That Dream in the Corner

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Rumbling low and on the edge of life is the one thing you were meant to do. It’s easy to miss it, to walk right past or run for fear it’s an oncoming train. Not many people around us will point it out, mainly because they’re still running too, but they’ll happily nudge toward less ambitious endeavors.

Not for lack of belief, it’s a simple matter of their fear projected onto a willing target.

Did you want to be a writer?

How about an artist?

Or doctor?

Or vet tech?

Or… (insert the dream you walked away from)?

While it’s true all these professions take time, money, and effort, so does everything else in one way or another. But when we settle for less than our dreams, it takes a far greater toll. Our dignity. Our confidence. Our passion. All of them disappear in the lull of what we never meant to become. In an inevitable wearing down of our true selves is a small part we bury because courage isn’t an admirable quality anymore. In fact, courage to pursue something others perceive as out of reach has turned into a fool’s quest, worthy of mocking and ridicule. A sad testament to the cage our society lives in now.

We are sheep of a different sort, willing to hand our power and lives over to media, friends, and family or anyone else with an opinion. We package ourselves to make no lasting impression because we have no voice or identity, save the ones given to us. And we wear those as safety blankets to avoid crafting targets that might otherwise land on our backs.

It’s a cycle of fear and hopelessness breaking down sovereignty. No threat is greater than the person who actually believes in themselves. And were you to do such a thing, were you to stand for what you believe in, to have an opinion of right or wrong in your life, to tear off the cloak of anonymity and wear everything about yourself on the outside, you might just find others like you. And then more would come, and others would see your authentically threadbare soul for who you truly are. Soon, you’ll be surrounded by people inspired to follow their dreams as you have yours.

But the price is too steep. I’d lose people. Someone I think is everything might walk away, then I’ll have no one but me.

Until the others come this might be true. And it’s a scary thought to stand on our own feet. Will the ground be steady or crumble? What would we do if left to our own company with no opinions to cloak us? These questions are the trap, the little programed voices that make up the bars. The lock being our unwillingness to stand on the edge of everything as ourselves because it’s safer in the middle. It’s safer not to try too hard for perfectly justifiable reasons.

It costs too much money.

It’ll take too long.

I won’t be able to make a living anyway.

That’s not a career, it’s a hobby.

And the biggest lie, oh umm, justifiable reason…

I’d need years of education before I even got into that field. 

You realize how many careers, companies, and empires were built by people with just a high school degree and elbow grease, right?

Having said that, you do need to study your intended field of dreams. Spend time in the deep brightly lit pit and work your way up. In the process, you’ll learn all the practical things they’ll never teach in a classroom. Not to say a little education does anyone harm, but it’s not the only way to scamper down roads paved by the fools and risk takers.

A final note about personal responsibility. The dream belongs to you. Own it, which means owning all the failure as well as success. We’ve been pounded on by social media with memes about how someone or other didn’t fail, they simply found a better way to do something or other. Each time I see one, I drop my forehead and knock it against the desk. Failure happens, and when it does it means you’re moving forward with life. You’re engaged, you’re learning, and you’re not standing still.

No one ever accomplished anything until they made the choice to do something.

So, do it. Own it. Don’t hand it over to some guru or “expert”, so you’ll have someone to blame if it doesn’t work out. If it doesn’t, then try harder or stop lying to yourself about what your actual dream is; regroup, believe in yourself unconditionally, and get out there to attack it with all the passion you possess.

Your dream is attainable.

But to believe in that statement is a choice too.

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Categories: Drive by life | 2 Comments

The “Lack of Backbone” Club & Why I’m turning in my Card

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I’ve written about self worth in some depth, both in my novels and blog posts. While this has been a very long journey, recently something came up that made me see how far I’ve yet to go.

Lupus, in spiritual terms, is a result of giving up, of the preference to die rather than stand up for one’s self. Ouch.

That’s me. The woman in the corner who makes a lot of noise sometimes, but that’s a distraction, something to draw attention while I run away. You see, I’ve never been good at standing up for myself or what I want. In fact, I’m actually convinced it’s selfish, and that I’m stealing away someone else’s joy by sticking up for what I want and my boundaries. Yeah, we’re sicker than we think sometimes.

For all my clamouring about finding your value, I haven’t been able to draw a line in the sand… ever. My course instead has been to walk away. Oh hell, I freaking run at mach speeds.

Now my lupus may or may not have resulted from this lack of backbone, but every time I’m confronted with a conflict I will err on the side of doing what’s right for others. I get stressed by this internal moral dilemma to the point of sickness.

Example:

I’m living in a beautiful house on a hundred acre farm. The plumbing upstairs doesn’t work, the toilets function properly about half the time, a few windows are broken, the front door doesn’t stay closed or lock, there’s mold in the basement, the fuse box pops regularly, there are holes in two of the bedroom ceilings, and we can only effectively heat the kitchen and family room during the winter. The other rooms are ice cold unless we use electric heaters, which result in $500 – $600 electric bills.

Every time we have a major problem — the sewage breaking or other such issue — I’m terrified to call the landlord. Last time I did he threatened to evict us and told me to go to hell. He did, however, eventually send someone over to fix it. So there’s that.

My girlfriend and I don’t want to move our three munchkins out of another school district, and with the extortion rent prices in Jefferson county, our choices if this plan doesn’t work out are limited. I can’t spend another winter in a house that can’t be properly heated. This past winter had me in bed for nearly three months. We can’t afford that happening again.

I recently came up with the crazy plan of putting two years of the rent money into fixing these problems, then signing a ten year lease at a higher rate. I figure he’ll get his money back in the repairs and the higher rent over time. Let me point out that this guy is a multimillionaire with hundreds of properties, many in the same condition, some not even able to be inhabited. Having said that, it’s still a business for him, so I get the need to make money from his properties.

So, I brought this plan to the landlord. When he started becoming difficult, I said, “Hey, if this isn’t going to work, then we’ll find another place.”

“Wait, that was my initial reaction,” he responded.

But that was also the end of the discussion. I haven’t heard from him in over a month, though he’s gone around and questioned my ability and honor to mutual friends.

Here’s the moment I should go and confront him. I should stand in his office and press until I get an answer, but…

It has caused so much stress that I’m head-deep in another flare-up. My joints throb, my muscles ache, I’m coughing up fluid again, and my chest is so tight, due to swollen tissue around my lungs, that it’s difficult to breath.

So my fellow hippie dippie spiritualists may not be far off. In fact, just writing this makes me feel better. At least, a little better.

Bottom line, whenever I’m confronted with issues like these my mind instantly thinks… “It’s not fair to ask him to fix these things” and “What a selfish bitch I am for even considering it” and “Maybe I can fix the house and pay rent and electric, so he’s not inconvenienced.”

I consider every possible way to make it easier on other people while piling a mountain of expectation, responsibility, stress, and work on my shoulders.

The world is about to make an incredible shift. Everyone, even the least connected person, feels the approaching change, and I don’t want to be stuck in these old patterns when it happens. I want to stand up for the things I believe in and what’s right for me without the whole martyr thing going on. ‘Cause yeah, I’ve done that more than once in my life, and it’s getting a little cliche.

Will I have the guts to stand up to him or anyone else?

Maybe… maybe not, but I’m going to try. It’s the only thing I can think to do because what I’ve done isn’t working, and I don’t want to be sick anymore.

 

Categories: Drive by life | Tags: , , , , , | 3 Comments

Short Story – Where Fate Left Off

Something a different this week. Here’s a short treat from the archives to bring a little paranormal into your Tuesday evening. 🙂

 

Where Fate Left off

by

Ranee Dillon

Imitation china clanked in the busy dining car, every booth packed three deep except for one. I strolled up to a mousy blonde woman in lace and looked down at the empty bench across from her. She straightened, a slight curve catching her lips, then nodded. Not the eager kind of hungry seductive bob I’d gotten from most women. This was a reserved sway, graceful and elegant as if I were one of her subjects and she the princess.

“Something to drink,” an over-greased waiter asked.

“Scotch with a splash of water,” I said. “And, of course, anything the lady wants.”

The blonde dismissed the waiter with a sharp glance, and he scurried through the crowd.

I fiddled with the plated silverware. “It’s busy in here tonight. I’m Tom, by the way.”

Deep valleys creased her paper-mache skin, but fit the pin curls framing her face. A single strand of pale yellow hair had escaped her neat French twist. It dangled against the spotted flesh of her neck, begging for my hand to tuck it into place. Or perhaps my hand begged to tidy it. Her eyes darted down to my fiddling fingers in a knowing way—a far too intuitive gesture for my comfort level.

I leaned back, tapping the table as the waiter returned with my drink.

“Anything else?”

“I’ll need another one of these soon,” I said.

“Motion to me if you need another one, and I’ll have it out to you directly.” He darted off to another table before I could respond.

“Cagy guy,” I said and took a long sip of my scotch. A cutting pain ripped through my arm, and the glass slid through my hand onto the table. “Crap, it’s been doing that all day. I can’t grip a damn thing. Thank God it landed the right way. That could have been a mess.”

Blondie’s head swayed again, her aged frame trembling, and she reached over to claim my drink. Her spindled fingers ended in smooth white tips, matching the colorless skin beneath. A large diamond set in a Celtic woven band winked at me. It projected a rainbow of colors across the table and onto my tie, making me aware of the small red stains on it.

“Shit,” I said, wiping at them. “I thought scotch was a golden brown. How the hell did it turn red? Lousy dry cleaners must have put some chemical on it. I’ll have to talk to them about that.”

A shrill laugh distracted me from the tie disaster. Some brunette in a too-tight velvet dress hung on a man in the booth across from us. Her red lipstick smeared down his cheek, which didn’t seem to agree with him because he scrubbed it with a napkin. It bled into the crisp white surface, a scene worthy of chalked lines. He dipped the linen in a crevasse of water and used the knife as a mirror, but the stain grew across his cheek. The car jerked, knocking them into a window, and the velvet temptress shriek in response.

Glasses on the faux wood tabletop clinked in mocking tones. The sound enveloped the car, but no one budged, except me. I covered my ears, cursing at them and the screeching train wheels. My ears bled, my arms ached, and still the noise split through me. Louder and louder, it whipped around the car, lashing out at me and the other diners.

“Stop,” I screamed.

Silence followed. As I glanced around, the other passengers sat quietly in their booths eating dinner. No one looked back, not even a shifty-eyed scan. The mousy blonde, busy digging through a small wooden box, ignored me, too. Not a cup or fork lay out of place, and even the scotch in front of me sat undisturbed, an inviting retreat from indifferent company. I guzzled it down to numb the anxiety and regain my sanity.

“I should have taken one of those fancy new airplanes,” I said, mainly to myself. “They say it only takes hours to get from one coast to another instead of weeks. Sure the hell beats dealing with this crap.”

The waiter dropped another drink on the table, then disappeared.

“He isn’t very conversational, is he?” I asked.

Blondie smirked and pulled out some stationary from the box. In curved elegant script, she began writing to a man named Thomas. Tears dotted the soft pink paper, creating small pools of blackish-rose. They soaked in, smeared by an occasional brush of her finger, but she didn’t stop or start over. She reached the end with a large scribbled heart.

I smiled. “My fiancé, Sarah, ends her letters to me the same way.”

She nodded and folded the note, tucking it beneath the salt shaker.

“She had a ring like that too,” I said. “We bought it at Macy’s after their tenth anniversary parade. Most popular engagement ring they had, the clerk said. I still remember the way she grabbed me after I proposed. Hundreds of people, and it was just the two of us standing out there by the street. I’m traveling to meet her now. Where are you heading?”

No answer, only a small river flowing down her pale cheeks.

Ice swirled in a golden pool, and she reached over, then gulped the scotch in one run. Her hand shook until the glass dropped down and rolled across the table. It fell onto my bench and clunked to the floor. I reached under to grab it, but my shoulder wedged between the lip and cushioned seat. After a few swipes, I yanked it and myself up, straightening my jacket and tie.

Blondie had disappeared.

I scanned the bustling crowd to find her. Several booths down, near the rear, she stood at the back door with her hand hovering above the latch. Her petite frame trembled, her legs shook, but the square resolve of aged shoulders seemed to drag her forward. One final deep breathe, and she opened the dining car door to a scene of tracks and a rocky abyss.

She glanced back, then lunged over the railing.

Red and lace rolled against the steel below, and I raced out behind her, screaming into—the caboose? Musty air assaulted me, the distinct scent of a room vacant for decades. I ripped up the shades and pulled open the rear car door, only to find lush rolling hills rushing past. No rocky mountainside, no lace, no Blondie; just the clickity-clack of a train speeding through a beautiful fall day.

“What the heck is going on?” I asked, stumbling back into the dining car and planting myself in the booth.

Laughter and chatter filled around me. My stomach twisted in on itself, and I stared blankly at the empty seat on the other side. Minutes dripped into an hour before I could even move, then I saw it—the note. It was tucked beneath the salt shaker. I pulled it out and opened it slowly.

Thomas,

Fifty years ago on this day your train fell victim to a rockslide, killing you and so many others, my Love. We were to wed later in the week, but fate had other ideas it seems. Though I’ve lived a full life, part of me remained stuck in a reality where you and I still live happily together. I leave to join you there with the hope that you’re waiting.

Sarah

I collapsed against the seat, shellshock creeping across my chest. The pounding in my head deafened all other sounds, and I rocked back and forth, trying to grip my sandglass reality. My Sarah, was it really her? That old woman with creased paper skin and faded sunflower hair. The train crashed, she wrote about a rockslide, but it couldn’t be true. Here I sat, drinking my scotch in car full of—

No one, it was empty, save a lone waiter bursting through the door with a furrowed brow. He glanced at the booth and the open rear door with wide eyes, then rushed back the way he came without a word. Raised voices floated from his direction as a conductor and several other people hurried to the rear. They argued and yelled while the train screeched to a halt, and I watched in disbelief as they hoisted what remained of the old woman onto the platform.

“May I sit here,” a soft voice asked. “It’s busy tonight.”

She didn’t wait for an answer, instead sliding gracefully down on the bench across from me. Soft blonde pincurls swayed with the chiffon of her summer dress, a single strand loosed from her neat french twist tempted me to tuck it back.

“S—Sarah?” I squeezed my eyes shut, then opened them wide.

“I couldn’t wait any longer,” she said, sliding a ring over to me. “Now, we can pick up where fate left off.”

 

Categories: short stories | Tags: , , | 2 Comments

Energy Fields and Emotional States – letting go of things that don’t serve your soul

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Have you ever noticed on bad days how the dog barks and cat pees on everything, electronic devices go wonky and die, and you hit every red light and road closure on your way to work?

Our energy fields impact everything around us. We actually project minute negative or positive waves based on our emotional state. Negative fields will drain electronic devices and other people because we’re attempting to pull in their energy to recharge ourselves… while carefully ignoring the boundless waves available from the universe that are generated within us. This is partially due to conditioning and the examples of parents or other dominant people we encounter throughout our childhood. We do what we’ve known, and their example often teaches us to look for that recharge externally. Everything from coffee to people become our power-up stations, and we don’t even realize it’s happening.

But our energy fields and intentions affect more than just electronics and people.

My girlfriend and I were sitting in the kitchen relaxing when a stinkbug crawled across my desk toward my coffee cup. I watched it patiently, then said, “Dude, stay away from my coffee. Like we’ll have serious issues if you climb up that cup.”

It scratched at the base of the coffee cup and moved to the corner of the desk, then flew off to a nearby window.

“They must not take me seriously when I talk to them,” my girlfriend said.

“Well, do you see them as conscious spirit beings or are they just mindless insects,” I asked.

“Hmm,” she said, staring out the window.

Whether the stinkbug actually has a soul understanding of anything is something I’ll never know for certain. However, I believe intention and the energy we project can be a powerful thing. It can become an unhealthy loop of drain and depression or an uplifting emanating field of peace and joy, both impacting everything and everyone around us.

So, I have a few things for you to consider. Only hold on to what resonates with your soul.

When you’re having a bad day or hard time and you call a friend to unload, do you feel better while they begin to feel drained or depressed?

Dumping is nothing new. We all need to get negativity out of our system, but there’s a healthy and unhealthy way to do it. First, be honest about the situation without judging yourself. We all screw up sometimes or make decisions out of some emotional need or reaction, one we often don’t even realize is an issue.

Second, look into the other person’s universe. What are they struggling with? Trust issues, insecurity, pain they can’t let go of, fear? We have a host of hidden reasons for our behavior, but what I’ve come to understand is any overt emotional reaction is often a result of internal battles about unresolved past issues. The current situation mirrors them just enough to stir up our need to fight or run.

Third, are you taking on things that aren’t yours? Consider the possibility that you’re trying to prove something to someone who might not be ready to accept what you have to give. I have a habit of taking on people’s trust issues like some freaking crusade. In my mind, everyone should have someone they can count on and trust. When I come across a person who feels as if they don’t have anyone on their side, it somehow becomes my personal mission to prove to them that they’re not alone, that someone actually cares. Here’s the problem, it’s not my job or mission. I can support and love them, but this is something inside their soul they need to heal, and no one can do that from the outside. So, slowly, very slowly, I’ve stopped crusading across the world.

If I were brutally honest, it was also a way to keep me from addressing my own battle with trust. If I could prove it to them, then maybe one day someone might do the same for me. Because we run from healing, and I’m just as human as everyone else.

How we get the energy we need matters. When we hold on to past baggage and things that don’t honor our souls they drain our internal batteries. Our first instinct is to find anything exterior to temporarily “fix” the problem. If that doesn’t work, we go to extreme measures, lashing out in a cry for help because taking a hard look at life without judging ourselves and others is pretty damn scary.

Imagine saying, “Yeah, I totally screwed that up, but it’s okay. I’ll either be honest about it and move on or make amends somehow if the other person is open enough to allow it, either way I can’t hold on to something that doesn’t serve my soul.”

Do you feel anxiety at the mere thought? Does your chest tighten? Did the cat just get and start scratching at the furniture? Did your phone or computer just glitch?

Be aware of how much your emotional state affects the things in your universe. Don’t be afraid of the past and view it with an impartial eye because the only thing that lives there are lessons. If you’ve learned from those experience, then let them go. Finally, and this the most important part, stop carrying things, internally or externally, that don’t serve your greatest good.

Big love, peace and light. Bubble out. xo

Categories: allowing the positive, conscious choices, honesty, peace, spirituality, the universes we create | Tags: , , , | Leave a comment

Contrast and the Human Journey – You are Not broken

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You are a cherished gift. You are an expression of all the love, kindness, and compassion held within a single heart and throughout the whole of the universe. So, why are you so mean to you?

No, don’t beat yourself up for another perceived failure. This isn’t something born inside you. It’s generational conditioning through society and media that preys upon every single person with the illusion you are broken. That’s a wicked lie, one perpetuated for centuries to keep everyone in bondage. If you’re constantly looking inside to fix “broken” parts it keeps you from reaching out for connection. Connection to the universe, the earth, to the people in your life, to love.

This plan to keep everyone in internal chaos may seem like just another conspiracy theory, but it’s not. It’s not one person or group. This is something humanity chose for contrast. Our souls decided at some point in history that we collectively needed to understand separation on a thoroughly intimate level. We broke away from our tribal, supportive groups to embrace independence, something else we thought we lacked.

What we found was spinning.

We spin inside ourselves, breaking down all the goodness until we’re convinced of our incompleteness. To make it worse, we then project it onto other people, so we don’t feel alone in our misery.  It’s a cycle of breaking down that starts with walls. Gigantic walls, ginormous walls. Hell, the Great Wall has nothing on the ones we create for fear someone else will know our secret. We are broken.

Only we’re not. And when someone else tells us we’re not, we rail against the wind, beat our chests, and tell them how they can’t see us and they’re not listening because we’re absolutely certain of the inherent evilness inside. We live in these illusions, we cling to them as if they were precious, not once honoring ourselves or others with kindness.

To look upon ourselves with softer eyes seems to be the greatest sin of all. In fact, killing another human is held in less contempt than actually saying to someone, “I honor you as an expression of love and light in the universe.” We can categorize and justify violence. There always seems to be a reason or cause we can point to, and people are all too comfortable talking about the latest tragedy, but what about love?

Why do people hide their love away behind closed doors? Why is expressing love in front of other people considered to be adolescent? Why does it seem to physical hurt some people to see a couple walking hand in hand?

It’s the illusion of brokenness, of the feeling we’ll never have it or don’t deserve it. Never realizing that all we have to do is reach out, walls down, hearts open, and embrace the person next to us – be them child or man or woman. The act of loving another person and honoring their soul with kindness and compassion and directness is the greatest we can give them and ourselves. But don’t forget that face in the mirror because you deserve to embrace the gift of your presence in this world.

Celebrate it, honor it by not accepting other people’s projections as your own, by forgiving yourself for every “wrong” decision because you simply didn’t know any better, by loving and laughing and dancing or sitting quietly and knitting to Kitaro. Do what brings you joy and give to others in the joy.

But most of all, be a little kinder to yourself because you are truly brilliant. You are an expression of love. And I’ll keep saying it over and over until your eyes soften and heart lightens and you release that world class prize fighter beating up the most beautiful soul I’ve ever known.

Categories: angels on earth | Tags: , , , | 2 Comments

Update: Living with Lupus, Publishing, and what life looks like when I live it

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Winter has been tough on everyone. Just ask the guy next to you. I’m certain he has more than one complaint – weather, money, illness. We’ve all been battered, and the massive shift in universal energy is throwing all kinds of crap in our face, but this isn’t a bad thing.

We all have illusions to break and walls to break down. This time has been good for that at least.

For several years my body progressively became more difficult to manage. Pain, constant pain I suffered through in silence, racked my joints and muscles, the winter being a particularly difficult time. But now I have an answer.

Systemic Lupus. Yay me! But not really.

The diagnosis came barrelling in with a lovely expiration date. That’s right, the docs gave my one remaining kidney 8-10 years at best. To make this a little more OMG, they said I wasn’t a candidate for a transplant. Needless to say I was shell shocked. I’ve since found other, less cryptic doctors, who have given me hope. Yes, hope! Combined with a steady ingestion of Prednisone, I’m feeling much better.

The lovely addition of two beautiful children and one of my best friends in the world to this too empty house has given us all a renewed sense of peace and joy. Little things, so very small, have been flowing together to ease the stress and inspire us all to love and support one another. For that I am eternally grateful.

Thank you, Universe, for having my back.

Next in line is publishing. Last month I pushed through a flare-up to put No Name Lane: Diary of an Angel up on Amazon Kindle. It’s a journey, part fiction, part personal, but all about breaking away the thought processes that keep us from joy. With any luck it’ll add a little more light into the universe, and we could all use more of that right now.

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To end this rather short update, I am coming back. Just need a little time to settle into this new joy. When someone tells you life comes with a time limit, it puts a lot of things in perspective. And I didn’t realize how much of life I was missing by wallowing in a pool of stress and obligations. Let’s face it, we’re gonna have bills and homes to care for and kids to manage. But those things don’t have to be a noose. We know they’re a part of being on this planet, so why not shrug, smile, and chase a three year old around a living room that’s covered with toys and blankets.

Those are the moments worth living. If we don’t truly reach out and cherish the people around us, then we’re facing this all alone. In the long history of our world, man has always banded together to share resources and support one another. It’s only been in the last several hundred years that we’ve broken away for it, and a progressive steam of hopelessness and loneliness followed.  Why we screwed with a good thing is beyond me, but I’m gathering a tribe, a group of incredible people for mutual love and support. Somewhere in there we’ll find a hell of a lot of joy as well.

To top it all off, you’re part of it. Yes, YOU! Why? Because I’ve seen your heart, the joy and pain, and no one should have to live either alone because, like I told a little seven year old the other day, we’re better together. Yes, I went Jack Johnson on you. ~winky smile~

Love you bunches, and look forward to talking again soon. Mwahhhh!

Categories: allowing the positive, angels on earth, breaking illusions, children, Choice, choosing faith, love, separation and society, spirituality, the universes we create | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

A Promise of Spring

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Winter’s long hand is blanketing the world outside my door. The crystalline white swirls down, reaching over everything to hide color and light. Even the busy road vanished, now a silent empty reminder of travelers I’ve never met.

Somewhere in the distance soft light promises to break the spell, but I know it’s simply an illusion — my personal mirage in an entirely new desert.

On days like these the only sound is her laughter. Some video or other amuses her twelve year old mind into a fit of temporary joy, and I’m thankful to hear something other than my own thoughts. She’ll be here for a handful of years yet. Experience has taught me they’ll go fast, too fast, then she’ll tackle the world outside our door with fire and passion. Though I’ll miss her laughter desperately, I won’t hold her back, even if I could. She deserves a shot at making this life everything or anything her brilliant mind can imagine.

I see the stinging loneliness ahead, but don’t weep. In this weather, my tears would freeze before hitting the ground, and the beauty of this place inspires more quiet smiles than sorrow.

The only thing left is to wait and wonder what comes next, though all I see is the snow. No brilliant images of a house full of laughter. No fiery dreams of a hopeless romantic. No illusions of life other than the gentle cold of winter.

And in this I find peace.

The last few years have been brutal, and my passion for tasting life wanes with each passing day. Less of a retreat, more of a slow slipping into concrete reality. In the hollow left behind, no sound or pain exists, not even a whisper. And, in most ways, I grateful to finally understand there is nothing more than walls, laughter, and crystalline water.

Outside the world is still and cold, waiting for the promise of spring. Inside, it’s warm and laughter breaks the din of an otherwise motionless day.

Somewhere beyond my view things are changing, and I can’t help but smile with somewhat giddy anticipation. Perhaps I wait for spring as well.  Perhaps this dormant hibernation is simply a time to reorganize priorities and put a too long past to rest in the hard ground. Whatever the reasons, this isolation suits me for now, so I have to believe its purpose is yet to be revealed.

And in this I find hope.

Winter’s long hand will rest soon enough. For now, I cherish quiet days and the giggling of a not-so-little redheaded child.

Categories: breaking illusions, caves, Choice, found, hope, innocence, lettng go, the next step, what once was | Tags: , , , | 1 Comment

We’re Not Cattle: Bowing Out of the Branding Game

000 Branding

I wanted to be someone else.

Fierce winds rattled my door tonight. The road so dark, even the brights seemed insufficient. Each curve I drove as I went to pick my daughter up, even the ones I knew well, surprised me.

Night can be blinding in a different kind of way. It consumes all that lies outside the circle of headlights, jealously guarding its treasure. Though hours earlier I’d seen the foliage surrounding this long stretch of blacktop, now my chest thumped some sort of never more rhythm. Would I make it home? What about the deer? Which passing car would travel just close enough to push us both into untimely terror?

Too many questions on such a dark evening, and not the ones that mattered.

My recent past has been a struggle of confidence and conformity… or nonconformity. With such strong personalities surrounding me, I’ve spent more time questioning every decision than I do making them. And everyone has a very strong opinion, which is fair because I have a habit of asking for them.

By the way, popular vote is no way to actually live a life. Trying to be everybody ends up making a person nobody pretty fast.

Tonight the quiet resoundingly thrums against my eardrums. It speaks of change and certainty and life that will burst forward with Acme rocket speed. The wind has come to push away the deep cold of a too soon winter… or perhaps pull it near. Either way, the tingle spreading up my back and down my arms isn’t chill, but the swift current of something new and ancient.

I wanted to be someone else. I fought so hard to be anybody else, but in the thralls of a transforming season surrender is inevitable. We can only run so long before the vibration of the world throws silken tendrils around us. Not to envelope, not to control, but to allow wisdom we avoid to catch up and sink in.

Tomorrow came twenty minutes ago with this message:Somewhere in your life now, you may be feeling pressured to fit in and wear some kind of label. But you don’t need it.”

When I walk through the nearby forest, there are dozens of plants, trees and flowers. Not a single one has a label plastered to them, so I couldn’t begin to tell you exactly what kind they are, but I appreciate the beauty of each one. Their varied shapes and colors offer wonderment, peace and pleasure. Nature doesn’t require a label to exist, and long after we’ve screwed everything up, then disappeared, it’ll still be going strong… without our carefully planned categories.

I thought I wanted to be someone else. I thought I needed a label – author, coach, developmental developer person, writer of spiritual fiction, young adult urban something or other.

But it’s time to give up on those illusions. Not the words or the support or the passion, but on the need to fit in somewhere so I can be something to the right people. Does anybody know who those people are? If you do, make sure they don’t get my number.

At some point we have to draw a line. Not the chalk kind that dissolves after a heavy rain or the magic marker kind that fades with time and a good scrubbing. This one has to be a freaking monument of stone and steel with a diamond shield nature can’t break down through elemental persistence… and neither can anybody else.

The time of identifying people by their profession – the cobbler, the thatcher, the mercantile, the author – is long gone. The time of using more snark and profanity and sharp jabs to get attention should be. And sticking a label on me or imprinting my backside with a red hot iron thingy makes me no more or less effective at what I’ve chosen to do.

After spending a third of my life (because I plan to make 120) trying to be everything to everyone, trying to figure out the exact label so people will instantly know who I am and what I stand for, I’m bowing out of the branding game. Mostly because hot pokers make me nervous and I’m not fond of being considered cattle-like. 

I help people get things written, but only if they’re willing to take personal responsibility for their passion because I can’t want it for them. I work with structure and flow and making words count because I have an unending passion to clean up stuff and support people. I write, and sometimes I do it well… sometimes not so much, but I won’t ever stop. I like classic Winnie-the-Pooh and bubbles and helping Spirit when it comes knocking on my door.

These are things about me, but they don’t define me because categories are illusions we use as security blankets so people can decide at a distance if we’re the right people.

When all the paperwork is finished my name will be Kassie (sounds like Casey) Ranee Dillon. You may know me as Ranee. It’s a pleasure to meet you. Hope to see you again soon.

Categories: branding, conformity, conscious choices, labels, opinions, professional identity, what once was, writing, Writing Process | Tags: , , , | 8 Comments

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.

 

 

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

My Broken Road of Blogging and Social Media

Blogging has been a love/ hate relationship from the beginning. When this all started I used it for very personal reasons. It was a vehicle to break illusions, confront fear, and meet other people because words are good for all three.

In my life, I often tap out events to see them from a different perspective. I’ve found they look completely different when I get them out of my head. The result is that I learn far more about myself and other people. If these posts help someone else in the process, then so much the better because we grow from other people’s experience as much as our own.

That’s the purpose of a collective consciousness, to share each laugh or tear and in the telling of life stories become more of our true selves through these teachers. I’ve had many who’ve opened my eyes to a larger universe and helped me avoid otherwise painful lessons. Not always because I’m as human as the next person and, sometimes, very stubborn. But eventually I see the light of wisdom in the advice I receive.

The problem I recently faced with all of this is one I hadn’t anticipated. This tool for breaking through illusion and fear has caused a fair bit of turbulence in my personal life and relationships. Though I explain time and again the purpose of writing out my life and struggles, they eventually offend or upset someone.

So I have two choices — walk away from social media or stop worrying about what people think. The second being the more difficult because I have big love for the people who are or have been in my life.

It’s an excruciating decision.

“You’ve become an amazing woman,” a good friend recently said. “When I met you two years ago, you were this unsure girl who accepted everything everyone did and let people walk all over her. You’ve grown so much, and I’m happy I got to see it.”

These changes were forty years in the making and took every ounce of strength and courage. It nearly broke me, and by that I mean I was ready to send my daughter back to California and fade off the face of the planet.

It’s interesting people say, “Love yourself and do what’s right for your life.”

It’s a double edged sword, isn’t it? Because what they mean is… do it so long as it doesn’t change anything with them. We admire people who blaze their own path, but demonize them when they fall short of our expectations. No one is immune from this human failing, not even me. But over the past several years, I’ve come to understand that I won’t understand why or how people do things, but I respect their journey, even if it’s far from mine. And I’d hoped for the same respect in return.

But when I started saying:

“Hey, I want to help, but I just can’t.”

 

Or… “Look, if you want to be here you need to start contributing because I can’t afford to support you.”

And… “I’m not going to be your part time playtoy, so if you want a relationship let’s do this thing.” 

That’s when I found out who was here to be part of my life and who wasn’t. I found out who truly respected me and who didn’t. I thought I’d be more angry, but not really. I mean, sure I’m sad because we’d put a lot of time and energy into those relationships, but they also created a lot more turmoil than I’d realized.

I have many fond memories, and they’ve all been wonderful teachers of one kind or another. So none of the time we spent together was wasted, at least not from my perspective.

 

Looking back serves one purpose, to see my strengths and failings in any given moment, and possibly do it better in this one. In my mistakes and successes, I find lessons and teachers. In my words, I cut through the crap and find the reality outside the complicated mess of thoughts and emotions twirling through my head. Though these posts have evolved, this process hasn’t changed, but I have through it.

So, I suppose I answered my own question in the course of writing this post. It isn’t a big screw you to world, but rather points me back to something I wrote this summer.

Authenticity because anything else is slow death.

Just as I don’t have the right to tell any of you who you are or should be, no one has the right to tell me either. We might be able to try on other people’s shoes, but we can’t walk in them because their road is paved by a lifetime of experiences we can never know.

Ultimately, we have power over one thing – Choice. Not the outcomes or consequences, but we choose the path to our next lesson. And mine is a dirt road where maps or GPS have yet to conquer. Though I may hit a pothole of two, I have a feeling it will end up being one of the biggest adventures of my life.

And in this very moment as I write these words, I’ve decided you’ll find out about it right here, if you choose to join me. 🙂

Categories: answers, breaking illusions, Choice, love, relationships, the universes we create, what once was | Tags: , , , , , | Leave a comment

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