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Sunday, February 26, 2012

Traveling To Someplace Else

As most of you know I lost my father-in-law on the 23rd of February. There's really nothing we can say or do when somebody we love dies. We must adjust and move on. This is life. And miraculously we do move on, putting one shaky foot in front of the other until we're someplace else.

I've resurrected this post on mortality. It seems appropriate in light of recent events. It is my attempt at moving forward while embracing a great loss. I hope you enjoy it.

I’ve been contemplating my own mortality lately, which I blame on a run of unexpected deaths within my small tribe of family and friends. Since the beginning of time people have come and gone. It’s as natural as the sun, and the air, yet it still seems utterly barbaric to me; particularly the way some of us die.

Truth really is stranger than fiction, and if I were to write a book about a planet where people mysteriously disappear, without a trace… forever, it would be considered science fiction. Yet, this is our reality.

Nobody really knows where we all go when we die. I like believing in heaven, no more tears, like that baby shampoo, but I’m rather clueless as to what heaven really means. I comfort friends when they lose somebody, telling them how natural this cycle is, but I’m ashamed to admit that on the inside I’m really relieved that it wasn’t me or my loved one.

This dying thing is totally unnerving.

The young seem nonchalant about death. Of course their bodies are still under warranty, needing just fuel and tires to operate smoothly, but my warranty has long since expired, and each morning I suspiciously eye my body in the mirror, hoping it will get me where I need to go for the day.

Some people live with death in mind, taking their vitamins, and avoiding the proverbial cracks in the road of life. Others dive in and tempt fate, trying such stunts as bungee jumping, swimming with sharks, or online dating. Me…. I defy death in my own timid way; like ordering the double mocha-choka latte in lieu of the skinny one.

My mother used to tell me that I was put here in order to learn how to trust God, love others, (including mean people) and love myself. Good answers. But when I’m lying awake at 2 am, rehearsing an argument that I will never have with my neighbor, because his dog won’t stop barking, these answers seem irritatingly cliché.

Why go through so much trouble learning all of these lessons if I’m not going to use them for long?

Perhaps I’ll be using my acquired wisdom in some place more evolved? A heavenly place not contaminated with the rage of hate, or selfish indifference. A place where acceptance is not based on appearance, or wealth, and love is spread generously, like butter on bread, and shared with every hungry soul.

Our planet is awe-inspiring. It’s alive with creatures that move to a set rhythm, working toward the common goal of survival. When I see a tiny humming bird hovering at a bloom, carefully navigating a sip of nectar, it moves me to tears.

I’m fascinated at the nervous hesitancy of a gray squirrel approaching an open field, cautiously surveying the danger level, and then running like hell with its tail all wild and fluffy, until it’s safe again in the refuge of a great tree.

All of these things speak to me about the cycle of life. I often feel superior to the creation around me; perhaps because I can walk on two legs and have the ability to use hand tools, but in reality, I am small, and I must follow the same natural laws as the squirrel and the humming bird.

Right now it is my turn to walk this planet and then the next generation shall replace me. My footprints will fade as the tide of years washes over them, but I believe that my spirit will venture onward, strengthened by the harsh lessons of this journey, walking an unknown road to a distant land which some have named heaven.

While I'm here I want to live big, and from my heart, so that in the end I can smile and say, “I’m ready for my next journey.”

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Omniscient Soul Mate

Closing your eyes for what seems like a moment, you awaken to find that you’ve been transported… carried across a timeless threshold and placed in the arms of an embracing light. This white-hot love, pulsing with the intensity of a thousand suns, slices through the tender folds of your failing heart, releasing your captive soul from its fleshy cage. You surrender, smitten, oblivious to the waning world as it loosens its boney grip from your life.

“Where am I?” You ask, timidly engaging this omniscient soul mate.
Whispered answers nourish your hungry spirit.

It’s incomprehensible, this euphoric passage, yet you assimilate effortlessly, being drawn in deeper, immersed in a drenching love that awakens you to your true essence.

Your focused eyes sparkle with clarity, finally open to the breathless truth. You remember this place, and weep with joy at having found your way home.

Spirit and soul join hands, creating a perfect circle of love.

It is a new day.

Dedicated to my father-in-law, Griff, who made his journey home today, February 23, 2012.

We miss you all ready Dad.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

History of Mardi Gras YTT

Josh from It’s Tiger Time invented You Tube Tuesday so we could each share one video a week which we found to be fun, inspiring or otherwise noteworthy. If you choose to participate, don't forget to leave your links in my comments section (so I can come visit you) and on Josh's page (so you can be part of the contest). I hope you like this week's selection!

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Calamity Becomes Art

Lately most of my blog entries have been a bit on esoteric side, clouded and shrouded, meant to only reveal a shadow. I do this when my life gets complicated and answers evade me. I receive great comfort from the pillowy protection that prose, metaphors and poetry offers me. I could live there forever if allowed, but I’m not allowed, and I must come out from behind the mist on occasion and do a little show and tell.

I am currently on the brink of realizing an important part of my dream with the upcoming publication of my novel, Cosette’s Tribe. The seeds of this dream were planted when I was a child living out a nightmare. Of course I wasn’t aware of my dream then, after all I was just a child. And besides, I was too busy trying to survive, dodging monsters in between games of hopscotch, and seeking out safe habitats on the fringes of society. But throughout my life I always had a certain sense that there was something important that I needed to do.

As I matured I aspired to become a writer; one with the ability to inspire people whose childhoods read like pulp fiction. I wanted to speak to those little kids living in adult’s bodies, the ones who still find it difficult to raise their heavy heads off their desks, lift their muted voices above their classmate’s, and move forward, far away from their fear and shame.

I’ve had to live through many years of lessons in order to reach the point where my calamity became my art, and my staggered footsteps a trail… a way out. When I look back at my life and I ask myself what I have to offer, I see my path transformed by life’s alchemy into a golden river, which is so pure that it pours out of me and finds form within the hearts that receive it. I have me. Leah. And I am enough.

Sometimes the closer we get to realizing a dream the harder the journey becomes. I was intimidated at the prospect of having to navigate the unknown realms of self-publication. I love to write, but I hadn’t planned on becoming a publisher. My life in general has become a bit complicated over the past year, and then with the added pressure of self-publishing I became discouraged, which led me into a phase of stagnation and fear.

I know from experience that I can only gain understanding as I move forward, and that perfection is a lie invented by fear to inspire inferiority and paralysis. So, today I’m embracing all the things that I don’t understand about publishing my first novel, including all the technical things that tie my stomach into knots.

I’m also facing all the emotional issues that seek to derail me: fear of failure, fear of success, people’s reactions and my shyness. These are but heavy chains meant to keep my dreams earthbound. Dreams have wings you know; they need to fly. So, today I am giving my dreams wings by embracing the amazing journey of self-publication and following wherever it may lead me.

My job is to do the work required in order to set my dream soaring. Where it goes from there is entirely out of my hands.

On another note, I was recently honored by a fellow blogger with The Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award. At the time I was buried in work and worry and unable to offer appropriate thanks for this honor. So, without further ado, I want to thank J.P. Lane of All Dressed Up for this sweet honor. I encourage you all to drop by and visit her!

This video never ceases to inspire me.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Paint Your Soul Red

Young Girl Defending Herself Against Eros. William-Adolphe Bougrereau.

Contemplating Cupid, whose aim is often askew, uniting the most unlikely sorts, and making me question his credibility altogether; I must say that I continue to be a fan of love and still retain the infectious wounds inflicted from his arrows. Yes, I said wounds, for having dated many; my heart has been pierced more than once.

Love is a messy thing, interrupting lives and overthrowing hearts before the unsuspecting pair has a chance to gird their tender loins. Of course not all loins are tender, and love need not be reserved for the young, for love has long arms and reaches far into the future, holding dear the subject of adoration well past the time of noticing skunky streaks whitening the temples and creases brought on by life’s bloody combats… and welcomed comedies.

Fair maidens become fair ladies, well versed in the art of love and irony, and lads become lords with heavy feet and aching backs from life’s long ride. The love itself knows no difference between maiden and lady, or lad and lord, for love stands tall within the soul that sought the love and carried it thus far.

If you were struck blind, how then would you measure your lover’s fairness?
For beauty and eyes both fade, but love abides in the timeless heart.
Youth’s brief kiss will soon be forgotten.
And what then?
Fret not, for you need only close your eyes to see that fairest love whose familiar heart calls you to the center of the universe, where one’s eyes measure nothing, and love, that steamy art, paints your soul red.

Sunday, February 5, 2012

Don't Answer it!

She looks at the caller ID readout, hesitant to answer, for one never knows what waits on the other end of a ringing telephone, particularly a call from a blocked number. Her stomach becomes involved in the decision of whether to answer, lurching with each ring, reaching up through her throat for the cell phone. Her mind joins in, curious and sharp. “It could be something important,” she whispers, unaware that she had whispered at all, and that her entire being was conspiring against her.

Magical thinking has sometimes resulted in disaster for her, yet at other times proven to be a fruitful path. “Perhaps it’s an agent wanting my manuscript, or a serendipitous call offering me employment in some thrilling location.”

Her hope rises, teasing her anemic life, inspiring it to beg for a morsel of something delicious, releasing all of the impatience and discouragement that she’d, up till this point, managed to keep under control, and ushering them to the foot tapping forefront.

Her pulse beats out an exciting tempo. Like a disoriented fly banging itself against a closed window, she’s become ensnared between the endless horizon and the suffocating banality of the uneventful.

She answers. “Hello.” Waiting for a clue, perhaps a familiar voice. But what ensues is a long pause initiating the recorded message of a telemarketer, plunging a dagger into the heart of her fragile fantasy.

She disconnects, staring at the small rectangular device, a device capable of crawling inside her head, and drawing a crowd. Tossing it onto the bed she grins at her own foolishness, and says, “Okay, move along. There’s nothing to see here.”