August 21

Today we enter into the final moments of what I truly hope has been an incredible season of change for each one of us.

I have been working on personal growth and change for a long time now. Years. What I am doing here is just the beginning of the task I have set myself.

As the eclipse passes keep your intentions, the person you want to be, the person you know you are, close to heart. Know, without a doubt, that during this sacred time we are closer to the Divine than we will ever be. That She is listening. That She knows our hearts. That She will listen to every single one of us. That this is as close as we will ever get to truly choosing the direction of our path. To choose who we really are. That the Divine will help us because She want us to be those people. Because She loves us.

It doesn’t matter if you’re in the outer edges or nowhere near this event because it’s a global event. Literally. Our moon blocks the sun and our planet lines up behind the moon.

You can not say you weren’t there.

We will all be there.

I’ll see you on the other side.

Beyond here be Monsters

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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

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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

 

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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.

~

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

Surrender

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When I first set myself upon the path of change I’ve walked for some time now, I knew the way would be difficult. That it would, at times, be impossible. That life would throw up roadblocks and obstacles. Life has not disappointed me in that regard.

The harder I try to become who I am meant to be, to fully realize my birth right to peace and happiness and love, the more life throws up these detours. I have worked with them, carefully gone around them, changed course as needed.

I now find myself at the edge of a high ledge overlooking a dark expanse. I have travelled to the farthest reach of this path. In that dark expanse lay either all that I’ve worked for or something unknown or unwelcome or nothing at all, and the only way I will know which of those will be my future is to jump.

So I surrender.

To surrender means to accept that I have done all I can do. That I have done my best. That my best is all I can and always should do. That my best is always good enough.

To surrender doesn’t mean that I give up hope or that I stop doing my best. It means that I relinquish control because control is an illusion. I can guide my life through my intentions. I can choose how I respond to the things that happen in my life. I can not choose those things.

In maintaining that false sense of control I create conflict both internal and external because the two are intertwined. Connected. One.

What happens in my life affects me internally and how I deal with those things affects me physically. There must be harmony between the two. Balance. That balance is maintained through my works and deeds and practices and also through hope and faith.

The faith comes from a lifetime of experience which has taught me that even when the outcomes were less than optimal the Universe has never once let me down. She has always been there to catch me when I fall, to set my feet upon the path, and to lead me with her loving light.

I will follow. I’ve come too far to stop now. I have prepared myself as best I can for whatever lay ahead and though I am afraid I am fearless because I know I am ready for whatever lay ahead.

I will leap into that dark expanse and new paths will be revealed in the fall. New directions. New life.

So I surrender to the Universe. She has gotten me this far. She will not let me fall into darkness.

 

 

Speechless

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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

 

 

I am like the river

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I wake, alone, always alone, and wonder; why does it have to be like this?

I move slow, zombie like, to the kitchen dragging a handful of clothes which will be my armor this day. Too thin to keep life’s pains from intruding. Just enough to hide them.

It is too late in the morning to stretch my body and mind. Too late even for coffee.

Half dressed, I look down to Brown Dog, my traveling partner for these last twelve years, though he is going on fifteen or sixteen or I-don’t-really-know-what-teen since I picked him up as a feral stray, and I smile. I admire him. He is always ready to love and be loved.

I celebrate his birth along with my own in November which looms ever closer. I will be 54. How the fuck did that happen?

I make the time to love him then let him out the back door and shuffle to the front while pulling a dirty shirt over my head (too late now to find a clean one) and let myself out.

As the day progresses, the loads of water going from my truck to the road we are building keeps time like a slow moving metronome, those morning thoughts continue to intrude.

Surely I’ve learned the lessons that earn me the right to love and be loved? Surely the person I am now, regardless of my past, is worthy? Surely I deserve that most basic of all rights? Why am I such a failure?

I get ahead of the work crew and park my truck by the river that supplies the water I get paid to make the roads muddy with and walk to an overlooking edge.

I sit and breathe. Deep and slow.

I allow those thoughts to flow like the water that passes in near silence in front of me. I listen to and acknowledge each of them; “You are not worthy”… yes, I understand that’s how you feel. “You do not deserve”… it’s ok to feel like that. “You will never be happy”… it’s ok.

Each thought repeated with the impact and clarity gained through years of practice. Each identified, acknowledged, validated then treated with the same care and compassion I would offer another and released.

They are just words. Labels. They mean nothing.

Slowly, with practiced patience, the thoughts are reduced to a whisper and are replaced by the sound of the wind, a trickle of water, the birds, the rotation of the earth through the cosmos.

I slowly open my eyes and watch the gentle flow of the river and, without thought, begin to understand; The path I am on is like this little river that cuts its way through miles of prairie. It’s sweeps and bends the altered courses of my life. Its flow from past, through present, and towards the future.

I see my reflection in the surface. Static. Unmoving. It is in this static image that those thoughts live but it is an illusion. Beneath the surface the water is constantly flowing as it slides past stones and cuts its ever changing course through the prairie.

If I were to submerge myself in those slow moving waters, become one with it, there would be no past, no future, no false reflections, only a sense of Now. Eternal. Dynamic. It has no beginning. No end. It flows to the sea. Evaporates. Returns as rain. Flows.

It is that sense of Now, that never ending cycle, that I strive for in my meditation. Yes, the thoughts remain. My mind, like everyone else’s, never ceases its rumination and contemplation and formulation. It mutters incessantly.

But today, right now, I am like the river.

 

 

 

 

Image by JMGreff