Save the world by healing the hideous

Save the world by healing the hideous

I published “Hideous Me” on Halloween after a long night as a grisly zombie. As I drove through the forest to serve as volunteer staff at our local “Fright Night” Extravaganza, I decided to stay in character all evening. The community celebration that gave license to alter egos and flamboyant ingenuity was housed in a historic miner’s foundry with large dim rooms, ramps and hallways and included a line-up of bands and a bar.

As the creature was parking its white Rav4, two strolling women noticed it. The older one enthusiastically began praising my costume, “You look awesome, that is SO-O-O-O creepy”. The stagnant turning of my queerly cocked head and catatonic stare unnerved her. This would be fun!

I staggered like an exhumed corpse towards the venue. Passersby were frightened, disturbed and/or admiring of my repugnancy. On entering the event a middle aged furry wolf gregariously introduced herself and asked for my name. My psychotic look jostled her. A few other volunteers gingerly attempted to interact, unclear if this was intended theatre, a result of poly-pharmacy or was this mute insane? Their palpable unease excited me to leave patterns of acceptable social behavior behind.

The event director pointed me to the ID table at the room housing the bar’s entrance. She gave me brief instructions after another volunteer informed her “she ain’t talking”. A cute male volunteer approached the table to chat but quickly became concerned with my lack of engagement. “You will need to interact with people to do this job” was met with silent staring. He brought the director back immediately who actively pursued conversing with me.

Despite the theme of the night in a community riddled with artistic types, it became obvious that 911 might be called or I would be escorted out soon. I made friendly eye contact, took out my fangs and reassured her that I could be a social human despite my oozing facial wounds and yellow black-tipped talons. I did resume full zombie mode as I staggered to the bathroom, danced later in the night and as I dragged myself back to the zombie mobile well after midnight.

The shadowy streets were crowded with sexy bears, pirates, robots, clowns, barbarians, several wild creatures, a robust tall blond pussy grabber and the usual assortment of tramps. Amphitrite and her consort Poseidon had emerged from their marine environment to encourage more creative expression in the too controlled and monotone terrestrial one. A joyous exhilaration buzzed through the various groupings and the bars overflowed with smiling costumed customers. My embodiment of the human dark side or “pain body” (as Eckhart Tolle refers to it) continued to startle some and disturb others. Again behind the wheel, I decrepitly crept along staring at passersby projecting an eerie predatory energy.

As the dawn light tickled me into the reality of this world, I realized I had given life to a long ago entombed aspect or maybe I been acting out a piece from the collective unconscious? Posting the writing allowed a deeper owning of that bizarre and socially rejected energy. Anxiety intermittently arose after publishing it. It was far from my most popular writing but unexpectedly a tickled joy appeared as the days went on. This zombie was thrilled to walk again in the world after its long torturous exile.

I was born in “Pleasantville”, USA in the late 50s and I never trusted the extreme emotional suppression of that decade. At 8 years of age my mother told me her domesticated friend was found babbling incoherently in the corner of their living room by her 9-5 husband. I still have a clear image of their clear plastic covered furniture. “Why, what happened?,” I asked. Her absurd reply was “she had a nervous breakdown, it just came out of the blue”.

What are other results of suppressing our individual and ancestral baggage? We distract and numb ourselves with mall shopping and incessantly “clicking our lives away” on ever changing technological devices. We ignore the horrifying fact that we are destroying the ecology we are dependent on. Rates of strange autoimmune disorders and other chronic degenerative illnesses are increasing but they are very profitable for pharmaceutical companies and “the health care industries”. Recently, for the first time in decades, our life expectancies began to decline!

Our families and communities are disintegrating as the rates of serious addiction and mental illness are on the rise. Serious attachment disorders plagued us and interfere with healthy human bonding and the astronomical divorce rate. May the days become increasingly rare that someone who is “doing just fine” shockingly takes their own life.

I am gratified with the growing awareness of the need to own our “shadow” and be more open with each other. I am heartened with the increasing value of authenticity and learning how to communicate honestly and empathically while we get more skillful supporting others in the throes of emotional pain.

It is evolution that we can be vulnerable in a therapist’s office, our support groups and in personal growth workshops. Can we substitute the rote “How are you?”, “I am fine” banter and start answering truthfully? “Fine” in recovery programs is an acronym for “Fearful, Insecure, Neurotic and Emotional”. Can we say, “I feel sad today”, or disappointed, lonely, anger or am possessed with toxic shame? Can we also be joyous without the comment “what are you so happy about?” Are you truly interested in knowing what is happening inside your friends, loved ones, co-workers and neighbors?

It is known that suppressed anger or rage is simmering deep in the depressed. In 2012 it was estimated 13% of US citizens were on antidepressants. (1) Society obviously prefers depressed people instead of angry ones. Depressed souls often need to express and move through anger/rage to become happier. Are we interested in learning how to assist people to safely and responsibly release rage before they get a weapon and go on shooting sprees?

Decades ago I awoke one Sunday morning and afraid I would wind up in a psych unit. Though I don’t remember the circumstances exactly, I remember praying for help in that motel room and the idea came to call my family doctor. Admirably he listened and then invited me to attend church with his family. Though I didn’t resonate with his spiritual path, his extending himself eased some of my suffering. I then called an experienced healer and body worker I knew and he met me at his office. I found myself dramatically releasing rage from a past life of being tortured and killed in the times when powerful women were being burned alive. I was stunned that I left his office feeling peaceful. How many people wind up in ERs or psychiatric institutions because there is no one skilled enough to help them express their pain safely? What do we do commonly? We sedate people which will never solve anything and actually may add to it.

I endeavor to create a wiser society where people have permission to responsibly express the “darker” aspects of themselves. Are you ready to join me?  Only in this way can we integrate these fragments back into a more wholesome and functioning self, community and world.

  1. Mad in American Website. https://www.madinamerica.com/2015/11/percentage-of-americans-on-antidepressants-nearly-doubles

 

Edited by Roberta Willaims, Santa Rosa

 

 

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Strange Gratitudes

Strange Gratitudes

This Gratitude Weekend I am grateful for things I normally wouldn’t have thought to feel thankful for. Of course it is easy to be appreciative for the well built home my partner left to me surrounded by natural beauty, a healthy body, the availability of wholesome food, the health of my family, good friends etc. But I am also grateful (filled with greatness) for painful experiences this year that were profoundly challenging. This holiday weekend, a year after my partner’s first hospital stay, I am grateful for his unusual illness and death because it humbled and crushed me in a way not many experiences could have.

I met with Francis Rico, my spiritual mentor, four months after my sweetheart had transitioned. We sat in the backyard of a nurse friend’s in Santa Rosa. It fittingly happened to be Memorial Day. “I have no idea what this is all about”, I exclaimed to him with dismay. I was feeling victimized and still in shock from Jeff’s passing which had been an ordeal. He replied quickly and a bit casually, “I know what this is about, it has brought you down to your foundation”. I heard myself utter, “Huh?” as my head cocked as a trying to understand dog would. “Grief is the foundation of this world” the most fulfilled being I may have ever interacted with declared. “Foundation of the world?”

I expected an accomplished spiritual guide to say, “Peace is the foundation of this world” or love or happiness but not the dark, moist heavy cloud of lament which most modern humans seem intent on trying to avoid. “We live in an impermanent reality. Here people, places, things, conditions and circumstances are forever changing so we are constantly grieving. We are continually losing things we love and cherish. Grief is the basis of this world”. I sat there on the lawn chair stunned.   “But you are the most joyful person I have ever met!”. I knew his beloved cat Angel had died around the same time as my sweetheart had. When I reached out to Francis with my pain he would share his. Francis was deeply affected by Angel’s passing and had even sent me a photo of the gray creature. “I know you were heartbroken when Angel died but when we were in Mexico in March your energy wasn’t heavy like mine”. He never mentioned his “pet’s” death to the group while on our spiritual exploration at the pyramid complex of Teotihuacan. I did notice he frequently used cat analogies in his lectures which I had never heard him use before. He was obviously still processing the beloved feline’s passing from this realm. “That is because I completely accept my grief”, the talented shaman shared which pointed to the resistance of mine.

Early one forlorn morning after this heartwarming session with my mentor, I sat back at my empty home with my notebook and pen. I quietly asked Spirit, “What is this intense time about for me?“ A very long list flowed through the pen: His death had began my publishing debut of my writings and poetry; a friend had set up my first blog for me a month after his death. I accepted deep in my gut that physical life is temporary. I had realized fairly early that trying to spiritually bypass my pain wasn’t going to work no matter how hard I tried to be feel better. I learned I could prolong my anguish with common thoughts such as “This shouldn’t have happened, or he was too young to die, or he should be here now or what did I do wrong to deserve this?”.

Another gift was learning to love more with fewer conditions. I had strove to be a supportive partner and meet Jeff’s many needs as best I could but I also had ample opportunities to accept and be with my own fears, fatigue, overwhelm and despair. I realized how dependent I am on others since I wouldn’t have even survived without the loving support of innumerable others that I reached out to several times every day during this grueling process.

How can I convey the anguish of living with an emaciated man who could not eat for the last two months of his life, who was barely surviving on the liquid food being pumped into his veins and whose neck was a horrifying chartreuse? A previously very athletic and active man now sat day after day staring at “Diners, Drive-in’s and Dives” and other curious food shows all day long pre-occupied with when he would be able to eat again.

I had a myriad of reactions to the bizarre situation we were in and how drastically our life had suddenly shifted. I had never realized how difficult it is to be living with someone who is severely ill; I often required reminding that the physically distraught can be dismissive, demanding, irrational and not uncommonly do criticize their intimate caregiver’s best efforts. I also had to learn to silence the internal voice that would harshly comment that I wasn’t meeting the voice’s idea of what an ideal selfless saint should be like.

But on this Thanksgiving I will be grateful to have loved and shared a life with someone who became gravely ill six months after I had moved in. I am grateful that I learned that there are many physicians who are uncomfortable with death and see their role as a “death-fighters” even when that perspective causes more distress for the patient and their family and wastes billions of health care dollars. I am grateful that wiser and more loving physicians are to be cherished and supported. I am grateful for us having been surrounded by nurses that were accepting of dying and death as a natural process and were technically skilled and emotionally helpful. I will be grateful for this peaceful and beautiful home and the other ways he made sure I was taken care of. I will be grateful that probate will be coming to an end soon and that I am motivated to teach people how to avoid the expensive legal process of mind-numbing paperwork; the last thing grieving families need is coping with boringly complex paperwork that can be avoided. I will be grateful to have more experience in communicating with spirits and accepting their ongoing love and support of their earth bound cohorts. I will be grateful for all the meals, housing, errands, caring conversations that were bestowed upon us. I will be grateful for his lovely memorial on Valentine’s Day this year and all who shared their shock, grief and love with us. I will be grateful to have been thrown into this “aloneness vision quest” that has brought me deeper into myself and taught me how to better support people in the throes of loss.

I learned I cannot connect with everyone through happiness but grief is a universally shared experience that all relate to. I am grateful to have accepted that some people couldn’t be there for us because they were unable to deal with the intensity of our pain and that I worked to not take it personally. I am grateful to know that anciently based cultures are wiser with helping their members move through the process of dying and mourning. Some of these cultures relieve these distressed people of any responsibilities for one year as they keep an eye on them and care for their needs. I am grateful that I have come to realize that life is not the opposite of death. Birth is the opposite of death. Life is greater than both of these. And my list could go on.

The Course in Miracles states, “All things work for the good except in the ego’s judgment”. I am glad I kept this beneficent thought in mind even when it was almost impossible to believe.

Hideous Me

Hideous Me

Hideousness hesitantly attempts,

A breath through her rigid and dust filled throat.

The quiet scratching of bloodied cracked nails begins inside the cheap coffin,

Long decayed and rotted flesh claws through the heaviness of earth.

 

Wounds dripping with gangrenous ooze,

Maggots feeding on the ancient debris of torture,

Putrid crusted scabs,

A heart so fractured it is incapable of relating.

 

Precious pieces driven deep underground,

Tormented parts frozen autistic,

These aspects I have worked hard to keep locked away,

Silent screams of agony longing for my loving touch.

 

Confused and deformed me,

Dragging her limp foot along the dark streets,

Revealing what most work desperately to keep at bay,

Abandoning seduction to lure them in.

 

Women parade their glamorous and sexy selves,

Black feathered elegant creatures or even an iridescent jellyfish

Flashing her sublime azure-white light,

My blackened jagged fangs staring at them.

 

This Samhain I embrace and celebrate Death and Horror.

Warmed by the growing cultural fascination with zombies and vampires,

Who acknowledge shattered skulls none can ever reassemble.

Can you smell the nausea of putrefying flesh?

 

Amber leaves are falling with eternal grace this morning,

Tall pines dance and sway with the stormy winds.

My sky a comforting mottled moist gray,

Destruction, followed by the inevitable and expansive renewal, is well underway.

My Mother

My Mother

My Mother

Is the birthplace of ancient peoples

The Great Womb of all Creation

Dark, hidden and eternally nurturing.

 

My Mother

Gave birth to all that is.

The ten thousand things

As Lao Tzu would say.

 

My Mother

The black soft empty velvet blanket of infinity

Or the rich blood nest women weave each month to receive their unborn

To nestle in and be nourished by.

 

My Mother

Gave birth to Jesus

Gave birth to the Light, to Buddha, Krishna, Rama, Sita and every avatar ever known,

Gave birth to the pure Christ Consciousness in us all.

 

My Mother

Comforts me

Is always there for and with me

Is me.

 

My Mother

Has been ignored for ages

Because She, like women, have been disrespected for way too long

But She is always there, She is your Mother too.

 

Nevada City, Ca

4am, a thundery Monday

 

I am the night sky

I am the night sky

I am the night sky.

Feel into my vastness.

Touch into infinity.

Reach into complete darkness.

Silence is all there is.

 

Find the emptiness of pure black.

Your eternity is here,

I contain it all.

 

I am the night sky,

Twinkle, twinkle,

Watching over all.

 

My immense brilliance obscured by your cancerous cities,

Way too much light,

Way too much noise,

They are too much, way too much.

 

Posted on the Fall Equinox, 2016 from Woodstock Georgia.  Inspired in Nevada City, California earlier in month.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nothing you see will last

Nothing you see will last

‘Tis one thing,

To say “the world is impermanent”,

Another to really know this,

To get it,

Like really get it.

 

Nothing you see will last.

Not your shiny new relationship,

Nor your young beloved pet

Even your sweet and innocent children

may not make it to old age,

however painful that thought may be.

Nothing lasts in this world,

Why bank your happiness on it?

 

Nothing you see will last.

That glacier is dying,

The mountain changes minute to minute,

The pyramids turn to colored dust one day.

Nothing lasts,

Are you listening?

Nothing lasts.

 

Nothing you see will last,

These typing fingers are disintegrating,

This form you call me a time bomb

About to blow up the minute you look away.

 

Nothing you see will last.

We poison our water supply,

The trees are dying at frightening rates.

I could not bear to live without this forest,

What would be the point?

Impermanence Rising

Impermanence Rising

Nighttime in this empty house,

Impermanence focusing,

All form has it’s shelf life.

These bodies, that tree, the mountain I rest on or the greatest ocean,

will pass away into the Light

Including the Earth one day.

 

The opposite of death is life illusion repeats over and over.

No!

The opposite of death is birth,

Life greater than passing forms,

Can’t you see that?

 

Sleep came late that night,

Awakened abruptly by my barking little dogs,

The front door being pounded,

My name carries through the dark.

 

“They spread so fast,” I heard her panicked voice from the street.

“Where is the fire”? I ask moving across the deck.

The young one points down our forested street

As she jumps into his older silver compact and disappears.

 

Too fatigued to get excited,

I walk to assess the midnight threat.

Stunning marigold fireworks shoot above the Ponderosa pines-

Oh my.

 

A fireman struggles with his heavy canvas hose,

A nightgowned neighbor runs by frantically yelling,

“Wake them up, wake everybody up.”

 

A house, tucked in the woods, fully engulfed,

Framing falling,

Ephemerality making her dramatic point.

 

The house had exploded,

Roof lifting off, disintegrating and swirling around,

Scatttered perfectly intact completely blackened leaves our morning gift,

I am told the occupants somehow survived.

 

How the forest hadn’t ignited remains a grateful mystery,

We were saved and remain in this world.

What the fuck am I doing here?