Robes

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From first kisses
Last losses
Lost moments
Stolen time
Wasted hours
Cherished memories
Hand holding
Nights alone
Days that never end
From laughter
And pain
And sorrow
And hope
And love
From baby clothes
To death shrouds
We spend our lives
Stitching patch by patch
These colorful robes we wear
And they are beautiful
——-
Image: “Golden Gloom” by Mario Sánchez Nevado

Mixing it up: Full Moon – Time in the Womb – Giving Thanks

November 23 brings another full moon and with it comes impulsiveness and anger. Not a good mix.

Solution: Be mindful and compassionate.

Well, that was an easy moon to explain so I’ll move right on to the good stuff.

Here we are at the beginning of a new year so it’s time to set intentions for what we want the coming year to bring.

“New year?” you say.

That was part of what I didn’t cover in my Samhain post so I’ll cast a little light now.

In many ancient beliefs the new year begins not at spring but just before the dark of winter.

That may seem strange to many of us. We often view the little death of winter as an end times. But the old view is more alike to a time in the womb. The darkness before the light.

In that view it is a time not just to survive and hold out until “life” returns, but a time to prepare for the life we already have. The life we will be born into come spring. A time to gather what we need to face that birth. To nourish so we can flourish.

So winter is here and while the work I am doing for a living tends to evaporate for a time, and in that way winter appears to reflect the more modern thinking of winter as and end, I have learned to be grateful for this short hibernation.

It is, for me, a time to replenish my physical needs, to further my spiritual needs, and to explore and redefine my intentions. A time for me to catch up with all the inner work I am forced to put off the rest of the year and to focus on my goals.

Yes, my financial state becomes… uneasy, this time of year, but this winter is providing some unusual opportunities that I am deeply grateful for.

My employer has set me up in a park model trailer that is quite comfortable and he is not charging me rent.

I have the opportunity to return to Mobile before Christmas and to help some very good friends I have come to think of as family with some remodeling in exchange for room and board and a little pocket cash.

While I haven’t made a ton of money up here because of the weather I have made enough to make some headway with my plans for the website and will have covered almost all of the expenses before heading south for a month or so.

I will be in Mobile, Alabama during the coldest part of the year up here and have a boss that will cover my expenses to return, and if next year is anything like this year turned out to be I can expect to make enough in one last season to focus the next twelve on writing.

I have replaced my unreliable Rodeo with a low mileage minivan with enough room to return north with everything I left behind that will make a good trade for something larger next summer. So when I leave here next fall everything comes with. No more leaving my life spread across two thousand miles.

Long story short; I have a lot to be grateful for and this short rest before the long haul is just what I need.

Silence

There is a silence here. A silence in the air. In the ground I walk upon broken with heavy boots leaving the slightest crackle of lightest snow snuffed little by little with each step as my path hardens into firmest ice.

Above me a sky of photograph blue spreads so far I can see the curve of this incredible planet I call home.

Big Sky. Yes. No denying that moniker. I’ve seen many skies and Montana has the biggest skies I’ve ever seen.

Early winters are the norm here. I guess I forgot that having lived so many years just east of the natural weather break the Badlands provide. Here, there is nothing to stop the winds amplified by unimaginable miles of rolling hills meeting high plains.

So here I am. At the edge of what I knew facing the experience of what I will know.

Sounds familiar. Sounds like Life.

Unless we live under the warm blankets of comfort, never venturing out to explore what we may yet know, we fortify ourselves. Build walls.

We in-experience.

To never step into the cold, the blizzard winds that tear at us, each frozen tear of the Universe itself falling from heights we really can not imagine like an infantry of icy pebbles, or grains of purest sand that burn our feet with impressions of the memories of worlds that left them, is to never experience the gift that life is.

How fortunate I am that the Divine, both furious ice and flame, has put me here to see with eyes and feel with hands what those with only the machinations or extrapolations of minds may express or experience through words.

I hope my words suffice.

Personal Update – November 8, 2018

Surrender isn’t the same as giving up but it sure can feel like it.

The insurance adjusting never paid off. Thousands of dollars, 6 licenses, 32 certifications, over 600 hours of training, and I never worked a single job. Some things just aren’t meant to be.

I’ll take what I learned there and try to apply it somewhere else but in order for me to do it right and to continue pursuing my goals to turn to writing full time I need to be able to support myself and can’t do that alone on the substandard wages I made in Mobile.

So I came back North to finish out the season hoping I could make enough before freeze to at least pay off the debt I created trying to change careers and bank some to see me through winter, but it’s not happening. Freeze came early. The season is pretty much over.

Unless something unexpected happens I have no choice but to commit to driving truck for the full season next year. The man I am working for in Montana is providing a comfortable trailer rent-free as part of my pay so saving money will be easier.

I’ll head back to Mobile for a few months when I know for sure the work season is over and return in the spring.

I was optimistic and hopeful when I moved to Mobile last year and while I’m not giving up on my goals I can’t help feeling like I failed even if it is just a temporary setback.

But that’s just a feeling and I am neither defined nor controlled by it.

I will make the best of what I am given and keep moving forward no matter what.

A Cycle of Gratitude – from 2016

Another year, Mother

Another Cycle of Moons gone by

I sit with head bowed

While recalling the tears, joys, fears and sorrows

With gratitude

Now

As you thin the veil once more

I peer into the space

That separates us

And see you smiling back at me

And I am overcome with gratitude for all that has been

And with hope

For all that will be

I give to you my heart

With all that it carries

And give thanks that you have made me

Winter

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I was not dead then
I gathered life
Like wheat at harvest
I shed the seeds
That flourished and bloomed
I breathed the sweet air we all share
Bathed in the life giving glow of the Moon
Swam in the endless sea of light
Traveled months of darkness without fear
Sensing all I was a part of
With awe and gratitude
No, I was not dead then
But I am so much more alive
Now

I Like

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A kiss on the cheek
Soft and sweet
Or tongues deep
In secret communion
A hand to hold
While walking down the street
Or tightly between the sheets
Or gently
While watching movies
A shoulder to lean on
A shoulder to offer
For whatever reason
Or none at all
Light cool rain
On a warm summer day
The way you glitter and shine
Any weather that keeps me in
Next to you
Tracing the curve of your spine
That sexy “Ssss”
With fingers or tongue
To places made for pleasure
Those incredible exotic spots
That cover you in constellations
Like a leopard
Sweet Kitten
Your random mewl always makes me smile
And your purrrrr
Man I love your purr
There’s no question what you were
In a past life
Long nights in rockers
Chattering about rock stars
Rabbits
Poetry
Dogs with sirens on their heads
Things profound
Or silly
Or necessary
There is no limit to the chatter
No rules
No end
That
Is freedom
Planting flowers
Hanging lights
Making love all through the night
The scent it leaves on skin
Warmed by touch that never fades
Locked in eyes that never age
Held by love I freely offer
But my favorite thing of all
Is the place I keep
[With love]
For you


Image by Pille-Riin Priske

A note about my recent posts

I know the reason most of you follow my posts here is because I unfailingly find good in even the most dire situations and that some of my more recent posts have been less than positive. This is done with intention.

I don’t talk as often about the difficulty and pain that comes before reaching those positive conclusions and in doing so I may be misleading or least sugar coating the pain that leads to those ends  but I don’t want to give others the impression that living a life of faith and hope, love and gratitude, is some sort of magic pill that makes everything easy.

There is no magic pill. No amount of meditation or breathwork or metta or exercise or healthy eating or yoga can change that. Life holds suffering for everyone. That is an inescapable fact. Nor would I want to escape it. There is a lot to be learned from suffering.

This is not to say that I actively pursue it. Just that I refuse to allow it to make decisions for me.

Having a positive outlook, living in faith, finding gratitude in even the most unbearable situations, are things that are cultured and nurtured. It isn’t natural instinct for any of us.

So here I am, in dire straights, and rather than share only the positive thoughts that are always there, even in the worst times, I have decided to take the opportunity in what I knew would be an extremely difficult and stressful situation and share those other things we all have in common and maybe in doing so I will be able to convey the methods I use to reach those positive ends.

I do feel pain. Fear. Anger. Self doubt. I am no different than you.

So stick it out with me on this journey. Stay tuned, as they say, and let’s find out together where this chapter leads. I have no doubt it will be someplace better!

Be well and know that you are loved.

James

Home

I left Mobile with a smile late in the afternoon yesterday after a last reshuffling of plans and unpacking/repacking of the car.

The original plan, based entirely on cautious habits acquired over the years, was to bring everything with me in case things didn’t work out.

I’ve gotten very good at eliminating all but the essentials. When I left ND to come here I left a fully furnished, down to silverware, toilet paper, and made bed house behind.

This time something had changed. I found myself wanting to load up everything and that wasn’t going to happen because it seems that when the wiring harness in my SUV melted down a few months ago it took out my trailer lights and I wasn’t about to risk another meltdown by attempting to repair them, which meant I couldn’t rent a U-Haul.

There was no way I was going to take everything with and that bothered me.

It wasn’t until a friend stopped by to send me off with a hug and a smoothie (Thank you, Professor!) and began pointing out things that I shouldn’t bother bringing with that it all began to make sense.

I was attempting to pack up something that is impossible to get into a box or a bag and I could spend the rest of my life trying to squeeze it into every available space I could find and never get it all in because its is larger than a $20 blanket or a rug I picked up from the curb:

Home.

I’ve spent so many years without a home that I forgot what it felt like. I even developed this inner philosophy that said wherever I go I’m always going home because the only sense of home I had for so long was the one I carried with me.

Over the last dozen years every time I’ve headed off to a job in the oilfield it eventually lead to another. Then another. And another. Until I ended up alone and isolated.

These things I’ve felt over the last week, the things that have kept me up at night, that frustrated and irritated, aren’t there because I feel alone.

I am not alone.

I have made strong friendships and have the support of people who love me as much as I love them.

The feeling isn’t that of being alone but of becoming alone, again, which is something that scares the crap out of me and keeps me up at night.

I had forgotten what it feels like to belong somewhere. I never would have guessed that place would be Mobile, Alabama and maybe it won’t be forever, but there it is, home.

So I unpacked everything and moved it all to the attic of the mansion I rent rooms in, much to the delight of the owners who were so honestly relieved and happy to know I would be coming back that they hurried to help me.

I left later in the day than I wanted but made it to Missouri around midnight.

When I looked in the back of my little Rodeo I saw that I brought so few things I had room to arrange a makeshift bed. I walked Brown Dog, the best traveling partner I could ever ask for, offered gratitude to the powers that be, shifted a few things to make enough room to stretch out in, then lay down and slept better than I have in days.

so close i can taste

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a light rain
more a mist
a wet veil
cools the humid air
that clutches
and claws
suffocating
like some silent
assailant that cant be escaped
it swirls
in slight eddies
like cool water
in a warm pool
sweat runs off me
in a stream
still it feels like spring
life constantly flows here
something always in bloom
mushrooms sprout and die
sprout and die
the resurrection fern
mostly green
sleeping only hours at a time
the rain seems to never stop
yet does nothing
to subdue the humidity
giving life
to all this glorious green
even I
suffocating in the heavy air
grow


Image by Johannes Hofmann