unconditional love

When the Universe Conspires to Teach Us

“Five for ten, and I’ll spot you something that looks like a soul, but feels more like thinly stretched taffy from Coney Island,” I said to the face in the mirror.

My face in the mirror. Took me long enough to recognize her, but I tend to like the hard way when it comes to lessons. The only way to learn something from the inside out is to throw yourself into it completely, twist crap around, then jump in deeper. Sooner or later the bottom reveals itself in colors of ‘oh hell no’ or ‘bring it on’.

My latest project, No Name Lane, thrust me into the spiritual deep end to take a solid look at completeness. I ripped apart illusions with a fine pointed pen, then strolled through the wisdom of incredible teachers, all of it ending with a very stark realization.

I am complete within myself.

What does that mean exactly? Well, as best as I can figure I don’t need the presence of another human being to make me whole. While I’ll totally conceed it would be nice to have a romantic partner again, the lack of such won’t destroy the foundation of who I am. Whoa. Yeah, made my eyes uber wide with something between shock and glee. Not the kids singing musical numbers in high school. But actual contented happiness.

As writers, 90% of the stuff we write is usually for us. It has nothing to do with narcissism. More like because we’re so prone to living in illusion due to our craft, the universe finds any way it can to get the point across. For us, it’s words on a page. For that guy hiding in the back, it’s his obsessive need to listen to Donna Summer albums. Hey, I don’t judge. We all got our thing.

My thing is to break down everything over and over and over and… you get the point. I like to see events from every angle possible, then I ask three questions.

What did I gain?

What did I lose?

What did I learn?

Those twelve words are the way I evaluate every past and present experience. No judgement for anyone involved, no assigning right or wrong, just a comprehensive walk through the lessons of really good teachers. Yeah, I was that annoying person in college who had a file box full of research for a 20 page paper. Being thorough never killed anybody, unless they got a paper cut, then it turned into an infection and…

I’m getting off track. #ADD

The current wisdom is not to look back into the past because they say depression lives there. But how can you avoid repeating the same cycles if you don’t take the time to learn from the class life has already offered? I’m not saying stay back there forever. That’s just plain insanity because you can’t actually live in the past, but The Lion King had some pretty darn good thoughts on this subject…

Adult Simba: I know what I have to do. But going back means I’ll have to face my past. I’ve been running from it for so long.
[Rafiki hits Simba on the head with his stick]
Adult Simba: Ow! Jeez, what was that for?
Rafiki: It doesn’t matter. It’s in the past.
[laughs]
Adult Simba: Yeah, but it still hurts.
Rafiki: Oh yes, the past can hurt. But the way I see it, you can either run from it, or… learn from it.
[swings his stick again at Simba, who ducks out of the way]
Rafiki: Ha. You see? So what are you going to do?

We can’t run from who we’ve been or the events in our lives. However, we can absolutely learn from them if we’re willing to put aside blame, ego, and the part of us that loves to judge ourselves. If perfection was a human quality, the planet would be empty because there’d be no point to living.

Life is a journey of lessons through our experiences and choices. We need the contrast of lack to understand fullness, of darkness to appreciate light, of no love to embrace the beauty of unconditional love. Without delving completely into the depths of absences we may know fullness, light and love, but will often fail to understand the precious nature of such gifts.

After many years of relationships with no real break, I hadn’t been able to see, in the constant presence of others, what I’ve found in complete aloneness. I am enough all by myself, and contented in that realization. My past, my teachers, and a heck of a lot of contrast taught me that. How fortunate a gift to be given from a universe that conspires for our greatness.

If your path takes you into the arms of another loving soul, then embrace it because love should always be welcome. But know, in the arms of that person, you are complete within yourself with or without them. Completeness only requires we recognize its existence, not the presence of another being, no matter how wonderful they are. When we truly see past the illusion we are broken souls into the truth our wholeness, we can love on a level of unconditional that will make the universe blush.

 

 

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Categories: angels on earth, belief, breaking illusions, conscious choices, spirituality, the universes we create, unconditional love | Tags: , , , , | 4 Comments

Lesson of the Mirror

00 brunette

 

People were complex bits of total awesomesauce and hotmess. We all had baggage no one would ever see because people could also be very judgemental. So we rarely opened up to them, preferring to live a somewhat detached version of ourselves to remain safe. While I understood the desire to be safe, I’d found opening up could be an amazing experience, even if I risked momentary damage to the softer parts of my soul.

A good friend of mine had someone in his life I’d grown very fond of. She was a bit on the extreme spiritual side, but her perspective often caused me to look at situations from a completely different angle. I cherished her wisdom, even though I didn’t connect the dots the same way she did because my experiences were unique to me.

When she and I first met, my friend warned me that she could be a meddling busybody and ultimately only cares about herself. He said she was superficial and judgemental. While this may have been his experience knowing her, I’d found her to be honest, direct, and insightful.

Over the years, I’d run into this time and again. One or several people denounced someone else, which led to some invisible, unspoken line of separation. But we often forget…

“The world is a looking-glass, and gives back to

every man the reflection of his own face.

Frown at it, and it will in turn look sourly upon

you; laugh at it and with it, and it is a jolly kind

companion; and so let all young persons take

their choice.” ― William Makepeace Thackeray

 

 

When you found that elusive inner peace, you saw the world through a different eyes. No enemies, no judgement, no invisible foes intent on causing you pain. Instead, you’d see the goodness of all men. And let me tell you, there’s a hell of a lot more good in people than anything else.

When people constantly saw an enemy in the face of what otherwise might be a friend, it was a reflection of something within them. A part of themselves that usually was their own worst enemy. Lets face it, no one could put us down the way we could, right?

Have you looked in the mirror lately? Can you do it without turning away? Is the reflection the one you hoped to see? Can you look in your own eyes and see love looking back? Or do you glance away quickly so as not to be forced to face all the things you can’t stand about yourself?

Many years ago a dear friend had me do an exercise I’ve started again, and one I’d like you to try.

For the next thirty days, stand in front of the mirror close enough to look in your eyes directly without distraction. It’ll be difficult at first, you’ll want to look away, but resist the urge, and say…

“I love you.”

“You are precious, and I’m here to keep you safe.”

“You are an incredible person, and I’m so thankful to know you.”

“You…” get the idea.

Say all the things you’d wished a friend, parent, lover, or spouse might say.

At first, you won’t believe it. Your mind will contend this is the dumbest thing you’ve ever done, and that idiot who wrote this post is completely insane. Why? Because we’re not used to loving ourselves, we’re not used to saying good things about the person we’ve become. We listen to all the people, who were just seeing a reflection of themselves in you, as a repetitive stream in our heads of why we aren’t worthy.

“The beginning of love is to let those we love

be perfectly themselves, and not to twist them

to fit our own image. Otherwise we love only

the reflection of ourselves we find in them.”

~ Thomas Merton

 

How many times a day do you twist to fit someone else’s image of who you should be or what you should do? How often have you tried to reflect back what you think someone wants to see, then find they no longer want to be your friend?

I’m far from being a saint, but I do cherish the teachers who come into my life. And recently I met one who reminded me of the lessons of the mirror, and that when I’m at peace and my intentions are focused on love, don’t twist anything about myself to make someone more comfortable. Because ultimately, people only see in others a reflection of what is inside themselves.

During that brief span of weeks, I couldn’t face myself in the mirror. Now I looked without turning away and saw exactly what I’d hoped to see once again.

Categories: allowing the positive, angels on earth, choosing faith, conscious choices, magic, peace, relationships, the universes we create, unconditional love | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

10 things I Learned by Crossing an Ocean

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I’ve seen this quote a lot, especially lately. Its purpose is to tell people not to invest energy into someone who’s not willing to give it back, or at least part of it. Why drain yourself when they don’t really care, right?

Wrong.

 

Wait, listen to my reasoning first. Here’s the thing, while they’re refusing to jump puddles, I’m having a hell of an adventure crossing that ocean. It’s not always about the time or energy you’re investing, but the things you get to experience in the process.

People refuse to cross oceans out of fear. They don’t think they’ll have the time or energy or anything worthy to give back. Even hopping a puddle is intimidating sometimes. You ever seen Poltergeist 3? That dude got sucked right down into a puddle in the middle of a parking garage. Seriously, those freaking things can be wells of darkness. And what if they turn into giant oceans and sweep us away? See, even crossing a puddle can be frightening.

My last two relationships took me places I’d never been. Whether actual states or emotional states, I expanded my universe by meeting new people and going places I might not have otherwise gone. In the process, I learned important things about life.

 

  1. Love is always worthy of a hundredth chance.
  2. Giving a hundred percent means I have no regrets whether or not something works out.
  3. People are bent on explaining their vision for their future and even if you listen to all of it… for hours on end, sometimes they won’t in return, but it doesn’t change what you’ll want for your future.
  4. We ALL see the world from one perspective, ours, and often won’t agree because we’re a summation of individual experiences. But sometimes we will. Cherish those meetings of the minds.
  5. People can be draining and impossible and selfish and a general pain in the ass, but they’re also loving and cuddly and giving and kind and worthy of every ounce of our time and energy.
  6. Leave nothing unsaid, unwritten, undone. Go all-in, whether or not they’re willing to, and do it without regret because you’ll regret not doing it more.
  7. Do it wrong, screw it up, get emotional and passionate, embrace every moment from beginning to end and live out loud.
  8. Waste time. Literally waste time on something you think will be nothing because you’ll find it was everything when it’s gone.
  9. Be afraid, be terrified, tell yourself a thousand times how none of it will work out, then get the hell off the sofa and do it anyway. Every success and every failure teaches us more about ourselves than any self help book. You only learn by doing it and, whether you have to cross the freaking ocean a gazillion times or just jump over a puddle, you can be proud you had the courage to stand up when everything else in life was telling you to sit down.
  10. And one final thought as you journey across those sometimes unforgiving waters of life…

 

 

 

 

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At the end of life, when time slows and darkness descends, what do you want to remember? Sitting on the sofa, afraid to cross that ocean because people are draining and aren’t willing to go all-in, so why try anyway? Or that one summer when you journeyed somewhere new to meet someone incredible, knowing they only needed a temporary distraction, but which ended up being one of the most loving and connective moments of your life.

You get more than you think, and most of it isn’t tangible, but all of it worthy whether or not they’re willing to do anything in return. Sometimes the greatest gift we give is to those who can’t give back, those who will never see you walking the ocean because they’re still looking down trying to figure out how to jump over a puddle.

Categories: Choice, journeymen, patience, peace, relationships, the fear that binds us, the next step, the universes we create, unconditional love | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

An Excerpt of Something New: No Name Lane

Today I’m posting an excerpt from my new project. Mainly because I was up all night with an ill little redhead, but I don’t want to fall short of my goal to post regularly. So you get a sneak peek of No Name Lane: Diary of an Angel. 

We’re all angels to someone, and this story is a journey about returning to love, both from within and without. It encompansses the reality of a greater spiritual world. It’s the foundation of hope and kindness we build within ourselves, how every thought leads to an action, which can lift or teardown. It’s all about choices, and whether we have the courage to make them with complete and total unconditional love and accept such love in return.

Mind you, it hasn’t been through the editor yet, so please forgive any errors. I’m on schedule to finish it by the end of the month to release in late November.

 

00 No Name Lane

 

***

In the early years, sometime around my early twenties, I’d met a woman. The deep creases on her liver spotted skin moved into a near grotesque mask every time she spoke, hiding the rather kind heart buried beneath. She came from a time removed from this world, a society of money where people don’t speak about it because they didn’t need to, it’s implied by the way they carry themselves. It was a world I didn’t know, one I hadn’t seen in my childhood, but she showed me how to live in it.

On a warm spring day, we sat in the garden drinking tea, watching the tender blooms unfurl to capture the morning sun. I served, as was custom in this society for the youth to honor the aged. She smiled with a swaying nod when I asked about sugar and cream. Motions of elegance, the only way to describe her every movement, but then she was raised to embrace economy of expression. Every smile had a meaning, every scowl a purpose, all of it a symphony of language without a single word.

She told me a story once, and I didn’t understand it then, but I do now.

***

The sensei sat in the center of a rice paper and pale wood room, waiting for his student. A young man wrapped in robes entered whisper-quiet and knelt before him eager to start the day’s lesson. Jasmine incense swirled around the two, a moment of inner calm to steady the heart and mind, and the silence of it rang in their ears, but neither moved.

Finally, the sensei opened his eyes and considered the enthusiastic face before him. “Show me the meaning of kindness, my student.”

And so, the youth scurried away and returned with a bowl of stew. “You haven’t eaten all day, master, please take this stew and nourish yourself.”

Sensei smacked the bowl across the room, and closed his eyes again. “Show me the meaning of kindness,” he ordered.

The young man cleaned up the mess, left the room, and returned with a soft pillow. “Please, master, the floor is hard and your bones are aged. Take this pillow and rest upon it.”

Sensei grabbed it, ripped the feathered stuffing out, and again closed his eyes. “Now, show me the meaning of kindness.”

With slower steps, the youth cleaned the mess, sluggishly walked out, then returned, but with empty hands. He knelt before Sensei, a disheartened frown upon his face, and presented a gift of nothing to his mentor.

The aged master opened his eyes for the last time, considering the youth and his bare hands. A knowing smile full of wisdom graced his lips. He saw the broken spirit of a once vibrant pupil, and recognized the defeat in heart ready to serve the world.

He took the youth’s hands, and said, “No amount of kindness can be offered to those who are unwilling to receive it. You will find, in this world, those who will be unable to accept such a gift, but know it is no reflection of you, my student. But also, do not tolerate cruelty if that is their response. Honor your spirit and offer theirs kindness from a distance.”

***

Of course, I nodded and smiled as if I understood, but she knew I wouldn’t, not completely. My people pleasing ways, my desire to see the best in everyone would cause far more pain until I learned the lesson through experience.

And humans were like that too.

Sometimes it took living the stark reality of people’s cruelty to fully grasp a concept, and I’d spent many years offering the bowl of stew to everyone and anyone. Not so much as a means to garner favor, but because I’d lived in a pit of deepest darkness as a child. Abuse—physical and emotional, the torment of teasing by children taught too well, love only given under conditions of perfection, the terror of not wanting to fall asleep because I’d relive the nightmare again.

It was more than my winged origins, more than a higher calling, but a sincere desire to present only love because there was too much of the other in this world. But humans thrived on conflict, a contented net of safety they’d grown insecure to release. They understood hate intimately and couldn’t conceive of someone wanting only the best for them. This foreign gift of unconditional acceptance evoked anxiety and suspicion.

She tried to warn me back then. “You have a grace beyond your years, despite the circumstances of your childhood. The world will steal it from you, but only if you let them. My peers would have me broken, even in my aged state, but they’ll never receive such satisfaction. I am victim of nothing, a survivor of nothing. I am now and will always be a woman of means because I choose to be nothing less.”

Again I nodded with no more understanding than I had earlier. Instead, I focused on refreshing the tea and cutting a few roses to place in the vase on the garden table.

She responded with a smile resembling a grimace. “In time, you’ll understand, but promise me you’ll never forget.”

“I promise.” My words holding far less conviction than hers.

We spent the rest of the afternoon walking through the garden and house. She’d point out antiques handed down through her family. They had a rich history, reaching back to royalty several generations removed. I enjoyed these moments together, her laughter, her kindness, her quiet lessons. Not exactly a mother or grandmother, but somehow family all the same.

It was the last tea we ever had together. Her family didn’t invite me to the wake or funeral, but I wouldn’t have gone. She asked me not to grieve her, only to remember our time together. My only thought now—how could I ever forget?

Categories: angels on earth, Choice, new projects, novella, spirituality, unconditional love, writing | Tags: , , | Leave a comment

Cerise Dawn

0 red dawn

* * *

Cerise dawn,
lawn still fresh with dew.
She withdrew to uncover
spades large enough,
their rough watercolor edges,
and smooth ledges worn by love;
all scenes she could not see.

Dug in,
she begins the task
to unmask stalemates
that bind her heart.
Another start, but no falter.
She’ll halter the opines
until the job is done.

Letting go,
walk slow to keep from tripping.
The ripping no longer sounds
like bugle calls at twilight,
No night to halt the day,
these memories stay intact,
but lack the shadow
pain once cast.

* * *

Healing for the mind… and heart… and soul. 🙂

Categories: behind the words, certainty, Choice, choosing faith, heart, hope, journey, lettng go, rebirth, scars, unconditional love | Tags: | Leave a comment

Certain & Full

*

Grace bound

Not found, or lost

just tossed into humanity

A quick turn of clocks

tick tocks of phase

Center stage never ample

Its light too bold

for them to uncover

 

Cloud bound

Da Vinci’s sound, or silence

piece defiance collected

His turn of the clocks

still mocks the sage

Their page never ample

His riddles too bold

for them to discover

 

Rhapsody bound

Wings drown, or amplify

the mortality she hides

Her turn of the clocks

a flintlock ready to fire

Phoenix pyres always ample

Her rebirth too bold

for them to suffer

*

“And down the waterfall, Wherever it may take me…”

Categories: behind the words, belief, certainty, clocks, found, heart, hope, journey, moving forward, purpose, rebirth, the universe, time, unconditional love, wings | Tags: | Leave a comment

Melody, Stars, & Golden Barley

*

The golden tips of the barley grass now reach above the old worn fence posts. In the evening, when the sun shines just right I swear it looks like spun strands of honey. Even the bees buzzing around them seemed confused, but they flit through them trying to catch the sunlit treasure anyway.

I can’t imagine a more peaceful place.

The fire licks the log. Though resistant, its smoldering edges eventually succumb to ancient embers, still showing signs of life from the burning man she created the night before. The ash of which circles the old wheelwell in gray-white reverence.

And… I can’t imagine a more peaceful place.

When the sun finally falls beneath the misty mountains, a milk sky of stars begin to form. Their twinkle is no map to some distant land. No, they’ve already led these weary travelers to their final destination. We lay beneath them, pointing out the constellations… or making up our own… because this sacred land can only be found by those who know the stars never move, but stay constant and fixed even when the largest of their kind come out to greet the day.

Still… I can’t imagine a more peaceful place.

The soft melody playing in the background dronws out a passing train. Its clickety-clack reminds us that adventure is a steel track away and waiting for us to venture down it. The knowledge soothes us, but fails to move us because we’ve seen that world. Its hustle and bustle isn’t suited for hearts that find more beauty in the twined flight of hawks overhead than the patchwork of cars roaring by.

Did I mention…? I can’t imagine a more peaceful place.

He gets the laundry while she sits next to me sketching another masterpiece. Soon he’ll find the words to describe his latest adventure. I wait patiently, watching the his long distant gaze into the now dying flames. I know he sees something hidden within them, but he’s not ready to share those secrets. So, again I write of the melody, and stars, and golden barley, and passing trains.

A more peaceful place I can’t imagine.

*

“What with all my expectations long abandoned
My solitary nature notwithstanding…”

I said it, I meant it… then, now and always.

 

Categories: answers, belief, certainty, choosing faith, contentment, found, patience, relationships, secrets, the universe, unconditional love | Tags: | Leave a comment

Seeds

I marvel at the simplicity of a seed. It’s a self-contained universe, ready to grow into an incredible creation of the universe given the right conditions. But without those conditions, it becomes hard and lifeless.

It makes me wonder if people aren’t similar to seeds. We all have incredible potential at birth. Capable of growing into great artists, musicians, leaders, inventors, or the support system that makes it all work. We all serve a purpose, even if the conditions surrounding our growth aren’t ideal. But I wonder what would happen if we were given everything we need–enough sunlight, love, water, and just the right soil to sprout roots.

Would we grow into the mighty Sequoia that stand against the elements for centuries? Would we become the beautiful rose, blooming season after season until the universe shifts to transform our energy into something else?

What does it take to help that seed evolve into exactly what the universe intends it to be?

I can’t say for sure. I know it has something to do with unconditional love and support. I know most people never experience either… at least, not from those around them. I know we are more apt to damage what we seek to foster. I also know we can’t do it alone. If we could, then only one person would exist on this planet.

Categories: belief, childhood, hope, journey, messages, purpose, relationships, seeds, the universe, unconditional love | Tags: | 4 Comments

Rebalance

*

Subtle pangs

once was of yesterday

fades away to background noise

the poise in rebalance

a cadence finding new notes

she totes their love

in secondhand bags

 

The changed man

surrenders to golden cord

the lord of perched light

faith and sacrifice

his entrusted wind

this bliss of stillness

the hallowed skin they touch

a rush of mute witness

 

Spiritual soul mates

drawn to embrace

the grace of Heaven’s gaze

obeying their every breath

the next step

still waits before them

while, their poise finds rebalance

a cadence trapping new notes

will he tote the bags with her?

Categories: heart, hope, in the cards, not giving up, relationships, soul mates, the next step, unconditional love, what matters to you | Tags: | 2 Comments

Raindrops & Roots

*

Reclined

in the rain

Declined

the neighbor’s insane stares

we were perfect then

when love had no purpose

and raindrops bathed us

 

Muddied

the earth was ours

Cleansed

souls connecting stars

lit scars of their formation

this Claymation of simplicity

roots offset by reality.

 

Apart

the drops now sigh

Together

they become our cry

stand by for one more run

as we succumb to back then

when love – had no purpose.

*

“We had to learn how to bend…”

Categories: heart, memories, messages, not giving up, purpose, relationships, scars, stars, unconditional love | Tags: | 4 Comments

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