Tuesday, 30 August 2016

Round and Round We Go!

My most recent post; which as it happens, began it's creation on my birthday; was number three hundred and sixty.  I'm not going to endeavour to find out the numerological interpretation; I'll leave that to someone more well versed in those matters and you can let me know.

From a site that features "angel numbers" that I refer to from time to time some points of emphasis for the number "9" (360 -> 3+6+0= 9) we get: Angel Number 9 is a sign from the angels that your life path and soul mission involve being of service to humanity through the use of your natural skills and talents. Angel Number 9 suggests that you are a natural lightworker and encourages you to look to ways to serve others in positively uplifting ways.

There is a great deal more to the reading however it is beyond the scope of this article. Considered alone this is fascinating to me. In combination with another association, it further peaks my attention. Three hundred and sixty degrees is one complete rotation around an axis (or full circle). I hope if that isn't exactly an accurate definition; it's close enough to get my gist. It's entirely possible I missed  some of the discussions during geometry class (uh.... which is to say all of them).

So then, as I said, on the day that I began to write post #360; being my birthday, which signified the end of my 56th year. That would be my eighth time through the cycles of 7 years (which is some school of though, denote significant life passages).

So within the life transit I become aware of a series of concentric circles. Each seven year "cycle" was comprised of the completion of individual years of living (and of course signified the beginning of another year). Each seven year "cycle" had a end-point of it's own and became the jumping off point for the next. 

I don't generally track all these sorts of points in time. I'm not entirely sure why at this point this comes to my attention. If you are looking for some sort of fact based expose here; you may be disappointed, as this is not my bailiwick, nor did I feel compelled to research the matter. It just spontaneously seems to have occurred to me. Why? Well I suspect because there is much to consider within these various numbers and circles that are particularly significant - to me. 

Ultimately it doesn't have to mean anything to anyone else. If I was to offer any sort of "take home" from the scope of this particular post I would say, "life" is attempting to communicate with "us" all the time. I would say I have become more attuned to finer nuanced "guidance" which comes in many forms. Could I learn to hear and interpret this metaphysical language and it's myriad of messengers more comprehensively - for sure. Could well be an ongoing part of the "next cycle." Is the form universal? Well, I would say that anyone could receive messaging from any of the same means; if in fact that is meaningful to them. However I would also hold to be true that nobody is cut of from receiving unless they are going out of their way to be unreceptive.  Even still, it doesn't mean that life won't continue to get one's attention; in fact it's my experience the "wake up calls" become more and more pronounced. Depending on one's belief system it would be easy to associate this with some sort of "punishment;" when it's more like a consequence of long standing habituated thinking and behaviour.

How does one avail themselves to such communique? Well for starters ask. Then it's helpful to be willing to be open and equally helpful to pay attention. I believe "life" is there to support everyone and anyone. It can and will; find a way to communicate to each, in a way that is personal and meaningful to them.

What then has come "full circle" for me? It's early going in my receiving these "clues;" however, I can say that huge strides have been made with regard to giving closure to the enmeshed relationship I had with my adopted parents. I suppose it is possible, that wasn't going to be pushed along while they still were here. It has now been over two years since my mom passed and round about a eighteen months for my dad; certain areas of my being have unquestionably experienced an accelerated evolution since they "broke on through." 

As for whether I am actually "a natural light-worker?" Where do ya even start with such a thing? I suppose it would depend on whether one believes there is such a station in life. It's not a handle I would give much attachment to for myself. I believe too much concern for such labeling carries with it the potential for a great many pitfalls. Unquestionably I have natural skills and talents (everyone does); it certainly feels in alignment to me, to seek ways to utilize these "gifts" in positive, fun, uplifting ways to serve others.

Busking is certainly one way I embrace that, it is a joyful pursuit and encompasses many elements of an experience outside of what I used to consider my "only means" of being of service and generating income. The time has come to create some additional "pokers in the fire." I believe this is signified by both the number of revolutions I have walked around the wheel in order to heal, separate and expand beyond my family roles, associations and imprinting. Though there is no absolute in terms of delineation - the next steps will be a furtherance of a more soveirgn, authentic walk, that is all my own.

Do I know what happens if one were not to live to complete any given seven year cycle? No I do not! 
Do I know that I haven't just fabricated something in an attempt to explain the unexplainable? No, yet again!

Should you take anything I've said, to the bank? You are free to do whatever you please with it. I'm not invested in anyone sharing my intrigue or the content of my musings. Though having said that - sharing of the blog would be appreciated. This of course I would encourage; only as anyone feels inspired to do so, as they feel the site would be something, someone else might enjoy. 

I benefit from writing this - as I hope others will from reading it; that establishes another circle. The circle can expand infinitely without being broken through further sharing. Where it goes from there might well depend more on any number of energies, cycles and influences; rather than any direct force I can assert on it.

I respond to the inspiration to express to reach out and to connect; I trust all will travel full circle without having any idea when or in what form, it will return.

Ode to My Life

Honeymoon suites
Back alley's and streets
Spectacular victories
Soul-stomping defeats

Trippin' - the Beatles - enlighten - long hair
Kid wants for nothing - though does anyone care?
School days - why then am I not cool days?
Fuck it - I'll stay in a weed haze!

Who am I and what in the world will I do
Perhaps the answer  found in Sex, Drugs, Rock and Roll stew
Jack Daniels, Jim Bean and John Barleycorn by my side
Another day on the dirt ball - waiting for the relief that I've died

Prideful, misguided and utterly lost
By that time - nary a line, I've not crossed
Scoffed at the "reaper" - no habit for giving
Flirting daily with death - while terrorized, of true living

I decided not "swift" enough - I'll bow from the race
Convinced once I'm gone -there would be, not a trace
Guidance born of despair - suggested a complete about face
I screamed to the heavens - the answer rendered, was Grace

I'm no sage or a guru, master or saint
The longer I search - the more I find that - just ain't
I'm free from my past - gone all, sordid taint
 Gift of a blank canvas upon - which I'm now, able to paint

Some truth I found in, Pride cometh - before, a great fall
Still it's taken every twist and turn - to make me my all
I now know it's not over, no matter - how high the wall
You can soar to great heights - even beginning from a crawl

I do not espouse - holier than thou - being in fashion
The choices I've made - were the seeds of compassion
Instead seeking those places - in my heart - where love's rationed
 Embers of reverence for life - fanned into roaring flames, laced in passion

There's no way to articulate - my path as the way
Paths round the mountain - a virtual buffet
I would suggest - your heart - has something to say
If like mine - was allowed - to be castaway

My story's of no use - if kept deep inside
From there it serves no one - shared hope then denied
When darkness, despair and confusion all collide
I'm living proof - there's a way out - I now hope, verified.

Friday, 26 August 2016

The Punk That Once Drove a Subaru

So that it is apparent straight away - the "Punk," would be yours truly! I mean no self-deprecation (nor offence to any that might actually consider themselves "Punk.") I did have a brief dalliance with "Punk Music" in my mid-teens, or was that last week? No but seriously folks, I knew a couple of guys that happened to be brothers (uh.. that would be, siblings) that somehow established a line on "import punk rock music - which wasn't available locally to any large extent. I didn't go so far as to scrounge the aisles of Home Depot or Capital Iron, looking for hardware to adorn my clothing or face (come to think of it - there was no Home Depot here either). So though this would I reckon; have fallen squarely during the time of life, when one was searching for or declaring their "identity; at the time, (or was that last week?) the music had a certain appealing resonance, which provided an "anthem" for at least some of that angst, of our youths. But I never did transform my outward appearance accordingly, nor ever attended a, or found myself in, a "mosh pit." I'm sure there were people slamming each other somewhere - it just didn't call to me.

Other associations for the term "punk" are: "a worthless person;" an unexperienced young person, novice;" seems to me we used the word at some point in time, to denote a person of smaller stature.

I suppose shades of all those description, may have been used as descriptors for me, at one time or another. All of that aside; the title came to me as inspiration often does, when I'm not thinking about it. I may have been contemplating the various transitions/transformations in my life and needing a title that captured the socio-economic "bracket" I have frequented: punk rhymed with "Monk" which would lend to a parody of Success/personal development coach Robin Sharma's widely successful book: "The Monk Who Sold his Ferrari." Any similarity to his book  would only come as a result of our sharing residence in the same species. I sincerely hope that my intention to parody/parallel his work - to tell my own story and generally stating right out front; the "mimicry"is not meant in anyway to duplicate or dismiss his contributions. I hope now that this takes any concern about plagiarism/copyright infringements off the table. I should also say, that the opinions, experiences and musings are in no way shape or form to be associated or assumed to have been derived from, or through Robin Sharma. I am responsible for the whole enchilada!

There now, hopefully that covers my ass. For a further distinction, Robin Sharma would be the fellow that professionally coaches, writes, leads seminars etc. for "captains of industry, high level athletes etc. I'm the guy that pays to drink coffee in the local outlets, under the watchful eye of the baristas (shouldn't that guy be working or something?) in order to write a blog for free.

Before I go any further, (insert shameless plug) should anyone want me to write for them or with them; with the promise (or even prospect of being paid for it) let it be known across the known and unknown universe, that I am willing to release and let go, of my amateur writing status.

Now then, what the hell was the point here? Right punks and Subarus. I actually did own and drive a Subaru (three of them in fact) so I think I can speak of that; without incurring difficulty for invoking a corporate moniker in my post; that I'm sure lacks the necessary thrust, to reach to the ivory towers of Subaru Canada.

I guess it has been just short of two years since I drove my own car (or any car - with the exception of some random driving of someone else's car, that I vaguely remember, but that's all I recall). It is just two days shy of my birthday which delineates the date two years ago that my car came off the road (as the insurance would have been due for renewal). Around about a year and a half later (over which time it sat in my building's underground parking)  I sold it to an auto salvager for $3000.00. That in itself was a "reality" check - the year/make/model etc. pegged it a "worth" closer to $9000.00; however, as it had sat and not been run for quite sometime the mechanical issues that were discovered  by a potential purchaser were likely a direct result. The total estimate for repairs was over $4000.00 which I neither had at the time, nor would have been willing to pay to attempt to yield a higher sale price.

The revision to my lifestyle was significant; while at the same time, it was in keeping with the theme of simplification that is attractive to me and has incrementally been a driving force for quite  sometime. "Alternate" transportation became the norm. Destinations that were further a field (which I at one time; would have thought nothing about driving to - sometimes just to "escape") were no longer on my radar. I found that I neither missed time spent "getting somewhere" and developed a heightened capacity to be content where ever I was.

The restoration of a consistent income proved to take longer than I anticipated so the elimination of the expense of running a car was helpful.

Other experiences that impacted me over my "punk/monk phase" were such things as "poverty" (sans vow of) supplementing my food intake through street kitchens and food banks and collecting "social assistance."

Of course "poverty" is a relative term - mine was a "first world" version; that saw me still housed and with resources like "assistance," and food banks etc. available.

I'm not proud (per se) of going on "the dole," neither do I feel shame about it. A work return case manager "encouraged" me to consider it as a means of off-setting my monthly expenses. She said, "that is exactly what it's for; to help you through this crisis segment of your life and until you can restore your income flow." I am proud, that I did just that; which now gives me both the experience of having been on the "system" and getting myself back off of it. I am living breathing proof that can be done. It most certainly was preferable to putting all my monthly expenses on credit cards.

It was certainly humbling to find myself in these different environments and it gave cause for me to really consider the matter of personal finances. I learned a great deal about prioritizing; what was "needed" and what I could do without. I had various items go by the wayside over this period of time and in some cases they were simply not replaced. Conversely a laptop broke down and I opted to obtain a new one on credit; as it is a tool of my craft (or at least the craft I aspire to develop). That same tool can also be a portal to a black hole of avoidance and time wasting; so my discipline muscles continue to be honed, while I learn to strike a balance.

I pushed myself out into the world more frequently to "busk" which opened me to endless opportunity to grow as a person. This was a case of necessity being the mother of invention - as I stepped outside (my box) to reinvent myself. Maybe I would have taken the steps to busk anyway; but as it was, I used the opportunity to creatively do what I could, with what I had, at that time. Despite all the positive attributes for myself of making this move; it most certainly doesn't mean that others will embrace the innovation and courage. Many look upon such activities with disdain. As such, it is a further opportunity to free oneself from the views of others. I did what I did because I loved it and worked toward letting go; of the need to have anyone, "approve" of what I was doing.

Even getting the social assistance up and running, was an exercise that revealed to me different aspects of my inner landscape. On those occasions when I needed to present at the office I was generally the only one reading and certainly the only guy reading, "spiritual books." I both wanted to make good use of the wait times and keep a positive mindset; in what is an example of a labyrinth of "red tape." This is exactly the kind of environment that can test my patience! Despite the many anecdotes that I heard from individuals that told me of the infinite aggravation the "ministry" doled out (pun intended) - my file was always processed with "grace and ease." I absolutely know this is to do with the energy I held. For sure you can encounter those behind the counter that present like "automatons;" but I also watched those that told me that the "ministry" is always out to "screw them" only to have their number called and then proceed to tear strips of the person that is serving them (literally the "hand that feeds them"). I saw my victim mirrored for me - I saw doors open, and "problems" smoothed out; people going out of their way to help me; all facilitated by the approach. That is some powerful shit!

I stood in a food line one day and talked to the women behind me. She was telling me all the different ways she had come up with to prepare different dishes using potatoes as the base. (due to there always being an abundance of potatoes in the "hampers.") I suggested that she write a book. I acknowledged her creativity and said there are probably countless people out there that would love to just open a book and have a new idea, rather than create it for themselves. She wasn't convinced - being not confident in her ability to write, or that her "recipes"would be that popular.

I was frequently awed at the resourcefulness, creativity, sheer genius, courage, tenacity, care and compassion; of the various people I met in these circles. A true testimonial to the human spirit.

I run the risk of making this post far too long if I itemize all that I have learned in this portion of my life. I can say for sure of my experience and what I learned from the experience and stories of others is that contrary to outward appearances; one can most certainly be learning, growing and evolving. At any given time the "circumstances" of ones life is just a snapshot - a moment in time.

I saw in some of these venues, people that modelled more of the attributes that are considered part of spiritual maturity, than in other circles where people parade about in their "Sunday best." Of course I also saw people acting out their pain. Of course you could see similar in board rooms, business circles etc. No particular socio-economic status assures  the monopoly on "enlightenment."

Life is full of transitions. Some small and easily taken in stride; others that are more a kin to complete  "rebirth." Most certainly not a linear process and the completion of a relatively small chapter might be one of many beginnings on a weave a far larger metamorphosis.

The "beginnings" have no end and the end, is not with more beginnings. It matters not what your mode of transportation - so might just as well, enjoy the ride.

Monday, 22 August 2016

Reconciliation with Heart

Heart of my heart
A life time
Held in my next breath
Has revealed
That time, embraced by the present
Reverberates the yearning,
No longer ask
How deep then, has been: MY BETRAYAL ?
Forgive me
My holiest of holy
For I have
Desecrated the sanctity
Of thy chambers
Rather than genuflection
And purification, upon entering
I created a toxic dump
For petty grievances
Slights - large and small
Real and imagined.
Reverent sacred visitation
Besmirched - stoking the fires of resentment

In the silence
Echoes my voice
That too often
Was deafening
In its absence

My Heart
I left you
Writhing in the pain
Of a self-neglected exile

Through a cyclical series
Of fabricated nemesis'
A continued self-flagellation
Provided through illusory scapegoats

I newly seek refuge
In a heart I call home
I acknowledge
My responsibility
To the maintenance of the space
And ask that my heart
Open again -

Sunday, 21 August 2016

Test Your "Metal!"

"I am Iron Man!" Now that I have your attention, while you wonder, is he going to muse about "Black Sabbath" or Ozzie Osbourn or even the song itself? I might, now that it has come up. The original inspiration came via a new pair of sunglasses I got today; which happen to be brand "IronMan." A line of eyewear that is spawned through the Iron Man event a full triathlon which is owned by the "World Triathlon Corporation." As an aside the event consists of a 2.4-mile (3.86 km) swim , a 112-mile (180.25 km)bicycle ride and a marathon 26.22-mile (42.20 km) run. I have no idea if anyone that competes in these events actually wears these products; I suppose some pros are given some to wear for promotion purposes. In my case, they were on sale for 40% off; this is definitely a good time of year to purchase sunglasses!

I've historically been hard on sunglasses; sitting on them, dropping them, putting them down while shopping to look at something and then walking away; so I don't tend to spend much money on them. I also have about zero concern for "brand loyalty;" I see it largely as a way to extract more money from a given wallet than a true testimonial about quality. Most certainly, it has nothing to do with the inherent "value" of the individual. Comfort and functionality that works for me, that's it.

When I stepped out the door with the new shades on; the song that sprang to mind was, "I Can See Clearly Now........" This was not entirely due to the new glasses, but also because I was sporting a new contact lens as well. My vision of the world was nothing short of stunning! I have long been wearing an older pair of prescriptions glasses and then on sunny days some clip on shades. It was a joy to have clear vision; without the added weight of glasses upon glasses. It felt so free.

What then of this "Iron Man" association? Well I'm pretty clear I'm not going to prepare for and compete in, this event.  As I write this I have just completed a week of stepped up intensity workouts (for just my general well-being) and five days of working at the care facility and though I know exercise works on a stress the body/rest the body/rebuild the body cycle; I was feeling a little more like "lead in the ass man!" My version of a "triathlon" would be more like; I'm "running late," so I'll "ride my bike" to the pool.

I then began to consider the idea of Iron Man as a metaphor. I looked over the lyrics of the old Black Sabbath song and read the article pertaining to the song on Wikipedia.  The song in it's hay-day would hail from a time in my life; when though still a music enthusiast - I rarely paid much attention to the lyrics. I had no idea what they were singing about in this song. Whether the metal band of yore intended it or not - I see themes of rejection/humiliation and anger/rage/retribution. Perhaps that is because these are familiar themes from various parts of my life.

I can certainly attest that, in order to "see clearly" these various patterns and emotional imprints and the way they are operating in ones life; takes nothing short of an "Iron Man" resolve (or Wonder Woman). Accolades for heroic effort ought not just be reserved for "Ultra-athletes" and comic book super heroes. It takes herculean focus and strength; to heal the want to dole out retribution to others (and ultimately self) for real or perceived past hurts. To do so is not about "the accolades" it is in order to step on the podium and receive the award of their true authentic self. To get there may take years of slogging through the happenstance of ones life - without ever "running, cycling or swimming."

I'm not taking anything away from those men and women that do compete in those events. They have most certainly honed various qualities like commitment, tenacity, strength, endurance, valour to remarkable levels.

All I'm saying is that for every man and women whether they have a specific goal in mind or they are currently just doing what they need to do to face another day; there ought to be more recognition that the world is vastly inhabited with heroes/heroines.

So now rather than just donning my pair of "Cheap Sunglasses" - I can see that logo take stock of my life and where and when necessary, find within and embody, that Iron Man.

Speaking of "heavy metal" and super humans, I wonder if there has ever been a metal song penned about forgiveness? Now there's some heavy lifting! Mettle

Thursday, 18 August 2016

It's a Start!

"Start at the very beginning - a very good place to start.." so crooned the Von Trapp family. As I consider this musical directive I'm impressed by the truth of it.

A beginning must be embraced regardless of: lack of knowing, lack of direction, or any number of additional potential detergents. It is only then; once under way, that the innate grace held within beginning itself, is revealed.

Planning a start, talking about it, reading about it, none are the necessary linchpin to initiate the flow of grace. If there was ever a test of trust/faith; I suppose it comes into play, when called upon to make a beginning.

I don't imagine there ever will come a time; regardless of sheer numbers of written works, where I am not thrust to the realms of beginner; when faced with the blank page or screen. The weight of or resistance to, taking the ship from the safe haven of the harbour; can either be an adventure or a daunting barrier. I generally don't know where "its" going, when (or if) I begin. However, a life force of its own is set in motion (perhaps the force of life itself) once a beginning is undertaken.

Life is clamouring for expression through each of us; in some way, shape or form. Creation calling for new beginnings perhaps with each breath. Impermanence inviting rebirth; as entropy cyclically advances toward death of the old, in order to make room for the ongoing change.

To thwart the beginning then, is to run interference with life itself. Having said that, just as it is often cited as being ill-advised to "push the river," even though it's not entirely plausible, building dams upon the river (of life) is apt to be detrimental as well.

Failure to realize a particular vision does not render the beginning fruitless. Just as it is said that there is value in any sort of journey (not just the arrival at the destination); so it is with beginnings. There might be numerous untold "side excursions" along the way; all with their own value and impact, upon the overall journey.

I'm not much for video games. Some of that would be due to my belief that the violent nature of many of them, has no place as a form of "entertainment." My analogy concerning video games would stem from my meagre knowing of some of the earlier generation games. As I recall, in order to complete any given level; one needed to jump this, and dodge that; then collect these particular keys in order to open certain locks, to gain passage etc. I am then suggesting a similar unfolding where it comes to making a beginning and whatever then, presents upon the path, along the way.

Immediate gratification will not always be the result. This neither makes the beginning flawed or the pursuit a failure. Even repeated failure in and of itself, doesn't have to spell the end or become the "cause" of future hesitancy to start anew.

                                                    "THE END"

cue the orchestral montage signifying the next : BEGINNING

Friday, 12 August 2016

Body Talk

It would seem I've had further expanded opportunity to get more intimate with my body of late. Or to quote the oft heard (maybe to the point of trivializing) to "listen to your body." About three months ago (maybe more) I got an additional piercing in my ear. This one in particular hasn't followed the ideal healing and adaptation process; or said another way, it would appear, my body was rejecting it. I am only able to say this now; having incurred three visits to a physician's office (actually four) and three different courses of antibiotics (as the piercing site was subject to a reoccurring infection). I didn't have this issue with either of the previous two piercings. The final visit had the doctor taking a swab (mine from the previous visit was "negative") and recommending I remove the ring to allow the site to drain and heal.

For the remainder of the week I have been soaking my ear in epsom salts, using hydrogen peroxide and tea tree oil soap washes. The site "settled down" noticeable over-night, there was no further purulent discharge soon thereafter.  Two days later only the slightest little bit of serous drainage and today, the site has that periodic itchy feel of a "wound" healing.

I thought I would see about reinserting the ring; it would seem however, that the site has already healed over.  Today also happened to be my second tai chi session this week. Among other things the idea of "pushing through" versus allowing, was discussed. When I think of how this applies to my ear, obviously, I could likely push the ring through the newly healing tissue; to re-establish it once again, where it was removed from. Or I could go to the place I had it done and they might do the same, or re-pierce it (likely with an associated cost). But monetary consideration aside, what is the cost; what is to be gained, by forcing this "foreign object," back into my body?

I did not neglect the ear after the original piercing. I followed the care instructions and completed each of the prescribed antibiotics regimens - to no avail. It seems clear to me, I asked my body to take on this piece of adornment and the answer was NO!

I can see through this seemingly benign set of occurrences how my mind could be allowed to over-ride the physical message. "I paid for the ring and piercing, I paid for three different prescriptions of antibiotics...." I'm into this now, for probably over one hundred dollars and for what? If I were to allow the financial consideration to rule the day, I might succumb to the notion that if I don't carry on and successfully reinsert this thing - I'm "out" all that money (as well as time for clinic visits and minimal pain and discomfort).

Am I really out anything? I still have my ear - that's a damn good deal! Without over-dramatizing, let's say I kept insisting on assertion of my will-power (i.e. "I'm going to beat this thing") so I re-injure myself to break through the healed earlobe again (inviting the re-occurring infection - which can be come increasingly resistant to antibiotics due to repetitive use and then I've got a "super-bug."

I know from years of working in hospital settings, that people who wound up with necrotizing fasciitis  (flesh-eating disease) didn't necessary have a horrendous wound to begin with. I am neither fear-mongering, nor over-dramatizing, I'm just illustrating a point. There are bound to be any number of causative factors in those more extreme examples I've cited. Maybe there's more than meets the eye with regard to why this piercing wouldn't heal properly for me.

I choose to take the advisement of the situation as a message from my body. The rapid healing once the ring was removed seems to me to be telling. It's like the door closed - literally. Am I then going to force it back open? Not this time!

The other thing I have been "dealing with" over an extended period of time is, intermittently exceedingly painful feet. I'm no stranger to plantar fasciitis; and though I had been symptom free for a very long time, it returned with a vengeance this time; to difference areas of the feet. I've utilized multiple common interventions with varying degrees of relief. I have read references to pain in the body being "stuck energy." I noticed after my first tai chi session that the pain in the worst of the two feet was gone and "the knot" at it's source had considerably softened. This was in addition to just an overall increased sense of well being and energy. The clear message to me was - even though I don't "know" what is transpiring with regard to my body and this practice; I must allow myself to further experience what my body is clearly asking for.

I might add, that I am currently quite active; weights, cycling, walking (though the walking can be hampered by the feet situation) and even my work in the care facility is pretty physical.  Certainly the work in and of itself, is not adequate to maintain overall wellness. If anything a wellness practice is necessary in order for me to do the work. I am excited to further explore this conversation with my body as it points me in the direction of what it wants and needs as well as expressing quite adamantly,  what it doesn't need.

As is increasingly becoming my practice, I'm not suggesting that what my body needs is appropriate for any other body. I expect that others will honour and respect their body as they are guided.

At this stage of my life I am softening into a relationship of love and appreciation for my body. It has carried me through thick and thin for just shy of 57 years (birthday in a little over two weeks). I'm operating on the premise that I have many years to look forward to; while at the same time recognizing, that continued quality of life, cannot be obtained through the same neglect and unconsciousness, that have been the ear-mark, (pun intended) through much of my life.

Wednesday, 10 August 2016

Let's be Real (What is that Anyway?)

Today was to be a day of altered realities. Now there was a time in my life when I intentionally tried to alter reality - this took place over a fairly significant period of time; some fifteen years, all told. The thing is, to my knowledge I didn't alter reality - I suppose I only altered my perception of reality. Much then that was occurring or not occurring in my life, didn't change; but I was allowed windows of time that I could forget about it, or not care at all. I'm not now suggesting, this was a healthy means to adjust/cope with the external stimuli (and my internal translation of it);nor can I be sure, what the lasting benefits were; despite, the intermittent detriment that presented, in it's various manifestations. It most certainly lended itself, to shake up my perceptions, of what I would have thought "was carved in stone" - even, where stones themselves were concerned!

Today's variations on reality were similar, in that they were directly involving "my reality;" though the delivery mechanism was appreciably gentler (although one did still involve..... gasp... DRUGS!)

My first foray into altered reality was by nine in the morning, I was at a local green spot/playground and learning/doing some tai chi. Does tai chi "alter reality?" Well.... I have trained in martial arts in the past (quite extensively - 5+years) I have also dabbled with Qi Gong - but I have never had a tai chi practice (nor do I currently - I went today and we planned to meet again in two days); so, I won't be able to say how it alters reality over the long term, until I have spent a long term doing it.

The reality that was "altered," was that I was out there doing it. It was an incredible way to start off the day - even though it wasn't the "start of my day." I had leisure time at home to enjoy reading and contemplation; having got up shortly after 6:00 a.m. I had considered going back to bed when I had  first got up to the call of nature; but once up, I was excited to commence the day. I was eagerly anticipating the tai chi - which didn't disappoint.

It was great to be outside - in a green space. moving my body, learning something new - the benefits of which were immediately realized (at least those of a shorter term variety) the connection and fellowship were also a welcome "eye-opener!" An added bonus was the fellow I met with, brought his dog along - I happen to love dogs (what's not to love?) so she provided plenty of demonstrations of the joy of movement and spontaneous play.

The second altered reality experience was brought about as the result of an eye exam. I haven't had one for quite some time and was wanting to look into getting back into some form of contact lens. The exam revealed that my eyes were in excellent health - nothing had changed with regard to my corrective lens prescription - which is all good to know. Regarding the glasses that I wear most often - I enjoy revealing that "these are not "retro-70's" glasses - they are 70's glasses! The "drugs" I mentioned earlier, are the eye drops they use to dilate the pupils; in order to see more entirely, the inside surfaces of the eye. I had fore-telling of this when I booked the appointment, so I made sure I had my clip-on sun glasses to wear afterwards. Even with the shades, it was "trippy" walking outside. First of all it was extremely bright! As well, visual perception was "altered" and some movement induced a bit of a "woozy" sensation. It has been twenty-nine (plus) years since I actively and intentionally (can't really say consciously) sought these sorts of experiences daily. It wasn't so much that it was upsetting or unpleasant - it was just really strange. I can see why they recommend you don't drive. I chose to walk/and ride the bus. I am grateful to now-a-days be content with seeking an expanded perception of reality - without so much falling down!

The same little shopping centre where the optometrist clinic is, also includes,one of the chain of grocery stores I frequent, when ever I'm in the vicinity of one of them. I particularly like their "deli." The also happened to be a "Planet Organic" market there as well. I haven't been in there for quite sometime. I decided to check out their deli and got myself a great 3 course vegetarian meal to bring home. I don't frequent that deli because I suppose, I haven't considered it "convenient." Truth is, it's probably only a 10-15 min. bus ride and certainly within cycling distance - I'll be back!

In conclusion or, to summarize the day, "altered reality" doesn't have to be centered around inebriation necessarily. It can be brought about at anytime one decides to have an altered experience of themselves in either a familiar circumstance, or in something brand new. I loved that today was comprised of not only things that "are good for me" -  there are any number of things that might well be beneficial to me in the long run, but that I'm not "ga-ga" about at the time.  I know unequivocally that the activities I allowed myself today were "good for me" specifically (in other words, they were in alignment with who I am and what I needed today).

The distinction for me can be made by, regardless of what I might have looked like doing the Tai chi, (clearly my technique/form is presently at a maximum potential for evolution/refinement) inside me - where the tires hit the pavement - I caught a glimpse of Nirvana! - sans Kurt Cobain.

Monday, 8 August 2016

To "Be the Light" - Lighten Up!

Though I have had quite a diverse range of experiences over the period of time that I have frequently thought of as my "spiritual quest;" things like sweat lodges, fire & pipe ceremonies, some world travel, sacred sites, tombs, cathedrals, wells, stone circles (not to mention the psychedelic '70's which admittedly, were observed with nothing akin to reverence) a far closer to home experience today was every bit as uplifting and soul-satisfying.

Even though the above list is fairly concentrated, having occurred over about an eight year period of my life; it only represents a small percentage of my overall life. As such, I both look forward to additional varieties of experience in this same vane; but I know longer restrict the "spiritual" development of my life to just such experiences. Therefore, my whole life has been and continues to be a spiritual experience!

The experience I referred to earlier took place at the local pool. I had been in the weight room and then the pool swimming doing a few lengths (25m intervals). Come to think of it, that in itself was amazing. I love the feeling of being in the water - once I'm in the water! Getting there - psychologically, can be a bit like pulling teeth! There's this whiny little segment of my psyche that places a great deal of care and concern around "not wanting to get wet." When I say "whiny," I don't at all mean to be demeaning - it's just the most accurate way to describe it. I don't know exactly where this stems from - for sure, in the name of personal integration etc. it's a "call for love" (more specifically from me). Anyway I was happy to have completed 6 lengths in the pool (I haven't done any swimming for awhile) - when a voice came over the P.A. system - "the water slide is now open."

Well then, the hell with swimming lengths - the water slide is open! By the time I put my goggles and stuff somewhere near the exit of the slide and walked back to the "stairway to heaven" there was already quite a line up. I was by far, the elder of those eagerly anticipating some slip sliding thrills. Even the one mother accompanying her daughter and the pool attendant at the top of the stairs, were still "wet behind the ears" - not necessarily from being at a swimming pool.

As we inched our way up the stairway I was enjoying the "bird's eye view of the pool. There was a women still swimming lengths in the "fast-lane" where I had previous been doing my laps. The only reason I went in that lane to begin with was that there was no one else in it at first. When I saw her approaching with her "speedo" suit, goggles and swimming cap - it looked to me like she meant business. I just got straight to the heart of the matter - "are you actually a fast swimmer."

It never occurred to me that she would take that as a challenge. She replied, "I used to be, back when I lived in Toronto, but I haven't swam competitively for quite sometime."

No wonder she perceived a "challenge" she had a competitive back ground.

"The only reason I asked, was that I am not - I just got in this lane because when I arrived, it was empty." "I'll get out of your way." It's possible I could be a faster swimmer - if, I did it with more consistency to build up both the technique and the endurance; at present that is not the case. But, I was there today!

Anyway, from up above I could see this women's "technique" it was a good visual of some pointers a friend was giving me sometime ago. Even when she demo-ed it in the pool, I couldn't "see" exactly what she was describing; I realize now, because I was in the pool. From up above, I could see it clearly. In that moment I got it! Who knows if I can translate it back to my own swimming stroke, but at least now I have made a connection between what was being described and what it looks like.

I got up to the front of the line - so in a matter of moments it would be "go time!" The previous slider got far enough down the slide that I was given my cue to go ahead. Both hands on the bar at the starting gate, I swung myself under and launched. Immediately I bridged my upper body - this leaves feet and shoulder blades in contact with the slide (less friction) more speed!!! A old water slide technique I picked up (probably from some kid). No question, I was flying down that slide!! Probably  all it could do to contain my hurdling form from rocketing right out over the side.  Just at the top of the slide I got slapped in the side the face with a spray of water (I wondered if my contact lens was still in place) aah - who cares, I'm about to break the land speed record!

I came toward the bottom of the slide - I was ready for the wash of water that hits you as you decelerate (breathing out - eyes closed.... perfectly executed!) I stood up and shook the water out of my ears and then noticed.... sure enough, one eye 20/20 ish vision the other, not so much. I guess I blew that lens out after all. No matter, clearly that was the slide of the century. I went into the change room where I could look in a mirror (to verify the lens situation) turns out it had just rolled up under my eye lid. Happy that my last remaining set of lenses still remained, I went back to the pool deck. I had in mind some time in the whirlpool, then steam and then even a short interval in a deck chair in the sun on the patio outside the centre; with this vision in mind and the fore-knowing, I worked in a few hours and wanted time to get home and just chill - I didn't do any more slide. Besides, there was no possible way to top the previous ride, it was destined to be unequalled.

I would do well to remember that "spiritual pleasures"/advancement etc. don't have to involve "other-worldly events or phenomenon; sometimes (often-times) they involve engagement right here on Mother Earth - right here in this dimension. I "answered the call"- in this case the call was, "the slide is opening....."

There was no: "I'm too old for this" "what will everyone in the line think?" "I might hurt myself!"
There was just the freedom to spontaneously and authentically respond to the opportunity in the moment and allow some playful joy. I had, after all a world record to break! No question in my mind that I attained my goal, I didn't sully my realty by looking for any outside verification - therefore the record stands!!

I didn't "know" I was going to do the slide today - I never even know when they are going to open it. For the most part when I randomly go to the pool, I do so, during a time frame that works for me that day. If it happens to coincide with a "family swim" - then I think that is when they open the slide.

The point is - at least for me is, the pursuit of esoteric/other worldly communication, knowing, connection, "enlightenment" etc. is worth precious little, if it is of no "worldly good." No good talking to angels - if one can't converse with their neighbour or the cell phone company (that still remains to be a growing edge for me) the double-talk, lack of attention or maybe even intention to follow through on what has been promised; tries my patience to the nth degree!!) I suppose I can be grateful for that -  I am shown the end of my patience and perhaps I'm being mirrored some part of myself that I have disowned; if so, I could perhaps deepen my own ability to be in integrity.

I'm not saying that waterslides are the path to nirvana for everyone (but they might be). However, play of some sort, most certainly is. Where is it written, that the pursuit of "spirituality" has to be all dire and serious? Well.. maybe it is written somewhere, but that's just someone's spin on it. Doesn't make it true for everyone.

I'm also not about to try and define for anyone else what the path should be comprised of. For me, there needs to be some pretty healthy doses of fun and joy - or what's the point? A mind-set that suggests continued suffering is required, doesn't interest me. I'm here to fully enjoy - being here; so then to me, an altered reality might be useful if it expands my ability to be here, but is of little service if it is for the purpose of "escaping" this reality.

I know full well there are some challenging feelings etc. to go through when one is on a "healing journey" - I am reminded of the line from one of the Psalms : "Yea though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death......." note it says "walks through" not purchase some real estate and live there. So you see, I'm not advocating "the spiritual by-pass" (ignoring the "shadow," "darker/more painful feelings") but neither am suggesting one dwell there any longer than need be to work through it.

I will then leave you with (as it turns out now, a timely mantra):

"Let the Games Begin!"

Saturday, 6 August 2016

Guest List

A glance across the dining hall
Reveals a seemingly uninvited guest
I fail to see your name - Despair?
Though not among those on the list
I bid you welcome.

What then, brings you to my door?
You call to me,
The longer you live, against your truth
Cease this - and you will hail: Authenticity!

Who is that you have brought with you?
Allow me to introduce - Restlessness!
If only you would embrace
The life you have
You then could warm yourself
At the hearth of - Maturity!

There is no there, that is "better" than here
There is no when nor then,
Which is superior to now!
Knowing that within you
Lies the answer to any circumstance
Wherever you are
Is the right time
And the right place
Welcome - Self-Confidence!

Surrender the need to be right
In doing so
You will
Do wrong far less frequently
Thus begins the courtship
And walk with - Humility!

Take note
Of that which
You heap upon your plate
People, places and things
Which are toxic to your being
Discernment will yield, Love of self!

Fear not
Confrontation or Conflict
With yourself or others
Throughout the Universe
Collisions bring forth new life.

Seek Fulfillment
Through what brings you
Joy and Happiness
Beware the false flag alliance
Of Complexity and Grandiosity!

Discover the innate pleasures
Of - Simplicity!
With whose fibres
You can weave
The mosaic of - Peace!

Thursday, 4 August 2016

What Light Through Yonder Tunnel Breaks?

With the glut of negativity circulating in daily discourse now-a-days even for someone like myself;  without television, radio or newspaper connections in my home, one can't help but have some of these stories infiltrate their consciousness. If you read these musings of mine, then you would know I am internet "connected" - so even though I don't seek a steady diet of catastrophe and mayhem, some news of such events continues to reach me.

It is not my intention to set myself a part and claim superiority due to my conscious intention to limit my exposure to the media's presentation of "the world" - I just don't see any value in directing anymore energy there. I am more interested in how I go about, making the world a better place through contribution.

Before anyone accuses me of "sticking my head in the sand" (like an ostrich) I just read the other day, that in fact, ostriches don't stick their heads in the sand "to hide;" they bury their eggs and occasionally will burrow down and rotate the eggs as part of the incubation process. So then, so much for that myth! I don't happen to believe that obsessing over ever sordid detail of these news stories serves any useful purpose.

I fail to see how joining the chorus of people ranting and raving; further spreading anger, violent viewpoints and fear, makes the world any less subject to those very things.

There is so much good going on in the world - all day, every day, everywhere; why not focus on that?

In this world where hyper-cynicism and doom and gloom prognosticators monopolize the airwaves, I neither want to dwell there - nor continually feed more of it.  Therefore I offer the following anecdote; one that reenforces for me that I am looked after (it's possible I keep my guardian angels busy around the clock) or at the very least, reaffirms that there are many people continuing to represent the best of humanity.

About four months ago I bought myself a new pair of 3/4 length pants. (I can hear the collective gasp- first he alludes to the whoas of the world and then starts rambling about new clothes - so out of touch!!!)

It so happens the pants are a necessary element of the story!  As well as regular hip pockets there is a zipper pocket on the side of each pant leg.  One of these pockets has become the designated spot for my small folding wallet; seldom is there cash in it, but it has all my "cards." Library card, recreation centre card, debit card, credit cards etc.

Though markedly improving, I have had some "learning curve" getting into the habit of zipping said pockets closed. So then, as of yesterday, I have now "lost" my wallet four times! Three of the four times I didn't even realize I had lost it. In one case, someone from the local pool called to say they had my wallet which someone found in the neighbourhood and brought it to them because they saw the pool pass. Another time the security guard that "walks the beat" around the block where I often busk, handed it to me; someone in that neighbourhood had given it to him and he recognized my picture on the driver's license. Yesterday, I was on my dinner break at work and a call came in from Montreal. I first thought, " I don't know anyone in Montreal," hmm.... - but then I got the sense I should take the call. The call was a Visa rep. calling me to inform me that someone had found my wallet on the road (along the route I cycled to work earlier) and they had his contact info so that I could retrieve it. The first time I had been having coffee with a friend. We finished, and had started to drive away in her car when I realized I didn't have my wallet. I looked through my pockets and backpack - it was nowhere to be found. We circled back, and I ran back into the coffee shop thinking it fell out while I was sitting at the counter. It wasn't there and the staff hadn't found it. As I was coming out of the shop my friend was running toward me - while waiting for me, she noticed another women pick something up from the road outside where we were parked and "thought" it looked like my wallet - which it was!

Each time my wallet was returned to me with everything intact. And no, nobody went on any spending sprees with my credit cards.

I happen to believe that everything works out for me; I have no predilection on exactly how that will go down, just that it will. And so it does! I did lose my cell phone not so long ago much the same way; though I didn't get that phone back I did manage to get a new phone through the same provider. With some "persuasion"/negotiating; I got better features, a slightly lower rate and no early contract renewal penalty.

Now I could see many people being quick to dismiss any one of these incidents as my "being lucky" and begrudgingly acknowledging that "at least there is one honest person left in the world; but five times!!?

Call me "little Robbie-Anna" if you will, still I'm going to maintain that as Louis Armstrong crooned: "It's a Wonderful World."

By all means continue to embrace the grey cloud rather than the silver lining and far be it for me, to rattle your "I'm not being pessimistic I'm realistic" cage.