Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Self Portrait (Appreciation for a Path to Self-Love)



What I thought
I learned
From 
My adoption
I am
Disposable
Unwanted
Flawed
Illegitimate

What I thought
I learned
From
Attending
Catholic
Private school
As an 
Anglican
Was 
Race and Sectarian
Bullying
Hatred
Intolerance

What I thought
I learned
Picking up
The first drink
At thirteen
Was
All the pain
Went away
For the 
Next fifteen years
Whatever
The question
Drugs/alcohol
Was the answer

What I thought 
I learned
Was 
How to belong
Who I was
How to 
Override 
The abysmal shame

I thought
This was
The nectar 
Of the Gods
The key 
To Life
The answer 
To my prayers

I learned
It was 
The final 
Betrayal
It stripped
Me bare
Of anything 
That remained
That held
Even 
The potential
To be 
Valued

A full life
Review
At 
Twenty eight
Determined
The 
Self-loathing
Self-destructive
Path
Was to
Crescendo
With
Lethal
Certainty

I was
Offered
An alternative
From 
An unknown
Source

What I 
Learned
Was
I don't
Know
What 
I don't know 

Thirty plus years
Seeking
A spiritual 
Answer 

What I 
Have learned
In 
An ebb & flowing
Experience
Is 

There continues
To be:

Intolerance
Hatred
Divisiveness
Bullying
Judgment
Ignorance
Scapegoating
Denial
Vengeance 
Violence
Betrayal
Coercion
Dishonesty
Shaming
Racism
Sexism
Ageism
Exclusion
Delusion
Despair
Disconnection

From 
Within
The holy walls

In contrast
I have known:

Wonder
Ecstacy
Awe
Gratitude
Curiosity
Creativity 
Integrity
Honour
Courage
Intimacy
Authenticity
Leadership
Strength
Inclusion
Compassion
Empathy
Wisdom
Hope
Belonging
Connection

Within
The same
Holy Walls

What 
I learned

I am
Those 
Holy walls
That 
Contains
It all

Was it 
All then
For naught?

When 
All is lost
Of 
An illusory
Love
There 
Remains only
To 
Turn 
And face
My Creator

Look directly
Into 
The eyes 
Of Love

And 
Surrender
My will
And 
My life

My Creator
May you
Now take
All of me
That 
I might
Go forth
In your image
As an expression
Of your 
Love
Beginning 
With me
Directed 
By 
Your Will

Let it 
Be Done

Thank you..


R. O'Neill (Feb 19, 2019)







Thursday, 7 February 2019

Offer of Love



Responsibility
Rather than
Blame
Represents
A more
Effective
Posturing
While
Interacting
With
The past

Something 
Must be
Done
To 
Quieten
The echoing
Voices
of
Condemnation

Should 
They continue
Whilst
Sitting alone
In
A room
From where/whom 
Do you suppose
They 
Must be sourced?

How
Much longer
Will you
Deny yourself
Love
From 
You 
The one
That has
Both 
Yearned
That you
Fill 
The cup 
Lying empty
For 
Your entire life 

And 

Turned face
And refused

No threats
Of eternal damnation
No scorching 
Indictment
No scathing
Criticism
No shame-soaked
Comparison

Will silence
The voices
That haunt you
Day in
Day out
But especially
During
Those waking hours
Denied

Of 

The solace of Solitude

But instead
Exploit
The silence
To amplify 
The abyss

Will you
Continue 
To taunt
Terrorize
Malign
&
Misguide?

What of 
Today?

Will 
You consider
Declaration
of 
Personal Armistice?

Could it be
That 
"The break"
You've
Been pleading for
Has
Always been
Yours to grant?

Love 
Has always
Been the answer?

What has
Love had 
To do with 
Life thus far?

What more
Loving act?
Would
Allow you
The full
Experience
Of the absence 
Of love
So that 
You would
Turn to face
Love
Where 
You are
Then
Instantly embraced
All of you!!!

R. O'Neill (February 07, 2019)


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

What is Left to Trust?



How 
Long
Can 
One
Sustain
The 
Bearing
of
False
Witness
Upon 
Themselves?

Whether
Mirror
or
Stilled
Water
Presented
for
Reflection

Constantly
Creative
Evasion
Required
Lest
Otherwise
To
Reckon
With
the
Eyes
of
The 
Undead

Solace
Sought
In
Another's
Script
Words
Of
Liberation
Their
Recipe
to 
Define
My
Freedom?

Intellectual
Defense
Bastions
Momentarily
Bolstered

While
Soul
Lies
Bereft
In
Exile

Dashed
Upon
the
Rocks
by
a
Tide
of
Desolation
&
Disconnection 

Excruciatingly
Numb
All
Attempts
To
Drown-out
The
Agonizing
Cries
of
an
Abandoned
Heart
Coming 
Up 
Empty

Does 
This
Mark
Victory
In
The
Race 
To 
The 
Bottom?

If
Only
Surrender
Were
Guaranteed...


R. O'Neill (February 05, 2019)


Monday, 28 January 2019

A Heart Near You



How many 
Thousands
of 
Dollars 
and
Miles
Might be
Invested
&
Traversed
In the 
Name
Of
Adventure
and 
Exploration?

Just as readily
With 
Minimal expense
And
No need
for 
Visa, passport nor vaccination
There lies
The boundless
Territory
And 
Terrain
of
Your own
Heart

Perhaps
More exotic
More foreign
Capable 
of 
Offering
Vastly
Diverse
&
Expansive
Experiences

Of course
The two
Need not be
Mutually exclusive

Just the same
Geographical relocation
Can 
Be every bit
An ego feeding 
Proposition
As serve
Any 
Higher good

Turn 
And face
Your heart
Regardless
Where you 
Have located
The rest of yourself

No destination
Will
Quell the pain
Of 
An abandoned heart 

Will
Attentiveness
To 
A heart
Ensure
Unending bliss?

No..
It 
Will though
Lessen
The
Extended pain
of
Disconnection

A heart
Embraced consistently
Will enrich
You
Where you
Are 

R. O'Neill (January 28, 2019)


Friday, 25 January 2019

Bridgit's Rhapsody



The mantle
Of 
A winter tossed
Landscape
Yawns
And reaches
A welcoming
Embrace
Hoping
To 
Collect 

A wisp
Of the warming
breath

A premonition 
of 
Bridgit's 
Spring song

Some of
Gaia's
Earliest
Talisman
of 
A pending debut
Begin
To feature
Upon 
The land
A fragile
Choreography
Still
Proves
Hearty enough
To withstand
The continued
Grasp
Of
Lingering
Climatic Inhospitality

Sleepy eyes
Strain
In the presence
Of 
An encroaching
Return
Of the light

Slumber
Lessing
A dream 
Now more vivid
Lies
Germinating
In 
Previously
Unknown
Place 
In 
Your heart


R. O'Neill (January 25, 2019)


Thursday, 24 January 2019

Pass the Buck...



Mechanized obsession
Producing
A collective self-satisfied
Inhumanity

Those 
Not seen
To be 
Making 
The requisite
Contribution...
An utter
Sacrificial offering
Of their
Soul
To the 
Insatiable maw
Of the GDP
Have fostered 
For themselves
A justifiable
Disdain
Your suffering
The penance 
Deserved
For your
Lack
Of 
Compliance & conformity
The 
Untold suffering
You have
Heaped upon
A righteous society
Is simply
Unforgivable

How 
You 
Continue to 
Consume
The air
And 
Food 
Of those
Rightly entitled
To sustain
Your meagre existence
Is unconscionable ....

When 
Will you
Face
Your responsibility
To life?


R. O'Neill (January 24, 2019)




Wednesday, 23 January 2019

Experience - Doesn't Make it so (except when it does)

Much has been said with regard to a freedom from addictions and the requisite need to "hit the bottom..." from there, the supposition is that, the necessary willingness to rise from the ashes rather than be consumed by the flames; will have been acquired.

"The bottom!" The bottom of what? Does that have a physical address? A GPS coordinate? A composite series of life circumstances, which combine to represent the "perfect storm," the "last straw," the "eleventh hour.."

Dark night....

Soul's plight....

Torn asunder....

Nothing's right!!!

If one has "reached the bottom.." is it a given they will never reach there again? Would this presumption constitute "success?" Implying of course in a dualistic paradigm, that to revisit the bottom multiple times, would be indicative of "failure!!" Why would it be assumed the pain of the "bottom" is going to become the catalyst for recovery rather than be the more painful trigger to further acting out the addiction?

Who could even begin to define what the "bottom," is for anyone else, or that a cyclical reoccurrence, had yielded precisely the same place? (complete with identical "conditions..")

I find myself wrestling with a deeper knowing that: I don't want to dwell in my past, I don't wish to shut the door on it (in as much, as each, of it's nuanced tragedies, could be turned to be, the fabric of hope, for others) - and most certainly, I don't want to consider myself "better than my past." This doesn't mean the self-loathing, terror, low self-worth, self-judgement, condemnation, and self-punishment continue to define my present. But it most definitely means, that to rise through the stratification of society, material acquisition or any other way, I externally try to present a more "loveable" - cut to my jib; neither "drains the swamp," spells an end to the permutations addiction can take, or provides (for me) an acceptable (nor viable) justification, to turn my back on my history, that which gave me release from some of the more life threatening aspects of it, (God... whatever that is) and those aspects within, that are still reinventing their unique version of the bottom and continue to seek respite from pain, if not recovery.

I sought the "spiritual answers" to what had been an existential agony and through some form of Grace, have been given a now, near 32 years, of a reprieve. Of course that "freedom" didn't prevent life to continue right on "lifing;" as I'm still here, it has over time provided me; the opportunity, to hone tools that I may never have found or developed otherwise. (none of which render me impervious to further inner truth and self-recognition, uncertainty, doubt, fear, aimlessness, compulsion)....

Is this the failure of the paradigm/s I've chosen to follow (cherry-pick from, combine, renounce, abandon) - is this my failure to apply "correctly," spiritual practices etc.? Is anyone applying these tenets with flawless execution and thereby walking, the embodiment of a divine efficacy?

Does my "unique" story separate me from a collective story of humanity and it's evolution? I was convinced at various legs of my journey that what I had gained, in terms of reduced suffering and insight ... was of value to others. I've also come to know of my own self-righteousness through the same journey ... that coupled with further reassertion, of my active addiction, has fuelled a compulsive pursuit of "spirituality" beyond the point of being a useful and healthy foundation for life.  "The hungry ghost" sought to claim "seeker" as my "identity," and marker of superiority to mask an abysmal sense of worthlessness. Terror of the unknown and my own annihilation (ironic given how I sought oblivion with such self-destructive enthusiasm) create for me both a known & unconscious "dogma," that excludes all that don't follow it. Large swaths of my life remained "unmanageable" while I made "spirituality" my life. The "spiritual" path I deemed as being a significantly "higher" road than those that "mindlessly" pursued material and social status. The insanity of that delusion was I sought status for my spiritual pursuit, in a society that doesn't give a shit about spirituality (unless you are making a truck-load of money doing it).

Even many that inhabit the bastions of organized religion are more concerned about being seen in their ever growing wardrobe of "Sunday bests;" and where do you think, the used car marketing claim - "this baby was only ever driven to church on Sundays" came from?

It would seem most anything can be commandeered by the wounded (disconnected) and therefore addictive part of my being - in the case of spirituality - it created literally a holier than most attitude, while it still stoked the fires of "I don't belong" and am not welcome and I can't let up from this vigilant pursuit of and pious representation for even a minute lest the truth of my defectiveness be allowed to ooze to the foreground.

Of course this isn't entirely my wound and projection. Nothing can create exclusion like some collectives of "spiritual communities." The combined righteousness of "their way," being harnessed to keep any that aren't, "with us" - OUT!

Cliques and inner community politics reserve the platform of esteem, for the chosen few (even within their own ranks - let alone those that hold a different view from other paths).

Leaders exercise coercion and manipulation, exploiting the fears and insecurities of the "flock."

I'm powerless over the dynamics in such collectives. It is enough for me to know they exist. So that I can guard against my becoming victimized & recognize in what ways, I continue to create disconnection, while compulsively seeking paths, with an intention of realizing a greater connection.

I am not interested in "paths" that feature centralized power dynamics. I'm not interested in conditionally loving collectives, that define emphatically, what I should respect about "their beliefs," while any questions or indication that I don't share those beliefs, is met with a complete lack of care or concern for me; and can result in one finding themselves ostracized toot sweet!! There was a time in human evolution where exile from the "tribe" meant certain death.... surely it remains hardwired into the survival mechanism... beyond healthy human connection  - it serves no useful purpose.

One's humanity/spirituality can now quite readily, be seem as just something else to be marketed to with literally infinite experts, gurus, practitioners, coaches, guides, therapists etc. lining the wings. The expansion of the internet is probably driven in no small part, by the volume of those claiming, to have all the answers.  A clue for me in my own compulsive pursuit is the imbalance between the fees charged for such services and how much work I would need to do, to generate that amount of money.

How exactly is the marketing of "spirituality" which many would describe as a recognition of the interconnection of everything - even possible, within a society that is predicated on individualism and financial hierarchy? An attempt to sell connection to the disconnected masses; marketing and promotion widening the divisiveness of society - all promising such things as "financial freedom" (touted as being synonymous with enlightenment) which instead, becomes the new standard by which a neurotic public, can then further discredit itself.

I have struggled through my life... to accept "life on life's terms. I'm not making a blanket claim with regard to what anyone's "fee structure" should or shouldn't be. However, in order to live within my means, I can't afford this high priced help. It's not a question of respecting or not respecting the credential of anyone - it's a reckoning with respecting the truth for me; that if I'm digging myself a hole financially, in the pursuit of spirituality/healing - for me it's just another self-destructive racket I'm running. Another high, followed by an inevitable crash... and then an insatiable compulsion to quell the pain of that crash... and restore the "bliss.." (sound familiar? - it sure as hell does to me!)

No practitioner of anything is going to ask whether I can afford it - "this is the fee structure, take it or leave it." ("you must be willing to put some flesh in the game.." the money represents your commitment to yourself.... blah - blah - blah) .... no, actually the money represents a month's mortgage payment and groceries!!! - well perhaps you, are just not ready yet...

I need release from the compulsion to act out compulsively. No group is the source of love and approval that will fill the void that exists within me. I continue to tear that void wider and deeper by abandoning myself within said situations; in order to win approval, that is not theirs, to give in the first place. Not a great formula for healing, though a very effective way to foster self-loathing.

I don't know what anyone else needs. If what ever they are doing and believing quote, "gets them through the night," Great! Truth of the matter is, who sees them through the night, or for that many "mornings after?" So you see their "game" face..... then who knows??

I wrote a book  - I tried to frame as "sacredness" what one holds passionately in their own heart. I tried to offer hundreds of questions that could point one back toward the answers within themselves - answers that might reveal, life long patterns that were no longer effective, identify strengths, areas were "growing edges existed - to create and work towards, dream realization. I cited the depths of my own personal dark life challenges and their being overcome; to offer demonstration and inspiration, for those that doubted themselves. Maybe the book has no inherent value to anyone but me; he that grew and changed while writing it, and trying to get it out in the world. Maybe there is more to value than commercial acclaim and financial return?

Note I didn't say that I had, the answers ... I said, I created the story of a 40 day challenge (while partaking in the challenge) - I further laid out a template that anyone could use to seek their own answers (from within themselves) I didn't say I was going to provide them. I can't find the bottom to my questions - never mind know the answer to hitting the bottom. I was inspired to write a book and I did it... I published it and I worked some at putting it "out there." Does it mean I'm "all that..." of course not!! Still it is an accomplishment for me personally.... despite the fact it bypassed everything from best-seller lists to bargain bins.

Maybe the book (or a box full) would better serve someone, that is living without heat and needs fuel for their stove. At least then I could contribute to them not freezing to death. There some of them out there in the world... it's not actually my business what purpose they are serving.. Could be door stops, maybe a book end for the "real books" - toilet paper. Maybe they found their way into the hands of those that called them into being ... I wouldn't know, it's not my problem.

It's entirely possible that while I became for a time, more "visible" through my writing - that the same, is leading me back to a place, where I will resume, utter invisibility. Does this mean I will then "hide my lamp beneath the bushel.." Not necessarily - it might just mean, that I will engage myself thoroughly enough, through whatever light I can come to recognize in myself - but I will spend absolutely no time, trying to draw anyone's attention to it.

I need to take a quantum leap away from consumption ... before I am entirely consumed. I need to love myself enough to walk away from collectives that are far more concerned with their "emperor's new clothes" than having any regard for who I am. I need to stand in who I am and not look for, or expect to find, validation from outside of myself. Someone that won't conform, is seen as parasitic to the whole organism (group). The chances of the group culture/mindset changing are slim to none. Think of the atrocity that has been enacted by groups identified with a particular way, upon others throughout history and continuing to this very day. I would suggest that the same dynamic happens within various groups that lay claim to a spiritual path as well. There is more fear about being outed by the group, than concern for, its collective behaviour. No group should be exempt from a thorough and continued rigorous self-examination. If a room full of people is "threatened" by new ideas or a different way of doing or expressing something.... ahhhhhh - RED FLAG!!

I need to continue to reckon with my addictions... to people, places and things (to mindsets, anger, righteousness, grandiosity, drama, conflict and separation. I need to learn to trust my heart, my own discernment, to trust that when I believe "something stinks... it stinks" - it doesn't matter how many people try to tell me other wise - or how loud they proclaim it.

There is no off-the-rack humans... why would it be supposed, that there is one-size-fits-all spirituality?
Karma, trauma, history, genetic inheritance, life experience, soul "mission...." I couldn't begin to unravel any or all of that, for someone else. For the most part, I might only be privy to a minute glimpse into any of it ... if any at all.

Addiction encompasses the very real possibility of relapse - this is not the failing of the individual, this is a talisman of their addiction. Joining a "spiritual community" doesn't necessarily spell the end of the journey of addiction - it can become the addiction. There can be any number of people shrouding themselves in the tenets of that particular group - while oblivious to their own addictions.

I am unquestionable both responsible for what I "do" about my addiction and I am powerless over the environment I came from and the survival strategies I created within it. I am grateful today for the ingenuity of whatever part of me orchestrated my survival. The truth of the matter was my physical needs were more than amply provided for. I received a financial legacy later in life that is a perfect metaphor for what represented "love" in that environment. I've also gone through the lion's share of it - it has neither been my salvation nor my damnation. There is nothing inherently bad about money... nor intrinsically good about it. There are certain pragmatic advantages to having some. To place an imbalanced importance upon it and consciously or unconsciously trying to buy my inner peace ... has once again brought to bare upon my attention, emotional/spiritual bankruptcy. Is this the "bottom" maybe... I can tell you of it, it is a "state" that robs the sun from the sky, spring from the step, has no concern for financial standing, and begins to view an insidious enlarging swath of human existence as pointless.
Some guidance or more accurately, a skillful redirecting of my attention, toward what is going on within myself, can certainly be helpful at various places in a lifetime. But it neither needs to come through expensive treatment, nor should it necessarily have you linked to someone's service indefinitely. My identity should not be established by my "spiritual" affiliation. If anything I believe it should help me peel away the shit from the shine-ola so I can become more clear about "who I am.."

I live in a city that features horse drawn carriages during the summer for the extraction of tourist dollars. Regardless about what one believes about the practice as a whole ... they most definitely work the best when the horse pulls the carriage. My life so often is epitomized by the cart dragging the horse or tail wagging the dog.


Of course there is something to be said for some form of human interaction.... for me what is required    is the continued mirroring of authenticity (the good, the bad, and the ugly). A steady diet of white-washing, will invariably lead to me resurrecting my delusions - I begin to mistake the map for the territory, put far too much attention and importance on that which is due very little, if any at all. I lose sight of the "giver" and focus entirely on the "gifts..." and left to my own devices ... I might just begin to act as though I am, the giver. There might be a healthy balance attainable, between community and personal autonomy and honesty - I have found it to be elusive. Of course this may continue to reflect my continued establishing of some clear idea of who I am and what I stand for, which granted can shift and change throughout a lifetime. I wouldn't know about anyone else's story, but mine involved no clear sense of myself right out of the gate and what I did "know" about me, held me, in very low regard.

 My boundaries are not entirely absent... I am finding the courage to speak at times when I would have frequently remained silent. Do I always know what a given situation requires - no! However, it doesn't mean I don't have something I need to say about it. I have everything to lose, by remaining silent. I don't know about anyone else, but there is nothing useful for me, about handing my power over to any group "leader." I will now exercise that knowing and practice accordingly. Sometimes there might be a need to stay in a situation and continue to hold my centre and truth within it - maybe there will be change outward... maybe I'll see an outcome or development I would have missed if I had bolted. Other times the necessary thing for me is to leave - it doesn't necessarily denote a wholesale denunciation of what goes on - I can both take care of myself and refrain from condemnation.

There is no "perfect" humanity - progress for me is to learn some more gentleness and understanding for my development. This in turn gives me a gradually increasing ability to exercise some patience and tolerance of others. Key word being "gradually." Addiction is rife with a want for instant gratification,  delayed reward is unthinkable and the development of such a mindset though not impossible, is labour intensive and glacially slow (at least so it seems to me). Impulsiveness is wired in (not permanently so I see, referring to current research on brain science) Emotional responses and addictive compulsions, can be observed in action, through a development of mindfulness practices. Otherwise, the fuse is lit - the wheels are turning from 0 - 120 in a heartbeat and behaviour takes place by rote. In no time at all, there I sit, enveloped in a fog bank of remorse, bewilderment and despair - the legacy of my conditioned responses and collateral damage of my own tirade. This necessarily must be represented as my "unique" story (even though I know it's not) for any hope of continued liberation from my addictions, I work toward changing "the one that I can" (maybe).

Few if any would care to consider the underlying mechanisms I have described (there undoubtedly remains far more that I don't have awareness of) - I say this because for these same people, when then judge, over-simplify and reject others, they don't have a fucking clue, what they are doing (I include myself as "people.")

If people actually experienced first hand the depth and agony of exclusion and self-righteousness maybe they wouldn't be so quick to exercise it. I know the pain as both victim and perpetrator; again not an entirely unique experience - however I can only tell my story. The story of others is none of my business - unless they choose to share some of it with me, and I'm prepared to listen.

In order to give this post a point of conclusion, I must of course, conclude. As there is no clear indication my life is about to end - I actually can't conclude, much of anything.

I suppose that is both a blessing and a curse.

R. O'Neill (January 23, 2019)