Friday, 18 October 2019

Parable Finds the Man

It's a rainy autumn afternoon from which for the moment I seek and appreciate the refuge of hearth & home. I'm grateful for my gas fireplace - whatever it might lack with respect to being a "real fireplace" it makes up for in ease and convenience; while providing warmth. Sure there's a place and time for "rolling up one's sleeves," grit, determination - but there's not a thing wrong with the blessing of ease and grace.

On the subject of the former - while eating lunch I was watching an episode of a old T.V. show "The Rifleman" on YouTube. Part nostalgia (watched it when I was a kid) part mindless distraction; it was interesting to consider the divergent values portrayed, I suppose both through the lens of the story which takes place in the 1800's (post American revolution) and the consciousness present at the time of it's filming (the first show apparently aired September 30, 1958 - slightly under a year before I was born) versus life in the 21st century.

It might also be curious to some how I as someone that considers himself an evolving "man" (which to me includes a very comprehensive ongoing evaluation of how I personally define that and/or how important - or not, it is that "man" be a necessary tile in the mosaic of how I go about identifying myself) what could I possible "see" in a late 1950's "shoot 'em up" western??

Oh no question the glorification of the "old west," and many a tired male-stereotype is rehashed ad nauseam. You might guess by the title that the entire financing of the production might as well been bank-rolled by the NRA (I'm not saying it was, nor do I feel compelled to verify one way or the other). Of course throughout there is endless scenarios that unfold which are supposed to delineate when the "right time" to use the rifle was and when it is senseless killing or cold-blooded murder.

The episode I happened to be watching - unfolded the story of a widower and his son buying the property adjacent to the Rifleman (and his son's) "spread" (as the story goes he also lost his wife). The new "neighbour" it turns out is anything but (cantankerous and opening declaring he wants to be "left alone..") The two boys connect out on the open range where the Rifleman's son learns that the other boys mother died while in medical care, they lost their farm in the ensuing circumstances and the father didn't want anything more to do with doctors or people. This of course gives us a little back-story upon which to frame some understanding for his hostile exterior demeanour.

Determined to keep to himself and others to themselves he proceeds to fence of his property with no less "barbed" wire. No sooner does the Rifle begin to try and make a point about how dangerous that wire is to people or livestock when the guys son is thrown from his horse and fall through and upon said fence.

Granted this is like a 30 min. drama show - so no plot-line has time for much sophistication and as I indicated earlier it represents values etc. of a "by-gone" era. But is it all so?

I was struck by the presence of pain and suffering the new neighbour was experiencing. Through this pain he was prepared to deny is son attending public school and to keep the two of them isolated on his property away from everyone. His behaviour was not the only visible appearance of his defences - he was choosing to keep everyone and everything "out" using barbed-wire (a very dangerous strategy which threatened the well-being of those on the one side and he and his son who would be imprisoned ("Protected") inside.

I know that pain & I no of the prison I created with life strategies that did ensure my survival at one place and time - but they most certainly set up a myriad of life limiting factors later in life.

The neighbour's son was seriously injured - still he was adamant there would be no medical intervention. Lucas McCain (the Rifleman) took matters into his own hands (because that's what he pretty much always does) and beat up the father (they scrapped and he was knocked unconscious) and took the son to the doctor. Now I'm not advocating conflict resolution through violence. Over-stepping the decisions and choices of others - and exerted your own will.. Personal space & boundaries count for something. This was a life over limb set of circumstances and maybe sometimes right action doesn't look "text book" perfect, must be implemented expediently and sure as fuck, might not be all P.C.

The father came to the doctor's office with his gun prepared to take his son home - naturally the Rifleman stood ground in between (yes of course, with his rifle). Oh there has been references previous to the "good book" and McCain in his no nonsense way - shared the truth of the loss of his own wife, pointed out they both had only their sons that meant the world to them both and what would be proved if they both shot each other and one or both dies. Then what becomes of the boys?
You are not the only one that has gone through this - and you don't need to keep going through it alone.

Come on, he implores, "be a father to your son!!!!"

The father sees McCains son kneeling at the bedside and realizes he is praying for his son (which brings about the necessary epiphany all within the requisite timeframe of when this would have been a episode aired on T.V. with, commercial interruptions.

Melodrama and social mores that don't represent current day consciousness (though the influence continues to unfold through inter-generational dynamics, trauma etc.) to me there, is still some aspects of what represent a "healthy masculinity" upheld in this old show. For sure there is also a glut of toxic, violence-glorifying, patriarchal, racial, sexist facets of humanity portrayed.

That line "be a father to your son," cut deep within me - it brought tears to my eyes. I don't even know who my actual father is. I was sad to realize I didn't have that un-compromised mentoring and guidance. And now that I'm left to be both father and mother, I'm saying, there are some masculine qualities, that are nothing short of divine, that I need to foster and bring more fully into being (will that be at the expense of the feminine within me? Absolutely not). I am stepping toward being done with any self-talk or implication from outside myself that masculinity is a pathology.

And while we live in a world that is outing the ways in which a hobbled masculinity is limiting life all over the planet and well it needs to  (and that would include that which exists within those that "identify" as gender female) - don't kid yourself for a minute, thinking climbing the corporate ladder as a women, makes behaving in oppressive, demeaning, controlling, power-hungry etc. ways, any different or better (i.e. this is me breaking my shackles of oppression) - if you're abusive and demeaning in the world, then that is who you are in the world, it doesn't matter the gender i.d. There are some no nonsense masculine - get it the fuck done, energies that have their place. (I'm not talking about, at someone else's expense) - I'm talking about, taking action and getting it done. Not to be so driven that one self-destructs and creates collateral damage everywhere along the way. But some decisiveness. some fortitude, some commitment, some personal integrity.

My sense is the more I live from those places within me, the less there would be cause to consider it necessary to surround myself in barbed wire.


R. O'Neill (October 18, 2019)


Sunday, 13 October 2019

Ode to A Lone Wolf



Though now 
Long in the tooth
Years (lifetime)
Spent vying
The solitary
Ribbons
Of pathway
Throughout
This world
Encountering
Darkness
That is
Without
Limit
A void
That echoes
The enticing
Shroud of death
He 
Is not 
Without
Familiarity
With those
That frequent
The villages
Travelling in packs ("community")
He 
Doesn't fear them
Outright
Though
Has been 
Content
To inhabit
Their periphery
He knows
The sting
Of their
Forked tongues
And 
Has learned
Not to take
Refuge
In the masks
With
Their disingenuous
Smiles
He considers
While 
Now 
The autumn
Of his life
Approaches
Whether
Any merit
Exists
To come
In from 
The cold
There 
Have been times
When 
The conviviality
Round the 
Fire
Held
An unheard
Invitation
But 
Was not without
It's 
Hidden snares
Certainly
He needn't
Wonder
Could he
Make it
On his own?
He had
Spent 
Little time
Any
Other way
To join
Would
Never mean
Compromise
Or 
Be banished
From
The collective
There 
Simply
Was no 
Threat
In being
Ushered
Back
Into solitude
However
What of 
Sovereignty
Autonomy
Freedom
How
Would 
They fair?
Now 
This presents
A formidable
Concern
And
A worthy
Question
What
Is worse:
Continue
To walk 
Alone
Or
to live 
Out 
His life
Exiled
Within conformity? 
R. O'Neill (October 13, 2019)

Saturday, 31 August 2019

Grief's Rhapsody



Profound sadness
is
In the house

Who then
Ushered
In 
This guest
To my
Midst?

What
Utter deception
Was 
My frequent
Bed-fellow

That supposed
A relatively
Protracted
Lifetime
Could 
Be
Devoid
Of
It's
Requisite
Grief
And
It's necessary
Observances

Begone
From mine
Heart
I won't
Submit
To Thine
Cleaving

Nothing to see
Here
Shall we
Just 
"Move on.."

Alas
Though
An art form
Was
Made of 
Evasion

Truth is
There
Will be
No negotiation

A heart must 
Break

All that
Has 
Known
The
Kiss of 
"the Reaper"

Requires
It's due
Homage

Before 
It's release

Cast off
Then
What was
What never was
And was never meant 
To be

Stranger awaits
In 
The wings

Before
I die
Entirely

There 
Remains
Chance
To 
Introduce
Myself


R. O'Neill (August 31, 2019)





Boundless Liberty


An
Unknown
Voice

Well-versed
With
Weaving
Along
With 
The right 
&
Perfect
Tonal Mosaic

Instantly
Penetrates
Any
Pretence
of
Shielding
And
Is able
To
Wring
From 
My heart

Forgotten
&
Unbeknownst
Saddness

Ensuring
That
Though
Weep 
From
The abyss
of
Bone 
&
Marrow

I'm
Afforded
To do so

With
The most
Exquisite 
Company


R. O'Neill (August 31, 2019)










Saturday, 24 August 2019

Can I Sing for You?



I love You 
Like 
There is 
No other

I cherish You
Each
Breath
Brings to me
Your sweetness
To my life

You
Are valued
Above all else
Light
Of my life

You are 
A precious gift
Beyond measure
In You
I am
Consumed

For you 
I have
Boundless appreciation

You are 
Considered 
Along with
Each beat
Of my heart

Your voice
Carries
To me
Like a song
On the 
Wind

You are
What makes 
Life
Worth living

I depend
on 
You
To guide me
and
Sustain me

You are
The beginning
And 
End
Of my 
World

And 
The Love 
of
My life

R.O'Neill (August 24, 2019) 

Friday, 23 August 2019

Call for Grace



How deftly
Wielded

With 
Surgical precision
Penetrating
Betrayal
Was
Exacted

Each 
&
Every time

The
Psyche-based
Homeland
Security
System
Was called
Into 
Action

Cleaving
My 
Own Heart
With each
Misguided
Swing

Ancient
Reptilian defences 
Battled hardened
And indiscriminate 
Activated
Again & again
Churning out
Collateral damage
Oblivious 
The war
Is over

No one
Sees
The pain
That generates
Such fury

Though 
The carnage
Is 
Unmistakeable

Whether
Worthy 
Of Grace
or
Not

Never
Would
It find
A more
Suitable
Recipient

R. O'Neill (August 22, 2019)

Tuesday, 20 August 2019

While Trying to Engage the Spiritual Answer (I forgot what the question was)

Thirty-two years ago it was "suggested" that if I wanted to save my life - I might well consider seeking a "spiritual answer" to my dilemma. The time frame no longer is referenced to in any way, shape or form, imply that I have accumulated some sort of seniority since embarking on this quest. If anything it might more accurately demarcate the measure of my progress along with the movement of glaciers (though of course those are now disappearing at such a pace that metaphor may be rendered mute) or the return to our solar system various comets. planetary alignments etc.

I was duly afflicted by addiction. A mighty convincing motivator - though there are sadly vast numbers of those that will effectively evade this motivation and thereby secure their right of passage to the "great beyond..." So what, you might quip - we're all going there sometime anyway." True enough, however, though an addicts exit might be seen at its dramatic and cataclysmic conclusion, b more often than not; that (by then) perhaps merciful passage, has been decades of suffering in the making.

So what of this foray into "spirituality?" Some that find their way upon one of its myriad pathways become so over-zealous with their enthusiasm they believe they now have the answer for everyone else - that clearly need this!! Others believe that only the weak, naive & pitiful need consider such measures.

Well I've been weak, naive and pitiful. If I think about it, probably as recently as a handful of hours ago. So I guess I qualify on that front. I've also thought I now had the answer for everyone else; one doesn't have to look far to see humanity seems to be clambering for answers. I have gained much hope - but alas it's quite likely, I'm not "the hope." Maybe the embracing of my "high horse," was necessary to orchestrate "Pride cometh before the fall...." it has offered me that in various forms over the years - I don't know about anyone else's journey, but mine has involved a great many falls (some of them quite spectacular) - you see the nature of my wounds are such, that I needed a multi-layered suite of armour...... cover story after cover story... I suppose still only the one "persona" but the trauma of those early years & the subsequent shit-kicking I kept giving myself trying to numb the pain from that trauma - and then the need to keep that pain at bay - once I had given up "my better living through chemistry approach to life.........

Seriously I've been peeling that fucking onion for all of that 32+ years and so far all I've found is more fucking onion... Is it any wonder I'm in a stew half the time.... I'm onion to the core!!

Are my problems or my pain exceptional? They are of paramount significance to me - but beyond that no they are not. Oh I wanted them to be - surely I've suffered deeply enough to garner a "get out of jail free card..." or better yet life owes me card - ya, hand me one of those on a the biggest silver platter you can muster. Such is fitting and just, for someone of my entitlement!!!

A wrong-o there "Draper, Mason, O'Neill....." will the real Robert John please stand up!!!!!!

Has my journey in quest of inner peace been exceptional. In many ways for sure it has!! But does that make me special ... I'm afraid not. Wanted it too.... felt shitty enough about myself that I hoped it would get me a brownie point or a couple dozen. But there are those that are infinitely more enlightened than me & they have never left their village. Not that this is a competition, nor is there anything wrong with travel.

But while I'm on the topic of travel.... isn't there a lot of Ado made, of visiting "Sacred sites?" I sure tried to get my share of accolades for having done it... Ya know.... if you got a gastro-intestinal bug .... a sacred site is the nearest toilet!!!!

I mean no disrespect to any group and what they hold sacred ... I tried to raise the point in my book that the realizing of the sacred is such an individual and personally significant connection, which I believe could involve most anything...

I have been blessed to travel to many such places.... Having said that, having not known my ancestral origins most of my life and then learning of my Irish heritage - the whole damn island was sacred to me, including all of its inhabitants, the roads, the pedestrian walk signals, the sights, the sounds, the music the garbage in the street - I was there!! Seeing it, living it, bedazzled and befuddled by it ALL!! (not just the places that are deemed "sacred")

A great deal of what was significant about travel for me was for a good portion of my life I was too afraid and insecure to "travel the world..." over time I was "out there..." catching planes, trains, buses ... walking for miles - getting lost and getting found, having mind-blowing experiences and at times making some dodgy choices and subjecting myself to some harrowing and expensive cause & effects.

I even had some unexplainable "other-worldly" kinds of experience ...... I now realize that: a) these don't make me special; b) that they were "road-signs" - not the territory, nor the destination; c) the greatness of it all, had nothing to do with me, and everything to do with the Creator; d) that it doesn't matter how many "sacred sites" I visit, if after I've left, I still don't realize the sacred temple of my body, heart and soul; and direct due reverence there, and to that which created it, by doing so.

Lest we forget, for some of what are considered "sacred sites," there is conjecture that human sacrifice took place there.... now that might well have been a sacred rite to the "sacrificer," but how did the "sacrificee" feel about it. There are those that believe it honourable to die for what they "believe" in - while for others, life itself is of irrefutable value.

Maybe my spiritual awakening was - "I don't want to die before my time," (certainly not through self-abuse). Anything I've come to know along the way since that turning point - is meaningless, if all I do with it is create more exclusion/divisiveness, pain and suffering in the world.

I was on the fast-track to hell at one time in my life... through Grace I was given another lease on life; where I access, I'm on the slow boat, to enlightenment. Nothing much to get all haughty about - thought God knows I have.. I'm willing to trust, in the infinite patience and compassion of Great Spirit: it must be, given the breadth & depth of putting it to the test, which occur from the likes of me. I've not been a quick study nor always a willing student. I don't know what I know .. what's more, I don't know, what I don't know.

I have no idea how any of it works - all I know is that I was ready to throw it all away those three some decades ago - so everything I've experienced since then must be a gift - how could it be otherwise?


R. O'Neill (August 20, 2019)