Tender

Tender

Tuesday, October 27, 2015

Cuddles



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

Balance

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.

Balance

Monday, June 29, 2015

Timing

Wield, Reflected



The strangest thing
how
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



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
anyway.

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
beckoning
(but not for me)
(for this is where I am and how I be)

Expansion through Reflection


Saturday, June 13, 2015

Dimensional


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

Sunday, June 7, 2015

Neglect

(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.


Fearless

Monday, April 6, 2015

Fear is a Loving Protector

Wield


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

Womb


Standing in Is,
While Was
laps around my ankles and
Could Be swirls over my head
Beckoning
Threatening
Enticing
Warning
Promising
nothing

and yet...



Saturday, January 24, 2015

Gift

My Heavy Heart


Gift

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
except 
when stumbling, sleeping, blind, 
we find a moment, still and perfect to be
whole.