Tuesday, 29 September 2015

My Way - Neither "the Way" nor Cause for Apology!

After a brief sojourn on Facebook, a rather romanticized notion of my time spent there, I refocus my intention to write. I have nothing against Facebook, but more often than not for me, it has more to do with taking me away from anything valuable that I might contribute to the world. Certainly on occasion I read different articles that I find interesting and inspiring and it is an endless source of quotes on pretty much anything, by a wide variety of notable quotable individuals, some of which I choose to redirect back into the great Facebook continuum for distribution, to what end, I can't be sure. I suppose I would like to think it will create some butterfly effect stirring of consciousness and I have then somehow made a contribution. I suppose I also find it heartening at times to fire a volley of some nature into what occurs at times, to be a void of monumental proportions and receive some sort of reflection that there is someone out there. In truth though - Facebook is a testimonial to Mark Zuckerberg's creativity and ingenuity, my use of it doesn't escalate my journey of self-realization or meaningful contribution through association, nor does my regurgitating the words reflecting the life experience of others. I undoubtedly love to ponder these various perspectives and some of these enough that I push in those directions in my own life - in doing so it makes possible the gift of some form of experience of my own.

I am a great believer in the power of metaphor, parable and allegory to convey various truths and there certainly is nothing wrong with using the "sign-posts" created and recorded through the journey of others, as a means of selecting a fork in the road of life that otherwise may have remained obscured. Then again though following in the footsteps of another may well yield a perspective unique to any given individuals personal viewpoint - it is also possible, that it will not necessarily break any new ground. While those throughout history (for whom their words have achieved a longevity that exceeds their mortality) have certainly lived noteworthy lives - it was "their life." They may have been noted to quote someone else in something they said or wrote but those reflections that have lived on were invariably their own - which meant they "blazed their own trail" at some point.

I'm considering that such individuals were strongly anchored in their own curiosity, that they delighted in their own discoveries, maintained a strategy with which, to render manageable, fears of various ilks - minimizing immobilization. In other words a relationship that allowed them a transcendence over the juggernaut of conformity.

Now I suppose it is difficult to determine exactly where various ways of "expressing" have at their roots external or internal influence. Certainly various sub-groups of people can have as their common denominator, various externalized ways of presenting, that on one hand they might claim sets them a part from the "norm," but certainly doesn't make them unique within the given group. I don't claim to be uninfluenced by any number of a myriad of external factors - but I seem to be on a trajectory that is less identified with any of it. I am not looking to set myself above anyone else, I am also far less inclined to make my decisions solely based on a "fuck-you" basis. At first blush, that might not seem like an accomplishment worth noting or even an accomplishment. I have come to realize that seldom, perhaps never, does it serve me to act from this form of rebellion, invariably I hurt myself in the process. Now it might take all of that energy and then some (transmuted) into a usable form of energy that will propel through resistance (external or internal) a distinction that may well be unnecessary given it doesn't really matter what form the resistance takes externally - it would be that which exists internally, that ultimately stops me or triggers doubt or other forms of self-defeating energy. So the clarifying quality I'm moving toward describing is I'm no longer trying to define my life through "fuck you" or it (whatever "it" might be) but Yes to me.

It is my dream and vision to be a writer, specifically within the realms of spirituality/transformation. My own personal experience is vast - while at the same time being minuscule. I suspect I will never offer anyone "Seven Easy Steps to" .......... most probably anything I write could begin with the title "A Beginner's Guide to......" at the very least, I hope to continue to embrace an attitude that keeps me teachable - while acknowledging, I have walked a path that led most certainly to experience and beyond that, I suppose depending on the perspective of the receiver, it might be interpreted as either wisdom, folly or my own unique blend of both. I refuse to blindly follow anyone and I'm not posturing myself to recruit followers. I am not billing myself as an "enlightened being" in fact I have innumerably glorious pratfalls that elucidate my journey upon the long and winding road thus far. I don't aspire to the pedestal - but I vow I will create a foundation that I stand upon that will unassailable by anyone and before the sun sets on my earth walk, I will no longer be the one that keeps knocking me off. The beauty of this proposed path is that as I insist on being more like me and chronicling how that occurs and resonates along the way - there will never be a shortage of fodder to be consumed, integrated and expressed newly in continued living.

I am convinced extraordinary most certain cannot be found in conformity - recognizing those things that unite me and define my universal humanity may have provided some form of comfort at some point, now they just bore the hell out of me. Beyond these narrow definitions something beckons me, with a voice that won't be ignored. It speaks of radical approaches - I most certainly intend to express from a place of authenticity and living from where I speak; at the the same time, I will no longer wait for conditions and anyone outside myself, to determine my credibility.

"Build it and they will come!"
I am declaring the ribbon is cut - I am built!

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Exile on Mine Street

Though it might seem obvious: that as in the "Sound of Music" they sang: "Let's start at the very beginning, a very good place to start, when you read you begin with A..B..C, when you sing you begin with do, re, mi..." For my variety of story telling.... it is rather challenging to pin down "the beginning!" Part of the reason for that is that even when I'm preparing to relay a relatively current "experience" it can often have reference points from the past (by no means restricted to "negative" "traumatic" occurrences - though they could be, but also they can draw on some form of insight or connection experience that was intriguing at the time, and at the same time also appeared to be an isolated awareness that didn't have much ongoing relevance, so I file it in the "maybe this will make more sense another time" bin). Then I proceed to "Row row row my boat" (while occasionally reaching beyond the gunwale of my own canoe to grab someone else's oar) - have you ever tried to paddle a canoe your not sitting in? - suffice to say, less than effective!) all kinds of life experiences present themselves and then there may be one, or a series of experiences, that bring back into focus that "irrelevant revelation" from God knows how long ago, and it has brand new meaning and significance.

So - how about that? I began with an convoluted expression of lack of clarity with regard to offering a tangible "once upon a time" and in doing so, a beginning was created. How does that work - I can't say for sure - I can see that it has occurred and there has been established an introduction. To what? Well let's carry on and find out!

I was at a "spiritual gathering"today - I take a stab at providing some context for that statement, without it becoming a treatise on "spirituality." Overall I would say there is no time or place when I'm not on a leg of this spiritual journey - there are just sometimes, when part of the purpose & focus of the gathering - its raison d'etre, is explicitly: "spirituality." So what that means to me, is potentially there will be space for considering and expressing from anywhere within that rather large umbrella. Of course each individual is rather like the guard at the toll gate - nothing is going to come or go that isn't allowed by the guard - so I can neither assure a particular experience for anyone else nor will I impose any further "definition" on the subject matter. There naturally can be a wide range of allowance for range of exploratory discussion, as well as tolerances (an unfortunate word) for what one might call authentic personal expression, versus recitations of known theology without any contexual sharing of how that might actually be working (or not) in a given life experience.

Bears are once again in my consciousness - as is the reclamation (referred to in some schools of thought as "soul-retrieval.") of various "parts" of myself; it can involve a variety of processes that are purposed with "re-membering." My title refers to "exile." What am I referring to? Essentially aspects of myself that were exiled at various parts of my life when a variety of traumas occurred. I'm not here to discount or diminish any particular stream of consciousness because they have all contributed to the "body of knowledge" that is still unfolding. Having said that the remembering I speak of is not only encapsulated within the practices of "Psychology" with it various forms of "cognitive restructuring" - for sure, new belief systems can be advantageous and though I recognize that no process operates in isolation (given the multiple layers of our being) still, to act strictly upon the mind/intellect still leaves some "weeds in the garden." So then I'm talking about remembering for the purpose of restoring integrity within myself, by which I'm not speaking in terms of a "resolution" to become more "cash register honest." I'm suggesting that in order to truly reach and bring my full potentials into being a re-integration of all this fragmentation is required. Not talking perpetual victim stories or remaining stuck on scape-goating parents etc. All these pieces, are useful for information and as part of the remembering - but for the purpose of transforming these blocks, inner grievances and sources of ongoing suffering.

Through the lens of "animal medicine" long ago I discovered a resonance with the qualities attributed to bear. Powers of introspection - I had no trouble recognizing and claiming, it has been a further journey to lay claim to the qualities of massive strength and confidence. Further included are the power and importance of solitude and its connection to healing (self or others). Recent "introspection and current personal expansion has brought the very youngest, most tender young age of my being which had in effect, been "abandoned" by me; energetically, "he" held considerable trauma and at some point, placing in "exile," sort of a Walt Disney-esque self-cryogenic state, rather than deal with the pain he represented, was at the time, a survival tactic. The "problem" is that to judge such a young age as being inconsequential would be a gravely erroneous assumption. "He" embodies those very "bear-like" qualities among many others and his exile results in my being cut off from them, and a very integral part of myself and connection to all that is!

So the recognition of this began last week - a welcoming home, a declaration of undying unconditional love  - a reunion (if you will). The very next day as I was walking through the oak meadow in my neighborhood I bent over to stretch my low back and I discovered a "heart-shaped" stone with a image of a bear's head on it. It was then I was told this part of myself is indeed named "little bear" - I received confirmation of this in a way that is intimate and personal to me (which if you can accept this journey as being true - you might well agree, makes sense).

Today's presentation at the gathering I "felt" drawn to attend without "knowing why," was about the power and importance of the "village"in our journey - which among other things can be comprised of a community of inner guides, "higher" self, various archetypes or parts of ourselves, angels, ancestors - whatever you can allow to be held in your belief system) - naturally there are external representation of this village as well. We also did a short Qi Gong form which included a short set call "bear swimming across the stream" - just this very morning I was prompted to look a the "bear" card in a deck of "Druid" themed divination cards. The bear figures prominently in many ancient cultures as a powerful spiritual medicine talisman - including the ancient Celts/Druids that as it happened to align with a still largely unknown but nonetheless Irish ancestral lineage on my biological father's side (the "remembering of which has commenced but is by no means complete). There was references to a bear god and goddess both the names of which contain a root in the celtic language "art" for bear, is comprised in the name of the "legendary King Arthur" symbolic of a spiritual warrior and well as pointing out that the polar star located beyond the constellation of the "great bear" is there to guide travellers in the darkest of winter sky's when no other light can be seen. (an association that is ripe with metaphor meaning to me).

I am in awe at how Spirit works in my life and how the "pieces" are woven together; in time, over time, and very specifically relevant to me. Incidentally I didn't include the previous sentence to highlight my uniqueness - but to represent my belief that this is possible for anyone. I most certainly encourage each to prove it for themselves - in the ways that occur to you to be appropriate - if and when you choose.  All I know is that the more I go inward - which has long been impressed to me to be where each persons answers lie, the expansion results in expression that for some, will occur to be "out there." Don't allow that to dissuade you from your own journeying - I'm a story teller at heart, I'm merely sharing with anyone that might be willing to pull up a chair, the view I encounter as I walk the long and winding road. I neither insist you need see what I see - or even walk the same road. In fact I would love it if you see me on the road - you stop and share with me, what it is you see.

Saturday, 19 September 2015

The "Great One" endorses The less than great one?

I wasn't sure what I was going to write about - which isn't necessarily in and of itself a profoundly unique reality  when I square myself with the blank blog template. I indulged a brief foray into the black-hole of facebook and saw a post that "lit my fuse." Apparently Wayne Gretzky has let it be known he supports a continuance of Stephen Harper as the Prime Minister of Canada.

It's possible that the sum total of what I write from this point forward could be summed up with "So What!?" So I could either make this the shortest blog post I've ever conceived or flush out somewhat my unsolicited and un-comissioned albeit succinct editorial.

This is not to be a damning litany on the career, character or politics of Stephen Harper - by now, too cliche. It is also not my intention to cast doubt on the sophistication of the "electorate," the citizens of Canada. I certainly have concerns about a "system" that made it possible for the Conservatives to go from the first mandate as a minority to "winning" a "majority" for a second mandate and the on-going ability of the media to manipulate the truth and in doing so impact "public opinion." Clearly I don't have the monopoly on the truth and I don't spend endless hours listening to the "political pundits" - representatives from the various "think-tanks" or even watching the "debates" (truly what can be determined from a series of sound bite responses filled with pre-written "talking points" that are super-imposed upon a variety of questions and issues whether they directly relate to the question or ever provide an answer. Personally I don't give a shit how well someone articulates their answer, if it evades the matter raised in the question or diminishes the concern of those that asked it. Add to that the disallowing of participation by leaders of parties not portrayed in that same media as being viable options and the whole thing smacks of further manipulation.

Enter Mr. Gretzky! Given the widespread identification of so many Canadians with hockey needless to say he is afforded a coveted place in the folk-lore that comprises "our" national discourse. My question is WHY? Clearly was something a kin to a prodigy within the game of hockey (which then elevates him as is typical of "our" culture to celebrity status). Now I fully acknowledge that a significant focus, time, energy and dedication are required to go from the frozen ponds in the neighborhood to be selected in the professional ranks and then to have a career that stands out so significantly from those that comprise the crème de la crème. Many try and fall by the wayside. Of course it is argued that the sheer size of the current league means the entry requirement has been watered down just to get enough players to fill out the rosters. Not a reflection on Gretzky - just an aside. I also recognize that I've already committed the ultimate sacrilege in that I am desecrating the all Canadian sacred cow on multiple levels - it matters not. To be fair the a fore mention dedication etc. is nothing short of heroic, however I submit as one of any number of possible examples of heroism virtually any member of John/Jane Q. Public and what they face in their daily lives - be it currently or for years longstanding. Take some time to listen long enough to pretty much anyone and you will have right there in your midst a bona fide hero! So why - why - why is someone that attained great heights at a game given more credibility to "endorse" a political candidate than anyone else?

Now I will acknowledge that Wayne Gretzky is not just a former hockey player no more than I'm just anything specific to a thumb-nail view of any particular segment of my life, who now spews upon the written page - still for me the unsettling thing about this media contrived influence, is that a world that is nothing more than entertainment and artistic expression often portrayed within a container of fabrication, produces "celebrities" that have undo influence on the world stage. Which is more true, do we watch "Fantasy Island" or do we live on it? It seems to me the veil is thinning between the world of entertainment and the "real world." In our lifetime we have seen cowboy western actors hoisted to the white house, professional wrestlers and body-builders -  become governors, WTF? Before you go sideways wrapped in Maple Leaf nationalism and chime in with, "ya well that's the U.S.A couldn't happen here!" What do you call former athletes cum "national institutions" asserting their considerable influence on our "democratic" process - I know, I know, now it could be said I'm drinking the same Kool-aid I am espousing to illuminate to suggest there is a reality where true democracy exists.

Of course so far my writing and perspectives haven't reached such proportions that they pose any significant impact on the multi-media/corporate/political/entertainment/military/industrial complex - but when and if they do, I might be then penning my memoirs from with the Conservative party's equivalent to Stalag 13 - "Hogan's Heroes" that was real right?

Monday, 7 September 2015

All This Suffering is Insufferable!

Right of the gate I'm just going to come out and say - many people will fight to the death for their suffering. I ought to know, in the "war on peace" I have been an ardent mercenary. Of course I refer to "my peace" - inner peace. What have I accepted over a lifetime as the currency of exchange for this peace? It quite possibly would be a shorter list to innumerate what I haven't accepted. Certainly a wide variety of self-deception, which, one doesn't have to go very far from home to find commiseration with. If that is what you are looking for it might only cost you the time required to hear your listeners story in kind - which will typically begin with "ah shit that's nothing, wait until you hear what happened to me." A round of that and before long, both can conclude there is no end to suffering - "and that's the way it is!" 

Before coming to the coffee shop to write - I was briefly at the harbour in downtown Victoria the annual Labour Day weekend "Blues Bash" was on. During the day all the performances are free - I like live music every now and then, a good easy on the budget (if I had a budget, but that's another story) fun way to spend the afternoon - except it wasn't. I absolutely appreciate the musicianship and there is something about that drum kit and and bass laying down the beat that gets my blood stirring - especially on a live outdoor stage where they can bring it home at warp nine! A tight sound and stratocaster strings being caressed at times other times twisted into orbit, what's not to love? Well - except the genre in and of itself is soaked in the energy of suffering. Even when the lead singer is laying claim to original material, I suppose in order to be "true" to the form, the requisite lyrics must hover in the realm of heartbreak and for some variance a side of debauchery. It's not as though I haven't spent my share of time listening to, supporting the arts through cd purchases and listening to the electrified strains as an endless anthem to uphold my own tragic myopia - but right here, right now I wonder when did this form of painful expression become "entertainment" and shouldn't there be some sort of statute of limitations on my laying claim to the state of my mental/emotional/spiritual wellness being based on "my baby" and her decision to beat a path to somebody else's front door. On that note the whole matter could be addressed by being clear, that my happiness was never determined by "my baby" nor hers dependent on me.

I realize I have now taken this whole conversation into radical waters, just the same, I don't happen to believe anymore that ongoing suffering is required. There are plenty of existing pathways that elucidate the power of mindset to influence world view, so I don't need to further try and make a case for the truth (or at least the existence of the possibility it could be true). I stood in front of the stage for a while and listened to four or five songs and I was done. There was no shade - the only place to sit was in the direct sun or the "beer gardens." I wandered through the "merchandise" tents where they were hawking over-priced shirts and food that was in my estimation, guaranteed to give you something to be blue about, devoid of any nutrition, each char-broiled calorie poised to reek havoc on one's cellular village and unleash another spree of gastro-cidal suffering.  My solution to this seemingly innocuous situation - leave. This might seem self-evident - but I considered the power of story to run interference with what otherwise might occur as a simple solution. If I had engaged with this same situation at other times in my life there could be any number of story lines that would have me remain there - even though I wasn't enjoying myself. "I came all the way down here - this is my day off and I've earned the right to PARTY" "I can't leave early - what will everyone think?" "What if I miss something (seriously what could I possibly think I might miss?) The point is there are no end of story lines to uphold the collective and individual suffering many of which perpetuate far graver situations than overheating at a crowded loud outdoor music venue. My experience is starting to demonstrate that there might well be innate discomfort in some situations, however it is my choice to avoid the necessary steps to bring about the changes that would end the suffering.

All due respect for grieving processes and the unique divine timing and soul journey of each individual - and I can assure you, I'm not advocating the repression of feelings. I'm expressing as one who wishes to disengage from identifying myself and wearing as a badge of honour, my suffering. I don't wish to diminish the pain of others or their right to choose continued suffering. It was however drawn to my attention that as a writer or an artist that what I express would be brought into question, that I would be seen as less than trust worthy if I didn't express authentically. It seems to me that authentically was being presented synonymously with one who continues to suffer. To this I say bullshit!

I envision a world without suffering - it doesn't mean I will see it universally in my life time, but I'm not going to abandon this vision for the sake of conforming to some stereo-type mindset that as a writer and artist I must suffer endlessly "for my art" or that my truth is any less authentic because I don't endlessly express as the walking wounded or from within paradigms that though they wax eloquently, continue to reflect a "love" that is codependent which makes is something entirely different.

I seek a pathway for myself that is significant, in it's freedom from suffering - I happen to know that certainly involves the dismantling of many stories that continue to stoke the fires of suffering. I wish to be a stand for and an example of, an end to suffering - this is the "change I wish to see in the world." It is no secret that those in the world that "inflict" suffering are at their core, suffering themselves - this seems to me ample motivation to collectively create different social and societal agreements. It seems to me there is no variety of human suffering that someone hasn't demonstrated the ability to overcome and transform - often themselves becoming a powerful force for change. These people might well be unique in their choice to do so - but I don't believe they have the monopoly on the inner resources to transform, they serve to show what is possible.

I may have threads of stories that will need to be released in order to realize the inner peace I seek - but I fully intent to write and to express transformation as an art form. I will acknowledge that any given emotion or combination in the spectrum, can certainly be artfully expressed - shades on the palette as it were. I would also submit that a soul that continually seeks connection to it's source, will discover while they might currently be tuned into the blues channel, they can also change the station.