Tuesday, 25 December 2018

Taking it To the Streets


Why am I such a misfit?
I am not just a nitwit.
You can't fire me, I quit.
Since I don't fit in..

Why am I such a misfit?
I am not just a nitwit.
Just because my nose glows
Why don't I fit in? 

...... The immortal lyrics of my childhood from "Rudolph the Rednose Reindeer"

They might as well have been my own lament, plea, bewilderment, as a child. My nose didn't glow - but do to the beating it took, breaking my falls as I learned to walk (so I was told) an unfortunate incident involving gravity and me hanging from my knees (again my face was there to break the fall (& and the nose) and then 3 sinus surgeries - I had the classic "Roman nose" (as in, roaming all over my face).. i

This was just one facet of my early life education with alienation. My being adopted, and the only "Anglican" in a Catholic school all combined to make me a target of humiliation, scorn, and bullying

Fast forward to Christmas 2018 which happens to fall in the midst of my processing life, and grieving for real. It's not all day every day, but it would seem for now, it's ongoing. Elements of it would be quite "personal," many would be more universal in scope - all have in common, that a great deal of my life, was spent not allowing it (grief) the light of day.

The lyrics of the song referenced here, reflect so much pain from my early life, that was not allowed to be expressed. I couldn't understand the cruelty and internalized that it must be "all my fault." I stuffed it and stuffed it and stuffed it - until at thirteen I discovered alcohol which initially was "nectar of the God's," but eventually went on to become my "achilles heel." All that pain had to go somewhere. To a very large extent through my "recovery" from addictions, I have vacillated from new and creative ways to disassociate from my pain and, punishing myself with all different forms of life choices... To be sure there has been measured progress in other aspects of my life.

This is by no means my first sober Christmas - but with my "feelings" being in such close proximity, Christmas itself was proving to be it's own conundrum.. I have no immediate family. I had no design or intention on spending vast sums of money - I've run that gamut at anytime of year, without the need for Christmas to be the excuse.

I spontaneous attended a performance with a friend of one of "Victoria's Premier Choirs" - my mood swings bled into the occasion .. I can only hope, not at the cost of her enjoyment. The performance (entry by "donation") draws the kind of crowd I would judge as being "sophisticated" - at least by their own estimation and their being, more interested in the status of having attended than anything else. I didn't care about any of that (though I recognized one of the choir members from another "community" I have recently been exploring.. I didn't know anything about the choir, the fellow narrating the story, the director (unlike some guy sitting beside me that felt it necessary to regale all his company with his knowledge of it all - as he had been to "previous performances." With all of that "pomp & circumstance" - (pretence & judgment), much of which would need to include my own, it seemed the least favourable place that I be overtaken by my heart & emotions.. However, my heart will have it's own way where, "Silent Night" is concerned...

Today (Christmas day) I was resonating with "Charlie Brown's" combination of, lack of understanding and meaning of Christmas & some latent self-pity; but noticed I no longer feel a stayed position of jaded and cynicism. 

I was reminded this a.m. of an event in town in a local church hall;  a mid-day Christmas dinner, put on by the "Recovery Community." I decided that was where I was going. Welcome there, is not complicated, beyond a willingness to walk through the door.

I decided to walk into town ... because my general wellness, calls for some fresh air and exercise. Along the way I was praying (to/with Jesus) a relationship with him and his consciousness represents a facet of my current spiritual path - I haven't at all sorted what that means with respect to institutions that claim to act in his name & his behalf - I come in and around some of them, because at least there is some reference, discussion etc. of his teaching (as opposed to other environments that renounce anything to do with him) I spend more time in the contemplation of Christ consciousness which doesn't necessitate "the church." I have no need to identify as a "Christian" (partly because it's a catch-all label that is vastly different to different people) and partly because affiliation is useless to me... if I can't find something within any spiritual path, that is applicable, where the tires meet the pavement... I'm not interested in "brand anything.."

I have no problem exploring this avenue along with a continued resonance from various sources.

So I'm turning over the various feelings etc. I'm aware of in my heart, and, asking to have Christmas made meaningful - pretty much now!

That's when I came across the first "sign" (the first picture) as I was walking. Hearts and stars in the form of interwoven crosses within concentric circles .... all meaningful to me (and that's the thing with "signs" - they need be meaningful to the one seeking; the same sign might be meaningless or represent something completely different to someone else....

Not far from where I saw that, in a hollow in the ground beneath the base of a tree; was a fellow lying in the midst of all his belongings..... Christmas morning this, is his situation.... I walked a little beyond and realized immediately what was necessary...

I came back around (already I had some money from my wallet - before arriving, no point in flashing the sum total - that would be what I would deem "idiotic compassion," as in, I put myself at risk to "help someone else)..

He was snoozing so I gently called to him from a position of out of reach... I know enough to know, you don't wake someone on the streets from a sound sleep while within arms reach - they may well be startled "awake," and come up swinging...

I was aware that I didn't want to assault his dignity, yet despite the spectrum of feelings etc. that are my journey etc. for fuck sake - I'm not lying in hole; with the sum total of my stuff, strewn around me!!!

I asked him if he was going to be able to get anything to eat today - he indicated that he could "probably get to the street kitchen" I gave him the $20.00 and wished him well...

He told me that he had just undergone a rough couple days ... "I over slept, and someone stole my bike and some of my other stuff..." 

"Well I said, I recognize what I've done is not much ... but maybe it will help some.." 

"It's definitely a turn for the better," he said..

I was reminded as I walked away... "Where there is despair ... let me sow hope..."

I'm going to suggest that it doesn't matter if it's my despair or his - "sowing hope" would seem to be the answer.....

The second picture "sign/symbol" is again significant to me (specifically both today and within my spiritual path) there it was embossed right in the sidewalk..... (might have meant something else to someone else at the time the concrete was wet - might be, that it was left there, with the very meaning I associated it with).... doesn't matter - thousands of times I have walked that block, and never seen it before today....

I got further into town and stopped to talk to two other guys that are familiar faces on the streets.....

The jacket I was wearing with a "harley" crest led to a conversation with one fellow about bikes and riding ... him having lost his in an accident....

Then he told me about the dinner I was heading for..... his buddy left and we began to walk toward the dinner together.... 

I asked whether his friend was not going to attend the dinner... he said no, he was likely off to get some "slosh" and go to it.... "I'm two weeks dry," his says to me.  I commended him, as we continued; two weeks is like a lifetime when first sobering up!!! (not a guaranteed turn-around but - many don't make it at all)...

We reached a street corner well before the destination and he was aiming in another direction... I asked what about the dinner, he replied he was heading for "the church" to do some pan-handling...

I fished around and came up with $40.00 and wished him well....

To be clear here, I am no "saint," I just don't happen to know what various forms hope might take and I certainly believe everyone deserves some.. Today's experience reminds me there is a direct reduction in my suffering, when I recognize that of others, as being at least as important as my own.

I arrived at the dinner... The hall was full... "Volunteers" were joyously serving, couple of different people took turns playing the piano...  I saw various people I recognized from the least pretentious of Victoria's stratified community.... What a rag-tag collection of humanity .... strangely and instantaneously, I experienced myself as just another "mis-fit" and somehow a basket ball court size room full of us .... seemingly "fit.."

I fit nowhere & everywhere..... 

I exchanged greetings with a couple of different guys I recognized from years ago in recovery.. What a marvel ... here we all were, still "alive" - that never was a given (I suppose no more, is it now)

I offered a few different times to spell off someone in the serving line... I was assured it was covered...

I hung around .... a little chit chat, some banter - learned something about oranges and circulation... 

Throughly enjoyed the camaraderie and complete lack of pretence ..... people that have had the complete shit kicked out of them (multiple times) might well stand, as some of the finest examples of humanity.

I continued to hang about.... listening to the music... thanked the piano player and recognized this soire had an "scheduled end time" which would mean a mass clean up.....  I haven't forgotten "gratitude" is an action word... I know that there never is, "too many" volunteers at these functions...

So I helped break down the tables and stack them away.

They were giving away brand new pairs of heavy socks with some toiletries at the door... I don't need them, but I took one anyway, to give to someone else on the way home.

I walked some after leaving the dinner venue, and came to a bus stop and decided I'd hop on when the bus arrived for the trip back to my neighbourhood.. There was a fellow that had attended another dinner and had a shoe box full of stuff that he "didn't want" - I can't carry all this shit around!!!" he offers me this beautiful winter hat... I offered him in exchange the warm socks - he was happy to have some new socks & I have someone in mind for the hat .. win-win.

Over a couple of busking sessions last week I made over $80.00 (which I gave away today... along my travels) I can make more another time - it only comes my way through the generosity of others anyway!! 

And lest I forget, at Christmas time as well as any other time of year - "you have to give it away in order to receive it..."

R. O'Neill (December 25, 2018)

Thursday, 20 December 2018

A Crisis by Any Other Name..........

Midlife is when the universe gently places her hands upon your shoulders, pulls you close, and whispers in your ear:
I’m not screwing around. All of this pretending and performing – these coping mechanisms that you’ve developed to protect yourself from feeling inadequate and getting hurt – has to go. Your armor is preventing you from growing into your gifts. I understand that you needed these protections when you were small. I understand that you believed your armor could help you secure all of the things you needed to feel worthy and lovable, but you’re still searching and you’re more lost than ever. Time is growing short. There are unexplored adventures ahead of you. You can’t live the rest of your life worried about what other people think. You were born worthy of love and belonging. Courage and daring are coursing through your veins. You were made to live and love with your whole heart. It’s time to show up and be seen.  - Brene Brown.

The preceding was an excerpt from a piece on what Brene Brown termed "mid-life unraveling" - she made the distinction from the more oft heard, "crisis." The highlighting is mine.

She defined a crisis as:  an intense, short-lived, acute, easily identifiable, and defining event that can be controlled and managed. 

None of which holds true in the "unraveling," which is why she coined the phrase.

The article overall I found impactful. Hits me where I've been living. I would have to say right off the bat, the age references that she cites should be taken with a grain of salt. Much the same way that "seasons" are presumed to be contained within human designed calendars (with no hope of delineating them perfectly) I would assert the "midlife" experience, will be seasonally perfect, for the individual. She did say that once it starts, various aspects of it will continue through the remainder of ones life.

I certainly would concur that like so many aspects of the human condition, this would be another, that garners little or no empathy in our western world society at large. I've worked for years in health care (where there has been a high percentage of females in the workforce) - the discussion around "mid-life" crisis - which they address as though it only occurs in men, completely lacks any (well understanding to begin with, in many cases) empathy or compassion.
The discussion continues as if women don't experience the mid-life existential crisis - I would say they most certainly do (albeit perhaps the manifestation may vary)

Of course there would be many manifestations for someone going through this stage of life - the stereotypical being, the acquisition of something like a "red corvette."

Likely with moves towards more gender equality and it's impacts on social "norms" - there will be some women clambering to ease their soul with that same Vette; of course they would say, they were standing in their power.

For me I'd say I've been feeling waves of this for quite sometime. I feel more acutely now, the directness and impact of the "universe" & its message. I suppose that makes sense, as the minutes of increasing light, will soon be tracked; each one marches me closer, to my sixtieth birthday.

I'm becoming increasingly aware, that I have perhaps done more to avoid getting at what my armour was created for than heal it. I choose to see that as continued progress. None of this journey is linear - I'd be hard-pressed to say what it is, but I'm clear what it isn't. To be fair, I have put considerable energy & resources into "healing" as well. Ironically - some of these "healing" avenues, can just as readily become part of the dodge. It has not been "black & white" all one or the other; but I can safely say, all the armour has not been jettisoned.

It hurts to think about the "lost potential." For what it's worth, in the mishmash of it all, that I've not allowed to see the light of day - it has always hurt, that I so severely stifled my potential. I can no longer be concerned about what anyone thinks about my existential angst, or wait around for any form of support - I grieve a self-imposed life of mediocrity. It matters precious little at this point, the origins of  my pain - it just plain hurts. The beginning, the middle and the present. Has it been all pain and suffering? Probably in truth no, but I perceive that I was so often not "present," that I didn't ever really allow myself to enjoy nor have a felt sense of "having fun."

My go to methods of avoiding myself are - eating, compulsive spending, & the online abyss.... (none of which involve recovery paths of complete abstinence - so some kind of moderation is being called for - I am far more familiar with "all or nothing" so therein lies the "growing edge") - that I can name them in no way implies my life has (or ever will be for all I know) be restored to manageability. As I name them (in black & white as well as witnessed) ... my awareness of their pull is increasing - the idea of living stripped of armour is terrifying while the prospect of a more complete connection has its allure. This doesn't begin to recognize the more nebulous ways of being (in "relation" to others) which are every bit as much "addictions" as the more tangible examples. 

I am an addict (I believe I have virtually stripped that of any remaining stigma where I'm concerned) - it has (& is) costing me everything I've ever had, to reckon with the truth of this. Years ago, some quipped in "recovery circles" - you only need be willing, to change "everything." I didn't give that much credence - thought they were just being melodramatic. Well here I am 30 odd years later, and I guess they meant it. I certainly don't give a flying-fuck anymore, what anyone else thinks about this.... judge as you will, bless you and your ivory tower. I suppose I could locate myself in the position that nobody could take anything from me that I haven't lost before - therefore I perceive no threat in this. It's not as though I "can't be hurt." I've already said I hurt... but no one can hurt me anything like I've hurt myself - so go ahead, take your best shot!!

I feel the growing urgency - for me. I might not be, "over the hill," but I'm getting steadily closer to realizing the summit. Who the hell knows what time is left. I wouldn't know if it matters to humanity one way or the other, if I reach my potential. One wonders how effectively potential might be realized; while proceeding to grieve, that I never grieved.  To try and forgive and make amends for a life throughout which I,  so thoroughly abandoned myself.

I'm grateful at this moment for the forum of my own blog. I can certainly do without any suggestion that "this to shall pass," "turn it over", "love & light" etc. I have a sense of the power of each of these, beyond their trite appearance - but seldom if ever, is it helpful to receive them from someone more intent on appeasing their discomfort, than offering anything of substance (like just listening).

"Time to show up & be seen" is it? Overdue more like it. Is this business of "you're right on schedule - exactly where you're meant to be" true; or an attempt to soften the reality? (i.e. well actually, you're fucked but.....) What schedule? I've got an iPhone and a laptop both with various calendar "apps" - I've not received any download providing me a timetable.

Maybe that's what this agitation is about.... This is the universe transmitting my own personal "schedule.." the increasing urgency, directly due to the fact that there is a pending "dead-line!!!"

So I'll be seen alright! I don't know the exact way, shape or form.  I won't be following anyone around waiting for them to explain it, nor grant permission. Maybe I'm just cutting my teeth (while I still have them) to become an "armour-less" cantankerous old man.

R. O'Neill (December 20, 2018)

Wednesday, 19 December 2018

A Continued Spin

A few things present, "are stuck in my craw" this morning.  I therefore, sit before the gaping maw in the form of a blank screen, and allow a conversation to begin to transpire. I invite as many participants that deem worthy this dialogue. Then it's a matter of (to coin an old phrase) " around & around & around we go & where we will stop, nobody knows."

Speaking of "around and around"... over the time my book "What Goes Around Comes Around" was completed and came available; which is well over a year now (that being a general timeline, given there were a number of different completion sign posts) it has repeatedly come to my attention, that many people, upon reading the title, interpret it to mean some representation of "Karma" often spinning it to be flavoured, with vengeance & retribution.

I'm not about to debate or try and define for another "cause & effect" - natural consequences etc. But as it is my book: I will further clarify, it has nothing to do with revenge.

I'm human, so of course I have at times envisioned somebody (or a collective of somebodies) getting their comeuppance!! Naturally I would assess, the "crime," and fitting "punishment." I remember the first time somebody counselled, that I pray for someone in my life toward whom I harboured considerable resentment.... I quipped in response, "okay, I pray, that they step out in front of a bus...."

The difficulty with this line of "eye for and eye..." consciousness was for me, it never resolved my pain and in fact, created more as I basted myself in venomous fantasies.

The walk of my evolution (which might be well represented by a slug running the 100 yd. dash) may not have me automatically defer to "turning the other cheek".... it's probably closer to .... "fuck off" - well that felt rather good (for a nano-second) - maybe there's something to this, other cheek business... what, you then smite that cheek too??? WTF!!! well, I continue to differ to the "teacher," my life's resume would suggest "going it alone," has been less than stellar.

The choice of title: was (in hindsight) maybe more oblique than is useful (given the afore mentioned ways it is being interpreted).... Through out the book I was sharing my questions, insights, revelations, hopes, fears, inner demons etc. attained during the walking of a labyrinth (the pathway of which - "Goes around & comes around"  - eventually arriving; of course, then revealing the "completion" - immediately conjures another beginning .... & YES, "Goes around & comes around" yet again...

The journey of self-discovery (as least it has been so for me) far be it from me, to suggest how it is or should be for anyone else;  follows this same "goes around - comes around" spiralling "format" (if a life that is accentuated more by mystery than the known, can be thought for a moment, to have an explicit form).

My title was intended to contain all of that and more. I love metaphor, allegory, parable etc. I experience them quite literally as doorways. There is so much more there - than the written word. It actually can be a bittersweet irony that for me, one who has a love of words, there still remains the ineffable - that defies articulation. I suppose it to be perhaps, a part of the divine design. I can have the full "experience" those sweet moments, when the clouds ever so briefly part - but even though I want so much to share that - I can only point in what is realized to be, a very general direction - "yes, yes I can appreciate you'd like more detailed directions..." but this is all I've got!!"

"Are you sure you were there?" "Those are some pretty dodgy guidelines!!"

"Ah.. well yes, it was glorious... I mean, I'm pretty sure it was... uh well, hmm - maybe you had to be there....."  ah fuck... "How bout those Canucks????"

God doesn't need me to reveal itself (just as well, or I might somehow then, want to take credit for the experience of God - rather than stand as the embodiment of the "gifts of God" - in appreciation & love of.....)

So then, I can "vouch" for it being a worthwhile journey - and say well ya, it's over there somewhere & leave the rest to God and whomever is doing the seeking..

So to recap, I have unquestionably harboured vengeance in my heart - my book is not, about revenge. I personally don't believe that humans should be doling out revenge - nor do I believe the universe/God etc. - is sitting behind a celestial black-jack table dealing out "punishment." I believe in cause and effect, natural consequences. Even if you lock someone in prison for the rest of their life, you can't force them to be "accountable" for anything - that still remains, their choice.

More relevant to me is to determine the source of my pain (that underlies "the idea," that somehow my suffering is going to be resolved my making someone else suffer - it will not) I can learn to have compassion for my pain - and that of others... creating more suffering will never resolve anything.

Another matter that was brought to my attention came via a quick wander through a local Thrift store. I had picked up a copy of the text of one of the "recovery programs." I'm interested in their lens as it pertains to further discovery for myself - I will when all is said & done, leave no stone unturned. For the low outlay of $5.00 there might well be priceless insight.

When I was going through the checkout, the cashier asked me, "are you 60 years old?" I replied that I will be next year." She indicated that I would have been eligible for a discount as it was "Tuesday."

I joked around with her some around this, as she was processing my purchase and went on my way. Given my nature, it most certainly didn't complete for me there. I suppose the first response was "WTF, 60!!?" To that I become aware of a mixture of bewilderment, dismay, a little urgency & some gratitude. Then it was, for the love of God, let there be more to my life & more to look forward to, than discounts at the Thrift store!! Fuck this!!

Sixty! and I'm in the midst of processing the impacts of facets of my humanity that have been relegated to the same obscurity as my book - Again!!! (what goes around comes around!!) I know, more deeply, another layer of the onion...... well frankly I'm sick and tired of onions!! and, I will continue. Apparently the stones I committed to continue turning, are directly associated with those feckin' onions!!

How will I reckon with the "spiritual path," I embarked on "to save my ass," as been at times; commandeered to be another compulsive way to hide from myself and to feed my ego????

Thank God for compassion, empathy, understanding, acceptance... I mean that literally and directly to God.. I also am grateful I now have a nodding acquaintance with them for myself - so that I can open my embrace, to include all that was previously considered unloveable.

Here again - what goes around comes around. If I continue to foster a mindset that insists that punishment is merited for wide tracts of my humanity .... guess what - I will live my life, in such a fashion, that I am the recipient of ongoing "punishment."

My suffering won't lessen by pretending that all my darkness exists out there and while we're at it - "off with their heads..."

I suspect history is replete with vast carnage - orchestrated by individuals that have that world view.

Bringing it home again - (where it belongs)..... there is the matter of my pain (if indeed it is "mine" & not just my share of the collective pain of humanity).... "mine" is no more than anyone else's - of course I have spent ample time considering from the infantile perspective that - "ya but, this is MY PAIN" - somehow that is unique, special, exceptional etc. - it is not.

Just the same it can't be diminished, ignored, denied, repressed, projected, dismissed (and serve any higher good).

Do I "want" my resume to include my being envious, jealous, petty, manipulative, lying, cheating, stealing, rageful, scornful, judgemental, prejudiced, racist, sexist, privileged, abusive, inconsiderate, impatient, procrastinator, gossip, saboteur, turncoat, apathetic, cynical, jaded, sarcastic, passive-aggressive, intolerant, narrow-minded, fearful, anxious, victim, despair, hopelessness, grandiose and generally self-absorbed???

Not exactly... but I must!

Thank God for unconditional love!! That in the face of that lot, it can still prevail?? My growing sense is that it is inaccessible if I would continue to deny it for myself.......

What goes around comes around.... again!!!!! So at this time I accept with gratitude and trepidation a festive season banquet of onions..

God bless us one and all!

R. O'Neill (December 19, 2018)

Tuesday, 18 December 2018

Dark (Inspired by the "Season of Light....")

The many..


Of a
So complete
Waking moments
The lust
A pre-meditated
To accelerate
The end

Every detail
Every nuance 
As the
That promises

Jury & Executioner

Bullet, Gun & Assassin

A mask
That offers
Those looking on
It offering
Nothing of
The kind

Are stunned
The inane
On the pursed lips
Passers by
Has never
It most 
To them

A contempt
All encompassing

A word

Gene pool

Unmerited tax

Bone & sinew
To the clay

You know
Such a 

Would you..

Could you..



Take time
From your


Or will
Rush headlong
More regard
For your
Human Life

That to

Own pain
(only a half-step)
Behind you


Your door?

R.  O'Neill (December 18, 2018)

Monday, 17 December 2018

The "You" in Bridge, Path, Water.....

There is
About You
Get over

Are the 
Know that?

Is the 


"Troubled waters"

Won't accept
From within
Your own

"What is 
My experience?"

I must:

Work upon
Raise vibration


What is it?


To feel

Is to 
Be Alive

Due to start
Long ago

All means:

Drink more water
Eat nutritious 
(or accompanied)
The mountains
The forests
Under the stars 
The river's banks

Your choice

Sure to include
Along with
is to become
Sacred Practices

Love & Acceptance
For all 
That is 
Your heart

Your refuge

A stage
The continued
Mask of Image Management

A place
To love
All of yourself

A place
To stoke
the fires
Of Illusion
Self contempt

Are loveable


You are!!!

R. O'Neill (December 16, 2018)

Thursday, 13 December 2018

Coming Out From the Silence

I caught wind of a rally today (through the oracle Facebook). It was to be a demonstration of support for the Unist'ot'en First Nations; who on this day, are in the Provincial Supreme Court, to defend their traditional lands, in the face of a Multinational corporation, that is intent on Fracking and pipelines right through their midst.

The five chiefs in the region have all said, "No" - the company is ignoring their rights to self-governance, determination and land management. They are ignoring rhetoric from all levels of government for continued reconciliation - they are ignoring the findings of the Reconciliation Commission; as well a U.N. declarations of Indigenous People's rights.

I have been blessed to participate in a variety of First Nations circles/ceremonies - all of which it has been said, contribute to on-going healing and reconciliation for all concerned (as we are, all in this together). I continue to consider how I participate in the "de-colonization," as the ancestor of settlers and of course, as one that has been advantaged by privilege. Today I decided this was how I would show up.

I have participated in a variety of "rallies".. I tend to approach them, with some discernment. It's my experience, that often there is what the rally is said to represent... but there frequently can be those, that show up with entirely different agendas. Even within the stated cause, I reserve the right of autonomy and will determine from start to finish, how I participate. I won't blindly follow any group anywhere. There is no collective that represent ones sovereignty and well-being at all times. I therefore, do not abdicate my power of discernment.

One of the rally components was the singing of politically pointed songs (using the tunes of a number of familiar Christmas songs)... it felt aligned for me to participate in that... I like to sing anyway & while I don't know the outcome energetically or otherwise, of putting these songs "out there;" I believe, that perhaps those on the front lines of this current battle,  might be heartened to see & hear they have support.

"Rally cries," I would again assess for myself... I can whole-heartedly say I stand with the Unist'ot'en and what they are trying to do.... I don't know, that the company in question "steals" (it wouldn't surprise me to find out they do, but stil,l I can't give voice and energy, to someone else's fabrication (without knowing the truth for myself). It's enough for me to try and express myself authentically.

There were times when the nature of the rally, what's at stake - taking a public stand, were emotionally triggering for me. Sometimes I felt on the verge of tears... How would I know where I am on the spectrum of healing with respect to colonialism, racism, my participation in the world, that has done nothing to lessen oppression; and continued to contribute to economies constructed, to advantage me, a white male and exploit the planet that is all of our home.

I'm trying to find my voice. I can remember in elementary school becoming physically sick at the prospect of giving a presentation in front of my peers. Another time, I was so completely reticent to put my hand up in the class to ask to be excused to the bathroom, that by the time the class was over and I was then walking the 20min. distance home for lunch, I couldn't hold on any longer & I let the whole works go throughout my pants.

Incrementally through 12 step rooms, I learned to speak in front of others, my voice was not welcome in my home growing up. I rarely spoke in groups of people (one on one only ) I seldom voiced my opinion - I just did what I wanted, without engaging the "discussion." Those that know of me now ... know I possess the "gift of the gab.." It might be difficult for anyone to believe I was effectively mute as a child... (no pathology of sorts... everything "functioned" ... I had a voice - I just largely surrendered it). I seek to strike a balance.. I acknowledge "listening" to be every bit as important as speaking.

The first time I saw a "performance" of the "Haka" I was stunned .... That brought me to tears ... I don't want to do the Haka... I'm not Maori.. it doesn't belong to me - it's not who I am.... what touched me upon my broken-heart; was just the power and conviction, that these people unapologetically expressed themselves..

I'm still looking for that voice ... not their voice - my voice... I sit in circles & I speak... I write and I write and I write... I've said before - the words of innumerable people from throughout history, inspire me. But then again, I don't give a shit, about what they've said. I most certainly love that they said it!! Still that is their contribution, not mine. I know the pain of a voice unheard! (at the end of the day, for me, I recognize that that silence was a choice I made)... Even if someone is "demanding" or threatening, in order to commandeer silence - it's me, that would need to comply. I'm more convinced now, that my compromised silence, is far more devastatingly painful, than anything, anyone, could inflict on me for speaking - even death.. Fuck 'em!!

I will find my voice... I am finding my voice. It will be a voice of compassionate power, flexible, but un-compromised. It will not be un-erring .. but the same integrity, that will be the foundation of my expression, will recognize when my voice must express accountability and reconciliation.

I'm more inclined now to cite something someone else has said, not to impress anyone with my familiarity with their words, or some variation of "name-dropping," but rather to give credit, where credit is due. I will show up with my words - to express my perspective. My voice cannot be developed, leaning on those of anybody else.

Will I ever say anything that is impactful, influential, significant, profound...... Maybe

Chances are I will utter them, or write them - have moved on and be expressing whatever is next & will never know, where & how, those previous words landed...

It goes without saying (actually I suppose it must be said) that words unspoken cannot impact anything...

R. O'Neill (December  13, 2018)


Wednesday, 12 December 2018

Let There Be Light.......

A repository 
Ten thousand 



Impact - denied

"Out of sight 
out of mind"

But not lost

in wait
An arid forrest
To explode
A raging
into being
Just the right

In less time
Than a heartbeat

So much
Lost potential
The annihilation 

R. O'Neill (December  12, 2018)

Monday, 10 December 2018

Attention Please (Memo to myself)

This morning revealed a day not particularly "busking-friendly" - still I reasoned, if I get into town early enough, I might be able to nab the sheltered library courtyard. The coveted spot (at least I imagine it to be so) in addition to being covered, offers wonderful acoustics. First come, first serve is the understood "booking arrangement."

I have waited around in the past if someone is near finished - but generally, if I'm intent on singing, I don't really want to kill time, doing something else waiting for the spot.

Today I was "first come!"

Not long into my set, someone came from behind, tossed a coin in my case & we exchanged thanks. Then she looked up & recognized me. When she realized she "knew" me, she said, "hey I want to take that back now!!"

"Do as you please, "was my response. It made no difference to me, I don't "need" her dollar, give it open-heartedly and without strings attached, or keep it, that's the choice of the individual. It's an abundant universe, no lack of money out there, just lack of creativity with respect to offering a service or exchange, that people will get behind (that's what I hear anyway).

I offer a decent voice and a familiar repertoire, particularly if you were around in the 70's (even if not,  many of the songs and artists of that time, continue to enjoy being newly"discovered," now).

I also offer the joyful energy of doing what I love.

None of that means it will necessary be a lucrative pursuit, never mind whether it's supported at all.

So what's with this person and a willingness to be supportive of someone she "didn't know," but suggesting she wanted to withdraw her support once she recognized me? (she didn't, who knows what energies took over and had her leave the coin where she tossed it).

Just before beginning to write this, I saw a post that read:

"Your circle should want to see you win."
"Your circle should clap the loudest when you have good news."
"If it doesn't, get a new circle."

I didn't know this person well but, hers was a presentation, that I have experienced from people I have known longer. I have seen people I know coming down the sidewalk and when they see me, they cross the street and continue on their way.

I don't expect everyone to give me money. People are funny about their money and are affected by innumerable influences as to what represents "value." If you can't wish me well, or support that I have the courage to pursue what I love - endure the challenges, succeed, fail, succeed, fail...... etc.

Well I suppose, it's like the quote suggests, my bad for choosing the wrong, support network.
Many will not support you, if you succeed where they are not. Truth be told, they would prefer, the comfort of you remaining in a place of stagnation, right along with them.

I have one foot in the world of being an employee (albeit on-call casual) & one foot (some of the time) in more what I'll call, entrepreneurial pursuit.. For my ongoing needs I will need to develop further avenues of one or the other or both. I feel very little fulfillment in the former, beyond a known income source (based on how many shifts I accept)..... The rest is I suppose, "a work in progress."

Nobody that works in the health care environment, view my "extra-curricular" activity, with any respect. I'd have to say that's appears to be true, of many of people I have been associated with.

There is (in my opinion) far too much emphasis on "credential," fame, financial standing (all constructs of a system that has no interest in people finding and living their passions. Disheartened people that have abandoned their dreams, that are resigned and ideally a little fearful (make better "employees") from the standpoint of a workplace, that is far more concerned with turning a profit for the owners, than the state of the souls of it's workforce.

I'm reminded of the crabs in bucket metaphor. There is no need to put a lid on the bucket (concerned that the catch will escape).. Anytime one starts to climb toward its freedom, the other crabs will pull it back into the bucket.

I've had intermittent support at various places in time... so I'm not going to suggest I'm a "self-made" anything. I'm not really sure that it is useful to expect much in terms of support from others.. They have their own visions, goals and aspirations. I'm inclined to think an expectation (or hope) for support is courting disappointment. I'd place myself somewhere on a spectrum, having walked away from the extremes of "lone wolf.." now trying to self-determine, a healthy balance between self-reliance, and some form of community.

I really believe one need be their own: cheerleader, motivator etc. Granted that can appear to take place at times, upon a desolate backdrop. Still one needs to build a resilience within themselves for the inevitable point in time when no one is available to "support" or those that once were, have lost interest and withdrawn their attention .

I can change circles again & again... it doesn't matter what circle you are in ... there will be those that are indifferent, some antagonistic, some will become more known, some not at all. The bottom line my support of my endeavour and ongoing belief, must remain, no matter what.

I returned to a new community I introduced myself to, not long before going to Ireland (for a month). Of course, no one knows me long or deeply there. Of those I have had a more frequent interaction with, I was invited to share (in what amounted to the equivalent of the "30 sec." elevator speal) the highlight of my trip. Frankly, when faced with such a suggestion, I just want to say, ah forget it... I'm not going to desecrate my experience, trying to jam it into your limited attention span..

I had life changing experiences in Ireland I always do... but no one else give a shit! They want to bring the conversation back to the inane. Most it would seem, have been groomed to have only a limited appetite for the extraordinary - and can't wait to restore the levels of mediocrity. So given this reality, I have to, give a shit!! I have to keep my own limited thinking in check... I don't need to be, the recipient of that, from others.

I need to weed out any & all ways that my orientation to life, is still seeking validation from outside myself - it's not uncommon, but it's also not helpful. I can forgive myself for abdicating my responsibility and buying into this paradigm. I need to continue to seek- out those places that are wounded within myself; (due to not receiving the love I required) and instead of insuring that I received the requisite love, I looked for it everywhere but from myself.

It has been & it appears it will continue to be, a significant undertaking to transform my being into a residence that supports me in a life that encourages thriving & succeeding, nurtures and holds with compassion: those times I have lacked grace, erred, or downright failed - that generally cares about my well-being and makes the necessary course alterations.

Given the time it has taken me to create this truth for myself - I don't suppose I could expect anyone else, to take that much interest in what I'm doing.

R. O'Neill (December 10, 2018)

Sunday, 9 December 2018

Down is Not Out (The Way Up Can be Seen From There)

Our great glory is not in never falling, but in rising every time we fall. - Confucius

Not the quote I had in mind originally. It was another I have seen drifting around social media innumerable times. I couldn't remember it, to quote it directly, so tried to find it based on the theme. I knew I would recognize it when I saw it. My search proved fruitless for said quote, & as it wasn't crucial to this piece. I went with this one because it has the same flavour.

Do I circulate memes? Yes, sometimes. Some, the idea held within, inspires me or offers a new perspective. Do I think the circulation of memes (regardless of "who" said them) will change my life?

Not one iota!!

Does that mean they are useless? No - not entirely. For me, I'm a writer. I wouldn't know if anything I've written to date has inspired anyone. Well okay, that's not true, I know it to be so, because I've had direct reflections telling me so. Certainly I can be inspired by an idea expressed by virtually anyone.They don't have to have attained or accomplished some pinnacle that has earned them the pedestal.

Such pearls can at times provide that wee spark, (an "Aha" moment) however, Inspiration ... without the necessary "perspiration" leading to assimilation - to me, is just like the flashpoint of getting high. It momentarily glorious, then it's gone, nothing remains but the irrepressible want to feel it again.. So instead of working toward and building something sustainable - the "quick fix" is sought, again & again & again.

But as a writer, the experience of others, written or otherwise, is not going to hone my craft. My life will inform my writing and as much as I'm willing/able, my writing will express my life.

I believe there's an assumption that the "words of wisdom," of all those that are thought to be made of something more than the rest of humanities milieu; actually live all that they write about. Some might. It's just as likely that some, left worthwhile signposts through their written works - but never quite attained them for themselves.

That tells me that, the wisdom contained in any given meme, scripture, sonnet, poem etc. must be made real for me through assimilation; or, I become aware of it, through some lived experience (or many, sometimes, of the same variety).

I came to begin pondering the idea in the above quote, because today, I lived it to the letter!

I was "on a mission" this afternoon. I had two bags stuffed full of warm clothes that I was going to drop of at the street drop in centre. I know from past donations, volunteering and brief employment that these items will go directly to people that are in need of them. Unlike many donations received by the centre, these clothes were virtually in new condition. I hadn't worn them to ragged and then "donated them."

Many people have the attitude that beat up clothing etc. is "good enough" for the likes of them. I don't share that idea. I buy half decent clothes - to try and get some longevity. Sometimes brand new, sometimes from consignment or thrift stores. Buying stuff has on occasion been for me just another compulsive way to avoid facing myself. If allowed to carry on for a while, it results in too damn much stuff!! Some of these purchases have been impulsive. Some have created redundancy. Ultimately there are a given number of "go to ..." items, clothing.. etc. etc. many things become forgotten, seldom (if ever worn) clutter and excess.

I recently walked through the downtown east side in Vancouver. The suffering was visible, obvious, palpable, shocking. It forced me to exam myself. Why should so many, suffer so much, have so little? Meanwhile some of my choices, threaten to bury me in the excess of my compulsions, perhaps accelerating me toward my own redundancy. Maybe some of the fruits of my "addictions" can be repurposed, to bring some form of comfort to those still suffering in their addictions.

So I go through my closets - two bags full are removed. I'm still not suffering any "lack." That which was removed wasn't worn. I dropped the stories that might rationalize their remaining. If the pants don't fit now, then they're gone. No intended weight loss scenario to justify keeping them. If I actually attain a narrower waist line ... I'll deal with that at that time. My "security" cannot be allowed to override someone, is freezing their ass off as I'm writing this. How can I justify clothes I don't/won't wear - remaining unused in my closets?

So I drive down to the centre - there is parking nearly at the front door (parking angels are pulling the strings!!). I get out of the car, open the back door, grab the two bags - and lock the doors (trust God but tie up your camel)

I walk across the street, one bag in each hand.. go to negotiate what should have been a "routine" step up over the curb and the next thing I know I'm airborne!!! Must have caught the toe of my boot on the curb or something..... there was no recovering, I ended up sprawled across the grass boulevard (muddied from recent rainfall) certainly the landing could have been more physically traumatic, as it was; it was somewhat like a head first slide into home plate...  Both palms slid through the mud (but weren't jammed as to cause fractures or sprains... somehow I kept my head/face from planting... Still had a bag in each hand. I was up almost as fast as going down. I heard a few oohs & ahhhs from the "patrons" that were hanging around out front. Nothing in the form of any verification of the status of my well-being.. Perhaps my dignity was being preserved. Certainly seeing someone fall is not new to anyone down there. Maybe more indicative how disinterested many people are, in what goes on around them.

I can certainly say, there would have been a time, when I was absolutely mortified over such an occurrence. Would have either beat a hasty retreat or lashed out looking to make someone responsible. On this occasion, "my mission," was no less - my mission. I brushed myself off some, realizing I was going to need a further "clean-up." I went into the centre, waited for a client to finish her conversation with the fellow behind the desk; and then, gave him the two bags, indicating they were donations for the organization.

I looked myself over, I was mud all up one sleeve of my jacket, both knees of my pants, hands.... I went back outside and around the building, to enter the drop-in area and to use the washroom to clean up some. Everyone out front of the centre, as well as those inside, were squarely occupying their world and reality, as I was in mine.

Why would such a thing happen? I fancy my "feet are on the ground.." (maybe not as much as I'd like to think)... Was I coming there ... all haughty and full of myself and my magnanimous gesture... I don't want to be that... I would like to embody some genuine humility ..

I know the hopelessness, isolation & shame of addiction ... through grace the more glaring aspects of that have not been part of my life for a very long time..  Well if there was any unconscious airs of superiority along with me... a swan dive through the mud, might be just the ticket, to take the edges of any further inflated pride.... Trust me, if it were operating where it once existed, there would be no chance, I would whisper a word of this to anyone...

Maybe my momentary lack of physical grace... was necessary to remind me of the grace operating in my life.

Parroting the wisdom teachings of others ... doesn't for a minute, mean I've embodied them (even if I can do it word for word). I've generally made it a point not to try and memorize such things, because I want to experience them organically and newly, each time I consider them.

Ironically sometimes I'm sharing memes, as a way of avoiding my own writing. Not fruitless .. for you see, now I have been given the awareness, that is what I was doing. There's no harm in it nor "social media," as a whole (but for me I must make the distinction, am I using it as a form of connection or disconnect?).

I don't know how others operate in the world. But for me I'm inclined to learn a great deal more from my falls, than I will ever learn, from the success or revelations, of someone else's life.

Maybe I'm going to fall all the way to wisdom and humility. I am truly grateful, for the grace of my creator, that helps me find the means and cause, to keep getting back up..

R. O'Neill (December 09, 2018)

Friday, 7 December 2018

Heart of Stone

I suppose it could be accurately proclaimed that my writing is inclined to meander. I don't even know at the onset how the various themes, experiences and references will ultimately weave. I further suppose if what one is looking for, is a linear ("get to the point..") offering; they will be disappointed/frustrated with what I yield.

For clarity's sake, I don't offer this introduction apologetically. This is how it will be...

Having begun thus, it might then seem contradictory that I now claim, I'm going to proceed to "get to the heart of the matter."

Seven years ago, was the first time I would set foot on the lands of Ireland. It was the answer to prayers I didn't even know I had uttered and life changing experience on all levels.

During that journey I found the stone pictured above. Through some teachings related to some of the "old ways" of Ancient Ireland, there had been mention of the use of a stone with a natural hole in it for purposes that I'm still not clear about. (Suffice to say, uses beyond the typical attributes associated with stones). It was also stated that they aren't all the common & therefore hard to come by.

Much to my surprise during my travels (which that time were only 2 weeks in & around Ireland) I found this one.

I brought the stone home with me, unaware of the full implications, beyond the recognition that it seemed significant that I found one; & another experience within that which comprised, the astounding and magical first visit to Ireland. (imagine such a journey - mystical/inexplicable serendipities - unique to me in as much as, I had never experienced such things before). Inside, I was mystified, curious, excited my outward presentation was, "nothing to see here," at times, what's the use of this occurring? I can't tell anyone (which means no further clarity) - "they'll lock me up & throw away the key." 

I had gone to Ireland that first time wondering if there would be any vague sense of my "roots" upon visiting. I was adopted as a baby and had no knowing of my ancestry until considerably later in my life.

I attended further healing/spiritual circles when back in Victoria; all of which continued to focus upon the healing pathways from Ancient Ireland (& beyond). The subject of these stones came up in the circle. On a break I went home I got mine.  I brought the stone forward when we resumed - unsure of whether I should actually have it in my possession. I was told that I should wear it around my neck and not take it off and allow it to lead me back home to Ireland.

The next 4 or 5 years were extremely challenging. I underwent long term unemployment and both my adopted parents passed in the same year. The idea of returning to Ireland never left me, the stone remained around my neck - the likelihood of actually returning, seemed very remote.

I went on to secure employment and after a long process, received additional monies from my parents estate. Seemingly overnight (though not so at all) I was in the position to return to Ireland. I was back (including two weeks in Slovenia the winter of 2016 - being overseas for a total of 6 wks. - I returned back to Victoria  for a little over a month and then went back to Ireland for what turned out to be 6 months. (from April 2017 until mid-Oct. of the same year).

I continued to attend the healing circles as well as explore Ireland as I was guided. During a process in one of the circles a multi-layered scenario came to light; that encompassed many of the energies of the long standing conflict, between the Irish and the British (it happens those are the respective ancestries of my natural father and mother). At a home I was billeted at during the workshop, one night in the middle of the night, I got up to use the bathroom. Half-asleep and unsteady on my feet, I lost my balance, I stepped right on a women from Ireland (needless to say a rude awakening).....

There was discussion and banter to do with this incident ... but within myself, I believed it to be an enactment of colonialist aggression, upon the indigenous of that country.

There was an evening circle some weeks later and the Irish/British trauma, was still glaring large in the room... Both myself and the women I stepped on were among those in attendance...

Quite spontaneously, I felt guided during the circle, to give this stone around my neck back to her (Ireland) ... the land .. the culture/spirituality etc. I was of mixed feelings doing this.. I wasn't sure what the ramifications were of giving away something that I was specifically told to hold onto... it meant a great deal to me (for reasons that I wasn't even entirely sure of) but it seemed there was something far bigger at stake, way beyond the matter of my feelings. I also reasoned I was told to allow the stone to lead me back to Ireland (and I was there) so maybe that meant my time with the stone was through... I relinquished the stone - feeling it was now, where it belonged.

Later that same trip .. while walking a beach in another part of the country, I found another stone with a natural hole right through it.. I couldn't believe my eyes. It was as though the land really wanted me to have one of these stones. There were thousands of stones on this beach....  but this one stood out like it was the only one on the entire beach.

I booked another trip to Ireland for the autumn of 2018. This time it was to be just under one month. I didn't consciously leave the stone at home... but I did. In fact one night, while in Ireland I woke out of a sound sleep - with the words ringing through me: "where is my stone?" 

During contact with a friend that was checking in on my apartment while I was away, I asked could she have a look in a couple places I often have the stone. Neither place revealed the stone. I was concerned but not excessively; because I knew that it was there, and had thought, I must have tucked it way somewhere safe, somewhere that escapes me at the moment..

In a subsequent communication, it was discovered that I had included the stone, on a small autumn altar I had created sometime before travelling.

While in Ireland I was happy to have the opportunity to attend a couple of circles facilitated by a friend of mine. Near the dates of the circles, I was surprised to learn that another friend (that's right, the same one that became the keeper of the first stone) was to be there. I arrived at the venue and it was so good to see my friends again!! 

Immediately after greeting, I was told, "I have something for you.." Really? Okay, cool, "thanks!!"

She opens her hand and there in her palm, is the original stone, the leather tie I had hung it on, all coiled around it. She insisted that the stone belonged with me!

I gratefully, though a little sheepishly, accepted it back.  In all honestly, I don't have a great deal of clarity around this stone/s. It seems evident I'm meant to have one (now two). Ireland holds for me, a sense of lineage and lost spirituality/identity... My being there 4 times now (in total 8 some months) provides me both; answers to questions beyond my awareness, while at the same time, it's the source of mystery, that only deepens each time. 

There's no question, I most certainly will be returning.  

During one of my visits, a fellow that had association with the IRA (and my tour guide) scoffed at my "heritage" ... "Oh ya, " he says, "everybody wants to be Irish."

Anger flared from within me immediately, my reply was, "Listen, I've spent most of my life not knowing my ancestry/identity," "I didn't decide, oh I think I'd like to be "Irish." After years of pain and anguish I learned that it was part of my lineage. "I'll be damned if you or anyone else, is going to take that away from me!!"

If the stones are any indication, the land (or my ancestors) or something... seems intent on leaving no doubt, of my connection!

To what end? The mystery continues to allure, confound and unfold..

R. O'Neill (December 07. 2018)