Saturday, May 19, 2012

She is pure-out, full-on glory and grace

Some people are just born with grace in their beings, blood, breath. Maybe not enough people, but enough to remind the rest of us of the path that is possible and the way of that path.

I watch her. She walks toward me, it has been months since I have laid eyes on her. I see first her beauty. Her hair is a new color, but it is rich and deep like her and it must be the color she was born with because it not only becomes her, it is her. Her beauty reaches out in front of her and trails behind her, it reaches softly like her being and like her smile. I feel that first, I see it second.
I look harder.
And then I see her now.
She walks with what is more than an imperceptible limp, an almost awkward gait. She walks with that delicate precision that is the giveaway of the too careful, it is the sign where anything less or anything more, is far too painful if not impossible. She is fighting a new battle, one of many and this one the hardest, this one is to keep walking and keep moving and make the impossible, possible, it is the one that is her statement, "I am winning this round."

We hear  about and see diseases, the kind that eat away, the kind that destroy, the ones of the mind that leave the silent, the ones of the body that bit by bit take it all away.  I have watched my mother, my sister, my sweetheart battle pain that I can't comprehend. I have watched one friend die with cancer and when she left being so transparent, weightless and changed in body, that there was nothing left but her bright and shining soul.
This friend has battled one illness after another, she has opened the door to death, smiled graciously as is her way, had the requisite conversation and gently but firmly closed the door with a firm, "please come back later." Death and death's dark friends the ones that challenge and hone, scare and silence us, have stood watching her, too often. They took her mother, her grandmother, her aunts, all the women, a decade before they were as old as she. She is determined to fight the fight of her ancestors and her own at one time and win the battle for all of them.

She is one of the truly brave and beautiful. Her childhood scarred and scalding. Too much of the never-knowing, the unexpected grief and pain, the judgment, the dark corners, everything but the comfort and the consistency, everything but the grace and graciousness that are her inherent being, everything that would challenge her young and make her want to be normal, because she believed normal would be where she would finally find acceptance or safety. At 60 she has finally begun to accept, normal is not, and has never been, her path. She has had a string of successful careers and businesses, and a string of disappointments. She has been the outspoken speaker for the underdog, the downtrodden, the abused and the scared. That voice of truth cost her a business and a home she loved, those in power bent on taking it all away from her not realizing that all to her was her boys and her own heart and they had no power over those. They had come to tell her the night before, "you leave tomorrow, we are evicting you in the morning, it is over." Quietly she had closed the door, turned back to the music, smelled her just-picked flowers, continued baking and cooking, feeling the softness of the home she loved, determined that until the last conceivable moment she would immerse herself in all of it.

She raised those boys alone, no help from their father, she worked, she nurtured, she never missed a chance to empower them or support them or encourage them to be everything a human can be. And, they are. Now they are men that we all long to know and meet, kind, compassionate, smart, successful and fully devoted to their wives and children, doing it all, just like she did.

She would go on and earn degrees in her spare time and use those to speak for herself and for those who most needed  to be spoken for. She would reach out her hand to help someone to and over the bridge that they could not even see.  At some point she began to understand her work was other-wordly---that it was about energy seen and not seen. She became the student of the shaman's path.
Physician heal thyself.
Go to the place that is the darkest place within you, the dark place of the spiritual, of the emotional, of the physical and find your way back. And when you have done it, do it again, and again, and again.

She has. Her body born fragile, has continued to be challenged every year, always with more to come. And now on top of all of those challenges, the little tick that bit her years ago and left its poison to wreak a demolition derby in her body for the next five years has almost won. The views are split and many, how do you heal those with this type of sickness, what might work, or has the best chance of working before everything quits working. She has taken the only path for her. Wholistic and careful and non-traditional. Expensive, more than she makes in a month. She walks, she drives, she works, she takes care of the animals, her doctor unable to understand how she can do any of it, but it is who she is and she will do it.

She tells me, "last week I began walking into chairs and tables and I cannot control the direction of my steps, the pain is unbearable and I am scared."

I am running out of words, I am running out of hope to spread, I only can find a little humor and a true, real question to share. "WHAT were you f--ing thinking when you wrote the blueprint for this life? what were you thinking to become a saint in one go-round???"

She laughs. She nearly always finds a laugh. But the laugh itself is quiet and thoughtful. She has lived so many miles of challenge, of fight. She has always found her way and she has always found her way alone. The moments when most she has needed anyone, they have not been there. She has not complained, (I try to think when I have ever heard her complain) but she has suffered and then she has gone on, to heal herself and do it. It is as she says, her path.

I watch her walk towards me. I see her pain. I see her heart. I hold her heart in mine.
I have faith in her.

I see her glance behind her at darkness and his friends, she waves to them and keeps walking towards me.
She is nothing but beautiful.
She is one of the strong, one of the Amazon strong and she is pure-out, full-on grace and glory.

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Liquid Brain, The All Out Snotty Crying Strength, "It Is What It Is"

Four years ago it was always the same. I'd go see the Healer, he would look at me and I would begin to cry, not just a little crying, not the sissy kind of crying but the big-full-on-broken-down-full-on-wearied-out-full-on-worn-out-gone-to-hell-in-a-handbasket-full-of-snot-crying. The hiccuping kind. The kind you most often feel stupid after. The kind that if you "pride"yourself on strength, makes you mad as hell you "showed" weakness. The kind that after it happens more than three times you finally give in to the learning and say, "It is what it is." Sometimes it might be the quickest way of getting to "It is what it is."

Meme told me she'd had a full-out-hiccuping-day-long-cry and she was really upset with herself. That's the way strong women are until they aren't, until they get to, "it is what it is." Or, until they get to the place they realize that in certain moments we don't have a clue and we can't define what it actually is: bad, indifferent, educational, life-changing, beautiful, funny, awful, awfully good, what it is or  the opposite of what it is. Sometimes it really is about silver linings, things that are illusions, grace on the other side of that waterfall of challenge, strength in the middle of the snotty nosed cry. Sometimes maybe oftentimes it is about how when life shifts up our lessons we have to shift up our labels and our semantics to keep up---and most often we do this with a WTF planted on our faces, our bodies rolled into question marks and all if it, right before we hit our knees.

Meme's long ass hiccup day of crying had taken her straight to that place and the place we find ourselves loudly saying, "this isn't me, this isn't who I am. I am stronger than this."

I'd said to her, "But it is. It is who you are, it is who we all are. We are all the pieces and all the parts and it is always what it seems and what it doesn't seem and most especially when we say, it isn't who we are..."

 I told her that the year of liquid brain had brought me to a clearer understanding of things like who we are and what we take for granted about ourselves and how we think about ourselves and the pieces that make it all up, that with liquid brain it all goes melting down the street in front of us and we can see it but it has all run together and so we stare and wait until it solidifies a little bit and forms any kind of new solid whole that once again spells out life. Liquid brain is like throwing ourselves up in the air in pieces and watching as they float back down and happiness is catching some of them and putting the some back together. The some back together becomes the new story and new stories mean change, mean we've moved on from the old and the letting go and we are free to write the new challenge, with new humor and new sweet. We can trade the old weak for a new strong, the old job for a new title, the cancer for the grace, the family can expand with in-laws and the story can grow as long as we need it to, until it is time to throw ourselves up and catch the rewrite, again.

Liquid brain is like snotty nosed crying, it brings you up short and just pauses you and you go on living as best you can and in a way that usually people only get a glimmer of how far you have melted and how far you have to go. Sometimes they see a together person when all you see is that liquid running down the street in front of you. Perceptions, perspective. Damn if it doesn't make you strong while it softens up all your edges, and damn if when you put your Humpty Dumpty self back together again you don't discover that you are no longer made of something hard, something rigid, something really defined, but instead, something sweetly, strongly soft with blurred and open spaces and something that  if you fall, will only crack, heal and then be whole again.

She repeats. "This isn't me, I don't wallow, I'm so strong, I never cry." And I think how all that crying and all that liquifying and all that letting go only made and makes me stronger  and how it is making her stronger too.

It is hard to pick up one illusion and discard another, hard to become everything we believe we are not. But if we can find that place inside that recognizes or gets the slimmest math glimmer of parts of the whole, we can maybe get to the loving of each of the parts. And whether the part is the big snotty cry that takes us straight to strength,  the big shout of whoohooo that takes us straight to heart, the big glue of laugher that holds it all together or  the big sigh of surrender that takes us straight to where it really all happens, it is what it is and what it is, is all of it.

Wednesday, May 9, 2012

Moving Through Hatred

We have had this talk more than a few times these last two decades, the Healer and I. The talk about the times to come, the earth changes, the changes in consciousness that have to happen, the big fork in the road, and the way home. In the last few years each time it becomes harder and harder for me to understand human behavior and judgment I have found solace that it is in the moving through we get to the other side. It is in the suffering, we find Grace. It is what it is and within that there is a way.

I dread going downstairs to Mama's today. It is all I can do myself to get out of bed. My heart is like a boulder. Last night for the first time in 20 years, my Sweetheart went outside and screamed into the sky, not once but five times. He screamed. What else can you do at times but send it  up to to the angels. That is my take on screaming into the sky. His was knowing full well that neighbors on all sides but one had probably voted For this day. He wanted them to know how he felt. He wanted them to know he hated them. I feel like crying, Mama will have cried already, I believe my Sweetheart has cried as well, although he will never let me see that.

Last night as he screamed I went to the place of eerie quiet where it is all there is to do. It is the place where helplessness and hope meet inevitability and shrink into nothing. And nothing is what it all becomes in that moment until it re-forms and guides me someplace different.

I tell him I cannot bear to hear the word, to not say the word, I am almost shouting myself, silence to shouting can too often come quickly.

"DON'T say HATE."

"I hate them all, all of them who voted this way, I hate all of their ignorant, stupid, uneducated, self-righteous, Christian selves."

"Don't make like the Bible scholar you aren't. It is not all the Christians, so don't blame the Christians.

"You tell me what you want me to call them and I'll call them that."

I don't have the answer. I am not sure in this moment how to define without labeling how to explain without judging, how to even talk about it.  It is the calling each other anything except the sweet and good where the walk becomes precarious, it is only in the love we are safe. But in this moment I'm faltering. I think of Billy and Franklin and spending money on the bill boards for hate. I know they didn't speak for God even if they are so misguided they believe they did. My own anger boils up and it is all I can do to not scream at the sky myself. It is like that with hate. Hate begets hate and it multiplies as fast as rabbits and rats.  I think that the religious leaders of Iran who foster hatred and the religious leaders of America who foster hatred are no different. I think about how the "right" is to me so wrong and the label in that. I think about governments built on religion, wars raged for religion, and the narrow views of the few. I think The Handmaid's Tale is not a work of fiction, of the 1,000 bills in legislatures across this country legislating women's activities, health, behaviors, of the fear, of the need to be right, of the hatred driving it all. I think of the  Dalai Lama who said it would be the Western Woman who would change this world. I think it is time to dress up, get out of the house and start the world changing. I wonder which state I'll be living in next. I think it was easier when I moved from NC to Seattle the first time, it was me, Milda and the pick-up truck. Now how to get us all there and how would Mama adjust.

I think about it all and try to find my hope. I think about it all and try to keep my faith. I think about it all and know that love is always the only way out and through, around and over, the only thing and way that makes the big changes, brings about the big healing. I think about it all and step clear and dead into the center of the hatred that boils and spews and wounds and kills. I step into that center and know that this is the path of healing, this is the path of finding our way home, this is the way and the place we all go back to love, but only, only, when we all get sick enough of hatred, we can hate no more.

(Note: This is written on May 9, 2012 the day after North Carolina passed an amendment to their Constitution. An amendment as I understand it funded by a hate group and 12 years in the making. An amendment that will take away rights not only of homosexuals but heterosexuals, the 2nd amendment to the NC Constitution, the first being against interracial marriage. A sad history and a sad present.)