Between Absolute

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It’s there, in black and white
The facts
Known, provable facts
Printed, stamped, absolute

Pumps, 100,000 times a day
8 pounds, 22 square feet, waterproof and insulating
30 feet of complex digestive and detoxifying action

Written, in books
Handed out each year
To learn, know, about life
About bodies
Printed, stamped, absolute

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I feel
Lungs
Inhale deeply at an exquisite sunset
Nose
Following the scent of a home cooked meal
Heart
Connected to generations through the eyes of a newborn

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Between the font
The facts
Known, provable facts
I believe in the
Heart releasing anger when the words “I am sorry” are voiced and heard
Feet comforted when they arrive home, welcomed and appreciated
Voice joyful when singing with the wind, with wolves, with community
Skin cleansed, invigorated, when immersed in a cool clear mountain stream

Pay attention
Listen
Read
Memorize
Know

I say
Look beyond
See the invisible
Feel the connection
The mystery
Believe beyond the black and white
Believe in the existence between

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Distorted Feelings

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In a few moments I descended to the lost, alone, damaged person I used to know so very well. The one I have slowly uncovered from the distortions layered on me over the years. Just a few moments and I was telling myself the distortions: “You’ll never amount to much” “Who do you think you are?” “You can’t do that.” I gathered myself, took a breath, and again began to uncover the distortions I was telling myself. As I began to recover myself, I assessed the damage, the physical damage, that triggered the emotional descent. The consequences involved lost billable hours and cosmetic damage to a tool. As the day progressed, and I kept having to redirect my thoughts. Mostly, my thoughts were on the physical consequences. Looking out to the mountains, I realized, I was spending all my energy and efforts to let go of the physical damage, and had not yet addressed the emotional damage.

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I heard a hawk cry as I realized how difficult it still is for me to really know when a harm is done to me. I might be the one harming myself, or someone else. It’s the same. I am often blinded when it comes to a harm being done to me. Times, experiences, when I forget my truth. Just moments, gone, lost to the distortions.

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I know, intellectually, the distortions told to me are not true. Feeling, really feeling the damage of the past is not something I want to feel.

Each day I greet the sun I feel the wonder of the day.

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Each day I greet the sun I feel the promise of a new day.

I hear the hawk again, and promise myself, when I look at the physical damage from this challenging day, to courageously share my truth.

Church of the Empty Nest

IMG_20160124_101358_598I went to church today
The church of the empty nest
The church of the unbroken snow
The church of the bare trees
I went to church today and felt
Deeply felt
My heart
My soul
My voice
Deeply deeply felt
The silence of the newly fallen snow
I felt, deeper, even deeper
Not just in the snow,
In the new fallen snow,
But a path
through my heart
through my soul
In this holy church,
This church of the holy trees
Holy river
I feel a loss
Of being a mother
Of how afraid I was
Of how I was told
Over and over again and again
How I was not good enough
Not enough

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I remember those times
As a mother
How I didn’t know
But was told
In every way
I was not good enough
Especially for my gender
Not being good enough
To please
Satisfy
Others
To care for others
Enough
Now, I know in this holy church
I am loved
Appreciated
For my love, playfulness, forgiveness
How I wish I had those traits
When I was younger
When I was afraid

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In this church
Of the holy sacredness
There is no time
No schedule
No first service
Later service
Or Saturday evening service
There is just going outside
Looking to the sky
Looking to the earth
Looking to the east and the sun
Looking to the west and the trees
Looking into a neighbor’s eyes
Looking into your heart
I went to church and
I served my soul

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Abundance & Ease

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For the past year or more I have been asking/praying for abundance and ease. It’s not a new desire, just a new understanding of what I need to do to have the life I want. Just saying abundance and ease has been uncomfortable for me. For so many years I would say, without thought, “Why is my life so hard?” I asked the question and received the reply – hard.

I have resisted, in so many ways, excess. That has often translated to denial, of my worth, my value. It also resulted in having utility companies calling, threatening to cut off services.

There was anger behind my resistance to abundance and ease. I was angry at people who lived in excess – making more money than I could imagine, owning homes, cars, things that I felt would never be mine. How could one person deserve so much more than another? What did that say about “them”? What did that say about me?

It might seem counterintuitive, to quit a job while imagining abundance and ease. Well, leaving a job can offer ease of time. Leaving without a definite income is not exactly the picture of abundance. I left a job I love because the salary was going backward. Eight years, no raise, two cuts, no compensation, the opposite of abundance and ease. I walked away trusting, believing, envisioning abundance and ease. I made this choice wanting the ability to live with a more respectful exchange for my skills and abilities. I do not want to live in excess, to intensify the disparity which already exists. To increase the separation of haves and have-nots. I prefer to live simply, and would appreciate my lifestyle to be a choice rather than a necessity.

Recently, I was asked a question.

“Can I buy you a car?”

The person who asked had lived in excess, houses, cars, salary, along with excess weight, prescriptions and depression. His life changed five years ago, opening his eyes and heart to joy, health and mission.

“No” I replied, wanting to hold on to my belief that I will independently succeed.

My heart sent a message, “Consider what you are saying no to.”

I considered my lifestyle and the life I bring to relationships, community and myself.

The next question nudged its way to me “Do you really want to say no to abundance and ease?” I pondered whether I was able to receive. How many times and ways have I refused to be valued, appreciated, respected?

Still, such a large gift left me uneasy. Large, in my perception, which again reminded me of my desire, and struggle, with viewing life with the lens of plenty.

Accepting this gift would not mean living for things, it would mean having some things to make life easier.

I considered the risks. I already know the risks of saying no, of living a life of poverty – poverty of spirit.

Every time I look at this car, I will feel abundance and ease. It is a recognition that someone who lived so disconnected to spirit while living in excess can generously, simply, share that wealth. I will be reminded, as I turn the key, that I too deserve options.

Natural Silence

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There is a silence in the woods where thoughts are heard before they are formed.

There is a silence of destruction when a strong respectful voice is oppressed.

A seed sprouting may only be heard by the tiniest creatures yet expresses promise of abundant growth.

The silence of reaching out to someone in need is more strongly felt when simply intimately shared.

The choice of silently listening to your heart rather than the chaos of defeat reflects the wisdom of the woods.

Between – What?

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I walk with the sun rising in the east and the moon setting in the west. This autumn day, with more leaves on the ground then on the branches, I walk between. This time when the days are shorter, the garden simply bare ground. This time of the year, when I want to hibernate, I am between the sun and moon, the east and the west, and my personal struggle of the past and present.

 This is the time of the year when I am reminded of my past, of the continual struggle to simply protect the possibility to dream. The contrast, of the words directed at me and the words I choose to say to myself, are as vastly separate as the sun and the moon. My past rotates around me, more present as the ground lays fallow and the nights deepen. As I walk between the sun rising and the moon setting, I feel the language of gratitude, developed, harvested, replanted, nurtured, deepen within me.

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As I deepen my breath I cannot escape the question “What if?” I walk between the lost potential and the present reality. The moon is waning, the sun blinds me. I know what I have survived. I relax my jaw, arms, neck, and exhale.

I smile knowing what I have created.

I pause, imagining, “What if?”

 I stand in silence as the earth, sun, moon, move all around me.

I live every day with the consequences of my decisions. I rotate the question “What next?”

 This quiet moment is perfect.

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Fighting Words

I did not fight in a military war
I have not held a weapon
or trained to kill
Each time I was treated as just a woman
I fought for my independence
Each time I was asked to clean up
after others, expected
to be willing to put my needs aside for others
I fought for my independence
When I am subjected to the blame, handed down from
the story of Eve
The story that provides a blanket excuse to blame all women
I fight for my independence

When I am complimented for my looks and not my abilities

I consider the compliments fighting words
When I am looked at, not for my abilities
but as an object of pleasure
as a sexual possession
I fight for my independence
When I hear about a teen mother
without a question about the body
attached to the penis violating a young female
I fight for independence
When a women is not permitted to be a religious leader
I fight for independence
When women’s rights are restricted
by the court of the land
I fight for independence
When all women are honored and respected
I will celebrate Sovereignty.

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Just

I remember the last information on the news
Body Bag count

I remember wearing the POW bracelet
connected each day to a life either lost or missing

I do not remember hearing stories from my father
and his fighting in WWII

I remember telling veterans
in an arrogant youthful innocent voice
You had a choice. You didn’t have to go.
Before I truly understood how
words are the first weapon of choice

I remember being taught the
Just War theory and getting that sick feeling
that what I was being taught was not true

I remember arguing with the person on the phone
someone from Selective Service
when I was told that there was no option to declare
conscious objector until being called to service

I remember hearing story after story, with great sadness
the cost of refusing to answer the call to military service

I remember bringing home the book “Johnny Got His Gun” by Dalton Trumbo
and being told I was not allowed to read the book.
I remember reading it
shocked at the treatment of veterans
by the country that called them to arms

I remember those who lost lives, limbs, dignity
in the name of war
I remember them each time I advocate for the
choice
action
courage of
non-violence
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Radiance

Before the sun rose, we met each other on the street. She, maybe at the age of 3, standing at the bus stop with a woman. She had on a warm coat, had a smile on her face, and a rose in her hand. Not knowing them I paused, just a bit, before speaking.
“What a beautiful rose”. I said, looking first at the woman and then the child.
The child held up the wilted flower.
“Are you going to give that to your teacher?” I asked
“No, I’m going to give it to you” she replied, with every ounce of her being brought to attention.
Her smile was radiant.
Her intentions clear.
She did not hesitate because
it was dark
she didn’t know me
my skin is a different color
I am older
or that I didn’t have something to give her in return.
Before the sun rose
in one short moment
this young girl and I shared a radiant connection.
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Lasting Impression

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The carvings in a tree. The etching in rocks. Signs that someone was there. Someone who felt the need to leave a mark, to give a lasting impression, on a natural being. I lower my eyes, apologetically, for being part of a race that disrespects what nature offers.
When I enter the woods, oceans, mountains, I enter with silence. I want to hear and feel what the trees, wind, water, have to share with me. I am grateful for every step in wilderness I am allowed to take.
As a young person, I found refuge at the ocean. Sand between my toes, salt in my hair, was a welcome sign that I was were I needed to be. More recently, I am surrounded by mountains. The ridgelines, vistas, ravines, help me escape and remember the sacredness of life. I have been hiking in the mountains of Western North Carolina for eight years now. A few months ago, with snow still on the ground, I felt the mountains finally allow me to hear them. I lower my eyes, acknowledging that nature leaves no physical marks on me yet has the most profound impression.