Wednesday, 24 December 2014

Present Company Accepted!

I've heard various descriptors with regard to being alone at Christmas one suggested that it is "sad" another went so far as to say it was "pathetic!" Of course I wouldn't go so far as to hold any one person responsible for the creation of such notions, as their origins are far more widespread across the belief systems of the collective. I am not given to necessarily accepting such dictates of social convention as being true, in fact, I'm more inclined to ask "who says" and then to throw these hypothesis against the wall of my own life and see what sticks. Why you ask? Have you ever arrived somewhere for an activity which involves entering the front door and there is a group of people all standing around outside the door? Upon asking why everyone is outside the answer is "I guess the door must be locked." When you either reply "has anyone checked it?" or investigate for yourself, and discover it unlocked, the consensus is revealed that everyone that approached saw the others standing outside and "presumed" that they must be outside because someone tried the door and found it locked. The reality is no one checked and everyone is waiting for the already unlocked door to be opened so they can go in because of this presumption. This is a rather benign example but I would submit that it is an apt metaphor to demonstrate what occurs if someone doesn't question popularly held erroneous assumptions - nobody benefits!

So as it happens I indeed find myself "alone" this Christmas - this being the evening of December 24th. When I consider this overall I suppose this is both the first time ever and not without opportunity to have it go otherwise. While there are some unchangeable realities about this Christmas such as both my parents passing away this year (my dad only 3 weeks ago) there have been various invitations that could alleviate the need to be alone, but I'm not sure that I will participate.

Part of this would be because I am honouring my need to grieve the loss of my parents which in itself is a significant transition. As it happens my whole life has been up for reexamination and revision and expansion anyway, the current reality just seems to have turned it from simmer to a high boil. So I hesitate to embroil myself in to many "social" commitments partly because I might well not feel like being there once I'm in it. But also, as I said, anything can and much is, undergoing extensive scrutiny and Christmas is no exception. Around the edges of some intermittent sadness there is the realization I am largely free from most everything that I hear so many being so stressed out about.

While "spiritual" and personal expansion will eventually include such things as personal finances etc. this has been a year which recognizes immense spiritual wealth while at the same time has been cash flow challenged. I can tell you, one can claim to not be "defined by their work" or bank account etc. but a more accurate portrayal will be, when those things are gone (even if temporarily). So Christmas would have been low-keyed anyway. Had my dad stuck around - and given he had no interest in anything he already had, it was like overnight the "dementia" relieved him of any further concern for literally a whole house full of stuff that not that long previously he was pretty heavily invested in. I've got to say from the standpoint of one who considers himself viable and for the most part lucid, I had to ask, what was the point of all the concern for consumption and accumulation? The stress, the overwhelm, the cost - though certainly there can be found no end of verification that continues to assert this is "what it's all about" - it most #$%& certainly is not!! It took nearly two months to empty that house out and not one single solitary item did my dad want with him - it was like overnight he was the Dalai Llama and completely let go of attachment to any of it. It was actually an amazing thing to witness - meanwhile I at times deliberate at length, over various items in my home, as I continue my own process of simplifying, granted I haven't been given my "ticket to ride" but just the same I wonder, how important is all this shit anyway?

So I'm not necessarily feeling compelled to rush and recreate Christmas the way it seems to so frequently be observed. Thus far I'd have to say any sadness I am experiencing isn't exclusively due to being alone. And I certainly don't consider the situation pathetic, it is actually replete with many blessings.  I would suggest that someone that would consider it "pathetic" to be on their own, doesn't have much regard for their own company. I have no intentions of "isolating" or becoming a hermit, just the same, I am fully embracing that I am free of any obligatory anything, with regard to it being the Christmas season.

From where I stand new traditions are calling for themselves to be brought into being. It may well be that the new tradition will be, no tradition - certainly that will be true this year. I will continue to rebuild from a place of consciousness, to ask questions of myself with regard to previously held-assumptions. It is clear to me that just because many people are behaving a certain way or hold something to be true, does not make it so!

I am deeply appreciative of everything I have - it is not a question of whether I have enough, it is that I am enough, this realization is gift a plenty which cannot be touched no matter what comes and goes from my life -  this year it so happens that includes the "ghosts of Christmas past" This year's gift is the present and new beginnings - priceless really!

Merry Christmas!!

Sunday, 14 December 2014

For All Things a Season

I do not grieve
what you know I've lost
I walk eyes within heart
Training awakened sensitivity
Upon threads you cannot see
Which I had deemed forbidden
Or unspeakable, even to me

What then must die that I live completely?
Did you imagine that freedom
Achieved walking through the enshadowed valley
Would be a painless renewal?

A reflective nod to your tinsel clad holiday
An approaching darkened Solstice
Invites a sacred introspection
Though I will not deny you - your cup of cheer
Neither can I desecrate upon my heart's threshold
Which even now prepares to offer
A soul sought illumination

Will this then happen
Within the 12 days of song and lore?
I think rather
The light is encoded within the darkness
The gift
Will then dispense
Both cloak & shroud
When the season calls it hence!

Friday, 5 December 2014

My Current Theory of "Relativity"

If I have occasion to relate to you - doesn't that in effect make you a relative of mine? If indeed we collectively are relative members of the human race then what is all this fuss about parental lineage, perceived birth right, entitlement to such things as a particular patch of real estate - which can be further emphasized if the individual staking "their claim"if there exists a multi-generational inhabitance of said "turf." How can that even be conceived to make sense where relating to others is concerned? Because you and/or your family has never moved to take residence elsewhere doesn't actually give you any particular status - in "relation" to anyone else.

The whole notion of hierarchy, inequality, inclusion/exclusion  seems so unnecessary to me. Though I suppose in the grand scheme of things, where the evolution of the human species is concerned it must be, as it continues to occur. Humanity, in terms of creation overall, would be very difficult to depict with any sort of graphic representation, as it would be so miniscule. Therefore in terms of it's overall evolution perhaps humanity is still in it's infancy. I certainly recognize that there are innumerable examples in my own life that I might have deemed "bad" "wrong" etc. but in the subsequent unfolding of my life it has always been overwhelmingly positive. I have I suppose in truth chosen, in many further examples, to do the same thing over and over until at some point I become compelled to see if something else is possible in my life.  So then, not that I can state it categorically but I could submit, would it be any different for the whole of humanity?

It would seem we as humans must jump in where various aspects of co-existing, living (individually and collectively) are concerned - somewhere.  Though what certainly appears to be intense suffering and consequences resulting from a particular approach might occur to be quite obvious it doesn't necessarily invoke immediate evolution, neither personally nor collectively.

If humanity is evolving collectively - I suppose, though I am responsible for participating in my own evolution, I would not know what part it plays in the mosaic overall, nor what effect the collective evolution in consciousness is having on me - should I become overly concerned with trying to take all the credit.

Blood lines certainly don't ensure smooth relating - the approaching Christmas, Hanukkah, Winter Solstice season will attest to that. There will be no shortage of "families" getting well and significantly inebriated in order to spend time with each other. The irony of inducing such utter disconnection with oneself in order to "connect" with others is most certainly indicative of a tradition fraught with flawed premise. I'm not casting negative judgment on this given I have participated in it - until I wasn't - it just is a brilliant illustration of point.

As of this year there is no longer any immediate family in my locale - so holidays or not, I won't be relating directly with "family." Having said that, if there were to continue to be varying degrees of "unfinished business" I could then simply bring into my "movie" any number of stand-ins and continue to be in relation to those that are no longer even "here."

I've got to say I still "Imagine" as did John Lennon what it would be like to eliminate all forms of delineation, categorizing and labeling in human relating. It seems to me even if one wanted to uphold the virtue of pride in ancestry/origins etc. it's a fine line frequently leading to a slippery slope which is used as justification to oppress and/or make any that "aren't like us." Naturally this begins for me with an examination of where and when do I continue to exclude others based on what I have quite arbitrarily decided is an acceptable way to conduct themselves. On the other hand having been adopted I have spent much of my life not having a clear-cut sense of ancestry etc. though that in itself has been part of what comprised "the sand in my oyster" I've also related through out most of my life without the orientation of "origins" etc. Now even though I have come to know more of that "history" I nearly simultaneously have concluded at some level it doesn't really matter - particularly if I use it as cause to dismiss others.

Certainly my own evolutionary trajectory has expanded my knowing of the interdependence and connectivity of the entire human family as well as all life forms. I would submit that may have come as a result of my version of the perception, that I was completely and absolutely separate and disconnected from everything and everybody - it was my own personal hell. Again if the insight gained from my own life were to be superimposed upon the collective and hold equally true, then the ramifications on the world stage might have a plausible explanation or at least a facet there of. My personal "awakening" apparently wouldn't happen a minute before it did. Whether there was a pre-determined schedule I couldn't begin to tell you. But I suppose that human evolution will driven by the same sort of reckoning with extended suffering and come to recognize in the need to be willing to explore and embrace radical possibility as a way of relating - whether friends, family, within nations or internationally.

Perhaps relating must become increasingly based on the basis that we are all related rather than from the perspective that it's "all relative!"

Wednesday, 3 December 2014

Nothing is As It Seems

As those of you that have followed this blog in the past know, it doesn't necessarily follow any sequential or chronological order. That I hope, will be a useful reminder to some and and explanation for others regarding the seeming random nature.

I will begin by saying over the last month I have begun "casual employment" as what the organization calls an "Outreach worker"this takes place at what is a drop in center for low income and homeless folks and takes the form of an emergency "extreme weather" shelter. There are spaces (mats) for 30 people to sleep on one floor and a "drop in center" on another floor where hot drinks and snacks are available for those that want to come in from the cold. A certain weather (criteria) must occur in order for the shelter to be called into effect.

Since beginning there I have encountered resistance to authority, self esteem issues (self contempt, self-punishing, self-sabotaging), martyrdom, victim consciousness and scarcity/lack thinking and once I got over my expanded self-awareness, then there was the meeting of the clientele and some glimmers of insight into what they deal with on a daily basis.

I have found that being in this environment has triggered me in a variety of ways. Some of this has it's origins in my relationship with both parents - however on this occasion I will focus on my father. I have no intention of waxing endlessly, fixated on the all to familiar orientation of "blaming" my parents for my life. I will say that many beliefs I created about myself (in relation to them) have carried through a myriad of relationships for much of my life - awaiting me to resolve and heal them. Having said that, in itself, that is ample motivation to gain freedom.

It was just last week when I was participating in a men's circle that I was discussing and processing for myself within the group what would be feelings and things left "unspoken" that date back quite some considerable time. The point being, unexpressed does not mean gone. Everything, that is meant literally is energy, including these repressed feelings and below that the mistaken beliefs that are at their roots. The problem is that one can be subject to one set of "rules" and conditioning in their family as well social conditioning, political correctness and even many groups that fancy themselves "spiritual" would have one believe that some things ought not be said. That above all else there must be forgiveness and gratitude for all "the good." I'm not disputing this, but I am saying that it is necessary to beware of the "spiritual bypass." This is where one uses spirituality as an alibi (cover story) for continued denial and repression and skips right past their true feelings and feigns forgiveness and gratitude. You may have heard "fake it until you make it." The problem with this is that it lacks in honesty and authenticity. My experience is that in order for "the truth to set me free," I need to first become aware of the truth and then be will to feel the feelings, express them and be willing to release them (along with any mistaken unconscious beliefs I might have).

So within this group I just let it rip - no longer concerned for how I'll look or what others might judge about me - I give voice to that which has laid dormant and unsaid. As I said earlier this is not for the purpose of blame and I'm certainly not advocating staying stuck in these feelings. But in order to truly forgive it is necessary to express all that is there. Forgiveness to me means that even if I remember I will no longer have any sort of energetic charge associated with these live "events." I don't mean the variety of forgetting such as "what the hell was the PIN #or password - it means completion - and there are no short cuts to completion. So in this moment it was about expressing some anger that I had repressed for a variety of reasons not the least of which was "self-preservation." The family system I came from seemed to have provisions for the "adults" to get angry - but that dynamic was not extended to the children. Then there was multiple layers of "shoulds" as in "I should be grateful for the "stable" home and opportunities I was given. All true to a point, but not necessarily justification to disallow the authentic expression of feelings. After all wouldn't "stability" allow for authenticity? No question that it is truly a gift to be witnessed and accepted - I would say it matters not that the specific players are there to witness said expression, it is more important that it occur. This in turn moves one towards completion.

Less than a week later - I had intended to visit my dad in the acute care hospital where he had been transferred from extended care. I held off going initially as I was getting over a head cold (and perhaps in hindsight - needed to be more spiritually fit for the visit).

I was down town on my bike having completed a few errands before going to the hospital when I heard some music from down the block.

I rode closer to investigate - there was something familiar about the tones of the various instruments (beyond the well-worn melodies of various Christmas songs). As I got closer I could see it was five members of the military band - helping to raise money for the Salvation Army. I suspected seeing their uniforms that I knew the band they represented (it was the Naden Band) which my dad had been a member for thirty years. All of them were playing saxophones (alto, tenor, baritone etc.) - the saxophone being one of the instruments my dad played when he was actively performing with the band. I was touched and moved deeply as I remembered all the performances I attended as a young boy and listening to my dad practice saxophone around the house. It was also interesting to note (pun intended) that through various circumstances I have accessed various services through the Salvation Army - they have most certainly been a blessing in my life of late.

Upon confirming this was indeed members of the Naden Band I thanked the "base commander" in attendance - told him of my connection and family association with the band and about being on my way to the hospital to see my dad (one of their former members). I gave generously as the grace of their recent support and the divine order of this pre-hospital visit "coincidence" opened my heart beyond previously held limitations.

As it turned out when I arrived at the ward the "attending physician" invited me to have a conversation with respect to the "care plan." It is to be comfort measures from here forward for my dad - I suppose you could say in a somewhat different context, it is the same for me.

It is most appropriate that a further healing in the relationship between my dad and I (which is really to say - my relationship with myself) was ushered in via music. Often angels are depicted playing harps - who is to say that they couldn't or don't play saxophones?!!