Monthly Archives: October 2012

A Glimpse of Me

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Chasing Nirvana

The sequel to A Contented Mind

Available November 2012. I hope you enjoy this excerpt from Wings To Fly .

The novel within the novel.

It wasn’t that Madelyne hadn’t tried. The truth that only she knew, was that she had spent her life – trying. Tired, she sat on the wooden porch swing behind her home. Unable to move, she didn’t set the swing into motion. Instead she felt her mind, emotions and body shut down.

Since a small child, Madelyne felt set apart – alone, as if one foot was grounded in the world around her, while one foot remained elsewhere. To this day, elsewhere held promise, the world around her held isolation. Her only comfort was when what lived inside her spirit found its way onto a blank canvas. With every brushstroke, she watched the images form before her eyes like long lost friends taking shape and gathering for fellowship, laughter and comfort. Every painting brought with it peace of mind. Yet only moments ago, using thick, black strokes of oil, Madelyne brushed over and blackened not only the canvas in which her friends danced upon, but with every stroke she brushed over and blackened her soul.

Her husband’s latest words, critical and accusatory in their intent, were the final shove that pushed Madelyne deep within herself. If one’s heart is not allowed to live fully, expressing itself in its truest form, then it dies. The day Madelyne stopped painting, her spirit inhaled its last breath. It is a far greater loss when one loses their desire to live yet is forced to remain alive, then when one is given the chance to die as a whole.

Duty to her beautiful daughter required Madelyne to wake, to walk and to talk. What was left of her, was given for the purpose of raising Meg. It was through her daughter’s eyes that she was able to glimpse the beauty of the world. And it was that beauty, seen through those eyes, that caused a natural smile to form across Madelyne’s face whenever her daughter was near.

It had been months since her daughter asked the question that played like a skipped record inside Madelyne’s mind. “Mom, how come you seem sad?” Like children do, her daughter asked what seemed like a simple question. But Madelyne knew the question only revealed that the demise of her soul had become evident. Evidence only noticeable to those who see with more than their eyes. A mother’s pain rarely goes unseen by their child. Not only did Madelyne choose her words carefully when answering her daughter, while taking the long car ride to Buffalo, New York, but she had thought about it ever since.

People choose numerous paths when it comes to protecting oneself from pain. Madelyne chose to die inside; to isolate every part of her not required by her daughter. A death she felt would only be seen and felt by her and her alone. And in the process, she would no longer be open to the pain and disappointment inherent to life. Madelyne’s hope was that somehow this internal death would release her from torment, and strengthen her efforts in raising Meg. But that one question proved her attempts had failed. Instead of liberating herself from pain, mourning privately within herself, she was forcing her daughter to live a life suspended in continual grief. The grief felt when watching a loved one die while still alive. A child hears what’s being said without one word having been spoken.

The Girl and the Moon

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As much as I dislike the cold that accompanies these lingering dark mornings, I savor the simplicity. As I sit in the quiet, I have only the glow from a white, rotund moon shining off to my right, to illuminate my surroundings. As my thoughts drift, and time passes, the moon fades further away. It is during these times that I find the most peace.

My world is a blank slate. I have no visual stimuli to distract me from what rests in my mind. Once the sun takes center stage, so does a plethora of distractions. But for now, things feel simple. I’m not one for clutter, not in my house nor in my mind.

Every morning I take time to pray. It is a sacred time for me. Time to stabilize myself, find my center and reconnect to who I am and what I know I need to be. I acknowledge the fact that at times the two are not always one. But I also acknowledge that the key to forming a more perfect union within myself is by first acknowledging that which separates me. I tend to see those things more clearly during these early morning hours.

The senses become more acute when not bombarded with outside interference. When it is dark, the ears sink deeper into a better state of hearing. And with that, as I talk to God, I often hear the soft voice which I long to hear during my busiest days. Days when I can hear nothing more than the chattering voice within my mind.

The me I am with you, is the me I am with God. I tend not to veil myself from either. I’m quite convinced God appreciates my honesty. I hope you do as well. As I search, and stretch the boundaries of my preconceived limitations, I have to do so first by being honest. Sometimes I like who I see within myself, sometimes I do not. But I try to see them both with clarity.

It’s easy to assume that those who walk a spiritual path do so upon a golden road, one that embraces them and provides for easy steps. I don’t believe that to be true. I feel those who are reaching the greatest, feel the most struggle. With new knowledge comes new questions. Upon discovering new truths, we stretch to peel back another layer, reaching further and further as we go. And every time we do, we break away that which we were, in able to become that which we are meant to be. Often, this is painful process. Or at least, with me it is.

Only those who have outgrown their shell feel the pain of breaking free. And its a recurrent process when continuing to grow. Only those who are not reaching, not expanding and not stretching their abilities and what they know – feel no discomfort.

So in these early morning hours, I am always like that of a butterfly about to emerge. I notice once again that my cocoon no longer fits. I push against and release the part that no longer serves me. I try never to define myself by my cocoon. Instead I am an ever evolving creation; one that may never possess one clear definition. The tree topped vista before me is now coming into view. The stars are no longer sitting in contrasting darkness. The moon has escaped behind the trees. And the sun, like all skilled performers, is taking its time before walking out onto the stage. So with that, I will say: May this day be good to you.

Sane

Lawn Mowers and Roosters

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Many years ago while living in Phoenix, Arizona I had a roommate. She was younger than me by quite a few years. She was also hopelessly in lust over a man who used her only for the sake of convenience. She, on the other hand, couldn’t see past her hormones. For her birthday I took her to an adult store, and bought her a vibrator. Even though I’ve always been exclusive, and a bit of a recluse, I’m far from a prude. In fact, quite the opposite.

I told her that when she wants a man in her life, it shouldn’t be out of desperation. It should be out of pure want. Compromising herself due to primal desire, had left her feeling as though she was less than. In the end, it always does. Suffice it to say, after that, there were many nights when I would hear what sounded like that of a lawn mower humming in the bedroom next to me. But  in the process, she stopped waiting for that man’s beck and call. No one should be waiting for someone’s beck and call. Man or woman.

When I take on a partner, it isn’t out of need. It is out of want. The difference is rather profound, and not just to a logophile like me. To the best of my ability I try to leave desperation on the doorstep when I enter any situation. If I feel I need something, then my energy shifts. I’m no longer coming from a place of balance.

Love has a tendency to flutter precariously with the makings of need. When we allow someone into our heart, they form a space. From that moment on, we want only to feel that space filled in its entirety. And when they pull away, we hurt. It is for that simple reason that many people are resistant to allow anyone into their heart, their mind, their world. Because the absence of them is the stuff of misery. But I don’t believe it has to be that way.

I believe we can let someone in, and instead of carving out a space within our heart, better that they expand that which already exists. True, if they leave, their will be pain. But pain is inherent to living. It happens even when we guard ourselves against it. It is a factor we can’t avoid if we are to live. Its like never heading out to the beach for fear it might rain. I don’t want to miss the sunny days, out of fear that the clouds will set in.

For the most part, this is how I try to approach life. The people in my world are there out of choice. I want them there. Need will always rub up against love. But if we are to look at the world as in positives and negatives, good and evil, then to want is godly, to need is to dapple in the negative. Desperation sits opposite of confident hopefulness. The one makes us feel good, the other makes us feel vulnerable.

I’ve long lost touch with that old roommate. I do hope though that when she spends time with a man that she does so as his equal. Both with equal desires, equal value and equal wants. I was recently on a date that made me smile. From early on it felt as though we were two roosters, neither would back down. But in the end, no one walked away feeling desperate. And it was out of want that we met again. But those situations are highly charged and quite rare. They can lead to euphoria if allowed. Or, two roosters simply kicking dirt at one another until dusty and tired. I hope with all that I do, within my books, these quirky posts and my spoken words I help to remind us to choose hopefulness over desperation – every time. The one builds us up, the other tears us down.

So as with love and with life, I say, go after what you want.

Sane

Out On The Water

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To you, my dear readers, I will admit something. Having been urged to try the online dating world, I succumbed and now find myself wading knee-high through its waters. But those who know me, will not be surprised to hear that I did not dive in blindly. Not only are my eyes open, but mine are not the only eyes through which I see.

Rarely do I waste my time. I keep myself held distant from most and do so for many reasons. But to an extent, my approach is not a healthy one. And so with that, I grabbed a snorkel and suited up. But I didn’t jump into the water alone. I have an army of swimmers gliding along beside me, dunking their heads in, and reporting back what they’ve discovered. When surveying the waters, I do so carefully and thoroughly. Having an arsenal of close friends on the site with me, some having already been on well before me, some joining afterward – we are able to glean out quite a few fish.

One could say that what we’re doing is a set up. Perhaps. But no more than a man telling a woman something endearing, solely to convince her to sleep with him, all the while he is saying the same thing to another. I feel, that is a set up.  Even in the world of online dating, a bit of honesty is still required. At least, by me.

Maybe it’s because I’m such a passionate person, but I can’t seem to open the floodgates of my sexuality when the relationship isn’t exclusive. I’m trying to ease the gate open, but am struggling in this regard. I’ve never been a willy-nilly have sex with just-anyone kind of person. I need to loosen my rules a bit. I should step away from my femininity for a while and motor through men simply for  immediate, physical gratification. I should buy an economy pack of condoms, and head out into the waters. Heaven knows, I am tempted. But to do so, I need to detach from my emotions. There are two ways in which I can have sex: purely physical, or giving myself over to the moment completely: body, mind and spirit. I can’t do the latter if I think I am one of many. I’m considering however, culling my skills at doing the first. Not because I am a loose woman. No. But because I am unfathomably the opposite. And at times, a person needs to loosen up a bit; detach from their emotions and swim naked for awhile. I tend never to do this as I value myself to a great extent. If I am not treated with value, I always walk away. This makes blatant sex, for the sake of sex, difficult to do. But I’m working on it.

I haven’t decided how long I will remain on this site. Its an interesting experiment and exploration into the human psyche and behaviors. At times its deflating. At other times its quite sweet. I think for many it is an addiction. I’m not ready to bring my surveillance operation to a close just yet. I am watching over my friend’s candidates and they are watching over mine. In fact, due to this watchfulness, a friend was shown that the fish she caught was not hers and hers alone. It seems he tried to jump into my boat.

When it comes to fishing, I’ve never cast a net and trolled the waters. I’m a very specific fisherman. I don’t want to throw a bucket of bait off the side of the boat and scoop up all I see. When I set out to reel something in, it is done with clear intent. The problem is, that intent has to work both ways. I’m not an habitual fisherman. When I head out, my plan isn’t to come home with a bucket of fish; its to land that special catch.

I will keep you posted on my foray into the open seas of online dating. I have a feeling there will be a couple raids taking place shortly. As I’ve noticed we’re all getting a bit antsy to move on. But for the time being my boat is anchored, I’m looking out onto the horizon and paying attention to what I see. Maybe, just maybe, the one bringing his head above the water occasionally, will be the one I want to take home. Time will tell. I have a cooler full of beer and plenty of friends on the boat with me. I can wait.

Sane

In the Wind

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Although I can’t assume to know the thoughts of all, I do know the thoughts of some. I’m also acutely aware of the overall feeling that’s hovering in the atmosphere. And that feeling is one of unrest. The earth is trembling from uncertainty, and so are we.

Some of us hide it better than others, and surely better than the earth which thinks nothing of erupting in bouts of outrage. But all it takes is a brief conversation to get a sense of the worries floating across the minds of people. I find that more often than not, we reveal more about ourselves through the simple things we say.

People are conditioned to consider carefully their larger statements. Like a Broadway show, those statements are choreographed carefully for full impact. I pay attention to the statements that are said off stage; the one’s revealed without rehearsal. I’ve always had an ear for the knee-jerk responses one makes to a given situation. Because it is the thoughts that sit on the tip of one’s tongue that gives the person their unique color. Or more so, how they color their world.

Some see the world through judgmental eyes. Others with eyes that see only the vast change and view it with hope and eagerness. There are those who are angry at the challenges they’ve been made to face. Yet for others, they see those challenges as mountains that had to be crossed to get to the valley below.

People believe that artists consist of only a small few. I believe we are all artists. Life is our canvas. The colors we choose are the words we say, and the actions we take. Like all artists, some work on a smaller scale, others large. Regardless of size, we are all painting something for the world to see. Even the most camouflaged person, reveals through subtle lines their truth hidden within. I tend to look for those lines.

I think if we were able to view a gallery lined with all these different canvases, we would notice a recurring theme. Whether it’s the avoidance of, or a deliberate shape created to signify the feeling – we are all wondering what is to become. I believe we are one with the earth. And right now, we are mirroring one another. Just as the earth is working hard to undo all that’s been done, and strive for a balanced future – I feel we are doing the same. Some more openly than others.

Desperation is in the air. Many are desperate to make sense of the world, God and themselves. They are hoping to find love, yet unable to allow themselves to experience it. They want balance yet refrain from holding still. To me the world is like that of standing on a tree-lined road on a late autumn day when the winds are working hard to usher in winter. I’m standing in the middle while leaves and debris encircle me. I can’t find balance by looking into the wind. I find it by going within. And when I reveal through my words, I do so not with deliberate action, I do so like water bouncing down a river bed. Unplanned, but with purpose. I do not write outlines for my books. I do not outline my life. My canvas is large and colored wildly. And within those colors there will be those that display my awareness of how unstable things have become. But alongside that murky hue will be a color of hope. A color that shows that within even a raging windstorm, there is peace.

Sane

For the Love of God

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I’ve actually closed down for the night, and yet, there’s something bothering me. So with that, here I am. Sometimes people wonder about my religious beliefs. More accurately they wonder about my beliefs in Jesus and Christianity. Today I was asked if I believe in God. Well, I would like to tell you exactly what I believe and why it is my belief.

It’s easy to think that someone who refrains from adhering to a particular doctrine is anti-Christ. I am not. In fact, I feel Christ was one of the preeminent teachers of our time. I’ve also read the bible backwards and front, copiously. I’ve owned almost every version available, of which there are many, and at one time, had a Jesus fish on my car. This, after I gave my life to Christ at the age of twenty. Which was important as I struggled with drinking and needed direction at the time. As a humble gesture to this beautiful spirit to whom I felt so indebted, I did not drink alcohol during my twenty-first year of life. The first books ever written by me were Christian story books for children. So, you see, I am not one who frowns upon Christ.

I do frown upon hypocrisy. And as I grew into my soul, often that was what I saw. Unfortunately, that is often what I still see. If one is going to profess to follow a doctrine, all I ask is that they do so. Or, stop professing it. To me, there is no greater display of hypocrisy than the adulterer who sits without guilt in a church pew. Or one that talks of Jesus’s love and the need to treat others with honesty, then lies simply because they know they won’t get caught.

Regardless of where we sit, we know right from wrong. We know when we are being true to the greater part of ourselves and others, and when we are not. This is true if one is stranded on a remote island, this is true if sitting in a full congregation. But if the spoken guidance and camaraderie of a church is what works, then keep going. And keep working on honoring the God within. I would like to walk with even a thread of the integrity, in which the great teachers God sent our way had walked. If I even come close, I will be amazed. I do know this, I will not use someone. I will not harm them. I will treat them with as much love as I possess. I will do this because that is what dwells within me. At times I fail. But then I try again. I treat others as I would want to be treated. And when it doesn’t happen in return, I try to turn the other cheek. I try.

People need structure and so often they go to a church to find it. This is good. This is needed. The church says to love one another as you love yourself. And we know that deep down we would never intentionally hurt or lie to ourselves. So why then lie to another? Isn’t doing so blasphemous?

The Godliest amongst us are those that listen to their heart. And often the heart will guide us in the same ways as the fundamental rules of the church. There is no need for jealousy, gluttony, adultery or dishonesty. There is no need to harm another. We are all perfect. Accept one another. These are the tenants of the heart and of many churches. I merely say, let’s live them.

My mother once said something funny, yet quite profound. At least it was to me during my early years. I was taught that every day we were to pray and put on the armor of God; the breastplate of righteousness and so on. I asked my mother why she didn’t do this. She replied, “Because I never take it off.” And in many ways, that is the crux of my spirituality. I never stop praying, it is an internal dialogue that is constant within my heart and mind. I do not put a stop and a start to my spirituality. It just always – is.

As I make my way through this life, I do so not alone. God lives with me. This wondrous force that pulls the ocean waters gently to and fro, also moves me. And because of that close walk, I tend to pull away from people. Simply because I struggle with many of their actions. I do not feel God lives in a far off place. I feel God lives in every place. Like Santa, he knows when we are naughty and he knows when we are nice.  I feel Jesus wanted nothing more than to teach people to trust and to love. I just wish I saw more people doing that. Whether they sit in a church or by a stream, I do not care, I just wish I saw more people doing that.

Even my novels incorporate God. The struggle people have in today’s world to fully trust God is palpable; its real. The feeling of being lost in a topsy-turvy world is all around us. For every one that is standing steady there are three that’ve gone astray. My novels often touch on that. Not because I doubt God, but because it’s what I see. I often joke that if I walked into a church, I’d melt. This is my odd humor poking fun at how others view my perception of God. My perception just happens to encompass all things – because to me, God is all things.

So with that, I will say good night to you and to all those great teachers that have tried to help us mere mortals excel in walking in love while living on earth; to find heaven a bit more, and hell a bit less.

Sane

New Shipments Arriving Daily

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It seems amongst the dating world of those in their forties and beyond, most everyone is searching for – the one. Or at least, this is what has been told to me. Gone are the days of commingling simply for a nice evening out or to cultivate new friendships.

From what I’m learning, singles are getting tired of the dating routine and fodder altogether. And due to such, they’re hoping to see that one stand-out person walk into the room. I would’ve thought that with age, and all the cynicism that tends to come with it, the belief in that one magical partner would’ve diminished. The reality is, not only has it not diminished, it’s intensified.

There are so many avenues by which to meet someone. The most peculiar being online dating. It makes perfect sense though. However, to me, it feels much like that of shopping. And I have to wonder if there’s not a certain numbness and detachment that’s formed from trolling through so many people. Knowing that at one’s fingertips is the ability to scroll through pages of prospective candidates, does it not take away from the one candidate they are currently getting to know. Surely it must.

The human psyche is so often captivated by the prospect of new possibilities. So when using this medium to find the one, does the mind ever fully turn off the light, and close the door to the store? I don’t know. It is a rare bird that does not want to peak back onto the shelf to see if a new shipment has arrived.

I can’t help but to wonder how having access to such a plethora of possibilities plays into the task at hand, which if I’m not mistaken, is to find the perfect partner. An enormously lofty task, in and of itself.

I’ve never thought I would one day see my life’s partner magically waltz into the room. Perhaps this is because I feel it takes time for the person who is hidden within to find their way out and beyond the protective coating with which most everyone surrounds themselves. Often a person reveals their most captivating qualities at the most unexpected times, not upon first glance.

I feel there’s few things more wonderful than experiencing a man once his carefully applied veneer has been removed. Generally speaking, I’m not one for shiny exteriors, in the first place. I want to see, and get to know the fibers that created the person. These are not the things revealed while shopping online. No. They are only revealed after time. God knows, I don’t want to make my purchase only to discover it was nicely camouflaged particle board. Often it isn’t until we’ve taken something home, and had time to inspect it fully, that we discover what’s hidden underneath the shellacked surface. My hope is that when I do, I will see mahogany, walnut or cherry.

I realize that in this regard I’m probably a bit old-fashioned. But I do feel although at first we are taken in by one’s appearance, it is only after peeling back the many layers that we find – the one.

Sane

Listening to The Whigs – Waiting