Greetings! So the weekly meditations begin (again) from my site. It feels sooo great to walk back to this place. Sort of feels like I’m a scene in the Alchemist by Paulo Coelho. Actually a quote from the book … Continue reading
“Within the mystery of life there is the infinite darkness of the night sky lit by distant orbs of fire, the cobbled skin of an orange that releases its fragrance to our touch, the unfathomable depths of the eyes of our lover. No creation story, no religious system can fully describe or explain this richness and depth. Mystery is so every-present that no one can know for certain what will happen one hour from now. “
It does not matter whether you have religion or are an agnostic believe in nothing, You can only appreciate (without knowing or understanding) the mysteries of life.”
― Jack Kornfield, After the Ecstasy, the Laundry: How the Heart Grows Wise on the Spiritual Path
Today has been spent in mindful creation, end editing, of old work/new work. Several commissions (art) must be finished, while an extensive amount of editing must also find its way to completion.
As I do this, the wonderful Jack Kornfield plays in the background. His thoughts on life help me walk past the places that get me “stuck.” Sort of how, when skating, you have to move backward a bit in order to move forward.
Skating is the perfect metaphor for today, as we, the folks in my area, are supposed to be covered in tons of ice right now. Also, from what I can gather, we will have an ice-a-geddeon very shortly that will, in less than an hour, render us all powerless and void of our humanity. Well, at least that is what the weather-mongers are saying. Don’t get me wrong, we should all be prepared, but do we have to spend our time being bombarded with the incessant chant of Worry?
Let me move into a new space, as I can get pretty McRanty about cultural -mongering of any kind.
Anyway…let this time and space, these moments where you are sitting here with me in this online holy place, be full of wonder…and no worry.
“A story is a way to say something that can’t be said any other way, and it takes every word in the story to say what the meaning is.” ― Flannery O’Connor “If you find no one to support you … Continue reading
“All things are possible until they are proven impossible.” ― Pearl S. Buck
This is going to sound like one of “those posts.” You know the ones – where someone complains about something that, in their deep soul, other people wish they had. Or, maybe, you will think it is showboating and feather-spreading. But, to be honest, what others think does not define what I write. Just look at my abundance of typos.
“So thoroughly and sincerely are we compelled to live, reverencing our life, and denying the possibility of change. This is the only way, we say; but there are as many ways as there can be drawn radii from one centre.” ― Henry David Thoreau
Also, do not think of this as “Does my Authenticity make my butt look big,” but rather a deep need to express something that has been haunting me for some time.
Early in my life I learned to hide things. Not just trinkets and socks, but parts of myself that the culture didn’t seem to like, or that would garner chastising words.
This goes beyond survivor topics or traumas – those were dealt with in a healthy manner. And, thankfully, there has been great support for those instances and parts of my life. What is difficult, and may seem really hard for you, the reader, to understand, is that part of my Shadow lies in what I’m having a hard time getting out.
So let’s just get on with it, shall we…
In the past week I’ve received several notes about “being able to do so much,” and that there is no way one human could really do “all of that” and get anything else done. My output, in the eyes of these people, was so great that “clearly” I was taking work from someone else and claiming it as my own. And, on top of that, “no one is really that smart enough to know as much as you do.”
One note like that, and I’d just chalk it up to circumstance – odd moon phase maybe – but several notes, from many people, can be a trigger.
For as long as I can remember, there has been someone, or a group of someones, who have felt the need to bully me about my abilities and how my life goes. In school packs of kids would gang up on me and tease me about being the teacher’s pet, or “if you are so smart, how come you draw pictures on your notes.” Once a teacher actually bullied me in class when I wrote a beautiful essay on how being without sight would elucidate the other senses (“Who uses ‘elucidate’ in a paper, children? Apparently Kimberly does”).
In Kindergarten my foot was run over during afternoon pickup. Being in trauma, I sort of peed a bit on our principal. When I finally returned to school, the kids called me “smarty pee pants.” The name was due to missing well over half of my classes for the term, but still being able to pass.
Throughout my entire educational career, these things happened over and over again. ”How can you do well on your standardized tests while also failing your coursework?” Each parent-teacher conference was a time of fear and worry for me. ”If only she would apply herself…”
More teasing; more pain – and you get a person who learns how to hide being intelligent.
And please do not speak to me of MENSA and IQs and how that is where I’ll find others like me. Nope. Tried it. Golden Key, Rhodes Scholar candidate – the whole nine yards – just not for me…any of that.
Part of this is that, thank all that is, the world of information is so vast that one can never learn it all. Even if the brain takes over and forces its outer shell to march into all the libraries, and to read all the books, while also taking all the classes, there is still more to learn. That vast ocean of unknowing is what saves me in uncertain times.
It is in those quiet moments where I can take things apart (as I did as a child), and put them back together in new and interesting ways. And it isn’t just old things, but new things, that come into my researcher’s sight(s).
This is why folks who are around me often get burnt up in my “intensity.” Mention a topic, say, oh, thermonuclear dynamics, and I’ll parrot back information to you in such a rapid manner that you’ll get a little overwhelmed. (paging Rain Man…) Get up a good conversation about Julian of Norwich and I’ll connect her to the mycological work of Paul Stamets.
However…don’t ask me to balance your checkbook, or wear matching clothes, or even understanding politics. All that stuff sort of distills down into a deep recess, or brain wrinkle, and very often doesn’t come out. At age 42 I’ve just now figured out how not to burn up a pan while cooking. If you think that is a joke, ask my dear sweet family how many times I’ve left the oven on…
Yep, that’s me right there – laughing. Totally in my element and feeling just pretty darn okay. A Norse-woman, wearing Native American jewelry, with Hindu prayer beads and a Goddess tattoo. This is also me at peace, laughing and not finding a fault in the world. Mostly this is how my life goes. After some years I’ve let go of that desire to hide my intensities and weirdo nature. Things are good.
But, ever looming in the distance is that which shall not be named. The big mass of stuff in my cranium that wills itself to be who it is – even if the rest of me isn’t so sure.
And now, dear readers, you know a little bit more about my life.
If I may share this with you in a different, less verbose way, I’d do it like this. It is a line from one of my favorite books (although not my *very favorite* book -grin-).
“It’s like the smarter you are, the more things can scare you.” ― Katherine Paterson, Bridge to Terabithia
Now, to answer those who made such bully remarks to me, in private, as bullies often do…
Yes I make all that art. Yes I write all of those words. Yes I hang my clothes on the line and make bread and teach children and…
But know that all of that comes with a lot of failure – more than the average human – and that it causes me lots of problems in life. I am disabled by my intensities and afraid of my intelligence(s) and highly aware of the painful nature of true authenticity.
It is just part of being who I am. When you are not okay with who you are, it can make someone lash out. Know that I’m not upset with anyone – my life is how it is. Your life is how it is. Together we can be friends. Or not. The choice is with you.
So you know, and in case you might need to have it tucked in your medicine bag one day, it is okay to be smart. It is okay to be different. It is okay to be an outlier. In fact, it is just okay to be who you will be.
Just don’t make fun of others because of their authenticity, and do not mistake their abilities/disabilities as a way to gather attention(s). Also, it is not a way for them to show they are somehow better.
With that, I’m outta words and outta time.
Much brain rambling love,
“After nourishment, shelter and companionship, stories are the thing we need most in the world.” ― Philip Pullman “We’re all made of stories. When they finally put us underground, the stories are what will go on. Not forever, perhaps, … Continue reading
“With his mind thus concentrated, purified, & bright, unblemished, free from defects, pliant, malleable, steady, & attained to imperturbability, he directs & inclines it to creating a mind-made body. From this body he creates another body, endowed with form, made … Continue reading
“Don’t put your wand into your back pocket! Better wizards than you have lost buttocks from it!” ― J.K. Rowling, Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix “We just philosophize, complain of boredom, or drink vodka. It’s so clear, … Continue reading
“Dare to live the life you have dreamed for yourself. Go forward and make your dreams come true.” ― Ralph Waldo Emerson
A little known fact about my life is that I’m a professional oneiromancer. That’s one heck of a word, isn’t? Oneiromancer. Sounds like it really means business…oneiromancer. Sort of just rolls off the tongue.
My life has always been full of dreams and dreaming – be they the kind that happen at day-time or night-time.
“Properly speaking, the unconscious is the real psychic; its inner nature is just as unknown to us as the reality of the external world, and it is just as imperfectly reported to us through the data of consciousness as is the external world through the indications of our sensory organs.” ― Sigmund Freud
In college I started keeping a dream journal. It was a scientific endeavor, aimed at better understanding how these mental images work in our life. I read books, studied journals and asked others about their experiences. Over the course of 3 years my time spent studying dreams/dreaming filled pages and pages of notebooks. Later I would throw them all away in a desperate attempt to put the past behind me…but that is a post for another day.
A dear friend came to me one day and said, “So, Dream Lady, let me tell you about this dream I had.” She went into great detail about it, and said it even made her wake up in a sweat. Listening closely, I only wrote down the details that struck me as important. When she was finished, we both paused a moment to let her collect herself after retelling the dream. Looking at my few notes, I proceeded to tell her what the dream felt like to me. How her body movements changed when she spoke of the mental images she saw. Then, without thinking about it, I just started offering an interpretation. When I was done, she began crying, telling me that no one had even understood her on that level. It was a shocking experience for me, as it wasn’t *my* self saying something to her. In fact, all I did was mirror what her own mind was telling her. After that I took a few weeks off of my dream studies. When I picked them up again, no one knew – I was too afraid that someone else would come asking for help.
In April 1997 I had a dream that would change my life. This was one of many that would set a path ahead of me for how my life was to be.
This was the dream. My reactions to the dream will be noted by italics.
In the dream I could see myself laying in my bed. The windows were open and the sky had a very odd glow to it. For some reason my body was not able to move, and my whole being was paralyzed to the bed. At that time I worked very hard to make the dream lucid, as I had a deep fear of not being able to move in my waking life.
There was a deep sound of twigs moving, and I could smell grass and moss. Still trying to move my body, my consciousness became aware that someone else was in the dream. While I was unaware of what, or who, it might be, my mind kept flashing images of trees come to life – walking and moving among humanity.
For just a moment I was able to become lucid. It seemed important to look at a clock, so when I wrote about the experience in my journal it would seem more “scientific.”
More and more the rich smell of earth and musk came flowing through the open windows. It was so overpowering that my mind started to fade out a bit. My body was still not moving, and my heart was racing. Out of the corner of my eye, I could see a tree branch. It seemed more human than regular branches, and it enveloped my entire mind. Just as I was beginning to realize that humans and trees are much alike, a voice came through and said, “I am Green Man and you are have a dream.”
Having studied Green Man for as many years as dreams, he seemed a perfect archetype that could speak to me from my deepest psyche. It was nice to feel comforted by an image that was already familiar to me.
I asked the Green Man why he was here, and why he chose such a dramatic entrance. He smiled and said nothing. For some time we shared space together. His breathing sounded like dry leave in the Fall. Finally I said, “As much fun as it is to sit here with you, I’m unable to move and I’ve got class tomorrow.”
Looking at me with the most intense green eyes I’ve ever seen he said, “You need to move away from this place. We feel that Louisville is the place for you at this time.” His words were such a shock that I woke fully from the dream.
Looking over at my clock again, for research of course, the time was 3:45 a.m. At the time I had no idea that the dream was prophetic. For me it was sort of a good metaphor for moving forward in my life and changing my path.
When the semester ended, and my grades rolled in, there was an “F” listed for a class that I’d dropped. Confirmation was given to me once the class was removed. When I went to complain about the University’s error, they told me several times there was nothing they could do. The grade caused me to lose my funding, and if I wanted to appeal the decision, the “powers that be” would hear my case, but most likely they would not approve it.
The day of my appeal I walked up to the information desk. The woman behind the counter asked me what the nature of my visit was, and I explained to her about my grade, the mistake on the University’s part, and how I really just wanted to finish my education. Looking around to see if anyone was there, she motioned for me to move closer to her. Looking around myself, and seeing no reasons to not listen to her, I leaned in to hear her better. She told me that transferring to another state school would allow my funding to be returned. It was a loophole, she said, that has helped many students in their educational career.
Together we went through the state schools to see which one was the best fit. Each one she listed didn’t quite fit what I needed, and then she said, “Oh, wait, University of Louisville has exactly what you are looking for – you could easily go there.”
The rest is history – and a post for another day.
In total I’ve spent close to thirty years studying dreams and how they work in our life. The past 16 years have been spent in deep clinical studies about how dreams tell us what lies beneath – in regard to mental, physical and spiritual health.
The reason why I chose to share all of this with you today has to do with a dream that came to me last night. In it, the images and scenarios spoke to me of not taking on more than I can handle, following new trails, allowing myself time to move as needed, and to gather healing from plants. The biggest part of the dream, however, was when a banana slug bit my right hand, in a place that has caused me trouble for years, and left a mark with four indentations.
While it may seem like an episode of Supernatural to you, dear reader, for me it is a clear insight of what is now, and of what is to come.
And now, off to work. There are some dreams to work through, some art to make, and some words to be written.
“Don’t let the muggles get you down.” ― J.K. Rowling
“There’s never an easy route to the things that matter.” ― Charles de Lint, The Onion Girl
Let me show you a piece of my world. The photo below was taken by Mark Dierker of Bear Dancer Studios. He is a photographer that I know well (like family), can easily learn from, and he gives very good photography advice and offers helpful critiques.
The amazing part of this photo is what I learned.
To look at the area where the tree is, with the naked eye, you see very few stars. So few, in fact, that Mark didn’t bother to do any time lapse work. It was only after the photos were worked up that he saw, then shared with me, the prolific amount of stars in the sky.
How true is this of life? We only see the surface, never allowing anything else to be seen. Our lives get too wrapped up in things, or people, or who knows what, and what lies beneath walks around unseen. But as we all know, just because it can’t be seen, doesn’t mean that it doesn’t exist.
My husband pointed something out to me last week, which he has said to me before, is that when I try to “fit in” my entire world goes wonky. So wonky, in fact, that it wonks out everyone else around me. Sort of like a chain reaction of Wonk.
“Like many of the kids I write about, I once was a runaway myself—and a few (but not all) of the other writers in the series also come from troubled backgrounds. That early experience influences my fiction, no doubt, but I don’t think it’s necessary to come from such a background in order to write a good Bordertown tale. To me, “running away to Bordertown” is as much a metaphorical act as an actual one. These tales aren’t just for kids who have literally run away from home, but also for every kid, every person, who “runs away” from a difficult or constrictive past to build a different kind of life in some new place. Some of us “run away” to college . . . or we “run away” to a distant city or state . . . or we “run away” from a safe, secure career path to follow our passions or artistic muse. We “run away” from places we don’t belong, or from families we have never fit into. We “run away” to find ourselves, or to find others like ourselves, or to find a place where we finally truly belong. And that kind of “running away from home”—the everyday, metaphorical kind—can be just as hard, lonely, and disorienting as crossing the Nevernever to Bordertown . . . particularly when you’re in your teens, or early twenties, and your resources (both inner and outer) are still limited. I want to tell stories for young people who are making that journey, or contemplating making that journey. Stories in which friendship, community, and art is the “magic” that lights the way.” — Terri Windling
For the past four years I’ve been running away and trying to fit in with the Muggles (the J.K. Rowling definition, not the Louis Armstrong definition *grin*). I did this because my inner, well, Who Knows What, seemed to crave a specific kind of validation. Fitting in, I thought, would make every little thing alright.
But as my dear sweet husband has points out repeatedly, “you make a very bad muggle.”
Learning this very interesting thing about myself, I went to meditation and prayer. In doing so I hopped to find an easy answer, or a path that was going to blow my mind in some way. It was time for a catalyst, baby – with all the trappings of an ancient guru facing Inner Demons (I did that, by the way, but it was sort of anti-climatic).
Instead a dear mentor, and honorary family member repeated what Mister The Husband had said so many times before.
“You make a really bad muggle.”
Now, what I’ve not spoken of in my blog, is how learning this (again) was the diminuendo of my cacophonous, and sometimes trauma produced, past four years. All that “weight of the world” stuff just sort of lifted. Well, that, and it helped that I had a deep and cathartic 12 hour cry fest a week before – and that exactly a week later the deep revelation of Spirit came while sitting at a bonfire. But I digress.
So, um, yeah, the time for trying to fit in has, thankfully, passed. I am so deeply grateful for all the challenges that have popped up in the past four years. As the days go along, I’ll write more about how life cycled through during that time, but just for today I’m going to walk in my own way and not work through the past.
(p.s. See what I did there with the whole “unseen things” and “I’m not a muggle?” From the wise words of Tiffany Aching:
“At such times the universe gets a little closer to us. They are strange times, times of beginnings and endings. Dangerous and powerful. And we feel it even if we don’t know what it is. These times are not necessarily good, and not necessarily bad. In fact, what they are depends on what *we* are.” ― Terry Pratchett, I Shall Wear Midnight)