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.

Saturday, November 15, 2014

Honour the depths

Honour the depth
Honouring the depths
May require
Acceptance of things slimy, lumpy and brown
Textures not expected
Colours not embraced
As truth reflects reflection
Not always in best taste.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014


Armoured Alien Observes 
I was once a tougher creature
My thick skin crafted carefully
from discarded carcasses grope-gathered in the dark
sewn by bloody fingers with sinews
torn from my heart

Robes so heavy my shoulders bent
under weight while I groaned straight
then danced to obfuscate my muscles' shaking strain
my locked smile feigning comfort
I could never feel

This rotten, useless armour, worn daily away
Until today I stand raw and naked
ashamed and proud to find my own skin thin,
but adequate
to hold my insides in.

Friday, October 10, 2014

8 Things You Don't Know

The trend is definite and proven - if you've got something to say, put it in a numbered list and you've got readers! 10 things you'd never guess, 12 ways to overcome any problem, 6 steps to happiness, 3 things every expert knows...click, click, click, click.

Unfortunately, most of those articles are trotting out lists they read in a magazine at a doctor's office two years ago, but luckily, they tend to reinforce what people already know. Oh, #3, be kind to myself - I knew that already. Phew. I was smarter than I thought. Thanks, list.

Perhaps today I will double my clicks with the snappy headline of 8 Things You Don't Know. People will be intrigued - what 8 things? Why those 8? People will be compelled - I don't know something? I must rectify this situation! People will be impressed - SHE knows what I don't! I must know what she knows!

Oh, did you actually want the list? Okay, here goes.

8 Things You Don't Know

1) Why you are alive
2) Why Earth exists
3) How love works
4) How hate works
5) Whether Karma is real
6) Why bad things happen to good people
7) Whether the groundhog will see his shadow on Groundhog Day
8) When you will die

Do you feel edified? Me, I'm just as confused as ever.

Monday, October 6, 2014

Lone Wolf

Lone Wolf
I'm impatient with patience.

I was patient. I waited for summer, barely complaining, but now the chill winds are rising and summer barely whispered my name. Did my patience pay off?

I understand that the people around me live with difficulty and fear. I live with difficulty and fear. I agree we need to see each other with honour, compassion and humility, knowing that we can't know how our own spirit would fare in the same body, time and circumstance, and that each of us is doing the best we can with what we have.

At the same time, I'm barely keeping my own head above water. When people beyond my immediate family start grabbing at me like an emotional life jacket, demanding my time and attention on their fears and needs, my survival instinct is swift and precise. I throw them off. Or I don't, and I get pulled under.

It's no way to build relationships.

I need to swim for shore or find debris to ride. If I manage to find a stray lifeboat, of course I'll invite the nearest survivors along with me. But until then, we can only ride the current and help each other in small steps along the way as our paths cross-current-cross.

If community and relationship mean I need to break my stride at the moment it's important I push through to action, maybe I'm more of a lone wolf after all.

Thursday, October 2, 2014

Transition Affirmations


I have one life. Such a cliche to say, but to understand what this means makes most concerns petty.

Transition often involves destruction or disruption. It's rarely comfortable and often we wish it away as fast as possible. In light of the fight or flight, I suggest a few Transition Affirmations.


  • Transition can be a safe place, a chasm between set points, an opening to know myself better. 
  • I can commit this moment of transition to deepening one layer of self-awareness, self-understanding, through my body, spirit, heart, mind and power. 
  • I can use this transition to check my compass, re-evaluate my journey and calibrate my course.
  • This transition is a turning point in my life story.

(pass it on)

Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Curious Creature

Shadow of my True Self
Curious creature enthrusted to life
most complex
conglomeration of cells
and what makes up cells
and what makes up what makes up cells
life in the living

Awareness only the show
The Life of life enacted well below

Played out by giant bumblefool
amassed of countless life-drops
dribbled and duplicated up up up to
and here I be

as decisive as one might expect
from a committee with more members
than there are stars

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Magnetic Yearn (a little poetic post)

Alone in a Crowd (2013)

Magnetic Yearn

I wrote you a poem you will never read.
Every day, I play your song to the trees
and they share it with the breeze in hopes you'll hear.

Woven in my senses, you are in me
In spite of yourself
In spite of myself

My yearn reaches out and far and wide
sniffing your fragrant micro-fragments in the air
here and there, breath's pollen
carried lightly on worn memory and shy imagination's wings


to feed my need into submission
then carry on

(Do you sometimes feel the wind gently stroke a silver sliver of your glow for me?)
(Do you shiver in the moon's light?)

Moonlight Shiver (2014)

Thursday, September 18, 2014

On Earth

On Earth (September, 2014, Chicopee)
I don't really understand why I'm here.

Like, specifically, living in "2014" in a middle class, middle-aged, middle-weight female body standing on the cooling crust of star-spit from Sol where blooms, improbably, Life in abundance at war with its most advanced species, of which I am one. Lost, alone, spinning and rotating on mama's hip with no sign of relevance or Other to lighten the weight of responsibility associated with this singular, rare and unlikely life, entrusted to my confused Spirt's shakey hands.

I look around and I can't help but feel like I'm missing something very important.

(like the moment I know it's a dream, and waken)

(don't pinch me)

*Musical accompaniment from Metric: Help I'm Alive http://grooveshark.com/s/Help+I+m+Alive/4hCmKA?src=5

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

The Last Place

Introspection (2014)

It's always in the last place I look.
(I think not)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

30 Slots

A lifetime only  holds enough space for a limited number of big, important things. Marriage, kids, High School, University, Expertise in an area, important hobby, life-work, commitment to watching every season of a reality show - each undertaking takes up one or more of your "slots." 90% of the opportunities that come your way won't fit.

By the way, if you're diligent and hard-working, energetic and focused, you still only have about 30 slots in a 85-100 year life. If you're over 35, you've probably used or committed at least 2/3 of them already. What will fill the rest? 


Post-writing - in response to DM's asking, "How did you get 30?"

Very roughly - If Malcolm Gladwell is right and it takes 10,000 hours to become world class at something, and that translates to about 10 years when life is considered, then to be just good enough to sell something or be considered serious about it (as opposed to being world class) might take about 1/3 of that, or 3,000 hours or 3 years. If you divide 90 years of life by 3 years, you get 30 slots for 3,000 hours in any given 3 year period. If that makes any sense at all. Anyway, you get the idea ;-)

Tuesday, September 9, 2014

3 Shots About Life

Life in Zoom 
Life in Motion

Life in a Moment

Saturday, September 6, 2014


Every year I think, I should plant a garden. Sometimes I do.

Here's the thing - it's a lot of work to plant a garden. To rouse myself to it, to buy the stuff, do the muddy digging and sweaty labour of preparing the soil, planning the design, planting the plants and seeds - my mind's executive team needs a lot of convincing to approve that particular project. My spirit and body need a lot of convincing to actually engage it.

But this year, I did. And I found it hard. Digging weeds with sweat pouring down into my eyes and bugs buzzing around my fragrant head. After awhile I cut corners. I got sloppy, cutting down weeds willy nilly, raking their seeds back into the soil. I let the design slip, let my estimates replace a good measuring, planted shallow or deep or too close together. But in the end, there was a garden, and it was pretty good. I felt fairly proud. I looked forward to fresh tomatoes. I promised myself I wouldn't let it get overgrown.

When the first weeds popped up, they looked manageable. I thought, I'll pull them tomorrow. Every day I thought that. But I didn't. Soon they were taller than the plants. I vaguely worried that I wouldn't be able to tell plants from weeds soon. But life gets busy and weeding is never the priority. Or I was tired or I was creating or I just didn't feel like it. After awhile, the weeds ecliplsed the plants.

Potential on the Vine (2014)
Then vacation - 2 weeks away and not one thought of that garden. I come back to a garden of weeds. There must be some tomato and cauliflower in there, some cucumbers? But no. The tomato plants can't get enough nutrients to do more than make the tomato - it rots on the vine before ripening, or splits under bird beak or infests with bugs thriving in this amazing ecosystem. Bugs so happy and surprised to find so much ripeness waiting among the weeds.

Sometimes I spy a little red and pluck a small tomato before the bugs and weeds take its life. The fresh life juices fill my mouth and I remember why I wanted a garden. I feel bad that I didn't care for it. I wish I could have its full bounty. I apologize to the plants that I didn't create an environment for them to thrive. I hunt and peck and pick a random tomato every few days. Nothing else survived.

Isn't this like so many business projects, and in fact, like the very social structures we create? We know we want a good garden. It's a big job to convince the executives and get the team assembled and motivated. But we know it's important, so we do it, and we get going, and we plant the garden as best we can with the resources at our disposal, under the glaring sun, in whatever conditions exist. And it's pretty good. We feel fairly proud.

Overgrown (2014)
But then the project is under-funded. We get pulled in other directions. It loses support from the executive focused on the big picture and the workers on the ground who are pushed with other priorities. The weeds crop up, and we see them, but we fool ourselves into thinking it will be manageable, when we get some time to manage them. The next thing we know, the space we created to grow something amazing is completely overgrown with weeds that suck the life out and use up that nourishing fertilizer we bought to propagate their own agendas. It's unmanageable - we'd be better off to clear the whole thing and try again next year than try to salvage it. And when someone suggests a garden next year, we'll think back and remember that it didn't work, last time.

What's the moral of the story? When we plant a garden, any kind, we pick how productive it is by how we prioritize and resource its maintenance. And if no one loves that garden enough, or cares, or believes enough in the outcome, to deal with the weeds every single day, there's not much point in planting it in the first place. Plucking the scarce fruits of an unkept garden investment feels wasteful.

Ripe Not Ready (2014)

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Zen Speaks

Not pretty or edited, in my pj's and I didn't even brush my hair. That's how much I wanted to share this Zen Proverb that I stumbled upon this morning, in answer to a question that's been plaguing me without form.

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Anger is a Natural Reaction

Anger Looms (Hwy 400, 2013)

Anger is a perfectly natural reaction to finding ourselves here on this planet, and seeing what the humans are up to. It's not the only response, yet without it, we will not act with nature in mind,. 

Anger lets us see what we still hate, what we still despise, what we still resent, what we don't love about life. We can engage with Anger, taking away the power it gets by working in secret and telling us lies that only we can hear. We can listen for Anger's truth and honour it, legitimize it, validate Anger's need for its truth to be heard. When we tell her she's bad and unwelcome, she only cries louder. 

We can express Anger, dance with it, roar like the thunderclouds and strike like the lightening. Using our bodies, in safe ways and safe spaces, we can understand our anger through movement, instead of telling it we don't feel it. Anger gets spent instead of pressurized. My full-size punching bag is the best birthday present I ever got. 

After anger comes fatigue. Fatigue we can cuddle, dancing gently with her, letting her rest. And then, we muster Resolve and take the step that is in front of us, with anger validated and fatigue acknowledged. Hopefully out of our hair. They may weigh us down, but that is as it should be in this place of wonders and horrors. They remind us to pay attention to what is going on here. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Fool for You

Hidden in Sight (Alban, Ontario, 2014)

Fool for You

I am such a fool for you
that you will never see me
except by accident, reflected in a side-mirror
after you've already driven by.

I hide mercilessly in plain sight
Peeking around the skirts of what I seem
Afraid the shocking gleam of my longing
might intolerably impose on your good will.

Hold my breath, stifle twitch
try to spare you from all this

Monday, September 1, 2014

The World is Flat: Avoid

Not sure if this can be sized to be readable, but wanted to share.
(Comment or DM if you can't see properly, I'll try posting somewhere else. )

Friday, August 29, 2014


I had to let go of a friendship this week. It's opened me to so many new levels of understanding about myself. I've discovered a few things that are really important when deciding how much to invest in a relationship, and when to move on. I wonder if they might be useful for others to consider?

#1 Compatibility of Core Values
There are certain things so fundamentally true or important for me, that disagreement in those areas ruins my interest in getting to know a person better. It's inevitable that I will clash on these areas. So, if I'm hoping to minimize conflict, the friendships I pursue will be among those who honour my core values, or hold those values themselves. Identifying and understanding my fundamental, core values becomes crucial.

#2 Compatibility of Conflict Style
It's inevitable that any relationship of depth will provide a chance to work through conflict together. There WILL be an argument, about something, sometime. Certain styles of conflict really trigger my animal fight-or-flight. Specifically, passive aggressive ignoring, dismissive/excusing, throwing in irrelevant accusations, bringing up old stuff, and denying the conflict is important enough to deal with. These particular styles drive me CRAZY - they set me off, leaving me too angry to be nice enough to resolve the conflict effectively. If I'm hoping to minimize the stress and negativity of conflict, avoiding people who use these as their primary conflict styles becomes important.

I think I can probably handle a lack of compatibility on core values when our conflict styles mesh well - logic, reason and openness to support each other's needs allows disagreement to resolve into understanding. I think I can probably handle a lack of compatibility on conflict style where core values match up, since conflict will be about things that are not core or fundamental, allowing me to maintain an emotional distance and move through to resolution. But when both core values and conflict style are in opposition, the amount of time and energy required to maintain the friendship may be more than I can spare. It may be more than I choose to spare. The distance to common ground may be further than I am willing to stretch right now. And I might not have the capacity, despite will.

The process of being myself, and investing in relationships and community from that place of "selfness" that will turn off some people while attracting others, this process is hard. And painful. It was easier when I could just be what people expected, and get most people to "like" me by only showing them what they liked. It's harder to admit that aspects of what I am are simply unpalatable to others, and aspects of what they are, are unpalatable to me. There are hurt feelings, maybe anger or resentment. "Unfriending" in real life is not clean or simple.

And, in my quest for balance in my life, there are hard decisions, hard conversations, that depend on my clarity of values. To those values, I cleave. And the people who matter most are right there with me.

I am grateful.

Not my job

People don't like it when I say I'm not nice. Like I'm admitting to murder. It's kind of the same thing, really.

But what I mean is this: I don't see it as my job to make everyone else around me comfortable with what's happening. I'm not comfortable with what's happening. They can damn well be uncomfortable with it, too. Let's be uncomfortable together. To a point. I'd rather be comfortable together, but that's not always possible, and when discomfort and conflict happens, I don't see it as my job to make anyone else safe *(note: except when I'm being paid - when I'm being paid, it is my job, and I've proven very good at it).

I don't see as my job, as a person in conversation with you, to keep you safe. You may be a person uncomfortable with conflicting opinions, preferring the polite cover of niceness to displaying an honest reaction. You may be a person who doesn't like to see honesty displayed with vigor - it feels rude, invasive, threatening. In that case, I imagine we won't talk long or often. I will make you uncomfortable at some point, despite my best efforts.

I don't see as my job, as a person in conflict with you, to keep you safe. I am responsible to choose what I say and control my responses to avoid physical and psychic wounds, but conflict is a messy thing and I am not pleased to find myself in it. I would not choose conflict, so if we are in conflict, it must be important to me, or you must be pushing the point, which I'm irritated by. I will engage to the best of my capacity not to hurt you, but if you become hurtful or disrespectful, I have a sharp blade myself. I can't promise my temper won't make me use it, beyond my best efforts at nice and polite. I can't promise I'll be in control of the anger to keep you feeling safe and appreciated.

And in fact, that's not something I'm even trying for. I'm not trying to be better. I try to stay out of direct conflict (though I'm sometimes a magnet). I engage conversation with people who find me engaging, and leave those who seem intimidated alone. I live out loud for my kids to see and ask me questions, and give them honest answers, giving my family the bulk of my patience and love.

There is so little time, we have no idea.

I don't want to waste it on people who only like my potential, who only want me in the most polite and nicest package I can display. It takes a lot of effort, time and energy to keep that display up, and I've turned that energy inward and funneled it outward through creation. I don't have it to give away for free. I don't even have it to draw on - it's engaged.

Luckily, I don't have to be teacher for every person who needs a lesson. Sometimes, I just need to deliver the message and let them take it in how they do or don't. Sometimes, that's as much as I'm willing to give to someone.

That doesn't give me permission to be mean. I am responsible for at least trying to avoid that. But I'm not very practiced at keeping my passion tamped down, since I don't like conflict - I'm graceless. That's how I am, and that's as good as I'm going to be for awhile. I can't spend my energy feeling ashamed about it. I have lots to do and time is flowing like a river, to the sea...(thank you, Alan Parsons).

We're all here, on this planet in the middle of nowhere, living in a giant socio-economic experiment controlled by Power, while Love tries to shore things up from the bottom. I'm putting my energy where I feel it has the most use, and when it gets diverted into the muddy mires of  polite niceness and my failure to comply, maybe cutting that short with rudeness or a flash of anger is just the ticket to let me move along.

It's hard to be a human body and an eternal spirit and a good person and a good parent and a good student and a good teacher and a good employee and a good citizen and a good everything. I'm in the trenches and I'm not that strong. I'm not that confident. I'm not that good.

Thank god it's not my job to keep you safe.

(musical interlude by They Might Be Giants: Cyclops Rock. feels relevant somehow http://grooveshark.com/s/Cyclops+Rock/2fSZcO?src=5)

Thursday, August 21, 2014

I feel what I feel; I choose what I do

For me, it seems perfectly natural that my body sometimes responds to the billions of factors of life with emotional fear-based responses that feel like what gets diagnosed as anxiety and depression. Just like labour pains don't indicate something is wrong, but instead indicate that the body is working perfectly, so the darkness has its place in healthy emotional experience of life, when it can be kept in balance.

My body sometimes gives me pain, fatigue, depression, anxiety, anger, frustration, a sense of futility. Given the state of world peace and the hands in which power sits, that's not unreasonable. I may look around and see current circumstances in my life that I can blame, but my body would give me these feelings about whatever negative aspects existed for whatever circumstances I was in. That's how it works. Blaming the present masks the real, underlying system - which, remember, is behaving reasonably given the insanely dangerous proposition of being alive as a human on planet earth, alone in the Universe except for the crazy creatures around us.

The darkness can fuel my curiosity, my burning desire to understand how all this works and why it's allowed. It can force words out of me into this blog, alerting other people to ways of seeing the world's systems, ways that they wouldn't have time to develop themselves. It can force me to give my body time to hold itself and grieve its losses and traumas. It can give my meditation depth, letting me process out gunk that doesn't serve me. It can push me to stretch and pump my heart and lungs with movement, or it can drop me into rest so my organs can regenerate.

When the darkness descends, I call it by name. I remind myself that my brain is seeing just one lens, one way, and it's blocked out all the others. That doesn't mean they aren't there. The sky is clear behind those grey clouds between us and space. It's clear but all we see is the rolling grey; all we feel is the thunderstorm. And then it passes. The sky didn't really change, up there. My body's weather doesn't need to be fixed or overcome or even milked for understanding. It can simply be experienced, while I keep my eye on the things that matter most to me and take a step or two each day to serve those things, to the best of my ability.

When I know what matters to me, everything else is the experience of me living my life, serving those things. Minimizing what doesn't serve. Maximizing what does.

If my brain sees futility in my actions, if my brain predicts failure or humiliation, I may find I can't argue against those points, and get depressed. But that doesn't serve what matters to me. What I know in my mind doesn't always translate to emotion, but I can at least acknowledge that it's only one lens, that I have seen other lenses in the past.

I can decide that this lens in front of my eyes does not control my actions. Thoughts and feelings about futility require no action from me. They require inaction. I can sit with them, in inaction, and say, yeah, so? I can let myself feel them, slow myself down, ask what message they have for me. I can spill their story into language or cry their story with song. I can pet them or feed them. I can create works of art with their universal truths.

If I can make the time.

When I don't have time to process, those feelings can feel like an intruder, an unwanted guest demanding and destroying. I can't always give way to the energy. When the kids need me, when a client needs me, when I am committed to an outcome by a certain time. For those times, I rely on my commitments to myself.

It takes practice to find the personal strength, resilience, stick-to-it-iveness to do something even when it feels too hard and totally futile, too small to matter and not good enough. It takes practice to recognize the difference between giving myself care and caretaking myself as a diversion from hard work. It takes discipline to slow my pace so that I can maintain balance and be effective. It takes honesty and vulnerability to set only expectations that I can meet when the world wants to rush and roll. It takes determination to keep my commitments to the critical when the whole world is calling or nothing is calling at all. It takes humility and pride to hand off commitments I just can't make, and even more to hand off the commitments I made and can't keep. So I commit to myself that I will practice these elements of character and live as though they matter, regardless of whether anything matters at all.

I feel what I feel, and I choose what I do.


So what if there's never time? If I'm always committed and I run out of all the stores I'm building of strength of character? What if my character muscles start to give under the strain?

If that happens, my darling me, it's once again time for something to change.

Monday, August 18, 2014

Employable (a start)


By 2089, most people will be unemployable by the Private Sector. Probably much sooner.

Wait, did you think full employment was some sort of immutable law of nature? It's not.

It's not the Transformers' fault. The Private Sector is regulated to serve its primary function of transforming raw materials from the earth into value useful to humans. Inevitably, removing humans from the transformation chain becomes cheaper than employing them.

Full employment was a lucky co-incidence that happened at particular moments in history. Agriculture, War, Socialization, the Industrial Revolution – these shifts needed labour, and humans were the best machines around. Those days are in their final spasms.

Soon, much sooner than we're ready to face, the cracks and fissures of high unemployment will become a gaping chasm, as the Transformers require fewer humans and the population grows. The Transformers just don't need those human machines anymore. They have computers, and robots, and when they do need humans, humans come cheaper in countries with fewer scruples about human rights than Canada.

Not that the Transformers won't need people. They just won't need the Assembly Line people they were using before the computers and robots took over manual labour and repetitive tasks. They don't need humans raised and educated in the social systems we've created. Those humans can rot on the streets, for all the Private Sector is allowed (through regulation) to care.

While all those useless people rot out the foundations of our cities, and cities go bankrupt trying to stave it off, the Transformers will still whine that they can't find good employees. That's because they don't need Assembly Line employees, they need Custom Built employees.

The only people eligible for Private Sector Employment in the future will be those who can do what robots and computers can't do, an arms race the humans are poised to lose. Right now, most of the population can find some form of employment for money. That won't be the case for long. What will we do with all the Assembly Line humans, when all our systems and social norms require hard work in exchange for basic necessities and the dignity of comfort? What will they be doing, and who will pay them to do it?

When the Information Age gives way to the Age of Understanding, humans may begin frantically trying to fix what is broken beyond repair, turn the ship after the crash. If society wants to flourish when full employment is no longer necessary, with happiness almost close enough to grasp, the humans will need another way to earn.

At the same time, if Society wants to continue to sell its human resources to Transformers, it will grow the social, family and education systems that allow custom-built humans to rise into Private Sector employment. Who will pay the humans to re-make their societies to value the work of nurture and care in the fruition of individual potential? Where does this value get tracked and assessed?

Before we ask who will pay, there are more fundamental questions to answer.

At some point, the current technological and global shifts will push the majority of people below the entire capitalist system. Local, barter-based, gang and guild-based economy will operate below the financial consumption economy, allowing the rich to deal primarily among themselves. Instead of having more consumers, there will be fewer consumers with more money, reducing the breadth and depth of innovation to the tastes of those few, from the perspective of their socio-economic bubble.

What is society? Who is part? And what do we deserve as members when our only means of earning our keep is no longer required, on a wide scale? When the transformers don't need very many humans to advance innovation through the capitalist consumption model,  how will people earn their keep? Should they have to?

Perhaps they can earn their keep in a symbiotic system that feeds the Private Sector Transformers with the only resource that we, as society, have left in abundance – Human Resources. Better Human Resources. Custom Built.

The Unemployable (who will increasingly be most people) can focus their understanding on the problems of society, rather than the problems of commerce. They can focus their efforts on creating the systems – education, family, neighbourhood – that support children in becoming Employable Adults, and Adults in being participatory citizens regardless of their employment.

How is that work valued? Currently, at $0.00. So we get what we get. Assembly Line Humans increasingly unemployed and unable to earn the basics or the dignity of comfort. Kids living in stress-filled environments with limited access to their parents, often skating through a system that was never designed to bring their best forward in the first place.

We get what we pay for, and all the Transformers whining about lack of talent – you get what we pay for, too.

Sunday, August 17, 2014


Offering (2014)

I should be able to stand here
close my eyes
and all the truth of the universe will flow through these sliding fingers
onto screen, ready to be seen
and understood.

And still

I stumble over words obscured
meaning less meaning
stranger and stranger repeated into pure sound of musical jibberish
divorced from meaning, like most reason
logically concluded.

I have nothing to say that you haven't heard before
and who has the patience to hear a thing again?

Certainly not me.

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

Goodbye, Mork

Should I be crying?

Why does one celebrity's failure to stay the course on earth affect me so?

People die every day. People engage in cruel, barbarous acts against one another. People slink along the edges of community and drop off into oblivion. Every day.

I didn't know this man. Any connection I felt to him was incidental and one-sided. The way he changed how I looked at grownups. They way his energy leaped and he was admired, the whole time I was shoving my leaping spirit deep because it was not admired. They way he was what he was, out loud, for everyone to see.

Except he wasn't, was he?

He was underground, too.

And I feel like, if our connection had not been incidental and one-sided, maybe he would have made it. He would have known he wasn't alone.

Which is, of course, the most ego-centric response possible.

Should I be crying?

If that bright spirit couldn't see its way to continuing here among the humans, I don't cry for him, I cry for us. For this world and all the blocked and polluted consciousness that is hurtling us towards a cruel, calculated starkness that might not be worth living in, after all. Is that what he saw?

Or did he see nothing at all?

My tears stick in my throat.

Sunday, August 3, 2014

A Nice Death

Sun Sets Daily (May, 2014)

A Nice Death

It could be nice, at the end,
side by side on the porch swing
sipping tea, swapping tales
laughing and sighing and sitting quietly alone

while the sun moves and the clouds move and the sky stays perfectly still

and the moment stays perfectly still
sweet, drippy-ripe now

after each and all and everything
after the bustle we call mine
making our own way
after the hey day and the sunshine
of doing
while we're waiting for
that will come too soon whenever it comes but never soon enough
to thwart the last moment of finally knowing
what we always knew

split-wide heart releases spirit into moment

Split Wide (2014)

Thursday, July 24, 2014

The feminists' mistake

The feminists made a big mistake along the way.

They jumped right into demanding the right to work for money. They could have asked to be paid for the work they were doing already.

Not paid by their husbands, paid by society. Each day I spend with my children, I am contributing an investment into society's future. Whether they are ready to contribute, capable of engaging in the compulsory socio-economic system, depends more on me than any other human.

Further, each hour I spend balancing my family's finances and planning for the future helps keep our social burden low. Every minute I spend keeping a clean kitchen so vermin don't accumulate benefits my neighbours and the planet (providing I use green products). All the countless hours I spend planning and preparing nourishing meals provides society with a healthy set of learners for their barely-adequate education systems, which parents like me prop up with volunteering.

For this, I pay. I pay directly in the difference between our single income and our costs, using investment savings to invest in my ability to do a good job of Managing a Household (instead of in some imaginary retirement). I pay in opportunity costs, the money I'm not making in my profession, which is a substantial loss. I pay for the privilege of doing a job I don't like.

It's not that I don't love my kids, my husband, the moments of joy that sprinkle every day. Those things, I love. But I don't love the rest. The monotonous drudge of doing repetitive labour that results in no long-term creation, but rather, just a churn of the same work again. I don't love being responsible for all the food and nutritional needs of 4 people across all their various tastes and needs, only to be met with groans and pinched noses, or apathy. I don't love doing dishes and laundry in a constant, never-ending churn of wet and dry hands. I don't love the dreaded complaining and fighting that seems to erupt among the children whenever my attention turns away for a few minutes. If this were my job, I would quit.

What we missed, feminists, is that it IS my job. I may not love it, I may pay dearly for the privilege of doing it, I can't quit it, but it is my job. I should damn well be paid to do it. At the very least!

And not by my husband. By Society. By the Government. The work of care, of running a Working Household, benefits society greatly, keeps our social burden low. Doing it well matters to society. Doing it poorly costs society. Society should pay for it to be done well.

We should have asked to be paid. Then asked to be allowed to quit if we wanted.

Now we're stranded in Man's Land where it's cold and harsh and we work twice as hard and get paid half as much when we get paid, which is for only a small portion of the work we do. We're screwed.

But it's not too late. It's not just women's work, anymore. At least not everywhere, for everyone. Men are feeling it, too, now that women have to work because two incomes is what a family is expected to earn, two producers is what a family is expected to provide. All at no cost to society. The cost comes somewhere. It comes from families.

borrowed from http://womeneconomicrights.wordpress.com/
Isn't this whole, big, economic system and governmental orchestration meant to be about helping us all live together in peace, working together to understand the world and improve the overall quality of life for humans? Humans live in family units of various types. These units require maintenance and proper management to allow humans to live together in peace. There is a cost associated with that, and that cost should be born by society as a whole, regardless of who is doing the work.

I wish I could go back in time and convince those early feminists to focus on getting paid before they focused on finding a new job, but what they did, they did in good faith. I can't fault them, exactly. Still, it's time we pay attention to work as a whole - the work of being a human participating fully in the compulsory socio-economic system into which we are born. There is choice, like the choices you get at the hair salon, if you can afford to go to a hair salon. We are born here, and we are expected to stay healthy, be educated, work, live in peace, possibly raise children, contribute to society, grow old gracefully and die, within a defined set of parameters we cannot escape.

The profiteers have convinced government that they don't owe us anything, but they do. They force us to be here with their laws and jails, they force the game on us, and there are minimum overhead costs associated with participation. If we want to live peacefully and have low social burden for most families, families need slack. They need a person with the time to do the job well, without the stress of having to earn in the profiteers' markets. This is the overhead of society. Women were largely doing this work when men were the majority of the profiteers' workforce. Guess who's largely doing this work now? (hint: the more things change, the more they stay the same)

Every company would love to externalize their overhead costs. I'm sure the government has been very happy to operate without the overhead costs of household maintenance. But those costs have been externalized to us, and it prevents us from earning in the profiteers' system, while costing us money every day that we don't. Or, it requires us to participate fully in the profiteers' system, earning and paying others to do the work of our households. Except it's not that simple - there is overhead involved in hiring, managing and paying others, as any company owner will tell you.

A basic income makes a lot of sense from a number of perspectives (see http://biencanada.ca/), but I haven't seen much conversation from the perspective of re-valuing the work of household units, which props up and makes possible all the paid work the profiteers engage. A basic income accounts, somewhat, for the value and costs that are currently hidden in our commerce-heavy GDP. As a society, we fail every day to take proper account of the ROI of all this activity. Accounting for the work of households would be a small but important step to understanding our own systems.

Just a few thoughts to ponder, as I ponder my day...

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Seven Steps

Captured Glow (July, 2014)
Just seven steps from path to depth
Sun flickers strobe lights
Wind rush-rises flexing branch muscles
playing leaf whispers loud in chorus and cacophony
of sound, the only sound
white, like the light
dappling down

Wednesday, July 2, 2014

Head Explodes

Tonight my head explodes with it
No breath can still the tremors
No calming waves of thought bring balm

All the stories lose their meaning
All the meanings lose their luster

Not wine, nor chocolate nor backrubs
Touch the aching dread of certainty
That nothing actually matters

That any feeling that isn't despair only marks my delusion
in indelible ink

The anxiety creeping like ants under the surface
of skin
of sanity
of knowing what I know
what I cling to anyway, knowing:
even delusion is better than this.

(Not a problem to be avoided, this. An experience to be in. Water and air are never still unless they are stagnant. The drops of a wave don't seek balance, they seek flow. Flow is not forever still, "okay," even and clear. Flow is messy and turns you upside down with dirt in your mouth sometimes before rising you on a wave of glory. What is, is, perfect regardless. A blessing and gift to experience in full.)

Thursday, June 26, 2014

Hop, skip, jump

We all want the same thing. We all want Earth to be a full time vacation resort catering just to me. That’s what every single human dreams of. And we could have it. We could have it if we gave it to ourselves. We don’t choose that because dichotomy fails to build consensus.

On the one hand, I believe that humans do not and will not possess the capacity, as a species, to treat each other decently and fairly in a consistent show of good will over time.

On the other hand, I believe that humans possess the potential to develop the capacity to treat each other decently and fairly in a consistent show of good will over time.

When I believe the first, the logical world view for me leads to actions designed to streamline my own experience to take best advantage of all the world can offer me. This is survival mode. What’s the point of caring what happens to people who fail where I succeed? Isn’t it up to them to figure out this world, just like me? Further, I will support subjugation, force and power-based behaviour control structures for people who threaten my success. It's the only way to control the beasts. 

When I believe in humanity's potential, I may still decide I am not responsible for, nor do I care about, its long-term prospects, since I’m only here a short time. What’s it got to do with me, what all this looks like in 95 years? In 300, or 1000? Maybe I think, the trainwreck is inevitable now, might as well enjoy the ride as best I can.

For many, it’s hard to enjoy success built through the widespread misery and exploitation of human souls. Rationalizing that it’s inevitable and not my problem may suffice for some people, for some time. And then, there’s those of us who just can’t leave it alone. Like picking a scab. The world’s insecurity mars the happiness of my otherwise wonderful life.

And so I stubbornly hold space for the belief that humans possess the potential to develop capacity towards peaceful and pleasant co-existence on this planet. There is ample evidence, considering where we’ve been and the long way to go, to support the idea that our species is evolving increased consciousness and capability for peace. Of course, the process is likely to take 200 years or longer. Perhaps I’m optimistic, or maybe I’m a pessimist in disguise.

Why does it matter to me? If all of this is true, I will be dead and never see the fruits of any labours I commit to encouraging peace among my neighbours and the humans of the planet earth. I am a drop in the bucket, a nothing, compared with the vast systems I am forced to learn and manipulate as best I can to thrive. I want to thrive. Giant vacation resort dedicated to me, remember? Why should I care?

Either I feel it, or I don’t. First I have to notice it, to decide whether I will allow that feeling in. Because once it’s in, the sense of responsibility, it settles itself and takes over the operating system. Feel it, or don’t. Every moment we choose. One day at a time.

When I feel responsible, the logical world view for me leads to actions designed to encourage people to behave decently and fairly in a consistent show of good will, at some point in humanity’s distant or not-so-distant future. Like most achievement, the amount of time or energy I put into supporting humanity varies depending on the strength of my belief (conviction), my security (bravery) and capacity (means).

And a step comes naturally next, from there, to hold both truths together – that humanity is capable of peaceful co-existence, and that humanity is not capable of peaceful co-existence. How the latter holds true becomes the work of the former for those who choose to feel their part.

Feel, not think.

And so a hop, skip and a jump to understanding it doesn't really matter, that pursuing what excites my soul serves to awaken those who know me, those who notice me, regardless of whether I owe or I flow. That more people being noticeable, living in uncertainty as truth, can be the key to maintaining this evolutionary path towards peace, despite our burgeoning population’s influence in the other direction. For the first time in history, we can deliberately harness an evolutionary trend. Cool, huh? (but I digress…or not).

And finally, no more input required, no more thinking or defining or deciding. Read the currents, ply the oars, watch for rocks and rapids, enjoy the scenery when I’m not paddling for my life. And sing to the others on this journey. 

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Earth Update #84

(An update from Earth in Spring of 2014 recovered from dataset BL857386)

I've been detaching.

Netflix to make the housework bearable. Flavour to make the housework bearable. So sick of the grind that all I can see is the grind - make food, clean up, make food, clean up, rest, make food, clean up... I barely left the kitchen yesterday, that gorgeous day of sun and fun and holiday. I relegated myself to the duty and my duty done, spent, I went to bed. Is this how I am best spent?

I feel quite sorry for myself. So I indulge my addictions to flavour and tv because those indulgences overlap the housework, give it texture and a way to keep my mind from noticing the repeating monotone drudge. If I can't have a life, at least I can be entertained. The things I'd rather be doing don't overlap with housework. Housework never ends.

At least, I let that premise lead. It's easy to be petulant when you're run-down and short on time.

Today I cut the carrots for the stew. Without the tv for distraction, I boiled the stock, spiced the meat (sorry, chickens). Calm overtook me. I was cutting carrots. I was cutting potatoes. I was mixing stock. I was just doing that. I was in the doing of it. Quiet and stillness around and inside me. I was the doing, and the doing was me. I stepped outside myself and saw this avatar of Cheryl Making Stew. I knew myself one with Essence, with a Knowing that the perceptive instruments of this human machine can't compute. I don't know how long it's been since I felt that way. Weeks. I felt such longing it almost knocked me down. Oh, yeah, that's why I was detaching. No time for this intensity. No energy left over to devote to life's devotion.

So we're back to pace, back to slack. Not enough slack. Too fast a pace. Even without employer, as soon as I touch other humans, I don't set pace. Staying calibrated in this rapid a current takes discipline, energy, and that's not an answer I want. I want slack to feel more comfortable, not demand so high a price. But we get there together, or we don't get there. And I'm tired.

(Even my purpose distracts me from my purpose. The world conspires against clarity, which terrifies the creatures here more than death.)

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Three Minutes

We need more time to do nothing.

Last night, driving home from Kung Fu, the pinks and oranges of sunset glinted in my periphery through the trees. You should stop, myself told myself. You should stop and watch.

But I'm driving, I reasoned. And when I get home, I have to empty the dishwasher, clean the kitchen, make lunches and fold laundry before I can spend time with A and go to bed. There's no time to stop.

Yes there is, myself told myself. Just for a minute. Just for three minutes. What difference will three minutes make?

While she was talking, my body had already turned the car down Beaver Creek Drive where I know there's a good place to stop and see the water. So I said yes, of course.

I pulled over, near the side of the water. I turned off the ignition, silencing the loud music to which I'd been rocking out. It felt like one beat of silence. And then...

the car suddenly filled with a wall of noise - a buzzing, croaking, clacking, singing, calling, solid brick cacophony. Or, another way, an unrelenting ocean of earth's song. I found myself completely and absolutely immersed in sound, filling my ears and nostrils, my lungs and heart and liver and pancreas and kidneys and uterus and all the spaces between the pores of my skin.That sound was me. I was that sound. I walked out on the concrete pier.

Hidden from me, frogs, insects, birds and animals sang loudly to the dusk with my spirit. Flocks of small, dark birds practiced precision aerial maneuvers against the glowing pink-orange sunset, cheered on by geese and warblers below. Fog billowed its smokey effects across the water's surface, as even the clouds joined this earthly celebration. Reflected upon the rippling surface, Sunset smiled a glowing smile of recognition and love to herself. Mosquitoes danced with excitement at the prospect of piercing my fresh flesh.

We humans are not a part of this party. We are not welcome guests. The birds warned each other of my arrival. The little animals scurried away from the harsh sound of my shoes on gravel. Only my stillness allowed them any ease. We have placed ourselves apart from the celebration of life that the rest of the planet is having. More, we have treated all other parts of nature as enemy, now vanquished enemy, devalued and enslaved. No wonder they don't want us around, no matter our intentions.

And yet, in my stillness, they accepted me among them. They did not stop their party for me, and my spirit joined their song to refresh and refuel that essence in my otherwise distracted existence. My heart opened with gratitude.

Three minutes made a difference, after all.

We have established society on top of nature, without regard for nature, even our own human nature. We need time to just be with what is, for our well-being and to begin repairing the rift we have created.