Sunday, June 12, 2016

Rainbows drip endless tears

The day is close.  Heavy air too damp and hot for this early in summer, and I think inside myself that it is a curious note.  Springtime in East Tennessee this year was glorious, a true spring such as we haven't experienced in many years.  It took me back to childhood memories where everything was an explosion of color, flowers, peaceful wooded hills and ready hugs from every adult around me.

Yet here we are, on the heels of that glorious spring, experiencing a brutal beginning to summer.  The brutality is mirrored in horrific moments in my country.  A beautiful, talented young woman was murdered in the state of Florida, in a senseless act as she pursued her musical dreams. 

A day later, in the same state of Florida, a nightmare attack took the lives of 49 people who were enjoying an evening in a nightclub. 49 deaths are reported, and I fear the number will increase in coming days. 

The thoughts that run through my mind in the wake of these violent actions are tangible, etching the moist air around me with ragged edges.  They hang there, aloft, sad and forlorn, as I picture the people who await news of their loved ones....praying, I am certain, to hear that loved one's voice, alive and vital.

Yet we already know the ones slain are still there in that nightclub, quiet and still, surrounded by crime scene tape and endless media trucks.

Moments of beauty are flourishing, small blooms of hope around the world.  There in Florida, a line of over 600 people wait to donate blood and I think that they are the best of my country, rushing to do this one small thing in the face of such devastating carnage. 

The people in that nightclub were slain, to the best of what we know, because they were of the LGBTQ community - different, beautifully so, and proud, choosing to embrace their true selves and come together for an evening of music, dancing and entertainment.  Hateful indications began instantly, words of terrorism, focus on gun control political agendas all ran rampant and continue today, and those focuses will have no further space here. 

Now, as the hours roll forward, on social media there are countless expressions of condolence, sympathy and support for those affected, for those slain, for those mourning, and these expressions are happening around the world.  Rainbow flags are everywhere. 

And here I sit on the steps of my patio with my laptop on my knees, breathing in this heavy, damp day, the heat searing my lungs. 

The thoughts crash from my fingertips, yet make no sound on the page. I feel the need to hurl them outward, allowing them to fly high in the sky and fracture, so that they might rain back down in bright, beautiful colors of each of the souls taken from us so unfairly.  
Rainbow colors, they would be.  Of course they would. 

Perhaps in another reality, one we can't see with our human eyes, they are hale and whole, watching us as we scramble to understand, to absorb and accept.  I believe this to be true, and I am confident and sure that the overwhelming amount of prayer and love being focused for all of them has taken them through their unexpected transition swiftly and smoothly, lifting them quickly to that next destination.

My own recent struggles pale in comparison to what has happened in Florida.  I feel a sense of drift and inadequacy, because those issues exist and are quite valid in my heart, but I haven't lost a loved one to wrenching, cold, cruel murder.  All I am able to do is sit here in the waning summer fire of a June Sunday, smelling the green of freshly cut grass, hearing the droning of fat honeybees drunk on nectar from nearby flowers.  I am here, writing and pausing, sheltering my eyes from the sinking sun, tapping out words on a screen that cannot reflect the enormity of what this weekend has wrought.

Rainbows.  Normally, a rainbow comes after a storm, bringing smiles and delight.

  Today, rainbows drip endless tears. 

And the world mourns. 

Sunday, April 10, 2016

...of all that is...

In this month of April 2016, I see 2015 as a curious year.  As I look back on it now, I feel a sense of distance that goes beyond the linear mark.  I don't know if that is true detachment, or if it is a shell of self-preservation.  Only time will tell with that.

I lost a large number of people extremely close to me in 2015. Death was not particular about those chosen, taking both family and dear, life long friends in high numbers.  Looking back on that aspect of 2015, I am stunned at the list of those who transitioned, and I am equally stunned that I weathered that many losses and managed to keep hold of equanimity, acceptance and sanity. 

Of course, loss of sanity always surrounds us in the immediacy of loss through physical death, and I am not ashamed to admit that I had many dark nights of the soul because of those losses.

On the other end of the spectrum, I had triumphs.  I experienced love.  I shared my heart with sincerity and honesty, offering my deepest, truest self.  For some moments, that part of me was met and embraced, and I can look back on those moments with clear eyes that see shining beauty.

I stumbled many times, with repercussions of a most recent set of stumbles still playing out.  I am unsure of the direction those unexpected, haphazard, shocking, sometimes ripping and hurtful experiences will take me.

The only thing that I know at this moment is that I am learning and growing as a result.  I am continuing to take the next breath. That is all any of us can do when we absorb the stunning impact of disappointment and betrayal - we take that next step, breathe that next breath, and repeat the process in a numbed state until we are able to tentatively begin settling back inside ourselves.  Back inside from where we flew off and established that state of protection and detachment.

Perhaps that is actually what is happening.  I am settling back inside myself, reacquainting, realigning, reassembling, building and stitching together the old with what I brought back from the outside, from the distance and the quiet.

I often think that what we view as coming undone is the real making of us, because it forces us to release all those pieces of detritus that had been slowing us down, had been holding us back, had been slowly dulling our brilliance.

What prompted this article when it has been such a long time since I have written here?  I was busy the other day, in the midst of networking and focusing on career issues, and a random thought crossed my mind.  A question jumped from those thoughts, and I picked up my cell phone to call a dear friend.  Because I was doing so many things at once, juggling so many proverbial balls, I got all the way through scrolling through my contacts and clicking through to dial that phone number before reality slapped me sideways.  I remembered in a crashing rush that that friend is gone.  He died in September of 2015.

The inevitable avalanche of emotions flowed.  I went through a miniature version of the grief process, shed some tears, rode the wave of colorful memories that had me laughing along with the tears, because this friend always, always made me laugh.  And I pondered this life I'm living.  I pondered the curious process we live here on this Earth School.

I came up with no bright, unique answers.  No startling discoveries have hit my personal horizon. I find that the older I get, the more liquid becomes the process of accepting death, and of accepting change.  When I was wee, life was very finite and defined.  Black and white.  With age comes new perspective and perception, and all those infinite shades of gray.

I have no idea what the year of 2016 will bring for me, even as I sit here well into the fourth month of this year.  What I do know is that 2015 underscored in a dramatic fashion what we all know, and that is that nothing is promised to each of us.  Tomorrow is not promised.  The next moment is not promised, nor is the next breath.

In the span of all that is, each life lived on this planet is akin to the blink of an eye.  

We are such a brief expression of love and energy in physical form, it is another curious moment for me to ponder why we waste so much time.  We get bogged down in so many fears and doubts.  I have allowed myself to become entangled in my own fears and doubts, and I have participated and engaged in fears and doubts of those closest to me.  From that engagement, I have stumbled.  As I am regaining my balance from those stumbles, the clarity gained is of a quiet tone.  In that quiet, I am studying and processing, and making decisions.

I am aware of what I will no longer entertain.  I am aware of what I will no longer indulge.  I am cognizant in a manner that I have not experienced in a great while.  I am aware of promises that I made to myself ages ago, promises which have patiently waited for me to pick them up and breathe life into them....breathe life into ME.

This all sounds so ponderous and dramatic, yes?  In some ways, perhaps it is, but another curious note is that these shifts and realizations haven't hit with thundering impact.  They have slipped in gently, with very little fanfare.  Layers of myself have surrendered to being pared away, lifted up to the winds that swirl around only me, separating me from the old, and brushing, whispering change across my face....across my soul.  I have turned, eyes closed, a slowly spinning dance of release.

In that span of all that is, that which we label Infinity, here I am....expressing all that I am.  Doing my humble, human best to radiate Love outward.  Brushing fingertips with those of you who visit here, our eyes locking for a glance, our hearts marching to an identical rhythm for an instant.  And as the quote above offers....

....and in that moment, I swear....


For now, this knowing, this acceptance of NOT is enough.