Friday Fictioneers – Martha’s Mind

Dale Rogerson

Photo courtesy – Dale Rogerson

Martha’s Mind

Word count:  100

 

Martha inhaled deeply, held it momentarily then exhaled slowly.

She repeated this twice before settling into practice.  It was a warm evening with low humidity so she took the opportunity to meditate on the back deck while the mosquitoes were preoccupied.

The sun warmed Martha’s face; eased her frown lines, and smoothed her crow’s feet.  The cushion beneath cupped her bottom with ease which promoted a relaxed attentiveness.

Bird evensong and faraway car sounds floated by for her consideration but she paid them no mind.

For thirty minutes, Martha simply was.  Nowhere to go.  No-one to be.  Nothing to do.

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The Way Forward

I have spent years in the wilderness.  I found a clearing a few years ago but it did not lead to any sort of opening or escape.  On more than one occasion, I thought that I could bolt through the forest to find my way out but that proved to be futile.

Now is my time, and I have found the path.

I speak metaphorically, of course.  The clearing I speak of was discovered when I began the practice of meditation in 2013.  For some, tuning in to self cannot come from simply sitting and being, but I fell into it with ease.  I understood that chatter was okay; that it was fine to set an intention but at the end of each practice, nothing need be accomplished.

It just is.  I can just.be.

Currently, there are major shifts in this soul’s life, so I returned to practice.  I came home to the sangha and was welcomed as if by family.  It’s been only two weeks since I picked up where I left off but the clarity and stillness cultivated long ago never left.  Just like seedlings in a field; they have been dormant.  The only thing they needed was for me to notice.  To provide awareness.

My path ahead is uncertain.  I know to some degree what I do and do not want.

My practice will help me through.  And forward.

Well done burnt bridge.

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For a long time, I have fought a battle that can never be fully voiced. It can never be laid out on a table for all to see. It is a private war. I have danced around it in my blog, written about hard-won skirmishes, and weary defeats. It’s a sort of thing that I have treated alternately with a delicate hand and a closed fist.

Its presence is exasperating, like an annoying mosquito that won’t quit buzzing around.

No matter what I have done to abolish it (think on it, write about it, fight it, silence it, meditate on it, drink, eat), or didn’t do (let it be, accept it) it has had me chained to a merry-go-round. I, a colorful filly with great stems raised, ready to gallop, but unable to.

Recently, I burned the bridge to the battlefield that I alone had maintained. It was done with confidence, and without intention of returning to the precipice pleading for the link to be restored.

But, the ego is fearful. It knows I am stronger, and it bombards me with thoughts and questions, and the same old worn out lines. The crackled movie on a fading loop starring the old witch opposite Snow White, except my apple gift is dented, and browned.

What is it afraid of? I think on it….and have to laugh a little because I simply don’t know.

I have everything I need inside and out!

It could have been a sad thing to burn that bridge, but by deciding to stop the fight; I am forced to face the truth.

And the truth is acknowledging the dark side of self; specifically emotions such as anger, aversion, and dislike. No more sweet frosting. No more battles. No more black and white, or tussles between good and bad. This is it; the beginning of true healing begins with the belief that negative feelings are as much a part of self as the positive. In this way, the ego has little left to live for, and that’s what it’s afraid of.

Without the dark, there can be no light. And, the more I calmly let in the dark that’s practically barging down my front door, the sooner I will be free of these shackles.

 

 

All New

smallsweptunderrugThe spirit is incredibly strong.  When the body has squeezed out its last ounce of effort, the spirit can pick it up and do its bidding. Someone asked, “How’ve you been?” and I replied that I had moved house.  Two words that do not convey the enormity of the event.  At all, really.  How about “I packed, lifted, dragged, hoisted, transported, hauled, carried and plopped every material thing that matters to me, from my daughter’s plastic ring that she received in a party favor bag to the 60″ HD television and every inanimate or living object in between, large and small.”  Would that cover it?

We spread the work over three days to avoid the stressful, nerve-jangled one day of it all but it was still exhausting because it seemed that the material stuff oozed out of unseen spaces.  When I thought I’d accomplished one part, I found more overlooked crap to go into another box that I didn’t  have.

The back aches and twinges upon stretching and says “If I gotta help you lift one more thing and you don’t do it from the knees, I’m just gonna quit and you’ll be stuck like this for days.”  So I tried to be mindful of that.

Cats don’t move well.  At least the skinny, nervous kind.  On top of the fatigue and the whole pulling energy from all corners of the body, I became embroiled in a hissing bloodshed escape attempt.  But again, the spirit overcame and four days into the new place, my cats are adjusting.  They still have the low-girdled, jerky-faced look of a prisoner on the run but they’re coming around and it seems my skinny kitty and I have forgiven each other for the pain we inflicted.

And so life begins again.  In a new home.  A new road to take.  New places to frequent…mostly the liquor store.

I like the organizing, the finding new places for furniture, the new pathways around a house.  I like the new.  As much as I loathe moving (and this one was particularly fraught with worry) I do rather relish the Mary Poppins aspect of everything in its place and a place for everything.  It’s refreshing for my soul.  And with that, certain cares have had the carpet lifted from them and their dustbunny existence has been blown from me.  It’s quite freeing.

Fragility of the New

Writing is such a deeply creative process. I balk at the word process because it’s more of an unfolding, a developing, and to label it with such a superficial word, lessens the experience somehow. Some would say that I’m a new writer but I’m really not. I’ve been a writer since I was nine, scribbling out poems in my bedroom at night and showing them proudly to my writer Mum the next day. I wrote stories instead of essays at school. I read a lot. Enid Blyton and Roald Dahl were favorites. I repeatedly read a voluminous collection of books called “Murder Mystery Collection” that belonged to my parents – about 20 little books in all and contained in each of them were roughly ten to fifteen short stories. My Mum was published in them, as was my Granddad. Lately, I recall having a collection of ghost stories, some classic and some modern day, well, as modern as the 80’s anyway and I’ve been trying every now and then to grasp their concept. When I think they are not noticing, I sneak up on the memories but they skitter away like famished hyenas into a dark night. Perhaps I don’t remember the storylines exactly but I did retain a sense of the mystery and supernatural.

For years since those creative child/teen days, I dumbed down my mind with weed, cigarettes and unhealthy relationships in order to forget, yet also relive childhood traumas. Such foggy paths I stumbled about on but the writer in me never left. Every now and then, I’d pop out a poem or start a story, almost as if I were trying to start the engine but the car had been buried in an overgrown garden for too long. Certainly, stepping back onto the stage helped drag the car into the open again and those books that I devoured as a youngster were quite possibly the inspiration for my first short story as an adult which I finished back in March. Just in time to be entered into a competition with Glimmer Train Press. I have yet to hear back from them as to whether they like it, whether they will publish it and even if it made the grade as far as the competition goes. I don’t know how long I have to wait but I check my submission page daily in the hopes for an update (a positive one) but it still remains “in process.”

A writer always writes, no matter what, so say the various blogs and articles I’ve read. If you do not write, no matter what, then you are not a serious writer. You must read too. Lots and lots. Soak it all up and spit it all out. And that’s fine if it works for you. But some days, especially lately with financial and health issues skipping merrily about, my brain doesn’t want to compute. Writing abandons me. Creativity bows out and joins those hyenas. I suppose I should slap myself on the wrist for being a terrible writer, for not having the gumption to just put something on the page, even if it is utter drivel. But I don’t. I don’t get cross at myself. Funny really, it seems to be the one area of my life where I am not critical, except when I read the finished product. Then I think everything I’ve written is shit. Until I leave it alone for a while, return to re-read and love it all over again.

I took a break after the submission of my short story so that I could join my family riding blindfolded on life’s rollercoaster. I have no idea where or when the next turn will be or where we will end up but because of this, my mind has been elsewhere; worrying about the future, worrying that I have lost my self-awareness, worrying about money, worrying about worrying. Worrying for a few weeks. However, my soul took a bit of an upswing this week, perhaps tired of being in a rut, it knocked down a few walls, despite my family’s circumstances and our unknown future.

With this upswing came an idea for a story and I have written just over 600 words today. I am in love with it. You know when you create something and you stand back to watch its progress and you admire it, you feel proud? That’s how I feel about my story so far. It has no ending yet and I’m not entirely sure of its middle either and that’s just fine with me. Perhaps I am not a traditional writer who bangs out a basic storyline first, returning to pad and fill later. I build like a snowball; I gather as I go until it’s reached the height and breadth it’s meant to be.

It has the fragility of the new as it begins its growth, yet I also have sense of its weight and even, its purpose, for me.

Lisa…

Simply complex

I’m new to the world of blogging and with this mindframe, new to the world at large . When I began writing in January, I didn’t like the term ‘blog’ and playfully referred to my posts as ‘snargles.’ I do like that word still; it’s cute without being froofy. At times though I acquiesce and admit that there’s nothing really wrong with the word blog, even if it does sound stodgy. It’s just a word. And words is apparently what I do. So, blog is fine and so is snargle.

Recently, a very dear friend referred to me as complex. Hmm… Moi? Complex? I’ve been the recipient of many adjectives over the years; some lovely and some not so, but I’ve never been thought of as complex. Or maybe I have, they just didn’t tell me. I know that I had never considered myself in that way. Complex infers many layers, many angles, ups, downs, sides and corners, everything about being human. I guess I am, as we all are, filled with these things that make us up. Love stories, war stories, birth stories, work stories, life stories, growing up, falling down, people, past, present, all of the ever ongoing compendium of our lives. Everything we have ever experienced is stamped on us somewhere. Stamped and covered up with the next experience like a stack of papers receiving the necessary signature…paper, stamp, paper, stamp, paper…

How different we can be! Just like everyone else, I have made mistakes, tumbled blindly, scraped and bowed, suffered consequences. I have judged and made remarks. I have taken sides and generally, not been a nice person. Now I am grown. I have learned. I think it is true that the soul, the essential light in a person is just always there, it has no need to grow and learn, for it knows everything already. It’s whole and as pure and perfect as it can possibly be. Really it is our “humanness” that must learn and evolve around it.

Eventually, hopefully, most of us come to understand what needs to happen to the human part of us, that rushing, whirling, often out of control side. It has to sort of merge with the soul. When that happens it’s calm, it’s bliss, it’s serene. Some people out there, such as the gurus like Mooji, Deepak, Eckhart, I’m sure have their fraught moments, nobody is that perfect. But I have no doubt that the majority of the time in their body in this life could be likened to walking very slowly through thigh high water on a warm, sunny day; effortless, smooth, wonderful.

My journey is new and so I have fleeting glimpses of such serenity but even so, on the whole and in every day life I feel more calm than complex. Yet perhaps it’s the complexity that makes things so simple, in that I’m more concerned with the light in my heart than the daily goings on of the mind. I can peel back my layers of stamped pages and see everything I’ve ever done, said, been, had, looked at, thought about, cried over, laughed at…the whole lot of it and truly know that although it makes up me as my human self, the Lisa, I am not her really, I am not those things, I am simply Love. I am Light.

That’s not to say that I am not looking forward to stamping more pages in the book of this life. I am, very much so. Simply, I will try not to live it as that human person scattering her eggs every which way. Instead, I will opt for the soulful, simply complex light waiting patiently for the human side to complete its fit, accepting all the experiences, old, new and present with loving arms.

Mind you, I’m under no illusion that I’ll be all Galadriel. More like…Patsy Stone. Minus the ciggies and Bollinger, of course.

thank you

Sweet dreams are made of what may come…

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Dreams, huh?  We all get that there are messages and clues behind those wild, crazy stories that gallop around wantonly at nighttime.  Sometimes they make sense and sometimes they’re just way out there loony style.  Some of us remember and some of us have a more difficult time grasping the wispy remnants, like a fragment of a memory from childhood.  Some of us have lucid dreams, meaning we are aware that we are dreaming.  I’m fortunate to remember many of mine and I do have lucid dreams, to the point where I can rewind and change scenes or outcomes.  I think that’s pretty cool, and would be made cooler still if Johnny Depp would enter at some point.

But anyhoo…last night’s dream was not the rewind kind but still very vivid and loaded with suggestions and solutions.

Essentially, there were two parts.  The first part involved me driving in a thick snowstorm, which was so thick that I couldn’t see in front of me.  At one point, I braked hard and the car I was driving did a vehicle version of a forward roll.  I remember the car being vertical, me perched at the wheel, parallel to the road before it tipped over twice and eventually righted itself.  I got out, unshaken or stirred and walked over to another car that was upside down.  With one arm I grabbed one of the back wheels, picked it up and turned it right side up.

After that scene I switched to another, very different one.  This happens a lot, with many scenes having no relation or bearing on the previous or the next.  I walked into an office that had the feeling of being the place I worked, except it was full of people I didn’t know, milling around, being sociable.  I approached a man who was unfamiliar and inquired after my colleagues.  I don’t remember the dialog; I had the sense that they had all gone and that I was being given another post, half-heartedly, as if the current clan didn’t really care whether I stayed or went.  So I left, shruggedly and whatevery.

We all are aware that the thoughts we focus upon during our physical reality could become fodder for our dreams.  What’s more important though, are the thoughts that lurk in the background, those frets, fears, frustrations and ideas that never really come to the forefront.  They are the meat and potatoes of our dreamscape reality.  And, our dreams aren’t simply a metaphor for our daily lives.  Again, choirs and preaching notwithstanding, we know that what we dream about can offer solutions and help point us in a certain direction.  But, I have concluded that the cookie is not just in the crumble, it’s also in how you feel during your dream.

For example, after last night’s amazing feat of strength and the whole driving through the blinding snowstorm thing, I proudly came to the conclusion that I do indeed have the inner strength to cope with any obstacle.  Thought it was obvious, figured I got that pegged.  Until I approached my dream app (which isn’t one of those whimsical, fairytale, point out the obvious side of things apps…in fact it’s pretty Freudian with its explanations).  There, I read the exact opposite…that my show of strength symbolized the fact that my ambition outstripped my ability and that I needed to adjust my goals thusly.  Also, the snow allegedly represented the appearance of illness and unsatisfactory enterprises.  Worse, to find myself in a snowstorm denoted sorrow and disappointment. And, worse still, to see large white snowflakes falling while looking through a window (does a windshield count?) foretold of an ‘angry interview’ with my sweetheart (which was sort of true this morning).  So, what about driving?  Well, in the dream, my driving was hampered by all the snow and apparently, if you cannot see ahead, it is an indicator that you do not know where you are headed or what you want to do with yourself.

Indignant, was I!  Nay, as Frasier once exclaimed – “I am wounded!”

I raised an eyebrow and pondered, drummed my fingers and listened to Esther Hicks discuss dreams.  I decided to step away from the literal and think about the thing as a whole.  I remember lifting up that car with one arm was no big deal, as if it were something I did every day, like changing a diaper – a roll of the eyes, a flick of the hand and bip, bam, boom, Bob’s yer Uncle!  Where did my ambition and ability fit into that?  I mean, I have ambitions to act and write and I think my ability is on par with those dreams, although the writing part could use a poke in the arse.  So, I think I’ll stick with my hypothesis that I can nurture my inner moxy and trust it to slap the crap out of any shitstorm that comes my way.

As for the office thing…hmm…well, leaving something behind perhaps and being ok with it?

What about the dream a couple of months ago where I narrowly escaped being hit by a train that had derailed and was hurtling through the air toward me with the words echoing in my head “That was close!?”

Or the one where I was walking with my husband someplace like this (Ilfracombe high street, just fyi)…

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…I was naked but he had his undies on.  At first, I wanted to cover up but found my courage and walked strong and proud.  That one was fairly obvious, right?  I figured it meant that I had discovered a new sense of honesty, openness and a carefree nature.  However, that little dream app gave me the old Z fingersnap and said “Nuh uh…honey” and went on to say that it meant I was afraid to be seen for who I really was.  *insert raspberry*

Again, I go with the feeling of being happy and chin-up with that one.

Mind you, later on in that series of disjointed scenes, I surfed with no surfboard on water-logged grass.  NO idea what that meant.

Of course, other dreams really are quite obvious in their message.  Especially if they involve someone you know, like exes.  Those are always fun, especially when it’s so close to the event.

Recurring dreams?  I still remember one I had from childhood about an alligator that would come up out of the drain in the road, inside out.  Now, there’s an eyebrow raiser.

So, in conclusion, our dreamscape reality is essential to the wellbeing of our physical reality and vice versa.  They work in tandem and even if you wake up with the shadows of your sleeping thoughts laughing and running away from you as you reach out for them, just remember that their seeds have been planted and they are there for you to reap should you need them.  All you have to do is ask for them and they will be given.  Just keep an open mind.

Sleep well…

Lisa…