Friday, July 29, 2011

Drama-Free Drama

Summer is full of it--life is full of it. We are full of it, aren't we? 

I've noticed that if I relax, I can have a front-row seat at the Grand Play without assuming a role in it. There is a certain kind of bliss in this little trick. Nothing happens, I can still think, make judgement calls, feel all kinds of things, but I am not lost. Ever. No matter what longing, avoiding or balancing I may be indulging in the moment, a substrata is clearly evident as the bedrock in which all this is ultimately snuggled. Everything and everyone falls, but is held in an immeasurable embrace. I am by turns happy, touching sadness, and laid out with awe at this fact.

Relaxing is a given, is what we are doing all the time at the bottom, but is much easier conceptualized than allowed. Relaxing into the play, I am not in control, or confined to a particular emotion or response. Anything is possible, nothing is permanent. There is a reason people speak of riding the roller-coaster, the wave, the wind. Not fighting the flow is a kind of cooperation which simply begets more enjoyment--easier currents, allover wisdom. Enjoyment, I think, is what this is all about. Even great loss, experienced fully, adds incredible dimension to this being--right in the face of the thought that subtraction is what's happening. I have no idea how this can be, but it is. 

There is only one word for it...good. 

A very good drama, indeed. :)

Sunday, July 17, 2011


As far as I can tell, I brought nothing in with me when I came into this world...perhaps because I also came out of this full, lacking nothing.

I opened my eyes, and there were no questions or comments about who or what I was, what being is, why, where, how. I didn't have to take it all for granted, or be grateful...I didn't have to make a life. I was not large or small, significant or insignificant, special or ordinary. 

I learned the power of storytelling, and that in the beginning, was the word. Any word. Entrancing! How could I not love this? I fell in love with stories, all of them--fear stories, love stories, tales of craziness and bliss. I got lost, got found, got lost again. Split myself into many, many storied pieces. What horrifying fun!

I don't know if I just got tired, day, there I was, without the main character. No personhood, and nothing to say about it. It was just fine. Eventually,  I thought I was insane, but I was just telling myself tales around the fire, as had become my custom. It turns out, I am one of the "sanest" persons I know! I like it that way. It balances out the "insane" aspects of my story...which happen when I believe the plots to be real, and seek the late afternoon sun with my blanket, so I can lie down, give in to an intense pressure, and cry myself empty. 

My mother's crazy dog plops down on my blanket, licks a tear off my face. She sighs for me. I realize it's done, and am so relieved. A soggy laugh comes out. I have no plan, no ending. I don't know who I am anymore. This doesn't seem to affect anything in the slightest. The dog is still being utterly doglike, the porch is falling apart, the sun is making my right arm, and vice versa. 

I can't construct a serious story and believe it. I have tried, a few times, earnestly. By this, I mean that I can't pin myself down, say I am this or that, or that I somehow know the beginning and end of anything in life. When I talk to people and we are busy making up a storyline, attempting to characterize Maria and Whomever in some role, the whole process is glaringly apparent as what it is...fear, attachment, offense, defense. Emotional manipulation is often pulled out as a subtle tool to accomplish a scene. It's like being a stagehand at a magic show. I know how these things are done, as they unfold...I could be very distressed, amused, offended...only if I believe the show is real. Manipulation? Same as the pattern in the palm of my hand, or a leaf blowing down the street, or the calculus I don't speak. It seems there is no harm done if I buy into the play, or if I just watch. Plays are plays.

I have nothing left to do, but there is no boredom. I make deadlines, still, that I try to meet, and function as if, as if, this is very serious business, but it isn't. It never was. I never was. I seek affection and give it for the same reason trees sway. I don't have any reason to feel what I feel. I notice that there is a tremendous amount of spontaneous poetry that comes out of people, any given moment in any situation. Maybe this is as good a reason as any!

When I leave, there will be no hands will be empty, and my heart full. That's my story. :)

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Free Hugs

It's finally Summer here in the Pacific Northwest. Last weekend I took my open heart to a music festival in the woods, where I dressed it up in a "Free Hugs" t-shirt. A good hug is good medicine; a good hug amongst like-minded revelers and life-lovers is heaven.

Camping for a few days with a few thousand souls can bring out the best and worst in people, and there are a million things to take away from the experience--life lessons, inspiration, a glow, a sadness, a hangover (if you choose!). Maria's life is such that it makes sense to be realistic, to not indulge in Utopian daydreams or runaway longings. However...the older I get and the more human company I experience, the more I run into a vast underground of downright Good People. In order for me to have cynicism as a religion, I think I'd have to lock myself away and barely speak to anyone. It would just be too hard to maintain in the face of the shining love in the core of most of us.

When I talk about this, I still have to use words like "core" or "underground", because the majority of us have been brought up and now hold jobs, identities and some sort of territory in the brittle shell-layer of our culture. Being "too" open, loving, generous and compassionate is seen as weak, stupid, scary or even crazy by many average people out there, living under the rule of fear. But as thick, calloused and controlling as the corporate/military social structure seems to be, it will never be successful at turning everyone into an obedient, unfeeling drone. There are just too many free spirits out there, too many creative galaxy hitchhikers, dharma bums, kids with laser-vision and elders bestowing practical grace. They never went away--have, in fact, always been here, puzzling, infuriating and inspiring us (and each other) since time began. 

In a gathering such as the one I attended, things are boiled down to the basics of human interest--can we stay warm, dry and fed enough, and have a great time while still respecting the rights and privacy of our neighbors? Why yes, yes we can! No refrigerator, nylon walls and virtually no private territory...still, we can live, share and whoop it up without serious injury or offense. It can be done, it is done often, and many people are quite sincere about practicing peaceful conflict resolution and personal response-ability. I witnessed a tribe that likes to walk their talk--they are the core of this beautiful oceanic neighborhood, and are timeless. 

Some might say that a festival is an artificial experience, but it could easily be the other way around. I walked into a dance, a marketplace and a village, as well as a party. Things were bought, sold and bartered. People volunteered their time and energy to clean, pass on information and take care of the "alter-abled". Musicians and artisans were given a place to shine, and people were given room to express their inner clown, bunny, gypsy, child, shaman or healer. Of course there were kids and "plastic" people just looking for the next good checkout...but mostly there were lovers of life, shy or bold, rich and poor, but all cognizant of a certain kind of connection with music, place and each other. There were countless hugs, much singing and playing. Discord of any kind was minimal...not due to the presence of security or police, but because most people really don't want to hurt or fight with each other. It actually takes a lot of abuse to indoctrinate a person into inner or outer war. Given a decent chance, humans are mostly kind, and will trade hot dogs for sunscreen in a heartbeat. :)

All of this creativity and freedom will probably be viewed as a threat for quite some time. A medicine woman told me many years ago of a "rainbow" tribe (many colors, not just natives) that carries traditional wisdom, medicine, and common sense, as well as the ability to open the human heart and eyes to the beauty of the world. These people, she told me, are the ones coming to the rescue of the lost, displaced and wounded when any kind of s**t hits the fan. The members of this tribe are, she insisted, what being is all about. "VERY important," she told me. "Your children and grandchildren will be among them." I am a grandmother now, and I'm paying attention.

I'm quite lucidly opening my arms. It's worth the risk of rejection, because love does not depend on how many good hugs I'm given, but the quality of what I can give. This is it, and I wish you joy.