Friday, 19 July 2019

Back in the Saddle

As I enter this space it feels both familiar and entirely new. There was a time when I frequented this environment often, sometimes multiple times in the same day, The writing was plentiful and seemed to present with ease and fluidity. I suppose it would be an interesting exercise for me to revisit some of my past perspectives to see if there were any continued resonance.

I hadn't considered that I would "stop" writing, of course I hadn't really considered that I would "start" either.  There was no sense of being "blocked," while at the same time, to consider continuance of what I considered an avenue of my expression which I highly valued, was being thwarted by it occurring to me, I had nothing to say.

I don't "know," I have anything to say now. I just made the decision to sit down and say something. Writing presented in my life six or seven years ago. I hadn't "planned" it and and exerted precious little preparation to assume the status of "a writer." I subscribed then, to the idea that expression sought an outlet and found me available - with no other pressing engagements, along with two feet (& hands) a heartbeat and a keyboard. The pursuit has opened a number of doors both internally and those that formed, various unexpected life experiences. It hasn't landed me on a best-sellers list, garnered critical acclaim - it did apparently lead to a "readership;" one I didn't actively cultivate and due to my extended absence, I suppose haven't nurtured either. My apologies to any that might have developed the habit of connecting with this avenue of my life. I really don't know, to what degree my writing might have been positively impactful for anyone else. I can say that I sincerely envision, fostering an intention, to offer some measure of quality; which both reflects authenticity and I hope represents time well spent, for those that invest their time in reading.

I have been deeply immersed for over a year now, in some different avenues of healing work. I also arrived at the decision to quit the job I was doing over the last 3 1/2 yrs. I began another part time employment direction, all of which has led to a significantly changing life orientation.

As I consider my writing in the past, I suspect (again without yet having revisited it in any meaningful way) that I truly wanted to present as though I really "knew," what I was talking about. Presently I'm not wishing to dismiss all I have done, but also acknowledge that some of the pain (shame) that I have worked through of late tells me, I couldn't bare to be seen as "not knowing." God knows if it actually convinced anyone else, that I was the voice of authority, but I put a lot of words into trying to paint that picture. That same shame fuelled my deep sense of self-doubt and incessant self-criticism, which was forever undermining my credibility, most certainly in my own eyes.

Today from a more consistent practice of self-love which has included the willingness to feel and grieve long repressed parts of my life; I believe I have something to say now, which isn't necessarily indicative of "mastery," enlightenment or that I have "awakened," or reached any state of advanced consciousness, nor do I reckon it matters, if I do or don't.

I am vastly more connected to my heart and more than ever, the hearts of others. I also know there is untold continued knowing available within every heart (mine included). I don't maintain that I am a "light-worker," star-seed, healer etc. - to be honest, I'm not entirely sure what would place me in these various categories - I do know, they are not necessary in order to, be me. As far as I know, I don't channel anything... I'm hard-pressed to remember the various passwords I have for this online world. I may be the rest of my life, trying to learn how to effective express myself and communicate with the beings on this planet, maybe I'm not meant to channel other beings.

I certainly believe in a "power greater than myself;" that, is still a relationship, I am exploring for myself - I won't be seeking disciples or starting any movements anytime soon. I would love more people to suffer less - I don't have the answers pertaining to how that is going to take place. I'm finding safety and trust to experience the sources of my own suffering, and enjoying release and greater ease along the way.

Does that mean I now know, how it all works? Not exactly!!  I have a continued practice of "Honesty, Open-mindedness & willingness," concepts I was introduced to a very long time ago. The focus might vary - but these three principles continue to be valuable guides. I have less time to engage the distraction of what "everyone else is up to." I don't discount the paths of others. Still, my heart may well determine, it to be a clear - no thank you.. I have spent extended periods of time, trying to belong where my heart had already said - No! It hurts! And it doesn't hurt any less, through continued ignoring it.

Maybe I'll never be a "spiritual guide, or leader," I might live long enough to become more masterful at determining where I need to be,  I don't know if that will help anyone else. I sure know being where I'm not meant to be, doesn't help anyone.

Maybe that's where this particular post ends. I have an up island destination in mind for this afternoon and early evening - I'm not getting any closer sitting here, and I feel my energy being pulled away.

The other thing is, the air-conditioning is on in this coffee shop, and it's not comfortable sitting here, cold in fact. No merit in suffering further, just to write more - so then, until another time.




Wednesday, 22 May 2019

Stay-cation



Where then
Will
I build
My 
Dream abode

That which 
Will be
Hearth
Home
Fortress
Sanctuary
Oasis
Temple

High upon
The mountain tops

Upon 
Desert or Plains?

Deep 
In the forest

Along
The seaside

A wispy
Ethereal call
Echoing
Throughout
Lifetime

Leads me
To 
The door
Of my heart

Once open
All
The universe
Is laid
Bare 
At my feet

Heart 
Is where
The home 
Is

Stray not 
From 
It's 
Loving embrace


R. O'Neill (May 22, 2019)

Friday, 17 May 2019

Food for Thought

As much as I enjoy going out for food, which I might be hard-pressed to stop entirely; the cost of doing so is moving steadily toward being annoying in not prohibitive. I don't frequent the higher end establishments (due as much as anything to my not finding any of it worth the pretence, line-up or cost). I also don't eat in greasy spoons, fast food or soup kitchens (I have, but at present gratefully I don't have the need). So then too low on the spectrum & one is hard pressed to find anything healthy - too far in the other direction and you're paying for "ambiance" I don't care that much about.

Even still to ply the waters of the "middle of the road" is getting fricken expensive!! I just paid fourteen some on dollars for a salad and sandwich (granted organic this that & the other thing ....) Even at that I'm asked, "will there be anything more?"

I felt like saying, "No actually you've raped my sensibilities and wallet quite enough for now thanks!" This was before tip!! A practice that I indulge, but I generally don't enjoy, especially at this type of cafeteria tray line style place (which also features a hot beverage & smoothie bar) - all they do is ring in the cost of your meal. No coming to your table, taking your order, deliver the food, social lubricating banter - they just thrust a total into your hand via the debit terminal which conveniently posts and presumes a tip (some even default to a 20% or greater amount - which means you then must hunt & peck your way through a tip menu selection that you feel better about or a customized one.

It irritates me that I'm paying gross markup on the food and then I'm expected to subsidize the employee's wage. ("oh they work so hard and they aren't payed that well...") that may well be true, but why is Joe or Joelene's business plan holding me hostage to the vision of their annual income? The short answer would be because I let them!

If the employees want/need more money, then let them organize - collectively walk off the job and value themselves. It's not up to me to finance their choice to be there.

I don't get any "tips." Well, except when I'm busking. Thirty odd years in health care .... Nada! Of course most of those institutions, agencies etc. have mandated policies prohibiting "staff" from accepting gratuities. No doubt some throw back to old school mainstream religion, that suggests that  to be of service is reward enough!!.. To be sure it does have its intrinsic rewards. But that false virtue in turning down appreciation in whatever form, and martyrdom consciousness that is perpetuated in health care is bullshit! Nothing but a lot of cockeyed ethics - created by upper management types that make damn sure their well rewarded for drafting policies that devalue the people actually providing the service.

I'm starting to reason that in order to eat out, and eat well as often as I do - I would need to be working a great deal more than I want to work. To do so would negate any value I gain from "healthy food choices" - due to the stresses of over-working.

There is a ridiculous array of food in our society - so much of which goes to waste. At the risk of flogging a tired supposition.. I believe the reason for the food related insanity is none other than addiction/compulsion (and it's underlying disconnection, shame and the collective wounds of all that are willing to pay over-inflated prices to over-inflate their stomachs as they tie on the feed bag for any number of reasons (beyond the basic need for nutrition).

Of course I'm not suggesting a meal out alone or with friends, family, loved ones, is problematic (accept on those occasions and for they, for whom it is).

It can quite readily become part of a complex financial sabotage. Money, food, eating out, health, wellness.... All can be spokes on an overall wheel of optimal living or they can be a weave of nothing particularly good. It's all in how they are used (the underlying motivations).

The winds of change are blowing through my corridors. I'm aware that there's only one person I can change. So pointing out my perceptions of the foibles of the world, won't bring the necessary changes to my life. However along the way - it will become more clear how I need to roll. The rest of the world can continue to spin as it may.

R. O'Neill (May 17, 2019)


Making it Real

In my last blog I mentioned some of the various "practices" that I was implementing into my life and alluded to them being part and parcel of my "spiritual path."

I don't expound on spirituality being an important focus in my life in order to brag or with the intentions of setting myself apart from others (at least I don't anymore). Life has a way of sorting out unhelpful ego-feeding motivations - certainly that has been true for me. It's not my business why anyone else does whatever they choose to do.

A "spiritual" lens is that which gives me a paradigm, through which I am able to address my ongoing wellness.

So when I describe the inclusion of yoga for example - I'm not laying claim to any moral high ground. I am not about to change my name to Paramanhansa Robananda. To gain some insight into my electing to incorporate some daily yoga - you would need to walk a mile in my shoes. More to the point, in my entire body. I am endeavouring to prevent what I will describe as "living rigor mortis." I have a great deal of rigidity throughout my body. Yes I have and am, considering the mental, emotional and spiritual mindsets that have contributed to this. Regardless of the levels of being, that are addressed by ongoing healing work .... I believe it important to address "the physical" directly as well.

I purchased a series of 15 min. yoga routines (which were said to be appropriate for beginners and intermediates) so that I can work at them in the privacy of my own home. Even at that, I'd say the videos would be more readily performed by someone with more experience (flexibility). I can't transition from one pose to another, at the rate the instructor is going. By the time I get into my version of a given pose - she's already in the next one. Once I bend this and twist that, there's not a hope, that anything is going to be looking up or pointed at the ceiling. I can of course go at my own pace and I can flat out refuse, to do that which my body is not ready for. It's been three consecutive days since I started & I've already had some choice words for this video instructor. What can I say, that was the "stuck energy" that was there to be released. I've yet to experience a yoga class that was truly geared toward beginners. It would seem most instructors are more interested in flaunting what they've got, than working within the considerable limitations of someone at my stage of immobility. Yoga studios are businesses ... they need to fill the classes in order to generate the income - they cater to those that don't need the care & attention. It's just another westernized field of consumption, competition and elitism.

I know enough about physiology and my body can tell me the rest to be able to create what I need - when I need it, without spending a fortune and no need to clad myself in the pretence of Lulu Lemon.

It's been a few months since I drank coffee on a regular basis. I love coffee. Coffee does not love me. Time and time again, I have conducted the experiment on coffee, off coffee - the fact remains I experience some unpleasant (and eventually painful) physiological side effects from  drinking coffee and they all disappear when I stop. Therefore the loving decision is to eliminate it. I doesn't matter about it's widespread popularity, the social culture built around it - the bottom line is, it fucks me up. Any other consideration is irrelevant.

So my "spiritual path" is very personal. By this I don't mean I wouldn't share about it, with anyone that was interested. I mean, I'm not advocating that anyone - do what, what I do. I'm always following "hunches" - tweaking this, trying that - paying attention to what works and fosters for me the greatest sense of well-being. Spirituality to me means a deep and ongoing connection to myself, ongoing self-honesty, alignment & authenticity - that is where I'm pointed. I neither seek to be a hermit - but I certainly have no interest in following any crowd, anywhere. I can't find my centre following anyone else. Who the hell knows where they are going?  Least of all them, in many cases!

I'm not saying coffee is evil!  Or that,Yoga makes me some sort of exemplary human being. Most of my life the only stretching I've done was, of the truth. Eventually that all comes home to roost and - I "reap as I've sown."

I have not always looked after my body. I don't really know, how much it can be improved upon - but I do know I feel better overall when I physically active. I can feel an overall returning stamina and endurance now that it has been a few months of regular brisk walking and the gym. Am I looking to pose on the beach or audition for underwear modelling? A..... NO! But I needed to lose some weight (which I have begun to do, with some still to spare). Frankly I don't want to carry it all, day in, day out. When I bend over (now that this is increasingly a possibility - I still want to breath). The aesthetic is the least of my concerns. I am talking about - quality of life! My life. I can no longer look to what others are doing to justify my action or inaction. I don't know how any of that works out for them .... but I know what messes me up. If you want me to hurt myself in order to be one of the group then take a walk my friend! If I'm willing to hurt myself for that illusory "belonging" - I need to take a good long look at that!

 The new (old work) I'm doing again, involves "home support" of clients in various situations. One can't presently get out of the house much on his own, so parts of the couple visits each day, involve taking him on rather lengthy walks in the wheel chair. Had this been 3 to 6 months ago - I wouldn't have been able to do that. An increasingly sedentary lifestyle habit had insidiously become the "norm," & my previous fitness levels atrophied (as they will). I want to be able to continue to enjoy and active lifestyle (not extreme) - that requires training and maintenance. I can't just step into last year's activity or that of five or ten years ago, unless there has been continuity or preparation. I will no longer subject myself to activities of extremes (which are billed as being "character-building" etc) to do so constitutes self-abuse/punishment. If I decide to take on a more arduous journey - then I will prepare for it gradually over time.

I don't want to live the consequences of my own self-abandonment and neglect. That may sound exceedingly self-evident and yet it is a rampant part of modern culture - this profound disconnection. Looking outside of ones self for validation and a sense of fulfillment/success. The economy depends on it, you will be judged by your peers and those in your community based on it and most sadly, each can have nothing but self-contempt and disdain for failing to live up to the tenets of these ideals.

And now "spirituality" has jumped on the band wagon - extracting untold thousands of dollars laying claim to unfolding for it's adherents the path to "fame & fortune."

Spirituality has nothing to do with what everyone else is doing or believing. I cannot tell you what it should be for you.

It is paradox indeed that I build my "self-confidence" from the raw materials of not really knowing what the hell I'm doing - but learning and gaining wisdom from the stumbling and bumbling that comprise the direct experience of the events in my life. I can assure you, sitting reading and regurgitating memes and platitudes will lead no where. (nor paraphrasing them). If they are not embodied and assimilated they are just hollow words - with no power to change anything.

The internet might have created the potential for greater ease of connectivity and information access; but it also provides a very effective tool for "fucking the dog" & the proliferation of bullshit.

Each of us, is truly the one we've been waiting for. And I for one am not waiting any longer for anyone to tell me when, where or how nor to give me permission to begin.


R. O'Neill (May 17, 2019)


Wednesday, 15 May 2019

A Little Bit of Hurtful ... Is Still Hurtful

Have you ever noticed that many who proclaim: "everything in moderation," are often doing so as a means to justify their excesses? It's not even a claim that has any basis in truth! A moderate amount of any number of things, is not in anyway healthy or beneficial. Large awards in lawsuits directed at various chemical corporations, which produce a broad spectrum of different products (many of which they lay claim to be "safe," are being found to be anything but). Given the side effects of many pharmaceutical products, "moderate use" results in a myriad of adverse effects.

A moderate amount of arsenic won't do you much good - assuming you were wanting to remain alive. The same can be said about carbon monoxide.

It need not be such lethal compounds to cast doubt that  moderate use or consumption as being okay. Why would someone want to indulge themselves in even a moderate amount of anything that is known to be not in their best interest?

Well I've had my share of experience with addiction - so I certainly haven't now, appointed myself to the "soapbox," but it is remarkable how much garbage is produced, purchased and consumed! The whole basis of our economy is based on consumption that is not sustainable or healthy on the macro level (global) or the micro level (personal).

I would also suggest that addiction is significantly more widespread than many people would care to admit ... naturally, because to do so, might mean an indictment of themselves.

In true "chicken or the egg" fashion, part of the problem of getting to the bottom of this wide spread addiction is well, identifying the "bottom." Many of the chosen addictive behaviours that operate within our culture are embraced with great gusto - some are venerated, while others necessary to sustain life. "Productivity," & "busyness;"- are endless heralded as desirable and admirable traits - but what if you're physically exhausted - fried adrenals, high blood pressure, borderline diabetic etc & emotionally/spiritually drained? More work is not going to be helpful. One needs to eat - nobody bats an eye, when you step into a restaurant (even if it's an "all you can eat," - most everyone in there is, hell bent on "getting their money's worth!!"

Many would not consider over-working or over eating a "problem." Especially if they benefit directly from the income yielded from that work. As for the eating, round about the time one's body, no longer meets the narrow (pun intended) criteria of a body image obsessed culture - then it might be considered there's a problem.

I look around my small (744 sq. ft.) condo & the after-math of my various binges with consumption are apparent - so I don't exclude myself from the cause or the effects. The "stuff" isn't bad, wrong etc. it's the profound disconnect with self at the root of compulsive consumption that becomes problematic.

If I use a guitar as a means for personal expression - and doing so brings me joy, wonderful. If I'm out to run away from myself and using the purchase of a guitar (or another guitar) as just another "hit" a desperate attempt to manipulate my inner world from outside myself - well frankly my experience is, that it doomed to fail, it will only "work" until it doesn't. Then the time will come when I not only have to reckon with what it was within me that I was trying to avoid; but I will also have to face the reality of the "wreckage" of my binges which might be chronic clutter and perhaps a decimated bank account.

Historically this has led to my then opening, a gigantic can of whoop-ass and unleashing it on myself.." I failed to achieve this, that or the other thing......" Nothing wrong with failure, in fact it can be a enriching stepping stone to a great many lessons.. The problem comes when I judge myself as a failure (based on judgment levelled upon myself, comparing my life and circumstances on the arbitrary but widely held standards of success and determining .... I simply don't "measure up.")

I have heard enough addictions stories to know full well my story is not unique - but I can only tell my story. As much as I would love to see everyone free from the pain of their disconnection and disillusionment - I can't walk that for anyone but myself.

I still believe for me, the answer is spiritual. Of course to try and define that would be far beyond the scope of this piece. Over considerable time, I continue to discern what that entails for me. It's fascinating for me to realize that "spirituality" has gone from being a relatively repugnant notion in the western world (of course it has always had some presence and adherents)... to now being more "main stream" & true to western world "ideals" - it has been commodified and packaged for consumption.

I may not be the first to acknowledge this, but nonetheless it is vitally important to my ongoing wellness, to own it for myself;  I acknowledge that somewhere in the pursuit of freedom from my addictions through spirituality, I turned spirituality into another addiction and in the doing was trying to represent "oh such a good boy am I;" while at times, using the pursuit, the tools and the presentation, as a means to escape from myself. Paradoxically, I believe a 180 degree turn is necessary in those instances. Of course it would also be true that at those times when "by-pass" has be elected - it has been a necessary "survival" strategy & indicative; that I'm not ready to face some aspect of myself. All in divine timing - to "push the river," is to reign terror upon myself. Not in anyway a self-loving thing to do.

This is not about to become another "shit-kicking" for me. I lovingly recognize what's true - how even if it was working - that is no longer true. Just another square on the game board. I haven't flipped the board over or quit playing the game.  Another lesson presents which can be utilized for my greater good and life's want to expand through me.

Over the last 3 - 4 months there has been a great many changes being implemented in my life. I resumed and am maintaining regular attendance at the gym. I go for long walks multiple times a week. I get out into nature as much as a can (even if it's just to a nearby "green space.")

I am working with a professional guide/therapist with a focus on reconnection and self-love. I have been sitting for 15 min. meditations (mostly twice a day) & this week started a series of 15 min. a.m. yoga routines. (maybe I will extend those sits and sessions - maybe not, the point is, I feel their loving inclusion in my day to day life & they are doable for me at this point). Far better to create some continuity and adherence to short sessions than enforce myself to long rigorous practice that I will immediately hate and begrudgingly drag myself to, until I quit.

I'm also a couple weeks into a new part time work scenario - which I'm able to adjust over time in terms of days of the week and hrs per day (so I'll see how that goes).. it's a "for now" undertaking.

I'm writing this now (rather than lose myself in the abyss of social media). Writing for me, is a spiritual practice.

I need to build more bridges (to myself first) from myself to the Creator, to others and the world around me.

In many ways I lived my life as though I was a walking demolition team. I didn't create the idea that "more is better," but I certain marched to it's dictums. I can no longer live in the extremes. It hurts me, it hurts other people - it hurts nature and the world I live in. Is it any wonder that with all that hurt, I'd seek to alleviate the pain. My story is by no means unique - but I have a responsibility to, and the right, only to tell my own story.

Moderation is not the answer - connection is the key. A moderate amount of a self-destructive habit means that 100% of the time I indulge in that - it is, self-destructive.


R. O'Neill (May 15, 2019)




Saturday, 11 May 2019

Ode to a Young Heart



I
Wanted to 
Love you..

Our 
Introduction
By way
Of
An orphan's 
Debut

A grand
Welcome
And 
the novelty
Rapidly 
Unraveled

Lost 
The number
of times
I've
Heard
"SHOULD"
Be 
Grateful
for
Hearth & home

Architecture 
 Being
A
Far cry
From
A
Loving
Environment

You 
Taught me
To fear
The world
And 
Everyone 
In it....

Would it 
Have been
Too much
To ask 
Me 
What I 
Was interested in?
Let alone
Offer
Support & encouragement

Your
Rage & criticism
Became my
Mirror
Until
It became
All 
I could see

Shame
Fear
&
Self-doubt
My
Embodied
Family
Legacy

You
Claimed
You "wanted" 
Children
While
You complained
Bitterly
About 
The burden
We
Represented

Adulthood
Not
Synonymous
With 
Parenthood


Children
Precious, innocence
Such a gift
Unequalled love

Never
Did I hear
Any 
Such 
Adoration

Love
Was only
Expressed
In 
Conjunction
With
Abuse

How 
Could you believe 
That 
Was in anyway
Helpful
or 
Okay?

Have a 
Responsibility
For 
My own
Life

I will
Stand 
Further in 
That responsibility
To myself
By
Expressing
The anger & sadness
That 
Are 
The repressed
Grief
Of 
My lost childhood

My 
Feelings
Are 
My own

To
Elevate
Your 
Memory
To the
Pedestal
of
Hallmark
Sentiments
Would
Betray
My 
Soul

I will
Be 
Everything
That 
You wouldn't be
See now
Couldn't 
Be

I will
Become
The expression
Of
Love
Compassion
&
Forgiveness 

Not 
By following
Your lead
But
Despite
And
In the absence
of
Any
True leadership

Did 
Love you
It's 
Who 
am

I hated
How
You
Behaved

My heart
Can 
No longer
Bare
Your lies

Will no longer
Carry
Your 
Dysfunctional
Legacy

I will
Foster
The
Forgiveness
for us
Both


R. O'Neill (May 11, 2019)

Saturday, 4 May 2019

Liberated Silence


Locked down
In excruciating
Exile

The voice
Once intended
To 
Herald
Universal & divine
Truth
Denigrated & choked
Into silence
Left 
Anguishing
In a 
Subterranean hell
Where
Slowly & insidiously
The grips
Of 
Insanity
Clamber
To 
Ease the echoed
Scream
Of
The unheard lament

Is the die 
Cast?
The outcome
Inevitable?

Consider 
This possibility... 

As it has 
Been
Through 
The annals 
of time

A unlikely
Protagonist
Embarks
On a journey
That he (or she)
Believes themselves
To be 
Completely
Unqualified 
To undertake

The intrepid
traveller
Becomes an
Archaeologist of sorts

Following
The guidance
of 
Gossamer direction
Which 
In an instant
First appears
As though
Cast iron
and
Then seemingly 
Vanishes

Along
The way
Are met
"The judge"
"Jury"
&
"Executioner"
As well
The architect 
Of
What was 
Thought 
To be
An inescapable
Prison

All
Presented
While 
The traveller
Leaned 
over the banks
Of 
Crystal clear
Stream
And saw 
The 
Truth 
Of themselves
For the 
First time

Insight
Is gained
Still
Liberty
Is not assured

The 
Prison
Will remain
As formidable
As ever
There is no
Known
Magic, army, or device
That can breach
It's walls

Except
The consistent
And
Direct
Application
of
The one 
&
Only
Key

Which 
Comes
In the form
Of 
The voice
of 
The prisoner
Themselves!!


R. O'Neill (May 04, 2019)