Thursday, 18 October 2018

No Food for Thought........

I was reminded this morning of my intention/commitment to remotely participating in the "MooseHide Campaign" being held in Ottawa. I actively took part in the local event last year (or earlier this year) and wanted to continue to direct my energy toward it.

My participation was to take the form of fasting. (along with the, mostly men, that would be doing the same at the "national event.")

Briefly for those not aware of this campaign (in Canada) a First Nation's father & his daughter started this (what has become a movement) to address violence toward women & children in First Nation's communities. They created small moose hide patches that can be pinned to your clothing. The wearing of the patch signifies that as a man, you commit to and end to violence toward women & children, by men. The movement has expanded to include violence toward women & children throughout all cultures (as it certainly not an issue that is exclusive to First Nation's).

Not so long ago they distributed their one millionth moose hide pin. Not only do I see this as a very necessary and worthwhile undertaking; it is inspiring to realize, the impact this is having in terms of sheer numbers of lives impacted, through raised awareness, from the vision of two people.

I didn't get wind of today being the date until after I had already had a couple cups of decaf. My experience with expressing "interest" toward events posted on Facebook is that I don't see any mention of it again until the day is upon me. Perhaps that is something I could adjust in the settings somewhere. Anyway at least I hadn't eaten anything yet so I could still honour my intention to "fast."

I may never know what my seemingly indirect involvement in this event nearly 3600 kms. away by plane might accomplish. When participating in the local event which included a gathering with speakers and breakout groups for participants to engage with each other and toward the end of the proceedings there was "break the fast" ceremony & a delicious buffet dinner afterward. All that to say, there was a more tangible sense for me of being part of something.

As it stands, I've now not had anything to eat, for 14hrs. (my intention to break my fast being another  3 hrs. away). I've added the stats for context. So that now, when I say I'm doing what I can to not make this act of solidarity - only about food & my hunger; the time references won't be contradictory.

The lack of food or focus on attaining and having food, throughout the day, does give me a window of opportunity for a different perspective. Perhaps a more direct connection to my inner world (without the inclination to dampen it by stuffing myself with food). An awareness and sensitivity to my inner environment might be an important adjunct to a further sensitivity to the suffering of others and to how I interact in the world (or avoid being present).

It might be considered counter-productive that I have chosen to sit in the middle of the mall "food court" to write this post. It happens this place is on my path, after finishing at the gym. I would often go to a coffee shop to write, where of course there would be an expectation I buy something. In this space, it would seem, I can do my thing - without purchasing any food.

I suppose my involvement is impactful on a energetic/consciousness level. By now writing about the experience I hope I am spreading the word about this movement and what it represents. Violence toward women and children is not okay! Not in any way, shape or form. I am a stand for non-violent alternatives for conflict resolution. I believe in respect, compassion, inclusion for everyone. I will within this post, refrain from speaking in generalized terms about violence within humanity overall, because I don't want to water down the message of this particular focus. Today the message is men (specifically this man) standing for an end to violence toward women and children by men. This includes of course the obvious; physical form, but also includes, emotional and spiritual violence (verbal & otherwise).

Today this is the form - "walking my talk.." I "nourish" myself through direct participation in something bigger than myself. The "discomfort I might be experiencing with respect to "hunger" pales when compared to my hunger for communities, societies and a global consciousness that no longer sees violence as "inevitable" & "just the way it is. It also can't begin to compare to the suffering of those that have been (and are being made) the targets of violence.

A feast for heart & soul comprised of a world of non-violence - would be a feast beyond compare.

Let it be done!


R. O'Neill (October 18, 2018)




Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Found in Getting Lost

In a little over two weeks time, I will be embarking on another overseas journey. I suppose the most obvious consideration, with respect to this opportunity, is that I'm able to do it, at all. Beyond that, I'm not sure how I feel about it. I believe to be true, due to my being clear, I will take "all of me" along for the ride. Going "there," will not be "better," than being here. Being there, will not change who I am, or where I'm at in my life. I may change my perspective on some minutiae of the human condition by virtue of experiences - yet unknown. Then again, I would undergo change, if I didn't go anywhere.

I'm not going there, to get away from here. I will appreciate more of there, while missing some of what is here. I will be confounded and destabilized by the unfamiliar - I will perhaps reunite with some that found a place in my heart without any knowing, if there is any basis, for our continued connection, (if it currently exists) or if there is any mutual ground for continuance. We once found ourselves in a space somewhere beyond the walls of socialized veneer - that precise experience cannot be recreated. Does the archway to Rumi's field, continue to bade welcome?

Travel is marketed as "escape," - I cannot frame it thus. I'm not "afraid" of flying, but there's not much I enjoy about scrambling through airports - navigating around retail jungles, hurrying to "not be late" - only to then wait on the other side. Bad food, horrendously overpriced - the blatant presence of ghastly class systems "hidden," by a mere curtain.

The stark unfamiliarity of travel, that then brings me face to face with myself (the "good," the bad, and the "ugly"). The slant of the theme now expressed, might lead one to conclude I don't care for travel at all. That is only partially true. Without question, there is a place in me that vehemently objects to having to "go anywhere!"

Can you imagine? "Immigrations," catches up with me, somewhere abroad.

"Mr. O'Neill, we couldn't help but notice you're still here!" "Enjoying the North are you?"

"Why yes, Yes I am!! Thanks for asking!"

"The thing is, you were suppose to be gone a week ago!!" "Now then, what are you up to?" "Are you working illegally in the country, have you taken up residence - again, illegally?" "Are you running some sort of illegal "under-the table" business?"

"No none of that!" "To be honest with you, I just could bring myself to leave." I mean literally! Getting all my shit in a bag, schlepping it to the airport, security, find the gate, jam myself in a airliner seat - where I'm scorned for getting up after 7 hrs. to pee - I just said, "fuck it!" I'm not going anywhere!!"

"Hmm, come with us, well get you sorted!!"

I actually enjoy "adventure!" Once, I get my ass in motion! Getting to the adventure - sometimes occurs to me to be a great deal of bother!!

Trust me I could write the book on "escapism!" Possible that might be the direction of my next book. The problem with the message, I feel called to express, is that it doesn't make for good "escapism." Oh sure, those that are looking for some "scandal," might be entertained. At the very least, they could bolster their flagging ego's, by thumbing their nose at the folly of my life choices. But, if I have anything to say, it is that a pre-occupation with escaping (read addiction) actually creates a prison that makes "Devil's island" look like Disneyland (of course the "magic kingdom," might represent a unique form of hell for some). I'm neither going to create vehicles of escapism for others, nor advocate their use. If I could, or more to the point, was willing to, there is likely an endless market, for those trying continue to scratch that itch. But I won't! As it is, I can't begin to "compete," with the guys at the wellness markets selling rocks! The other thing is, I'm not entirely free and clear of intermittent forays, into getting lost scratching my own itches.

So when is this book coming?  Well first I would need to "get off it," with regard to it's viability. Then I'd need to dig deeper still (into my own soul) with a willingness, to further own what I find & then pour it on, page after page for public consumption. I do a version of that through this blog anyway. I'm digging, owning & feeling all the bloody time. (expect when I'm not). This is why it is that I am abundantly clear, there is no "getting away," through travel for me. I'll be the guy screaming for my attention the entire way. Sometimes, just screaming!!

I'm in the advantaged position of having published (self) my first book - without a need for concern about climbing out from beneath the "one hit wonder" rhetoric; there is no pressure to rise to the acclaim, of my previous "accomplishment." (or at least the climb would not be arduous).

It couldn't take much to "raise the bar" - could it? After all I just need to elevate it, above tripping level. In that, it is just like mustering the wherewithal to tear myself from the familiar; and drag myself across the planet - so I can meander, as the embodiment of "Lost & Found."

Either way, there's a snoot full of me around each bend. I suppose if I can stand the company, I might find freedom from the need to escape & escape that which impedes my freedom.


R. O'Neill (Oct. 17, 2018)




Tuesday, 9 October 2018

My Creator calls the Tune....

My own healing journey has been revelatory for me today. My foundation, or that which I will assert needs to be included as one of its "Keystones" can at times be allowed (by me) to be assailable. What I speak of is my own sense of, the goodness of me - which is not entirely absent; but I discover I will abandon quite readily. I'm not referring to some aspect of self-aggrandizement or any over-inflated sense of self. I'm mean specifically that the essence of who I am is good the truth of which is non-negotiable. I'm not here to debate whether that is true of all humans - I will leave that to be articulated by each in their own time. I will state uncategorically, it is true of me.

Though by no means the first catalyst of its kind, this whole Kavanaugh affair and accompanying Trump toxic diatribe has most definitely been pushing my buttons. To be clear, I'm well aware these are my buttons and they have long pre-existed the "Trump presidency."

There have been times in my life when the rage and self-hatred specifically targeting me and me as a male; has conspired to take me out and was nearly successful. Did I heal this juggernaut in it's entirety? I discover no I did not! I set into motion my version of the patriarchal shuffle and I busied myself, making money/spending money and engaging in the shell-game of distractions (and numbing strategies) all of which are embraced, encouraged and worshipped by "our society at large; that enabled me to repress it all (for the most part).

The "rise of the feminine" which does include some, riding the wave; that have done little or no personal healing work; which then generates for me rhetoric which mirrors very closely - my own unhealed masculinity. Even the repressed rage of those that are speaking as a necessary part of their own healing - could and can be taken out of context and entangled in some of what is mine to heal (maybe not by myself) but I am, responsible, for what is mine.

That's where it gets tricky. My psyche (or some part of my survival mechanism would have been "happy?" that these wounds never saw the light of day again. My (let's just call it) wellness wants the lid taken entirely off and the swamp drained - etc.

I won't try and minimize myself with regard to my being one of patriarchy's spawn (and collateral damage); but neither am I one of its, worst offenders.

I have to find the path to excise the wounds (mine) - actually I'm on it. In the meantime it is imperative that I look after myself - throughout what figures to be a deluge of verbal assault. The perception of "assault" would only ring true when I'm unable to arrest my own unhealed inner dialogue - or become unclear for that which is my responsibility. There will always be those that wish to divest themselves of their responsibility. There will always be those that are "overly responsible" masquerading their "rescuing" as virtue (when it's actually disempowering) neither extreme is healthy for me.

My standing with someone - is not, my doing it for them! Nor is it, continuing to shame or hold myself responsible for, what another must heal.

Whatever your wound and whatever it's cause - I cannot and will not, lose sight of the goodness of me.

At this time, my commitment is to truth. (and of course to do no harm). If I can stand with you, I will. At other times my stand with you - may take the form of a stand - for me. If I cannot separate your wound from mine - I will step back, rather than defend. When I can find my centre (the goodness that is me) I will rejoin you. I set the safety margins for myself.

I will not sacrifice myself to the fire of your healing.

I will not consume you in the fire of my own.

Creator - Please allow me the direct experience of the goodness of me.
I willingly release all within myself that stands in my way.

Let it be done!


R. O'Neill (Oct. 09, 2018)

We Are the World... So Now What's it Going to Be?

I hear very little, nearly nothing at all, from the innumerable "special interest" groups that draws attention to; what each of it's members, needs to do, to contribute positively to the evolution of humanity and making the world a better place to live. Most without fail, collectively point at other groups and subsets of humans as being the source of all the insanity. Within any given group (if there is anything approaching authentic expression going on therein) there will present, from the ranks themselves; the individual mindsets, world views, prejudices, wounds etc.) some of these people are hiding from themselves in these perhaps otherwise, worthy "causes." Where better for a rabid "rageoholic" to lose themselves, in the collective cacophony of anger. Rather than address their own anger issues, they can just blend in with the "righteous" anger of their peers. When all they want to do is continue their love affair with their anger.

The cause is not the cure.

Most certainly, when the cause ought to be, YOU!

The collective landscape is littered with "activism" - that frequently can and does turn a blind eye to any other facet of humanity, that doesn't share their specific, special interest. (I'm not saying that there isn't a need to stand - I am saying when will there be, a more united stand, for humanity?)

So deeply entrenched are the masses in "win at all costs" & "dog eat dog" mentality, that there is precious little energy directed to "we're in this together" - so how do we created "Win-Win." There is so much concern for "destroying the enemy" - nary anyone, stops to point out the lack of humanity present in the would be "destroyers." Ah, but theirs is a "righteous anger," so their atrocities are of the virtuous variety.


Humanity loses - when men & women are pitted against each other.
Humanity loses - when people of different cultures and ethnicity are pitted against each other.
Humanity loses - when people of different religious/spiritual beliefs are pitted against each other.
Humanity loses - when people who don't have "spiritual" beliefs are pitted against those that do.
Humanity loses - when people who identify with a particular politics, are pitted against each other.
Humanity loses - worshipping & perpetuating an economy that decimates their home.

You don't speak the truth just because you yell the loudest.
No one of these residents, on either side of the dichotomies, has all the answers (they don't have to, because their interest isn't for anyone but themselves).

Your being hurt - does not justify the continuance of spreading more hurt.

There is no one from any of the groups that isn't contributing to the current state of the world.
There isn't anyone that has the monopoly on the suffering.
There certainly is no one that has all the answers.
There is no one that hasn't contributed to the suffering.

I suspect humanity is going to need to learn to play TOGETHER in the sand box or the "sand box" is going to rid itself of it's resident parasites - like a dog shakes fleas.


R. O'Neill (Oct. 09, 2018)




Monday, 8 October 2018

Saying My Piece on my Path to Peace!

God knows I have availed myself over years, to a veritable gluttonous consumption of quotes, memes written sound bites; to be sure at times they have been inspiring, at other times thought provoking and even illuminated for me, where I might consider altering my own trajectory.

At this moment in time, I'm overcome with the acrid stench of perceived futility I am processing & the benign impotency of anybody else's window on the world. I'm pretty sure nobody ever got to a place of fulfillment and inner peace - based on their ability to quote the views of someone else.

Yes, yes I have hoisted plenty of posts to social media. If I were to pen an autobiography I suppose it might be comprised of a few main subsections - "the early years," which were comprised of feelings of complete alienation, shame & painful abandonment; "the middle years" where I attempted for 15 years to numb that pain of the early years (thereby exponentially increasing the pain) which then shifted the focus from numbing the pain, to self-destruction; and the "Recovery years" which have been a struggle to try reconcile the first two periods and bring something of value from it in the way of a contribution to life. Hence - the sharing of "inspirational quotes."

Well even though I shared a few articles just prior to beginning to write this - I don't think the sharing of that material accomplishes - "Jack Shit!!"

I'm not contributing a damn thing. In many cases I know little or nothing about the lives of those who's quotes I bandy around. I know my quoting them, doesn't mean I'm anything like them. Any good they might have brought to the world - when they were saying these things or by saying them; doesn't transfer to me - by "association." Whatever is was they did, that continues to afford them present day pedestals, likely wasn't accomplished by endless reference, to what someone else said.

I'm not entirely clear as to what it is, that's got a hold of me, but I can't stand another languid reference to: "Imagine;" "I Have a Dream;" "Be the Change..." "Row, row, row your boat;" "Once Upon a (Feck'in) Time.........

There might have been some social/political/consciousness change brought about at the times these things were said - but trashing them about, over & over now, is not changing anything!

Admire who you will, while gaining direction from those, that once carried the torch. Seems to me, if I'm going to pick up any of these torches - they will only carry forward, slung on the arrows of my words (nobody else's). I can't possible evolve myself as part of humanity; clinging to the words of history's orators. Their words will dump me on my ass - sure as shit. Why? Because they were their words - came through their heart, with their conviction and the passion, of whatever it was that burned in and through them.

Why would one endlessly fall back on the words of others? If I consider my own case, I would say it has been a lack of confidence in what I've got to say and therefore idea that by quoting some heavy hitter - it gives more weight and credence to what I've said. Bull shit! Just a cop-out!

I'm in a foul mood, a storm raging inside me - before anyone presumes to address my fury with their dime-store facebook psychology; think again! I am well aware that I address outside of myself - while the voice that is prepared to tear me a part, to extinguish political correctness, and incinerate social convention and my own lingering neurosis - in order to be heard is the most apt recipient of this pointed indictment. Consider it an artistic convention. I know full well who I address here. So save your energy, character & personal inventory taking for yourself - mine is in the best possible hands and of those, most qualified to undertake them.

If it is true that no ship's captain of any note, was only able to, cut their teeth upon the open sea; then I suppose it can only hold true, that my voice and what is made available for it's expression, will only be allowed to realize it's full potential, through my own connection to creation.

I have allowed myself to be groomed to be a consummate consumer and passive spectator. I take one hundred percent responsibility for my life and the decisions that formed it. This then is not a hyper-critical self-demonishment. Rather, the love I exercise, will honestly reveal who I have been in order to set free my authentic voice.

My blog and book promotion continue through the platforms of social media - I suppose for now (until I arrive at a more effective way to do things) that will remain the same. As for my path moving forward it seems to me clear I need to bring a great deal more of what I've got to say forward & leave what other's are saying, for them to say!


R. O'Neill (Oct. 08, 2018)






Friday, 28 September 2018

Blowing in the Wind


Will your
 Love & Light
Lend 
A non-judgmental ear 

Is your
Spirituality 
Spacious enough
To allow
The visitation
Of bedfellows
"Terror, Bewilderment, 
Frustration 
and
Despair?"

How readily 
Can be found,
Those that will
Bare witness
To the shadows
Of 
Restlessness, Irritability 
and Discontent?

In a world
Addicted to 
Saccharine smiles
And 
Fear of death
Can you embrace
The sacred...
In wailing
&
Gnashing teeth?

How confidently
Will you stand
In
"I don't know?"

Do you
Continue
To declare yourself
The winner
Of a race
That never
Existed?

Can you release
What you
Believe
And who
You think
That makes you
Long enough
To embrace
The pain...
Yours
&
Another's?

Is your "Peace"
Contingent
On
An insatiable
Appetite
To dine
Piece-meal
On
What you
Insist
Are the
Errors
Of
Fellow travellers?

Can you
Read this
Without
A compelling need
To make
Me
And/or
You...
Wrong?

Need all
Questions
Be answered?

Is an
Acceptable
Answer
Another question?


R. O'Neill (September  28, 2018)


Tuesday, 25 September 2018

Peace Talks




I suppose
I can forgive
Others
For their projected
Limitations

In a gesture
Of 
Self Reconciliation

I must express
My profound sadness
That I 
Imposed them 
On myself

How dare 
Anyone presume
Their fears
Would become
My mandate

That my soul
Would be reduced
And purposed
To serve
Their agenda

I forgive myself
A misguided belief system
I understand
The consequential pain
As been the
Catalyst 
For the discovery of
And standing in 
Who I am

Lest I forget
Nobody
Can tear me
Asunder
From myself
Without 
My giving 
My consent 
To do so

Request denied!!


R. O'Neill (September 25, 2018)


Friday, 21 September 2018

Transformed by the Song that Stays the Same



How barren 
And utterly bereft
The terrain
Of my soul
Remained
Languished winds
Echoed through
The abyss
Hungering 
For your Love

Through 
The darkness of
Night
I stumble
In search
For the Living water
Guided on
By 
An indomitable thirst
That will be
Singularly quenched
By your Love

An invitation
Issues outward
Like the carillon's peal
It finds the mark
Deep within
One wavering voice
Joins with
Adjunct desolate souls 

Songs of exaltation 
Simple cyclical chants
Tear heart's doors 
Asunder
I becomes we 
As all sing
Of your Love

Candles burning
Souls a stirring
Harmony & heart
Become 
Heaven a far
Spirit soars
While I 
Bath
In your Love

Begone the ramparts
That I have
Now once again
Supped upon
The river
At source
May I 
Never again
Suffer
The pangs
Of disconnection
That I may
Continue 
To serve
As a channel
For the song
That is 
Your Love


R. O'Neill (September 21, 2018)

Friday, 14 September 2018

For the Love in Sadness....



To begin with the above notation represents and example to me of how "God," Creation, Life, Higher Self, Universal intelligence works in my life. I saw this while walking, it is part of a larger wall motif on a local business that regularly sports ever-changing, thought provoking art.

What leads me to believe that it has anything to do with my "spiritual path?" That would be because for sometime now (in addition to living life) my focus has been one of accessing for the purpose of expression and release, of repressed grief. It has long been my experience that God gives me what I need in ways that "get my attention;" in other words, in the right and perfect, fits me like a glove, right off the rack ways. I could have just kept right on walking, without paying any attention to the wall. My destination was beyond. However, I was prompted to take a moment and pay attention. There was a potpourri of different "ideas" - all of which where interesting in themselves and further intriguing to consider collectively. None really "spoke to me," except this one!

What can I say about grief from a personal relationship with it? Intellectual conjecture in my case would be "part of the problem" - so I will endeavour to skirt that. To postulate and analyze  in this case, only serves to position me, "once removed." My discussion then, comes off as though I am talking about someone else, and their grief. Project that inclination over a life time, whereby grief and in fact most all feelings having been repressed, and damn, if that doesn't then begin to illustrate some of what I have to grieve about!!

I have nothing "against" grieving. The problem would pertain more to the fact, that I couldn't allow myself to be witnessed or perceived as someone that required the expression of grief. Much of my life, the defensive mechanisms I wove, portrayed someone that was detached, mostly aloof, and at times arrogantly disinterested/unimpressed.  To be seen as "caring" (let alone, the expression of love) was far too "vulnerable," too involved. I largely created a mindset that "expected" to be disappointed therefore there was no need to acknowledge the potentially painful reality of life's setbacks (i.e. "Life sucks and then you die...")

This says nothing of sadness or despair that might have been connected to "world events" and human tragedy. For one thing if I "allowed" myself to care about these things, I might have to do something about it... 

I know longer see myself as a "victim" of my childhood (or life in general) .. I will continue to identify the ways in which my needs as a child went unmet for the purpose of grieving and to discover exactly the ways I can now insure those needs are met.

It saddens me that there are those that have sat with me at one time or another (in various) forums and now presume to "know me." Let me clarify this for you .. you don't know spit, about me. At best you witnessed a snapshot at a particular place in time, it doesn't begin to reflect the entirety of who I am.

I find it perplexing and at times frustrating that their are those too, who position themselves as one that has "arrived" & pronounce that (frequently at the expense of some other group of people) others "should" meet their arbitrary (and severely limiting) expectations - incidentally expectations they haven't come close to attaining themselves.

I fully acknowledge my being a "work in progress" and that a great deal of my journey has been one of embracing personal responsibility and accountability. I am powerless over the behaviour and attitudes of others, just the same to those that presume to know what's best for me, I with deep compassion, empathy and love suggest you - Pound sand!!

Exclusion, oppression, shaming and negative criticism deeply sadden me. It further breaks my heart to recognize I profoundly I have acted out these very ways toward myself (& of course others).

No question ways of being and believing of mine were formed at a very young age; it no longer matters how they came about (other than to direct ongoing love and understanding toward myself now); what matters is my taking ownership of the creation of and/or taking on of this "bill of goods" and being clear about who I am now.

I am sad that I have surrendered my voice in situations where concern for "image management" or acceptance was allowed to inflict the continued wounding of self-abandonment. I feel further sadness that I have created so much isolation in my life upholding malarky about what it is to be vulnerable at the expense of allowing the presence of love in my life (even from me).

I feel great sadness for just how often I have place the needs of others ahead of my own, taken on responsibility for them (their feelings, what was theirs to resolve) and in doing so, gravely hurt myself and also denied them the dignity and benefit of their own journey. 

I will no longer buy into the opinion of others regarding who I am.

Since I began this blog site, years ago now, it has been my choice to practice authenticity and transparency. The writing that presents through me has been every bit as informative to me as potentially it may serve to others.

As indicated in the pictured quotation I believe that to the degree I can emphatically stand in who I am; minimizing reserve and self-censorship - it is to that extent that I allow the presence of love to express to me and through me. I want more love in the world.. therefore I must be more love in the world. I cannot know this love while hiding those parts of my humanity I'd rather conceal. It is my judgment and damnation I fear far more than that of any other man, women or child. The opinions of others are a mute point and none of my business.

I have nothing to "be ashamed of!!" I have no further intention of a continual apology for my existence. I will not bow, scrape or grovel for the approval of anyone. To allow myself to be at the "mercy," of anyone else, with regard to when they might decide, to let me off the hook, is to condemn myself to a potentially everlasting damnation. 

I'm going to eliminate the middle person and declare myself "off the hook" now!

R. O'Neill (September 14, 2018)





Monday, 10 September 2018

More Shall be Revealed...

As I ponder transforming a blank page into a back drop for expression; I become aware of my arm, and the newly added continuation, of a tattoo that now encompasses my entire forearm. It is currently entering, the "healing" stage, which involves a great deal of peeling skin. Now, on a much more unnoticeable level, skin is constantly being renewed ... "dead" skin being sloughed off to be replaced by the new. This marvel is occurring throughout our "human" body, right down to the cellular level. I believe I recall, that at the completion of each seven year cycle, nothing remains from the previous period of time that once comprised our body, bones, skin, vital organs hair (well in my case the hair is not particularly rejuvenated). Of course one may well have a mixture of previously held belief and ideas blended with completely aspects of new consciousness.

The more visual healing and peeling of the tattoo work - brings to mind for me, both the metaphor of snakes shedding their skin (as symbolic of transformation) and the wonder of transformation that is occurring within and without all day, every day.

For those adverse to tattoos, it might be more challenging to embrace my affinity for body "adornment;" as representative or reflective of anything positive, (let alone transformation). It works for me, as I have nothing but positive associations with it.

There are both active and passive aspects to the care and healing of a tattoo. Keeping it clean, moisturizing after the first few days, would comprise the active portion. The passive (which might well be every bit, if not more important) is to leave it the hell alone. The healing tattoo site is a microcosm of "A season for everything...." one cannot "speed up the healing" - by picking and peeling.... The skin will come off, when the underlying new skin has formed. Impatience (in the form of "pushing the river..") invites scarring. Again, those that don't share the enthusiasm for tattoos, may consider their presence alone.... scarring/defacing; - you are invited to see beyond your opinion, and just embrace the analogy.

"What the hell is that "thing" going to look like when you're ninety?" Well for me, I'm clear; there's no guarantee I'll see ninety, so I will focus on self-expression ... here and now. If I were to "know" or to have had it "foretold" - "you will live to ninety;" knowing what I know about me, that might just further create for me, the impression I have scads of time, to express what is true for me. As it stands, I don't know my incarnate schedule - so I actively, albeit while tripping over myself, grow into and express my authentic self - here and now. As such, I've come to understand and have compassion for, the presence of those "blocks" within myself (and the rate at which they are healed/remove)... it serves no useful purpose to "pick at those "scars" either" - there too, seasons come and season go. There are both active and passive aspects to this journey as well. I have an active and ongoing responsibility to my own life. From what might be seen as a more "passive" side of the coin... I focus on developing a deeper faith, in the process of life itself, and that which orchestrates it.

Sometimes tricky business, knowing when to actively show up and when to keep my hands off; God's business and my business. Of course it's ever so helpful if I align my business with God's business (make God's business, my business .. so to speak) by which I mean, do my best to, not run interference. I don't believe for a minute that there is any "punishment" for doing so, it just may mean another "go around.." & another season. No foul committed there either!

Well there you have it... transformation has occurred and is occurring; with and without, within and without, seen and unseen, with and without mine or your, participation!

I'll close with expressing reverence and awe for all that has been brought to my awareness and for all that I don't know, I don't know.

R. O'Neill (September 10, 2018)


Thursday, 30 August 2018

A Rose by Any Other Name.............



Say what you will about the depicted "certificate," it's priceless to me! Oh sure, it won't get me a passport or an address in Derry (unless it does) but if you, like me, had spent most of your days here on planet earth without a sense of "clan," roots, origins, history, tradition etc; you might have some idea of what answers to life long questions might represent. If you've known all along (or worse still) know & don't care, well then, you have no idea!!

I've walked, knelt, prayed and wept on the land of my ancestors. I've been guided (even whilst I was living rather misguided decisions) held, encouraged, compelled, and driven by "unseen" forces to experience this re/union. I may not ever have the formal/legal ... blah, blah, blah documentation, to verify my ancestral lineages - but I defy anyone, to try and deny me who I am. In fact while in Derry last year and on a walking tour of the "Bogside" with a "former" IRA member (I'm not entirely sure that the "former" is accurate)... I was telling him parts of my story, having previously marched in commemorative procession marking the 101 anniversary of the Easter Rising in Ireland - I carried the picture of one of the "volunteers" who lost his life fighting for Independence. This "guide" says to me, ah ya, everyone wants to be "Irish" these days... in my day, you wouldn't have been able to just show up and join that procession.

I was incensed,  I replied, "look, you've just got through telling me, how clear you are about who you are and what you believe and the sacrifices you've made for that." "I spent most of my life not knowing who the hell I was, I didn't wake up one day and decide to have Irish ancestry, I didn't give a shit what my roots were, I just wanted to know what they were; and now that I know, you nor no one, is going to take that away from me!!" "Fair play.." says he. 

When the "tour" was over and I went my separate way, I reflected on what had just happened (as well as the first hand account of what went on in the Bogside). I'm not entirely sure what "possessed" me to go off on that guy, but I was taken back that I had - to say the least.

Collectively I've spent close to a year in Ireland over three visits. I fully intend to return. Though many that live there keep telling me it's not a very big country - there is for me, easily another life time of discovery (both historic and current).

I have spent a great deal of time and energy on my own spiritual/healing path. To some degree I have come to realize that at a soul level, it may not matter at all "nationalities," ethnicity, gender, religion etc. but then there is the human component.... All these factors, that can become more and more divisive, contribute to the story each must unravel, while trying to reckon with themselves, their creator and what it is they were created for.

The truth of my adoption, my "exile" so far away from my origins, and the path I have walked coming back to myself - have contained excruciating pain (which I won't diminish or deny) while at the same time; I don't suppose it is anything more or less, than ever single human being experiences, as they wrestle with their individual and collective humanity, and associated divinity. 

I feel deeply there is a story to be written here - the story is still be written, at this very moment. I want my story to open doors to the healing stories for others; both here in Canada (which is documented as "my country of origin" & in Ireland, which will always represent my Spiritual origins and continues to inform who I am.

R. O'Neill (August 30, 2018)

Tuesday, 21 August 2018

Greater than Flesh Alone


Oh Holiest 
Divine Mother
Long after
Your image
Seared upon 
My flesh
Has been
Returned
To the clay
Wence it came
You will 
Remain 
Upon my heart

I thank you
For the lessons
Received
In the midst
Of 
Self-inflicted
Suffering

How far reaching
And complete
The example
Of
Your compassion's
Embrace

May those 
That stake
A monopoly
In your name
Come to 
Live 
The Unconditional Love
You embody

Many are lost
Their actions
Not those 
Of 
Self-Love 
Nor Forgiveness
Association
In name only
Not evidence
of 
A heart's assimilation

A branded flesh
Does not
Embody Love
It is seen
In the care
For the flesh
And that 
Rendered
Through limbs
Inspired
By 
The echo
Of your Love
Still 
Reverberating
For those 
That will listen

May the doors
Of my heart
Swing open
Bidding 
You welcome
That I 
Might abide
In your Love

R. O'Neill (August 21, 2018) 



Monday, 20 August 2018

Stand (at least one more time than you have fallen)



Framed in a self-loving embrace and expressed in an energy of empathy, this observation brings me great joy and gratitude.

It's taken me until very recently to learn that two locally owned, significantly large bookstores, have declined my book. While I'm perhaps not "celebrating" this realization, I am not discouraged in the least. Oh sure I ran the gamut of thoughts such as: Harrumph!! "Local bookstore - doesn't even support a local author..." (which of course isn't exactly true .. there are books on their shelves, written by several local personalities (most that had attained, some form of "public recognition" before the release of their book).

I was anonymous when I participated in the practice, that became the incubator, for the story held within my book (all of which took place - "locally") I was anonymous while I wrote it, and I'm still anonymous now having self-published it; and locating myself somewhere, on the path to "marketing/distribution."

"Fame," bestseller lists, are not necessarily the be all to end all. I am all for, my book (or future books) opening doors of opportunity (which mine already has). But I certainly don't consider it a "failure," if it never attains these specific bench-marks.

I know the book has already touched lives and been a useful tool; I don't need to jump through hoops, in order for that to have occurred. I haven't really looked into avenues of broader publishing or distribution. I certainly don't want to define my success, or hang the fate of the book, on the arbitrary criteria of publishing houses. It can serve no one in their reject piles. At the same time, where it does receive a thumbs down reception, I can further journey with my own relationship (where "rejection" is concerned). I know the book is good, my approval (as well as my discernment and critical eye) are more important than any outside approval. 

The book has a trajectory of its own.. determined on-going, by the energies that brought it into being. I will trust that.

The sentiment reflected at the opening of this post reminds me - that my life path, that led to the creation of this book, and continues to this very day, was a broad, eclectic mosaic of life experiences; many of which, appeared at the time, to have been glorious pratfalls. In my writing I have never hid my past, nor attempted to represent myself has something I'm not.  In part, the book is meant to reflect that despite my past - I went on, to realize one of my dreams. I expect that to be directly inspirational to others. I'm going to enjoy my journey regardless of the external trappings of success being present or not. The point being, that nobody else's definition of success, is going to define mine. And I'm living proof that the past doesn't need to continue to inform the present and future.

Whether one considers their past to be riddled with failure, the fact remains, it can be harnessed and transformed, to underwrite the current realization of your visions. In fact, some of the inner qualities you will need moving forward, were honed while something of your past, was imploding in your midst.

To borrow from the realm of sports metaphors, generally the leaders on the stat sheets in home-runs and runs batted in (RBI), often have high strike out numbers as well. They are "swinging for the fence" most time at bat. Which means, when then connect squarely, that ball is gone! When they miss, they damn near twist themselves into the ground. 

No swing (and accompanied misses) no home run!!


R. O'Neill (Aug. 20,2018)

Wednesday, 15 August 2018

I Was Going to be Immortal (then decided... Fuck it!!)

I have a long standing personal mandate that my writing authentically reflect my life as I'm experiencing it (not how I might prefer to have it represented). The last post made mention of some new directions I was either about to embark on, or that were standing, in the on deck circle.

The most recent was to be a "Beginner's" Water colour class (which began on Monday and runs until this Friday). I withdrew after the first class. I won't lay claim to setting my life on fire and achieving some renaissance man status; until I can clearly demonstrate the ass burned out of my jeans and/or I achieve any legitimate depth or relevance.

I did mention, allowing myself any or all of these "experiences," would be telling in terms of self awareness. Before self awareness is of any benefit, it tastes like shit! It's been quite some time since I've sat in a "classroom" scenario; but it took next to no time, before the instructor's voice transformed into Charlie Brown's teacher .... and it "Wha ... wha .. wha'd ... me into oblivion!

I couldn't keep up (I being a bona fide "beginner" was by far in the minority) - the participant intro, revealed many who had attended 4, 5 or 6 other classes before doing this one.

That aside ... before I become too ensconced in "reasons" outside myself. I truly couldn't listen to what this instructor was saying..... "you take the primary colour, into which you introduce a small amount of a second primary colour, to produce the tertiary colour of ??????? and where will that reside on our colour wheel? and enact said mixing of paint and apply it to paper.... It's either listen or do... I can't do both... and while we're at it ... show me and then I'll do it.....

So primarily I was frustrated..... which blended with my impatience, to produce the tertiary feelings of shame, embarrassment, and believe it or not, hopelessness (yes.. before you go back, to see if you missed something, this was just a feckin' art class.

The whole thing reminded me in part, of those damn word problems in math class ..... "if I train leaves Boston travelling at 60 mile per hr............ Rob's attention goes out the window, at 120 mile per hr.

The clincher was when my "colour wheel" was thoroughly pooched and I was a number of colours "behind" the rest of the class ....  the instructor came along a took the "mixing brush" out of my hand, slopped some paints into the palette wells, mixed it up and smeared some different colours on my wheel (which frankly looked like shit) ... "there now your wheel is coming along"...

Not only was this entirely useless to me in terms of be instructional (I had no idea how she arrived at what she did)

But it was just like what my father would do when I was a young boy ...... (in essence I formed the belief I can't do this right .... and was never "allowed" to build my own experience and learning process... eventually - I'd just began saying a blanket, "Fuck it!!!!" One might say, "you should be over that by now!!!" Well guess what, I'm not! (might well be some valuable information there) so to those that say such things, fuck you and the horse you road into town on!!

What I wanted to do was gut her .... what I did, was say thank you. (I have a very special form of contempt for myself, when I do something like that)......

Maybe when all was said and done..... I just said Fuck it, again! I would have withdrawn that afternoon but the registration line was closed by the time I got home.

The time to sleep on it, didn't make me any more keen to go back the next day... so I followed through with the withdrawal process. The upside of that is, maybe I could learn this stuff in a different environment ... I didn't enjoy myself at all the first day, so I see it as a positive, that I didn't drag myself there for 4 more days of it.

It's also entirely possible I like the "idea" of being artistic .... I'm not sure I have any passion for it (lately I'm not sure I have any passion for anything) ... there certainly isn't any evidence of any talent (potential or otherwise).

I feel in integrity both sidelining this activity and giving an honest account of it. Hey, it was only one particular class, as presented by one particular instructor... who knows ... I have all the shit I bought from the art store, maybe I'll mess around on my own and see what I come up with. God knows I'm not always much enthused, about embracing "rules."

I suppose you could say instead of my being the "Artful Dodger," in this episode of as "O'Neill" turns, I dodged the art.

I would love to write post after post, outpouring my delirious successes - but frankly the only way I have any chance of healing my heart and soul of what remains of the spectres of shame from my past; is to stand fully in, sometimes my visions of grandeur, yield me an abysmal pratfall.

Sometimes you just gotta say... ah what the fuck... and then just put on some Sinatra and belt out ..."Regrets I've had a few.. but then again to few to mention....!!"


R. O'Neill (Aug. 15, 2018)

Sunday, 12 August 2018

Let the Games Begin



By no stretch of the imagination am I done with writing. More accurately I'm quite sure writing is not done with me. Just the same, I'm aiming to expand my horizons, with respect to different mediums, to express myself. I already play some guitar I know a few handfuls of chords, a little finger picking technique and with these rudiments, I hope to vie the pretty much uncharted (for me) realms of the electric guitar... I got a good deal on the one pictured here (a Mexican made Fender Telecaster) surely the colour will lend well to virtuosity! I haven't started yet ... I will likely utilize some teaching videos on YouTube, maybe some lessons and fiddle on my own. If this doesn't whet my musical appetite then I also have a ukulele and harmonica that I aspire to play as well.

Tomorrow I kick off a 5 day (2.5hrs./day) "Beginner's Water Colour Course" I see now where the stereotype of the "starving artist" was spawned from; by the time you pay for your art supplies, there's no money left for groceries.

Earlier this year I traded in some photography equipment that I got hold of when clearing out my parents house after they passed. I am now very well "equipped" and very sparsely practiced (with the exception of pictures taken with my phone). I hope to gain more usable knowledge of all this gear through a fall program Beginner's photography class. The community college offers a very good 10 session course that I'm sure will give me some good fundamentals so that I can then get out and practice and get some value out of this equipment. I believe I have the eye for it .... just need to get through the learning curve of the more sophisticated technology. (learning curves not being historically my "sweet spot.")

If you're of a mind that I'm fixing to bite off more than I can chew, you may well be right. However, these are all things I've always wanted to take on and my disposition is such, that I enjoy a broad spectrum of stimulation. Time will tell what the balance point is with regard to, time to practice and become more proficient, with these various pursuits and what represents too much.

There will be far more than the innate challenges of any and all, of these various art forms that will confront me. I'm aware of a history of high expectations, ("perfectionism") that also spawns self-criticism. Couple this with impatience and a lack of understanding and compassion for my beginner status and it's not hard to see, how I have in the past, created inner turmoil for myself; instead of enjoying the learning process. I also would be very well served, if I can just enjoy my interests and passions, without concern for whether I'll ever be good enough, to be paid to do them, or that during the time I'm spending with them, I "should be working."

So I'm setting the intention to go easy on myself. That might take the form of lessening the volume of new pursuits, we'll see. Barring that, at least I can keep my expectations reasonable and give myself credit for being willing to make new beginnings. I want to give it all a fair shake. None of these art forms is an inexpensive pursuit, however, the potential for personal growth and expansion is virtually priceless. While I'm at it I will be learning new skills, which I see eventually could be combined in some form of "mixed media" projects. Of course depending on the form of instruction I seek, there will be opportunity to meet new people as well, and to share and learn from their experiences.

As the saying goes, "the road to hell was paved with good intentions," so all in all, I do expect this/these journeys will be a fine continued development of mindfulness and self-awareness.  I will do my best to kindle grace and ease along the way. The under-taking of them is with loving intent;  so I hope, should the love be found to dwindle or be missing altogether as this unfolds, at the very least, I can hit the reset and begin again newly. 

Great Spirit I invite and evoke the energy of play - help me to find it within myself. Help me to tear down the walls in all shapes and forms, that come between me and Creativity. I ask to connect to and become a channel of, the creative flow - which is to say please show me and release me from, all within me, that stands in the way, of my connection to you!

Let it be done!! 

Amen!!

R. O'Neill (Aug. 12, 2018)



Saturday, 11 August 2018

Indirect Directions

I suppose where "spiritual" matters are concerned, faith might appear high on the list of integral practices (states of mind/heart). For those convinced that "seeing is believing," I offer for consideration that if you indulge in modern day conveniences such as satellite radio, television, wifi, microwaves, electricity, etc. you are placing a great deal of faith in the unseen. For many, it would represent conveyances that they couldn't begin to explain the operation of, but just the same, a great deal of reliance is placed upon them. This continues to be true even though at many points in time, there is no awareness that they are even present and "working;" yet indeed, they are in operation all day, every day.

Having said this, for me, I love an example of "Spirit working" - or the following of a "hunch" and then experiencing the wonder of seeing it unfolding, in ways I couldn't have imagined. Now I'm not suggesting putting "God," or the "universe" to the test, demanding demonstration. Some say of the power of the unseen: "Believe it and then you'll see it.." Obviously this turn of the phrase, implies a willingness to put aside my doubts or fears, & as they say, "act as if!"

Just such an occurrence was gifted to me over this past few days. If you've been following my facebook posts you'd see I was on a little road trip/get-a-way up island. I had put half a dozen of my books in the boot, "in case" I happened across any book stores, that would be potential venues.

I had between two shops, already had five of the books spoken for which of course left one. While walking around the downtown of one of the towns we discovered two additional shops that might have been a match for my book - both of which were closed for the day.  On our way to a late lunch I said of the two, I want to go to this one in particular first. If I'm left with no book afterward, I can always talk up the book with the second shop, and if they were interested, get some to them later.

I just had a "sense" about the first of the two shops. The following day we had packed the car and vacated our Air B&B refuge; so we ventured into town, before heading toward home. We went to the shop and the moment I set foot in the door, I knew I liked the energy. The owner greeted us warmly and after the exchange of a few pleasantries and refections on the smoking hot temperatures of late; I began to tell her about my book. She was most interested. When it got to asking how many she would like to stock, she indicates she would take six! While she was outlining her policy regarding shop/author split - she presented the very best I have experienced so far!

When I explained that I had no more books along with me, but was more than willing to ship them to her or make another trip up island; she asked, "where in Victoria do you live?" When I mentioned the area of town, she laughed, her daughter works at a restaurant a block from where I live. She said, "to save you the expense of postage etc., just bring the books to her, she is coming up her in a couple days anyway."

As far as I'm concerned this is nothing I could orchestrate. There is a need for me to participate with some level of receptiveness and a willingness to follow through on the "guidance."

For those of you that have been aware of the completion and launch of my book about a year ago and have long since returned to the concerns of your life and have relegated my book and work I aspire to develop around it, to yesterday's news; certainly your life is where your attention is best placed, but the need for me to promote the book and myself is as ever present as it ever was. You can get bored with me and my book - I cannot. Your boredom is none of my concern. I deeply appreciate the support I have received from those that got behind me and my book. It would be great if the same people continued to "promote" my endeavours, I don't believe for a minute that most would or will. That leaves the onus on me. I'm of a mind that if people have forgot the book and my visions, I'm not getting the word out enough. If the same cross-section of people consider the novelty has worn off the idea that I've a book available (as well as over thirty years of spiritual/healing life experience) then I've got to reach new segments of the populations.

It's synchronicity like mentioned here previously that reminds me I'm not "in this alone," and that I need to continue with the footwork here on my side of the net.

I gave both the shop owner and her daughter (once I met her) a copy of my book. I am of multiple minds where this is concerned. I definitely believe that book needs to be put in as many hands as possible. I also believe as the title reads: "What Goes Around Comes Around."


R. O'Neill (Aug. 11, 2018)

Thursday, 9 August 2018

Coming Home

Something occurred to me today while walking. It came in such a fashion that I would call it; insight, guidance, an "aha moment." Part of how I define those sorts of "downloads" is that I wasn't thinking about anything even remotely related to it, and suddenly there it was! And unlike other "inspirations," I sometimes have and "intend" to write about later - this one stuck with me all day (rather than vanishing from my awareness).

I still only have the basic premise to roll with and have no idea where it will lead. Let's find out shall we. The idea that came to me while walking, pertained to children.

This small moment of illumination had to do with why it is (in part), that children are seen as so "cute." I mean of course, pretty much everyone that is a parent, believes their child is extraordinary (and they are). But what also comes into play, (at least for me it does) perhaps because I never was a parent; is the same mechanism whereby one projects their unconscious and unhealed energy upon others outside themselves, is drawn to the freedom of expression, the innocence, the imagination, the out-pouring of love of the young child. All or parts of which, were squashed in themselves as children.

Just to be clear, when I say "drawn" to the child, I don't mean in any other way than (if I'm talking about myself) as someone that is endeavouring to connect more consistently with those parts of myself, that were repressed and emotionally (sometimes physically) beaten into submission - I am then able to recognize them as expressed by children.

My "spiritual" growth and healing path has led me (to some degree again) to focus on contacting, establishing a connection, expression, nurturing, loving and forgiving my inner child. To become a loving parent to this child (as an adult) replacing the existing critical and sometimes abusive inner parent and to more consistently, meet all the needs that were neglected of this child, when I was a child.

If you consider the idea of "inner child" some sort of "New Age" horse hockey, then if you haven't already dismissed this post, you might as well at this point. I'm not trying to sell this idea to anyone, I'm writing about my experience and what is relevant to me. I always hope my writing touches others but I certainly won't massage what is being expressed, to cater to a particularly audience. Take it or leave it - that's the readers choice.

There does exist a biblical reference (not that I insist that is the be all to end all)....

Matthew 18:3 - "Truly I tell you, unless you change and become like little children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

I happen to believe Jesus was speaking of the condition of "heaven on earth" (elsewhere he spoke of, the kingdom being "within").

 I'm submitting, this "inner child" is the door to and the expression of, this "inner heavenly state." This is where the connection to Spirit occurs, the source of imagination, creativity, unconditional love, joy, curiosity and enthusiasm are sourced and expressed from.


When I repressed and cut myself off, from the painful feelings, in effect I severed my connection to all of it. It is my experience, that one cannot selectively "numb out." If I go out of my way to disassociate from my painful past (and I did); I effectively cut myself off, from any relationship with my inner child. I can't feel the "good" or the "bad" feelings. Can't feel a damn thing.  Being cut off from this "inner child," abandoning and ignoring it's needs - is unquestionably "hell," I know, I've been there.

I'm not now going to say, that the recognition of this, thrusts me into ever-lasting Shang-ri-la. However, it does empower one to do something about being more in alignment with themselves more consistently.

I'm certainly not insisting that anyone do as I do. While at the same time, it doesn't matter whether anyone else holds true any of what I've outlined here. This is my journey - hell to me is created from within - so I need to find out what works for me regarding attaining inner peace. From my earliest writing I have been sharing authentically my experience. In doing so I hope to more often than not, strike chords of recognition, as different elements of the human condition are articulated.  I'm of a mind that the human part of our existence, is fairly finite, in other words we're all not that different. Still we all tend to experience (even the same thing) differently. As such what I write won't always be meaningful to everyone. 

I don't have all the answers, but I continually generate a myriad of questions and I've been asking them for a very long time now. Sooner or later this has to bring about some answers.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                

"Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you."  Matthew 7:7


R. O'Neill (August 09, 2018)





Thursday, 26 July 2018

Picture This!



The way I understand it, St. Francis received the "stigmata" rather spontaneously. That which appears, impressed upon my flesh, come more intermittently. The photo above depicts the latest manifestation, which presented yesterday (line work and some shading completed). The lower picture places it in context with that which proceeded it.

If I needed a rationalization I would say this addition to "a work in progress" represents a self-loving birthday gift. The fateful day is more than one month away, however; logistics, schedules, healing time etc. suggest the employing of some premeditated spontaneity.

It's not a "milestone" birthday; at least not in the context of what many consider as such. Given I'm not inclined to care how anyone else does it; if I say it's a milestone ... it's a milestone.

Frankly, though I cease to relate to myself as my history, the fact remains given that journey, everyday above the grass, is a fricken' milestone!

This year (assuming I'm there to realize it) marks 59 years (I was born in '59). Without being able to articulate much about why I presume that to be significant - I just intuit that it is. So I declare it as such and perhaps someone, somewhere along the line, might offer some insight into why that is.

In the meantime, it's my party and I'll grace my body any way I see fit!

Speaking of fit, that is something I've decided to frame into somewhat of a personal make-over, fitness challenge, let's try and hedge my bet that I might see 60, "Rob my temple has fallen into disrepair - I want you to rebuild it." 

I had already started a new walking regime (some 8 days prior to this post) so that, plus the days remaining until my birthday, will give me my favoured (40 day +) time frame to "get 'er done!"

The walking will step things up for sure. I started with a program that required a base line of 6900 steps in order to make the day's goal.. it has since been raised to 9600 steps (the program incrementally introduces the increases - that wasn't my doing). So I have an 8 day "streak" (nine counting today, which has already been achieved) of reaching the targeted number of steps. I have in fact well exceeded the target most days. (which will likely rebound and result in my minimum be raised considerably again). But I know from my "personal trainer" days; gains don't happen once one becomes comfortable, at the previous plateau.... you have to push the envelope again. Given my love for reading and writing, as well as a passion for such things as meditation (all of which are the epitome of sedentary) it is vitally important that I move my ass.

My rekindled love of motorcycle riding requires a decent strength and endurance level. I want to continue to be able to enjoy long hikes. My continued casual employment working with people rehabilitating from injuries and surgeries (and some long term care residents) reminds me, I shouldn't take it for granted, that I can still tie my own shoes and clip my own toe nails. The latter demonstrating already, that "use it or lose it" is not just a empty platitude - that shit is real!!

I've heard countless people (charter members of the peanut gallery) exclaim - "tattoos, oh I would never deface my body - what are you going to do when you're older?"

First of all, some of those individuals, might consider that some artwork on their body, would be the least of their concerns. Secondly, if I get to older... then I'm going to enjoy each of those tattoos and the life stories they represent.... I'm going to celebrate one feck'in hell-uva ride; and I might just go out, and get another tattoo while I'm at it!!

R. O'Neill (July 26, 2018)