Warrior Princess

January 19, 2016

Dazzling Universe

Filed under: Bless the Beasts, Faith and Spirituality, Uncategorized — ggirl @ 12:52 pm

howing wolf“An animal’s eyes have the power to speak a great language.” ~Martin Buber  

It turns out that not only animals possess verifiable intelligence.  Dragonflies have exhibited some level of what we would define as intelligence as do octopuses.  Recall that octopuses are mollusks, like clams.  And yet they learn quickly in their native habitat and in laboratory settings.  They can also, in the correct circumstances, display both affection and dislike for humans.  This is not the case with fellow octopuses.  Interaction between them will generally end in death for one of them.

Intelligence and compassion are everywhere.  Whenever I learn about another unexpected instance, I feel my own heart expand to embrace this certainty.  There is, without a doubt, also sadness.  At the moment in history, we humans, as a species, only value that which increases our own profit.  If there’s money involved, we will thoughtlessly, ruthlessly destroy it.  Not so for everyone, of course.  We are also loving, thoughtful and emotionally generous.

Despite sadness, something inside of me is exultant whenever I learn there is intelligent consciousness everywhere.  Even in a mollusk.

 

July 9, 2015

While Waiting for the End of the World

Filed under: Faith and Spirituality, Things Can Always Get Worse — ggirl @ 1:38 pm

wolf footprint

“The end approaches, but the apocalypse is long lived.” ~ Jacques Derrida

After yoga, I came home and did my first headstand!  It’s a new millennium and, as I watch the species struggling to find a way to survive, the best I can do is work on serenity and good will towards all sentient beings.  It’s a battle many days–Ted Cruz, Donald Trump, the willful destruction of the earth for greed and our profound sense of entitlement.  Sometimes I’m in despair, so I go back to watching my breath and sending goodwill.

I’m also weighing my own future, on the brink of an enormous decision.  I’m patient and I’m waiting for my future to assert itself.  Today, I think it’s all already happened, anyway, so no point in haggling with myself or making plans right now. I was meant to be here–this moment, this place, this course.  The only thing left to do is relax and breathe.  For good or ill, my fate has its arms wide open for me.

May 26, 2015

Breathe. Just Breathe.

Filed under: Faith and Spirituality — ggirl @ 1:37 pm

 white wolf face “Turning and turning in the widening gyre
    The falcon cannot hear the falconer;
    Things fall apart; the centre cannot hold;
    Mere anarchy is loosed upon the world,
    The blood-dimmed tide is loosed, and everywhere
    The ceremony of innocence is drowned;
    The best lack all conviction, while the worst
    Are full of passionate intensity.

~William Butler Yeats

These are grim days.  I spin out of control as the world spins out of control.  I remind myself to breathe.

For this year, I’ve set the intention to be fully present in this very moment.  Moment by moment.  It’s my intention, but I have no expectation that I’ll be capable of it all of the time.  Sometimes I simply remember to breathe; to focus on breathing.  It provides me with a way out of my head and into the present.  Sometimes I remember to be grateful.  So many others have it worse than I.  I have the luxury of being mindful that nothing terrible is happening right now.

That’s truly what it comes down to these days.  My life is so fraught with uncertainty.  More lessons in realizing I’m not in control of anything.  Don’t be afraid; just breathe.

The past three years have been crushing.  I wonder how many more times I can pull myself together and resolve to find a way, emotionally, to greet the days to come with a spirit of renewal.  Of warrior spirit.

When I’m at my weakest moments and I believe I can’t go on, I remember:  Breathe.  Just breathe.

November 5, 2014

Lists

“We like lists because we don’t want to die.”  ~ Umberto Eco

I keep lists.  They’re not formal and they’re not written down, but they’re available any time I need them.  I only need them when I’ve another list item to add.  My current lists include

 

Books I’ve read or should read.

New and exciting interests I should pursue.

People who’ve committed suicide.

People who have family and friends who’ve committed suicide.

Good ways to die.

These days the Good Ways To Die list has been getting the most attention.  Whenever I learn of someone who’s died without advance warning or suffering, I pencil it into the list in my brain.  Dying in my sleep (like one of Hubby’s friends).  Losing consciousness in an airplane which has lost cabin pressure. These are the latest, but there are definitely more.

As far back as my twenties, I recognized list-making is frequently a form of magical thinking.  I had a friend who shared with me the types of wrinkles she found tolerable and those she didn’t want.  It was almost as if, by giving voice to these preferences, they became incantations. If we say it, then it must be under our control.  Of course her incantation was futile.  Time wins.

No need to address my first two; they’re fun lists I may feel some guilt about not making greater progress with, but they evoke far less emotion than the others.  Lately the Good Ways To Die schedule has seen a lot of action.  No need to enumerate them here.

I don’t actually not want to die. I’d just prefer to control the how of it.  I’m certain Death is highly amused.  that’s okay.  I’m keeping the list anyway.

 

September 29, 2014

Say What’s On Your Mind. Palestine.

Filed under: Faith and Spirituality — Tags: , , — ggirl @ 3:11 pm

??????????????????????????????????????“There’s a Palestine that dwells inside all of us, a Palestine that needs to be rescued: a free Palestine where all people regardless of color, religion, or race coexist; a Palestine where the meaning of the word “occupation” is only restricted to what the dictionary says rather than those plenty of meanings and connotations of death, destruction, pain, suffering, deprivation, isolation and restrictions that Israel has injected the word with.”   -Refaat Alareer, Gaza Writes Back

I attended a Mediterranean festival this weekend, hoping to introduce my mother to Greek food and indulge myself in the small snippets of the broader culture found there.  As we examined the wares being offered, we visited a booth selling Palestinian wares.  Among the beautiful works of art one could purchase, there were some bumper stickers available.  “Free Palestine.”

I’m not a person who purchases bumper stickers.  I’m amused sometimes, puzzled sometimes and irritated sometimes by people’s need to broadcast their political affiliations to the rest of us.  Why would I (or anyone else) care?  “Free Palestine” almost broke my resolve to never offer my opinions to absolute strangers via paper plastered on my car.

The Palestinian issue has become a burning coal in my heart.  These people have no land.  They have nothing.  Their children have no hope of a future, some have seen all of their siblings die, some have no parents left alive.  Palestinians’ lives are held hostage as much by Zionists as they are by Arab terrorists.

Note that I used the word “Zionist.”  I make a distinction between Jewish people and Zionists.  They are not necessarily the same.  Many Zionists do not see that they are engaged in their own holocaust.  Will they be happy until all of the Palestinians perish?  Otherwise, how shall it all end?  Do they see any parallel between the Holocaust visited upon them and, gas chambers aside, that which they are visiting upon the Palestinians?  Because there is one.

I have little interest in turning my blog into a political platform.  Why would anyone care what I think?  However, I’m frequently reminded of all of the holocausts that continue to marginalize and crush, slowly, entire ethnic and economic groups.  We Americans have our ghettos where our national holocaust grinds on. We simply choose not to see it.

I have to admit that, as I contemplated walking away with that bumper sticker in my hands, I thought about how many people would immediately hate me when they saw me driving down the street with the hope for a free Palestine plastered on my own car.  Would it change anyone’s mind?  Would a slogan initiate any meaningful thought or dialog about the ideas behind the slogan?  No.  Again, why would anyone care what I think?  Maybe I’m too cowardly to absorb the rage and indignation it might evoke from others.  Yes, maybe I am.

My wish is that all of us who are perpetrators free the mythic Israel and Palestine in our own countries, our own prejudices, in our own hearts.  To paraphrase the Dalai Llama, American children will never sleep safely in their beds until all children everywhere sleep safely in theirs.

May all of our children everywhere someday sleep safely.

February 5, 2014

The Late Afternoon of my Life

gray wolf yawning“The afternoon knows what the morning never suspected.”  –Robert  Frost

I turned 60 several months ago.  I’m not one of those upbeat, chirpy kind of seniors, nor am I desperate to hold onto youth.  I’n not depressed.  (Well, okay, I might be depressed but I’ve always been depressed.  You might even say it’s my metier.)  It’s simply a corner I’ve turned, both personally and culturally.

It’s a realignment of sorts:  who am I now?  how shall I move forward from here?  Though death  walks beside us at all times, I can now estimate the days I have left. It’s a fact, neither good nor bad.  When I think of it, I  hope I don’t die before my mother.  For quite a while I’ve been selecting music I’d like to have played at my memorial (assuming I have one).  I suppose now is the time to begin work on the things I hope will be said of me and my life.  It’s a pretty tall order, so I’d better get to work on that asap.

In the meantime, though, I’m taking an inventory of things that are now completely out of my reach, those that may be possible, those that are unlikely and those that are lost to me forever.  That list is for another day.  Right now, I’m contemplating a persona.  I’ve worn them my entire life. (We all do; I’m just very aware of mine.)   Sometimes I choose one that helps me communicate better with a group of people.  For quite a long time, I’ve worn  the face of someone who lived a normal life.

Right now, I see a couple of options.  I can be one of those hip elderly women you see sometimes who are dressed in a low-key avant garde fashion.  There are also those who continue to get up every day and put on make up and slightly sexy (though certainly appropriate) clothing.  Of course, rounding a psychological corner is far more than whether I wear jeans or a pencil skirt.

I always think my way through major life shifts.  I became a new person when I had Stage 3 breast cancer.  I arose into a new self when my father killed himself.  Generally, it’s trauma and tragedy that have reshaped me into radically different people.  Maybe I should just wait for the next tragedy or trauma to get up and greet me one day.

I talk to Hubby and my mom about this dilemma from time to time.  My mother suggested that I just be myself.  The question is, which “myself” would that be?

 

January 13, 2014

The Truth May Not Set Others Free

Image

“Adversity is the first path to truth.” – Lord Byron

“My father committed suicide.”

“I have breast cancer.”

“I was a victim of childhood sexual, physical and emotional abuse.”

“I have a mental illness.  I suffer from Major Depressive Disorder and Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder.” (see above)

When I was a young woman, I kept the secrets of my real life to myself.  Exactly like every other young person, I deeply longed to find acceptance by fitting in.  I studied long and hard to determine just what it would take for me to blend into the crowd.  I became a consummate chameleon.

I now tell the truth.when it’s appropriate.  The truth about my life’s difficulties isn’t something I share immediately, unless the topic arises in conversation.  If people wish to hear  a statement of fact, I provide them with as much truth as I believe they can handle.  Not everyone is capable of hearing everything. Some people have refused to shake my hand after I’ve told them about my breast cancer.

Some people change the subject quickly when the topics of abuse, mental illness and suicide come up.  Some people believe they know how I feel.  Others would like to hear the gory details about my life because they find it titillating. All of these responses have become predictable.

I don’t like to experience unpleasant reactions, but I believe that every time I tell the truth about these things, I chip away at stigma and intolerance.  I’m willing to face the consequences. I’m not trying to get a pat on the back nor is this a call for more people to take the leap of truth.  I just hope that I’m doing a tiny bit to create a future in which all that is profoundly difficult in life can be voiced without fear.  I hope that I’m standing in solidarity with all of the people who have, and continue to, suffer in silence.

May the truth liberate us all someday.

January 10, 2014

Death as a Touchstone

Filed under: Breast Cancer, Faith and Spirituality — Tags: , , — ggirl @ 5:57 pm

Image“A soon as we notice that certain types of events “like” to cluster together at certain times, we begin to understand the attitude of the Chinese, whose theories of medicine, philosophy, and even building are based on a “science” of meaningful coincidences. The classical Chinese texts did not ask what causes what, but rather what “likes” to occur with what.” M.L. Franz

I’m not certain that death is actually a touchstone for me.  I only know that it has continually reasserted itself in my life for weeks.  It finds me in books I read, songs I happen to hear, articles I happen across. I don’t take this as a premonition, nor do I experience it as an invitation.  I’m not quite certain of the meaning of this recent pattern.  Indeed, I try not to analyze or ferret out some meaning intellectually.  I’m waiting for my inner voice or intuition or pure connection to the universe to reveal itself to me.

I know that death  is our constant companion and that the date and time when it will touch our shoulder is a mystery.   I know that no one plans to be in a deadly automobile accident on the way to work, and yet every day it happens to someone or many someones. On occasion, I point out to  people that everyone in the World Trade Center fully expected to go home on September 11. Though generally people think my reminder is morbid.

On the contrary, it’s an invitation to live fully–or as fully as one can.  It’s a reminder to make sure that the people you love know that they are loved.  Every day.  I’m not always grounded in each moment as it passes and sometimes  I forget to say I love you every time I leave someone I love.  Cancer and suicide have been great teachers for me and for that I am grateful.

There’s a Buddhist saying that everyone you meet is a Buddha sent to teach you something.  I believe that to be true of patterns which assert themselves in one’s life, too.  What is this Buddha trying to teach me?

July 10, 2013

The Horses

Filed under: Bless the Beasts, Faith and Spirituality, Uncategorized — ggirl @ 8:12 pm

wolf looking back arctic“Disbelief in magic can force a poor soul into believing in government and business? – Tom Robbins

We sat at the river’s edge, 150 artists and musicians enjoying the tepid, slightly damp evening.  Some arose to wade in the river and have a seat on a fallen tree.

Halfway through the meal, as the sun was setting, someone said, “Horses!”  There they were not ten feet away from me, five beautiful horses pausing to nibble on the grass.  As suddenly as they appeared, the horses galloped off towards the stable.  Magical.

December 12, 2008

Adios to Crazy Land

Filed under: Crazy Land, Faith and Spirituality, Greed Run Amok, Office Hell — ggirl @ 5:18 pm

Adios to Crazy Land. I was given two weeks’ notice today, after a 6-hour talk with Owner. They’re keeping the ever-valuable Golf Pro. He won’t be taking a pay cut. He’s an excellent manager and always fills out all the forms correctly. I’m thinking he’s an superb candidate for taking over my workers’ comp and OSHA reporting. I neglected to mention this to Owner, but I’ll make the suggestion on Monday. Crazy Land should not let his “discipline” go to waste.

Mr. Moneybags is staying without a pay cut. Mr. Moneybags’ children are also staying. Incompetent IT Boy will continue to not be able to fix the computers. Mr. Moneybags will continue to provide incorrect financial data to Owner.

Wow. What great management decisions. Of course, how could it be Crazy Land if pragmatic, rational decisions were made?

Am I angry? Well, yes. Am I hurt? Very. My work for the company has gone unappreciated. There’s an Arab (I think) proverb that applies to Owner here. “You can get what you want but then you have to pay for it.” Paying for it will begin as of next Friday. I was scheduled for vacation the following week. Anything they get from me will be completed by then. Let’s see. What can I complete? I’m going to be busy continuing to look for a job. I don’t think they’re getting anything from me.

As for my database work, I won’t sabotage. I am far more ethical than my soon-to-be former co-workers. However, any assistance they receive in the future will be billed at the standard market rate. Ching ching. When the phone rings, the billing clock will start ticking. Other than me, no one knows how to do anything with the database.

This will ultimately be a good thing for me. I’ve been resentful and enraged for years. My refuge has been humor. There’s been plenty to laugh about. Too bad I won’t be around to see the hilarious consequences of my departure.

“Lean into the hard places.” Words to live by; I’ve been given an opportunity to be a spiritual warrior. That’s what the quote really means. You know I’ll embrace the opportunity. It’s a great gift to be called to live your faith.

I’m a survivor. No matter what happens to me, I will cope with it. That’s more than most of the Crazy Land folks can say. Today I hope that misery abounds with virtually all of them. That’s unworthy of me and I’ll let go of that, too, very soon.  There’s no reason to hope, anyway.  Misery will indeed abound, just as it does now.

Finally, my favorite quote from Julian of Norwich, “All shall be well and all shall be well and all manner of things shall be well.” Amen.

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