A Stick in the Wheel of a Careening Bicycle

Momentum. It can serve. It can drive us into the ground. Without something to break it, like a stick in the spokes of a bicycle, momentum can wreck us at the bottom of a steep grade. Is this the stick that will break the downward momentum for me or is it a record of my demise? Time will tell.
A Year of Divine Offering. I had vision. Apparently, not the same vision the Divine was having. Whatever. If this is Her vision, then maybe all isn’t lost.
I am so tired.
I’m a spiritual type. I am a believer. I think of my life as a conversation with God. If that title wasn’t already taken, that’s what my memoir would be titled. But I’m bored. The conversation is the same over and over…. And over. My life is a series of the same moments set on repeat.
This winter has been brutal. And yes ~ I know it’s May. Shut up. It feels like winter in my soul. Dark and dry and cold. I am getting bitter and hopeless like my sainted mother. Sarcasm. Sarcasm that tastes bitter in the back of my throat. At least I understand her apathy. I understand her commitment to depression. She lost a child. But I have nothing but opportunity. I have the gift of her experience and a desire to do it differently.
And yet. Depression and apathy are unwelcome visitors far too often. And even when depression stays home, apathy comes to me as if I am its only charge.
So let’s talk about Divine Offering and the vision. I saw myself facing challenges with an almost superhuman excitement, knowing I had the Divine on my side and it would be with ease and sure footedness that I would navigate the guidance that came concerning these challenges.
What actually happened was that straight out of the gate, I took matters into my own human hands and ignored ALL the guidance that I was being given concerning my relationship. It took a while to right that ship. But God is patient and I believe. So, even though I was impatient and impulsive, the lesson was beautiful. And the wisdom deep. Embarrassing. But deep. In the end, I realized that all my relationships are here to help me remember my True Nature. They’re not here to make me happy, or complete. They’re here to help me realize I am already Loved. Already complete. That I am, in fact Love Itself.
That seemed like a big lesson. I felt like it might be THE lesson. The one that would break open all the locked gates that I’d been banging around on for my entire adult life. But after the high, came… nothing. Nothing, nothing, No Thing. I’m still waiting for some unnamed thing. Something worthy enough to write about? Maybe. Who the hell knows?

There has been some seriously strong astrological transits happening. I’m blaming part of this opportunity for growth on that. And part of it on politics. Because who doesn’t love to blame Trump for shit? But here’s the real deal:
I may never be okay. I may actually turn into my mother. I’m closing in. I think we might be only one person. As much as I’ve despised and loved her, I think I might BE her. As if she’s figured out how to be immortal.
No. I don’t believe this. Not really. Although, part of me feels it intensely.
Ancestral shit storms are real. And this one has been begging to be healed for many lifetimes. And as I stepped up to the counter to apply for the job, I was optimistic. I was enthusiastic. I was downright superhuman. I had no idea.
As a kid, and even now, I gravitate toward fantasy fiction. I loved stories about overcoming obstacles. The Never Ending Story, Labyrinth… where someone who was much stronger than they realized, faced overwhelming challenges. And I was smart enough to understand that the demons they faced were their own.
When Artax died in the swamps of sadness, I almost couldn’t watch the rest of the movie. Who kills horses or dogs in movies? But, I get the message now. Only my swamp is apathy. Depression. Judgment. And I’m being pulled under just like Artax. Just like Mom, Grandma and on up the lineage. And down. To my daughter.
I used to be so judgmental of Mom’s refusal to use her talents. She was a brilliant visual artist. And she wasted it. She was consumed by apathy and she wasted her talent.

Just as I am wasting mine. Because I can’t live up to my vision.
So, here is what you need to know. If you subscribe to this blog, it has just changed. It’s not going to be pretty. It won’t be superhuman.
This is me offering it to Divine Love. This is me doing the thing I’ve been avoiding. I wanted things to be pretty. I wanted to write about stuff after the fact; when I had the lesson all figured out. You know… to give you hope. Well, hope eludes. So now, I’m just writing as I go. No wisdom. Just reality.
I’m a believer. I believe there’s a way out of the swamp of apathy and depression for me. I believe the Universe wouldn’t have let me choose a lesson plan I couldn’t succeed at. But damn. I’m scared. I’m scared because sometimes I am so tired that giving up feels like self care.
Writing is what I know to do. Before I got consumed with the what and the how, writing was my salvation. Let it be my salvation now. Whether anyone understands or gives a shit. Let it save me from repeating history. Divine Beloved, fill the space between us. Make me courageous. You said “Write”. Let me do that. Let me let go of expectation. Make me brave enough to write in my own voice even if it doesn’t serve anyone but me. Please don’t let apathy kill me. Let this be the stick in the wheel of my bicycle.

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The Surrender

As told to me by my Uncle Bill, a supremely quiet and gentle man.

“It must have been mid-June the day my brother Tommy and I and Paddlefoot went swimming in the irrigation canal behind our barn. It was so early in the year, that the water was still too high and cold for swimming. But, we went anyway. We thought we were pretty much grown up enough to make our own decisions. Tommy was twelve. I was ten. Paddlefoot went wherever we went because as our dog, that was kind of his job. He was probably the smartest of the three of us. He did a lot of whining and pacing his giant feet around when we got to the ditch bank road. If he was trying to talk us out of it, it didn’t work, because after a bit of pushing and shoving each other, we were both in that cold, fast water.

We’d do cannon balls off the bank and the water would carry us down stream a pretty good ways until we could get to the side and pull ourselves out. I remember how good the sun felt. How  we’d lay down on the sandy ditch bank to warm up before jumping in again.

And then it happened.

I jumped in and the water was carrying me just like it had ten times before. I was trying to swim to the edge to get out, but it seemed like the water was going faster now, pulling me toward a head gate where the water was going out of the ditch into a culvert under the road.  It sucked me into the culvert and the gate slammed down behind me. Cold darkness surrounded me. Panic filled me. I was under the road with both head gates closed. The water was still in there. Quiet. All I could hear was my heart pounding in my head.

I grabbed the bars of the gate and shook them as hard as I could. They didn’t budge. I kicked. I pried. I braced myself against the wall of the culvert and pushed as hard as a ten-year-old boy could push. But nothing I did was making any difference at all. I was trapped. My lungs were on fire. I was so cold I couldn’t feel my body anymore. I thought about Tommy. Paddlefoot. And my mom and dad. I was terrified that I would never see any of them again, so I used every ounce of strength I had left to shake that iron gate. But there wasn’t even a hint of movement.

I realized there was nothing left for me to try. I had no strength left to try anyway. My time was almost up. I was going to have to take a breath. I knew I was at the end, and I relaxed. I let go of the gate that had imprisoned me and the most amazing thing happened. It opened. And with a whoosh of water, I was back out in the canal, coughing and gagging, swimming for my life. It was like the minute I relaxed, the gate opened.”

**********************************************************************************

Uncle Bill told me this story when I was in my thirties. It was memorable because he was such a quiet man. I was visiting them for an afternoon when Aunt Bert excused herself to the kitchen leaving us in awkward silence. And then out came this story of the power of surrender. I used to wonder if I had hallucinated the whole thing. It was so out of character and seemed so random.

I mentioned this story to my cousins over a decade later on the day of Uncle Bill’s funeral. None of them had heard it before.

I’ve always been so grateful for this strange moment, this extraordinary gift. Whenever I’m faced with something that I’m fighting against with all my strength, I remember…

“The minute I relaxed, the gate opened.”  (William Thomas)

What If This Is It?

What if this is all there is? If who I am right now is who I will always be? No grander purpose than living an ordinary life. Is that enough? For me, I mean. I already know it’s “enough”. At least I should know it. And cognitively, I do. But, I’ve always had this secret belief that I’d do something, well… more. 

Here’s the proof… I wrote this in a journal a million years ago when I was in my twenties;

I Believe…

… that my Higher Power is a part of me.

… that what is true about me is housed in my Soul.

… that the God I know may not be the God known by someone else.

… that if I live my life listening to the voice that is my Soul, my inner compass will   remain closer to “True North”. 

… that it is when I get into the ego part of myself that confusion is pervasive. 

*.. that there is something I am meant to do in this life. 

*… that what I survived as a child is a key to my purpose here. 

*… that in my Soul I have a gift from God. If I choose to follow my heart, that gift will become a way for me to touch the world. 

Part of me is embarrassed that I felt so important. Another part of me says for that critical voice to sit down and shut up. Because I am important. We all are. 

But what if I never realize any more lofty purpose here than just getting up every day and offering my whole self to Love? What if nothing grand ever shows up at my door and says “Go out and teach the world how to overcome childhood trauma. Open a center. Write a book. Fill a lecture hall with open hearts and minds, then speak to them.”

Is that okay? To me, I mean.

What would happen if I stopped waiting? What would my days feel like if I relaxed into them a bit more? If, after awakening and saying ~

“Let the Highest begin to occur in this life.

Let me remember why I was born on this Earth and what the Soul is here to accomplish

And use me to that end.” (Tosha Silver)

What if I just breathed in and out all day, did the work that I do, created things as I’m drawn to create, practiced deep gratitude for all that I am and all that I “have”, and served my community in whatever ways I’m drawn to serve?

What if I stopped expecting to be offered something grander than that? If I stopped waiting for my holy purpose to show up and treated my whole mundane life like it is my Holy Purpose? 

Just as it is ~ ordinary.

 

“Divine, change me into One who can offer my whole Self to you in every moment.

Even when my mind tells me I’m not enough; let me feel Your presence in the every day activities of this life.

Act through me. Speak through me. Write through me. Let me find you shining brightly in my own Being ~ and in the faces of All I meet.

Even if this is all I’ll ever be. If I never “touch the world”. If I’m already living “my purpose”…

I’m in.

I am utterly Your own. ”

 

(Don’t look now, but I think I may have just discovered true surrender)