Monday, October 17, 2016

Standing in Fear

I stand today in fear. Many days, in fact. I stand in fear, and I take in my surroundings. Feeling ground solid beneath my feet, the energy of life tethering me through the soles of my feet and up through my legs, I review over what I know and what I’ve learned, and the learnings that contradict each other. I try not to look at the vast chasm of what I don’t know, what I haven’t learned, because I will fall in there and waste my energy climbing out.

I breathe. I feel panic tighten the back of my neck, my jaw, my throat, so I breath deeper still, slower still, focused on keeping those pathways open. I feel a roaring behind my eyes, tears threaten; I close my eyes and focus on a point of light in the centre of my forehead. I see the eye of eternity in the shadows of my eyelids.

Closing my eyes becomes opening them to the reality beyond sight; I see the awesome climb before me and I stand, watching, looking for a passage through to the base, some way around. I push possibilities down imaginary paths as far as my imagination can take them, but always the actual climb lies beyond a bramble-patch so thick that I know, in my bones, I no longer have the reserves and energy to make it through and still climb strongly.

I feel afraid. Not because the mountain is unscalable, but because I worry that, if the only way to the base is through brambles, I can't trust myself to make it. My health, my energy, my focus. Mothering, Wife-ing, Friending, Citizening and Household Managing remain demanding commitments. Realistically, I’ve bitten off more than I can chew. The places from which I always took my reserves – my own energy, health, and well-being - are no longer options.

To get me here, my body and I made a deal: my health and energy to pursue what matters, in exchange for taking proper care of her – rest, good food, exercise, joy, love & cuddle time, time in nature, sex, time creating, entertainment. She holds me to it every day, every hour. Not only am I barred from stealing time from myself, but taking care of Me requires more space than it ever has. I have no choice. If I deviate, my body takes me down, with swift and decisive moves for which I have no counter. She simply inflicts whole-body pain and removes my energy - zap. Done. No work for you. Or she catches a virus bug and uses it to slow me down. Often she does both. I don't dare cross her.

Fear doesn’t mean I don’t feel excited, or that I don’t believe in the work, or that I will stop moving forward. If I can’t find a clearer option, I’ll pick a hard bramble-patch and try to break through it. I’ll use what I have and bring what I know, the tools I’ve collected that make sense for the job. Maybe I’ll clear a path to the base of the mountain that others can use, so they can just start there, so they can just start the climb I long to make. I can hope I'll still have the capacity to survive and climb after fighting my way through.

But I can’t help thinking that there is a path I’m missing, a clearer way, and so I  hesitate, I don’t turn my mind and hands to bramble-hacking. I push a certain distance down potential pathways, hoping they will bypass the worst of the blockages. I haven’t found a clear path, yet. Time is almost up.

So I stand, in fear, and take in my surroundings. Next I will decide what to do next, and then next. Right now, I stand.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Muddling Along

Light flows like water

I am muddling along the path I'm on because I frame every day through the question of how to live my happy life when it comes alongside, and at the expense of, other people's lives of suffering. The question of what my integrity calls from me today, in the choices I make, with that in mind.

If I want my happy life for me, I want it for everyone. That is what a desire for peace means to me - not that everyone behave themselves to a set of rules defined and enforced by law so no one gets hurt. For me, peace only comes when every human spirit born to body on Earth feels it has a chance to live a happy life while it's here. A happy life is not one without problems, but one in which a person feels they have access to what they need to deal with problems as they arise. This is sometimes called capacity.

Even if that only happens for humans born long after I am dead, even if I feel like I have so little to contribute to the achievement, my desire for peace filters my world view and the decisions I make. Peace can't be taken as synonymous with "safe" in a world where peace is so lacking. Peace can't be coerced, it must be built together with good will and respect. This species is so far from even beginning to approach its major problems with good will and respect that I foresee generations of struggle ahead. So that is where I start - where the root of the problem and my capacity meet; where the stream and the path run together.

Thursday, June 9, 2016

All my life I was a do-er. I set a goal, made a plan and got things done. 
I paid attention to the details. I got it right the first time through planning. I strove and achieved. I worked the plan and the plan worked for me.
Until I couldn't.
What a blow to an ego built on top-10 performance, Exceeds ratings, trust and bestowed responsibility, first-in-her-class, pay cheques that appreciated my contributions. 
When my health failed with no immediate explanation, suddenly the "goal" of crossing the room to get a cup of water seemed too monumental to plan for. It wasn't, anymore, just a matter of trying harder, working smarter, pushing through and making it happen no matter what. I fought No Matter What, and What won, hands down. 
All my life I had lived by the idea that discipline meant doing more, trying harder, pushing through. I had no idea about the discipline of doing less, reducing expectations, settling into the flow. 
Over the last several years I've come face-to-face with the question of who I am, and what is my value, when I'm not the "do-er." As I've been building my health capacity back, I've had to make more changes than I can list. Some were "doing" - taking up a martial art, meditation, shifting my diet. But most of the important discipline I've built has come from re-defining my idea of discipline. For me, discipline had to become less about doing, and more about allowing. 
Allowing a bit of clutter to gather because my energy is better spent resting. Allowing the dishes to sit in the sink while I sit and "indulge" in meditation or deep thought. Allowing a meeting to unfold without a tight agenda. Allowing process to build naturally from need. Trusting my skills, knowledge and capability to deal with what comes, rather than planning to death (not quite literally, but...). Accepting what comes when it doesn't match my ideal, my preconceived notion. Making goals smaller, more personal, more incremental, and more celebrated. Allowing twice as much time for anything I plan. Accepting that my monetary rewards may need to take new forms. Allowing myself the space to create, to play with my inner child, to re-connect with the forest. Shifting my definitions of "goals" into a curiosity and an openness that rates my "achievement" by how I feel, how my relationships feel, and how much I've honoured my body and spirit's needs. Working with, not against, the Energy of What Is.
What I used to consider lazy, I must redefine as taking care of myself. Where I once considered any activity without a tangible outcome a waste of my time, I learn to value outcomes that were invisible to me; but, it turns out, are the most critical.
It's like overcoming an addiction to motion, to doing, to achieving, to success. It's the hardest thing I've ever faced. Forcing myself to sit instead of do, to stop instead of go, to watch instead of take action - this kind of discipline felt so foreign it was wrong. And yet, over several years, as I grow my strength, my whole world and way of being has shifted.
There is a message here for everyone, but a special message for those who want to "help" during times of grief, illness, and incapacitation. Bustling in and "doing" for the person will only raise their tension. It brings in the old ideas of what is success, what is expected. I might feel they are judging me against standards I no longer hold, and that can cause a relapse of grief, shame and fear - the worst symptoms of my health crisis.  Advice just feels like heaped-on responsibility to live up to someone else's expectations. 
As we move into a new economy where jobs are scarce, we will all be re-evaluating what success means, what matters to us, and how we sell our time, our attention and our capacity. It's tempting to just step up our game, do more, meet expectations by working harder. Some of us have the privilege of healthy bodies that still put up with that kind of treatment. But incapacitation, temporary or permanent, will be a factor in every life at some point. Starting to build the discipline of caring for mind, body and spirit into every day life is a first step to being ready. 
Today my core strength comes from a new, powerful discipline - the discipline of listening to my body, my spirit and my mind, holding strong to my own definitions (or leaving definitions behind), and staying with the accepting I've added even as my health grows, even when I'm feeling well, to keep as balanced as I can on this roiling ocean. 
What is your experience of discipline's role in your life?

Monday, May 2, 2016

Don't Disrupt Me with Creative Disruption!

As change agents in one organization, we often shared a little joke: the best change project is the one no one notices. We were expressing wry frustration that the change projects most celebrated as successful tended to be the ones that resulted in the least actual change - small scope, minimal disruption.

Everyone wants the creative push of creative disruption, but no one actually wants the disruption part. We want to plan, control and analyze away all the risk and take only the upside (by the way, that’s how capitalism got so out-of-touch to begin with). We see any deviation from that as a problem.

I became a little cynical about being asked to bring change that no one would notice in the day-to-day workings. Change is supposed to be noticed - that’s what change is for! To make us notice how we’re doing things now, what we want to keep, add and discard. Change is a chance to stop and pinpoint where resources can be most effective. I believe the most important thing an organization can do is build resilience to deal with the inevitable ways the laws of the quantum universe will muck with our plans just for the fun of seeing us squirm.

Engaged people who care about their jobs can overcome all manner of mis-aligned or just-plain-bad process. Good process, even when followed, can't account for the complexity of the real world. People work best in an environment where they feel safe to be wrong or sometimes weak without recrimination and judgment. That kind of diamond environment is very difficult to create, for real, though everyone will nod and tell you you have it already if you ask them.

I care about organizations that are earnestly engaging the question of how to create more trustworthy environments. Because that is really the key. Trust can only grow in an environment that is worthy of trust. Aligned processes, policies, values and visions. Aligned behaviours, policies, values and visions. Aligned management decisions, values and visions. Regular calibration. Understanding the subtle and systemic rewards and punishments that flow through influence, time and resources. A current running under the flow of work - is it a cross-current, or is it pushing you faster?

We don't have to be afraid of the disruption of change when we are working with the energy of what is, when our team is paddling the same direction, and we have the skills and resiliency to work together when things go wrong. In that environment, we can treat challenges as the information they are, rather than emergencies to blame on someone.

The best change project is the one that honours the relationships, values and vision that matter to the people affected, and still achieves the goal. Which may, in the end, be pretty disruptive.

Monday, April 25, 2016

Nature's Lessons: Constriction or Protection

Constriction or Protection (C. Ives, 2016)

Yesterday in the woods, I saw a Trillium curling in on itself, growing through dead leaves. At first I thought the leaves were impeding its growth, choking it off, and that I would be helping the flower if I removed them. But removing one taught me my error. Inside, the flower was still wet and tender, and I'd exposed it like ripping off a bandaid. The next few days will be cold. I felt sorry. I apologized to the little flower and hoped it would be strong. Then I looked around, really looked, and it dawned on me that growing through leaves seems as much like a strategy as happenstance.  Many Trilliums were growing through leaves in much the same way.

I realized that the plant's own green, living leaves had wrapped themselves around the flower before it even bloomed. An arrow, they pointed themselves at a dead leaf and grew through it, allowing it to hold them wrapped tightly, protecting the bud through the  crazy up and down weather of early Spring in Ontario.

When the flower is strong enough, it will naturally break off the dry, fragile leaf in its quest for the sun.  When it has the tensile strength, when it feels its bloom pull it up, up, up towards the sun.  For now, until then,  constriction keeps it safe. What seemed like a burden of chance - growing wrapped in on itself, through resistance and weight, seemingly stunted - turns out to be a fair strategy for survival.

Now I ask myself to contemplate how this lesson plays out in my parenting, in my business, and in how I live my life.

Monday, March 28, 2016


It's been an interesting weekend seeing how life and work can (and can't) interact effectively. I find I'm more creative when my family is around, but only if they aren't distracting me. When my little girl reads on the sofa while I stretch and think/write, my ideas flow. But when I'm in that flow, it's very hard for me to pivot quickly into the "mommy" role when she suddenly decides she wants my attention on what she's doing or what she needs. I find it physically heavy, painful, to emerge from deep essence to listen to her observation about her book, or help her find a piece of lego. I might grump at her or miss her cues altogether. I don't want that to happen. When I'm with my family, I feel like I need to be always on alert for their needs, so when they're around, I'm reluctant to tap into flow at all, despite how much better flow can be when they are around and present without distracting. 

When I think about why it's so hard for me to turn inspiration into transaction, I realize it's a very similar circular issue. I want the presence and ideas of others, but when others are present, I feel like I need to be on alert for their needs, so I don't tap into essence deeply. It takes my attention. If I give in to that, I lose strength in all the ways I hold myself down, back, small, unthreatening to others. My big, real self might pop out, show herself, bare her teeth or laugh deeply, flash her eyes, and scare all the people away. It's happened. 

Having spent so many years compartmentalizing my scary self from the person who had to interact in the commerce society, it's not surprising that I'm slow and clumsy switching back and forth. It's taken me years of practice to trust my strength enough to go deeply into any current of flow. I wasn't sure I could get back out if I had to, when I had to, in the time expected by the people to whom I was responsible. Even now, I'm not sure how deeply I can dip into essential meaning, and still come back to the way I'm expected to live here. 

The creatures on this planet are so exacting with themselves and each other. That's what survival of the fittest does, and I'm a creature of this place as much as any one else. I'm born to its soil from its goo, formed and reformed, weathered and sheltered by its ruling species; human. This is the work of being a whole person in this place - finding ways to sway and bob with the ebb and flow, while steering the canoe to a destination. 

After all these years, I still feel like a rookie.  

Wednesday, March 9, 2016

“I’m not currently trying to be a nicer person.”

Every day, I squish and squash my giant self into this body, this mind, these behaviours, to be allowed the privilege of feeling a sense of belonging among the humans. For a long time, I lived on the belief that, as long as I could contain myself enough, I would be tolerated by some people out of respect (or even love) for the aspects of me that are actually lovable. For most of my life, I saw self-improvement as a task dedicated to making me more acceptable to everyone else.  

Trying to break that habit seems to cause me to fluctuate rather than balance, which becomes just another not-good-enough to fix. I’m still a selfish, spoiled, ignorant baby as well as a generous, wise, accomplished woman, and if people are around me enough, they will see it all.  If self-improvement is about changing myself to be more acceptable, I still have a long way to go. But I am forced to abandon that path. It made me sick, detached and unhappy. I'm not joking when I say, this is as good as I get for awhile, with the kind of resignation that comes of knowing I only have so much time and energy, and there’s a lot to do. 

Since my self-improvement is now about making me more whole, rather than making other people more comfortable, I’ve decided to focus on 4 primary and interconnected goals right now: staying healthy, staying connected with my family, moving forward my business, and managing my anxiety. While I do my best to be nice, I think maybe I should wear a t-shirt to warn people: 

“Warning: Flawed Human, not currently trying to be a nicer person.”  

I’m about as nice as I’m going to get for awhile, so if my worst scares you and my best doesn’t inspire you enough to overcome it, we probably won’t spend much time together. I wish I could just tell people all of this up front and be done with it. Maybe I should make a flyer and hand it to people like a business card. It could say something like:

Dear new acquaintance:

I’m very pleased to meet you! Before we invest our time in becoming friends or deciding to work together on a project, please be aware of the following 13 conditions:

  1. At some point I’m going to handle a situation badly and you’re going to be pissed with me.
  2. Sometimes I’m going to see things so differently from you that you wonder if we’re on the same planet.
  3. It’s possible that I might say something, at some point, in a way that sets off something uncomfortable in you.
  4. I’m clumsy enough that I might hurt your feelings by accident once in awhile.
  5. I’m lazy about taking care of other people’s needs. I expect them to take care of their own needs.
  6. I believe one can’t enter a fray and expect to be safe. Earth is a big fray.  Safe is an illusion.
  7. I will sometimes express appreciation in ways that you don’t notice, and other times, fail to notice things I should appreciate about you.
  8. I actually like several of my blind spots – they let me stay sane enough to hold it all together (please don't shatter my illusions).
  9. I’ve been known to become impatient and emphatic with surprising speed.
  10. I'm more interested in understanding the next step than judging the current state or worse, the past.
  11. I’m clueless about some things (to offset my genius in others)
  12. I am learning to navigate True North without a compass.
  13. I can’t promise never to let you down, but I can promise it will never be for lack of good will or trying.

Warm Regards,
Your New Acquaintance

What do you think? Print it up? But maybe such a letter is like a Spoiler. Maybe people just have to figure it out for themselves. As I do, about them. That's the work of life in relationship with humans - figuring out how to take care of ourselves and each other with enough slack to find our way in the dark. 

Thursday, February 25, 2016

3 Mistakes we make in thinking about The Present

As a reminder to myself, here are 3 Mistakes we make in thinking about The Present:

1) Mistaking the Present for The Past
We see something in the present that looks and feels like something that happened in the past, and assume the same outcome will occur

2) Mistaking the Present for The Future
We see something in the present and assume that it will continue to behave the same way in the future.

3) Mistaking the Present for The Present
We see something in the present and assume our own experience is the true reality of the situation.

Monday, February 22, 2016

Other People's Ideas

I’m not that interested in other people’s ideas.

Don’t get me wrong. I spent many years fascinated by the many and varied ways that humans become creative creatures on this planet. I worshiped at the altar of other people’s ideas. I ate other people’s ideas for breakfast, lunch and dinner. I made myself out of them.

Eventually, I noticed that other people’s ideas started to sound a lot like the same ideas, put a different way. The time it took to sift through all the ideas that were the same-with-a-twist began to outweigh any benefit I was receiving from continuing to seek in that way.

So I stopped, organically, almost without noticing. I stopped reading blogs, articles and books related to my areas of interest, except for quick bits of research to support a theory or practice. I lost the habit of striving to learn. In the space I accidentally created, I realized: 

I don’t need new ideas. I need to work the ideas I already have.

Contemplate them, practice them, test and try them, over time and in real life, with the limited time and energy available, and see what they mean in light of who I am. I need to figure my own shit out. 

This is true for me, so it could be true for anyone.

The ideas I’ve already taken in could take the rest of my lifetime to work with, to really get them, to get good at combining them, applying them, extending them. What did Gladwell say, 10,000 hours? That’s a lot of hours for the breadth of what I’ve learned already, which is substantial. And never, never, never enough.  

There is a time for other people’s ideas to jump-start my understanding, give context for the extent of human knowledge, share tools that can serve my purpose. Then, there comes a point where my time is better spent assimilating, processing, practicing, combining and trying out my own ideas, the synthesis of all the other people’s ideas I’ve taken in, than in reading one more management book, taking one more certification, or asking one more mentor for advice.

If I know what I’m about – what all that learning means in light of my purpose, or at least a general sense of the nature of that purpose – then I can have the fun of seeing how that combines with other people’s ideas. Then there's a chance to make something that actually is new, or at least bring a twist we haven't seen before. 

Otherwise, what was I learning all those other people's ideas for? 

Saturday, February 20, 2016

Plan, do and review - or not

When we want to do something big, we plan, do and review.

The balance and order of those three activities is the subject of much debate in management literature. According to them, we're doing the wrong thing at the wrong time because we planned too much or too little or the wrong things with the wrong information. And they're right.

That's life in the world, right now. There is no one right way to act, there is no blueprint for success. Conditions shift so fast that today's Best Practice is yesterday's leech cure, and as soon as you're sure the leeches are not going to cure you, a new way to use them comes into style. Chasing the right way, or trying to avoid the wrong ways, can drive you to insanity and, worse, waste your precious time.

The secret every advice-giver knows is this: if what you're doing isn't working, just do something else for awhile and see what happens.

If you're planning everthing to death and failing to act, switch the order:
do, review, plan.

If you're wasting a lot of effort and finding out major issues too late, switch the order:
review, plan, do

If you're in unknown waters and need to experiment, throw caution to the winds: do, review, do, review, do, review, plan (as little as possible).

If you're working in fairly common or known project areas, stick to the tried-and-true order: plan, do, review.

Try it for awhile, and if it isn't working, change it.

But beware: working and not working are often hard to distinguish. Often things get harder, more unpleasant and messier before they get better. Breaking the old to create space for the new. Uncomfortable doesn't mean it's not working. Lack of immediate success doesn't mean it's not working. So stick to what your gut told you was the order to take, until your gut tells you to try something else. And then, follow your gut on that. And see what happens.

There, I just saved you $40k and/or the reading of a dozen Management books.

By the way, we know that a team with bad process and poor planning can still execute when there is high trust. That is, people can come through even when the structures fail, working together with good will. On the other hand, all the good process in the world can't make up for lack of trust on a team - the structures will fail in unexpected and insidious ways. Given that, trust might be a good place to invest next.

Tuesday, February 16, 2016

To Ask or Not to Ask - that is the question

Asking is hard.

The moment we ask, we impose on the other. We make them responsible, to take on the burden of whatever we've asked, or to take on the burden of saying no. There is no way to ask without creating a sense of obligation in the air, forcing another person to make a decision about something that matters to you, not them. How to offset that? No amount of "it's okay if you say no" or "please don't feel obligated" can do it.

And so, we don't ask. We hint. We create inference. We present observations or information, expecting that the implicit ask is there. And when the other person opts for the choice of not answering, we read that as "no." It's a courtesy we do for them, for their convenience, to spare them the responsibility of having to say no, if no is the answer.

Which is better? (hint: better is relative)

Should we strive to make ourselves so independent, our needs so small, that we never bother one another with asks? Is that even possible?

I give my kids 3 pushups for asking me for something they know I'll say no to, given the rules and their own knowledge of what is right. I'm really saying, it's your responsibility, don't burden me with the decision to say no. I stand by it.

Am I teaching something else, too? Am I teaching them not to ask? I hope they can learn the distinction. Because how often do we assume the answer will be no, when there is actually a good chance it's yes? And isn't it good to push the rule, once in awhile, to make sure it's not arbitrary?

Well, not if you piss Mom off in the process :-)

Not if you already know the answer before you ask. But, be sure you really do know, and it's not just insecure assumptions.

I think perhaps the last component comes when I do ask, and force the other to say yes or no. I have to be ready to be as gracious about a No as a Yes. In asking, I create a responsibility to myself to create a safe environment for a no answer, to create the lightest burden possible in the exchange. Getting more skilled at hearing no means more graceful and effective asking.

(When I think about how I've been nagging the Universe with asks, lately, I think I need to do three pushups myself)

Tuesday, October 27, 2015


Cuddle Bunny

I start and end the day with cuddles. It's my lifeline.

The bookends that complete me.

Don't underestimate the strength of the cuddle. They sound all soft and snuggley, but cuddles wield their power elegantly, irresistibly - and suddenly, they are the game changer. Cuddles may now be the most important thing in my life.

We all need our cuddles - it's as basic a need as oxygen. Cuddle deprivation seems a primary, root cause for many of society's worst ills, from sexual violence to gangs to social snubs. Cuddles might do more for this planet than any government program or charity. All humans have an absolute need to feel loved, close and  held. Every single one.

Especially me.

I hold my daughter, so easy with love, as I have never been, so soft and trusting in her cuddles, little arms pulling me closer, soft little fingers tracing love-trails on the back of my hand. I relax against my son's back as he snuggles into love, into me, as his given, his due, the rightness he expects. He sighs his sour boy-breath and it wafts the smell of comfort.

I lay my head on my husband's chest, and now I am the Cuddled One, his fur a reassuring prickle under my cheek, his steady breath reminding me how to breath. His arms the only place in the world I can imagine.

I lie in wonder, reminding myself to soften into their soft, feeling them teach me how to give in, give over, to love. Feeling, physically, psychically, how warm healing flows back and forth between us. Feeling, viscerally, our physical and psychic connection growing, our relationship knitting solid between our pressed and loving bodies, an armor against the not-love in the world.

I start and end the day with cuddles. It's my lifeline.

Sunday, October 11, 2015

Cormorant Fishing

Traditionally, Chinese fishermen used Cormorants for fishing. No bird gives you its fish for love. The fishermen place a ring around the birds' necks, so they can't swallow the whole fish, then reward them with small pieces of fish that they can still swallow.

Not remembering who put the ring there or understanding why, not even knowing there is a ring, the birds learn quickly that the fishermen are their friends, saviors and source of the only food they can eat. They become loyal and obedient servants, using their natural gifts to serve their masters, handing over the fruits of their labours and grateful for the scraps they receive.

Isn't this how Capitalism works on us all?

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

Building a River

I think and feel deeply about the root causes of humanity’s suffering and continued insistence on causing it. I feel compelled to reach out and talk with people working on aspects of those problems, whether or not they have any interest in talking with me. I am building an ongoing model of how Everything fits.

I flit around, calling people and asking them to have lunch, coffee and conversation. Sometimes it’s a store clerk, sometimes a CEO. Not everyone returns my call the first or even the fifth time, but eventually I just try again when they come to the surface for me next. Others will call me out of the blue, suddenly certain I’m the only one who will understand what’s going on for them, and fill in a piece I’ve been puzzling.  

In the wide range of areas in which I feel passionately interested as critical to humanity’s emotional growth, I check in with an eclectic and often random gaggle of people, and try to figure out what they’re up to and whether it’s a productive path.  I live to do this. Each person, one-on-one, is a treasure and I love them while we’re together, with all the shyness and eagerness that brings. Some through their writing, some in person, some just through touch-points on social media or Skype, I keep track of thousands of people over time, and a few dozen at any given time. I wonder what they make of me.

I share my enthusiasm, spark with them on ideas or hurdles. If they seem up to it, I might try to encourage them to take a leap or do something really different and bold. I search my internal database for people working in a similar space, able to provide needed expertise, people who might be interested, and offer to connect. I say goodbye with heartfelt thanks.

And then I tuck away the information in my mind, where it quickly disperses into Knowledge Stream. I feel as though I flow on this water of knowledge as I go through life. I still have to fend off the crows and feel the nasty wind sometimes, but the knowledge flows steadily under me, keeps me afloat. Perhaps one day I will have a River.

Monday, July 20, 2015

You don't know me.

The eye of knowing

I try to tell the people:

I am not who you think I am.

while they smile, unbelieving
until the moment of reveal
when they stand unillusioned,
eyes crying out:

I feel like I don't know you at all.

Monday, July 13, 2015

I am not enough

I'm sure I'm not enough.

I see the super heroes make heroic leaps - that is not me.
I see the winners do whatever it takes - that is not me.
I see the movers and shakers moving and shaking the people and world around them
as I watch from the sidelines, kids in tow, lucky if I remembered the sunscreen.

When they sing, I mumble.
When they soar, I crawl.
When they create their feats of art and science
I muddle through my work of life.

No wonder they don't think much of me.
(or think of me at all)
I am nothing special.

My efforts are largely futile.
My outpourings largely facile.
My creations reveal themselves as only clumsy little things
Burnt offerings of a child who never learned any better.

And so I keep my focus
on reconciling reduced expectations
accepting my willful reframing of Enough
(this blindman's bluff)

Saturday, July 11, 2015


Zen for a moment
Lost for a day
Angst-filled morning, night of pain
Happy love fills the afternoon
Dead of night when fear seeps through
A breath unites them all.

In this place of time and space
Stillness is just another form of movement.


Monday, June 29, 2015


Wield, Reflected

The strangest thing
I was never going to do what I tried to do
what I told myself to do, what they
told me to do
what I thought I should do and agreed I would do
I was never going to do it
until the moment
when I did it
or did not.

All those other times I blamed myself
I should congratulate myself
for knowing the current
holding me in flow
working against my better judgement
with better judgement
knowing more than my conscious mind can know.

Sunday, June 21, 2015

Storm of Musing Truth


I long for the familiar comfort of knowing
that I am safe and loved, eternally,
if only I just follow some simple rules,
laid out in detail and explained for me
by others,
conveniently packaged and branded Right and Good.

It would feel so nice, to sink into those crisp, clean sheets
lie down my little head
with a sigh
knowing I
am loved
which I somehow, sometimes know

To love The Truth unconditionally
means diving in while knowing
I will never know her
watching her reveal herself
with or without my help
regardless of what I see
or don't.

I stand stranded in awe of love for her giant ungraspiness
I run around her, stretching my arms, standing on my toes,
jumping in the air
crouching on the ground
touching as many patches of her enormity as I can reach in this lifetime
hand to skin
texture fleeting time.

She patiently lets me revel in every inch of her
especially the ones I will never see
but only glimpse
quickly, from afar
(but not for me)
(for this is where I am and how I be)

Expansion through Reflection

Saturday, June 13, 2015


Will  you meet me in the place
where corners join
mirror flips
what's known becomes more intricate, involved
speaking  a story of Lovely
impossible to imagine
from just three dimensions

Sunday, June 7, 2015


(poor little blog, I neglect you so)
(as I neglect my soul when she asks to play)

(there's work to do)
(no time today)

Friday, April 17, 2015

And I am Free

My Understanding

Desperate energy spent trying
to make sense of what's happening
to understand
to figure it out
to get things under control

like sparks off socks on bushy carpet
prickle friction poof crack gone.

Instead, I choose another try
my precious energy routed to,
rooted in, Now

holding what's here
feelers testing the flow
giving way to the wild, impossible acceptance
that what's happening makes no sense
there's nothing to understand
It can't be figured out
There is no control. 
And I am free.


Monday, April 6, 2015

Fear is a Loving Protector


The part of me that is afraid is telling me a story that says I can’t handle the pain if pain happens.

I believe that story.

When Fear cries out, I turn to her with my attention. I coo to her, coddle her, tell her everything will be alright. I try to calm her. And, seeing she has my attention, like any bright baby she cries louder. She demands my full-on love. She rises in power and tells me a story that says I cannot get back to Now from here, so I might as well give in. She acts like it’s already happened, and I believe her.

Does she notice that I turn to her only with reluctance and aversion? Does she realize that I am afraid of Fear, that I resent her intrusion on this moment? Yes. She notices. And she resents me for it, because she’s only trying to protect me. 

So she grows her power more. She tells me a story in which she and I are one, where her Fear is my Fear and my attention cannot stay with Now, it must stay with Then, where the Fear was created, so she can continue to exist, so she can stay strong to protect that part of me that I created her to protect.

She ruins everything.

But she’s doing her best.

So, the thing I do with Fear is to be kind and firm.

Fear is like a very loyal dog. She will keep that tender part of me safe, even if it means barking like a maniac at every squirrel that runs by. But she’s forgotten that I’m the human and she’s the dog. She thinks she has to run the pack, and it’s beyond her capabilities. She needs to know that I’m strong now, that I’m ready to lead.

I must be firm. Kind, and Firm. Don’t let her bite me, don’t let her jump and knock me over, don’t let her growl at my friends. Train her with love and kindness to protect appropriately, and otherwise, chill out. When she comes whining for attention at moments I’d rather stay happy, I pet her on the head and tell her firmly to go lie on her blanket quietly.

At first, it was hard to get her to back off. It felt like failing when I had to give her the attention it took to lure her back to her corner, calm her. But over time, the process tightened up, she knew what to expect, I got more confident in my delivery. Now, I tell her to go to her corner and Stay! And she does. Because she trusts me to handle whatever might happen, and to know whether Now is dangerous or wonderful or something in between. And I trust her – because she's not jumping at every little thing, when she raises her hackles, I pay more attention to what’s happening Now.

At first it felt like I was going nowhere, but it didn't matter. That time was going by, and I could either try to train her, or let her rule my life in the false delusion that she is in charge and I am the trained animal. Every day, I try.

There are lots of ways to train our Fear, once we know her for the loving protector she is. 

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Put to Purpose (not to work)

Why is "jobs" our single go-to answer for inequality, poverty and the economy?

Every corporation is mandated by law and incented by the demands of the stock exchange to eliminate jobs as quickly as possible. Make no mistake - the day when it's more expensive to employ humans than buy and maintain robots is practically upon us. What happens when the humans become obsolete as the machinery of economic "value" creation, and all the previous buyers of said Human Resources suddenly dump them, en masse, back onto society's shoulders?

The rules, as of now, stand thus: 

1) People: People are not entitled to anything, born naked into a world that's already been divvied up, they are still required to work their way into basic life-sustenance and to earn dignity through paid employment. Finding and keeping this employment remains the sole responsibility of the person, regardless of how many more people are born into the already-divvied-up world, and regardless of how few jobs remain in the processes of commerce. 

2) Corporations: Corporations are entitled to externalize much of their resource costs to society through subsidies and tax breaks, low wages and cheap natural resources. As long as they pay their taxes, they are permitted to exponentially increase the profits of their shareholders, export the value of resources away from the communities where they originate, and have no responsibility to the people who do the work that makes the value that provides the money. Corporations are not responsible to pay a wage that feeds and houses employees, nor to provide a certain number of people with jobs. Quite the opposite - every system supports shedding jobs and lowering wage costs. 

If we leave the rules the same, when the mass dump comes, our fragile little world of peace starts falling apart. Can't we see the bankrupt, ghost towns in the U.S.? Can't we read a history book or the tea leaves?

Jobs are not the answer. Good paying jobs are not the answer. The answer lies in changing the goal of society from "putting people to work" towards "putting people to purpose." If we accept the idea that not all the humans actually need to work (soon) in order for the economy to keep chugging, and we accept the idea that every human brings a unique perspective and, dare I say, purpose, to this Earth, the goal of society shouldn't be to get every person working for the economy. The goal could be to provide every person with the same chance to pursue their purpose in life. It's not so grandiose as to be a new idea - the entire United States of America was founded on it. They just forgot when they let big money get too big.  

We can start by valuing the time of each human more highly, as a society. Valuing our own time, actually, is a good first step. Valuing our every hour as the priceless and only true commodity, treating our time with reverence, selling only as much as we need to for what we deem "enough." If we can do nothing else, that's a place to start. We can create slack in our own lives, slack that lets our purpose breathe and whisper in our ears.

Maybe it's contagious. 

(don't believe me? read Robert Reich )

Sunday, February 15, 2015

Unions (a "Just Doing My Job" memoire post)

I don't know why this came to me today, but I'll share it. Maybe it will give you something, and give something to me in the sharing.

Early in my career, when I was so green and clueless I had no business talking, I toured facilities across Canada to bring a “face” for head office HR. During a meeting about benefits, an employee asked me, out of the blue,

Why don’t we have a union?

I felt completely blindsided. I had never thought about unions at all. I basically knew what they were, but I’d never worked anywhere that had one. My answer was pretty na├»ve (but I might make the same one today, so maybe not). 

I said, well, unions are meant to stand between the employee and the employer, and the employees pay them for that. So I guess you don’t have a union because you don’t want one.

That’s right, called out another guy. I’ve worked in a union shop. Guys there, it’s all about working the system, not about the work. Here, we don’t make great money but we have benefits, the work’s not too hard, and the big guys take care of us. They bring in business, and let us get the work done. If I want to switch a shift I don’t have some 90 page process I gotta follow.

Well, said a woman, my husband works at a union shop and they make $10 more an hour than I do here, the salary bands are  posted. Four weeks’ vacation after five years.

And no favouritism, called another. Everything’s by seniority.

Seniority? Called a young guy from the back. Yeah, so old guys can sit back and let us do all the work while they get their pick of shifts and twice the pay. At least here, we have a merit pay system.

Whatever, said a disgruntled man. Favouritism’s everywhere, it’s just how it shows up.

I think we’re getting a little off topic, I floundered, completely missing the moment in my panic. Does anyone have questions about the benefits plan?

Then I noticed the manager standing in the doorway. He was pissed. No, he growled, I think it’s time for everyone to get back to work.  The employees scattered.

When we were alone, he closed the door and shook his head.

I don’t know what they’re thinking, sending a fresh-face like you out here. Do you know what a union would do to this place? We give these guys flexibility for their hours, so they can consolidate their shifts and do other things in their lives besides work here. We got a good system, it works for everyone. But business is slow, they’re looking to sell this whole operation or our plant might close. A union run at this point would destroy any chance at a sale. It would get us all tied up in negotiations and contracts and processes and procedures and drag us even further down the toilet.

And you know what, he went on, getting more agitated, they’ve got it good, here. Sure there’s favouritism sometimes, but it’s usually because someone’s doing a better job, not just for no reason. And some guys do get paid more than the housewives taking shifts for pin money or the students just working here til they get through school. Look, these guys have more skin in the game. If this place goes belly up, they lose their jobs, they got families, mortgages, what do those young kids have to worry about but themselves? They’d get another job right away. Some guys have more they gotta do with that money, people counting on them. The whole town gets affected if they can't work. No offense, sweetheart, but you probably make more than most of those guys for pushing paper, just because you’re head office, and you haven’t had time to know shit about life. None of it’s fair. But it’s good here. And if anyone ever asks you why we don’t have a union again, you tell them, because we don’t fucking need one and SHUT. IT. DOWN.

I wondered for a moment if he was going to slap me. He turned abruptly and left the room, slamming the door behind him.

I cried. For about a minute, then I pulled myself together, put on a smile, and headed back out to do my job. 

Friday, February 6, 2015

Bird Brains

Safe vantage

There's a little flock of sparrows that likes to make the backyard rounds looking for food. In winter it's got to be hard, and our neighbourhood's cats don't make it any easier. I wanted to watch these birds a little more closely, so I put out seed. Lots of seed. I put it in the snow-filled garden, where critter-repelling walls will give them a heads-up if any cats want in. I put it in the centre of the yard, where a cat would have to be in the open so they could fly away before its approach. While I can't guarantee their safety, the seed placement is as safe as it's going to get, given that I don't have a bird feeder.

And I put out lots of seed. Half a bag. Enough they could come back, day after day, for weeks, before they'd eat it all. I focused on the seed as an offering, an invitation, and my energy put out a call to lunch.

Then I waited.

It didn't take long to get their attention. First I heard them in the woods, telling each other they might have found something. Then five swooped over to check it out, landing in the trees at the back of the yard, watching that seed like it might tell them a story. But not one bird ate the seed. They took off. This happened several times over a couple of hours. More chattering. More watching.

Mr. Brave
Eventually, one brave soul was nominated from the group. He swooped down, landed close to the seed for a few seconds, and took off into the trees. He did it again, landing a little closer. The third time, he boldly grabbed a seed before taking flight.

Based on his success, another brave bird tried the same thing, in the same way, with the same success. The two brave souls traded back and forth - swoop in, grab a seed, make for the trees. Swoop in, grab a seed, make for the trees. They had perfect timing, one swooping in, the other landing, like a dance. I could almost hear the music of the rhythm of their wings and the wind. Meanwhile, other birds watched from the trees, while most of the flock stayed well away.

After maybe half an hour of this, Mr. Brave decided to land and chow down. The other birds watched, waiting for him to be eaten, waiting for him to be trapped, killed, taken down for his daring. When he seemed safe enough, the second bird landed, not too close to him, and ate. Before long, the dance of two birds had become a slower dance of 12, then 20 birds. The bravest got the most food.

Even so, they were easily spooked. If even one bird went on alert, the entire flock would take off into the trees like lightening. Then another ten or fifteen minutes to forget and feel safe again. Over and over, the flock flirted with the abundance I'd left for them, taking off, coming back, never quite settling, never trusting what they'd found.

For good reason. This world is a dangerous place. It's hard to tell the abundance from the traps. It's hard to settle in and enjoy what's good in this freezing weather where cats prowl and you never know what those crazy humans might decide to do.

Am I not equally skittish?

Our bird brains don't let us trust or enjoy abundance. They want to keep us safe, and alive. But watching while someone else takes the risk isn't how I want to live. Picking at their leftovers and taking off in fear every few minutes uses more energy that I get from the meager seed I score. I think I'll wait till that cat is ready to pounce before I turn from my feast - after all, I can fly!

Wednesday, February 4, 2015

Maverick Musings (a diversion at best from reality)

1971 Maverick (origin of pic unknown)

I don’t believe in Maverick. But he’s real.

He says,
You are an observer, an anthropologist, a judge (too harsh), a helper (too soft),
a being apart from within.

He says,
Do not expect understanding from the humans.

He says,
Do not expect them to recognize you. Me, in you. Do not encourage it.

Maverick says:

You are reality tv for the stars
You are the comic relief of existence
You are the most tender thing in the Universe
You are impossible, improbable and unreal
You are a serious joke.
Your earnestness endears you to Helium and Beryllium
You might yet get the votes.
You could clear some substantial soul debt, if you stick to
if you come through, before you’re through.
(so do.)

Maverick tells me that this moment is such an old replay that I am quaint to think I live in it.

He says these things, not so I will understand them (I don’t) but so I will Know them in my molecules, at the mitochondrian level that actually matters. He doesn't much care what I think. Brains are ridiculously inefficient and slow processors of a bygone technology, anyway. 

Maverick prowls in me always, often at rest but vaguely listening, occasionally interested, sometimes (begrudgingly, unkindly) helpful; once in a while, kind. Always with love, yet rarely loving. 

His patience with me wears thin
while he knows I am perfect and All Is as it Is.
I confound him. I infect him. He resents it. He craves it.

We have a complicated relationship.

He wants to speak but does not want to impose. He mistrusts the humans to hear or understand. He prefers stealth. 

(I prefer wealth.)

He also does not know why we are here.

Maverick understands more than I, but what Is cannot be understood.

He asks for patience. It’s not as easy as I think, he tells me, to shepherd What Is to accommodate Favours of the Possible.  

He may seem magical to me, he sighs, but he is no more magic than I. In some ways more free. In others, more limited. In this corporeal world, I have more access than he does, he claims. But I know for a fact he can blow his breath like the wind changes the direction of the flame, and still he holds back, testing me, waiting for a proof I don’t understand and couldn’t provide if I did.

Maverick feels embarrassed by his attachment to me. He would deny it if he could, if it weren’t Apparent. He punishes me for it, then abates, but never really makes it up to me. He has not always been a good friend. He has not always respected my life as an experience I have a right to. He has not always been kind in his teaching moments.

He left me for a time, fed up, done. Left me for dead, or not much better than, but I rallied and came through. I did what I had to do. I soldiered on with others.  I found ways and means.

Am I to celebrate his return? Am I to submit, now, in ways I didn’t before, because he deigns to rejoin the picture more actively?

He tells me he never left and I tell him I know.

His sorry feels too begrudging to believe, but I don’t really care. Because, how can I deny him?

He is me. 

(choice is the illusion of the naive)

Monday, February 2, 2015

A Perfect Storm

Weather the Storm

It's a perfect storm to test me.

A.'s away. So I start with a handicap - it's just me to be responsible, me to own it all, me to be the parent and everything else, too...

in the week my hormones ride me...

on the day my morning client meeting is really important and the afternoon's meeting is several women at my (currently messy) house...

on the day I'm trying to close a somewhat scary real estate deal and arrange the financing out of thin air...

on the morning they close the school for weather...

and the kids are still in pj's
as I surrender to the day and do each thing that needs doing,
in order,
in order to say,
I'm here.

(breathe. move. be.)

And after all, I should have this one mastered by now. I feel confident going in.

Thursday, January 29, 2015

And Yet


Standing in Is,
While Was
laps around my ankles and
Could Be swirls over my head

and yet...

Saturday, January 24, 2015


My Heavy Heart


Love's gift holds built-in asks
tendrils snake into carefully tended stores
of energy and time
guarded mine.

Love lives on attention, reciprocation
Her hunger-cries pluck sympathy's strings
Her groping need brings vague
suspicious obligation.

No wonder love can seem a threat.

A beast approached with caution
A fire quickly doused
Complication best avoided
Does every gift incur its weight in debt?

How, then, will I ever give

my heavy heart?

Friday, January 23, 2015

Ether (whole)

(As Finished as I)

Will you meet me in the ether?
Can you find me in our dreams?
will our tethered souls remember what it means to love
sight unseen, what resides within
temporarily divided
when stumbling, sleeping, blind, 
we find a moment, still and perfect to be

Sunday, December 14, 2014

Anything's Possible (or, Free Will)

Anything's Possible

I don't need it to be true
or even possible
to choose to live like I believe it

because none of this is possible.
not the stars nor planets nor grass nor cows
not you and me

we are an improbability factor of infinitesimal odds

and, really,

just because I'm standing here

anything is possible.

So I pick what I believe
the stories I follow and those I support
the ones I live every day
what "truth" holds sway for me, where I put my energy
I pick

And that will have to do for "free will"
for now.

Wednesday, December 10, 2014

More Real than Real

I walk this world in hyper-feel
Feet stimulated by hard ground and active gravity
Nose aware of the air, the particulates there
Eyes unbelieving what they see
up-close detail more real than real
Somehow less real than CG

bemused, I allow myself overcome
by vaguely unsettled curiosity
descending like fog to soften details
unfocus reality just enough
to really see
to let me be


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

A Favour (believe it)

I'm not sure anyone understands just how special this is.

This planet of abundant, replicating, now conscious Life moving around freely in three dimensions spinning almost carelessly, slightly off-kilter, around a not-so-big but somehow oh-so-special star-miasma perpetual motion heat emitter.

Or another way, this cooling rock at a random point in all of Isness, the tiniest spec of nothing where lives all known consciousness...but again. Too foo foo. Too abstract despite the absolute concreteness of fact.

That Earth exists, that my consciousness experiences this life, at all, seems unlikely beyond credulity.

This is fucking special.

What's going on here, on this planet, is special. Not just the life - though life is something else! But the consciousness. Awareness at a capability level that can build skyscrapers and housing for everyone. Conscious life with the power and versatility to harness itself towards long-term, large-scale, deliberate strategic activities. Build cities out of materials found only here, on this planet. Build tiny electronics that allow long-distance communication. It's amazing.

The achievement of Earth goes down in Universal History, the Guinness Book of Universal Feats. It rivals much larger nebulas.

My fellow humans, we're so close I can taste it - we are closing in on a general, universal understanding that Life Is Special. That every single life, human and animal, tree and blade of grass, river and mosquito, beats together. That this is the only place in the universe to experience this kind of physical consciousness. That this short time in this fallible body is all the experience any one of us gets.

Where are Humanity's parents? We've been raising ourselves on this island alone, with only our most visible minds to guide us. We're a teenaged species left alone at the house with the car keys, a full liquor cabinet and all the peer pressure of insecurity. But just because we've always acted this way doesn't mean we are not capable of growing, changing, deciding to grow up.

While it's absolutely clear from the evidence of human achievement that this species is capable of assembling itself to good purpose, living in peace and tolerance, with a sense of fair treatment for all, Humanity still receives a failing grade.

Believing we can't change, that the systems of governance will always be increasingly corrupt, that the situation of the common person will always be of no true importance, that work will always require subservience and women will always be judged first by their sex and race differences will always result in bigotry - these beliefs negate any desire to try for something more. They are the whiney, self-absorbed beliefs of a fourteen year old who hates his parents for saying he has to take some responsibility. Holding those beliefs is a betrayal to what is special about life.

So many people deciding that it has to be this way is the reason that it is this way.

I can't look away from the specialness. I can't stop seeing how every single atom of this place rings with absolute uniqueness in the universe. I can't stop wanting to honour life - to take the time to let honour of life seep into the pores of everything I do, every day, all day.

But that time isn't accounted for in how we've set the systems up. The competition game, the game of being first and right and the expert and impressive sets us up to run from the gate and keep a steady pace, like every day is a marathon. The money required to maintain the edge of a middle-class-looking life, at the pay offered, requires a high proportion of our time. The productivity we've decided is needed, to speed the concentration of the wealth at the highest power levels, squeezes the honour out of life. It squeezes the life out of us.

Here's a dream: a society, established and set up to sustainably provide for the dignity of all citizens, honouring each life's talents and contributions in the systems of governance and commerce. Does it sound like a pipedream? You are brainwashed. It didn't always ring like the clanging of a crazy ranter. The idea of setting up society for people, rather than adapting people to a minority's view of society, was once and often thought to be the very role of government and citizen alike. Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness. Wow.

When did we stop believing that humans could be decent and power could be harnessed through just systems?

Can you do me a favour? Can you try to believe it, even just for a few minutes, every day? Believe that humans can be decent, and power can be harnessed through just systems to allow for peaceful co-existence and dignity for all.

I know it sounds grandiose, from the slave-mind they've programmed into us, but I beg you this favour and I rarely ask for much. Try to believe in a future where life is honoured. Even for one minute every day, if that's all you can manage. Suspend your disbelief, or wrestle it to the ground. Do what you must, but please, for a moment each day, believe. Give it 50 years, or 100, or 250, or a thousand, however long you think it could take. And then Believe it's possible for humanity to achieve peace.

Because if we don't believe it, we won't turn the ship at all.

Your Favourite Colour

Monday, November 24, 2014

It hurts to notice (or, The Narrow View)

It hurts to notice.

Jian Ghomeshi. Bill Cosby. Gamergate. I had a longer list in mind but I don't want to name it all. My brain rebels.

It's in the air, out there. All the slights ignored, all the ways it wasn't fair glossed over, all the expectations heaped, all the inclinations stifled, all the costumes donned, all the date rapes accepted, all the harassment tolerated, all the messages mixed for everyone conspiring to silence inconvenient conversations.

We wanted to think we had this problem licked because we all said the right words and outlawed the wrong ones. We wanted to think that wishing made it so. My cohort grew up assured by all around us that equality was our birthright, and that we had it, damn it, even if it didn't feel that way. Look how far we've come, baby. The world is your oyster. You are free and equal.

All the time, our heroes and friends and selves were shoving the dirt under the carpet like bad housewives avoiding judgement.

It's a time for truth to pop the corks. It's a time in society when all the hurt pours out and all the things we didn't notice accidentally on purpose, habitually, suddenly start screaming for attention.

All the betrayal people feel, left and right, up and down, heroes and villains corrupted by power into domination and the messy frustration of dichotomies clashing. All this pain and the only way out is through, for all the people who hold it.

These intertwining threads course through the air we breathe and the streams we watch. They wind themselves around our hearts and tangle up our minds.

I want to hole up in my cave home, look out my narrow window at the forest and pretend there are no houses on either side, that the woods go on forever. I want to stand perfectly still and feel the love in this place. I want to believe this is the world. I want to believe this is how the world could be.

The Narrow View

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Uphill (or, Bad Habits)

Old Habits
(Alban, Ontario, 2014)

Each habit born of need
Enacted thoughtlessly a thousand times needed
a thousand times met
building bridges fortified by each step
drawing pathways in latticework of eventually Me
while other parts overgrow, atrophy

Each habit serves me in its way
Tangle-tied with all the"Good" or "Bad" my brain
believes and desperately tries to relay.
But body has no reason to listen.
She knows the way from there to here.

She knows the way.

How can Good and Bad hold sway in face of Need?
she asks
and my answers sound more like pleading than persuasion
although I know we honour different definitions
of all three words.

Need requires service or expulsion
Or maybe gentle pathways to a new life
A new way of needing
A new way of serving.

Sounds nice.

But in truth, it's uphill all the way.

Monday, November 17, 2014


Dear Universe,

I'm tired. You placed me here on this planet among these creatures, and I have honoured that in my confusion, as they doused my original flame. I've settled for, settled in, settled down in this place and made my peace with obscurity. I've chosen love for what it's worth, and given my heart, body and mind to family.

But I wither. You know I do. My creative spark just an ember, my passions no longer outpouring but dribbling forth when I can squeeze drops from my wrung-dry soul. I long for rest. The work before me lies deep and daunting, demanding and tedious, with few warm comforts glinting amid piles of work and more work in time and less time. The ways I am trained to earn leave me cold - no, worse, they attract me with familiarity, then repulse me with their smell when I try to cuddle up. My time and attention forced one way while my spirit turns her nose in the opposite direction, and my body cries for rest, pushed and pulled, health a carrot dangled but never quite assured.

Who am I to complain from near-perfection? The demands on me are not so much, not like my sisters, tortured and controlled in countries where their personhood is demeaned and denied. Not like my far-flung brothers, forced to brave elements and violence by men with guns and power. Not like my children in the future, inheriting a dying world of chaos and want, impossible problems my parents' generation codified and my generation ignored. Not like those dying from sickness, neglect or violence; not like those imprisoned and humiliated. Not like those who suffer true want, pain and despair.

I am a princess, crying for cake. My suffering is nothing. My fears, my insecurity, my slow-death spirit march is heaven on earth compared with the lives I could have.

Does this not only increase my debt?

I dare whine at you? I dare complain because my "purpose" is demeaned by labour? Because my "creativity" is smothered by drudge? Because my "gifts" lie dormant and frustrated while my body is clothed and fed in shelter and safety and daily embraces of love?

I could be dragged by mobs through the streets. I could be nailed to a cross and left to die (I imagine no miraculous three day revival). I could be tortured, raped and abandoned. I could suffer unspeakable loss that closes my very heart. Do I dare complain? I am ashamed to even want to complain.

And so I say, dear Universe, only that I am tired. And I expect no answer.

With love,
Potential Withered on the Vine

P.S. Though unexpected, an answer wells - what relief from venting a little self-pity.