Saturday, December 31, 2011

Almost Midnight (Who Are You Now?)

Over there, You! The Un-evolved!
Hurry up it's almost midnight-
Don't go too far, it's almost here
- the New Year Door's alight

Cast your spells
Take off your hat
And surrender to what calls-
The wicked,
war torn,
the careful clown
- if you hear it then it's yours

You broken, weary,
December spent,
you tired of the darkness-
The time has come
to bury ghosts
And surrender
to your softness

You and me
and I
and We
All we want is newness
For skins to shed
For fun in bed
And cash enough for coffee

And so we come
And so we dance
And so we kiss at twelve

And bitten nails
And timid tails
Into this trickiness we delve

So, Unevolved!
Come, one.
Come, all!
Be hopeful.

We're almost there-
We've come so far-
- thankful,
For this graceless fall

Friday, November 18, 2011

Welcome to New-ness

I am ready for my life to change. My clothes are in a pile, living in limbo between drawers, a suitcase and a busy floor. This place that was once so solidly my home is a transient station between movements.

My visa arrived today. It announces that I am to marry US citizen Salvatore Francesco Interlandi within 90 of my arrival into the United States of America. I am immigrating. I am marrying. I am shifting my axis completely.

This new arrival is my rebirth. My name and earthly coordinates change come Wednesday. A life begins. Skin is shed. Fear is replaced with love and I am still myself but even more fully as I step into the ultimate unknown; it is foreign yet totally in alignment with the hopes and dreams of my authentic self as lover, adventurer and artist. I have never felt more fully supported by the universe in a decision.

No longer am I slave to spiritual expectation. My enlightenment is unfolding in the smallest and silliest of ways. The comings together are a paradox of hilarity and gluttonous ease. It is simple and efficient in its unfolding. Alongside the laborious paper work that allows my border crossing is a self-acceptance that once I arrive I both pick up where I left of and completely start over.

I embrace the anxiety that comes with being on the cusp of everything I have ever wanted.

"But Charlie, don't forget what happened to the man who suddenly got everything he always wanted. " –Willy Wonka

"What Happened?” –Charlie Bucket

"He lived happily ever after." -Willy Wonka.

Monday, October 31, 2011

The Belly of the Wave

Yesterday a great friend remarked in a tone that perfectly balanced trust and anguish, "I just never know what to do when my life is put in a blender like this". All at once she was forced to move due to unsafe conditions in her rented apartment, during the middle of exams, a week before starting a new job, all the while awaiting the birth of her friend's second baby at which she is committed to being the birth partner...

Forever cosmically connected and closely mirroring her hopeful chaos, I too stare at the multi-coloured metaphorical cocktail (mine is definitely spiked!) my life is sure to produce in the coming weeks. Facing the brightly lit interrogation rooms promised by US immigration services, relocation to one of the biggest and craziest cities in the world, a surrendering of the personal and professional safety net, and of course... the biggest and boldest shift- marriage.

What is this silence right before the roar of the crowd? The pinprick the first star makes in the dark blue as sky shifts to night? The pause before the inhale, the morning stretch before day comes rushing in, the taste the tongue reaches for as you inhale the aroma of a freshly baked loaf... I am living in the almost-there. In the almost here. So focused on the future, asking questions of what is to become of me- it's all I can do to remember to sleep and eat; all the while knowing that soon I'll be "there" and once I am I'll find myself in selfish moments wishing I was "here" in the safe silence before everything was different.

So forever it becomes about Now. The sacred promise of change means that this will never be again, while This is all there is. But I decided quite a while ago that although I will always lean heavily on my wisdom, hoping to live it more and more each day- I am a human in the tumult of constant shift. I pray and run and let my dreams dance wildly, and as it does, the clock chimes when it feels like it and sometimes I hear it and sometimes I don't.

Bound to my little life, I embrace the worry and the anxious feelings in my tummy. I forgive the crazy makers in my mind and give gratitude for the righteousness that seems to order the chaos. Because what my friend really meant was "I hope I like the taste of this when the blender has finished blending". Me too!

But for now I getting lost in the whirr of the blades and do my best to prepare my palate for what could be a very interesting concoction..

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Wise Ones

During a recent writing assignment I had to write two letters to myself: one from 80 year old me, and one from 8 year old me. The funny part is, they were almost identical in their content! They both urged the importance of fun and play, and they both warned of the dangers of stasis and over analysis.

The answers are clear: go to bed earlier, embrace your day, eat well, move your body, align yourself with people and situations that feel good, work hard, don’t worry so much, live simply, explore, feed your bliss, be kind, be patient, make love not war, don’t over indulge in computers and television, practice gratitude, drink water, be good to the earth, take care of yourself like you are your own child, play, try scary things, question limits, listen more, spend a little time alone every day, call your grandparents on Sundays, keep a clean home, floss, stretch, sing, dance, spend $20 on a bottle of wine once a week rather than $10 on a bottle every day, hope for things, find and follow your personal mythology, spend time in nature, don’t drive too fast…

Like a moody teenager yelling “I KNOW!” to their well meaning mother, we act out and selectively forget this intuitive truth when days and minds get busy and for whatever reason we let the pile of dirty clothes grow in the corner of the room. We know what feels good and what does not. Like endorphins flowing through the body after a long run, life endorphins pump just as hard when taxes are complete or a spontaneous solitary walk finds us just a little more able to be where we are.

For some reason we like to punish ourselves, we like to wait until the once surmountable becomes insurmountable. Running on the adrenaline of “I can’t believe I’ve gotten away with ignoring this for so long” we scramble to shove things in corners and half way handle our business to a passable degree. We all do it in some area or other of life. “I’m just not financially savvy” or “I’m more cerebral than physical”, or “I just don’t have the time”, we tell ourselves all these things and more, continuing to veil the truth that if we actually got shit done we would have a lot more time to fulfill our heart’s desires.

And isn’t that a terrifying thought?

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

I don't get it...

I never cease to be amazed at how much of ourselves we negotiate away for what we feel is correct behavior. Even in the tenderest of relationships there is an energetic exchange that when awareness slips, easily tumbles into negotiation territory. We want to love, support, mediate and encourage. We want to heal past hurts and forge new relationships and remain always open to ever shifting change. But there needs to be a centre to it all.

Balance and paradox are the tweedle-dee and tweedle-dumb of growth. We strive to be our own centre but never self-centered. We hear the wisdom in creating boundaries but then we try to live without fear and what are boundaries if not constructs of fear? Living on the earth to me means living with a willingness to engage with all of it, including the shit. But staying connected to the sky means that I often see the shit from miles away and cannot believe that I will inevitably embroil myself in it.

There is striving and reaching alongside release and effort-less flow. Is the inhale the easy part or the hard part? It takes just as many muscles to let go. I read recently that it is always easier to do the work than stay blocked. But we are tied to ourselves so intrinsically that our blocks are our work and our work is the expression of the block- they are as married as the pearl in the slimy oyster.

The dirt of living is the heart of living. There are fields of flowers growing across our chests with every breath. And in every need to be received is a need to give something of ourselves; there is tender intention in and amongst all our tired reasons. We are making excuses all the time for not knowing ourselves well enough. I was late because… why was I late? I am mad because… fuck you, I don’t know why but I am so leave me alone. We must dirty ourselves and face the broken terra-cotta pots of experience that line the soil in the soul of our through line, for they give breath to the fusion of water and earth and allow for new growth.

Blessings be to never understanding and always trying to. Blessings be to the paradox in the mystery of why we were given minds and hearts big enough to ask the questions but too small to handle the answers. Blessings be to the miraculous in the journey of humanness.

Saturday, July 30, 2011

Here. Now.

What happens when a moment loses its potency? How do we transcend expectation and be free enough to feel our way through it as empty as it may seem? Do I have the courage to face this kind of work?

The theatre is a sacred space: a chapel where collective imagination is the god to which we pray together. We rejoice in the resonance of truth, we recognize our humanness in transcendental archetypes and come together to forgive the parts of us that are the villain and applaud the meat of us that is triumphant hero.

As actors we enter into a contract with ourselves, our colleagues, the audience and the muses of the moment. We are humans that promise to be vessels for shamanic interventions. Getting out of our own way to allow for this kind of transformation is difficult to learn and unfortunately rarely practiced with diligence and self honesty. A rare few aspire to be invisible save but the physical body that carries these messages. Most relish in the lights and the curtain call; this kind of ego-based environment does not leave much room for those that yearn to disappear in the collective landscape.

We wrestle with the impulse to win, to get it right, to be approved of. Most give in completely and a creative experience quickly turns into an energetic tantrum competition with the winner gaining the attention he/she sought but losing a part of what called them to this path in the first place. When I catch myself in this cycle of suffering I feel like a spoiled child. The artist within me retreats and cowers in the corner afraid to come out for fear of being squeezed to produce the sweet milk that powers her.

The artist within me rejects the reward based system entirely, but the human woman longs to succeed not really knowing what that would even look like. Fear of lack is the greatest destroyer of love, art and inner vibrancy. I am I enough? Is this moment enough?

How could a moment ever lose potency? It is new and full and ripe every time. Present moment-ness is the single greatest skill required to live well, on and off stage. The courage to live this way, completely open to what may be, is found where? The courage to forgive ourselves for forgetting is found where? The irony is, it is found in the present moment. Empty, full, alive or dulled down, however we feel is real and valid. It’s coming from somewhere. That is the place we must begin from at all times: wherever we are NOW.

I pray for release. I pray for the grace required to let go and be where I am. Here. Now.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Your Love

The night following your death
a fast dark storm
blew across the lake

Sending me
and a bottle of your favourite
cinnamon whisky
into the basement
awaiting Oz-like

But it was over
As fast as it rolled in

And outside,
the rain soaked trees,
with their lightening scorched branches,
basked in the golden light
of calm and almost dusk.

I found myself alone
In the eerie still-
Amazed by the earths response
To your passing:

A cacophony,
An operatic ode to you,
A violent transformation
of energy,
turned in on itself
to become this
yellow light of peace.

And just as I started
to get the joke
You chimed in
with a zinger of your own-

A double rainbow
Shining above my tear-stained face

You were smiling,
Upside down,
but smiling.

You were smug and sweet
up there-
It suited You.

And as I watched You
Fade into the dusty sky
I wondered aloud
“Granddad, can you hear me?”

Crack! Crack! Crack!
Hot white lightening
Shook the pink whispers
Of clouds
Your melting, double grin.

Okay, I get it-
You will never leave me-

You are father, husband, friend
And most certainly: Granddad
Of Epic
Fairytale proportions

Happily ever after
With your love as your legacy-

Your love:
It has the power
To rip the sky open
And then sing it softly to sleep.

Welcome to Oz, Granddad.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

Beings of the Sun

There is a certain something present in all things: an essence, a resonance, a history of associations, a feeling that rings true. We are called to answer. We are blood beings. A band of merry followers of the sun, we march on toward the light.

Can we learn this essence? Can we go towards the tricks of light while making footprints on sand and trail? Earth and sky, can you resolve your differences and be unified in providing a safe haven for dimension traveling entities?

I have learned things here. I know that love is real and when invested in, returned in buckets and barrels. I know that we are pushed and pulled by inner workings whose intentions are rarely revealed until their final reckoning. I know that the things we are told to reach for are rarely the things that end up being those we wish we’d focused on. I have learned that most of my friends and I are dealing with first world problems that provide us with the unique opportunity to expand in a way that goes beyond survival.

There is many a thread to pull here. Unraveling must take place if expansion is desired. This can be uncomfortable for both the unraveled and the spectators of this self imposed blood sport.

We talk in tongues, metaphors and ambiguous diagrams. We are seekers, first-rate warriors of need. I am hopeful that my own flailing about in the mire of it all will somehow provide solace for those nubile adventurers who fear the isolation that often accompanies the search. I want it to be clear: your questions are valid. This is a confusing place that does not lend its paradigms well to the dissolution of boundaries and the innate need to connect.

Pray for us.

Honour the elders of this endeavour.

I am here in a solitary cry to the sun. It is my chant, my mantra, a war cry that responds to the hurt world. You are already healed. You are in flux. There is beauty in the humanity of pain. Be released in the horror of the moment. The next will roll and it will be winter, spring, summer, autumn again.

Friday, May 27, 2011

A Love Like Yours

“You don’t love me half as much as I love you” said my dying Granddad as I kissed him good bye tonight. “But where could you possibly fit a love like that in your skinny self?” I asked him. “Oh you just blow up your insides like a balloon and you’ll find some space”, he told me.

So that’s what I am going to do; I’m going to blow up my insides like a balloon. I am going to make myself so available to love that hope and soulful self expression in the aid of love will make the material stretch and stretch so more and more love can expand inside of me. I will be the reflection of infinite love in you.

Melodies still escape from Granddad’s parched lips even as he struggles to grapple with what time or day it is. Some things, like love and music, cannot be got at by even cancer or the morphine required to keep its pain at bay. These are potent things. These are tonics for the soul when it is weary from fighting the fight of life. He can receive a kiss from his wife of 57 years that light up his eyes that were drooping only moments before.

We must protect our basic human right to experience these things. We must live kind lives so we can slip eventually into the unknown with illuminated souls that will light the dark uncertain path that lies ahead. We must learn songs so we can sing them to the dying, and we must live with open hearts so that our voices carry not just words but resonant healing sounds, prayers of peace. We must live lives of service so we can know that each soul deserves a kiss goodnight especially in the darkest hour when they are sweaty and smelly and crying for mercy. We must give pieces of ourselves away each time we give and be unafraid that we will run out. We are infinite if we believe it to be true. We must support the lovers, the carers, the artists, the innovators, the healers and those who contribute in little and big ways to the quality of the lives of others.

We hang here by a thread. Our mere existence is miraculous. If I was ever searching for the result of unraveling the miraculous it would be that: to be is to be miraculous and to be miraculous is to be god.

Granddad, may you fall gently into a soft night. Your blend of softness and strength has helped me to recognize what a good man is and your sweetness and spice has taught me the joy that is living. May I honour you everyday as I reach to be me as much as you are so authentically you. And for every breath you have left in your perfect human incarnation, may the love that surrounds you be a healing balm when the daggers in your bones start their work.

Blessings be to the sick and prayers of strength to the people that care for them.

And for the young, for the vibrant and very much alive: may we know our true power, may we meditate on death in order to understand without fear the delicious temporal gift of life.

I burn to know a love like yours Granddad. Thank you for being my teacher, I can’t wait to kiss you tomorrow.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Marriage Blessing

you are here for me
to call the half of you forth
that has been hidden from yourself
since child-like wonderment
and curiosity
vanquished itself in favour of the world

i need this half of you
the hidden half
the half that connects
the half that knows,
the intuitive touch,
the soothing balm,
the all knowing lover

this is the half of me that you called forth,
the reason i am able to be where I am,
how I am staying connected to the source of strength.
you have reignited and reunited me with myself
in your perfect wholeness that I see
coming to the surface in your eyes.

these halves of ourselves
are the healers we are
the healers; we are here to heal each other
with love.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Diving for Buried Treasure

There are some seriously hard truths out there. Truth is hard a lot of the time. Truth is truth, it rips you raw and bare. It lays you down and shows you how you feel about what you see in the world. It makes it clear that you are not me and nor am I you. Which is too bad for us because you look to me as if you have it all figured out which is comforting to me and what I cling to when I feel like an ugly duckling caught in an oil-spill. And I know what you’re thinking when you look my way and I’m sorry friend, but you’d be wrong there. I cannot be your lifeboat, your guarantee for anything really. I know less than nothing all the while trying to figure out everything. I’m a master of disguise in the pursuit of understanding. I submerge myself into the thought waves of whatever my current obsession is so much so that I become unrecognizable to even myself. Eventually, of course, I emerge back up in human form but with a few curiously placed bruises and absolutely no recollection as to how I obtained them.

Experience to Experience I hop and I dive, feeling ever more crazy as I descend and ascend but somehow ever more full of the knowledge that I will come back to myself and actually come further and further closer to myself then before I set out. There is often this curious notion of ascension in spiritual practice. I have come to think of it more in some sort of aquatic terms than as any kind of mountaineering activity. Searching seems so much of the time as if one is deep in some seaweed ridden patch of ocean, grabbing one’s way forward, sometimes being forced to swim deeper and deeper down into the depths. But there is forward motion here. Always forward momentum no matter how dark and murky the waters. We will emerge victorious and lungs will fill again. We might be weary but we’ll make it. Eyes will sting from salt and the sudden burst of sunlight but they will adjust to see and help us back to shore before the ocean calls again. I am writing from inside the curl of the wave, I have been diving for quite sometime now; I've always been comfortable in water.

Take me, take me in your currents; I will learn your highways and grow gills so I can play longer in your benevolent wildness. Teach me of your sweetness and your strength. Life is playing itself out in the great drama of the tides, the ebb and flow, the shallow and the deep, the holy chamber of consciousness.

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Are We There Yet?!

This entry is a response to the following ponderings/inquiries of a dear dear friend; I couldn’t possibly pass on the challenge of “riddling her this!”:

Always that question of "well how much do I strive for this, do I almost doggedly pursue this life I want, upon writing out my values vs. letting things be, letting things take their course, trust that whatever I'm going through now is meant to be so I can learn the lessons I need to, hoping that the right conversations with the right people will fall into place at the right time and I’ll fall into a perfect opportunity of what I'm seeking."
How do you just leave things to 'chance' when you can't help but want to live passionately, pursuing the things you really want.... Love! Passion! Desire! Enlightenment in whatEVER form you there something so wrong with the pursuit of happiness.....this 'deep state of true and total love'?

Riddle me THAT oh wise one!!!

Oh dear friend, oh dear self, oh dear EVERYONE who is admirably seeking the sweet spot where passion meets least resistance, where the ease of life breathes into the lungs of NOW. How do we get there? Where is there? And when we strike upon this natural wellspring of possibility and purpose what prayers must we say, what dance must we offer up to the gods of grace to be allowed permission to stay in the eternal dawning?

I used to live in a magical world. I had thrown myself only semi-willingly down a rabbit hole of Wonderland like proportions and I strolled down no normal street, only yellow brick roads bouncing to the beat of the question marks exploding out of my heart onto that Technicolor concrete.

I had experienced what many have referred to as a “healing crisis”. Others may have called it depression or anxiety or some other equally vague and unhelpful label, but I called it, even during the most terrifying moments, a psycho-spiritual intervention. It was as if my spirit was floating outside of my body and would on occasion dive back in and rattle at my ribcage yelling “This is not the place for you! Change your life!”

This went on for months. It began shortly after I had started reading Elkhart Tolle’s The Power of Now in the doorway of my kitchen in London. Summer rain was bouncing off the grey English city streets, it was warm and sticky; on a Canadian field or mountain top this kind of spontaneous natural dance of the sky might be welcomed, but in city clothes getting on and off buses it was best experienced as a voyeur. The moody sky darkened further without my noticing and just as I was finishing a sentence that read something like “all we have to do is be present with the currents of the body and we will find everything we need is here in the power of Now” when CRACK! Sheet lightening illuminated my face, and my puddle-y surroundings. This was no exciting moment of revelation, I freaked OUT running upstairs and throwing the book in a bag refusing to pick it up again until almost a year later.

I knew then that something was awry. But did I listen? Nope. There were truths waiting to reveal themselves but my ears were closed in the name of comfort, fear of inner work and the loneliness and confusion I knew I was bound to face if I went inside and tried to unfold myself and let go. So as it does, life ticked on and I buried myself in work, a relationship, marijuana and other distracters that would point me anywhere but HERE! I couldn’t shake the little voice though, and with increasing frequency and intensity she grew in power and would yell angrily in the night in dreams or solemnly mid afternoon when I was feeling vulnerable and lost. I started feeling these out of body/into body shakedowns and although they felt absolutely real I kept them to myself for fear that I would be judged or misunderstood. Sure enough, when I did attempt to share my plight it was met with brush-offs and “you’re just going through a rough patch” type attempts at making me feel better.

Needless to say, it did NOT make me feel better. I continued to battle these feelings, sometimes praying they would come back to show me they were real and sometimes shouting at a corner of the room: “Get away from me! I just want to feel NORMAL!” Finally, realizing that I was not going to heed the warnings of these energetic messengers, my body manifested physical symptoms that could not be ignored. It was just days after my 20th birthday that I started having serious heart palpitations with frightening regularity.

My heart?! My physical heart was pounding the messages of my metaphysical heart. I knew after a night curled up in a ball begging for comfort as my heart raced at 140 beats per minute that I needed to change EVERYTHING. Cut a long story short: I quit my job, left my relationship, moved back to Canada and pursued the path that was calling my name. No doctor could find anything physically wrong with me, but an energetic healer who practiced Traditional Chinese Medicine put me on a regiment of healthy food, walking, healing herbs (no marijuana!), and abstaining from television, newspapers and taking in any information that wasn’t totally positive. For the next year I continued to self heal and the result was an abundance of mind/body/spirit revelations and unifications that I had never dreamed possible. The people that came into my life (and drifted out) during this time enriched my ever expanding journey and together we often made magic. I had several more experiences that finally made me throw up my hands and say “FINE! There IS a metaphysical world out there, in here, everywhere and I can either be freaked out every night when I fall asleep or I can have gratitude for the energetic flow and remain open to further unveiling."

One of these experiences (as I was just reminded of by a dear friend) was a beam of light shooting out of the top of my head. Weird, right?! Its pretty hard to ignore that there is more to the world that the physical reality when your face gets hot as you are in the middle of explaining a truth that is revealing itself to you in real time and then the person you are talking to tells you that a white light beam is shooting out of your head. We were talking about doubt and faith and what ratio one needed of each to live realistically in the world. How much should you trust? Is complete trust dangerous? Do you need a certain amount of doubt to navigate this world safely? All of a sudden clarity came, this was no logical conclusion; it was a string I needed to pull to see what was at the end, and as I did, speaking the words that were attached to that string, the energy rose and rose and apparently found its way out of my cranium! The realization/Truth was this:

Rather than having doubt in a person/place/situation/future event, convert that energy to faith… in YOURSELF that you will be able to handle what may come.

Simple, right? But to me, it was a mammoth eureka moment. I had been living in fear that the world would infect my pure spiritual space, or that my magical world was at odds with the “real” world. I was afraid people were going to suck my energy and try and take the light I had been working so hard to find. When actually, it was the fear that was sucking my energy. Soon after this I came across a wisdom teaching that said you can distill everything down to the initial feeling of fear or love. Was this decision made out of fear or love?

Ex: I have to keep this job I don’t totally love because what if the only thing I can find is something I like even LESS or pays even LESS?
- This is a perfect example of fear of lack

A subtler example of fear of lack is indecision. Paralyzed by a multitude of choices and possibilities we freeze afraid that we will choose wrong, that we will miss out on something.

Subtler still is fear of lack manifested in the seeker getting muddled up with all the wisdom out there. These days there are so many systems of thinking and healing that at some point we all get afraid that maybe we are taking the wrong advice! But this kind of fear of lack is two-fold:

1) We are still seeking externally: fear of lacking the inner wisdom that will reveal the right answer for ME at THIS moment
2) That on some level, whatever we are called naturally to do or not do (even if its sit still until we know where to go, or run with abandon until we want to stop) will be the wrong thing.

I do this ALL THE TIME! It is only when the glorious glowing reflection of an ignited soul in the form of one of my amazing friends reveals so truthfully where he or she is at and what he or she is wondering that I see the errors of my OWN ways.


How do you just leave things to 'chance' when you can't help but want to live passionately, pursuing the things you really want.... Love! Passion! Desire! Enlightenment in whatEVER form you there something so wrong with the pursuit of happyness.....this 'deep state of true and total love'?

Well, a) You are not leaving it to chance if you live passionately, pursuing the things you really want… in fact if you are doing this then you are pumping a seriously POTENT substance out into the atmosphere because everyone knows that the most attractive (in every sense of the word) thing is when someone loves the life they live. Whether on a date, in a job interview, traveling or riding the bus in the city where you live, if you are radiating this kind of energy you are sure to see that people want a piece of what you got and then its up to you to decide with whom, where and how much you want to give. Always remembering that the law of abundance states that you can give everything all the time if you remain open to receiving everything while you do it.

b) Love! Passion! Desire! Enlightenment in whatEVER form you seek… YES YES AND YES! This sentence just screams that you already have a firm understanding of the fundamental truth that the root of suffering is attachment, which includes attachment to an idea that there is ONE way. Hooray! Maybe seeking the answer to what your passion is turns out to be your enlightenment. Wouldn’t that be annoyingly delicious! And certainly just as RIGHT as someone seeking ego-renunciation or creative freedom? LIVE THE QUESTIONS LIVE THE QUESTIONS LIVE THE QUESTIONS!

And, c) there something so wrong with the pursuit of happyness...this 'deep state of true and total love'?

And to that I say, yes. The only worthwhile pursuit is money. And power. Strap on your pant suit and get ready for the eternal treadmill of material desire!

You DORK! Happiness is the most worthwhile pursuit of all. And if you can truly say that happiness is what gets you excited then I am so stoked for you! And jealous. For some reason I need to wear my serious pants when I think about enlightenment… maybe the search for bliss is more like a game of pin the tail on the donkey or pass the parcel than all this quiet sitting and mind clearing. Or maybe it’s both! Or neither!

But it’s probably money. No, money is the answer. For sure.

Yesterday an extremely eccentric French man in camouflage high tops and an electric orange t-shirt told me that fashion designers are like oracles, telling the temperature of the world and manifesting it in what they think people will want to wear as a reflection of how they feel about the ways of the world from season to season. And I believed him. And suddenly an industry that I generally judge and call extraneous was illuminated for me. Oh yeah, I remembered, listen to the little voice… and if she tells you to make a dress, then make a dress! There is no relevant/irrelevant way to spend ones time in the long term OR short term. Everything is joining to create a mass of experience that is YOU and resisting the urge will just make your heart pound. The earth tomorrow could swallow us all. Happiness, go with happiness. It’ll make your skin glow and your heart sing…

Or in the words of someone a lot smarter than me:

We can use everything that we do to help us realise that we're part of the energy that creates everything. If we learn to sit like a mountain in a hurricane unprotected by the truth and vividness and immediacy of simply being part of life, then we are not this separate being who has to have things turn out our way. When we stop resisting and let the weather simply flow through us, we can live our lives completely. It’s up to us.

- Pema Chodron

I used to live in a magical world. Until I got so attached to how magical it was that I needed to pop the bubble and renounce strict spiritual adherences for awhile and just try to live. Eventually I found that I like my magical world better, although it was nice to just let my humanness run wild and not expect so much all the time. There is a lot of pain here, which is too bad. But whether the day feels Technicolor or black and white, things can change in a fraction of a second from delight to sorrow and back again. This is humanness at work. Confusion comes from the luxury of having choice. Asking questions is our birthright and any life lived in the pursuit of anything that pushes the boundaries of inner freedom sounds good to me.

With gratitude for the time I have to spend and the youth I have that stokes the fires of desire for progress I release my prayer for you and for me that we will find the balls to say “I’m already doing it. I’m here aren’t I?”

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

White Linen Woman

Maybe I’ll never wear white linen pants.
Or I’ll try,
And at some far flung future garden party
I’ll spill the wine I’m drinking
To make myself feel more at ease,
All over those pristine pants.

Maybe people will never see my truth,
Never see the earnest intention
To be pure
To be full of grace
To be a perfect sight to behold

Maybe people will only see
The awkward eternally under developed woman
That trips and falls
That makes jokes
That tries to sound smart
But talks too much and muddles up her meanings

Maybe I will disappoint you
Or I won’t
But think I have and then act like some blemish
On the dream we once had

Or maybe I will grow into my fullness
Maybe I will release these immature fears
And live in a blaze of irreverent glory
Lighting the dark, worried ego
Who is only the human-half
Of the spirit striving for enlightenment

Maybe I will learn to forgive myself,
And learn to trust you all the way.
Maybe I’ll tell you my most secret fears
One night when our hearts are open
And the wind outside our window
Is fiercely calling back to me my foolishness

Maybe I will one day love myself
So completely
That I can accept your love;
And mixing it with my own
Will create a potent potion of
Reciprocal self-belief
So we never have to be afraid.

We can expect greatness,
Fall short,
Then cradle the innocent child
Who dreamt the dream
That continues to hang, thickening
The air that surrounds
Our weary traveling souls

Just because we’re not perfect
Doesn’t mean we’re worthless.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Thank You

Let us lie naked in the sweet mud of experience
Dirt bound we writhe
Half open eyes fill with sky
Buoyant blue thrown upon the great canvas of space
Electric shocks from toe to toe
Jump across this fetal shape we make
Reminding us of the space between

We must travel in the warm arms of hope
Bundled, trusting, feeling the tickle of spring
On our outstretched ears that reach to hear
The hatching eggs of swallows

Thoughtless, breath in, full and fresh
Guiltless in the throws of effortless being
There is no work in the letting of the river
Take us in its clever stream and deposit
Us on the sun speckled banks where our
Great picnic awaits our innocent hunger

Canopies abundant with fruit and life
Grow for you, await the specificity of
Your fingerprints on their fat ripe mangoes skin.
Taking with delight comes at no karmic price,
For your mother wishes to see the slimy pulp
Run down your chin as you squeal with ecstasy.

Can we strip down to our most basic, barest selves?
It is in the light we know we’re winning,
As the breath leaves the body in an existential sigh
Of relief that it had one more moment of this delicious
Experiment in time and space.

Coins thrown into fountains wish for nothing more
In the subtext of their wishes than for the state
Of grace required to live this, feel this fullness
Of heart's beat, beat, beat, beat, beat, beat
Ba-bum, lub-dub, da dum,
Thank-you, thank-you, thank-you
She sings.

Saturday, February 26, 2011

No Regrets

“There’s a limit to your love/like a water fall in slow motion/Like a map with no ocean/There’s a limit to your love”

I’ve always loved these lyrics. But today I witnessed first hand that actually there is in fact NO limit to the love, only a limit to how much one is able to watch the ones they love endure.

Today is my Nan and Granddad’s 57th wedding anniversary. As he is nearly completely bed ridden with all efforts dedicated to fighting the pain from the cancer penetrating his bones after a 5 year fight with prostate cancer, it was not possible for him to get out to the shop to buy a card or flowers for the wife who is serving as his primary care giver. My beautiful aunts who know the deep bond between their parents, organized cards for them to write each other in secret and a bouquet of flowers for my Granddad to give to my Nan.

So after dinner, five of us piled into the crowded bedroom where my Granddad had been sitting all day propped up with pillows and the Saturday edition of the Times paper. A bottle of champagne was popped, a toast was made and these two lovebirds exchanged cards and kisses so sweet and pure. They made me yearn for a marriage as successful, long and loving as theirs. My Nanna fought back the tears, like she must do all day everyday, and was visibly full of so many emotions: love, grief, worry, pride, gratitude, anger, and fear to name but a few.

We should all be so lucky to have this kind of sacred, limitless unconditional love. In the age of urgency and judgment, to see two people who have lived their life and built their family with nothing but the authentic desire to co-create it is disturbing and almost cruel to watch them slowly be pulled apart by this disease. How big must your heart be after 57 years of nights slept side by side? So how much more does it break? Does anything in life ever prepare you to lose your beloved?

I am staying with my Aunt who lost her husband almost exactly one year ago also to cancer. It must be very difficult for her to see this disease unfold yet again and claim another life, another love. My uncle was a pure soul and he loved his wife and family with the full capacity of his abundant heart. His eyes were spotless windows to what a clear human spirit looks like. His final months we devastatingly painful and dragged out; he fought to the very end. It was reflective of the man he was to want to soldier on, but no human being should have to suffer the way he did. I think what pains my Aunt most when she speaks of him is not how much she misses him (which I know is very much and all the time) but of how he suffered for so long and how despite her great care and efforts she could not take his pain away.

Isn’t that all we ever want to do for those we love? Take away their pain?

Today the sink was clogged at my Nan and Granddad’s. Knowing absolutely NOTHING about plumbing (and being generally shit when it comes to anything “handy”) I was over come with a determination to fix it. And two hours later when that stupid little drain made that gross little gurgle-ey burping sound and the water flowed down, my Nanna and I rejoiced! As if somehow this small victory meant for but a moment, we were winning.

And then its back to my Granddad in the bedroom, to the evening pills, the codeine, the morphine patch, the bathroom assistance, the unbearable pain, the confusing daydreams, the fear of what the night will bring.

Death is a part of life; I am understanding and accepting it more and more. But this universal experience that is the only certain thing that we all will share, never ceases to unveil our attachments to those we love. Buddhists believe that life is suffering and that the root of suffering is attachment; therefore, achieving enlightenment means releasing attachment to things, ideas, hopes, cravings, and even people. Spiritual ascension is my favourite hobby… but I promise nothing less than to love with the full ferocity of my being. And if that impedes my progress towards that Bodhi Tree in the sky then I guess I’ll have to release my attachment to THAT dream because as I embark on the journey of marriage and I see my potential future mirrored in the life, love and inevitable loss my grandparents are experiencing I can’t think of any journey more enlightening than the pursuit of this deep state of true and total love.

I celebrate love and I celebrate today especially, the sacred and bittersweet magic of the humanness that wants to entwine us: mind, body and soul. Let us weep and wail for the love we’ve been so privileged to have lived. And let us have respect for the elders before us who have walked the often very difficult path of knowing another human in the context of marriage. Blessings be, to the hooks we have in each other that have grown out of the desire to merge and be united as one.

Happy Anniversary Nan and Granddad, you are my heroes now and forever.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Mother Nature's Mess

My great grandmother used to say before cleaning the house: “Lets make the happy home look miserable!” It was her belief that a happy home is a well lived home which means cooking, entertaining, relaxing and other mess making activities. She still had her WWII black-out curtains up in the mid-80’s, it never occurred to her to switch them; they were perfectly good curtains!

My favourite homes are always those that seem to have grown out of the earth, as if Mother Nature herself placed every item on the window ledge. I can always tell within minutes of entering a space whether this place was decorated to match a colour scheme or authentically and gradually filled with belongings holding significance from some chance encounter on a meaningful adventure. And if it sounds like I am making a value judgment here, its probably because I am.

It is a core belief of mine that a person’s home is their sanctuary, not their trophy. When I see perfectly matched picture frames holding stock photos of beach scenes I get worried for the soul of the person living that manicured life. I wonder if one day they are going to come apart at the seams. Those homes represent to me the idea of living life for other people, rather that for the joy of living it. How can you go out one day and buy a life off a show room floor? It strikes me as totally inauthentic. And a lot of people are living in-authentically, not because they are bad people but because they are scared people.

Learning to let oneself unravel enough to hear the call of the soul is a long and painful and all consuming journey. Why step out on your own to find out who you are when you could find a perfectly packaged exterior right here in this handy catalogue?! It’s easier to pick a persona based on what’s popular than to dig deep and trust that what comes up is beautiful and valid in its own right.

The thing is: it always is beautiful and valid. We are changing, wandering, strange magnificent beings and we are almost always trying too hard to be what we already are. The creative types who have to have a heady Russian novel peaking out of their patch covered satchel are playing the same game as the stock broker who leaves his door ajar while on the phone to important clients so everyone can hear how powerful he is. Relax guys; you are far more creative and far more powerful than the two-dimensional fa├žade you are strangling yourselves with.

But along with our creativity, power, magnificence and beauty comes our humanness. And there is no point in truth telling, in soul searching, if you’re not going to bear witness to it all. The perfection is in the jagged edges, and you’re missing the best parts if you skip the fragility and run straight to strength. This is what deters most people from seeking; they are afraid of what they will find. “I’m afraid I won’t like what I see” is what most people say when provoked to look into the mirror into their own eyes. And the painful real and sacred answer is: some of it you probably won’t like.

There is this notion out there that enlightenment means one has transformed into a perfect being. Wouldn’t that be nice?! I bet you a million dollars that when Buddha achieved enlightenment under the bodhi tree he still had to cut his toenails. I bet you Mother Theresa had cellulite. And I bet you that along the way to attaining the state of surrender necessary to sacrifice himself on the cross, Jesus had insecurities about his potential shortcomings as a man and leader. They just don’t tell you those bits.

And all of this only adds to the glory of these incredible human beings. These people felt the fear and did it anyway; they transcended their attachment to an idea of perfection and lived the truth of who they were and what they were called to do. Enlightenment, to me, is complete immersion in the present moment released from either fear or expectation of what it may yield. Self-love is the only lesson worth learning. And the greatest act of self love is to fully immerse oneself in the present moment so much so that one forgets who it is that is experiencing it and is free to explore themselves in a context unbound by past experiences or future projections. To lose oneself is to free oneself. And the only way we can get that deliciously lost is to love what we are, every last weird little cell. There's no room for self-deprecating baggage down the rabbit hole.

A forest doesn’t grow the way it grows to please your eyes when you walk through it. The wind rustles the trees sometimes smacking branches to the ground, birds build nests where they see fit, rivers rise and fall with the seasons and the rains, blossoms respond to temperature and moisture, mushrooms grow in all directions, fallen trees make ideal environments for ferns and other flora, rocks amass over millennia to come to be where they are today and never once does Mother Nature ask what it’ll look like when its done. It will never be done. It is Mother Nature’s mess, and there is a lot we can learn about ourselves in that mess.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Happy Blue Monday Everyone!

I’ve read a lot on ‘positive thinking’, on ‘choosing the thoughts you think’ and on ‘controlling the extent to which you react emotionally to a given situation’. And although I like to think of myself as somewhat educated and well practiced on these subjects, lets be honest: sometimes we just feel crappy. And we know we are being silly, we know we are the lucky ones: healthy bodies, opportunities, safe environments, but still the pile of mental anguish we need to conquer seems insurmountable.

Maybe I’m getting my period…. Or MAYBE I’m reacting to what the always-fantastical news headlines are calling: Blue Monday, the most statistically depressing day of the year. WHAT!? How do they come up with this shit?! How do you measure something like that? I’d like to know… because I think they might be right! That must be one helluva survey…

I have been on the phone today with more bureaucratic institutions than anyone should ever have to interact with in a lifetime. The line at the post office was 10 people long (I didn’t know 10 people lived in this sleepy little town!). Apparently they don’t sell envelopes in quantities of less than 50 (I’m just trying to send a few letters, not OPEN A POST OFFICE OF MY OWN!). I am in the middle of doing two year’s worth of taxes. I just booked an appointment to get a tetanus shot (my arm hurts just thinking about it). I am currently unemployed and have taken to recycling cans as a source of income (incase you were wondering, it is very smelly and not very lucrative). I am 5,000 kilometers away from the man I love and we are 6-9 months and 5-7 thousands dollars away from legally being allowed to wake up next to each other. Yeah. I’d call that a Blue Monday.

PS. But I swear to god I am really grateful to be alive. No, seriously. I am. Deep down. Deep, deep, deep, deep down under the layers of it's-January-and-I-want-to-puke-on-myself-and-lie-in-it feelings.

PPS. Too much?