Private memories

He lifted his chin into an intimate smile he kept for himself and his memories. “Ah, but spook bread is the very best kind.” He turned and walked on.

I lingered a bit, then followed.

Nature burbled and rustled all around us. My friend kicked rocks along his own inner streams as he wandered the world of his very private smile, shaking his head sometimes and chuckling. He wore an old woven blanket someone had made into a vest. As he stepped with great care among shadows, trying not to disturb, not to snap a branch or rouse a settled creature, he petted that vest and found that someone.

Mushrooms poked through everywhere, breaking down matter that had outlived its time, seeding spores of brightness through the lost and decaying. They drew in around us and reached off in all directions. Gaudy, gay or dull; dappled or solid, they gathered together and scattered; exquisite vistas of life growing from death, and death nurturing life. Lichen clawed out from vibrant trees and rotting stumps.

“Ahhh … Bread. Fresh-baking. How wonderful.” Waters stepped over a fallen trunk of slick green velvet, his walking stick poking a thorny vine up out of his face. “We made some marvelous breads together, Sanchee and I, according to the old ways. Bread you could cut your teeth on. Now there was bread! My wife worked wonders at our old stone hearth.”

“I’m so jealous,” I told him, making no move to catch up as he stood, studying his own chapter of Nature. “All that love, the sharing. The little home chores…”

Bonding together through the intimate drudgery of life, having problems and working them out, irritations that become seeds of growth and new understanding. But then I guess that great feast of long-lasting union would have been lost on someone like me. I wouldn’t even have paused at the table. “Just passing through,” I’d say, “Sorry; can’t stay.”

But here was a man who had dug into love. He’d labored in the field with it, shared sickness and health, spoken and lived it. Now he had joys to look back on while I could only sit on a rock and take notes. I wanted so badly to ask him more, search out details, share my friend’s greatest triumphs, joys, and deepest sorrows, all the little stuff, too; but I’m not one to pry. And Waters was a very guarded soul.

I couldn’t respect the man without honoring that.

– From “The Mourning After”

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Reaching the hopeless through our own doubt.

My love/guide told me today that if I hadn’t had all those years of suffering and crippling doubt I couldn’t have written the books that I do, and could’t have reached the people I reach. I write books of hope for the hopeless; stories of deep meaning for the lost and out of touch. I couldn’t have come to them in compassion and empathy if I hadn’t myself felt disconnected, and like God and all meaning had turned from me.

Heart pain can lead us Higher

When my arms grew long and strong enough I started pulling myself up onto the roof to lie back under the stars, praying for their vast peace to drain off some of this hurt. I ached for something higher, richer, undeniable, and there were moments when I was teased with just a glimpse. I could lose my heart in a picture of Jesus or Mary, in a rainy autumn sunset, or a field of stars, and it was like I’d gone home. Everything dissolved into pure, aching sweetness. How vast love can be when we don’t hack off a chunk and hoard it, call it ours, or chain it to someone; when it isn’t love for some thing or someone, just love.
I was only allowed brief visits to this world beyond worlds, though, and couldn’t bring the bliss back with me. Trying to hold on to that soul piercing, excruciating sweetness was like tearing my heart apart; but maybe that was exactly the point. Broken hearts show us we’ve grown out of one stage, by ripping us wide open for the next.
We’re forced to choose what we do with all that pain: turn it against ourselves, aim it at someone else, or tap all that power and reach higher.
– From “Entertaining Naked People”

Elegant, eloquent, soul writing by my lady friend. What life, and the new year could, and maybe should be all about.

A few minutes into 2014 Becky, Antonio and family, alchemists of Levittown, called to wish us a magical New Year. Later yesterday morning BF spent an hour plunging and ‘snaking’ one of the loos which resisted all of his efforts to unblock it. ‘Let me have a go’ I said. I plunged with renewed gusto and hey presto there was a toiletty gulp and a lavatorial swish and our loo was liberated and flowing sweetly again. And then the rest of our day followed suit and simply flowed. 
A day of cold sunlight, we drove about 25 miles along twisty mountain roads to Highlands, a posh, touristy town with delightful shops, salivatory eateries and one of our favourite churches. First stop was the outfitters where we found a new titfer for BF as last year’s hat (you know the one) had suffered a rainy battering and is now looking a little droopy. We also bought the snuggliest pair of muppet gloves ever known to man for my frozen paws. BF then found a ridiculously expensive pair of wonderfully elegant clogs which were snapped up for my birthday present. 
Old Edward’s Inn offers a sophisticated, warm welcome to elegance from another century. The service is friendly but never fawning and the food is inventively delicious. As we ate our chicken on wholewheat foccaccio and burger with kitchen sink salad (absolutely everything green and salady is in it) I checked my emails. Through tears I read that my dear friend in England, Fiona, is in hospital in a diabetic coma, her usual feisty unputdownableness sedated to allow her body time to rebalance. This was the first call of the day for our Love and prayers. Later in the Ladies’ Restroom I met the Mexican attendant who wished me a Happy New Year. There was a catch to her voice. She then told me that her 4 month old granddaughter had been killed a month ago when the car her daughter was driving was involved in a crash. She sobbed as she told me of her anquish for her daughter who just cannot stop crying. ‘Morte, morte…’ I cried with her, hugged her and assured her we would add her and her daughter to our prayers. When I returned to BF he was already in his ‘spooky’ place, as he felt healing being drawn through him. Nowadays he is always open to those distant requests for help and all he knows is that somebody is asking for healing and that it is passing through him. He is the conduit not the source. 
We walked across the road to the tiny white church with fingers crossed that the door would be unlocked. Not only was it unlocked but the warmth of the heating and the glow of the spiritual welcome enfolded us as we passed on our requests for help. Many churches leave my heart untouched, but this one radiates the true ambience of Communion. My heart swelled and the pile of soggy tissues grew as my tears silently cascaded through my dissolving mascara. 
We then wandered back down the main street to window shop in our favourite store – the Silver Eagle where we have purchased some of our most beloved jewellery during previous visits. As this was closed we went into another gem store nearby, causing immediate laughter as we went through the door and BF mistook a motionless customer for a mannequin. Even in spooky mode BF doesn’t lose his sense of fun and humour, he just becomes a little more distracted than usual. As we looked through the gemstones set in silver, gold and copper we chatted to the assistant, Thomas. His passion for gems of all kinds just shone through him. He asked how BF and I had met and having recounted the story BF went back to the car to collect a copy of ‘The Mourning After’. In those few minutes Thomas and I discovered our spooky similarities – bereavement of a kind, sofa years, transformation, synchronicity. When he invited me to choose a ring from several expensive displays I chose a simple square turquoise set in silver which fitted perfectly. He insisted I took the ring in exchange for ‘Mourning’ and would accept no payment. As I had been choosing my ring he had already started to read! BF positively glowed! We hugged Thomas with our Goodbyes, promising to return later. 
After coffee and an email check on news about Fiona, we headed homewards for groceries at Ingles where the delightful Victoria put together the biggest, goopiest sandwich ever for BF. Then we headed to the gym so BF could check his emails. After nearly a year’s absence he was warmly welcomed and soon was chatting with Debbie one of the assistants. She told him of her step son who had recently been struck by a hit and run driver. Her step son is 28, like my son Harry, and he is now facing possible amputation of his leg, a lifelong colostomy and devastating soft tissue injuries. I watched from afar as Love flowed from BF. He listened, nodding occasionally, giving a few words of comfort but mainly heart listening, attuned to her pain. I, in turn, loved BF more than ever. 
We then headed home to prepare the next day’s dinner of post roast beef (woops and apologies to Elyse and fellow veggies!) in the crock pot. Again Becky added to the day with her lovingly pre prepared marinade doctored with goodness knows what – BF always has to add something extra to whatever he does! 
After filling his tummy and his beard with his sandwich and after I had devoured a hot chicken leg (free range) we opened the champagne and settled into cuddle mode on the sofa to watch ‘A Dolphin Tale’. Utterly perfect! 
6 weeks in Levittown, with the Love and Joy of family and dear friends, but with little Nature and scant spookiness we had returned to the Forest feeling rather like our loo at the beginning of this amazing day. Becky and her family of Alchemists worked their Magick when they sent their good wishes. The ‘So Much More’ had felt our blockage and with divine plunging had freed our Flow. Yesterday was a day when we opened again to Love, Communion, Compassion, Joy and Sadness. Just as our loo had gigglegurgled into free flow we too regained that wondrous Serenity along with such Gratitude that we were maybe able to help and comfort some precious folks which after all is what life is all about. 
So we in turn pass on that same Magick to you all for a wondrous 2014.

Caring enough to say No.

Everything in life is a delicate balance for those of us treading paths of self-knowing, and of reaching beyond self. But sometimes the best response is to say No.

When I first became a massage teacher, every student west of Atlantis wanted to trade massages with me. Yes, that would have helped them. I gave great feedback and they could have felt what a professional massage feels like.

It would also wear me out and chew up my time so I couldn’t work my own professions and help others.
I got so I wouldn’t even tell people what I did because complete strangers in grocery queues would want me to work the knots out of their shoulders as we stood there.
So I set a clear policy not to trade and stuck with it.
Nowadays, when I tell people I’m a writer, it turns out that everybody and his dead uncle has thought about being a writer, wants me to teach them how to do it, edit their first efforts, get them published …
So again, I make a policy drawing the line.
When lonely people find out I can listen, care, and empathize, they get in my face, trying to stop me from whatever I might be trying to focus on, so I can listen to them tell me every ache they ever had, any word their doctors ever uttered.
But the books and thoughts and minor essays I write can be helpful and important, too, and they are means of helping more than one person at a time.
Again, we will always be tested. And for those of caring natures, these tests may hit literally where we, and another might hurt.
But sometimes it might just be healthier to say no.

Friendship; The True & the False.

Qualities of a Friend – Thoughts by William Penn.
 
A true Friend unbosoms freely, advises justly, assists readily, adventures boldly, takes all patiently, defends courageously, and continues a Friend unchangeably. These being the Qualities of a Friend, we are to find them before we chuse one.
 
The covetous, the Angry, the Proud, the Jealous, the Talkative, cannot but make ill Friends, as well as the False.
 
….. Let Virtue bound thy Friendship; Else it is not Friendship, but an Evil Confederacy. (350)
 
Union of Friends
 
They that love beyond the World, cannot be separated by it.
 
Death cannot kill, what never dies.
 
Nor can Spirits ever be divided that love and live in the same Divine Principle; the Root and Record of their friendship. (402)