Wednesday, May 22, 2019

Mama

One day soon.....
when I am ready to talk about the gloves....and the dolls.....
and the handkerchiefs...
maybe the bits and pieces of herself 
that she left behind

will become a whole story



and I can understand
the lace
and the spaces between


My Mama
April 1938 - April 2019



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Tuesday, January 1, 2019

My New Year's Revolution 2019

You can say what you want about resolutions. I usually don't make them on the new day of a brand new year with 364 daunting days stretched out in front of me. But this year I decided to make one that applies to every little and large thing I might want to work on. Resolutions should be daily intentions with no shame or expectation attached.  Turning. Revolving. Always learning. A twist on an ancient and wise quote, here's my simple 2019 revolution. 

If you are wanting to see change in someone else, 
first make whatever change you need to see in yourself

So. I'm working on myself.

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Sunday, December 30, 2018

The Man with The Box of Dreams

He was holding a container of files. A cardboard contraption with manila folders suspended from the usual wire hangers with colorful tabs sticking up and out from each one. The entire box of files was attached - as if it were an organ growing outside his body - to his right side.

He sat in front of me,  wanting me to notice them, eager to discuss them, impatient, this handsome mystery man.  Who was he? I met him inside the walls of a dark and frantic dream. Someone who came running inside my head in the middle of the middle of the night, damaging my psyche, making me breathless. Making me question everything I'd ever known.   
"So what..." I asked him, "is all of this scribbling madness attached to you? 
"It IS you," said he. "All of you."

It had been one of those dreams. The kind that takes you on a journey through many years, explosive twists and turns, predictable and unpredictable, sacred and selfish, sensual, loving, and....well...terrifying. There was a woman. She and I were compadres of sorts and I was there to help her discover something. Help her find something. Only halfway through the tangled web of chasing people in cars, opening and slamming door after door after door in city after city, did I realize we weren't trying to help her; she was trying to help me

We finally found ourselves in a small dark apartment, hiding from who we thought was the bad guy - the man with the briefcase, file folders and large hat - who quickly became my lover and long-lost friend all at once, perhaps - one never knows in these seedy dark places - in another life, certainly in another dimension - this one.

The woman began to speak to him in knowing tones as if they'd met before and he began to take his leave of me. How do you know each other? I asked. We've been running forever...and...and...then it was clear to me that he, and he alone, was my protector. Not the woman. Not even myself. 
But he..... 
and the appendage marked "MIMI's LIFE" in childlike scribble gathered in paper chapters and separated by decade labels. Who does he think he is carrying my personal personals around like that? I don't share my journals with just anyone you know (said the very public blogger...) but back to the semi-dream-semi-awake crisis I'm in the middle of right now....
 
On top of a very tall dresser was a large quantity of stolen cash, spilling from her overstuffed flowery purse, drawing me to it, causing me to understand instantly that she had been a thief all along. Running in and out of valleys and vales with me, 'cross mountains and streams, in dives and sanctuaries, searching for something or someone, always, always searching. The one I had been trusting and chasing was the one I should have been afraid of. And he - my lone salvation - was there to abscond with such nonsense, expose the truth and retrieve the money, so that justice could be served. So that I could be saved. My hero. 

Except there were these files you see....
Attached as if surgically implanted to his side
And he couldn't leave until I'd examined them
All of them
 
He insisted.

 I was afraid of them.
Disturbed by them - even more so than the woman's betrayal. My heart pounded at such a rate I couldn't breathe as I looked at them. They were bulging with information, pulsating with a familiar energy I recognized, and yet, didn't recognize.

It was not lost on my faculties, even in the midst of deep sleep, that my physical struggles at the moment are right-sided in nature like Paul's famous thorn in the side; of course, it's possible the very real pain in my side was interrupting my sleep and caused this prophetic/chaotic storyline of people-chasing mazes. However, truth-seeking in dark whispery apartment rooms with criminal women soon turned to annoyingly familiar words out of nowhere.  The box - it seemed - began to speak to me through the man. 

He said, "This box holds every piece of your life. Every letter you ever wrote or meant to write. Every single point of the pen you saved for "later", everything you meant to do, everything you did do, all that you ever were and all that you will ever be. It's all here. Sheet by vulnerable sheet."

"But what does it all mean?" I asked. "And why do you have it?"

"I have it," he said, "because it is causing you pain. And I am waiting for you to ask the right question before I take my leave and let you finish your work here freely, for it is not an explanation and summary of a life you need, or a reason for every path you chose, nor is it necessary for me to answer you. You, Mimi, YOU must find the right question this time. The question will become your answer.
You know what it is. I am waiting to hear it."
 

Ever since I was a little girl hiding in my bed and writing in my diary, I've had one fear and one fear alone: that I would get to the end of my life and it would have meant nothing. I didn't want to look back in my old age and say, what have I done with my life? I had have such a serious side. My Barbies didn't understand why I couldn't just "play" and stop ruminating so much. They're still wondering to this day.

I looked at the files. Sitting in silence.
I was archived to his right side.
As if they breathed on both of us. Not a word could be erased. Not a deed undone. Nor was that the purpose. The purpose was what had it meant

So I asked him, gingerly, quietly, in fear and much trepidation, "Is it possible for a person to live their whole life, an entire lifetime, feeling as though they only existed for the good of someone else? Has my life been only sacrificial scraps of paper in boxes and boxes chained to ...to....to what?"
Oh, but he could not answer.

Why were my words chained in the first place?  Why was he holding them hostage? Which one of us held the key to that box? Which ones of us needed it most?
I hated that box.
And it was perfectly clear by this point that he was no stranger.

 I was frustrated to know that my painful memories housed in the only way I knew to express them - to write them down - was also the source of his bondage. And suddenly I wanted him to be free! To abscond with the thieving woman and leave me with my words and my unanswered question. Even if it meant not knowing. Even if it meant he would have to leave with my whole life strapped to his side like a box of puzzle pieces only I would ever solve, a box of words that meant nothing to a messenger and my whole eternity to me. I did not want to hurt this man I loved.

Then his eyes began to soften when he heard my heart.
And I knew him.
He was there for my good, not his, only mine and in his eyes I saw a longing for me to discover the question I needed to ask myself. Because he knew I would be free of what was holding me back. And I just wanted the many failings and imperfections I had throughout my life's story to stop affecting him. I didn't want this rib-bound human closer than Adam was to Eve to suffer on my account. After all, it was my life attached to his, not the other way around. 

And there he sat. With a life's worth of files. How long had he been carrying me this way? Deep down in the soul of my heart I knew who he was. It was no mystery. He was attached to me in ways only I could understand. I was attached to him in ways I didn't want to understand.
Yet he had appeared - in my dream or was it real? - to insist that I ask the question.

He knew me so well. Every scrap contained the muse written or unwritten. I  knew every day and every hour described in that box. I sensed every joy and every sorrow. And to my horror realized, that so did he. 
There comes a day in everyone's life when you realize that every single thing you did and said from day one through eternity's ending has and will affect not only those you love dearly but the world, the universe, the planet. And that you must not leave even one letter of your story untold nor your heart words unsaid. 
The metaphor for my life was that box.
Which he tenderly held
even while it caused him pain to do so

Those are the ones you let go
and those are the ones you keep

My own mortality is on my mind these days, in waking and now non-waking states. I've lost four friends in four months and I'm tired of grieving regrets and burying would-have-beens. Perhaps that's why I'm sleepwalking of late. And now sleep-running in dreams with strange men with strange attachments in strange places not strange at all. 

 I had to get this right. The damned question. 
   With no promised answer. No promise of peace.  

He knew, oh, he knew...that questioning was the whole point.

"Is it possible," I restated and asked again, "that a person's whole life can be spent in the service of the wrong thing?"  Because you see...that had been my fear forever.  He looked at me with a knowing wink and a silent nod as if to say well maybe not their whole life.   He held the box close to his loin. To let me have a safe place to figure it out. To show me that sometimes love comes with sacrificial moments like this. To break through my stubbornness with his own. To help me realize that walking through the door of your destiny always requires the right question.

  Have I not prepared myself for this day? There is more to do. This is MY time! a voice screamed and yet I clearly see reams of life already lived in front of me in a box of files that breathe and have life, as if they were attached to him and me at the same time; one waiting for the other to let go so that he could fulfill his destiny and leave and one knowing full well the question she must ask but not wanting to because she is afraid of the unutterable answer she will write down in those endless notebooks. 

Afraid of words. Mimi Lenox, afraid of a box of words? That's like Poe being afraid of ravens or Hawthorne shunning brutal truth or birds settling for nursing homes instead of nesting homes. Birds afraid of flying. How absurd.

And what of the woman? She was a metaphor for the stealing of time. Life is full of chasing the wrong thing or being in the wrong place. My most precious asset - time. 

I looked at him once more. Sitting patiently holding my life to his loin, protecting it, loving it -  wanting me to love it too.
 
 There is one I need to let go.
And one I need to welcome with open arms and fiery candid words.

And suddenly I realized that there would be one huge difficult departure - for I love him so - and one huge homecoming. The departure would be his freedom. The homecoming my destiny.
Don't be afraid to love your story.
For those who hold it close will always come back to help you fly.


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Sunday, November 4, 2018

Dona Nobis Pacem ~ Words In Blue Kyanite

If there are stories to be told in heaven, let them be these. 
Let them be told as these have been told. Let verse and lyric rhyme as old saints do on the eve of great awakenings. Lean your ear toward what matters most and listen as spirits mutter sacred texts and beautiful songs. Stretched across the throne of the world from the top of heaven's doorstep, words can still reach earth.  Stretched across the world's doorstep in many homes and hovels today, words can still reach heaven. And you will say them again. And again. And again. That's what storytellers do. 
That's what peace bloggers do.

For you see, words are not only powerful for the content and wisdom they bring to bear; they are powerful for the reason they came to bear. 
There is no great catharsis, no sudden shift in the universe, no real progressive change in the world without storytellers. And you thought your chapter was over? Let me tell you something...it doesn't end until you tell it to end. 
He had this twinkle you see....A spark of something that resided deep inside the brilliance of his mind. Something that glowed with kindness, documenting years on earth like centimeter markings on a ruler.  My Papa. He is the one who inspired me to write in the first place. He is the one who left me with an earth marble full of continents and rivers and mountains. He left me the whole world. 


And his hammer.
Words are not the only tools we have.  He needed it to make things. I need it to smash my fingers. He understood hammers. I do not. 

 
.

I've been asking him lately, in my dreams and in my mind, what story he wants to tell today on November 4th, because he always give me a nudge. And all I am hearing from him is that he wants me  - and you - to tell our stories. Now. Not his. Ours.  

 It is the most basic of human needs - the power and joy of connection. Of being heard. Of being heard!!!  Not because someone is shouting, anyone can start a movement if they're loud enough, but because purposeful intent behind mightily built well-chosen words is strong enough to make a whisper ripple across seven continents and twenty-five rivers and still be understood on the highest mountain peak a thousand miles away.
That's what Papa's marble did for me. 
That's what your words do for the world each and every year.

And while there was serendipity and more than a few God winks to get the ball rolling (so to speak), the discovery of the marble only served to help me understand that in this life there are no coincidences. 
Every person you meet brings their energy, their intent, right smack-dab into your personal space...sometimes so close you want to (and should) run away and hide from it when things don't feel right. That is discernment. Others bring the healing you need when you didn't even know you needed to call a healer.

That is grace.

Which brings me to my friend. 
 It happened at the beginning of a new school year. 
 I bent over in agony when I heard the news, so unexpected it was, so cutting. It was a physical pain in the caverns of my body. I could hear the bones break in my brain.  I didn't expect to feel her loss so viscerally. Peacefully housed in pine she lay weeping and exhausted no more. She was free. I was not.

I was afraid.
And angry
Let's be real. My life was full of complaining. And whining. And posturing. And planning. And pondering. And procrastinating. And even whining to myself that complaining would do me in.  I was even tired of my own complaining! I've been tired and exhausted this year. Not.peaceful.at.all.

And there she was. Asleep forever in a cold pine box full of peace. Not even fifty years old. My heart broke for the losses and pain she endured on planet earth. 

I was at the crossroads between terror and panic. Would I be next? Would my body betray me as well? Can I live up to the example of courage she set?  Could I maintain this pace and keep my health intact? After all, she was the strongest person I knew. Heart-stopping, constricting air-depleting suffocation. Did I mention the fear?  Even so, I felt guilty for focusing on myself when it wasn't about me at all. 

What was her story? She spoke loudly from the pine box. The silence was maddening. Knock it off, Mimi, and listen up! I can't remember one single meeting, one single instance, one day or second or smile that was wasted on her. She made me better and sometimes made me mad doing it. Oh, but she didn't know it. And she had no patience for my histrionic nature. She didn't waste time worrying about how other people perceived her, whether or not she hurt your feelings, or how you arrived at any conclusion without her. She was too busy living strongly while she was dying slowly.

You knew you were in the presence of someone who knew what it meant to inhale and exhale with intent every single day. You knew, somehow you knew, that time spent with her were masterclasses in how to live fully.
Image result for blue kyanite
Could there be a better time to shake up the world than on the day you decide to die? She shook up my world! Yes, I said decideI know that I know that I know (as my grandmother would say) that some people decide it is their day to die. Ascended gurus manage to mark the hour quite regularly. When it's time for the body to give up its usefulness, it's time to give up the ghost and take up a new identity somewhere else. 

And so my friend became my catalyst for change in a year that began in fear. That happens when you see someone you just talked to reposing in a pine box too soon. 

**Excuse me, Miss Pencil Skirt, said the doctor...but I don't think you're breathing quite right** 

 Fear is a simply a jumping off place. 
"What you do in this moment will determine everything," whispered the Voice of reason.

I decided to change my words. 
Starting with my thinking
I wrote pages of self-talk: I will not tolerate pity. I will not tolerate blame. I will not tolerate complaining. I will not abide negativity. I will not entertain anger. I will not surrender to bitterness. I can breathe I can breathe I can breathe I can breathe.... 

"Gather your strength," whispered Spirit. "Gather strength for yourself."  I wanted to live well. I needed to love myself well enough to gather my strength and heal. 
Those who live well, by default love well. 

Image result for pyrophyllite images
Pyrophyllite
 I mean the kind of love that makes you sweat, requires your blood, makes you live in it, slog through it, talk about it, wade in it, fall down under the weight of it until you can't even breathe because that devastating love is so full of itself. 
Have you ever come to a pivotal moment in your life when days were so dreary you'd rather feel something than nothing at all?  Your lungs are tight from holding back the light that so desperately wants to get in...but you can't exhale well enough to inhale?  Stress will do that to a person. At least that's what the doctor told me. What? What?? I can't breeeaaatheee?? 
"No, Miss Pencil Skirt, something seems to be affecting your lung capacity."  

This is not what you want to hear the day before you go to a funeral.

**raises hand**
I think I need to call a healer.


I didn't understand the world until I was sixty-years-old.
It was then that understanding became too soft a word for the depth of knowing residing in the bones of six decades on earth.
It was more like burning lava cooled by the flames of tea leaves. 
I love leaves
When my Papa was in his early sixties, he fell on the kitchen floor and took his last breath. Just like that. Suddenly. Without premeditation or fanfare. His lungs collapsed and the poison inside caused a massive crumble of tissue and structure.  He was gone before his head hit the floor.  
Kyanite blue in pyrophyllite stone

I never knew he couldn't breathe. There was a ticking time bomb inside the man whose heart was overshadowed by a pair of lungs full of pyrophyllite dust. He never told me he couldn't breathe!  I always thought he'd die of arthritis. Or working too hard. Or loving too much. I never dreamt he'd fall in a heap of poisoned air and give up the ghost on the kitchen floor. 
Look familiar?
He was too busy living to die of sensible causes. 

All he did was love me.
 In large loud bouts of contagious love. 
His love was all I heard. 
It. Was. All. He. Said.

Papa worked in a pyrophyllite plant (think talc) back in the day before it was safe to mine or breathe dust particles from the clay or work with the intensely heated kilns which were to used to mold particles for commodities like furniture. It caused fibrosis in some and unknown lung ailments in many. I didn't know Papa couldn't breathe. Apparently, neither did he. 
He just kept living. And loving everyone around him. Until he decided to fall on the kitchen floor. 
Kyanite
That one blue marble in the center of the bowl - yes, that one - is Kyanite, infused with and altered by pyrophyllite. It is a metamorphic mineral found in sedimentary rocks within soapstone mines in the southern United States, Brazil, New South Wales, Australia, India and Kenya. It contains aluminum silicate (hence the silent poison).

Kyanite gets its name from the Greek words for fire and leaf. Tonight I have discovered that this same blue stone has crystal healing properties especially in the throat area near the bronchial tubes.  I know little to nothing about the realm of gemstone metaphysics, but I do respect the power of Earth and the ancient wisdom of chakra healing. 

**You can't breathe said the doctor You can't breathe said the doctor*
I never knew I couldn't breathe until they told me I couldn't breathe!! Has this ever happened to you?

And what other silent gift did he pass on to us?
Pyrophyllite is also known as "Pencil Stone" (said The Pencil Skirt) and has been used to enhance writing abilities, helps to speak one's truth with clarity and brings balance to all the Chakras. 
So you see, that wonderful blue marble we've gazed at since 2006 might well be one of the reasons that peace bloggers feel compelled to write. On some deep spiritual level we feel it. 

It's alright if you don't believe that. I've just unearthed this myself (so to speak). But doesn't it make sense?  That blue stone became something beautifully rare and healing to all of us. 
Papa's intent was good.
Papa's intent became our words.
Papa's destiny is still evolving.

I want mine to do the same.  
Don't you?

It wasn't so much what he said throughout the years to his curly-headed, hardheaded granddaughter that made the cataclysmic shift in my DNA; it was the unspoken life of a simple man too busy living a simple life he loved to die conveniently proper. 
I want to die inconveniently improper too. 
Kyanite crystals.jpg
I think I just found my healer
 While Papa harvested dust and clay, he fashioned a symbol of the world for a granddaughter he couldn't have known would ever even exist. Harvesting and working in the dust of those stones eventually led to his death. For him to pass this treasure on to me - to us - is surely more than coincidence. It illustrates how every single act we do on planet earth has a consequence, often far-reaching and seismic in nature. 

 All I remember was that he loved me
and that was enough

He didn't have to say a word
That is the power
of words laid carefully round in blue Kyanite 
 
Jamie White ~ Washington

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