Posted in Spring 2016

Crossroads

Crossroads

To believe or not to believe, every person must ask this question sometime. I chose to believe early on but it was a decision that stayed with me even during the darkest times. I have been furious with God, (I tell him that he puts way too much faith in me.) But I never could not believe. That was my first crossroads, I made my covenant and I’ve never gone back.

 

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Posted in Gratitude, Spring 2016

One Noble Thing

Disappointment

Ironically, long before I made the Facebook post that caused my little disaster last week, I had started rereading “A Series of Unfortunate Events.” If you are looking for a series of happy children’s books with delightful stories about how a trio of children have one after another interesting and uplifting adventure do not read these books. It will be a disappointment. I remember well the first time I read all thirteen books from  “The Bad Beginning” to “The End.” I expected the end to be an end but it wasn’t. I was disappointed.

But if you are looking for a series of books to read that increases your vocabulary and understanding of many of the strange sayings used by english speakers, books that are both comical and all too painfully realistic at the same time, books that both explain and demonstrate the sticky tightrope between good and evil that each and every one of us must navigate daily, and if you are ready to accept that every end to a story is really just another beginning, that every beginning was someone else’s ending, and that there are some mysteries we can never solve, then I recommend this series as special gift. To me it is a coming of age series. It is about seeing things as they are instead of as we want them to be.

My daughter and I both read it when our family broke apart many years ago. Though we were separated physically we passed the books to each other and shared in the pain and frustrations of all the mysteries. It was a comforting way that in our darkest times we could both empathize with the Baudelaires struggles and learn from them. My children and I are together again and I only started rereading the books to pass the time, when I broke my shoulder last November. Yet as I finish “The End” today, it is again a touching reminder to me not only of how far we’ve come but of the delicacy required to try to understand all sides of any incident.

Like this series of books, life is often a disappointment if we insist on having to fix every single thing, but we can make a difference and find some peace if we are content with doing just one noble thing.

Thank you, Lemony Snicket.

Posted in Dream Masters, Spring 2016

Earth’s Last Defense

Earth

Crawling from the water, with each touch Ghostie felt them dying in the dirt beneath her hands. A landslide from the mountain buried a metropolis. The city had sat between the sea to the rising sun and an ancient mountain to the setting. Now it was a mass grave. Not hundreds, nor thousands but millions choked and suffocated, crushed in their beds, this predawn morning at the tail end of the Fire Rooster, when the westerners had already celebrated a new year but the Earth Dog had yet to bark.

Crawl

 

 

Amidst the dying another voice spoke clear.

This is justice at long last for so many wrongs you’ve done.

It was Earth herself who spoke to the girl, and Ghostie knew its truth. The girl had heard and listened well to Earths cries all her youth. Oil spills and deforestation, strip mining and pollution made humans the pest. The infestation to be destroyed that was Earth’s opinion of mankind.

BuriedAlive

 

 

Standing slowly, Ghostie rose and heard other voices too. The mountain cried for broken hearts that bled upon it’s sides, what an evil race the humans are to hurt each other so that thousands choose to end it all of their own free will. After quaking, breaking the land to sink the city and shaking the landslide down to bury it, the mountain burned and spewed volcanic gas to poison all around. 

Volcano

 

 

She could feel the sunrise still a few hours away as the tide rushed in. Wondering what she was to do, she asked “Is there nothing that can stop this fate?”

These millions must die to save billions later.

CityVolcano

 

 

A long time Ghostie argued and wondered, could the deaths of these millions change the world enough to save billions later?

Maybe. If they learn to respect Earth and comfort lonely souls, the mountain will be quiet and Earth keep her cool. Right now she is hot, too hot, ready to blow, and with the mountain willing, all these people must go. For Earth must heal herself and the mountain too. When the blowing winds take this ash around the world, it will remind humans they are not the only ones who can start a nuclear winter.

PoisonEarth

Posted in Spring 2016

Locked

Locked

Locked and lost for many years

Beyond count are my tears

Because of threats feeding fears

 

How sad this is repeated

when courage was greeted

they only like me defeated

 

For many years locked and lost

I must try at all cost

and melt this lock like a frost

 

Not today sorry truly

my mother is my duty

next day, I’ll write a beauty

Posted in Spring 2016, Uncategorized

Lost People

Fog

She said it was foggy the night they met. She said that she was attracted to him from that first meeting. When he left and was gone for a year, she missed him everyday. Nobody else had made her feel that way.

I thought it was appropriate they met in the fog. He had so many secrets. I thought it was strange to hear her speak sentimentally. She was coldly scientific, normally. It was strange to think they had ever connected. They seemed like total opposites to me.

But I only knew them after the worst. To have a child kill themselves, what parent wouldn’t be changed? I only knew them after, my mom and dad. I will always wonder who they were before, when they met in the fog.

Posted in Spring 2016, Uncategorized

How to Fake Courage

Fake

It was my favorite of Grandpa’s stories, how he faced a charging bull. It is also the story I have found the most valuable. He was quite matter of fact about it. He was visiting a farm with a group of fellow agriculture students, when an angry bull charged him. He said the other students all made such a big deal of how he faced the bull without flinching. To him it was a simple matter of common sense. He knew if he moved, the bull would kill him, so he stood still, faced the bull and walked away unharmed. It had nothing to do with courage he said, it was just common sense.

In my own life I have found again and again that the moments when other people thought I was the most brave, those were the moments when I was most afraid. Those were the moments when I was most certain that if I flinched I would lose everything. Whenever I get complemented on it, I think of my Grandpa and the bull. Was it fake courage that saved him? Can you really fake courage?

Once when I went to observe an autistic classroom, that someone had suggested my son join, I witnessed the worst . . . management I had yet witnessed. To the untrained it might have looked okay, but I was trained and experienced. I knew exactly what they were dong wrong, ignoring good behavior, rewarding bad behavior, showing obvious frustration if the students didn’t understand. And the students definitely didn’t understand. Worst of all they punished those who  tried hardest and got frustrated, by threatening to take away recess time.

My heart felt for the poor untrained teacher and aides trying so hard to put on a good “show.” But not enough to forgive them for physically dragging one boy out from under a table where he had gone to hide in pain after being punished for not understanding. He had genuinely tried to comply with the wishes of the teacher and aides but clearly couldn’t understand what the concept of rhyming was. Again and again he tried to give them the “right” answer, repeating their example answers not understanding why they wouldn’t just tell him the answer. Meanwhile the class Bully, yelled, kicked and hit things randomly to terrify his fellow students. Even after he had been put in a “kindergarten chair” (a seat similar to a large high chair where children are strapped in with a tray across the front) he continued to act out, the bully was still able to move himself, chair and all, making even more noise as he kicked and bounced aggressively at teacher, aides and the other students, especially the one who had tried to hide under the table to cry.

Even if the other boys had known what rhyming was, I can not imagine how any autistic child would be able to concentrate with such a disruption. Normal children would not have been able to ignore it. Eventually they had no choice but to take the Bully from the room and take him for a walk (obviously what he had wanted all along.) But oh my! He had jiggled the screws of the chair so that they couldn’t get him out for several minutes. It boggled my mind, the class and teachers had gone from using questionable and controversial techniques (kindergarten chairs and physically dragging a student) to outright safety violations (having a person strapped in to something they could not be quickly removed from in case of fire.) This was the best classroom they could offer my son?

Once freed, the Bully raced around the class room, grinning, yelling wildly, knocking things to the floor and making every single person in the room flinch. Everyone but me, when we locked eyes, he saw no fear. For a split second he stopped rampaging, stepped back and just stood there surprised by my calm, then he took the had of a shaken aide and left.

My guide, the School District’s Autistic Advisor was trembling. I said nothing. There were too many things wrong for me to even begin to know what to say. Besides I would feel I was a hypocrite to suggest that I knew what was best for other people’s children. All I wanted was to have my right, to raise my children as I felt was best, respected. In return I have to respect other parents rights.

Still the moment of meeting eyes with the Bully stayed with me. All the teacher’s and aides were trying to fake courage and failing. I think that with the District Advisor there, they were afraid for their jobs as well as the Bully.  As for the boy, I couldn’t blame him for being the way he was. He acted out, he got rewarded for it. People were afraid of him, so he gave them reason to fear.

Would it help them to know the story of my Grandpa and the bull? Or what about those famous words of Franklin Roosevelt, “the only thing we have to fear is fear itself.” That was when I realized you can’t fake courage, without wisdom. When the boy looked at me I honestly didn’t care if he attacked me, to me he was just a raging bull, acting on instinct. Not only was I far too shocked by the behavior of the adults in the classroom to bother feeling anything personal about him, but also because I’d faced a raging bull many times before, in the form of my moderately autistic son, and I’d learned never react to bad behavior like it’s anything more serious than falling rain. When rain falls you don’t stand there and yell at clouds, you go inside. And always reward good behavior even if all you can give is a smile. It can make all the difference.

It was my knowledge and acceptance of human behavior that made me appear brave, just as it was my Grandfather’s knowledge and acceptance of animal behavior that saved him. That is how you fake courage, with knowledge and acceptance.

Posted in Gratitude, Spring 2016, writing

Dancing With Skeletons

Closet

Last week I opened my closet and found an old forgotten suitcase,

opening it a little disaster hit me in my face.

Like opening any forgotten object left to rust,

at first it was hard to breath through the smell of dust.

It’s strange how such things, closets and suitcases, open and close with a “snap!”

yet change our lives permanently like a bear trap.

With truth hidden away, none can see the whole picture

like seeing only headlines in a newspaper, rumor and lies taint the mixture.

The misplaced anger and accusations make me question,

“What was the matter with me thinking the past I could mention?”

If only I could pretend I couldn’t hear

all my skeletons whispering there.

It is a tempting way to waste my time

pretending I have a different life in a different world far faraway from mine.

In an old folder pages and pages of my handwriting

remind me of the escape that didn’t change things.

To grow and share like a green giving tree is my mission

but I am fettered by darkness and superstition.

It’s a tricky challenge, on my own to stay,

to face the dark and sweep cobwebs away,

without damaging the delicate and innocent.

That is definitely not what I meant.

 

I want to cross that street,

with my words we can meet.

Then we may unveil the contrast between

what we say and what we mean.

I can feel the truth of it, before I find my voice and sing.

I must open these doors, clean off everything.

Place it in the sunlight shining

and embrace the healing that love, compassion and forgiveness bring.

This is why being a writer is my only choice

without it, I would have no voice.

Thank you wordpress, the daily post and all who read my posts, for giving me a place

to open these closets and dance with my skeletons in a joyous embrace.

As I muddle through trying to cope,

this is the place I nurture hope.

Posted in Spring 2016, Uncategorized

Her True Self

Breath

when doing yoga

she struggled to feel her breath

fully from inside

 

then at a retreat

during some self-hypnosis

she saw a young child

 

who saw colors float

who got lost in touching things

who loved to bounce

 

she started sobbing

with a deafening ringing

sounding in her ears

 

she could barely speak

people overwhelmed her

air tickled her arms

 

she found the bathroom

and looked in the mirror

there she was the child

 

Her true inner self

someone she had forgotten

whom she could not be

 

the fear of death

taught her it was dangerous

to be her true self

 

who saw colors float

who got lost in touching things

who loved to bounce

 

that girl stopped there

donned a protective mask

and forgot herself

 

now in the mirror

she saw herself still alive

eyes drank in the sight

 

then for the first time

in twenty-five lonely years

she felt herself breathe

Posted in Spring 2016

My Own Little Disaster

Disaster

Yesterday I posted a paragraph (only 258 words) on Facebook that I had waited twenty years to tell my nephews and explain why I had to be so distant all these years and how sad I was about that. One of them had read my post “the suitcase didn’t matter” and made a comment about it that took me back to a misunderstanding that I hadn’t been able to explain at the time because they were too young.  It felt really good to finally open up and share my story.

Here is the tree that will not get cut tomorrow, because of my post on Facebook yesterday.

Digital Camera
My backyard

 

Here is the gate I may never use again since this tree will not be cut down tomorrow because of the post I made on Facebook yesterday.

Digital Camera
The gate to my back yard.

 

Here I am today, realizing that the only people who might have helped me cut down that tree, are not going to want to talk to me for months maybe years because they blame me for posting on Facebook.

Carolyn

 

Here are the names of the person or people who misunderstood what I said on Facebook and instead of commenting or asking about the post, decided to harass the only people who might have helped me cut down that tree, but are not going to want to talk to me for months or years because it’s all my fault I posted on Facebook.

Questions

 

Oh well, I guess it does sort of artistically symbolize how I feel right now. Thanks tree :).

Digital Camera

My backyard 2

 

Posted in spirituality, Spring 2016

Snap! He was Dead.

Snap

When did I change from thinking my weird dreams were just dreams and I finally believed they were . . . more? It started April 16, 2007.

I was never so aware of the presence of a protective spirit in my astral dreams than I was in the dream I had that morning.

I knew I was on a college campus. The buildings and trees were very much like my local University. There was something going on beyond the trees. I could feel myself being pulled there but for once I could not go where I was pulled. I was held firmly in place by my guardian spirit.

You can’t go there. Stay where you are.

Frustrated, I looked around, there were lots of people. The people were excited. I tried to look in their minds, why were they excited?

No! again my protector would not allow me to look for the truth.

What am I supposed to do then? I asked.

Help her!

I was turned in the direction of a woman, alive and looking right at me. This threw me off, I was used to helping only the dead and dying but this woman was fine. She was full of life. She ran up to me saying “You have to stop him, we’re down by 30.”

I didn’t get it, it sounded like the score at a game.

“Down by 30”, so what? Were they playing football? No, it was spring time. Soccer?

Don’t question do what you are asked, my spirit guide was in a hurry.

I knew it wasn’t soccer, I knew I was being protected from the truth, but the desperation in the woman’s voice as she kept repeating, “Stop him, we’re down by 30,” could not be ignored.

I closed my eyes and took the image of “him” from her mind. I imagined meeting him at a soccer game, blocking him. I spoke right into his mind.

Stop! I will let you go no further,” I commanded with all my will.

“Snap,” he was dead. It felt like he’d shot himself and me too. I didn’t expect it, since I hadn’t known he was carrying a gun. I was still there inside when he did it. The shock was mind blowing, literally. I could feel shreds of him flow into me.

I was immediately pulled back to the woman. She thanked me as I trembled, shaken. I asked her name, but her words were garbled. I thought she said Catherine something, but my guardian was pulling me away. I didn’t fight, I didn’t feel well. I wanted to retch. I had never felt a person kill themselves while I was inside before. 

I woke up and jumped out of bed trembling all over. The clock read 4am. All morning I wondered both at the line, “down by 30” and the question what happened to him after he killed himself. I knew he couldn’t just disappear. Whenever I asked, the answer came.

All that is left of him lives in you.

Yikes.

Ten o’clock that morning, breaking news interrupted television. The images of the campus, were hauntingly familiar, as they showed injured students climbing out of windows. I was shaken but my logical mind insisted there was not enough proof to be certain they were connected. The next day I grabbed the newspaper as soon it arrived. I had to sit down when I saw his picture, Cho. It was the face from the dream. I was chilled by the feeling he was there with me. Still, the “down by 30” continued to be a mystery. The official death count was 32 (or 33 including himself.)

It wasn’t until I read a more detailed account and realized that if you don’t include the first two killings, which occurred before he went to Norris Hall and don’t include his suicide, then you get 30.

Years later I watched a documentary about it.  A number of people wondered “why did he stop when he did? He still had plenty of ammunition. There were still lots of classrooms full of potential victims. No police had moved in yet to stop him. He just stopped and shot himself.”

It was a long time coming but that was it, the moment when with a second “snap” I had to believe.

Posted in Spring 2016

the Suitcase didn’t matter

Suitcase

She left the suitcase at the bus station the day she left, the day she got away. No locker to put it in she left it in God’s hands. Her ticket was not until the next night but she had to leave early to escape. The night before the woman told her she could not leave, her file had been lost.

I have to go September 1st” she said. “That is when my bus ticket is for.”

You can’t,” she was told. “Not until your file is finished. Tomorrow we will spend all day talking about it if we have to, but you can’t go.”

The file, six months she had spent doing everything they asked. Over and over they asked, would she sue? At first it was easy, she passed clear without a thought, but as the months dragged on and the questions delved deeper, her hostility made it harder and harder to say, “I won’t sue.”

She didn’t sleep that night. She packed. Fortunately nobody in her dorm knew her, none realized she wasn’t supposed to go. They did their best to ignore her noises, curled up trying to sleep in the quadruple bunk army cots, those few short hours they had.

The things in the suitcase didn’t matter really. Freedom was what mattered. To escape Scientology she knew was no small feat.

She spent the day on the beach, reading a “Ghost of Flight 401,” to keep from feeling her hunger pangs. She had less than ten dollars and one more day to make it through before the bus ticket could take her to the safety of her family. She finished the book then searched for a place to sleep for the night. It was scary, she had never been homeless before. All night she listened for voices or foot steps, every moment afraid someone would prod her, tell her to move along or worse.

The sunrise was glorious. Nothing makes a sunrise more beautiful than a night spent scared to death. She brushed off the sand, sneaked into a McDonald’s to wash and grab as many ketchup packets as she dared. Then she headed to Hollywood. She took her time walking up and down, before she picked her movies, tickets were cheap there and she had just enough money for a double feature, small popcorn and drink. She choose “The Secret of My Success” and “The Living Daylights.” With Micheal J. Fox and Timothy Dalton, two of her favorite cute-guy actors, for a few hours she was a teenager again.

That night she returned to the bus station to use her ticket to San Francisco and family. Stopping at the desk she asked at the desk for the suitcase. It was there. The attendant gave her a funny look, but didn’t ask.

For years afterward, nightmares continued, being stuck there, being threatened. She wanted to write about it, to talk about it, but it was frightening. They really think they are right. They think they have the right to do whatever it takes for the common good. That is the thing that makes them so wrong. They have some really great ideas but the Sea Org. is twisted, perverted, tyrannical. They think they should rule the world. She read it. She knows it. It is why she left. After all why else would they ask members to sign a “billion year contract?!?”

That’s why, while she cried outwardly to hear her file was lost, inside she jumped for joy. She knew they’d lost that bogus bond, she’d signed in orange marker on a highway over pass surrounded by three big men and scared they’d toss her over if she didn’t.

Posted in Spring 2016

Men Without Legs

A dusty crossroads somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line, a wagon waited, loaded with pine boxes. The men hovered watching mournfully. No one could see them, looking longingly at the coffins. None could hear them begging to be buried.

Even I could not look long. The Union uniforms tattered trousers ripped to show broken rotted maggot-filled stumps where legs should have been. Though their bodies floated pale and their voices were silent, I could hear the scraps of their minds still crying for their broken wounded lost legs. I could feel their hands claw to get out of concrete tombs. Not yet dead, but left for dead to watch and still alive as hungry worms began eating their legs. They prayed for death but when it came their sanity was long gone.

Was it real? I had never heard of such a thing. Why would they be put in concrete boxes with broken legs? I didn’t want to believe but neither could I turn away. When they saw me, they shuddered. The one thing worse than not being seen was being seen. I couldn’t help it, their stumps were revolting. I could not hide my disgust, nor my pity. They moved away, trying to hide themselves, yet still they lingered in the shadows, desperately longing for those pretty pine boxes.

I closed my eyes. It was no good looking. My gaze hurt. They were dead but could not move on lacking a proper burial. Driven mad before death, they could not feel certain. Were they free yet? Or were they still suffering in those concrete cages? I had to reach them but how to look at them without revulsion?

I prayed, “send someone else. I can’t do this.”

Yes you can,” came a voice. “This is what you were made for.”

. . .

I tryed to disagree, when an image flashed in my mind. It was my son, with a streak of poo across one cheek. That was all I needed.

Opening my eyes, I held on to that moment. The moment I’d hugged my son, not minding the poo, just glad he was alive. I looked at the men, hiding in the shadows and filled my heart with a mother’s love, so happy to see a lost son. Still they didn’t want to come out.

I hid behind a coffin to get closer. They assumed I’d run away. One came out and before he could get away, I grasped his hand. To prove my acceptance I place my other hand on one of his rotted stumps, fully expecting to feel wriggling maggots.

It was magic, the leg healed as soon as my hand touched it. The man’s color changed from pale dusty watercolors to white, he glowed brightly. As his spirit rose and disappeared, a smile played at the corners of his mouth. After that the rest of the men came and passed so fast it was a blur.

That was when I knew they were connected, my real life and my astral life. The one flows into the other. You can not overcome in the spirit world, what you fear in life. I can not fear, germs or maggots, blood or poo, because I know they hide the souls that need me most.