bloodteethandflame

A life in threes

A strange thing that leaves me speechless.

I keep having this … recurring thing.

I do not know how to describe it.

It’s a visual thing.

A repetitive vision?

A visual thought?

~~~

All I can say is that it began as a dream I had a little over a week ago.

I woke up last Sunday (the Sunday that came before the day before yesterday, mind you) from what seemed like an extremely vivid portion of a dream….but I wasn’t quite awake and I wasn’t all the way asleep.

I know this because the volume of a program on the television in my bedroom had gotten really loud – loud enough to awaken me enough to wonder in a split moment or two if the sound was loud in my dream or if it was reality – but I had not opened my eyes yet.

But then the sound went entirely away and I heard a loud ‘click’ – and I assumed that the sleep timer on the television had just gone off.

So I rolled over and started to fall back asleep, feeling thankful that my husband had thought to set the sleep timer (rather than letting the television blare all night as he sometimes does, unfortunately.)

I was aware of the possibility that it might have been early in the morning because I recall laying there in bed, with eyes shut, but sensing the light in the room.

And that’s when it happened.

Though I had lain there in silence – newly aware that the silence existed because the tv had shut off and feeling tired on the edge of returning to sleep again – I was acutely aware of the fact I was dozing off, and I felt pleased about it.

And the visuals that bloomed before my eyelids were the typical blobs of color that I’ll usually see as I am dozing off and I watched as they slowly formed into different abstract shapes, as that slow process is how eventually, I allow myself to fall asleep.

But then as clear as day – suddenly I saw a sharply defined image of an older woman – as clear as a photograph – in my mind’s eye. I could not place her – she did not look like anyone I knew. And I was a little shocked – because if it was the beginning of a dream, it came on pretty quickly and I felt a little concerned.

You see, the woman was crying loudly.

She wanted some soup. She was asking me for soup.

Please make me some soup, she wailed, please give me some soup! Please Pleeeeeeaaaasssseee….Why won’t you? Why won’t you?

And it was very strange! I was awake and aware enough to have a rapid string of thoughts, such as that I was in bed, and I would have to get up and most importantly, did I have any soup to give her?

I didn’t think so.

I recall actually rolling over and saying aloud, I’m sorry! I don’t think I have any soup and I recall that my mouth worked fine, my voice was clear and I was fully awake then…so much so that I opened my eyes and looked around the room.

You see, the sound of my own voice answering this dream-visual woman had woken me up.

And on that Sunday, I was certain that I had just had a rather vivid dream.

And so, I forgot about it.

~~~

And then this past Tuesday, I was sitting in front of my altar just as I was beginning to meditate, and I saw the same visual…of that same older woman again.

And the memory of that vivid vision of her and her wailing request for soup came rushing back.

To my surprise, I even felt a wave of nausea and guilt, as if I had broken a promise.

(But at the same time I also felt a bit foolish for feeling guilty. I mean, that whole thing had just been a dream, right?)

But as much as I tried to meditate, I couldn’t focus.

~~~

Wednesday into Thursday, another short interlude of that woman interrupted another dream I was having.

In the dream, I was walking down the street, in the midst of a conversation with someone else. I don’t even recall what that person and I were talking about, I just know that suddenly I felt a hand pulling on my clothes, and I looked behind me and there she was.

That same old woman standing in the middle of the sidewalk, trying to get my attention

And she was still crying, wailing those same words, that same request

Please make me some soup.

Please give me some soup!

I didn’t know what to say to her, but her sudden appearance in my dream was enough to shake me awake.

On Thursday afternoon, lunch-time, I found myself looking in my pantry-closet.

And though I was there to look for something else, it occurred to me that I should see if I had any soup.

Turns out I have a two cans of chicken noodle, and one can of beef stew.

I wonder what kind she wanted – broth or stew?

Who knows?

~~~

I was watching T.V. on Saturday, involved in watching a film I’d seen before, a comedy I enjoyed. I was laughing, focused on the dialogue.

And then, I was suddenly overcome with a thought of the old woman!

The vision of her just floated through my mind.

I can guarantee you that I wasn’t thinking of her even a moment before, but then I was.

I don’t know why the thought of her – complete with that same vivid image in my mind’s eye of her tear-stained face, and me watching helplessly as her wrinkled mouth opened and closed, as she choked over each word, her voice clogged by emotion that dragged over the long insistent vowels of please and why.

It occurred to me that when the vision of her comes, I cannot seem to shake it away.

And though her tears, her insistence affect me deeply, I feel helpless to speak to her.

I feel this wave of guilt and nausea when I see her, and though I feel those feelings, I don’t know where they come from when they come.

That probably doesn’t make much sense.

I feel a bit haunted, to be honest.

I don’t know what it means or who to ask about this strangely repetitive thing.

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A companionable silence

Things are changing and while I am not sure I wanted them to change, they did.

It’s been a while.

One of the things that seem changed is that They haven’t felt as ‘present’ lately…or at least, my sense of Them has been feeling a lot more abstract, perhaps removed.

Y’see, as much as I hate to admit this, I have been beating myself up a little lately, allowing myself to feel anxious, thinking that Their subdued presence was due entirely to my lack of interaction…and while that feels true on one level, it feels equally untrue on another level.

Meanwhile, a post by Jolene Dawe came across my feed recently that definitely featured a message that I needed to hear/read about relationships, change and acceptance.

In any case, Jolene’s words gave me some means to frame what’s been going on (or in some cases, what’s not going on) in my own practice.

Her insight into her feelings/thoughts about her journey helped me process the feelings and thoughts I’ve been having about my own.

Upon reading, it occurred to me that perhaps she was going through something similar to what I’ve been going through in my own practice – and that powder-keg moment surrounded her assertion that she felt like a hypocrite for creating a liturgy.

What is a liturgy? I found myself thinking, as my brain leapt to wondering…

Was she talking about a writing project?

If her liturgy writing project was going in any way similar to the way my latest writing project is going for me, I wondered if she too was debating with herself over the reason that things seemed to be…fizzling out.

Perhaps she too was trying to decipher if the project was dying a natural death or if she was somehow, inadvertently mucking it up.

At any rate, I could definitely relate to that inner debate, mulling over the concepts of hypocrisy, inaction, the evolution of relationships with what’s imminent vs what isn’t…

I especially found myself identifying with her discussion of the desire to be close vs. not feeling so close to Them (i.e the state of feeling connected to the Gods vs. feeling ‘Godless’.)

I liked her metaphor/line of thinking about God-relationships: that if P was an actual person, she could call Him up and They could chat about old times in a way that honors the meaning of what their relationship used to be

…without getting caught up in nostalgia or pining over what used to be because she wants it back.

(Or letting herself get mired in that feeling like she should want things to go back to the way things were.)

I’ll be honest, I was heartened to read when she admitted to feeling (mostly) at peace with the fact that she couldn’t go back

and doesn’t want to anyway.

And that got me to thinking how I began my life as a Pagan: I will admit that I spent a long time feeling like a Godless Pagan, as I do recall that some of my initial attempts at a devotional practice were spurred on by anxiety:

feeling

that I wanted to be closer to Them to the nth degree

that I needed to be connected to Them to the nth degree

And that acute feeling like The Goal of It All had always been to connect to Them to this nth degree.

But then to experience the level of connection that I’d so long sought?

(Oh there is sheer blissful NRE in having THAT connection…)

But did I ever expect that that intense level of connection could (inevitably!) change?

Honestly, I did not.

Now this is where it got kinda messy in my head because, yes, though I know what I’d always been told…

The only thing constant in this world is change:

*

Well, of course, relationships change.

But I will admit I wasn’t really prepared to fathom any level of change in my relationship with Them.

So now to experience these moments of what my anxiety wants to define as ‘less’ and ‘lack’ feels like a terrible loss.

But is it?

Perhaps I need to learn to reframe my perspective.

So perhaps I don’t have the same intense connection with Them that I used to have.

(and yes, I am aware of how part of it is my fault if one wants to assign blame)

but perhaps, the other part of it is

just a rather natural evolution towards something

more settled

not as imminent

not as active

as I had previously expected.

But is there any need to for me to feel so anxious about it?

Perhaps not.

Perhaps I should welcome the change as a sign of growth in my relationship with Them.

Perhaps I should welcome this companionable silence

~~~

*Well, Loki IS a God of Change, now isn’t He?

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QOTD: Defining moments.

“I do not think I’m easy to define. I have a wandering mind. And I’m not anything that you think I am.”

~Syd Barrett

To You

Jellyfish

Lately whenever I meditate or ask the Universe about my own practice/devotionals – I get visions of jellyfish.

Though I hadn’t ever looked up what jellyfish represent (as totems/spirit animals), I decided to research the symbolism of jellyfish recently.

According to the descriptions I found on several ‘what’s your spirit totem’ websites, jellyfish symbolize a need for surrender, a spiritual nudge to go with the flow and the necessity of trusting the process.

Now anyone who knows me would know why I would be both intrigued and horrified on several levels concerning that message

as

I have always had an unreasonable fear of jellyfish.

I cannot even look at a picture of a jellyfish.

I will admit that I get uncomfortable just seeing them on TV (such as how they are prominently featured in that Prevagen commercial.)

In short, Jellyfish FREAK ME THE FUCK OUT.

And yet, I should not be surprised at the irony of this situation in that a creature that I’ve always taken great pains to avoid – the jellyfish – should be one that represents the exact spiritual concepts with which I have been struggling.

I imagine that the Universe must be having a good long laugh at my expense regarding this latest development as jellyfish and the necessity of surrender have combined to create a rather intense two-for-one push out of my comfort zone, eh?

 (NOTE TO SELF: DON’T LOOK NOW )

*

*

*

*

 

      ( AAAAIIIIGGGGHHHH )

So, here’s a few interesting things I’ve learned in my research about jellyfish:

Despite being biologically and rather structurally ‘basic’ creatures, jellyfish have survived for millennia.

~~

Their diet consists of whatever food supply (small organisms) they come across while floating in the ocean, as they have very little mobility/agency of their own compared to most sea creatures. In this sense, jellyfish are more at the mercy of the tide and currents, the wind, or whatever gets in their way as they float in the ocean than most other creatures.

~~

Unimpeded, there’s a certain species of jellyfish that are practically immortal – the Turritopsis dohrnii – the immortal jellyfish [pictured above].  These jellyfish only die from outside influences (injury, being eaten, etc.), as this species of jellyfish can revert back to its earlier polyp form at any time. In this regard, it is easy to see why this jellyfish could symbolize infinity.

~~

As well, most jellyfish do not seem to have many natural predators. That’s right – there aren’t many creatures that hunt them/prefer to eat them. Therefore, the jellyfish population is primarily kept in check through misadventure/outside influences. In a sense, the jellyfish is symbolic of an organism that trusts and relies on the abundance of the Universe to exist.

~~

Coupled with that near immortal/infinite existence, jellyfish have come to symbolize vulnerability, trust, and surrender.

~~

So I take these visions to mean that – as much as I hate jellyfish – here’s another sign of the Universe asking for my SURRENDER.

Latest message: More let go…more give in.

*sigh*

Song for Tuesday: Can’t Find My Way Home

 

This song has always given me a weird feeling.
I can’t exactly explain it – except to admit that the lyrics used to give me a strange tight discomfort in my chest, even though I’ve always found its melody hauntingly beautiful.

Was it a song about magic?
Or perhaps… a song about death?

When I was young, I did not know.

But I can’t help but recall that my older sister would often sing the lyrics – making sure to mimic the young Steve Winwood’s high pitched plaintive voice and making a mockery of the British way he pronounced can’t (like caunt) –  and I would nervously laugh and laugh, and beg her to stop.

Oh, the nervous laughter we shared over that song!

Back then, I didn’t know what it was about…

or what made me so uncomfortable about that song.

And I definitely did not know what it was about this song that invited so much ridicule from my older sister…. and yet…

And yet…

Some thirty-odd years later, we got to talking about the song recently…and we admitted to one another that we’d always liked that song.

Funny that, eh?

Perhaps we are getting old.

~~~

Nowadays, I have begun to speculate what the song is about.

Or rather, I have become certain of what that song means to me.

It is a song about surrender.

Perhaps what had made me uncomfortable about the song was its tone – which now strikes me as a tone of surrender:

“Come down off your throne and leave your body alone. Somebody must change
You are the reason I’ve been waiting so long – somebody holds the key
Well, I’m near the end and I just ain’t got the time
And I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home

Come down on your own and leave your body at home – somebody must change
You are the reason I’ve been waiting all these years – somebody holds the key
Well, I’m near the end and I just ain’t got the time
And I’m wasted and I can’t find my way home…”

-lyrics written and sung by Steve Winwood/Blind Faith

 

As a matter of fact, while it is still true that it might be a song about fear of death or old age, that plaintive chorus of I can’t find my way home never fails to fill me with this unshakeable sense of loneliness and loss.

Perhaps the song is an extended and powerful metaphor of loss.

Or

Is it about someone who is spiritually seeking?

As it was with the mystic poet Rabindranath Tagore who wrote:

Where roads are made I lose my way.

In the wide water, in the blue sky there is no line of a track.

The pathway is hidden by the birds’ wings, by the star-fires, by the flowers of the wayfaring seasons.

And I ask my heart if its blood carries the wisdom of the unseen way….

                                                                                  (Fruit Gathering, verse 6)

 

In that regard, this song makes me think of madness, perhaps even seidhr.

 

Rumi drunk insane

 

You are the reason I’ve been waiting all these years…
Somebody holds the key…

thekeythatopens

Into the woods…

Of scheming cats…and Gods.

Some say that Odin and Loki are schemers.

Re: They may be schemers but Their schemes may be serving to make you a better person.

In my experience, They are a lot like those cats from Icanhas.cheezburger.com/lolcats

But rather than just being ‘in ur room doin olympix’ –

Odin: “im in ur life tryin to influence ur choices”

Meanwhile, Loki

“im in ur life remindin u to enjoy.”

And really…you can’t fault Them for that, can you? ❤

A long awaited visitor… and unexpected gifts.*

*(Otherwise known as a ‘what’s new: my life edition’…)

Happy 2019!

If you are a long-time reader, you may be aware of the fact that not only am I prone to social anxiety, I am not a fan of transitions either.

Therefore, as you might guess, I am not a fan of the month of January for that reason.

                                 ~~~

But this year, no one is more surprised than I to realize that I am looking forward to 2019….and looking forward to this new year enough to mean it sincerely when I say those words.

You see, as I said in my previous post, 2018 brought me lots of busy….and as usual, some of it wasn’t a heck of a lot of fun.

I know, I know, you can’t appreciate the sunshine unless you’ve had some rain, but yeah… there was a lot of rain.

But then…something unexpected happened.

Something so unexpected that in the 27 years since I’d prayed for this thing to happen….

I’d almost given up on it ever happening.

It wasn’t a prayer for myself; it was, oddly enough, a prayer for this man that I’d met (that I was still two years away from marrying)

who began patiently waiting for a phone call

and then, heartbroken, awaiting the visit

of the visitor who never came.

~~~

Meanwhile, in the intervening years, the name of this long-awaited visitor was never far from this man’s heart (or  his mind,) even if his name was spoken less and less…

Because, simply put, when things are what they are, there’s really no use in dredging up past pain just so you can drown in it.

Especially when you know that you’ve done your best — all you can do is to keep the door to your heart open.

So that’s what he did.

And that’s what I did too because I began hoping too …. and keeping the door to my heart open in solidarity with this man.

                 And the years passed.

Sometimes, he would tell me the stories, or we would look at some old photos, and he would speculate what he would say, what he would do if he got that phone call, or if the doorbell rang…

And things started happening between us two! — and we made things happen too.

It was all the typical things you’d expect to happen :

We moved in together. We got married. We had a child. We worked. Our child grew. We lived in apartments. We had another child. We bought a house. We celebrated and we mourned and we argued and we laughed.

And the not-so-typical things:

I joined the Army. I left the Army.  We moved our little family three states away, down south. We spent two years at one address, three years at another, and then we moved back home up north again.

Then my husband became a ‘road warrior’ – traveling all over the country while I worked part-time and raised our kids where-ever ‘home’ happened to be, and my husband (and their father) came home on weekends.

Several more years passed and my husband got a government job, living and working in DC, and I would visit him with our kids during school vacations.

What a pair of strange nomads we were, moving away and back again at least a half dozen times more, each time further and further south.  But then again, each time, we’d return north again, to our home state, like bouncing magnets, like stars to a fixed pole.

Each time we returned north, we wondered….

What if…?

Had we missed that phone call?

Did we miss the long-awaited visitor?

Perhaps we’d made ourselves too difficult to find?

So we settled down.

We marked ten years in one state.

We marked five years in one home.

Next thing you know, our oldest child graduated high school.

We celebrated our 25th wedding anniversary.

Our youngest child learned to drive.

Meanwhile, his name would come up once in a while. And as the years passed, it didn’t hurt my husband as much anymore to talk about him.

My husband wondered how he was doing.

I wondered if he had a family of his own now.

We both wondered if he knew that we had ever existed.

~~~

And then, my husband received a phone call around 9:30pm on December 7th, 2018 – from him.

Our long-awaited visitor.

At first, I admit that there was a lot of awkwardness.

Next, there were the ‘prepared’ questions…. and the ‘long-anticipated answers.’

And yes…It was so much more than everyday conversation.

You see, my hope, my prayer from 27 years ago had been:

Please may that little boy look for his father one day….

Please may he call on the phone…

Please may he come to find V…

And a few years later that hopeful prayer became

Please…may he come to find us someday.

And here they were: the answers to our hopes…and the long-awaited response to that prayer of so long ago…!

I am not ashamed to admit that after a moment or two of utter speechlessness,

V and I both burst into tears of overwhelming joy.

You see, he told us of what he’d been told.

He told us how he had wondered.

He told us that he had been looking for us for the past 6 years. 

He didn’t know for certain what our last name was until three months ago.

~~~

And we found out that he still lives in New England – still living mere miles from the area that our hearts would’ve called ‘home’.

He served two tours of duty, one in Afghanistan, and one in Iraq, and he is a decorated war veteran.

He has been married for 10 years, and he and his wife have three children – two sons and a daughter.

And if that wasn’t enough of a gift – to hear in his voice that breathless mixture of relief and joy at having finally found his father at last – it was even more so in that he wanted to meet us.

I’m sorry, but is it OK? I don’t want to be pushy. You have no idea how long I’ve wanted to find you….

So he flew down to Florida to spend New Year’s Eve with us.

And it was amazing and it was wonderful….and though it was 27 years in waiting, it was one of the sweetest moments of my life to see my husband V finally embracing that boy – his son (!) – at the airport gate

It was truly a wonderful, beautiful way to end 2018!