Friday, October 28, 2011


I can read cards, leaves and bones, even though I don't need to. I can interpret shadows in the eyes, hesitation in a hand, and doodles. I sometimes see into a distant room without taking a body there; I dream lucidly and have some of my best lessons in that realm. I am a devoted student of heart-language and other inaudible means of communication--intuition, some call it. I feel "energies" and occasionally see ghosts (or whatever they are). I am sensitive this way--it seems I have access to at least one lifetime full of collected wisdom serving many practical purposes.

Being a reader of signs and omens has a negative side, however, in that I tend to treat everything as if there is some greater meaning to be found, something just behind the symbol or metaphor. Words and feelings can point to concepts, like certain types of clouds point to an approaching storm, like russet leaves to falling. The fractals stretch out to infinity...falling to wintering, to seasons and cycles, to planets and stars and space, to universes without end. There comes a point where anything means anything, as all are related here, now.

Although casting for meaning is a useful skill, it can also be a habit which can block the very vision seeking to expand. Collapsing meaning is just as useful--necessary, even, to experience a deeper peace. One can chase after meaning eternally, as it always retreats like the proverbial carrot on a stick, or gives way to another horizon. This is great for referencing and making art, but horrible for seeing the truth of the situation--my human condition, as it is.

The patterns etched into my neurology through childhood bliss and trauma can be a nightmare when I tuck myself into their tunnels and folds, travel down their canyons, and read the old etchings on the walls. The territory is ancient and familiar, no matter which face or situation is reflected in the ever-renewing water of my life, and I find myself struggling through the same rapids, washing up in the same places. The cuts get deeper, the patterns more established, it seems, each year. There are landmarks I had nothing to do with, but are inherent in my species--heartbreak ridge, a valley of tears, lover's leap...oh, what does it mean, what does it mean? (Mind can't comprehend the magnitude of the moment...)

 Nothing. It means nothing, the way a system of roots is reflected in the stretching limbs of a tree, meaning nothing but itself; the way a pattern in the bark looks like the river flowing nearby, but cannot be pointing to anything at all except the fact that I noticed. This universe, thank whatever, is eternally flexible and open to interpretation. And my interpretations mean absolutely nothing at all, are not based upon anything substantial, as there is nothing more insubstantial than this sentence.

Collapsing thought-structures, yanking the mental rug, is not as intimidating or difficult as it may seem. It only takes a few minutes of sitting in a sunbeam at the park, watching a yellow leaf composting itself, for meaninglessness to become self-evident. There is no climax to the story when every element of it is its own. I am such an integral part of this afternoon that I can neither rise above nor subvert it; I am nothing special, there is no grand end to all these grand endings!

The feelings of the moment are just that; I do not believe the clock or the calendar, because they are in no way able to contain this actuality. This could be any spacetime, and is only this one. I walked into this, blossomed out of it in a way I will never, ever understand with my mind--and my body doesn't care, it is so perfectly at home here. Do I feel love? Can I ever love anyone or anything at all to the degree I am loved by this? Is it the same? The questions arch and shatter. My left foot is asleep. The universe spins on, but I have stopped time by noticing.

There is a babbling and rushing sound, which can signify a creek's distance from my ears, its depth and perhaps a width, as well. Left alone, the language is the sound of everything else, all running child and grass and emptiness behind my eyes. What else would it be? 

There is a stunning detachment, arising from the fact that I cannot be "attached" to something that is intimately myself. This detachment is the true love of letting things go, letting ideas die a natural death, relaxing an artificially desperate grip. This openhandedness feels wholeheartedly, exponentially, while emotion stills. Emotion cannot feel anything--it's a momentum of energy, tracking the stars of the burst, spreading the muck of the flood. As soon as it has begun, it's done, one more event in a non-contextual space in which everything "happens", and nothing is held back. It's so ubiquitous that I can't even get out of it enough to comment.

Ah, well.

I may have completely and comfortably lost my mind, made friends with death, and given up the last vestige of hope. Good. It's about time. 

I'm hungry.

Thursday, October 20, 2011


On the beach, between storms, walking with a steady wind at my back. Soothing myself with all the white noise and rhythm. Not too many people out in the middle of the week, with the Pacific "storm door" wide open. Thoughts fewer and fewer. Feeling more spacious...aaaaahhhh. Yes. All I hear are various tones of Shhh.

Now comes the thing I call love, for lack of a better description, where the waves roll through me, where there are no boundaries, no self-concerns, no ideas about the state of the world, no prayers for anything different. I can only talk about it after the fact, and words are, too...but...

It is not a gentle day; the wind is blowing hard enough that pieces of dried sea-life skitter past and ahead of me, racing each other. Sand is forming wave patterns wherever it blows. Clouds thin, but don't disperse, while more gather offshore. I'm warm from the motion and consider taking off my jacket--not quite. I come to a place where water drains from a large pipe, and I must hop across on rocks to avoid getting my feet wet. The beach is more deserted here, vacation houses shuttered up on short cliffs, mixed with struggling motels for the next couple of miles until the trees and grass of a state park are allowed again. The sand ahead is clean and almost flat, not much driftwood, so a small object stands out in distant darkness.

I drift toward the spot on the high-tide mark, curious, more so when I recognize the thing as a sitting bird. It is alive, unmoving as I approach. I walk carefully until I'm a few feet away. Though conscious, the bird is injured, dying, maybe. It rests quietly in exhaustion, facing into the wind. It opens an eye and looks directly at me, and then closes it, unconcerned, unafraid, unable.

My heart contracts, opens again. I squat down and consider the emerging details--black feathers of the back and wing, one slightly extended, sand collecting around the white breast, a wake pattern forming behind the short, battered tail. My eyes find the place where the bird hit the sand and skidded forward a couple of feet. Only a little while left...I feel sadness. A memory arises, a wise counselor a decade ago urging me to "step over the wounded birds", speaking of people in my life I believed needed saving or teaching or loving and were just me, wanting saving and teaching and loving. There is nothing I can do except the practical, and in many cases, just nothing--like this.

A thought comes. "He is waiting to die." Knowing comes--there is no waiting, here. The bird is doing what natural grace does, ebbing out, struggle over. It looks like dignity, but isn't. There is no need to dignify this passage. A huge, open love is here. I walk away with a human wish for a quick and peaceful end to any pain the bird may feel, because I suffer with the thought.


Only a few days pass, and I find myself on the same beach, this time with my brother. The wind is gone. My brother is struggling inwardly, and the walk is therapeutic, I think. Talk is minimal and inconsequential. Not too long, and I catch myself looking, looking, until I find what some part of me seeks. I don't know why, but I break away from my brother and go to the feathered body, washed all the way down here...yes, here it is, the end of the story. I don't know what this feeling is, when I gaze open-eyed at the white breast, torn open and washed clean in the sea. The bird's heart is gone, food for a scavenger. Soon it will be scattered feathers, bones becoming sand. It's a horrific sight, post-breath, but beautiful because I can't deny it, any of this.

Over my shoulder, my brother says, "Yeah, Maria, it's a dead bird," and walks away, mildly disgusted. I feel his puzzlement. Just another process-in-action, yes; no, when it is also mine, my bones I'm walking on and the feathers I will never fly with in this lifetime. Even more, it's a feeling that I can't name, that somehow contains, creates and abolishes life and death.

Love is such an inadequate sound to wrap it in.

Sunday, October 9, 2011

Occupy This

I can't help but watch social swings of the pendulum with great interest. There are moments during the "Occupy Wall Street" footage that send good chills from my head to my toes...I love it when people stand up in spite of their fear, push their personal envelopes, speak their minds! I believe it's good for humans to have that opportunity and use it.

Cynics say that it will change nothing in the system as it is--I disagree, because if something shifts inside a human being, the "system" is no longer the same. Of course these are idealists and hippies and self-perceived victims--along with old, young, rightish, leftish, military vets, unemployed geeks and ex-middle class. Whatever. The point is in the waking up and considering one's situation, internally and externally, from that place that is both/neither. It may appear on the surface as an attempt to buck corruption or reform a social order, but what is happening is an expression of a change in consciousness, a step outside perceived security. Reality--all of it--ripples with the stirring of standing up. Is it good? Bad? What will the outcome be? I don't know--and the fabric of what's real doesn't care. What matters is the sea change in the blood, in the heart, in the brain. The goals are secondary to the action of the moment, and change constantly in that beautifully ordered chaos that we dream as existence.

Very serious business...or is it?

One of my nearest and dearest family members has no computer or television. He tends to avoid mainstream news as being too negative. When I told him about the movements across the country, he said, "Yeah, well, people in power know that in order to maintain control, you have to let the people blow off steam before you crack back down. It will probably amount to nothing." Later in the conversation, he amended this opinion with the hope that the people "dance and sing and take things lightly (while pursuing serious goals), because if protests and political movements can be FUN, then things might actually change!"

"You mean, they'll show up for the party and accidentally get educated?" I laughed.

"Exactly,"  he replied. "We only have a little time, you know, and might as well see the beauty, the laughter in life...really enjoy each other while trying to wake folks up. Fun is so much better than violence at accomplishing these things."

I agree with that...let's hope violence isn't perceived as something essential to waking up. It needn't be, if one first decides to fully occupy oneself--the body, the full range of emotion and perception swirling through, the honesty of love and fear, the fact that what we really want, all of us, is more love and less fear. Start right here, now, and take responsibility for this, your universe. Both greed and altruism exists in all of us, somewhere. Fight for what you love, not against what you hate, and dance/write/paint/chant your own bright truth before deciding there is an absolute.

Much love!