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Saturday, January 23, 2016

To Treasure Peace

Watching the Storm. Photo by Kyla
Reading the phrase "treasure peace" in the online comment of another poet, speaking about a third person's poem, I began wondering what treasuring peace would involve.

Right now my old cat is very fussy, disturbed perhaps by the unusual snow outside the window, or by fleas who have not yet succumbed to the flea treatment that I applied just an hour ago. If treasuring peace involves remaining peaceful in my state of mind, I need to watch closely how I react to the cat's insistence on jumping to places I don't want her to be, like a shelf full of crystals or a table where a lit candle burns.

Ordinarily she doesn't do this kind of thing, so I am not practiced in fielding it. I can get adrenalized, being concerned about my treasures. Which of course include her. She is a major treasure.

And it's pretty easy to get far away from neutral quite fast, when my options for handling this are limited. I can't put her outside, for instance, not in this kind of storm, even if she were an outdoor cat which she is not.

In larger life, involving much more complex human interactions, how much harder it is to remain at peace, to remember what the treasures are, to avoid the trap of protecting one set of treasures at the expense of what may be greater ones.

So, no easy rules of thumb here, no simple answers.

So many of our fights and wars come from conflict over treasure. Not only physical treasure but the treasures of rights and of beliefs, of cultural sanctity in the face of erosion and inevitable change. Perhaps people choose some of those treasures and decide to make a stand defending them, or promoting them, and become caught up in that choice and decision, and lose sight of treasures such as peace.

Anyhow, here we are.

Here's a thought: Even in the midst of turmoil, even on a battlefield, a single moment contains peace. I doubt I could, in a battlefield, muster the focus to tune myself to that fragmented peace, that is contained in time, but I know it's there because I can imagine it. I also know it's there because in times of personal turmoil, less trying than an actual physical battle, I have managed to stop and discover that smallest note of peace.

Like a very tiny chime, a nearly invisible glisten, a second's whisper, the slightest movement of the air -- these seeds of peace are there, and miraculous to find.

The cat has found a place where she can be still, now, under a table that has a cloth nearly to the floor. No damage was done. If she sleeps a while I think she'll wake feeling better.

If I keep reminding myself to treasure peace, perhaps I also will wake feeling better.

So many humans are fleeing terribly unpeaceful lands, now, and many are drowning in the sea. If you wish to help, please consider supporting MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), a Malta-based registered foundation (VO/0939) dedicated to preventing loss of life by providing professional search-and-rescue assistance to people in distress at sea or trapped on unsafe vessels.

And may many trillion seeds of peace put forth life.

Sunday, January 17, 2016

Releasing Eris, Part Two

(Please also see Part One, Releasing Eris, Goddess of Discord and Strife)
Creative Change. Photo by Kyla
"Peace is not merely a distant goal that we seek, but a means by which we arrive at that goal." -- Martin Luther King, Jr.

I continue to find myself drawn to this idea of releasing Eris. It has great magnetism for me, because there is something about the whole idea of "the good Eris" that puzzles me, and engages me deeply.

I get the concept, all right, or I think I do: we all have the capacity for hostility, enmity, strife, and if we allow those feelings -- Eris -- to rule us, trouble mushrooms. And if instead...what? What is it we can really do with this human experience that can result in benefit for all of us?

A lot has been said and written and preached about this, for ages -- one famous message I keep looking at is attributed to Lao Tse, and basically says that it all comes down to the ability of the individual to abide in peace. If you want peace in the nations, you need peace in the towns. If you want peace in the towns, you need peace between neighbors. If you want peace between neighbors, you need peace in the homes. If you want peace in the home, you must be at peace, yourself, in your heart.

It's hard to imagine that bringing our own hearts to peace is really the most powerful thing we can do in the face of racism, torture, rampant injustices of all kinds, and individuals and groups who behave with violence and bring about destruction.  I take what Dr. King was saying to mean this: if I truly want to have a positive effect, if I am going to take any action toward bringing peace to a troubled scenario, I need to be a peaceful person, fundamentally, to have a quality of inner congruence, to be at peace with myself, in order to be effective.

Even if I am not going to take action on any larger stage, developing that quality in myself affords me the opportunity to contribute that peaceful energy to whatever situations I do interact with, and that's a value in itself.

Some people dismiss that idea as some kind of woo fluff, idealistic baloney. I don't think, though, that we can easily dismiss Dr. King as an ineffective naval-gazer. I think he spoke from the experience of a seasoned activist who faced into some of the worst this world has to offer.

So what does that mean now? I honestly don't know, except that my own experience tells me that any personal decisions, choices, or creative acts I take are stronger if they come from an inner place of a kind of integrity which requires that I be at peace with myself.

When Eris gets activated in individual circumstances, there's a lot of value in putting attention right exactly on whatever is lit up. What's the trigger point, why is it there, what's underneath it, and most of all, why does it have such power?

If I can get a handle on those questions, I free up my own creativity greatly. I don't think we have any evidence one way or another about how this kind of witnessing -- someone I recently read calls it Radical Contemplation -- can affect larger world events. Probably because in living memory it hasn't ever been implemented.  I suspect, as U.S. leaders go, President Jimmy Carter came darn close to operating that way, but nobody else I am aware of.

It's real easy to become angry and enraged, in reaction to current events on a world scale, even on a community scale in many instances. Where we go next, after the anger gets stimulated, is the issue. Do we go into investigation? and look for a stance that is inclusive of everyone? Or do we let the enmity -- the bad Eris -- be the boss of us?

I know there are those who say that we should just not look at things that upset us, that in order to create a better world, we must focus on positive ideas and feelings. I won't argue that there's nothing to the power of focusing for creative effectiveness, but I do observe, over a fairly wide range of experience, that refusing to look, and going into denial, are traps for the consciousness, and pull a tremendous amount of power to sustain, power that could be used to actually create benefit and change.

Reality is far more plastic and maleable than it appears. Eris challenges us, I believe, to look directly into the face of what presents as reality, and make some choices, and learn from them.

Here's what Peace Pilgrim (from Her Life and Works in her Own Words) has to say about this: "No outward thing - nothing, nobody from without - can hurt me inside, psychologically. I recognized that I could only be hurt psychologically by my own wrong actions, which I have control over; by my own wrong reactions (they are tricky, but I have control over them too); or by my own inaction in some situations, like the present world situation, that need action from me. When I recognized all this how free I felt! And I just stopped hurting myself."

If you feel the present world situation needs action from you, here are a few options to consider:

Support MOAS (Migrant Offshore Aid Station), a Malta-based registered foundation (VO/0939) dedicated to preventing loss of life by providing professional search-and-rescue assistance to people in distress at sea or trapped on unsafe vessels.

Help rebuild the University of Baghdad's destroyed art library.  Here's a Kickstarter campaign for that effort.

Support amnesty for Palestinian poet Ashraf Fayadh, sentenced to die by Saudi Arabia, for apostasy.  And while you're at it, read some of his poems.

And may Eris go free, and our hearts learn peace.

Friday, January 15, 2016

Releasing Eris, Goddess of Discord and Strife

Eris "in the center of it all". Photo by Kyla
Happy New Year! These days I am thinking a lot about Eris, daughter of Nyx (Night), Greek deity of Strife and Discord, said to be Ares' (Mars') companion. So, she is a female war goddess. Eris is also the name of a recently discovered planet out by Pluto. When first discovered, the body was named Xena (for the T.V. character).

In the astrology of the coming year, so I hear, Eris will be featured all year in a close aspect with the planet Uranus, who is said to bring upheaval, electrifiying change, even revolution.

A friend of mine sent me a stone not long ago, which her sister picked up on the Greek Island of Pireaus, site of some temple ruins that apparently are layered, one on another, and at different times were consecrated to a variety of deities. I don't know if Eris was one of those deities, but for some reason my friend and I both began calling the little rock "the Eris stone" -- I suppose because we'd been talking about Eris when the stone arrived.

Hesiod is the main ancient authority on Eris, from what I have read, and he held that there are two Erises, one bad and one of benefit if humans take up her challenge. I read this to imply that when strife and discord arise, how we individually respond is going to determine much.

If we join in the fray, take up arms of words or acts, Eris may do as she did on the battlefield of Troy, and grow huge from feeding on anger and anguish if not directly on our blood.

Yes, Happy New Year. We have spent a lot of human energy, as a race, feeding the bad Eris, it seems. We are reaping that harvest. Perhaps we still have choices. Perhaps we can still, as Victor Frankl would teach us, choose to act in accordance with what we know is right, kind, and good, regardless of what others may do, even to us. The more we feed the bad Eris, the harder that becomes. I imagine you, like I do, know that from personal experience. It can get pretty difficult to starve out that one and take up the rough training of the good Eris, who can instruct us in how to make peace even on a battlefield. Or at least she can on our personal battlefields.

The stone I have, that we're calling the Eris stone, in fact resembles a kneeling woman, wrapped in a white robe, with her head lifted. I fancy Eris also is asking for a better way, for release from her ancient service, for liberation from the fields of war, whether bloody great battles of nations and armies, or the wars we fight in our homes and hearts.

Eris, may you be released now from your bindings, and go free into a realm of peace, where the strong bones you have built can find delight in works of kindness instead of what has trapped you, and us, for these long eons.

Be it so.

Monday, November 16, 2015

Items of Note on the Journey

Healing Herb. Photo by Kyla
Hello to you! This will perhaps be a disjointed post, because there are several disparate items I will share. That quality of uncertain connection seems apropos, given the explosive moment we're enduring.

First I acknowledge the gravity of the collective moment. The events in Paris and Beirut on Friday November 13, 2015 are as tragic as any we've seen. My best prayers for peace and for hope are with all involved and especially all hurt in these attacks. I am not going to add my voice to analyses or investigations. I am going to focus on holding that big wound in our world within an embrace of all that remains whole.

There is much that remains whole. I am unwilling to be drawn into the gravitic vortex of terror. Witnessing events from a stance of kindness and neutral affect to the degree possible is always more effective in bringing healing. I leave reactions to others; there is no lack of willing beings taking up that role.

I have been meaning for a while to share here some material from Alex Collier. Likely most readers here won't know that name. Alex is a contactee who from childhood has been in touch with beings who identify themselves as Andromedans. Whatever you may believe about such events, know that Alex himself is a delightful man who offers what he understands and has been informed of with great humility and heart. Not one of those "I know The Way" speakers, at all. I value that attitude of service greatly and always feel supported in my own journey when I connect with Alex Collier's work.

Recently in a video he shared some material that bears contemplation. He prefaced this by saying he had been given this by the A's (his short name for his Andromedan friends) years ago and that it continues to unfold for him. He also said that, within the Universe, regardless of race or type of expression, we souls are really all about the same, inside.

This material, for your thoughts, if you care to consider it, is the A's brief description of The Soul's Journey:

1) Stating One's Intention:  Creating and acknowledging your purpose to
leave timelessness

2) Initiation:  Preparing your soul, your self, purifying, centering your

3) Surrendering:  Letting go of control, allowing vulnerability, leaving
behind what is known

4) Embracing the physical form:  Walking into the physical form

5) Wandering in time:  The soul through experience gathers its tools of

6) Becoming the light or the flame:  Consciously connecting with the
spirit, becoming truly responsible in meaningful relationships, and
discovering and becoming empathy

7) Learning to be of Service:  Being able to truly see through the illusions
of separateness, being humility and joy, teaching by being

8) Transformation: Observing, listening, being still all in silence.
Creating the being that is one. And changing your vision of self that
alters all perception

 -- Alex Collier and the Andromedans

This is verbatim and sent via email at my request from Alex's website: http://www.alexcollier.org/

On Friday, I felt the attacks long before I learned what had happened. My physical body registered pain and my inner (felt-sense) being felt like it was being shoved way out of shape -- kind of like a pillow being crushed by gears into some bizarre asymmetry. Friday night, I dreamed about men with guns who threatened to beat me up. Then Saturday morning I learned what had been happening in the world.

I've been spending the time since bringing myself into balance and anchoring that balance as best I can.

Yesterday, to my delight, a late butterfly (a Painted Lady, Vanessa cardui) showed up in the garden. At first I was not able to get close long enough to get a good picture. Then, she got trapped inside a tent we have set up out there. I photographed her in there and then was able to brush her through the opening.

After that she sat still long enough for a better picture.

May you always find blooms just when you need them.

Tuesday, September 15, 2015

Speaking the Obvious

Photo by Kyla
 Hello friends. It's been so long since I posted here it seems it would only be fair to send out a short note and say to those who may wonder that yes I am still here, and say also that it's unlikely I'll post much more in this particular blog. I believe it may have completed its lifespan and served its purpose.

I'm not going to try to make it go away or offer any absolute statement of its end because who knows? I may find inspiration to breathe more life into this. I'm not a door-closer or a bridge-burner by choice, ever.

Still, my attention and focus and creative energy are taking a different direction. I'm writing more poetry and posting some of it here:


Right now it looks like that blog is going to be quite a bit more active than this one. So come on over there if you care to know what I'm up to.

I wish you all grace and Godspeed through the current and coming changes on planet Earth.

Stay true to your own core and don't believe anyone who tells you you have to do things their way.

And, be well.

Wednesday, July 8, 2015

Cosmic Reset

Green Jewel. Photo by Kyla

My apologies, but that is exactly how things feel right now.

I'm still in the garden and the garden has gone quite strange. I have no idea who of my original readers might still be reading these occasional missives, nor of who shows up later, but, welcome, hello, and greetings from a rapidly changing realm.

Well, you already knew that, no doubt, as you live in it too.

The sensation that big endings are imminent has been building rapidly in the past week. I guess that's the "doom" part. There is a feeling of doom, of not-quite-hopelessness, of "it is already written so just watch, now."

The "-alicious" part is an odd companion to that first feeling but is inextricably woven through it. It's an ebullience, an almost frothy delight in whatever catches that part of the wave. I struggle for a better way to describe it -- but to be honest, it may be utterly beyond anybody at this point.

A Cosmic Reset involves shifts in the base fabric of being and none of us really can know what that feels like on the inside, in advance of experiencing it. It's tempting to try to assign meanings to the sensation, from psychology, or physical biology or whatnot. Sometimes the fit is good enough we are convinced for a while, until the next anomalous emergence into our weary awareness. Then we may become frustrated, even angry, that we cannot control things like we think we are supposed to.

The garden is not doing well. In a way. In another way it is exactly as it needs to be, should be, and it is beautiful! But certain processes are failing, certain plants and creatures are not behaving as expected, and for a gardener who doesn't remember to look up from the compost and observe some context, this can be pretty disheartening. I forgot, for a while, that this garden expresses the context it exists in. When all the seabirds on a Florida Key that is a prime nesting site suddenly all species at once abandon nests and eggs, it is a signal that the usual explanations are not sufficient.

I feel like I am living in a bubble. I can see out, and events affect me, sometimes very deeply. My heart has been wrenched more than once in recent times with the ugly acting out of racial hatreds, and the desperate plight of creatures in a world they cannot understand how to survive.

Yet I am separated from all that, and the sensation is truly of being inside glass walls. Not only can "it" not get in; I cannot find where energy expands outward. For a while I thought something was wrong, but then looking up for context and also checking in with some friends who are feeling similarly, I realized, no, this is where I am stationed to observe and, I sure hope, survive whatever is bearing down on us, to change that which no longer has life code enough to go forward.

When you have a system that is made of entertwined elements, some of which live forward and some of which become crushed in the pressure, it just takes some adjustment, some attention, some mindfulness, and yes, some time, for it all to balance out.

It's a big balancing out now. Doomalicious, people.

Fly on, and may there be safe landings when we most need them.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Thank you, Maya

Image by Maya Chae
There are various ways of getting wings, and I don't recommend the one my friend and sister-in-spirit took, on March 7, the day before Daylight Savings Time began. For one thing, I suspect very few of us have the internal fire necessary to take a fatal overdose of some kind of soporific or opiate, and then override that stupor to shoot right on out of all traps, which is what I now feel and believe she did.

Good for you, Goddamn it! Maya had far more than her share of both physical and emotional trials. I won't detail much of that except to say that she could barely walk at times, she who used to dance, who had been an athlete. The pain she experienced was extreme and outrageous. She struggled for over ten years to find ways to get better and become self-reliant again -- a most self-reliant soul, it hurt her just to have to depend on others for basic needs.

Maya was never a sob sister, never overly emotional, except in times of great crisis. I know she frustrated many health practitioners and helping folks, some to the point of anger at times. It so often seemed she would be doing great and then, within days or hours, there was another emergency, another dire need. It was hard at times not to ascribe this to some weakness of hers she should be able to fix, but I don't believe that was the case.

And, you know? That part is over. I want to just sing out Maya's beauty. She had a raucous sense of humor I am going to miss like crazy. She was so damn smart, if anyone past the veil of death is able to come back and read messages on the internet, it would be Maya. And now, the electro-magnetic pollution of being online won't be able to touch her. I like to believe she is thumbing her nose at all the triggers that kept shooting her down, over and over and over, while she was in that broken body.

Her artistic sensibilities and talents are also going to be badly missed. She shared so much with me (and with others also) of music, images, performance art she would find online that was both deep and experimentally edgy.

Ah not even that says what I want to say though. Her soul, her spirit, had that flashfire we all need a hell of a lot more of on this planet. She was an activator. She could blow you right out of your complacency with a phrase or a joke cracked at the expense of whatever pretense was sludging up the works that day.

That she stuck it out as long as she did tells me she loved her life, she claimed her life, she wanted to be here. She had a period, while the Occupy movement was a central event, of talking about her idea of Occupy Body -- that we all needed to Get Here, to occupy our bodies for real and true and stop going about like the dumb sheep we often behave like, sleeping our way through life.

So, I'm not going to say rest in peace, Maya. I'm saying, you dance, girl, you dance on.

Flash on through the stars. I can still see you.

Psychopomp. Image by Maya Chae