Wednesday, 27 December 2017

Transformation - Not Resolution...

I received a .gif video file from a friend today. I believe I have the technical terms correct. It depicts a clock which first depicts juxtapositioned as each of the numerical references on the face; a series of qualities/experiences to be released from 2017.

The list includes: Stress, Anxiety, Disappointment, Disease, Corruption, Hate, Setbacks, Failures, Regrets, Chaos, Darkness.

I don't think it would require much convincing to suggest, this lot most certainly ought to be considered for release, in no uncertain terms. Yikes!!!

Now before you presume I'm about to suggest a "head in the sand" posturing; or some form of "spiritual by-pass" - I am not.

I acknowledge that I will potentially have moments with some of these, combinations thereof - hell, all of them at once - even before getting out of bed on some occasions.

This seems as good a time as any to offer the list that appears as seeds of inspiration for 2018:

Bright, Healthy, Successful, Prosperous, Peaceful, Exciting, Loving, Calm, Positive,  Beautiful, Hopeful.

Now then, just as I am not saying I will avoid or eliminate the occurrence of the former list; I'm not suggesting, that I will embody the latter list all day every day.

Of the former list, I can continue to ferret out, in what ways any of these qualities are influencing my life. I can develop a new resolve in the face of failure and setbacks. I assure you,  I know they are coming. I have set in motion a long standing dream that involves (for me) "playing a far bigger game" - I don't even know where my comfort zone is anymore. Which means there's no shortage of the unknown (truly I suppose there always is - I'm just not deluding myself, with the false illusion "that I know.."anymore) learning curves abound. What does that mean? Failure, unforeseen setbacks, miscommunications, lack of understanding, targets attained, targets missed.... Wrong feck'n target altogether!!! The "Success" of the latter list cannot come without the "Failures" of the former list.

I believe the point to be, not to be overwhelmed in the face of the presentation; of what resides, on the first list. And especially, don't allow fear of experiencing any or all of it, to prevent taking the shot. For me, there is a stark distinction between the "disappointment" experienced in a failure or setback (which I see as being "acute"/short-term in nature) & the chronic pain of the anguish experienced ignoring ones own soul-yearnings.  Someone once said, "the difference between a Master and a beginner, is the master has failed more times than the beginner has even tried." So failure is not to be avoided, feared or the source of damnation - it is just another brick in the path..

So the former list of experiences is not going anywhere... if I'm not experiencing them personally; they are occurring constantly, in the world around me. I believe the difference is, "where do I want to focus my attention?"

I can anchor my intentions in the latter list qualities. What will it take for me, to develop a more consistent embodiment of that spectrum of energies and experiences? If I find myself "up against" list "A" occupants .... what is required to move even every so slightly, toward elements of List "B." I realize none of this is a linear process .. but for the sake of discussion, even a step toward "Brightness" from the "Darkness.." is an affirmative, positive, empowering move.

A constant focus on all that is dark, corrupt and negative in the world; will do nothing, to resolve any of it. If it could, it would have happened long ago. That's my observation. My experience, is at various places in my life, I saw nothing but, the dark clouds. If you dared to present me a "silver lining;" I would just spend some time, weaving it in a dark cloud of its own.

I spent 15 years of my life in active addictions. Now over 30 years clean & sober, still, within that period of time; I've experienced, divorce and "reassignment of assets" (many of which were assigned - Gone), an extended period of no visible income (while I still had a mortgage) ... death of both parents in the same year... legal battles - in my early sobriety (everything seemed so bleak I contemplated and planned everyday for two months, my suicide - a personal spiritual experience rerouted that trajectory)

I know the darkness, I know chaos, disappointment, corruption etc.  I also had some "hard-ass" teachers (many were the qualities on that list) but also, those individuals that came into my life, that pointed out to me, in no uncertain terms, the part I played in creating my own catastrophes. (one can become so accustomed to chaos and disaster ... it is actually uncomfortable; should it subside, for any length of time..) and then what do you suppose I would do in that case.... simple, go and stir up some chaos.. ah- now, that is familiar... Speaking of "Hate" - I despised those guys (my teachers) when they exposed these parts of me to me.... until I realized the hatred was me .. toward me - that they were helping set me on a path to freedom, from these ways of being and believing...

I don't presume to have all the answers to all the pathology and circumstances that are a part of various experiences. I do believe, that attitude and mindset, can have a marked influence on any situation. I don't claim to be the sole author of my transformation - I have been incrementally willing; to do what it takes, to allow my soul, to author transformation. It has not been easy - there was no "Polly-Anna" anywhere to be seen.. there was, copious amounts of facing myself.

I fully intend to experience as much and as many qualities on that latter list as I possibly can.  I will bring them into being ... by being them in what I bring.... I don't know any other way. This is my version of Gandhi's "We must be the change we wish to see in the world..."

Monday, 25 December 2017

Christmas - For an Old Dog, New Tricks

Walking in a winter wonderland ... a familiar "theme" certainly not something that is assured on the Westcoast of Canada at all, let alone Christmas day. However the elementals saw fit to powder the landscape beginning last night (Christmas eve). I had accepted an invitation to accompany a friend to a United Church (Caroling service).. I love to belt out the Christmas tunes.. well in truth, I love to belt out anything I can remember the words to!!  I wasn't sure what to expect from brand "United," I understood them to be a rather "liberal" representation of Christianity. Is it any wonder, it takes something to reveal the love in the message of various pathways - when it is buried in layers of categorization ... one can spend so much time unraveling and determining the wrapping, that they entirely forget about the gift...

It was interesting to notice I was far more consciously aware of the theology woven into the fabric of some of the Christmas standards. I found myself unable to bring heart and soul into some lyrics, while singing, simply because it's not true for me.... therefore I won't affirm it, throughout my being.

Of the whole proceedings, there was a interlude where the minister invited people to call out the names of people or collectives to be included in prayer; for each she lit a candle... I felt the growing power of that collective flame and was moved by the experience of it...

Today, being Christmas day and that the snow remained, meant there was no need to "dream" of a White Christmas; it was so. I lit the dollar store lights on the poinsettia (which is the central presence on the altar that is serving as my physical representation of the Holy Days... Other than the plant $3.99 and the lights... the rest of it is various articles already in my possession.  (i.e. two coasters both of which were gifts... one depicting the "O'Neill clan coat of arms, the other the "Green Man.." both figure into my ongoing journey) a small "Celtic cross" I acquire somewhere in Ireland this last time over there, pictures of Mother Mary & Jesus representational of an ongoing relationship I seek with them ... outside of popular theology, and a stone found in Ireland - with a natural hole in it - I keep finding those (and then giving them away)... I guess it has something to do with a belief that, certain things are acquired by the act of giving.... it's possible I'll keep this one - it would seem I'm meant to have one.  Perhaps if one kept it long enough, the continued assertion of this powerful talisman into my life, might become more clear..

I treated myself to the food items I had purchased for my "Christmas breakfast" .... half a grapefruit and a cinnamon raisin bagel... simple and yet special, in as much as not my typical fare...

Later in the day a friend suggested a walk ... hence the manifestation of living the song.... It really was beautiful ...enough snow to create the Christmas card imagery ... along with a return to temperatures that were going to simulate a "Spring thaw" when we're only 4 days into winter.. Again, that would be some of the attributes of living in a "temperate rainforest" zone (more categorizations).

I have spent virtually nothing specifically on Christmas this year..  last year I was around a diversity of different people and activity ... there was ceremony collective and private. This year .... given I'm not part of a group of people (related or otherwise) where the whole gift exchange thing is going on - so it isn't. I lack nothing or want for anything. Actually, I have too much. Bags full of stuff have been leaving out of my apartment, since returning here & I'm not done yet. I didn't feel compelled to scramble and try and find somewhere to be for "Christmas dinner"- I will have dinner, and it will be on Christmas; I don't even know what "hungry" really means (experientially) ....

The glory of nature, fresh air and exercise, the warm and companionship of a friend - the epitome of prosperity. We saw (what we believed to have been a Cormorant air drying it's wings, a peacock, a squirrel... we shared in the understated but ever present majesty, of the host of different trees in our world renowned park. Insist if you will that it is "winter," but the trees are already forming buds which will become leaves & in some cases flowers..

Either end of the walk was framed in tea latte's (made possible by those that are willing to show up to work on Christmas day)...

As the parting of the ways was unfolding for my walking companion and I ... I noticed a fellow sitting beneath a tree on our route.. I made a mental note to revisit him on my way back to the car..

There he sat (half laying) in his makeshift cardboard "manger" strewn upon the ground to act as a barrier between him and the snow covered wet ground. The cardboard was showing signs of it's propensity for wicking moisture.. His "worldly" belongings were scattered around him. I got "nothing for Christmas.." This angel from God, was there to make me aware I had everything and then some.

 'Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.' - Matthew 25:40  words attributed to Jesus/Yeshua - who knows if he actually said that? Does it matter? The words are striking enough to me ... to have me search my heart... (and I'm no biblical scholar ... the reference to those words was impressed upon me right now.. as I write this - I had to "Google it" to get that version of the words..

I dug a five dollar note out of my pocket, I was given that back from the purchase of beverages I bought for the dinner I had last night (and I drank one of them). It is roughly the equivalent of each of the two tea lattes I mentioned. God knows I didn't need another one of those.. The fellow's face just lit up to receive this small gift. I placed it his hat along with the assorted coins.. "Oh, that might blow away," he says.. "Right," I replied.. "Here you better tuck that in your pocket..." (I know the practice is put the "folding money" away and just leave the coins ... even "too many" of those might "threaten" continued contribution .. the optics are not favourable ... if there's too much money in the pot... ) - I know this because once while busking a fellow stopped and "suggested" I put the "folding money" away - people will stop "tipping" if you've got too much.." It never occurred to me, I wasn't prepared to adopt this scarcity thinking.... I value what I do, when I've had a good set, I allow the "take" to reflect the current monetary exchange... I have no need to manipulate reality or people's generosity ... there are too, security reasons, to not have too much money lying around.. 

Anyway, knowing all this, I just went along with his statement... the guy is on the ground, panhandling on Christmas day - am I going to further compromise his dignity? No, I am not.. We exchanged some banter ... neighbourhood news and weather observations.. and I wished him well..

Will that "contribution" either financial or the time spent in otherwise benign conversation, change his life? I have no idea. If there were anything open that night serving food, he would have had enough to get a decent meal. If his aim was to rent a room for the night, maybe, maybe not. If what he was after was a bottle of grog... more than enough. None of it ... any of my business.

Maybe he wasn't there for me to "change his life.." maybe the point was to have some impact on the ongoing changing of my life. An opportunity to practice some compassion and empathy. A chance to deepen in capacity for generosity. A grand reminder of the wealth that is mine, how much I have to be grateful for. How very little it takes to brighten someone else's day. An opportunity to further redefine for myself some meaning and purpose. Who's to say, that wasn't Jesus himself, lying there?

If not a contribution to "Jesus" ... what of any notion I might have, about growing "spiritually" - I can read books galore about the development of "Christ consciousness" .... I know to be true, that will never be as influential, as more consistently, applying in my life & then, acting in the world, from a  consciousness, that I believe aligns, with the master teacher. (what would "Yeshua" do?.... I suppose to be far more, than a rhetorical question or bumper sticker). It is said God cannot do for anyone, what cannot be done through them... To experience the love of God then, is to be the love of God. Growing in Christ consciousness, doesn't mean an ability to talk about it longer.... it is arrived at by being/doing it....

This is no sermon ... it's not mine to "convert" anyone.. As has always been, the content of my written expression, I share my exploration, my questionsChris and my direct experience. I have no need to convince anyone of its validity.

I've been home now had a shower, put on another change of clean clothes.. if not another thing occurs today this Christmas evening - it matters not, my cup is full beyond capacity..

"Glory be to God in the highest... peace and goodwill toward all!!! (I think they say that somewhere, around about this time of year). 

Sunday, 24 December 2017

A Day that Anticipates Tomorrow

What is it to "place God first?

As in: 1) God
           2) Self
           3) Others

What might that look like - though a linear list, I suggest that it's observance is embraced in a more simultaneous manner. The "order" of priority still intact - it might even be, that the focus is broken down and applied to each of its components; particularly if any one or combination thereof, has been neglected. It then might take some continued attention on it's elements; in order for the whole to be addressed, and the practice develops, habituated focus.

But like so many aspects of life it's not an either/or proposition. Not something to judge oneself or assess on some "pass/fail" gradient.. Each is part of the whole, which suffers, if any of it's integral composition is ignored.

Can't get it wrong or incomplete, as one is always in relation to all of it. It's just then becomes a question of whether the current approach is satisfactory & what, where, & when - needs tweaking.

Enough about that... Holidays/Holy-days: what, is to be, in order to make them meaningful? Well certainly, they might be expanded in consciousness,to include the sanctity of everyday. In doing so more space is considered throughout the year; for reverence and celebration, and what is going on in life and the year as a whole - would not be diminished, by a handful of days, being giving an inordinate amount, of attention and expectations.

Life trajectory & values, visions, inspired action - don't take holidays. I'm not then implying there is no respite, reflective interval or restoration; that frenzied pursuit be utilized, to avoid the frenzied pursuit, of the holidays. Rather I submit, holy-days - wholeness, all day, every day might be considered to continue to include your visions, goals, projects, dreams, aspirations; as a statement of celebration. It would encompass holding sacred, your heart and soul, in the midst of the holiday season.

To abandon your "work"/purpose, that which your soul calls into being (for the highest good of more than just you) to a season of excess; is counter-productive if celebration and reverence, is to be observed.

Consider that celebration,   could be seen as;  uplifting, honouring, inspiring, invigorating,  (not challenge-free) and continues in alignment with your heart and soul.

If instead, the consequences are exhaustion, financial/emotional indebtedness & depression; where is the love in that?

A celebration that honours life, the divine, creation, connection, humanity should lead to further enthusiasm and zeal ...... not result in the another cycle of, or a deepening of suffering..

Friday, 22 December 2017

Solstice Magic

Why does a guy drive over 100 kms. each way to be part of a Solstice Celebration; where he doesn't even know how to get there, or anyone that will be there?

In a word: Guidance.

The synchronicity ladened signs appeared a plenty; which just served to kick my curiosity into overdrive. It began when, while having coffee with a new friend, the event was brought to my attention. Featured as part of the evening was to be a labyrinth walk. For anyone that is not aware, this is significant to me; as my recently completed and released book, which utilized a 40 day practice of walking a labyrinth. What better way then, to celebrate and reflect on the longest night and the return of the light. I completely understand if you, dear reader, do not share my enthusiasm.

I knew nothing of this venue before, or their labyrinth. It's name by the way: "Bethlehem Centre" their "Mission," - Spirituality Without Borders"

BETHLEHEM CENTRE!!! - 'Tis the season after all.. is it not?

And spirituality without borders....

I could tell you with a great deal more words, what my heart & soul lives for; or I could just say, "That's it!!"

My friend informed me she had contacted the person facilitating the labyrinth walk; to let her know I was coming. Her name was Holly!

So, we have a Winter Solstice Celebration, with a labyrinth walk, at Bethlehem, with Holly. Seriously how could I not go?" The only thing one might consider to complete the evening, would be snow (not assured here on the west coast at all) - but on this occasion, it was provided. Thank you to my ancestors from the North (of Ireland).

Regarding the snow, earlier in the week, when the reports of snowfall for points on the island north of Victoria (we got none in the city) and associated road conditions came out; I wondered if I'd be going at all.

With 2 or 3 days to go, during which, anything could happen, I decided to trust, that I was meant to be there - I would.

The day came, I looked online , the temperature was to drop to below freezing - but the roads were clear. Good enough for me! If more snow were to fall once I'm up there - no problem! I'd deal with what is - if and when, it was.

I took the extra measure to check with the rental car place, to see if they had chains available. When I got to their lot, I learned the car was already equipped with winter rated tires. Okay then, forget the chains..

I had performed some Jedi memory SNAFU and upon checking the event notice discovered,  the start time, was quite significantly earlier than I thought. This meant I wouldn't stop for fuel or a road trip beverage until I go out of the city traffic. I also knew, just outside of town, there is major construction on the highway.

Calling in all my angels and guides, I asked them to facilitate an easeful journey. Their answer to that was, "then you're going to want to take an alternative route out of town, to then connect with the highway north of the construction.

"Good idea, thank you!"

I have to admit as much as I understand the "flag persons" at the construction site, are just doing their job and are endeavouring to keep, a safe flow of traffic going through... Sometimes those neon signs and jacket/vests they wear, occur to me to be "bulls-eyes.." So then, so much the better, to peacefully avoid the whole thing..

Traffic was light and as I got further out of town the snow-line appeared. The remaining snow cover thickened as I proceeded north. When I approached the section of island highway that climbs to some three hundred odd metres, it was apparent, that there had been quite a snowfall earlier in the week. The roads were mostly clear.

I did encounter the "must carry chains beyond this point" signs
(Sign.. sign.. everywhere a sign...)

I've got Winter Solstice snow, a road trip - Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Lenny Kravitz, Leonard Cohen and Stevie Ray Vaughn... Check!!

The "need" for chains would only really apply if there were an accident and I was found to not be carrying them..
And there wasn't going to be any accident was there, my angels..??? Check!!

Go North young man.....
There's not a sliver of a chance I'm turning around now! I'm only a few kilometres away from a Chai latte!! Check!!

Beverage in hand - I'm on the road again. Now the rental car's version of 2001 A Space Odyssey's "Hal" lights up on the dashboard and informs me the rear passenger side tire is low on air. No problem, I'm stopping for fuel - I'll top it up then.

Back on the road the onboard electronic seer then informs me, the roads may be icy and advises - drive with caution... "What have I been doing?" & by the way, thanks for the news flash on the driving conditions."

Hal responded, passenger side front tire now under inflated.

I've been driving around on & off with this car for days now, and not one, but two tires need air - not ten minutes a part??? So I pull into another service station and deal with that tire & resume the drive. Technology is in my life.. a serenity check... (sometimes I'm in awe and appreciation others times I'm visualizing smashing it, burning it, blowing it up and then having tea....)

It is lightly snowing now which adds to the magic. As I get closer to the city of Nanaimo, I switched on the data feature of my phone to take advantage of some Google Maps guidance. I'll have to visit the centre another time in daylight; I have no idea  how I got there; but God through google, got me there without incident, and with two minutes to spare before the start time.

From the car park I "followed the light" (it is Solstice after all) that took me to a cluster of buildings. When I was arriving, two other people got out of their car - however while I was securing stuff in the trunk of my car, I lost sight of them. As I was approaching the buildings which were all a glow; watching my footing on the icy road way; I was thinking, "those new hiking boots back home in my closet would be good about now &; I should have kept my eyes, on where those other two women went.

Just then another women came out of a doorway & asked me if I was here for the Solstice gathering. When I indicated I was, she said, "well then, you're going to want to follow me to the chapel.."

"Yes I am, thank you!!"

I got in, took a seat in the front row (one is always guaranteed a spot there, no matter when you show up at these events, as they're typically left empty).

And the music started.

We were led through a variety of call & response chanting - musical arrangements created by our host for this portion of the event- words by: Rumi, Hafiz, & Hilda von Bingen.

We wer also invited to join in and sing the chorus of "Here Comes the Sun" (a further synchronicity as only the day before, a dear soul friend, had posted her cover of that same song as a Solstice offering).

My angels are rather clever when it comes to conveying to me what I need to hear...
Thirty odd years ago, the night before my planned suicide, they spoke to me through the Beatles song "Help"

When I was younger so much younger than today
I never needed anybody's help in any way
Now those days are gone I'm not so self-assured
I need your help now - like I never done before........      Lennon/McCartney

Thank God!!!
Of course I didn't know what I was going to need to process for years to come, that were the roots of my intention to cut my life short.... (but that is just a blessed example of the wisdom and love of God) - if I knew, I would have bailed..

Back to Solstice.....

I get the "Long winter"
Return of the Sun/light association of - "Here Comes the Sun..."

But the song spoke differently to me this night..

I know only too well, of years of "long cold lonely winters " (even in summer) - completely disconnected from everything. Tonight the sun's return, symbolized directly and experientially, the reconnection to God & my soul

" I feel the ice is slowly melting...."

Is my heart awakening incrementally, to divine love; a piece meal journey, that has brought so many people & experiences into my life. I could feel it all sitting right there in my heart, in the chapel (& the chapel that is my heart) the vibrations of my own voice & all those harmonizing in the chamber..

What is a couple of hundred kilometres drive compared to a life time of disconnection? What a glorious evening, which had only just began. We hadn't even got to the labyrinth yet.

Or had we?

After the chanting portions was over we were invited to check out the gift shop & Labyrinth museum...


Gift abound!!

I wanted of course , to do it all!! I went to the gift shop where I loaded up on labyrinth related stuff (all of which I believe will feed into the expansion of the trajectory of my own vocation/services).

I was told by someone on the phone (Portia was here name) she was delightful, I'm sorry I didn't meet her this time; when I was registering for the meal; the gift shop is where I'd want to connect to see about having them carry my book. I spoke with the bookstore staff & they told me I'd want to send an outline of the book to the centre's executive director. One of the staff offered to get me one of her cards. I thanked her upon receiving the card; pleased that I had the opportunity to explore this possibility, and convinced I had done my "footwork."

I then went to the museum where there are some forty "finger labyrinth's hanging on the walls. Each is a hand made replica of various labyrinths from all around the world and from different times in history. All the labyrinths in the collection were made by a fellow that just passed over last year at the age of 91 ... he had created over 3,000 labyrinths....

I began talking to one of the other participants about my book & the forty day journey. Just then another woman turns & says, "I'm supposed to meet you," - aside from the fact I've never heard those words from a woman directed at me; I realized who she must be....

"Are you Holly?"

Indeed she was.... "I'm so very, very please to meet you!!" Our meeting and connection was rather well orchestrated. In the ensuing conversation, I offered her the gift of one of my books - she has labyrinth connections far & wide - behold the labyrinth weaving it's continued magic in my life.

As we were talking another woman joined us & Holly says, "Rob this is Kathleen - she's the executive director; you're going to want to tell her about your book!"

Indeed I am... and no better time than right now ... for me to present in the moment (rather than a scheduled meeting sometime in the future, over which I might ruminate, that my non-executive self, is going to present to someone in the realms of excutiveliness ) 

There was no such pretence in our conversation .. I turned to greet her and smiled in recognition and said, "why yes, hello again Kathleen, we met earlier on the road way"
She was the woman that greeted me & escorted me to the chapel to begin the evening..

I gave her a quick run down about my book, she said, "I very much think we'd be interested in carrying your book here. Do you suppose, you could leave me with a copy to have a look at and then we can be in touch in the New Year?"

"Absolutely - consider it done! "

We had dinner and then an opportunity to make lanterns to carry in the labyrinth. Holly gave a short talk about labyrinths and walking them. We were then led to the outdoor labyrinth at the centre. It is a replica of the pattern of the one on the floor at Chartre Cathedral in France. (it's only a matter of time before I go there ... I simply must!!) The path was delineated by the snow that had been cleared for our walk. It contrasted beautifully with the black stone slabs that make up the labyrinth's path. (8,300 of them) - the labyrinth is .61 km. in each direction. The whole thing was illuminated by lanterns.

I was the first to enter the labyrinth after getting an activating singing bowl blessing by Holly.

What a gorgeous sacred holy walk; each step brought forth waves of emotion, gratitude, love, wonder & awe. It took me through the innumerable steps around the labyrinth  6 yrs ago, that became the book that completed while I was in Ireland  this year. A trip that introduced me to some & deepened my connection with others - all of whom permanently reside in my heart. A book that continues even now to open doors, plant seeds, lay ground work and create possibility. This is more certainly a "Holy Book.." If you have one please don't let it languish on a shelf.... It is alive .. a portal to the grace and power of your own divinity. If you don't have one, first of all, if another author resonates for you please then, take their book of your shelf and let it work through you. If you are open to my particular style of expression then ... no collection is complete without this book... it is like no other book in the history of books.. I was reminded of a  "chance" discovery of a labyrinth in Cork, Ireland; while I wandered "lost" on my self-directed (though God directed) walking tour. All of it past, present & future a labyrinthine journey on the most awe-inspiring pathway through my heart & back to my Creator. I know less about that now; than when it was suggested over thirty years ago; that I find a "Power Greater Than myself... (a suggestion that was likened to ... if you jump from a plane ... it is "suggested" you have a parachute ... but, it is, up to you..)

But what I no longer "know" ....  is alive for me, within and through me
I want for every human being,  that they harness the potential within them and transform their world and our world in doing so..

Maybe it would all make a great book.... Then again - it has been & is, such a rich & eclectic journey; that I'm not sure I could articulate it comprehensively, or that anyone would believe it. I know that which I'm to express will be impressed upon me, when the time is to write (all I'll need to do is "take dictation..)

Now when I continue to proclaim: "What Goes Around Comes Around..."- which also happens to be the title of my book.... (you might consider the book) & you might recognize I'm not talking about some ego representation of retribution ... I'm talking about ... the limitless creative power, the source of all that is - that both created you and operates through you ... as you (and this story is just one wee example of what that could look like)

May your path - whatever it's design lead you to the divinity within & through you - and you know limitless connection and creativity yours for reclamation..

Happy Solstice......

Thursday, 21 December 2017

Oh My God

With God 
All things 
Are Possible..

God wants my success
God created me for success
God provided me 
With all I need for success
God knows the way
God is the way
God will show me the way
God only knows
God give me the choice
God awaits my call
God is not lost
God is hope
God is strength
God is peace
God is love 
God is

Thank God...

R. O'Neill (Winter Solstice  2017)

Wednesday, 20 December 2017

I am....

Disposable society
You sought to 
The best of me
In boxes
Of your design:


When my walk
Is then complete
You would 
Presume to exploit
Left behind
With one 
Last box 
To house 
My rotting flesh

There remains
No further cheek 
To turn..

A divine 
Soul-summoned rage
Fuels girded-loins
Nothing to defend

Upon life's 
An orchestrated scene
 To incite..
Not anger 
To be "managed"
To release
The righteous unapologetic declaration
Of a birthright

The battalion
Does not exist
That will 
A soul-guided trajectory
Nor silence a voice
Embraced in passion's flame

Legislation, protocols, dogmas
 All ways, shapes & forms
Must pale 
And bow to 
The divine 
Of self-definition

I seek
To align within
The fortitude 
Of my own "Haka"
The honour of 
The Samurai
The irrepressible fury
The "Berserkers"

The assimilation
Ends here.

R. O'Neill (December 20, 2017)

Friday, 15 December 2017

Heart to Heart

My Creator
Vast and awe-inspiring
Is your reach
I am breathless
Whilst attempting
To conceive 
The infinite
Scope of your reign
And design

It is with arms agape
And bended knee
That I approach 
Asking that you 
Further open 
The eyes of my Heart

Your love and compassion
Though limitless
Let it be
My responsibility
 To expand
 Your love 
Here on earth

Guide me
To deliver your comfort
Where I find the lonely
Let me be peace 
In the midst of turmoil
Help me
To deepen my
Empathy and compassion
For those 
That know only condemnation 
And Judgement

I ask to shine
Your light
Of strength & hope
There is isolation

The gift
Of your Presence
Banishes all lack
Let me give
From your cup 

A life 
Glorifying You
I want for nothing 
Am the recipient
Of your endless

Glory be
To You
Great Spirit..

So it is ..

R. O'Neill (December 15, 2017)

Thursday, 14 December 2017

Becoming Familiar with the Unknown..

In this high place
it is as simple as this,
leave everything you know behind.
Step toward the cold surface,
say the old prayer of rough love
and open both arms.
Those who come with empty hands
will stare into the lake astonished,
there, in the cold light
reflecting pure snow
the true shape of your own face.
—David Whyte

In general terms, I don't live and die by the words of David Whyte. I have been to an event of his, own some of his audio and written works. Certainly I would consider his perspective thought provoking. I do spend some time allowing myself to immerse in the works of others. In particular ideas that have the potential for consciousness expansion. 
For me there is a need to balance the time I invest in the works of others and doing my own work. Absolutely, I can learn from the journeys of others and in some contexts, there is value in not trying to reinvent the wheel. I am more interested now, in deepening and expanding my own voice. One gained through my own experience, connection to the divine, questions that are on my heart and the journey seeking their answers (even if an answer is immediately apparent).

Of course I've been influenced by the work of innumerable others.  I don't continue to associate my journey to them. It doesn't matter how many poems of David Whyte one has read, or listened to, or how many times you've seen him, you are not, David Whyte; nor is your path given any more credibility or legitimacy by tossing his name around.

I include this particular poem, as largely one line of it, once long ago, got my attention, & I continue to dance with it. I considered the one line alone quoted here, would lack the context in which he made the statement.

The one line I refer to is: "Leave everything you know behind.." (it's the only thing he's said that I remember...) it doesn't mean I don't get something from reading something of his on other occasions.. it doesn't mean something else he expresses doesn't become significantly more compelling to me at some other place in time.. It's also possible, that for me, this is the only message/teaching I'm meant to get through him. It doesn't take away from his accomplishments, the value of his works for others. Let's face it, he doesn't know I even exist. I happen to believe that beyond occasional inspiration, new ideas, a shared experience that offers direction; I see very little value in spending an inordinate amount of time, hoisting others onto pedestals. It's time and energy, that are directly taken away from  one's own development and voice.

Returning to that one line: "Leave everything you know behind.."
I wonder, when people quote various sources.. so & so said this, or that; how much have they considered the implications of it for themselves, endeavoured to walk in the embodiment of it. There is no value or power in tossing around what anybody said; if the discussion doesn't include a further assessment/sharing, of what the idea, teaching means to you, in your day to day life.

Have you ever (in this case) left, everything you know behind? The words alone, are not worth spit!  It's nothing more than empty sound bytes; if all one is doing is romanticizing about such things, intellectualizing, name-dropping  etc.

What might that mean? EVERYTHING...... BEHIND!!!!!  As I consider it, & it's quite possible I've been doing so for seven years now. I don't remember exactly when I first heard it... but I do know in what environment it occurred, and that was first, seven years ago. Does that mean I'm "slow" on the uptake... well, not specifically; even though in some cases it's absolutely true.. More to the point, I'm inclined to chew on something of this sort, for a very long time.... Not all day everyday. But ongoing... I didn't choose it (i.e. I didn't consult a collection of pithy quotations and decide ... okay this one) ... it chose me. Am I powerless? No. I say it chose me, because I don't "obsess" about the idea, and ritualistically bring it into my daily waking consciousness. It just waltzes back in, anytime it pleases. 

Trust me when I tell you, I read thousands and thousands of words; from which any number of them could become "stuck in my craw..." yet it is these ones that are on some sort of boomeranging relationship.. It's not that long ago - that I wasn't thinking of them at all and someone else revisited them upon me. I don't begrudge this .... I'm merely illustrating, the veracity and repeating frequency, of this phrase made up of those words.... for me. Maybe you have some other idea as your companion. So the fact that they come to me from various sources, indicates to me, that my attention is being sought.  Again who could begin to know how many words were spoken in a 6 (very full days) workshop & yet these are the ones I remember..

It could mean... relationships, home, hometown, job, all your material trappings etc. or; your could pack all of that, in a shipping container (well maybe not they that you are in relationship with) and in some fashion begin newly elsewhere... Of course the "geographical" relocation; doesn't necessarily mean you've left "everything you know behind.." neither, if you shift relationships or jobs or addresses, hobbies within the same city you currently live in ... if nothing within you; attitudes, beliefs, behaviours, wounds, in short your lens on the world changes.

So "leaving everything you know behind" - could be any of this, or all of this, or any combination there of. It could be a once in a lifetime major transition or it could be a series of ongoing shifts and changes.. one could be thrown into various processes of transformation.... triggering, loss, or grief/sadness, insecurity.

Even the idea ... "a change is as good as a rest.." doesn't automatically ensure that every process of change will go smoothly with grace & ease. I suppose how any given individual processes change, would have some bearing on the experience. There is also whether the changes were premeditated or thrust upon you.

Even a planned change will visit no end of unforeseen consequences and realities that are required to negotiate, as part of the adaptation. It's impossible to foresee all the outcomes; no matter how much "due diligence" is employed, so, somewhere beyond the initial excitement of embarking on this new adventure, the various outcomes will present. It does necessarily spell the end of excitement or the adventure. It is also true that just as there is a great deal of "the unknown" to face when embracing this act of leaving behind, even if you "don't want to" there is a great deal of what you might believe you have no desire to let go of that you will find is on it's way out anyway. When the inevitability of that plays out, resistance to the truth of it, just creates extended suffering..

A rather seemingly inane example during my recent extended travel in Ireland comes to mind. It involved the use of a public (not "restroom," not "washroom" but "bathroom") I looked on baffled at what was generally a familiar fixture except having used it, I could see nowhere to "flush it.." I looked high & low - I was determined I wasn't going to go out and ask someone (I'll ask for directions .. any day of the week and sometimes more than once within the same journey) but I wasn't going to be defeated by a toilet.... suddenly I looked up and realized there was a chain dangling from the ceiling, I pulled it and voila .. mystery solved...

Add to this sort of experience, driving on the opposite side of the street, the occasional phrase and more than occasional accent, that renders conversation challenging, no idea of the location of various destinations, time change of some 8 hrs..  routines and virtually any semblance of familiarity gone and what I would describe as destabilization sets in... it's not constant, it not always distressing - but sometimes in some moments, it comes near to eliciting a primal scream!!! Oh sure, you come to know yourself in various contexts and discover a myriad of insights etc. But it is not always in all ways ... peaches and cream..

Fast forward to another situation where I find myself in a public facility... of course this time I'm brimming with new found confidence.. I've seen the "chain" before hand, for the love of God ... I've got this!! The deed is done, I grab the chain with great gusto and give it a yank - instead of the tell-tale roar of a toilet flushing; an alarm goes off... OH SHIT! now where's the feck'n reset switch - of course there's no saving face even finding the switch ... as I come out the door the staff are running to my rescue. I assure them I'm quite okay ... account for my errant initiation of the alarm ... they reassure me, which has no appreciable reduction on the fire burning in my  cheeks. It's in these moments the title "Lonely Planet" becomes abundantly pertinent to me...  Travel.... see the world - there's nothing like the experiencing of other cultures (all of which I really enjoy most of the time) sometimes ... though contrary to the testimonials in that travel book about majestic views, fascinating history, epic sunsets on the river....  The authors omitted the chapter that might have been entitle, "What the Fuck....??"

I wouldn't trade my experiences traveling for anything. They are some of the most enriching, heart-opening, soul-expanding events of my life. And I fully intend to include more of it.

The proliferation of "spiritual gurus/teachers" in this day and age seems to be sharply rising - or maybe it's just that with the internet their visibility is more readily apparent. Endless ways to reach "enlightenment..." 

Ironic for me to recognize that some of my most powerful lessons in humility during my life, have involved a toilet.. 

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

Life the Wondrous Magician..

Have you ever stopped to consider that when you get up in the morning; as much as you might think you know what is to occur in the day that unfolds, really; there is no telling what might transpire. I love the mystery and delightful surprises that present, seemingly from "nowhere."

I was up early this morning. I "knew" I had a shift later in the day; so I wanted to maximize time in the day, toward pursuits that bring me satisfaction and joy. I appreciate the job, as far as that goes; but if I were to do only my shift and then sleep late; and leave little time for anything else, but just go back & do another shift; suffice to say my satisfaction wanes..

I recommenced a morning writing practice... I was inspired to do that again after reading about the clarity and connection it provided the author of an online blog. I knew experientially of what he spoke of - my morning writing had tapered off. I felt the pull to resume as soon as I was reading his account. So today was "day 1" of that "re-directing" of my energy & attention. There has got to be a day 1, in any pursuit large or small.

An idea that presented itself in the free-flow writing I was doing; went on to be the theme for a post, I put on the social media page, dedicated to my book & related events/activities..

My next vision was to get to the gym. I have the use of a rental car at the moment; so in the interest of time efficiency, I drove to the gym. If I have more time to play with, I would frequently either walk or ride my bike over.

When I arrived at the recreation centre nearest to my place; I discovered the parking lot to be full. I opted to go on to another centre (my pass is good at any one of 4 different locations).

I had a great workout! Sometimes the different location and equipment shakes things up and adds some variety and the challenge of new exercises that are refreshing. When I was finished I decided to treat myself to brunch at a newly discovered restaurant nearby. As I was walking toward the restaurant; there was a fellow sitting in the window seat, that began waving at me. I waved back & though he looked vaguely familiar, I couldn't quite place him.

As I got into the restaurant and saw who he was sitting with, it all came together. His companion was my former wife. They asked me to join them. At first where I sat was open; but it apparently was going to be occupied, by someone coming to join the party at the next table. I remained where I was for the "time being." One of the servers asked if I wanted to sit at the "bar." I indicated that I did not. I had planned to have a meal, & I didn't fancy being perched on a little stool. I was prepared to just have a beverage in order to visit and then go elsewhere to eat if need be.

We did a little shuffling about and everyone was comfortably seated, so I got my meal there after all. I hadn't seen Dee and her partner Rick since before I went away to Ireland (I can't remember if that was the winter trip or the Spring/Summer/Autumn one). Anyway they had been in France during some of my time traveling, so we had travel stories to trade. Mine of course, invariably lead to word of the completion and launch of my book.

Another reason I was over in that neck of the woods was that I had received yesterday in the mail (one of those "unexpected cheques" .. that I have read about in books about "abundance" etc.) ... way cooler than the random money in a coat pocket thang! (but I'm quite okay with coming into additional cash that way too!) - so I wanted to go and deposit it.

Well, as the conversation ensued, I had another unexpected cheque to cash as Dee, purchased one of my books! What a blessing! The whole thing!! We've been apart now for nine odd years.. I've never called her "my ex" or "the ex" or any of the other dehumanizing tags people use to refer to each other.
I don't know how she refers to me; but I believe it says something about each of us as individuals, the healing & growth that occurred for us, that she wanted to support my book; that we could all sit together and enjoy a meal (which was also graciously purchased for me) and be genuinely happy in each other's company & for the life trajectory, we've all taken.

Had I not decided to go to the alternative gym location, I never would have had, that meeting.

I had plenty of time to get home afterwards to prepare to go to work. I wanted to carry on with the "feel good" energy that was unfolding this day, so I walked to work. Walking and listening to music as I go, is one of my favourite simple pleasures in life.  I got to the facility I work at with time to spare. I sat in the staff room and read a few pages of inspiration and then proceeded to the shift report meeting.

When I arrived at the nursing station and grabbed the "sign-in" sheets - my name was conspicuous by it's absence. We had report and then began to try and sort it. I had been "pre-booked" a block of 3 shifts commencing last evening. Turned out the person I was replacing, was then reinserted into her schedule, which made my need to be there, redundant.  Some ensuing confusion and endeavours to unravel the bureaucratic beast ... led to me being informed by the staffing office that they had "called and left me a message" cancelling the shifts ... the only flaw in that scenario being, I didn't get the message. (I suppose one could chalk this up to the energies of Mercury in Retrograde).

I briefly felt somewhat put off and prepared to rerun some old; the injustices of the corporate juggernaut tape... but once I discovered I was "free to go..." I realized, I get another walk home in the fresh air and more music. I'm not "out anything" given my trip to the bank earlier today. Truth be told there was places I'd rather be and things I'd rather do.

For instance, writing this post at 7:45 p.m.  sitting in the comfort of my Lazy-Boy in front of the fireplace, instead of still having another 3 hrs left at "work.."

If I could have written this story... I would have written just like this!

Saturday, 9 December 2017

Love What I Do & I Do it With Love!

Yesterday marked a return to busking. Not the first time since returning from my trip, but it had been a while. There had been a spate of poor weather, combined with my focus being more directed to my book, which meant I hadn't been out for awhile. The arrival of some clear, albeit cool days, along with some bright sky and sunshine, provided decent conditions. The fact I only have until the end of December remaining on this current "busking license;" also encouraged me, to "strike while the iron was hot." The other thing was, I had been doing quite a few shifts in the care facility (which doesn't exactly represent my dream work) so I wanted to get back out there and ensure I was spending a proportionately balanced time, doing the things I love to do.

Before getting into town, I had the opportunity to work some Christmas magic with a copy of my book. I won't elaborate at this time. Just in case, the individual involved should read this. Suffice to say it was gratifying, to be in the position to be able to do something of this nature.

I got into town to one of the spots I have frequently performed at in the past, and found it open. There's not nearly the volume of people busking this time of year, so the vying for particular spots is lessened.

It was wonderful to be out making some music again. Clear, crisp, sunny day, accenting the blessing of my circumstances. Recall if you will, that though of course I can find ways to spend this busking income... it's not entirely necessary at this place in time.

The highlight of this particular set, was a gentlemen presenting from a walk-way down the side of the store; and he just came right on over, and joined me in the cover of "Country Roads" I was playing. It's so much fun when something like that spontaneously happens. When we completed the song we shook hands and introduced ourselves. I thanked him for joining in. He was thrilled to participate, he said, "I heard the you singing that song as I was approaching and I just decided to jump right in.... I never do anything like that!! (never, really - well that is, until Now!!)

"I'm so glad you did then!" Congratulations and welcome! Turns out he plays piano around town and get this .... he says, "Yes I've been in Canada for about 15 years now.."

When I asked him where he had come from ...  he replied, "West Virginia..." really I replied, you don't say! (that would be the West Virginia, of the song we were just singing!!" As in, "Almost heaven, West Virginia, Blue ridge mountains, Shenandoah river......"

Seriously, what are the odds that just when I'm singing that song, a guy from West Virginia happens along (in downtown Victoria).

Once I completed that set. I wandered over to a neighbouring department store to use their facilities and get a snack.
Out front of the store was a fellow I know from town. When he's around and the weather permits, that is "his spot" for selling the local "street news magazine" - "Megaphone." He informed me he had a copy of the latest edition for me and being year end, the calendars were available. I arranged with him to complete our transaction once I was in & out of the store.

He was particularly excited to have me get my copy of the magazine. But he never let on why. Once he hadn't me my copy it became apparent. Whose mug was on the cover, wearing a "Santa" hat but himself!! He was also one of the "featured" vendors in the December issue. Good on him! He gets around on an electric four-wheeled scooter. Many of the vendors are either supplementing "income assistance" or a disability pension. We always have some laughs when ever we cross paths. We solve a few local issues, slag a few politicians; more often than not, another one or two of the neighbourhood "rounders" joins in, and everyone goes away uplifted.

I always buy a copy of the magazine off him (well truth be told sometimes, I will also buy one from other vendors and then give the copy away somewhere). I also grabbed a copy of the 2018 calendar. It's entitled "Hope in the Shadows" A theme and journey I'm all to familiar with. The calendar features different individuals from the street community in both Downtown Vancouver & Victoria. So far this morning my income from busking $18.00, merchandise from my vendor friend, $23.00. That's just how I roll. This matter of soul-income/economics, may not always reconcile on the spreadsheet ... but it always works out in the wash.

The next stop was the public library where I was to complete the submission of my book for consideration in their "Emerging Local Authors" section. If approved my book will be on display and available for checking out for an entire year. How amazing is that? To have a book completed and beginning to enjoy some circulation, and to potentially have it be available in the library. It represent the unfolding of a multitude of miracles in my life - even to be in the position to be a candidate.

The next busking set was to be in front of one of the local liquor stores in another part of town. I got off the bus and good fortune was still flowing my way - nobody was performing there. I was both physically warmed up again, & my voice and playing were well grooved now from the previous set. This set yielded twice the take in a little under half the time. I was given $5.00 gratuities from three different people. One a gentlemen stopped and asked me if I was "Dave" ........ No I was not I replied. After establishing who Dave was (& that I still wasn't him) he says, "well, I had this out to give him from the Lord and well, now it might just as well go to you... (the 2nd  $5.00 bill)  Thank you ... good sir .. thank you Jesus!!

Another women came by and stopped and waited until I was finished the current song and then asked;
"Where do you play?"
I smiled and looked her in the eye, and said, "well, at the moment I play right here!!" "No, no she says, when you're not here, where do you play?" I replied, pretty much anywhere I choose to.." This still was not the answer she was looking for. "No the coffee house or night spots you perform at..."
"Ah, got ya, I've never actually auditioned for anything like that.." "I've been the featured solo music at a number of spiritual community gatherings.....  "What about choirs, are you in a choir?"

"I have been in a couple different choirs, but nothing currently."

"Oh but you have such a beautiful voice, what are you doing out here in the cold?"

"Thank you for your generous attention, I'll have to give it more thought I guess."

"Oh yes, please do, for now I'd like you to have this!" (the 3rd $5.00 bill)

The money is fun, for sure. It does vary. What is consistent and a significant part of my joy of busking (beside just loving to sing) is the immediacy of the people. So many interesting people and fun connections, joy and laughter. I both don't know that my "talent" is polished enough to take it off the streets and the indoor venues, I'm not sure would offer that proximity to the people passing by.

Last stop before catching a couple buses back to my neighbourhood ... "Superior Pizza" (which does indeed live up to it's name).

"One slice of heaven to go please!!"

Thursday, 7 December 2017

Don't Seek God ... Find Yourself....

How far beyond alone
Lies the warm embrace
Of a soul echoed

Though an oasis
A weary traveller
Is not to 
Take up residence there

A respite
To gird one's spirit
And then venture on

To then
Find & Serve
A Higher purpose
Humanity waits..

How many fruitless
Seeking finite treasures
To soothe
Timeless longing

How many hearts
Lie dashed
Upon the rocks
Of anguish

Having been seen
As the Source
Rather than
The vessel

Called upon
To serve
With an omnipotence
Never intended of them

A doorway
To an all consuming
Love and peace divine

The Alpha & the Omega
An all purpose salve 
For any & all 
Perceived short-coming 

A relationship 
So deeply intimate
It exists between 

It beats a heart
While attending 
Sorrows & sadness
Glorious multi-tasking

Diffuses rage
While clarifying
Was never required

The love of it
Can be shared endlessly
And though it is never absent
It cannot be kept

Renounce then
False Gods
Power plays

Open & ask
 Discover & become upheld
 Recipient & messenger
Of an everlasting Love

R. O'Neill (December 07, 2017)

Monday, 27 November 2017

More is Enough

I expect more
From Me
From You
From Humanity

There is no lack
In Me
In You 
In Humanity

I see the potential
In Me
In You
In Humanity

I believe
In Me
In You 
In Humanity

I insist on the inclusion
Of Me
Of You 
Of Humanity 

I stand for
The innate worth
Of Me
Of You 
Of Humanity

I have love 
For Me
For You 
For Humanity

I will do more
For Me
For You 
For Humanity 

I expect more....

R. O'Neill (November  29, 2017)

Friday, 24 November 2017

Psst.... I'm Going Over the Wall

When considering
New endeavours
Personal expansion
In particular
Anything that is 
Not just "the box"
But including
The box 
You've previously 

It may come
As a shock
But many
That occupied
That box
Along with you
Will not joyously
Celebrate your

You will
Inspire some
Would prefer
That no one
Leave the box
Have a great 
Deal of energy
In the status quo
If someone
Were to 
Gain their freedom
That would
A contrary 
Than that upheld
In the box

This being 
The case
The one
Seen as 
Rocking the boat
May well
Be targeted
With disdain 
Rather than

How dare he/she
The sanctity 
The cultural story?

Who do they 
Think they are?
With all their issues
How do they
To suggest

Be prepared
To ultimately
Be your 
Constant advocate
Greatest ally
And most enthusiastic 

To be sure
Support will come
From various directions
Some of which 
Will include 
Some glorious surprises
Still one 
Might be well-advised
Not to look 
Outside themselves
As this support 
Is a gift
Should not be presumed
To be sustainable
Nor is it 
The responsibility
Of others
To continually 
Provide it

The most consistent

Come from
Where it falters
That is 
A consideration
For the application
Energy, attention & focus

Strange phenomenon
This bucket comaraderie
"Better we all -
Die in the bucket"
To consider
Betrays the collective 

Be wary
The "Crab mentality"
But don't 
Just consider
Where that might
Exist outside 
Where do you
Your own
Bucket liberation
Or that 
Of someone else?

What's it 
Going to take
To build 
Ladders & bridges
To get 
Out of the 
Buckets & boxes?

R. O'Neill (November 24, 2017)