Addendum: Onward All Fools

Remember, the steps to maturity are necessarily going to be immature. God is an expert at working with mistakes and failure. In fact, that is about all God does. Mistakes do not seem to be a problem for God; they are only a problem for our ego that wants to be pure spirit. We first tend to do things wrong before we even know what right feels like. I am not sure there is any other way.

–Richard Rohr

Advertisements

Embodied Light and Black Alchemy….

Happy Easter, All Fools.

I think it so perfect that in such serious looking times Easter and All Fools Day coincide, ushering in spring together, and reminding us that each of us must be as a child to walk in the Kingdom of Heaven, even while on Earth. (Er, child-like, not childish, Mr. Trump.)

As I navigate a passage in which layers of original and constitutional depression, the very seed bed of separation consciousness, are rising to the light to be transfigured– wrapping body and psyche in a heavy blanket,  revealing mis-stacked blocks at my core– I found solidarity in Richard Rohr’s Easter contemplation this morning.

I share most of his piece here below, followed, for contrast, by an unpolished airing– a riffing, if you will –on depression’s mysterious and morphic presence.  This piece is not complaint as much as allowing a natural keening from a sight of oft-suppressed torsion, and an honoring of the beauty even in the forces that rend the earth and cloud our vision.

A mystic recognizes depression is a phenomena of embodiment, a walking with the wounds, even in resurrection.

Richard Rohr:

…It is no accident that Luke’s Resurrection account in the Gospel has Jesus saying, “I am not a ghost! I have flesh and bones, as you can see” (see Luke 24:39-43). To Thomas he says, “Put your finger in the wounds!” (John 20:27). In other words, “I am human!”—which means to be wounded and resurrected at the same time. Christ returns to his physical body, and yet he is now unlimited by space or time and is without any regret or recrimination while still, ironically, carrying his wounds. “Before God, our wounds are our glory,” as Lady Julian of Norwich reflected. [1]

That Jesus’ physical wounds do not disappear is telling. The mystical, counterintuitive message of death and resurrection is powerfully communicated through symbol. The major point is that Jesus has not left the human sphere; he is revealing the goal, the fullness, and the purpose of humanity itself, which is “that we are able to share in the divine nature” (2 Peter 1:4), even in this wounded and wounding world. Yes, resurrection is saying something about Jesus, but it is also saying a lot about us, which is even harder to believe. It is saying that we also are larger than life, Being Itself, and therefore made for something good, united, and beautiful. Our code word for that is Heaven.

Many do believe in the bodily resurrection, as do I. But, in a way, that asks little except a mere intellectual assertion of a religious doctrine. We can go much further than that. I choose to believe in some kind of bodily resurrection because it localizes the Christ mystery in this material and earthly world and in our own bodies, the only world we know and the world that God created and loves.

Depression is a starving artist.

It has so much more to say than it can find means to speak and audience to hear.

When I feel it, like a jealous, drama-queen sibling, trying to upstage life force and belonging, it shows its truest colors, the ones even it cannot see: the rich stream of sensations, unlikely juxtapositions, running colors of subconscious.

From its acrid, steaming core billows brilliance, fueled by stolen anger.

Let it intone. Listen to it. The power that throbs from its too- tightly-wrapped wound is nuclear. Let it weep and seep;  then pour off the details of the story, and breathe to the seeds.

When I go out alone in public, to cinema or theater, I take a journal, because, brushing up against humanity that way enables me to perceive the contours of this companion inside me as an entity with which my body-mind shares real-estate. I let it speak. I let it use the colors of the crowd, and the words in my vocabulary, to riff and rap and remind us both of a vitality we forget when it’s just the two of us.

Tonight I went to a very good play, wonderfully executed, called Constellations. While waiting for the performance, I let the demon have the pen and sketch itself from my point of view.

Draining Count Fistula

Under my dais, demure doom,

Under my daffodil blanket of unrest,

Under my heavy aching breath,

Lung parched by popcorn’s perfume.

Depression by any other name

still hangs like rusted fuselage

from the ceiling, ugly but entitled

enough to command market price

of the emperor’s new electorate.

I have detached.

I gaze at 1,000 differently-dressed mirrors, 

and I recognize everyone and no one,

feel no familial love,

only the numb confusion

 of one who is only home with family 

alone under the stars.

My horizons have shrunk

as my eyes have taken root underground.

Depression is resistance to something forgotten.

 

I don’t mean to be rude;

I still love, but it’s not personal.

Ossified arrogance, invisible inheritance,

Frozen complaint, existential stench,

Heirless gloom in airless room.

Acid-sizzling sandbar of loneliness.

Curiosectomy.

What is another word for Thesaurus? 

Depression is not a word, it is living death,

–that is, a stalled composting process

masquerading as the

dedicated, hapless, asymptotic 

Fratricide of Joy;

Black alchemy.

ML
3/31/2018

Wyatt Christmas

This is my first post in months. Do not expect anything exceptional. It is just a flexing of muscles and hailing the angels from a place as fluffy and white as their home cloud,  and a singing “I Am Alive.”

I awoke this Christmas morning to a foot of fresh powder in the wooded outskirts of McCall, Idaho.

“Was this intentional?” you might well ask, knowing the astral ramblings I’m given to in this life.

I’d say, “Mostly.”

Living the dream:
White Christmas? Check.
New Snow? Check.
Is all calm? Yes.
Is all bright? Getting there; still snowing.
Before light, I took a huff puff in the new fluff, out to the road where I could walk on a plowed surface, spend less energy heaving the knees chin-ward with each step.  I wandered about chanting into the muted scene, the slick stream of pavement running through it providing the only reverb. Standing still in the dark, performing Qi Gong for the Devas, I watched morning inflate the sky.  So beautiful… and quiet, even as a little CAT snow-mover began shuttling around busily, like R2D2, making spirits brighter, and making the way safe for the humans waddling around, swaddled in down, through the near-zero-degree air.
I ducked into the lodge where my friend Jack and others were, by now, breaking fast on the spread of edibles inedible to me. I continued out onto the deck to Lift Chi Up and Pour Chi Down, as pines reached for the sky and snow for the ground. Country Christmas songs cut a warm and tinny spiral of sound into the frigid air, and I felt my heart melt open as I blended with a world both arctic and plasmic and as Glenn Campbell’s transcendent “Silent Night” redeemed humanity.
For a few timeless moments I held all the beauty and calamity, the peace and the paradox, past and future, tenderly. Simultaneously: I recalled how, years ago, while caroling on an equally freezing night, I’d for the first time really heard the deep verses of these Christmas classics, horrified by the violence hidden there. And now, seeing with different eyes, hearing with different ears, scooping my palms through the Breath of Creation, I heard the best of these songs, felt the timeless resonance of “O Holy Night.”
Don’t let the absence of sun, sand and palms fool you. This is an oasis from the colossal conundrums of my life. Once again I have allowed myself to be lifted out and reborn, if only in a bubble, to remember the why of life.
I may be here, ostensibly, to record some vocals on Jack’s holiday CD, and to capture photographs of “New Snow,” the title of the album. But I am here at Christmas, the celebration of light returning in the darkest time of year, in one of the darkest times of my life, to remember and harness the perennial rebirth and hope of this season, to remember and reclaim the Christ within and without.  I AM ALIVE. Today, that is Miracle enough.
That segues into a “poem” (below) captured from my day of travel to Idaho. But first the obligatory selfie echoing another of songs we’ll be singing on this week: “Thank You.”  Already a Classic.

 

Xmas@Airport.hum

Cold in the Breezeway…

But inside, the toilet seats never cool in the Women’s

as the line snakes down two gates to the Starbucks.

Gazing over a sea of bowed heads,

I practice QiGong in a corner.

I’d get more views on YouTube.

Perhaps the single fellow watching will post it

for the rest of the room to see.

I’m touched that an old friend braves

Xmas at an airport

to come share a hug and a smile on my layover in a once-home town.

Matching his kind exertion,

I pass through security twice.

The scanner gives me a headache,

And what passed in Albuquerque is searched in Phoenix.

What does pass while I am here is a tax bill– so unspeakably corrupt

that, for all his words, statistics and volume,

Bernie Sanders goes unheard on CNN,

And I throb with the undigested, indignant impotency of throngs I don’t even know,

…their thumbs tapping away on their glowing pacifiers.

Everything hurts. But I AM ALIVE.

It’s hard not to object; but I am alive.

I need no I-Phone; this body

provides its own distraction.

There is no airport mode.

I cannot turn it off:

I am ALIVE.

On another plane now,

Sandwiched on an exit row between peanut and pretzel.

Napkin says:

In a world of No, we’re a plane-ful of “yes.”

Yes. The plane is full.

The crossword is full.

My head is full; my mind is empty.

More hope in my pocket than my heart.

But I am alive.

The desert hills out the window

loom in a dusty haze, barren

as the moral landscape.

No hope outside.

Must find it within:

I AM ALIVE.

ml 12/20/17

Alive… and grateful for my friends…

Jack Brown

Why Wyatt? Wyatt is the name of our host at  Bear Creek Lodge, who given his size and elusiveness might actually have been part Bear.

Standing on the shoulders of Diamonds

This living boulder–

mossy diamond–

beneath your height

rises and revolves

as the shoulder

of the giants

who bequeathed this life

and privilege to evolve.

Yesterday would have been my mother’s 83rd birthday.  It was the first October 16 since her passing that I was not plowed under in a tunnel of thick astral fog. Blessed be.

I celebrated the day in service: in the morning operating a health technology that might have helped Mom see this birthday, and then later in fellowship with light workers helping to unburden all humans of the undertow which drew her asunder.

On these anniversaries, we like to honor those who gave us more than we can comprehend while they were alive.  Sometimes we do so by calling up the memory of who we thought they were. 

Eventually it feels healthier not to invoke the past, but to gratefully live as fully as possible with the gifts we carry, as they have evolved in us beyond the imaginings of the loved ones who contributed their seeds.

Our loved ones knew who we’d become no more than we did. And we knew who they were then no more than they could know who we’re becoming now.  It never ends. They live on and evolve through every heart and body they touched, not only ours. As do we. Every meeting plants a seed. It is in remembering this every hour that we honor the gardeners of yesterday.

 

The Ice Plant Cometh

     I have recently come into possession of my father’s photographic legacy. It is a formidable sorting task. The first step was simply to bring it all into the same zip code as me.  It has rained nearly every day since I retrieved it. The boxes remain in roped together, snug and dry in my van, cozying up to my bed, offering me added insulation on these wet and cool October nights.

     For the drive home, I extracted an envelope or two from an also-rans and rejects box, to give away as little tokens of sunshine, like you might hand out cookies. Smiling cards I called them.  But I gave them all away in one stroke, as I read a contemplation I’d just written about the images, before the ink could dry or I could deem it unworthy.  An act of love is never unworthy, only unpolished.

     The image he chose from the box and made into a notecard is below, along with my “contemplation.”  I won’t call it a poem…. Not unworthy, but definitely not polished.

The ice plant cometh

 

It is not one of his best portraits.

Still, it draws us closer to unsung beauty at our feet,

which I might not have noticed; but that is less the plant’s fault than mine.

She isn’t flashy; a plain Jane pretty as she is hardy.

Nor bashful, but demure in the blessing eye of his lens.

 

No sparkle, no choir. Just comely chords of Pink on Green, White on Green.

Succulent sprigs of green orzo, strung like a tangle of Christmas lights,

And flourished with a Mum’s head.

Try walking –lightly—on its woven blanket:

Soft Rabbit tails on a bed of sea vegetables:

cooling the feet, and the earth beneath.

Portulaca: holding water and innocence.

 

My father was legally blind in one eye, yet his sight could bring a flower alive,

In a way that you saw it for the first time,

into it, and in it God—

All feathers and light—

Sacred geometry—

Infinitely repeating in His hall of mirrors.

 

Dad himself only discovered color after 50 years of contrast—

Pattern and chiaroscuro:

Petroglyphs… Ansel Adams aspens…

The long arc of a train’s beam traced through a starless midnight around Tehachapi Loop.

 

Then he woke up.

Enlightenment was really InColorment.

Cactuses bloomed and so did his heart.

He opened, softened.

My father became a friend.

 

So, these unspectacular little blossoms,

in imperfect focus,

These also-ran portraits–

Mere snapshots, really–

They are little gifts from my father,

Tumbling from his wake,

Like mothballs from memory,

Rose scent wafting from a saint,

Petals scattered playfully,

unceremoniously

from the here-after.

ML
Oct 2, 2017

ALAMENTATION

We’ve both settled for too long, she and I.

Even the memory of our wings is clipped.

When I shut the screen door between us, she weighs her chances.

She waits. Then she asks.

Today her question vibrates shrilly in every taut and tender membrane of my body, rousing the pain…and the hypocrisy police.

I open the screen.

She launches through before I master the demons and change my mind.

 

When she has been outside until ready to come in, anywhere she rests inside is a throne.

Her repose is regal; her eyes clear; her aura vibrant; her whiskers longer; and her coat shinier, even after all that rolling in the dust.  

Her presence is saturated.

She owns herSelf, her body, the house (of course).

She owns history and now.

She takes up all her space.

 

When she is denied her full outing, she wanders distracted.

She cries, appealing to sympathetic frequencies in the doorkeeper.

Failing that, she tries eye contact: her gaze penetrating, reasoning with me, plucking all kinds of strings.

If ignored she walks the kitchen counter, where she knows she isn’t allowed. She naps restlessly. And then, resigned, she will go to her dish, for the surrogate gratification she is never denied.

 

I do the same thing. I turn to food to mute the wayward wilds.

When the native desires are thwarted, we make do, pass the time, confused, civilized and compromising, living a life not quite true.

And we eat… to cover the echoing well of undigested longing, to feed a world huddled, dissociated, around the hole in Wholeness.

 

 

(ALAMENTATION is a portmanteau of Aliment and Lament)

ML

SFE, NM Sept 3, 2017

Louise Hay

There’s no such thing as good weather, or bad weather. There’s just weather and your attitude toward it.

That’s a segue from the last blog post to this one, and the statement was made by Louise Hay, who passed on today. I didn’t say “died,” because she’s immortalized in her contribution to society, to the collective psyche, to the evolution of humanity’s understanding of itself, especially those strands in the human tapestry that took the great detour with Western Science that drove a wedge between body and mind for a few centuries.

Louise Hay published  Heal your Body over 40 years ago, and its expanded version, the seminal You can Heal your Life, continued to chart on best seller lists 20 years after publication  . It continues to be a dog-eared reference  for healers the world over. Most of it can be found on line now; I consult it every so often, taking it for granted like many of a certain age have the dictionary, or the phone book, or Scripture.

So it is I make an extra post to acknowledge a luminary, a remarkable woman, who used illness in her own life to learn spiritual lessons, and then shared what she learned. Many others have followed her journey, and some have further researched and refined her teachings.  What she taught, each of us has the capacity to learn. But she  forged for us a path and permission for remembrance.

She also said:

We are all students and teachers.

Ask yourself: What did I come here to learn and what did I come here to teach?

Like this woman who posed it, none of us should really ever stop asking that question.

Hope Floats!

I ration my news exposure; most news is as much toxic hypnotism as information. And after catching one too many of these litanies of undiluted demoralization recently, I began crafting an OP ED piece suggesting a simple change to the conventional news delivery system, which had the potential to change the course of democracy.

That piece was still in the works when Harvey hit Houston.

Hmmm, sounds like a Seuss book if ever there wooz one.

Then I noticed something heartening. The media seemed to be making some new choices. I caught a segment on a friend’s T.V., in which they chose to interview a portly Caucasian woman recently rescued from her home (with her little dog). She reported that she’d been offered shelter by a family; and as she concluded her statements, the camera zoomed out to reveal a man of Latin American or other brown heritage, holding an umbrella over her. This was the gentleman who had invited her to his home, where she would join rescued members of his own family and of another family, whom he had yet to meet but had offered shelter.

The next day I heard a segment on the radio about a mosque that was offering shelter and supplies to those in need of them. People who had never set foot in a mosque were being served, regardless of race, color, creed or economic status. Members of that community had been working tirelessly, sleeplessly, to tend to the needs of their displaced “neighbors.”

Not only was I touched by these stories, but I could see the statement made with each story, one to counter the climate of Trump.

This morning, Richard Rohr’s daily meditation happened to discuss the story of Noah! Coincidence? I wonder. Since Rohr’s meditation cover a theme each week, and the parsed segments may in fact be extractions from one of his books, I’m not sure if this was planned; but the relevance could be lost on no one. And it furthers the point I’m making here, and that Higher Nature seems to be making at large this week.

I’m simply going to paste in a few paragraphs from today’s Rohr excerpt:

The story of Noah and the flood is filled with insight. … God tells Noah to bring into the ark all the opposites: the wild and the domestic, the crawling and the flying, the clean and the unclean, the male and the female of each animal (Genesis 7:2-15).

Then God does a most amazing thing. God locks them together inside the ark (Genesis 7:16). Check it out.

Most people never note that God actually closed them in! God puts all the natural animosities, all the opposites together, and holds them in one place. I used to think it was about balancing all the opposites within me, but slowly I have learned that it is actually “holding” things in their seemingly unreconciled state that widens and deepens the soul. We must allow things to be only partly resolved, without perfect closure or explanation. Christians have not been taught how to live in hope. The ego always wants to settle the dust quickly and have answers right now. But Paul rightly says, “In hope we are saved, yet hope is not hope if its object is seen” (Romans 8:24). The virtue of hope widens and deepens our foundation.

Noah’s ark is not meant to be a cute children’s story; it is a mature metaphor for the People of God on the waves of time, carrying the contradictions, the opposites, the tensions, and the paradoxes of humanity—preserving and protecting diversity inside of a safe unity created by God. (Thinking of it merely as punishing “bad” people only appeals to our lowest instincts and puts us back into meritocracy.) It is no accident that animals are deemed worth saving and that the covenant YHWH proclaims after the flood is “with every living creature,” not just humans as we presume. (Read Genesis 9:10, 13, 15, where it is said three times!) This is no small point, although it has been largely ignored.

I may still hammer out the OP ED piece, but my observations this week give me hope that the same forces moving me are moving others in the direction humanity must take.

The Brotherhood of the BIG O

I sit outside the Big O Tires, evading the waiting room’s televised hypnotism, and I settle into a little “o”:

…observation.

I notice:

 The Big O is a Brotherhood.

They speak Spanish to each other but English to me. It couldn’t be any other way. I don’t speak Spanish. But that they assume I don’t, know I don’t, sets me apart…and on edge.

The Big O is a Brotherhood of Men.

They are so easy with each other—staff and customers alike.

When they relate to a woman, it is through unseen gloves of caution; it is to the male mind in her. This isn’t conscious, but it is intentional.

Truly, we women meet them there: Both genders steeling themselves into a hyper-neutrality, a sterile tunnel of androgyny, shelter from a storm of history and habit…to exile the fear.

We (women) fear dishonesty…duplicity…or worse. They (men) fear our fear, and perhaps, our pheromones. 

I retreat easily to androgyny, and from humanity, until I choose to love. Love them, for their skill, their knowledge, their labors, their basic goodness, for no reason at all; and I invite in a shower of atomized gold, to disperse the fog of suspicion that all the smart uniforms and disinfectant cannot dispel, and which hangs in the air bound to the addling perfume of vulcanized rubber, which no amount of wishing can turn into licorice.

If tires were made of licorice, the world would be a happy kindergarten. On rainy days, we would not drive. We would stay home in our block-party home-schools and break-out groups, learning how to talk and play together and get along.

Meanwhile, back at the Big O, my car is now tired, but I am refreshed.

He knows…like he knew to talk to me in English…As if he heard these ruminations. He sits down on the wall next to me, like a friend, shows me diagrams and offers me half off an alignment. When I cannot accept, he offers me his hand instead, and we shake with smiling hearts. Goodness hailing goodness.

The Big O is a neighborhood; a circle… A Brotherhood of Man.

And the Big Oh is that revelation awaits everywhere.

Moon eats Sun…balancing truth and power.

I have several friends right now on the road to rendezvous with the ecliptic. I’ve had other friends ask me why is this solar eclipse such a big deal?!

Frankly, everything has all the meaning you give it. But Meaning is Power; it is food to the mind and soul; and we carry meaning in our depths and subtle faculties that both eludes and shapes daily cognition.

Events like the eclipse exert influence on the collective and the individual, and the individual benefits self and cosmos most by participating consciously with both. From what I gather, this is a time to make peace and power with your meaning maker.

Here is an excerpt from wise Qi Gong master Ming Tong Gu’s comments on the solar eclipse:

…Energetically, a Solar Eclipse represents the experience of the void or darkness. It represents the direct earthly experience of cosmic and celestial energy —  pure potential and power — for good or bad. It also means what exists within consciousness around the time of this event will be magnified beyond normal experience.
 The true alchemical meaning of a solar eclipse is that it is a special, powerful, and sacred time for disrupting old patterns and fostering spiritual growth — especially for letting go of what is limiting from the past and envisioning what is more loving, kind, healing, generative, and fulfilling.

So all the Practice we do during this time will bear fruit through magnified power!

I’m also struck that in this strange time in which the worst of the human shadow has the institutional power in America (among other places), it is across our land that this eclipse is casting its visible shadow. This is a turning, an opportunity, as the Yin body is muting the Yan body, modeling for us how we as individuals still have the soul substance and capability to stand before power and exert influence, to shield  the living (our earth and children), and to assert conscience and truth; to see the power that we have.

What is power? you might well ask.  To make power your own,  perhaps it makes more sense to ask not What?, but Who?

To that end, I share a passage from Ruth Gendler’s wonderful collection, The Book of Qualities; it speaks to the path of mastery we must all be on now. Make it your own.

Power made me a coat. For a long time I kept it in the back of my closet. I didn’t like to wear it much, but I always took good care of it. When I first started wearing it again, it smelled like mothballs. As I wore it more, it starting fitting better, and stopped smelling like mothballs.

I was afraid if I wore the coat too much someone would want to take it or else I would accidentally leave it in the dojo dressing room. But it has my name on the label now, and it doesn’t really fit anyone else. When people ask me where I found such a becoming garment, I tell them about the tailor, Power, who knows how to make coats that your grow into. First you must find the courage to approach him and ask him to make your coat. Then you must find the patience inside yourself to wear the coat until it fits.

And to summarize in verse:

If an eclipse is God blinking;

we must all hold the light for the world while he does.

If it is only God winking, then

we must stay awake to get the joke. 

The Heavens will behave as they will,

and we may never know why.

But as they behave as they do,

How… Will ..I?

ML