw an opportunity and took it but the truth is that Don Miguel’s work, his philosophy, stands on its own and connecting it to modern mythology detracts from it’s true potential. A potential that has led others, like Heather Ash Amara, to build off it and for me to consider it worth sharing.

So here they are, the Four Agreements:

1. Be Impeccable with your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.”

I can’t tell you how much trouble I have with this one. I understand that our words carry power. Magick, if you will. I try to be impeccable but in the end I have no control over how people interpret what I say.
So…

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally

Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.”

This works both ways. What I do and say is a projection of my reality.

At the core of my beliefs stands the Tree of Life which is represented by the deceptively simple phrase, “As above, so below.”

What I allow into my core shapes me. What is at my core shapes my words and actions.

With that in mind I disagree with Don Miguel on this one point: He suggests we take nothing personally. Not even positive words and actions. I say if it’s good let it in. Just don’t let it go to your head.

And…

3. Don’t Make Assumptions

Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.”

The rule here is simple: Assume nothing. Not even that tomorrow will arrive.

This includes making assumptions about myself (“I can’t do this“, “there’s no way I can make this work“, etc).

It doesn’t matter if you fail at something if you…

4. Always Do Your Best

Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.”

I can not do any better than my best. Sometimes that means asking for help. I’m not very good at that.

The Four Agreements work together. Support each other.

Let’s say that I need to replace the intake gasket on my car:

Before I can say “I can do that” I need to know that I’m capable of it. I can’t just assume I can do it. So I fall back on experience. In the past I have done a good job on similar projects. I have done my best and it worked. Not taking that personal, not allowing it to go to my head because I am aware that changing spark plugs is not at all like changing an intake gasket, I can admit to myself that if I do my best it will get done. Even if I have to enlist the help of my mechanic buddy.

These Four Agreements can apply to everything from fixing leaky plumbing to committing myself to a loving relationship.

I have found that the most profound processes are often the most simple and straight forward. This is one of the most direct approaches to change I have ever used and with just a little practice it becomes second nature.

 

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.