A Mere Formality

We say one thing and do the other, standing back as they roll out a defense against our own depravity.

Their fury.

But the recriminations we face if we validate it…

Oh hell to the no, we’re heavenly folk, not guilty broke.

See, now that we’ve had a history of bullying the four of them for decades,
their fury is real, is wholly healthy, so we’ll declare them intimidating
(we’re cornering the market on “isn’t that rich” since our parenting creed
for decades was “you must break their spirit”. so, how fitting
that we are intimidated by their full-grown adulthood,
and if you fall for our excuses, then you’re one of us, the morally insane.)
and the fact that our betrayals commenced
well before their valid fury unfurled, that fact will be an irrelevant fact.

The women. Got angry. They ranted. They threw down ultimatums.
Nothing more to know here, for there is no greater sin than women angry and demanding.
Rant after we betray, and legitimize our treachery by that rant because, well, female.
We’ll send letters declaring our total loss to understand the situation, as well.

See, we’re the slickest shit.

We can vote for Trump and call ourselves the “called out ones.”

He gropes and violates and gets elected so, our time has come, too.
We’re real cozy with violators. They earn nicknames, not shame, and a place at our table.
Most especially if they violated our own.

We can malign those who trusted us after we rebuked them for not trusting us previously
to not do the thing we did, after all, do, so hey ho, we’re noble souls.

The joke is on them, the four we slander, hammer and malign.

We have cornered.

The market on.

Duplicity Divine.
Moral Insanity.

All that the Good Book refers to when dragging up Leviathan, we are it.
And we would invite you to have tea with our murky pet.

Just don’t get mad at us if we violate truth or devour you without regret.

We’ll use it against you, judge you unforgiving, call you uncouth,

Invite you to court and play on your ignorance of just how dark our hearts can be.
(the witnesses we invite from your childhood will be part of a “mere formality”)

What A Ride…

“Until you have loved, you cannot become yourself.” -Emily Dickinson

Rob Brezsny’s Free Will Astrology posted the above quote on Facebook today. And I have to say this resonates more deeply for me than anything going on in this rather roiling world. News of riots in the streets of London and surrounding cities, hurricanes hurling category 3 in the aftermath of atypical quakes in my own town here, ugly political posturing, corruption amuck and with each issue after issue I follow passionately – finding no solid resolution – the one thing that shores me up, defines every footstep and hand-holding moment is love and, in particular, loving others. Loving others. In whatever way life allows, in whatever way we can create, envision, revolutionize, we become more truly who we are by our loving. This is especially true once the masks have been stripped away, the safety mechanisms melted down into acceptance and the ego purified, tamed.

A nearby train hails me on a regular basis and it twists through my ideas of what should happen in a life, what is “fair.” Love is tied to that train but a love I can’t access as I want to access it. That train held my kids when I hoped they wouldn’t know the hurts they know now (ah and the joys…the lessons learned, the wisdom), that train held a promise of healing of my own childhood, that train faithfully calls out, haunting, insisting, reminding me I cannot control outcomes but I can certainly be fully on the ride this life has become. And what does it evoke of me? Love of other. And it magnifies. Increases. Grows me up, asks me to accept what is and release what isn’t, allow all my longings to birth me beyond any guarantee of their fulfillment. It reminds me that we all have such a hailing reality somewhere in our lives, maybe even deep within calling out possibilities, asking that we love beyond the control-filled drive to get there now, flowing in a spiraling wonder of returning possibilities. Maybe new ones but it’s always love. Love is always returning us to the deep place within so we can grow more fully into who we are.

I hear the news. Watch cause and effect unfold in my own life. And it’s quite a ride. We do the best we can and sometimes that best doesn’t fill the void, assuage the angry wounds. One of my kids is grieving on levels deeper than I would ever fathom or imagine to witness, grieving his parents’ split. And it splits me, rips me into pieces as I give all that I can and find that I have, in pouring myself out, not begun to fill up the loss for him. It’s a process his life will unfold and I can only augment, give room for his awakening to what life is and is not, what love can heal eventually. This loving in the midst of grief and joy and challenges surreal does something to the stuff of amness. There is a solid being emerging here, there, in-between the shocked pauses but only as I allow love to stew me, brew me into presence. It’s not so much about scrambling for a solution as it is about standing in, being with, holding up.

I love the scripture that says “there is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear.” For all my frustration with many mis-translated, mis-interpreted scripture this one sings out a truth I cannot deny and that cannot be mistaken. It’s a highly powerful filter through which we can determine how much “love” is truly love. How many of us respond to others in fear of not being loved and call that very exchange love? How many of us respond to others in the hope to make them happy because we’re frightened of disappointment and identify that very response as love? What if it’s all we’ve known?

It’s the love that comes like a bit of a thief in the night out of nowhere that births us. It’s the love that melts away all the poses we identified as love, ceases all the reactions in the hopes to make mom and dad (in the form of someone who has become their replacement) understand or love us just a bit more, quiets the endless clamoring for the next fix and evokes heart, soul, mind in expression of gratitude, in constructs, creations that affirm the heartbeat of humanity. Through this unfolding of love for other, the fearless love, the control-free love, we become. And in our becoming the train goes ’round one more time, one more ride, and yet another.  And we experience yet one more opportunity to manifest ourselves as love.

On with it…


We stood there under stars                                                                            

we grew dreams
and felt the moon grow within,
deeply steeping stillness
stirrings, silent
unknown yearnings.

We made babies there
in the womb of our love,
we made grown-ups too
and more
more we felt the moon
growing us up a-sway,
and more away from our time under the play and ply
of dreams not our own,
dreams others hoped we’d grow,
fill up the void, prove their best by our lives’ strain.

But we grew. And beyond the dreams,
beyond their slumber there the moon spread
precious seeds of inevitability,
relentless moonbeams awakening these children,
all of us, growing
unearthing raw real flow
breaking up all the dreams,
tearing us to pieces save,
save the wholeness,
the bridge between us,

birthing our lives beyond the stars,
past the zenith of schemes
into the soil of soul’s truth.

Fill ‘Er Up…

Life fills us up when we quit believing we must be the compensation for fear-driven loss. And it fills up those we think we’re responsible for. Guess what? It does it even when we’ve left, when we’ve given up, when we’ve tossed it all at the feet of “fate” and said: “I have to live…”

to overflowing...

On with it…

Mirth and Birth

Eesa (also spelled ISA by my kids) is life’s slightly mocking inspiration for me right now as I pull back a bit to focus more heavily on my blog, Religion’s Refugees, and, of all things, the cultivation of more mirth. I’ve decided it’s a serious (cough) need in my world right now. I’m also finalizing details on a long overdue finalization or two. As final as that sounds, I feel myself standing on the foundation of beginnings supreme. So…in honor of those beginnings, I’ve posted Eesa’s amazing mirroring of exactly what I need.

ME? Too Serious?! Ha.

Stirring It Up – Pure Lust

“Dionysian surrender to life includes an ego-relaxed receptivity to sexuality, a willingness to let life be shaped by desire and by sexual inclination. Yet when this Dionysian spirit is linked to the compassionate eros of Jesus, it takes an unusual form, becoming an emotional oxymoron – carnal chastity, promiscuous compassion, or, in the perfect phrase of Mary Daly, pure lust.

The Dionysian spirit is usually seen as a sexually expansive force, and so it is not obvious in some portraits of Jesus…Ruether concludes that ‘Jesus appears to be a person unperturbed by sexuality because he relates to both men and women first of all as friends.’ …

The image of Jesus suggests a way of placing limits that derives from joy and pleasure rather than fear and anxiety, limits determined by a positive choice in life. Jesus seems to suggest joyful celibacy and then to tolerate the struggles of others to establish their ways of being sexual and their ways of finding limits. …

The sexuality of Jesus consists in his openness to strangers and friends, the physicality of his healing, the sacramentality in his approach to food, the tolerance he displays in the face of sexual transgression, and his espousal of a philosophy based on love. Only a worldview mired in materialism could fail to see the sexuality in this expansive and inclusive erotic philosophy. The sexual teachings of Jesus, told best through his example, present a soul-centered eroticism in which friendship and a compassionate heart are not only included but placed at the center.

We have a strong tendency to think of sex as emanating from the sex organs or from the purely physical body, but Jesus demonstrates a quite different notion – sexuality rooted in compassion and in the capacity for friendship. It is a more broadly defined but no less sensuous sexuality, in which love and pleasure are joined integrally. There is no need to import affection to what is thought to be a plain physical expression or to justify sex with love. In the sexuality of Jesus physical lifea nd compassion are two sides of a coin. In him we find that the heart is an organ of sex, as surely and effectively as any other private part.” – Thomas Moore, The Soul of Sex

Some could consider this “sacreligious” but it resonates for me, deeply, since I’ve been examining the impact of fear-filled religious dogma on my own concept of myself as a sexual being. Marriage. Divorce. Dating. Sex. Motherhood. Academia. Writing. Art. What breathes life into any of these realities? Love. But going deeper into love, what “type” of love? Can I identify one that feeds all relationships with innocence and grace? What infuses everything? I keep landing on one: Eros. When fear melts away, when shame fizzles out in the light of the sun, when power struggles are stripped of their inferior control-frenzied gropings, eros is given the room to express and infuse itself into every layer of living as that pure lifeforce, erupting in poetic spill or artistic flow, feeding the motions of care-taking in all its forms, impassioning the goals for fitness or achievement of any form. Erotic love is not about fitting into a role as a married person or a saint or a sex symbol or a captured image of acceptable (or taboo oo oo) sexual functions. It is the infusion, the flow, the glow of surrendering to being alive with pleasure no matter your status.

Right now my status is boiling over a cauldron of change and growth and and and. I just might be late for class if I don’t kick it in. But I’m going to do it making love to life every step of the way. Jump and jive…

Sacred Path

“Our personal progress is a matter of free will. How deep we are willing to go to reach understanding depends ultimately upon our desire to become explorers. We can see ourselves as victims being tossed between bliss and despair, or we can look deeper and begin to take responsibility for our thoughts, feelings and actions. When we choose to change, refusing to become victims, we have chosen to see life from the eye of Eagle. The power of personal connection to the Creator and to spirituality is found in the individual who is willing to commit to life’s paths of initiation. When we acknowledge that we are spiritual beings who are willing to fight in the trenches of human self-empowerment, insisting on personal integrity, we have chosen to test ourselves by entering the paths of human initiation that lead to authentic wholeness.” Jamie Sams – Dancing the DREAM…

These wise words bolster me for the week and upcoming months of change. Sams’ insights speak to the heart of where I’ve been and where I’m going.

On. With. It.


It’s quiet today, inside and out. My kids feel it, sitting in front of the fire in our tiny living room, waiting. For what? Maybe I’m the one waiting and I see it in them. We’re sifting through science project ideas, watching the rain fall and generally holding on to the restfulness of the day. But I have this wistful turmoil within, this sense of things quieting just long enough for me to begin again. But not to begin the same story. 

the pause

Is this how a plant “feels” before breaking the surface of soil? If so, this is not the first emergence in my soul. What is it? Where will it lead? It’s time to re-group, to renew, to re-know and re-establish beyond what was sure even just last month. There is something unique about divorce and parenting, going back to school and meeting newness everywhere.

The hands that held my children, the hands that began in a marriage, are chopped off by divorce. But the hands that hold them beyond all loss, those are the hands now growing, that learn to re-know them as children of life and not so much of a marriage. This has been going on for years now and it progresses beautifully as I find myself beyond the identity I had before. Even when that marriage is thoroughly over, this growth of the hands, of the heart that holds them flourishes and grows beyond every accomplishment, beyond the ideas of who they are or will be. Or who I thought I was. Or. It’s about parenting as one who facilitates without capturing, accomodates and guides. But we get to, all 4 of us, re-learn our relating and our growing as we are changed by life. Who is “mama” as a student? Who is “daughter” as a wise soul weathering some big changes? Who is “son” who now needs dad far more than ever and how does he hold his mom? If I hold to them as the child of once upon a time and then, they have no one solid to be with, no one here but a prop clinging to an idea…as they grow beyond.

But…that’s not the story here because for some reason life won’t let me fade to blank.  I have to sometimes go to ground, hide away and find a place to re-work the hands that hold even the idea of myself, not just who I am as a mom or…or…

Not much of a post today but it’s life. And it’s pausing pregnant promise beyond the toil, the stretch to reach with new hands. And rest with heart learning life anew.

Part 3 – The Past AND Peace?

Today I promised myself I’d get on with this dissertation on personal peace and facing the past.

So, here I am with part 3 in your face. [Refer to this particular blog entry for an example of lousy writing. I can feel it. This one will suck. But it’s coming out of me today or I’m officially a free-falling loser. (Maybe I’m more like Kiwi…)] 

I don’t know what my problem is but this one has roiled in frustration and stagnation for days. But I said I’d do this and I need to do this because it has been disgustingly appropriate that I’m landing on Part 3 and the PAST now. This is the week of finalizing the divorce details while my financial world slowly unravels and my college plans look to be held back ‘til January. So, divorce proceedings/paperwork etc. filed finally. I thought, since this has gone on and on, that I’d be dancing a jig at this point. Ignorantly, I thought I would be dancing by now. I really thought I’d be dancing this week. (yeah, you get the point) Wow. Wow. Wow. 

But no. I’ve been so down it’s like being slammed out of nowhere with the emotional ‘flu. Nothing and I mean NOTHING makes it go away. I was galloping along my path, confident and planning and SLAM. This “virus” is running its course, ignoring all my attempts to jumpstart my motivation, inspiration, endurance. Yadda yadda yadda. 

But I’m here and I’m kicking with the “’flu.” What about the past? Is it over? That’s the first thing I have had to deal with: whether or not the past is really in the past. How many crippling issues are still grabbing me by the ankles and jerking me down to the ground to deal with all kinds of garbage? It’s not like I doubt the choice. But what led me to this point? And how do I change whatever I can of myself that contributed to this outcome? Believe me, I’ve been working on it. But there is nothing like finality to bring back the dead. 

It’s not even as if peace has evaded me during this “down” time. I’ve felt it flowing right alongside the … grief inside me. Peace and grief with occasional outbursts of laughter and. But the past is in the past, right? 

Actually, on so many levels it is and especially in my heart and mind. But on other levels pretty damn significant, issues are still finding their closure. If I were ignoring all of this, saying my umpteenth ohm in the face of it all, would I be better off? No, not me. I’d end up exploding somewhere down the path in total frustration over all that I’d been studiously trying to ignore. There would have been no peace. It would’ve been a nervous nonstop motion of evading concerns and grouchy eruptions. Okay, yes. I had a couple grouchy eruptions. And then I felt very peaceful afterwards. Non-stop peace is not human and I might even end this post with a total ousting of the whole point of my multi-part posit. Puh.

But back to the point. What makes acknowledging the injuries of the past and their continued influence on today a truly worthwhile endeavor? 1) That acknowledgement makes us aware of what we may be projecting as opposed to what is really going on. 2) Awareness may helps us see how we can change our responses to recurring themes. We become trained by what happened back then and when and well. And we don’t even know it. Then life tosses us some interesting scenarios and we find ourselves lost in reactions against the person who just stepped on our toes and suddenly standing there in the present is dad, mom and so and so way back then who always did this. Or? Or we know our past and we know our internal culture of reaction/response. And we recognize the emergence of our identification with all that happened long ago. And because of that awareness we pull back and ask vital questions before we start taking potshots at big sister posing there in the seemingly innocent newfound friend. 

The question vital in such a process? “How is this scenario a potential repeat of history and, if so, how can I be the changed response as opposed to the same ole victim or bully identifying with the past?” It’s uncanny how often many of us attract more complicated versions of our original early injury environments. Anybody and everybody I know who will share a bit of their lives with me consistently reveal that we all have this “curse” on some level. Psychology gives it a clever tag – repetition compulsion. We either attract scenarios that reintroduce the same profound struggles of our past or we create them somehow by our perspectives.

I can point to times of totally innocent “minding my own damn business” where I was catapulted to the same choice, the same opportunity to either allow the same old crap to happen to me all over again or…not. Many times. At some point you begin to wonder what it is that draws this stuff to you. And it’s a good thing to be wondering. But one of the things truly valuable about these repetitive challenges is that we get the chance to redeem our history. We can make the stand we never made. We can make it good. Make it funny. Make it a great big flying flip in the face of some daunting historical trends. Or walk away this time when we made too many stands in the past. Whatever the “karmic debt,” we can sow new seeds.

But to be unaware and to say “ah that’s in the past!” and move on without knowing intimately what shaped our reactions, what shaped our paths is to be ill-equipped to face today’s challenges. At least, at the very least, that has been the case for me and for everyone I’ve encountered who is even just slightly interested in making their lives have deep personal meaning. 

None of this is to say that we are not tremendously benefitted by recognizing that today is a new day, that the past does not have to be repeated. It’s the both/and philosophy of awareness and empowerment that keeps people developing on levels that make them more present, dynamic and compassionate. Both aware of the past’s influences on the everyday world and empowered by the truth that we can create and shape our lives in spite of the past. And maybe even, with redemption, because of the past.

And there, in that both/and place, is peace. No matter what nasty case of the ‘flu flies in the face of the truth or loud outburst of total frustration, elation or hyper fixation visits our colorful and beautiful lives. (and all three of those ‘ations find me daily in my world of parenting!)

Oh…and you can go for a long drive when your kids are with their dad and pull off the side of the road and laugh at the llamas…

Llama Dance
Llama Dance









On with it…

Dreams Delayed?

I ended my evening yesterday on news not encouraging. In the middle of priceless treasure discoveries, rich givings by life itself, my life has consisted of obstacles overcome, setbacks redeemed and yet more to overcome, plow through. And even, to re-do. It’s not an unusual story, in general. Though it’s even fairly typical as “hardship” goes, it has its unique and uncommon elements. There’s never been any solid financial wealth. Mostly it’s been a story of poverty well-dressed and holding her head above water, appearing on the verge of wealth or even consistent sustenance, taking hits from waves created on distant shores. And that is it. Nothing to whine about. It simply is. A richness of soulful knowing, growing awareness of things more precious than gold serves me feasts in dark nights, feeds me strength in bleak times. Without the struggles, would I know how sweet it all is? No. Know what, though? I’m tired of the stark contrasts. (insert whining tone here, immediately cough and clear the throat. moving right along. no more whining allowed. it will be okay!!!)

Life dishes some struggles more daunting lately. ( Two steps forward…three back? Um, wait a minute. That’s not even remotely fair! Hey! Look at all these people with me in this same seemingly rigged journey! I wonder if we’ll discover the secret.)

I rely on whatever paltry sum freelance writing can bring me at this time in my life. Believe me, paltry is a generous notion. I often feel like Jack came home with the beans and I should toss them out the window in outrage, hoping for mythical giant smashings, landing golden solutions at my doorstep. Then I laugh at myself. How silly. How delusional. Where’s the beef?! : ) So, I dig around for more opportunity but the restraints on my life make that digging a limited endeavor. I’m the childcare, and gladly so, in a separation soon heading for divorce. And amicably, kindly so. No ugly nonsense going on here. I am thankful for my feasts! Being the childcare is more affordable, on so many levels, than the alternatives that will cost me heavily in health, in peace, in so much. I did the full-time mad woman working and picking her kids up at 6pm every night. I almost died (okay, not literally). CFIDS relapsed, smashing me back to my hearth and home, wimpering like some lost child. But what I found of myself because of that disaster is priceless. I came home on levels I’d not been able to do before. Home to being mother, to being woman. And my body has been mending.

Now what? Do I go back out to full time in the wake of yesteday’s bad news? Smash me into compliance with “the way it is?” We rely on one income here while I manage it, budget up to two years and include the financial arrangements that divorce will bring. The not-ex-ex is thankful for that. The goal is to get me through college and onto a job that won’t toss me into CFIDS reruns, a job that will solidify futures. Many moons ago I put him through college, paid the bills, got increasingly more ill and crashed into motherhood. Somewhere in there it hit me that the marriage never actually happened. (Not for lack of effort here.) One year of college, years of work and then over a decade of mostly parenting with part-time and some full-time employment. All the while writing,writing, writing and going through changes epic. Here I am. It’s an oversimplification of an arduous journey. But it suffices.

The bad news? The not-quite-ex may have to take a cut in pay or worse. So…college in the fall? Or…a job at Walmart? I kinda doubt there’s much more than that. Where? How? What? When you look at the possibility that dreams will never come to fruition, you are forced to fall back on that intrinsic, that innate, that basic enjoyment of being in skin, of breathing deeply the smell of life after rain, of feeling intensely every ounce of life’s sweetest gains, of sunsets surreal and healing, moon’s ushering quiet calls…however fleeting, however seemingly small. These can never be thwarted, stolen or otherwise laid off. (A piece of cake is nice, too!)

Courtesy of Will H.
Courtesy of Will H.

And while you fall back on it all, watch the bloom of night’s horizon, you refuse to release the dreams. Even if they never reach their fullest glory. They are the balance between living and merely existing (for me, anyway).

At least…that’s how I feel today. And I’ve suddenly run out of things to say. On with the quest…