clearskies, bluewater

Insights, reflections and creative imaginings for our awakening world


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Heartbreak, Loss and Resilience

Heartbreak begins the moment we are asked to let go but cannot, in other words, it colors and inhabits and magnifies each and every day; heartbreak is not a visitation, but a path that human beings follow through even the most average life. Heartbreak is our indication of sincerity… Heartbreak is the beautifully helpless side of love and affection and is just as much an essence and emblem of care as the spiritual athlete’s quick but abstract ability to let go. Heartbreak has its own way of inhabiting time and its own beautiful and trying patience in coming and going.  — David Whyte, via makebelieveboutique.com/2013/12/20/7881/
Hello again dear Bloggers. It has been long since I have felt like sharing here. Now, on these last days of this eventful year, I wish to share my story, what is in my heart.

The past few months have been difficult and heartbreaking. During this time, I have left my life in Denmark, and returned to the United States. At one point I thought that I was ready for this change, and felt strong in my decision. But, as always, Life has had its way with me. Life has once again brought me to my knees, leaving me begging for mercy. There have been intense lifeshocks during this period, bringing a kind of pain to my heart and soul which I had yet to experience until now.

The end of 2013 is not only the end of this particular year, but also the culmination of the past four years of my life. The relationship with my beloved Danish man is at an end now. These are not easy words to write, and I have even been afraid to write them until today. I realize just how afraid I have been to let go of the life I built with him, and yet it was time to let go for us both. By taking the giant leap of faith across an unfathomable abyss this autumn, I freed us both.

The letting go has been more excruciating than I have words to describe, dear Readers. Some kinds of love are truly a kind of madness that takes over one’s soul utterly. And when it ends, one is left gasping for breath, crumpled in a heap on the floor, the doors to the heart completely opened through searing, white pain. It is as if the Creator himself opened His Great Oven and led me gently inside, to burn away all the dross of my human soul, leaving only the gold and silver behind. Salty streams of tears have flowed and flowed, helping the purification process along.

walking-away-rosesThis heartbreak flu has lasted for three days and nights. It leaves me empty, hollow, feeling half-dead.

Pain has a peculiar way of disciplining a soul; it is impossible to hide from it so all one can really do is give into its strange power. Surely I will recover from this, I tell myself. In time I will regain strength, find courage, and move on with my life. Just now, in the eye of the needle, all feels lost. Yet I trust and have faith that I will come out the other side of this time stronger, more compassionate, and more golden than before.

This world is a terrible, beautiful, terrifying place. There are moments in every life when no matter what you try, Life will lay you low. Life will beat you into submission, it will throw you into the air like a toy, and you will come smashing down to the ground. It is unavoidable, this thrashing of us by the Gods. All for our own good, of course. As much as I have faith in God, in Life, in the angelic realms to help, I also know this to be true. You cannot be a human soul in body without experiencing intense pain in your life sometimes. No matter whose life, no matter what the storyline. No one is immune to heartbreak here.

Today I look back on this year full of experiences, some happy and joyful, some dark and somber. I cannot help but be grateful for it all, for of course I have grown tremendously through all of it. I would not choose to experience such intense pain as have been the past three days, yet my writing to you now proves my resilience. I am still here. The new year is nearly upon us, a blank slate not yet written upon. I have become a bit wiser this year, enough to understand that no matter what we may wish to write into creation, Life will give us all things, people, situations to deal with as best as we can. The most important thing is to be very real with ourselves and with everybody else. To see Reality every day.

Dear Readers, I sincerely wish each one of you a blessed New Year. May you have the strength and courage you need to face your life each day. May you have all that you need for your lives to work well. May you grow in wisdom and compassion in the coming year. And may you find resilience within your soul, as you continue on your journey. Namaste to you all.

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Your mother should know

“Let’s all get up and dance to a song that was a hit before your mother was born. Though she was born a long, long time ago, your mother should know.” –The Beatles

Of all the relationships in one’s life, none are more connected to the heart than the relationship to one’s mother. No matter what kind of mother you may have (or had), it seems to be the one that goes the deepest. Today, dear Readers, I wish to wax a bit about my mother. Her name is Joyce. And it is certainly true that she is a character.

Joyce was born and raised in New York City, just in time for the Great Depression. She was an only child, close to her parents, and stayed close to them, especially her own mother, her whole life until their respective deaths. When not yet a teen, their family moved upstate to a town called Kingston, along the Hudson River. There she finished growing up during World War II, took a brief business school education, worked for the telephone company (think one, ring-a-dingy), met and after a few short months, married my father who was handsome, charming, hardworking (and working for her father’s clothing company) and had fallen completely in love with her. They married in 1949. She was twenty-one, he was twenty-six, America had emerged victorious from the War, and the future was bright.

Sultry and sophisticated was the style when my mother was a young bride.

Sultry and sophisticated was the style when my mother was a young bride.

They lived in a nice section of NYC for the first several years, enjoying all the pleasures of sophisticated city life in those years. My mother, though never an intellectual, was a sophisticated lady. She dressed immaculately, her hair and nails were always coiffed, red lipstick perfectly applied, she was perfumed and well-heeled, always. This was what she had learned as a very young woman, and remained so ever after. As a small child I remember being fascinated by watching her at her boudoir in the mornings as she ‘put on her face.’ She was very methodical, applying first pancake foundation, then rouge, eyeliner, color and mascara, eyebrow pencil, and finally the famous lipstick applied, first with a tiny brush to outline her shapely lips, then filling in with the stick. Rose red, cherry red, sensual, deep, gorgeous red. Red lips, red nails, black full hair. A shapely, beautiful, sophisticated woman was my mother during my entire childhood.

When I was seven years old, my father got a better position at a different clothing manufacturer and we moved to North Carolina for a couple of years. My mother tried to make the best of it, and decorated our brand-new, colonial style split-level house with her immaculate taste. The house was spacious and elegant, my parents were becoming well-off, and when my grandfather passed on during that first year there, my father did the right thing and gathered up my grandmother Rose and her things, and brought her down to North Carolina to live with our family. There she remained ever after, a third and beloved parent to me and my brother. A couple of years later my dad got an even better offer, and we all packed up and moved away to Denver, Colorado. It was 1972.

They ordered a new house from a brand-new housing development in the suburbs, and all that first summer we made the journey across the city from our rental home over to watch the progress as the workmen built our new house. It was fascinating to see. I remember one exciting Sunday afternoon, the Colorado sun blazing hotly down outside, in contrast to the white coolness of the house’s interior. It had been freshly spackled and painted, still smelling of new paint, the floors bare wood, our footsteps echoing as we walked through the rooms. What a miraculous thing, to watch your new home being created from the ground up! Finally the carpet (wall-to-wall, light green in proper early 70’s style) was laid, the finishing touches were done, and in mid-September we moved proudly into our shiny, pretty new house, and my mom made us a home.

The seventies went by, and Joyce did her best to adapt to the times. During the years in North Carolina, I remember her having some stylish clothing of the day, including thigh-high boots and even a fall (a kind of wig that adds length to one’s hair-do.) My mother has always enjoyed being fashionable. During the 70’s she took to wearing pant suits that were in fashion, always with the proper accessories and, of course, shoes. She certainly was a clothes horse and especially loved high-heeled shoes, which her small and dainty feet had no problem slipping into, unlike her daughter, whose feet grew larger, wider and certainly less dainty than hers.

Ah, the things one recalls about one’s mother! She smoked cigarettes throughout my childhood, in the house of course, like everyone did in those days. She was mad about crossword puzzles and pistachios in the shell. She was an avid reader, especially of spy and crime novels. She had a great sense of humor and the absurdities of life. She owned a gorgeous silver fox stole, which hung in the cedar-lined closets in the ever-cool basement, and which I was simply fascinated by as a girl. She also owned, and often wore when I was very young, a special grey fur coat (maybe some kind of special curly-haired sheep fur?) that was very beautiful. She kept most of her party dresses, along with the furs and many pairs of shoes, in those basement closets, and many times, for fun, as I grew old enough to nearly fit into them, I gazed at them, fingering the fine cloth, and with permission, tried some on for fun. Joyce also loved music, during those years my parents listened to all the popular singers from their generation, such as Frank Sinatra and those types, but my mom’s most favorite singer of all was Barbara Streisand. She could go into a kind of reverie as she listened to Barbara sing. Later on my parents became very fond of opera arias and listened to them together in their formal living room at certain times of the evening, especially after my father finally retired and they had lots of free time together.

After my father passed away, my mother was inconsolable. They were married for fifty years, and had loved each other truly. My grandmother was still alive, in her mid-nineties by then. For the next three years it was just the two of them still living in the same house we had all moved into all those years before. Finally, the summer before she would turn 99, my grandmother Rose passed on. Then my mother was all alone in that big house. When I suggested that perhaps she ought to downsize, and wasn’t she uncomfortable to be there all alone, she became offended. No, she shook her head, she would not leave that house, it had been her home for all those years, and Ralph (my father) had loved it, she was comfortable there, why move? My brother took to flying back and forth from his home in San Diego to visit her and keep an eye on the house. I had long moved away, had many adventures, moved around a hundred times, had three children and moved out of state. The neighbors, a very nice family with children, adopted my mother as their ‘other’ grandma. They invite her to all the holiday meals and family celebrations so she isn’t so lonely. Still, once my father died my mom stopped listening to the opera music, saying it was too much for her, reminded her too much of how much she misses him.

Now my mother Joyce is an old lady in her middle 80’s. She says she no longer recognizes ‘that old bag’ whom she sees in the mirror, and that inside she still feels like she always did when she was young and carefree. Her eyes give her trouble now, she had laser cataract surgery last fall which helped with her eyesight but now they feel uncomfortable all the time. She has taken up Bette Davis’ adage that ‘old age is not for sissies,’ and rather hates being old, but what can one do? Most of the old friends and relatives she once knew are long-passed on. Yet she remains; for whatever reasons Fate has decreed that she would be the remaining living parent in my family. I have not been back to Denver to visit her for some years, but we still write letters. I know that were I to visit again, it would be just like it always was, sitting at her round kitchen table still in the dining nook from 1972, I would feel again just like I always did as a child growing up in that house. People grow up, change, do a thousand different things, yet when it comes to one’s mother, very little ever really changes, especially on the inside. And yes, my mother does know all those old hits from before she was born, and still remembers most of them!

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lIo219Z8R28&noredirect=1

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All the world’s a stage

When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an actress. During summer camp the year I turned 6, I got the honor of playing the lead role in our camp’s production of Mary Poppins. There I was, dressed up in a red and white striped nightgown, my long brown hair curled and coiffed by my loving mother, singing and dancing my heart and soul out for the campers and their families. An illustrious start to what might have been an even more illustrious future…..

Comedy-and-Tragedy-MasksAs fate would have it, my acting career has been erratic and always unpaid, since I have never had the kind of ambition for fame that one needs to push their way through the ranks and into the limelight. My youth’s dreams were spent without the benefit of Youtube or the X-factor. At 23, I stared my future as squarely in the face as I could muster, pondered the wisdom of packing up my belongings and heading out for that dreamland called Hollywood to seek my fortune, but instead wound up meeting my future husband and father of my children, whereupon my dreams of becoming a successful movie actress were effectively squelched.

Such is life. Instead of confining drama to a theater stage, I have brought the stage into my own personal story (as so many of us manage to do) in many intricate and interesting ways, through relationships, changes of venue, livelihoods, spiritual quests, and of course, by vicariously living through three lively daughters. Although I shelved that old dream of fame and fortune along with my youth, the core of it has remained forever inside my heart. Watching my daughters grow, I applauded every one of their creative endeavors along the road, and faithfully showed up to each recital, performance and play over the course of sixteen years. In turn I was rewarded with wonderful songs, skits, plays and performances as they spiraled up the path of childhood into adolescence, their talents ever-growing along with their beauty, cleverness and charm. I may have never reached my potential as an actress, but my daughters, by the time they were in their mid-teens, had already far surpassed me.

“Hamlet play-Hunt

Fast forward to here and now: the middle of Sjaelland, Denmark, the middle of winter, the middle of my life. Now I have taken on the role of producer and co-director of an ambitious undertaking, performing Alice in Wonderland with a very nice bunch of Danish kids, ages 11 to 15. Dear Readers, this is no small feat, attempting to coordinate a play in a language I speak falteringly at best, with 17 pre and pubescent youth, a co-teacher who has many other things on his Danish mind most of the time, with only my wits and imagination to keep it all moving along towards a finished piece. The old herding cats analogy applies here many mornings, when no amount of coffee would really help. And yet. After several weeks (with the Christmas holidays sandwiched in-between) of preparation, creating a script with the help of the cleverest boy, Søren, and many moments of telling myself to ´´just breathe,´´ Alice i Eventyrland is, well, coming along.

There have been some beautiful moments. The creative process never ceases to surprise and amaze me with how it works: one moment you are knee-deep in mess and chaos, and then, as the alchemical process of creation takes shape, you suddenly relax and realize that something wonderful is unfolding before your very eyes. alice_wonderland-ellenvgregoryOur homemade version of this famous story is not a musical (thank GOD!!) and contains 10 different scenes, 27 different characters, including 14 animal characters and 7 playing card people. What was I thinking? I ask myself over and over during the more stressful moments. Then the ghost of my old art and drama teacher comes to me, and I remember how he methodically and calmly (well mostly) carried out all of the hundreds of tasks involved in producing a play, and I am strengthened. Christopher Guilfoil, that old curmudgeon, that taskmaster, that sometimes hated and dreaded teacher, perfectionist extraordinaire, would wheedle, cajole, command, be perfectly still, go up on stage and practically drag us around by the nose until he got what he was after, made us practice until we were weeping and sighing, raw in the throat, ragged in body, empty in soul. Twenty actors,what was he to do?  The play was called Dinny and the Witches, a practically unknown work found in a dusty corner of Powell’s Books up in Portland, Oregon on a rainy winter’s afternoon, once found, the light broke across his furrowed brow, the angel hovered, radiating her vast glow upon him, saying ‘yes, this is the one, my friend,’ and so it was. Three witches, who controlled Time and Space, Death and Life (played by me, she was the ditzy one named Luella), a young man named Dinny who played the trumpet and was unsure of how to proceed in life, an innocent young woman with whom he falls in love (of course) and then the 7 deadly sins, each played ingeniously by my fellow schoolmates. It was a long, unwieldy, heady monster, but the first night we performed it was pure magic. No longer were we mere ordinary mortals running the daily round of existence, but for a pair of magical hours we were transformed into an elevated status, embodying archetypal images from the great melting pot of the collective unconscious: controlling mortals’  lives, death, time and space itself! What a glory that play was!

The magic of performing a theatrical play in a group cannot be understood fully by the audience, only appreciated. Without the audience, there is no reason to perform, as the magic is created between the synergy of the ones watching and the ones performing. Alice i Eventyrland will be no exception to this: come February these lively, somewhat shy Danish country kids will dress up, command the stage, and create an alchemy which will live in the historical annals of their school. Plays come and go, children grow up and leave, but memories, if crafted lovingly and well, forged through sweat, frustration, laughter and perhaps a tear or two, contain the possibility to last a lifetime.

related article
http://www.realitycreation.org/2012/04/play-acting-as-a-method-for-self-improvement.html

http://ellenvgregory.com/tag/alice-in-wonderland/

 


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Ponderings on the journey

Now that the hubbub and hyperbole about the end of the world is dying away, and people have stopped holding their breath as they realize they are still alive and so is the Earth, I would like to take a few minutes to share a few impressions with you all, dear Readers. One obvious thing is the weather the past days: many storms all over the place, rumblings under the earth, lots of energy shifting about. Up here where I live the wind blew and blew, bringing a blazing snowstorm which blanketed the ground long enough for a White Christmas (Jul in Danish). Then a kind of influenza barreled through, which my husband had for several days and is only now beginning to recover from, the Copenhagen Flu, they are calling it.

BC_Father_Walking_With_Daughter_1-13.orgI too have had some storms passing through my body and psyche. My beautiful and lovely Christmas dinner of roasted duck with trimmings did not sit well and consequently last night became extraordinarily uncomfortable in body and emotions. For hours I went through a kind of Life Review, as a whole range of memories from different years and decades passed through my mind and heart. Some of the most poignant memories involved my early childhood in New York state with my parents, brother and grandparents. Long-buried memories came up and out for me to look at again: many joyous, remembering many fun times with my father and friends as a little girl; some that had fear attached, like certain moments when I was by myself and felt extremely afraid of shadowy, unknown ‘monsters’ outside of the house; and other memories containing the peaceful energy of playing in the woods, ice skating at a frozen pond with my father and brother, and otherwise enjoying being a child surrounded by love.

The prevalent attitude of many people at the moment seems to be a kind of “What now?” attitude: we have come to this point, December 21st has come and gone, we are still here, standing upon the Earth, some people’s blogs reflect enormous changes which they have personally experienced in the past few days, while others posts reflect a kind of deep disappointment that more, well, exciting things did not occur like they had anticipated. In a way I am reminded of the whole Y2K situation in December of 1999, when so many people were expecting the world to somehow collapse because of the computers not being able to make the shift from 1999 to 2000…. hmmmmmm…..some of you may remember that time!

Back to the “what now?” As I wrote in my last post, I believe that humanity has indeed turned an extraordinary corner, or tide, or whatever metaphor you care to use, somehow our world has shifted fundamentally, signifying not the end, so much as the very beginning of something altogether new here on Earth. Which means that instead of so many of us now being able to simply lay back and take it easy from here on out, we in fact have much more work to do: the very important and infinitely valuable work of awakening the rest of the humans to these changes, helping others realize that Love and Grace are ever-present and we need only to become quiet enough within our souls to hear Love’s voice.

Thank you to Emily of Bella Remy photography for this beautiful photo of a Peace Rose!

Thank you to Emily of Bella Remy photography for this beautiful photo of a Peace Rose!

Recently I also made the remark in a post that one of the most important learnings I have had in the past days is that I need to never again live in fear of anything. I continue to ponder the vast implications of this little phrase. In relation to my blog here, one thing that this knowledge implies is that I no longer need to fear offending or off-putting you, dear Readers, and so I wish to become stronger in my convictions and insights within this platform in the coming year. I will soon be re-vamping Clearskies, Bluewater blog somewhat to reflect my newly-gleaned inspirations and changes in attitude and latitude. Recently I had an interaction with a fellow blogger which gave me pause for thought. Here was one of the blogs which reflected a kind of profound disappointment over the lack of fireworks or some equally spectacular world shakeup happening on the fated December 21st. I could feel the blogger’s disappointment and so, in an effort to encourage and inspire, shared a portion of some advice I had come across in another blog, which happened to be channeled from a high spiritual being. But the blogger, instead of taking the words as encouraging, instead became quite offended and disturbed that I had dared to give her this type of advice, since it was ‘channeled’ and therefore suspect and most likely incorrect, possibly even dis-information which could be harmful.

After a few back and forth comments between us, I reflected on the whole business. It was quite a lesson for me in how easily communication can be misunderstood between those of us in virtual reality (or in face-to-face reality, for that matter.) I know very well that many people are suspicious of channelers and channeled information. Many believe that it is a dangerous or possibly even bordering on mad road to let oneself be used by other, non-human beings who are ‘out there somewhere’ in the spiritual world. Others just plain think the whole thing is utter nonsense, and really just a figment of someone’s over-active imagination. Still others will take channeled messages and teachings as The Gospel, and simply buy it hook, line and sinker. And still others may view it as the work of that old badass Satan and his legions of demons. Upon reflection of this channeling phenomenon, however, I have come to believe even more firmly than ever, that Life-Love-Spirit-God-Goddess (insert the name of your choice here for Divinity) uses whatever methods they can to bring each of us the information, advice and wisdom we need at the time, and at this time in particular, some humans are opening up and allowing spiritual beings whom they have come to know and trust, to use them as a channel, (much like a radio frequency) for specific information. Just as when a person walks into a library and has many choices of what they may read about and gain knowledge from that day, which books to check out and go home to savor and devour, so too can the knowledge, wisdom and information that a person needs or desires be discovered through channeled sources. And the same ‘rules’ apply: Does it resonate with you personally and have meaning? Is it benevolent and kind? Is it plausible to you, meaning can you believe it? Does it fascinate you and make you curious to find out more about it? Does it give you something, rather than take energy away from you? Do you feel more at peace and relaxed after reading or hearing it? These are my determiners for nearly anything I choose to ingest, no matter what the source.

PEACE LILY-Dawn-WilsherThe times are changing, and the wisest course we can all take is to relax and change with them. If in 2012 and beyond, beings from heavenly realms are choosing to communicate with us, either directly in meditation or nature, or else through other humans, I really believe there is no sin in this, and nothing to fear. Remember, the new way of living is through Love, as fear no longer has a place nor any useful purpose. Dear Readers, this is my way of explanation and of telling you all that I have a lot of respect for some of the channeled information I have received through certain bloggers, and come the new year may well re-post certain things I find which seem relevant. I am telling you all this now, so you can decide for yourselves whether to continue to read my little blog in 2013. If you choose not to, for similar reasons as the blogger who became offended with me, I completely understand and respect your decision. I thank you from my deep heart for reading Clearskies, Bluewater in 2012, it has meant a great deal to me that you had the interest and took the time to read my words and reflect on my musings and ponderings during the past year. It has certainly been a significant one for me!

Wishing all of you the very best, brightest, most loving and gentle holy season, no matter where you are on the planet, no matter who you are with, and however you choose to reflect, I hope that you will find much joy, peace and blessings in your life. Namaste, which of course means, I see the Light and the Love within You and I honor It!!
Love, Leigh Jardine, aka. SingingBones


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Bringing the light into darkness

Today is 11-22-2012 (or if you are in Europe, it is 22-11-2012.) Either way, it is a powerful number sequence, and a special day for those of us who have grown up knowing that this is the day when we give thanks for all that we have, for the people who love us and whom we love, and for life itself.

Oh but there is much within my heart today, dear Readers. As well as gratitude for my life, my family, and for all of the things I love, I am also feeling deeply the troubles on Earth, the chaos and turmoil, and especially the sense of disconnection from the source of life itself that so many humans walking the planet must be experiencing. I am making this large assumption because it seems so obviously true. I wonder how people can really feel connected to life, to the source of life, how can they know it when they spend the majority of their time using their senses to engage in quite useless activities with electronic devices, or otherwise waste their time involved in mostly empty and useless engagements. I look around and see people becoming ever more stupid and disconnected. What I wonder the most these days is, How can people wake up and become conscious: of themselves, of each other, and of their source, when they are being constantly bombarded with materialism in an ever more streamlined package?

We are now into the darkest days of the year, here in the northern hemisphere. Between now and the end of January we must endure the least daylight and the most darkness. But beyond the seasons, from all ostensible observations, one could argue that we are also in a period of extreme darkness within humanity, if darkness means ignorance, stupidity and unconsciousness. Even though I read blogs and articles nearly every day which speak of the amount of light we are constantly receiving, and that so many people are waking up and isn’t it so wonderful, etc., somehow the obvious signs of this are alluding me. Where are all of these awake, aware and fully connected human beings they are speaking of? Wherever they are must be wonderful, but I have to honestly say, they don’t really live around here.

That sounds pretty harsh, I admit. And yet. Electronic devices seem to be swallowing the soul of humanity bit by bit, along with humans’ capacities to read real (as in the old-fashioned kind with paper and ink) books, write oh, most anything, by using a pen or pencil and their hands, to add and subtract, and to otherwise engage their minds in an activity that used to be known as ‘thinking.’ I am not referring to thoughts on the level of “when will I meet my friends so we can go shopping, out for dinner and drinking?” This is not really thinking. I mean thinking as in, ‘Who am I, and why am I here? What is the meaning of life on Earth? What is love?’ and similar ponderings. Except for a few of us fifty-somethings and older folk, I wonder if anybody walking around the planet gives much time to consider life’s most important questions.

I mourn the loss of the Big Questions. I mourn the loss of knowledge of history. I mourn the loss of Art and Culture and Beauty. I mourn, maybe most of all, the loss of curiosity about life. It seems that young people have lost their ability to ask Why? after about age 7. The loss of these and many other valuable things that humans have wondered about and created over millenia, have combined to make our world so much less: less interesting, less wonderful, less worth living for.

Even so, I remain an idealist to the end. There is a stubborn part of my soul which simply refuses to give into the massive loss of culture and art and meaning, which clings tenaciously to the small hope that somehow, someday, things will change, people will wake up and throw their ipads and phones and screens away; instead they will look around at the world and at one another, not with cynicism and derision, but with openness, with friendliness, with curiosity. Like awakening from a nightmare, people will awaken to what has been here all along and be able to see it with new eyes, clearly.

In my last post, I quoted some song lyrics to an old song by Patti Smith. She wrote that “people have the power to wrestle the earth from fools. Then it is decreed, the People rule.” But these words are making a large assumption: that the People themselves are no longer fools, and that they have the capacity to rule themselves. At this moment in the history of mankind, it is doubtful as to whether We, the People, actually are wise enough to do it. It is not impossible, but in order to overthrow the fools, we need help from beyond our own limited knowledge. This is simply the plain and obvious fact.

For those of you who celebrate Thanksgiving, dear Readers, I wish you a blessed time with your families, friends and in celebration of home and all you hold dear. For the rest of you, and the world of humanity at large, my wish today is for the light of clarity, wisdom, and grace, to bless you and keep you whole.


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Musings of 11-11

Eleven. The number, according to numerology, of the master. There is something very elegant about it, the ones standing so near to each other, combining to make something much more powerful than one alone or even the number two. The eleventh of November, the eleventh month. Remembrance day, Armistice day, then Veterans day. A gateway to something else. Yes, a way to remember, and to move on.

This past week has been significant in ways large and subtle, both in the world at large, with the U.S. Election, and various shiftings and sortings of the rich and powerful, as well as the shifts and sortings of individuals on profound energetic levels. Tonight I am bone-tired from it all, but still wanted to write something to let you who are reading that I haven’t fallen off the face of the planet, only have taken a breather from blogging to simply be, observe and ponder the curiosities and wonders of this thing we call life.

This afternoon I stood in an old graveyard in an old city here in Sjaelland called Roskilde. There were gravestones from Beethoven’s day there, and an enormous, ancient tree trunk which had been carved into a kind of strange musical instrument, interesting and beautiful. The living trees were even more so, most have nearly lost all their leaves by now, with the exception of some graceful, big birches which were still covered in golden leaves for a little while longer, not quite ready to give them all up to the inevitable. I stood silently observing the bare trees outlined against the late afternoon sky, noticing the pink and golden clouds against the cerulean sky. Winter is coming, the scene was saying, it is nearly here. Cold winds and rain, followed by ice and snow, the sky will change and the days grow shorter until the Winter solstice arrives in all of its dark glory. It has been a melancholic day, dear Readers.

Some days call for ingenuity and cleverness, some days for laughter and silliness, some for solitude and quiet, some for friends and family near. Sometimes we feel wise and happy, sometimes dumb and ridiculous. This life is so full and rich with experience, learning, coming together and falling apart…. though there are consistent themes and threads, a steady routine and kind of predictability, at the same time there are surprises, new things happening, and unexpected moments which keep life interesting and worth pondering. There are wonders all around us all the time, but we simply cannot always see them or feel them depending on our mood and the color of the day. The best I can offer tonight, from my own experience, is to say yes to it all, to allow all of it to move through you like the clouds move over the landscape, to, as deeply as possible, take it all in, and then let it go. Nothing here, it seems, is permanent: not even the most deeply held beliefs, no one, nothing and no place, ultimately, lasts on this planet. We are continuously spinning around in space, whether we choose to notice it or not. The ground is not as solid as it seems, time is more fluid than we think, and space is still a vast mystery which we have yet to understand. What can we do, except yell when we need to, whisper when we ought, kiss our beloveds, hold all others with regard, and most of all, recognize our own beauty and worth, despite our flaws and transgressions, and forgive it all, love it all, and remember to breathe.

I wish you all a good week of living, loving and growing.

“Tell me of despair, yours, and I will tell you mine. Meanwhile, the world goes on.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting–
over and over, announcing your place in the family of things.
  — Mary Oliver


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The razor’s edge between folly and wisdom

Somewhere along the years between being a young adult and the middle-aged person I have become, I learned the old prayer about wisdom. Many of you probably know this prayer: God grant me the the serenity to accept what I cannot change, the courage to change what I can, and the wisdom to know the difference. Some of us have heard this prayer so often that it has fallen into the ‘trite’ category, relegated to those catchy little books one might see in the checkout aisle of a book or gift shop, or its online equivalent. Right now I am pondering what it is to be Wise, to possess wisdom, and this prayer comes to remind me of something essential. Courage, serenity and wisdom: three traits that seem more important than ever to acquire and use in daily life.

What makes a person wise? Think over the people you have known in your lifetime, which ones were fortunate enough to possess true wisdom? For some help, I have consulted my Oxford English dictionary. The word ‘wise’ has several connotations, of course. The ones I am thinking of are as follows: ‘sagacious; prudent, sensible, discreet, judicious, insightful, clear-sighted, discerning, astute, perspicacious.’ Ah, that last one was one of my father’s favorite obscure words. Perspicacious means, ‘easily understood; clearly expressed.’ And for those who aren’t too familiar with sagacious, another great word, it means,’mentally penetrating, gifted with discernment, having practical wisdom.’ There you go.

It seems woefully obvious to me that Wisdom is a quality which many in our collective humanity are currently lacking. You might be thinking that I am being very judgemental by saying this so plainly. But if you look again of what qualities a wise human possesses, and then consider all of the people you know personally, as well as stories of ones you don’t know, you might begin to agree that very few walking the planet today can really be said to be wise.

For many years, I only considered less than a handful of the people I knew to be wise and sagacious. My father was (and still is, in my memory) at the top of my list. All his life he embodied those qualities of prudence, clear-sightedness, sensibility, astuteness, as well as showing me grace and kindness in a thousand small and large ways. Others have also shown me wisdom, most notably some of the teachers I have had throughout my life. In more recent years, I have been blessed to receive the benefits of certain friends’ grace and wisdom.

Maybe one of the blessings of getting older is to be able to see one’s own foolishness more clearly. There is a lot to be said for foolishness, or folly, in building a human being’s character. I have often played the fool in life, done things and made decisions impulsively and without a huge amount of forethought. Some could see this quality in my soul, and referred to me as ‘clownish.’ For many years I struggled with this aspect of my soul, and even now I have to fight my own hurt feelings if someone refers to me in this way. Because there is also something very beautiful about clowns, jesters, mimes; ones who are willing to play the Fool for the others.

In a very real sense, I feel as if I am holding my breath and waiting to see what will happen in our world in the coming days and months. The best advice I have received just now tells me to be as calm and still inwardly as possible, and to find what brings me joy and then practice doing those things. Funny thing is, right now I am not exactly sure what does bring me joy. One blogger wrote about having a feeling similar to when it is getting near to Christmas, and the kind of anticipation and joy that she feels as she gathers gifts for her loved ones and lovingly prepares for the festivities.

One thing is for sure; joy cannot be faked, nor can it be created by intent alone. I cannot ‘make’ myself feel joyful, just as I cannot make myself be wise or guided by grace. These are all things which happen naturally when one walks through life with a kind of openness and non-defensiveness which then allows the presence of joy, wisdom and grace to come forth.

My inscrutably faced sculpture continues to keep me company here as I write these musings tonight, dear Readers. When the time is ripe, he will open his eyes, change his expression, magically get wings and fly away, or else whisper some wise words into my ear to help me understand. Until then, though, the two of us remain with the questions, pondering the changes, and doing our best to hold the light and our love strongly for the world. Just glad to know the rest of you are out there doing the same, giving your best to the world in all the ways you know how. You all give me so much courage and comfort, and smiles and encouragement. I feel the light and the love within you, and I deeply honor it.


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The Myth of Perfection

What comes to your mind when you hear the word ‘perfect?’ Especially as regarding a human being? I suppose each person has their own idea of perfection and what it means, looks like, acts like, its qualities and nature. For myself, the word has connotations that inspire a knee-jerk reaction when I hear someone being described as ‘perfect.’ My skeptical side instantly appears and I suspect that whoever it is, no matter how wonderful they may appear, there is almost always another side to that human lurking somewhere in the shadows, the non-perfect side, which will sooner or later make itself shown. After all, we are all humans, aren’t we? By our very nature, to be human means to be imperfect. Or does it?

A vignette for you, dear Readers: My husband came home from his first philosophy class for teenagers, which he will be teaching for the next couple of months in another city to the north of here. He told me there were four students in the class; three girls and one boy. He paused a moment, then with a wistful look on his face, he informed me that “one girl in the class was, (here again he paused, and smiled ruefully) perfect.” I looked at him, and said, “uh huh,” waiting for the inevitable description of the perfect young girl-woman who had so captured his admiration. He could see that he had lost me in that moment, and could only finish by saying something about ‘what can you say about someone who loves Shakespeare and classical music,” but by then I had already returned to my blog post. You see, it was that word; it stopped me like a heavy door closing in my face. I did not want to hear about his ideal of perfection and grace in female form, my mind closed the instant he uttered the word, and the conversation was over nearly before it began. Okay then!

Why does that idea bother me so much, that someone walking about on the planet could actually be perfect, at least in someone else’s eyes? Have you, dear Readers, been acquainted with a human whom you could honestly say was Perfect? And if so, why? What makes a person have the qualities which constitute perfection? Woah, I think I have gotten in over my head on this one!

When I think back over all the various people I have been acquainted with over the years, a few people spring to mind who hover in the “perfection” category. My dad is one, but for perhaps obvious reasons: I basically adored my father and in my eyes, he could do no wrong. But that’s another story. The other people were women, and I’ll try to describe each one to find out what made them be practically perfect.

The first was a very nice lady I worked with once, she was my supervisor at my first-ever graphic design job. Her name was Michele. She was petite, slim, dark haired and nearly always smiling. She had a warm heart, great sense of humor, calm demeanor and endless patience for lesser humans, like me and some of the other people who worked there. (like the ridiculous man who was our boss, the owner.) Michele seemed to me to have a charmed life: she was married to a pilot, they had a wonderful home in the mountains above Denver, Colorado, two labrador retrievers who were very well-behaved, white carpet in their living room which they, amazingly, kept white, and when they were together, they seemed to have great fun and all sorts of adventures. I don’t know if I ever saw Michele be truly ruffled; when things got a bit harried there at the advertising agency she would simply start singing the song from Mister Rodgers’ neighborhood to keep us calm (it worked like a charm!) What was it about Michele that gave me the impression she was basically perfect? I think it was because she exuded a kind of impervious calm and peaceful energy, was always able to smile no matter what was happening, and seemed to have no real worries or troubles that were apparent. A charmed life she led.

Perfect person number 2 is a woman I know from the town in Wisconsin where I used to live. Her name is Prudence (well that’s a good start towards perfection right there.) This woman also carries the aura of perfection about her as she goes about her life: another smiler, friendly, peaceful, generous and kind to a fault: yes these two definitely have some things in common, including their home life. Prudence’s home life seems practically perfect: a beautiful, custom built home on top of a hill, a caring, loving husband to attend to her every need and whim, enough financial means to enjoy all the best that life has to offer with no worries, one nearly perfect son to love and make his parents proud, and the time and space to devote her life to creative and fulfilling endeavors day upon lovely day. My goodness, she really does seem perfect!

So there is the ideal of human perfection for this writer, embodied in the ideas of happiness, warmth, calm and peace, no ‘problems’ in their lives, just harmony, joy, creativity, adventures and leisure. Would you agree that a person who possesses all these qualities must be basically perfect?

My answer is both yes and no. I can see that this essay is completely subjective; many of you would have very different ideas of which qualities a perfect person would have to possess to classify for this title. Can people be perfect even if they have problems, obvious character flaws, do not smile often, get their rugs dirty? Or in my husband’s eyes, if they don’t love Shakespeare and classical music at age thirteen? What is perfection, really, and who cares? Does it even matter? Isn’t this very notion something old and outworn, outgrown like a snake’s skin, we simply don’t need it anymore? Or do we…

Dear Readers, I apologize for these meanderings tonight. The last thing I will share is what I think is far more important than being ‘Perfect.” And that is, to be interesting! I have some dear friends who taught me about the Japanese concept of Wabi Sabi. As you may know, this concept is based on the idea that things, places, and yes, even people, are at their most beautiful and best when they are indeed not only not perfect, but when we learn to appreciate their imperfections and see their flaws as the very things which make them so interesting, so unique, so wonderous. This concept is of course known to all true artists of every stripe. Forget the ideal of perfection, embrace instead the cracks in the vase or the asymmetry of that face, or that quality in the person who sits next to you at breakfast each morning which drives you absolutely crazy, for it is those very things which endears them, makes them holy, gives them vitality and strength of character: it is the imperfections of life which give the depth and nuances, the color and vibrancy which are so…. perfect!!

Ahh, so, dear Readers, tonight’s ramblings came around in the end to the heart of the matter: the myth of perfection does have a basis in something important and real, and it is a real paradox. Now, would you agree with that definition of perfection?


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No matter how lonely

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely, the world offers itself to your imagination.” –Mary Oliver

It was a perfect, actual summer’s day in Denmark today; blue skies, a few fluffy clouds, temperatures in the mid 20s celsius, (about 77 degrees, or so) the farmers’ fields ripe with tall grain, which they are in the process of harvesting. I took the bus from my teeny town down to a city called Ringsted, to do some errands and as a small way to alleviate utter boredom. People walked about the city center looking relaxed, eating ice cream on sticks, girls and women in summer dresses; even the grouchiest Danes seemed less grouchy than usual. I have to admit, when summer comes to Denmark, brief and rare as it is this summer, it is truly a lovely place to be.

On a day such as this, there seems to be no ostensible reason to feel anything but good and free and happy, right? That could be the basic assumption, I suppose. Yet from the time I got back on the bus towards my teeny new hometown, I became less and less carefree, and in fact ended the evening sobbing. Part of the sobs came from seeing two of my beautiful, young and innocent daughters on Skype tonight, which at first made me so joyful simply to see their radiant faces again after leaving them in the States two months ago, but afterwards the letdown and intense missing of their presence in my life got the better of me. When they asked me, so sweetly, “so how are you doing, Mom?” it wasn’t easy to cheerfully answer, ‘oh I’m fine.’ Nor was it easy to tell them that we are now in a town where there is nothing except one grocery store and a cluster of utterly Danish people with whom I cannot even speak English at all. To do anything interesting requires a bus or train and some money. Admitting all this to them and watching their faces as they took it in, was heartbreaking. Their story was in turn, heartbreaking also: their sole bicycle which the two of them shared, was stolen a week ago in front of the local grocery store because my daughter forgot to bring her bike lock along; they had discovered that the bites they were both experiencing in the night were thanks to bedbugs that have inhabited their rented apartment for far longer than they have; and my younger daughter, who has been waitlisted for the good, alternative middle school a short four blocks away from their home, will have to take a bus at 6:30 am each morning in order to arrive a half hour early for her classes which begin at a shocking 7:30 am at the not-looking-so-good, ordinary middle school she has been assigned to in the meantime.

Of course, none of these complaints are earthshattering; people live with far worse conditions all over the world and I ought to be counting my blessings instead of feeling sorry for all of us tonight. Yet I am anyway, I can’t help it. My frustration level with life in general is, on a scale of 1 to 10, 1 being nonexistent and 10 being Wanting to Scream in the Street, is at about a 9.8 right about now. Life is so ridiculously ironic; when I was in Silkeborg, as boring as a place that it mostly was, at least the forest and lakes saved me. But now that life is gone, it is the past. The future is unwritten. There is only Now, some nice sunny days in a place where there is only my husband to keep me company. He’s wonderful and sweet and I am very grateful for him in my life. But the loneliness of being (again) in a totally new place, in the middle of nothing but grainfields in the middle of a big island at the top of the European continent, surrounded by non-English speaking, shy human beings and having nothing to do except write blogposts and consider what in this world I might even be able to do with myself during the cold, wet days of this coming autumn and winter, overwhelms me in grief tonight.

This afternoon out on the town square in Ringsted, I met a couple of very nice young men, canvassing for Unicef. I spoke with them both for a little while, (in English!) and we had a very nice conversation. These two young Danish men were intelligent, articulate, handsome, bright, awake, interested, compassionate, thoughtful, and creative young people. At one point in the conversation I couldn’t help but blurt out, “I am really sorry that you are inheriting such a messed up world from us.” The young man smiled a brilliant smile, and replied, “it’s allright, we are clever, and we will fix it!” A few minutes later we parted, and as I walked back through the town towards the bus station I kept thinking of him, his brilliance and his confidence. This world, no matter how awful, how lonely and tragic it appears to me through my lens, has hope for something better, something truly wonderful and marvelous to happen, as long as there are beautiful young people like them, like my daughters and their friends in the States, and in fact all around the globe. I really have faith in them, and believe that because of them, what they bring through their love, friendship, kindness and unbelievable amounts of positive energy, we may have a good chance to get through all of the hardships which lie ahead for humanity as we make this huge collective shift from the old way of being on this earth, to the new. There truly is a new paradigm, or protocol, or mode of being on the earth, and these bright young men and women are the heralds of it.It is deeply comforting to me to know that in the midst of my own personal grief and frustrations, the phoenix of Glory rises through them. Even if I never do another worthwhile thing for the rest of my life, I know I have done my part. I have brought and raised three of these new lightbearers here and it is enough. They will (and already do) take my little light and create huge bonfires, as they and their contemporaries will light a fire on this planet that will burn away all the dross, all the egoism, all the pettiness and ugliness of the old ones. And when they do, I will be one of the first to see it, to get up and dance like a mad crazywoman around the burning, singing gloryhallelujah and cackling with glee.

Related articles:

http://feistyredhair.wordpress.com/2012/05/23/the-allure-of-active-activism/

http://www.jackshenker.net/from-elsewhere/how-youth-led-revolts-shook-elites-around-the-world.html


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Moon Prayers

The full moon energy of the past couple of days has been extraordinary. Do you not also feel its intensity, dear Readers? I have not been able to sleep through the night as the moon has been waking and daring me to experience its silvery, mysterious powers.

During the past days I have heard stories from friends of death, illness (including a friend’s mother having a stroke), and high drama while travelling. And in the larger world, (although I am not following the usual horror stories in the media,) I did read about the astonishing fact that scientists tracking conditions in Greenland discovered that 97% of the ice melted during this past July. Of course we mustn’t forget the continuation of enormous solar flares which keep pelting us earthlings with more solar electromagnetic force than ever, for all we know. Anyone else out there feeling exhausted for no good reason lately?

La Luna shines down upon me from her lofty position in heaven as I write this tonight. I surrender to her loveliness and power. I am holding prayers in my heart for those whom I love and am concerned about this night. May they be well, be strengthened and healed from their infirmaries and regain precious balance. May Luna’s presence shine upon them with mercy and love. May we all keep carrying on and doing what we have come to this earth life to do. Gracefully.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UdZO2Au0pqE&feature=related

When the dark wood fell before me
And all the paths were overgrown
When the priests of pride say there is no other way
I tilled the sorrows of stone

I did not believe because I could not see
Though you came to me in the night
When the dawn seemed forever lost
You showed me your love in the light of the stars

Chorus:
Cast your eyes on the ocean
Cast your soul to the sea
When the dark night seems endless
Please remember me

Then the mountain rose before me
By the deep well of desire
From the fountain of forgiveness
Beyond the ice and the fire

Chorus

Though we share this humble path, alone
How fragile is the heart
Oh give these clay feet wings to fly
To touch the face of the stars

Breathe life into this feeble heart
Lift this mortal veil of fear
Take these crumbled hopes, etched with tears
We’ll rise above these earthly cares

Please remember me
(Loreena McKennitt, Dante’s Prayer)