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Monday, October 28, 2013

Conjuring Halloween

The thing that I’ve always liked about Halloween is that it temporarily demystifies evil, giving us permission to laugh at, and perhaps even celebrate, the dark side of everything. The common bat with its leathery wings, hyper-flapping against the tranquility of twilight, becomes a prop for hauntings and mayhem as we mimic devils, zombies, and vampires, sucking up their dark powers and using them for sport.

We get to poke fun at our greatest enemy, death, by dressing as ghosts and skeletons, ha-ha-ha-ing the night away, puncturing our fears through with laughter—leaving them in a powerless puddle like deflated lawn ornaments.

As a kid Halloween was a fantasy holiday, not only allowing me to imitate my favorite villain, but also providing a sugary booty, fit to inspire tooth decay and belly aches. What more could a kid ask for? So, in honor of our spookiest holiday I have composed a short poem and also painted a couple of pictures to go with it. I hope they inspire you to smile like a jack-o-lantern as you conjure some of your most memorable Halloween celebrations. I would love for you to share them with me.

Trick or Treating

Witches on brooms, haunting the sky
While spiky black cats stand in fright mode
Jack-o-lanterns aglow, there is mischief about
As the beggars push out for their pay loads

Sweaty masks hide, the fear in their eyes
As they tread through the darkness with giggles
Apparitions delight, in the juvenile fright
While their mothers hold onto their fingers

Bags weighed down, with chocolate and yums
Their reward for an evening of pleading
They have braved the dark night, swallowed their fright
And will never forget trick or treating
Leah Griffith

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Daring Soul Gypsies

Photograph by Bruce Dale

I haven’t been blogging lately, because I haven’t really had the energy or the urgency to speak. I’ve been in an "in-between" place of questions and guesses, venturing into the now, with now stories to hold my attention, and now beliefs to cushion the path…just me looking and pondering—asking the big questions: Who am I? Who is God? Why am I here?

I may not be able to define God/Truth, but I recognize it when I see it, for my God/Truth is my own—like the fingerprints of my soul.

Most of the time I believe myself to be lost. Not lost in a forever sense, but momentarily lost in the past or future, my mind jetting me back and forth like Judy Jetson, lost in the crowded cosmos of thought, scanning the written pages, and the crystal future of dreams and dreads to come.

One day I’m a laughing puppeteer—a genius creating situations that suit the sunshine, rolling down soft green hills—a dizzying burst of giggles, bumping into nothing at all because the possibilities are endless!

Another day I believe myself to be a colossal screw-up, stuck between an instinctual urge to soar and my bone snapping insecurities—a loser, measuring a tad lower than the brown water stains snaking along the baseboards of my self-imposed expectations. But this is what you get when you cross deity with dust, a hybrid human being with a propensity for immense error and epic love.

Like a tribe of wide-footed gypsies, my thoughts travel from state to state, carnival to carnival, toting my stories along with them, often convincing me that the fun-house mirror image of me is accurate. “Is that me?” I ask my closest friend. “No”, she says, as she stares at her wavy reflection, sucking in her midsection, trying to correct the uncorrectable. And isn’t that what friends do…remind us of who we are lest we get lost within the chaos of erroneous beliefs and unbridled thinking?

Sometimes, against my better judgment, I’ll mount the Carousel of Remembering, enjoying the sensation of movement, as I travel in small circles. It’s the colors of the carousel, the music and the horses, which bid me to ride, and even though I’ve done it a thousand times before with the same fruitless results, I still fall prey to this temptation, leaving behind my real life for a blurred tour of indistinguishable places and events from the past, creating a hesitation in my life—a lapse in Leah.

Our hesitations often become our limitations, the places in life where we doubt ourselves until we become stale and stuck. What are limits really but fear’s suspenders holding up our insecurities. Bull shit on fear.

So here I am today, a smidge bolder…and hopefully a bit badass too, still sorting things out, but coming to you with my mask off. I used to feel pretty much alone, but now I know that we are all here together—riding and jetting, thinking and being, creating and destroying. We really are daring soul-gypsies, forsaking the familiar for the uncontainable collision of right now. I love that.