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)

Thursday, 6 December 2018

Sometime, About Some time, Noting Something about Nothing

Time is an illusion. So we are told from various esoteric sources. Perhaps an underlying tenet, of  complex disciplines of science, which I wouldn't pretend to understand, or be conversant with.

For an "illusion," I can certainly attest, that when one messes with their customary relationship with it... one gets, hammered!!

I'm sitting in the dining area of a hotel, now having spent 2 full days back in Canada - since just after 4 a.m. (it's now nearly 6!). I was in Ireland for nearly a month, which represents, an illusory difference, of being 8hrs ahead of this "time zone."

I vaguely seem to recall that others I've heard discussing travel, mention coming or going as being the more impactful in terms of "jet lag." Seems to me, I was influenced in both directions.. I arrived in Ireland mid-afternoon" (local time) enjoyed the remainder of the day; within clock face value, of what would be something close to a typical pattern (whatever that is) for me. Went to bed around 11:00 p.m. feeling tired from a "day" of travel and then was wide awake at 3:00 a.m.!!! I remember then seeing 4:00 a.m. and 5 something.. Next awakening revealed 11:00 a.m. & the realization; that my affinity for the bed.... resulted in the foregoing of, the equally appealing secondary "B" (breakfast!!)

Having returned, my "eco-driven" solar powered techno-gluttonous watch; was readily readjusted (with the push of a couple buttons) to snap right back into this "time zone." Not so, this bag of bones loosely defined as "me."

I have been operating within what would be "average" time parameters ... expending energy, living and experiencing my current location - my body however, would seem to be proclaiming, "Feck that!!"

I was "dead" tired last night around about 7:00 p.m. (either end of the travel experience for me seems to avail a form of "tired"- that I typically don't subject myself to) - I suppose on one hand, it is a demonstration of what is available with respect to "inner resources." I think it safe to say, that kind of tired is not sustainable. We came back to the hotel room.... I stretched out for "a while.." and a "power nap" - becomes something closer to coma.  A few hours later, upon waking, the prospect of undressing and preparing, to "go to bed.." - feels far more arduous than it merits.

Gratefully sleep is attained once again. For what felt a reasonable period of "time." Nature calls - I answer - I avoid a "time check," I really don't want to know. Another short respite in bed and I'm aware; I have more consciousness of the heater/air-conditioner,  a few jet airliners winging their way elsewhere and "morning?" commuters. "What the hell are they doing on the road already???" At, ah shit... 4:00 a.m.!!!!" More to the point, why am I awake to partake, in a "pre-morning," experience.

There's not a hope I'm going back to sleep!! Now the room & another being, ASLEEP!!! begin to feel as though they are closing in on me... I can't let my "insomnia," bring someone else into the murky abyss of sleep deprivation..... Can I?

No ... this is my fate.. a quick check in to inform I'm going to take my laptop elsewhere. I will dance this one alone.

How surreal is my impression of my situation. Geographically, I'm somewhere between where I've been and where I'm going. More immediately, I'm at a table, beside an adorned pseudo-tree. I have as my audio-backdrop "the Global News" (I sat as far away from it as possible).. it is audible, but I would have to pay attention to take in any of what is being "reported."

There are people I love and care about where I've come from .. the same is true about where I'm going. Will I actually live long enough, to become adept at navigating my own heart? Loved ones left behind, loved ones with whom to reunite. Christmas..... chains of seasons past .. rattle and reverberate at this "un-Godly" hour - creating a cacophony of emotions "time-stamped" elsewhere - experienced now!!
Where and how and if, I celebrate - there will be many that will not, "lift a glass of cheer" along with me.
A long walk in Vancouver resulted in passage through "the East end." The streets for blocks and blocks, lined with survivors/casualties of mental illness/addiction/homelessness/violence/hopelessness /despair. The most glaring part of that statement, is that I "passed through." I can't begin to know, of the untold suffering of anyone of those souls. Addiction marred and wreaked havoc in my life for 15 years, I could have been walking those very streets, just the same, with no perceived way out. Maybe I should have been. I know the futility of asking "why me, why this, why that..." - just the same, I'm clear - I'm not any more deserving of being spared that fate, than anyone living there. There is no one there, that "deserves that life!!"

Meanwhile, they "news" - focuses on the memorial service and glorification of a U.S. War Criminal/President). I acknowledge his "loss" will impact his family, while at the same time, world "leaders" with lesser or equal legacies of atrocity have been vilified, and used as scapegoats for dubious military strikes,  he receives a "heroes," send off.

I suppose his passing will ensure "justice," will never be served and though perhaps truth remains unassailable .. I wouldn't know, in this case, when it extracts the requisite accountability.

Even though I was no longer able to sleep, I don't "feel," a suitable match, for the requirements of the day that I was given the jump on. Today I will make the journey back to "Vancouver island" to the wee small hamlet (which itself, would now be saying "I'm a city, damn it...") "Yeah, yeah..." whatever you say...."

To get there from here, there is a "sky-train" ride, to connect with a bus, to be delivered to the ferry, where we will join the ranks of the "walk-on" passengers (a respite in the form of the 1hr. 40 min. ferry journey) then another bus into town and potentially a last bus, in order to be delivered closer to my apartment.

The fatigue that has been fed, by packing "excess," will be compounded by the same excess. Anything I have considered about "simplifying" my life, will not provide me with the brawn or energy to meet the demands that I have in part created and lay before me. On the other hand, there are those facing today... at various places upon the face of some clock - and they face far more onerous realties than I.

I have come to know at various places "in time," that I have no idea, what I'm capable of. Through these experiences - I am unable to hold myself the same way as I did previously. I'd have to say, that is still true. Even armed with the knowing of what I have come through, or accomplished (the mental, physical, emotional, spiritual challenge & growth) I'm still inclined to "rest on the laurels" of past accomplishments; and/or, lay out a path, that isn't going to "ask too much of me."

I suspect that given the "time," my day began today, I may pay a corresponding hit later today; that might look completely contradictory to, the "posted time."

The breakfast area, is now full of hotel guests - commencing their day. "Don't they know, the day began 3.5 hrs. ago???" Of course for all I know, I might be ready to hit the sheets again, about the time I supposed to check out of here.

The world operates on clock driven, schedules - which of course have a dodgy relationship with what is actually occurring. My return trip began, with my first flight being nearly an hour later than scheduled to take off. One can hammer on the schedule cited on computers, emails, tickets... bring in as defence witnesses, any number of clocks - and it all amounts to nothing.... In this case, regardless of "time schedules," - what was relevant, was "having missed what was previously your flight to Vancouver, would you like to see about getting on another plane heading that way, or consider, an "unplanned" - experience of London." I chose the former - so I had, that experience.

I had brought down a book I found yesterday in a used book store, incase I was unable to fill my "time," on the computer. The book an autobiography of Keith Richards...  It occurs to me, (and I haven't even started the book, other than read random sections, while I was still in the book store) - that this story will represent to me an example of someone that lived unapologetically as themselves!!)

It is quipped endlessly in the media, that against all odds - this guy is still alive! I've had various experiences with "extremes." At some points the consequences have been undesirable (albeit I suppose "educational.") Other times if I had not pushed, some pre-existing envelope I wouldn't have had the innumerable amazing life experiences.

I have enjoyed the "Rolling Stones" for years. Saw them once in concert back in the early 80's.  The book appealed to my curiosity. I also had reasoned, it would be a welcome departure from "spiritual/personal growth" titles. It's possible, I won't achieve that objective through this book. Here is an authentic account,  of a life well lived. I'm clearly not going to "walk in his foot steps." But I might learn a thing or two about relationships, with time. After all, as already noted - he has outlived anybodies expectations (maybe even his own). The Rolling Stones collectively and individually, have broken all the "records," in terms of longevity of career (in "Rock and Roll" no less - that of itself, usually imposes a significantly present, finite life "time.")

"Maybe next time" No "time like the present." "Time is on my side" If not this time, perhaps another." "Time waits for no one." "Time heals all wounds" "Time you enjoy wasting is not wasted time" "How did it get so late so soon?"

As can be seen, there are innumerable observations about "time." It might be an illusion, but in that case there exists a great deal being said about nothing.

R. O'Neill (December 06, 2018)

Sunday, 2 December 2018

Heart's Concerto

Your heart

Rhyme & song

The lines


To be


Do not

Pinching off



The breach

From you




(in all ways)

R. O'Neill (December 02, 2018)

Saturday, 1 December 2018

The Glare of Nowhere

Taunts and sneers
Glaring defiance
Just a hint
The abyss
Creative stagnation
With the
Fear's inferno
Be stirred
To a wildfire
The longer

Screaming starkness
 A Deafening 
Soul shattered

No further
A breath away
The form
A shroud

If not 
For the 
Self satisfied

R. O'Neill (December 01, 2018)

Friday, 30 November 2018

Soul's Emancipation

The nightmare
Was being

A collective
More illusion
Than reality

So then
Where was I?


In a 
Transplanted family
In a land
Transplanted people
For foundation
In the


A teet
Void of 

Numbing survival
The carillon call

Death invited

It's cruelty
Never more
Dancing into proximity
Only to 
Mockingly retreat

The solace
Bone & blood

of association
While still
The matrix
That unites
A clan
A wall

Wisdom & compassion
Of the land
In the turf
The stones

Quivered, quaked
Heaved & convulsed 
The land

Remained stalwart 
And profoundly

I've stepped
One foot
Closer to belonging

The purging
Has never belonged

R. O'Neill (November 30, 2018)

Thursday, 29 November 2018

More or Less; Less is More; Bless this Mess!!

Today's relocation travel, generated for me an awareness; cyclonic in its fury and cavernous in its depth.
What was the catalyst?
Trying to pack my bags!!
I have the same two bags, I came over with. I have purposefully avoided for the most part, the acquisition of more. I was given a hoodie from a local gym, and bought a lightweight poly-fill vest; as I went out, for an open-air bus tour of Belfast, somewhat under-insulated. I even got rid of four of my books that I came with - so I reasoned, there should be more space, not less. I believe the point is if I'm that close to the "margins," I have too much. I knew my trip to be nearly a month long. I didn't know what I'd have for access to laundry services or facilities and I tried to pack for what I thought might be the sort of activities I might engage in. As it turns out, I would just wear a couple variations in rotation, hand washing and rinsing out what had been worn. Consequently I lugging around stuff that is superfluous. I don't fancy I'm on the sort of journey that involves extended periods without showers or changes of clothes, but I can also see, some of my "measures" (that have some distorted aim of providing comfort) end up be excessive.

This goes so far beyond the realm of what I pack for a trip. Though having said that, when I look to the overhead rack on a train and know, there's no way, I'm even going to try and lift this suitcase up there, that might be a clue.

No, this has more to do with another facet, of further realizing and deepening, inner healing and maintaining some form of peace in its place. There is nothing to be gained, by a continued outward orientation. Well except of course, for more stuff than I know what to do with.

I had started to increase my activity levels, and adjust my eating, before I left and was managing to maintain that pretty well while (on the road). I was doing a lot of walking, and accessed local gyms, in the towns I staying at.

The excesses in eating were another way to "fill," & numb out. I have been actively into some personal healing that is painful at times and the accumulation of the backlash from "consumption" is making my life "unmanageable."

I'm doing my best, to be with the feelings as I go. In fact, I'm satisfied with how that is going. It doesn't mean that there isn't the "wreckage of my past," to face. The manifestation of this excess, is waiting in one form, in my apartment; awaiting my return. The more immediate is here, now, along with me.

I won't get rid of the photography equipment I brought along.... I will certainly know for the future, to trim that down, it's a lot of additional weight!! (and I don't work for National Geographic)
I have already taken a bag of clothes (three shirts & a toque - I think, that would be the point, I'm certainly not going to miss them, I already can't remember, what I gave them) to the local thrift store in the town I arrived in..  I had a pocket full of coins - that went to someone collecting for a local food bank.

This periodic compulsive behaviour is completely contrary to what feels aligned to me (though obviously it has been allowed to happen nonetheless). There is the thrill of the hunt and the momentary excitement of something new - none of which is problematic in itself. It's when a long standing binge has been occurring, and I "suddenly" realize - I feel like I'm buried in it.

Ironically the processes I have been undergoing (since around this past February) are intended to bring relief; along the way, they march me through awareness (which can be painful) & old painful feeling that where repressed, which again is painful. I am learning, that below my painful feelings are unmet needs.... some of these behaviours I mention are then, "strategies," to try and meet these needs.

Life is showing me, these particular approaches are not actually working .... And, it's only natural to want to put an end to pain and suffering... but, the way to go about it,  would ideally, be a means that doesn't create, more pain and suffering!!

I feel very "prosperous" when I can take bag fulls of stuff and redirect it. Sometimes I have put it directly into the hands of people who are homeless. I don't mind supporting Thrift stores as well, it's just that for some people, even those reduced prices are not low enough. Conversely, too much stuff actually feels smothering and a little overwhelming.

I have done this dance before... ebb and flow! It is my intention to apply due diligence to my on-going healing. I have just registered for a course that examines "self-sabotage," this then, is perfect timing, to be having this awareness, and to go deeper into the how's and why's of sabotage. I'm not kidding myself, I know another round of "shadow work," will not be, a walk in the park; but there's a saying that points out: "at some point the pain of staying the same - out weighs the pain of growing and healing..." I'd say, for me now, it is just like that, so here I go!!

I am a "recovering addict" the drugs and alcohol phase of my addiction is long over. I would agree with Gabor Mate with respect to a more useful question regarding addiction is: why the pain? versus: why the addiction? Therefore, the more completely I can work, toward resolving the pain (and avoid the creation of more in its place - the more completely "addictive behaviour" will be arrested. That is ample motivation for me... I won't even entertain any dialogue around - "that should be obvious!"

I will approach this with renewed - compassion, understanding and self-love. I am satisfied with attaining further freedom and accept, an incremental transformation.

R. O'Neill (November 29, 2018)

Wednesday, 28 November 2018

Write Where I am.....

It wasn't immediately clear to me what direction my musing might take me today. This is not particularly unusual; though often, I might become aware of some "threads," and then sit down to discover, how they are to weave upon the blank screen/page.

A direction prompt presented itself on this occasion, through the avoidance of that blank page. I had returned to my B & B after dropping my rental car off. I had stayed out of town last night, and the car dealership was on my way back into the city centre. I was given a window in the weather system for a nice 20 odd minute walk afterward, during which it was fairly blustery, but only just a fine mist fell.

After enjoying a delicious breakfast (okay brunch) I sat to consider writing. More truthfully, I was to write, what followed was the form, my avoidance of writing took.

It began with a "quick look on Facebook." This departure came replete with it's own associated rationalization. Surely I will come across some "inspiring" article, that will seed my imagination. While this is not entirely impossible, it is far more likely, I will spin my wheels (yielding nothing resembling my intention to "write.")  I can expend considerable time through this dodge. Occasionally I would weigh in with either a reflection on someone else's post (or comments); other times, I would include something of a reflection, along with my own post. Though either involves "writing," it is not the writing I had intended to do, and was in the midst of avoiding.

As it turns out today, something of a "theme," occurred to me via a facebook post - eventually. More accurately my response to the post, got my attention and became the writing prompt.

It involved a notice from one of the local shops that they had got in, these beautiful leather covered journals (& they were going fast). The weather had taken a decided turn for the worse. Not "catastrophic" by any means, but of the variety I would describe as, if you don't need to go out, then why bother?

It was most interesting to me, to be the "fly on my own wall," and listen to the antics around the "need," to "run out" and get myself a journal!!

I have a journal along with me, (from another Ireland trip) ... with plenty of space remaining. I have journals a plenty, in my flat in Victoria - some have been "christened," others are still untouched. Not to mention, I have a laptop which provides me; with endless "blank pages," as long as it remains functional. I don't even know what the price of these journals are - however, the full blown version of acting out compulsively, has for me, never been modulated by prudent financial management. The point was, not to feel - not how much it would cost!

What would compel me to want to venture out, in dodgy weather, for yet another journal? I recognize that these patterns I'm sharing here, include; that despite a fairly strong case for "not spending the money, the time, the energy; innumerable times, I have done just that! (not just to purchase a journal, that just happens to be one of the shapes and forms "sabotage" takes for me - this time.

What would be more present for me today? What has me engaging strategies of "avoidance," and/or clambering for ways and means, to not feel and express, what is going on for me?

Today, (for this trip) is my last full day in Derry. It also means I'm only three full days away from returning to Canada. I have friends here (that are "the family I can chose,") I love these people. Progress for me is to acknowledge that, rather than avoid allowing myself, to even acknowledge it. I am "less" fearful that allowing love (is a kin to inviting pain) - I am "less" fearful, that I won't see them again. I see myself returning to Ireland... while at the same time, I don't know what "tomorrow" has in store.

I was reared within a framework comprised of "don't feel," "don't speak," "don't trust." Variations would include: "you'll get hurt," "there's not enough," "you can't do it," "be grateful for what you have, what makes you think you deserve anything more?"

Love is said to be infinite. I've struggled at places in time, to conceive it has any substance beyond "Hallmark."

I dance with it all now, allowing it in, expressing it to those that matter to (in different ways, shapes and forms) ... I gather there's a book that describes the "5 forms" love might be expressed... maybe that give some basis to understanding - or at least recognizing, that someone else's different form of expression is no "less love." Just the same, if "infinite" is accurate, then; one is going to be hard pressed to contain it - in a book of "5 forms," or 5, 000, 000.

I endeavour right now to acknowledge both love in my heart, for those I care about & the country of Ireland; and that it hurts, to consider leaving all of it. To be clear, I went through the same thing leaving Victoria (Canada) to come here. I don't even really know how to "open my heart." I just hold an intention of not closing it off ...  each time I feel challenging, feelings from within it. I suppose it good to hold the ideals of love as guideposts, but I can't ignore all the ways I created to "damn the river." Ideally each as it is discovered, will be embraced in love itself. It's an ongoing process for me, given the vehicle through which, I am more consistently allowing to give and receive love - is that which continues to need healing, for that which was previously thought to be "unloveable." (which historically was the justification for withholding/avoiding love.

I see my writing as potentially, a vehicle for, loving authentic self-expression. Of course it could just as readily be, a vehicle of self-deception and repression.

I am not going to go and get "that journal." It doesn't matter how "beautiful" it is, nor if they are a "great deal." This is not an exercise in self-depravation or martyrdom; nor a demonstration of my stellar self-control.

I don't need another journal. But again, the journal is only a representation of a series of patterns, that don't work for me anymore. It would be a quantum leap toward loving myself, to not hurt myself through spending money unnecessarily, and in general; to run interference, with what's going on in my heart. I need to express what's on my heart. I don't " need" to be on facebook or to be running around town, trying to stay one step ahead of my feelings.

Maybe this is a turning point .... I have to acknowledge I'm writing about it - I didn't go and act it out!!

Nothing I have shared here is revolutionary perhaps, in anyone else's life.

My soul's journey is just that, my soul's journey. It is impossible for me to express that of another's and serves no helpful purpose, to make comparisons.

R. O'Neill (November 28, 2018)

Monday, 26 November 2018

Another Point of View

As it does: life pushes, pulls, prods, cajoles, encourages, at times even demands; a change, a reassessment, an expansion, a release, a reinvention, a reconsideration, a transformation.

I returned to Ireland this autumn, in fact I'm still here. Closer now, to the end of this visit, than to its   beginning. Thoroughly fed by the current experience, anticipating all things known, from whence I came - looking forward to another Ireland odyssey, sooner than later.

It was clear when booking my flight for this current trip - "I want to go back because I love being in Ireland." Purpose more explicit than that, wasn't necessarily defined, in no small part, because I don't know what powers within and without me, have in store for my experience.

I loosely had in mind that I would continue what I started with respect to my book (which had launched on Amazon last year while in Ireland).. I went on to having it placed in some local shops as I travelled and doing a couple live events.

Indeed something did transpire with respect to my book. I stopped into a shop in Derry to check in, what is the status of my books placed there? Are you happy to continue to have them (knowing that "space" in a retail shop represents revenue ... I couldn't presume to occupy it indefinitely).

As it turned out the shop owner had revamped the shops, reassessing what was popular and what wasn't to be carried at this time. Books didn't make the cut. I can't fathom it myself, but mine is not the only perspective. So I was to have returned, twelve copies of my book. Honestly I wasn't strongly disappointed, maybe a little. But I truly felt grateful to have been given the opportunity. I was more concerned about, the physical inconvenience of traveling with that many books.

She wrapped them in 3's and gave me a couple stout bags to carry them, that was a blessing right out of the gate. Without this act of kindness, I would have had to carry some loose, try and stuff some in my day pack, all of which would be awkward, and potentially muss the books.

Within a very short period of time, I was able to relocate all twelve copies. I gave one each to the staff at the B & B (for a total of 4). They have been so kind to me each time I have stayed here. (they still joke that I may hold the record for collective duration of stay) - B&B's more commonly being short duration refuge, for those going somewhere else.. I like to fully immerse in a place, so I took up residence..

Another two copies went to a friend ... perhaps to be passed on to family or friends, or a client. The fate of the remaining six copies, I am particularly happy about. One night I woke upright, with the notion that the lot of them; were to go to the support agency in town, I had connected with last year. I had intended to reconnect with them anyway; so, once I determined where & when they met, I just brought the books along. 

The organization is called Me4Mental, it is located in Derry. They now have their own space to work from and meet in. They provide a vast array, of support services to those dealing with mental health issues. I have sat in their support circle three times now, and it is a beautiful experience. I'm not qualified to determine the parameters of "mental wellness/illness" - or at what points, I'm dancing on the line or have stepped across. But I certainly can say, the love and acceptance present in that room is a boost to my spirit, anytime I've been there. 

Not all times "on the road," are comprised of stunning vistas, peak experiences and inspiration (at least that's true for me). Of course those experiences occur, my facebook page is plastered with them. However, the unfamiliarity, the intensity at which one can come face to face with themselves while traveling, can be daunting ... what a blessing, that I was welcomed into this circle of people, with open arms.

They happily put the six copies of my book into their library. It is an absolute privilege and honour for me to consider this outcome!!

Further to the path involving my book; I was introduced to a publisher at a friend's book launch event. I was invited to submit my manuscript for a look see. This marks the first submission of that sort, I have allowed myself. Again, what a blessing to be given the opportunity, to submit.

I was convinced previously, at the time of the book's inception that I wanted "Autonomy," and I still value that, for my life in general. However, ongoing self-exploration, yields that issues from my past, spawned through me - various forms of "control issues." I would need to continue to be very aware, to discern; when I'm legitimately standing in my own power, and when I'm simply not trusting (anything).

Interesting the amount of time I have spent with various groups of people, been engrossed in various written guidance; all proclaiming the need to "let go and let God.." I've neither embodied it full time, nor ignored it all together. I'd be hard-pressed to explain it, let alone "prove" the virtue of it. 

One would need to have some willingness to at least be open to the idea that a "higher power" exists. I'm not sure it matters what you call it. Did this power - declare; my name is: GOD!! - "hey you over there, you spelt my name wrong, - ya it looks like Yahweh... but it's pronounced GOD!!"

At any rate I'd be writing all day and never be able to articulate anything conclusive. So, I side step the existence question and proceed to letting go to, whatever remains. Sounds simple doesn't it? In essence I suppose it actually is. Perhaps there are those that do it all day, every day and would wonder why anyone wouldn't. More likely if they are that thoroughly aligned, there would be no need for concern about who does and who doesn't; they would just trust, that relationship, is being looked after between each and "their maker."

Trust .. that is the "muscle" I'm discovering that became atrophied. From the environment I came from, to not remain "in control" - meant further hurt.  I want to believe in a Divine loving source, I suppose if I did more thoroughly, I would "turn it over," surrender, and Let Go; instantly.

There isn't overwhelming evidence that I "know best," if my life is examined. Of course I haven't in all cases, acted out erroneously either.

I have faced "abandonment/rejection" issues in my life on a number of levels. However, this is my first book. I have heard the reference/metaphor to written works being like, "your baby." I'm realizing that it cannot serve any greater good; if I cannot separate this book (or anything further I write) from myself, my worth, my "success." The book must stand or fall on its own. 

This feels like a cross-road for me. I "know" virtually nothing about publishing/marketing etc. I know there are those that are "butcher, baker, and candle-stick maker" - I have discovered, I just want to write. Does that mean this book or any future book will then, automatically become "published?" No it does not!

The thing is, to be fair, it's possible I have the "raw talent," - but I most likely can't, serve as my own crucible, (to apply the necessary "pressure," refinement, direction etc.) to yield all my potential has to offer. I'm more likely to either sit back self-satisfied; while the best is "left on the table," or drive myself to distraction, through unhelpful perfectionism, that will never submit anything.

The book features a labyrinth journey. My experience continues along labyrinthine paths. The "arrival" at the first completion and self-publishing "goal-line" - doesn't necessarily mean, the journey is complete. I know self-discovery to be an on-going walk - and so it is.

This might well be the first of countless submissions. I have no way of knowing. This book might ultimately go "nowhere.." or perhaps where it has gone, is exactly where it was meant to go. I had to face myself to write the first book. There is no free ride where that is concerned, from one "completion" &  thence forward. To sit before the blank screen is to see reflected, all of me - from there I move the pieces around and see what forms. Love it or hate it.... it's me!! It's not my business how it is interpreted by others. (memo to myself)

One thing is for sure.. there will be nothing gained, without a submission. The peaceful way to make that possible for me is to "Let go of the results.."

R. O'Neill ( November 26, 2018)

Sunday, 25 November 2018

For the Record

There is nothing extraordinary about my "spiritual journey.." I began almost 32 years ago when I came through the doors of Alcoholics Anonymous. That is nothing more than a "time" reference, it in no way has any connotation of "seniority," any benchmark of evolution; I couldn't begin to quantify, to what degree I'm "awake," and where I  methodically continue, hammering the snooze button.

At some point in my early life, I had determined there to be an acute lack of love & further decided I surely must be responsible for this. Wasn't worth it, didn't deserve it, was flawed, broken, defective and deserved to be punished.

On this "foundation" I set out to build a life. Now the fact I'm still sitting here and able to write this account, is strongly indicative that indeed there was "a life" - as lived through, this lone facet of humanity.  Quality of living would be an entirely different conversation.

So my ticket to ride, when I presented at the doors of A.A. (broken, battered, bankrupt .. in every sense of the word) was desperation. Not exactly anything to brag about. The journey within A.A. and subsequent path outside its doors, has been diverse broad, deep & last but by no means least, LONG!! Way longer than I would have ever imagined. Mercifully this is true, as if I had gotten a whiff of the length of time, amount of blood, sweat and tears, that were going to be required (when I first showed up) I would have quickly run out the door I came through.

I have been in the company of many extraordinary people along this journey. This has allowed me an ongoing dance with and experience of, love. Simultaneously, I resented and envied these people, because I couldn't conceive of myself as one among them. (like the old Groucho Marx line: "I couldn't possible respect an organization, that would allow me membership!!"

It continually goes back to, and maybe has always been, about love. In various ways I deny love and acceptance for myself. Those around me are being the best possible version of themselves they know how (maybe seeking love and approval as well) & I reduce the whole matter, to be about my exclusion.

I have a various times (maybe more often than not) tried to present myself as "spiritual guy" extraordinaire, I suspect I have alienated more people than I have helped. Feeling so deeply inadequate, I have overcompensated.... if I'm I really, really, sparkly, holier than thou, devout, pious, connected, light, gifted, conscious - maybe, (but it turns out probably not).... I'll get "more love and approval" from those around me and God/Love.

It's time I showed up..... for real. I am profoundly ordinary. In groups full of talent, I will be the last remembered/first forgotten. Throughout my life, though I have applied myself with some continuity to various things, it's possible I will never present, with "mastery" of anything. I actually don't know if I'm naturally drawn to a wide diversity of paths, fields, disciplines; or the outward presentation of my trauma, sees to it that I cannot "settle" anywhere.

I have no business seeking or allowing residence on any sort of pedestal. Not only would I prefer to avoid inevitably being knocked off (when my humanity presents front and centre)... I will most certainly fall right off the damn thing anyway...

I am committed to the release of any further need to compare myself to anyone else. From "Desiderata" I'm reminded:

 "If you compare yourself with others, you may become vain and bitter; for always there will be greater and lesser persons than yourself."

It has always been far easier for me to consider that greatness exists in others than any exist "less than me."

What people are saying, doing, believing, presenting; is none of my business. I want to fall deeply and passionately in love through the portal of my ordinariness. There is no further point, (not that one existed previously - except maybe to get me here) in trying to be anything I'm not. I'll no longer pretend, to understand what is going on around me, that I "feel" what others are feeling, that I have the inside track on anything or to anywhere. I renounce any "specialness" regarding me whatsoever.

No longer will I pray or meditate in order to weave window dressing. I pray & meditate to attain even a whisper, of assurance ... that a peace exists; beyond a mind, that seeks to keep me in a state of constant terror, insecurity, fear, self-doubt, skepticism etc.

The more I have tried to be "seen" .. the more I have given cause to uphold invisibility.

Allow me to reintroduce myself: My name is Robert John O'Neill & I am really quite ordinary.

I have generated a renewed want, to be comfortable in my own skin and to just know, love is;  and to surrender, any need to stand out in a crowd.

I've seen the top of some mountains... I hope to see a few more. I most certainly don't want to step on anyone, during my climb.

In the writing of this, am I just continue to clamber for attention? Well, by it's very nature, writing must be visible.

The "fifth step" of the 12-step programs is: Admitted to God, to ourselves, and to another human being the exact nature of our wrongs.

While I don't adhere to A.A. as the entirety of my spirituality .. there are elements of it that continue to serve me to this very day.

Regardless of the spirit of these steps during their conception, this one in particular, I don't consider a process of "shaming," self-flagellation, or tearing myself down.

It is a "rigorously honest" assessment of what has been true for me, which is now witnessed in it's recognition and acknowledgment; and further goes on, to outline my intended vision of my personal transformation (through the Grace of God) I don't know what that will go on to look like. I know at depth, what is "Not working." Framed as such, this is an act of self-love. I want to release myself from the suffering created through the unskilled and ungraceful strategies, I have employed while avoiding my own trauma & woundedness.

Have I made any progress in thirty odd years? In fairness, yes I have - I only need see where I came from, to acknowledge that. It doesn't however, mean I can rest on my laurels.

I don't fit. I've never fit. And I'm inching closer to accepting, I'm not suppose to.

I may well never go, where I'm not invited. Despite my boisterous expression at times, I don't wake each morning intent on forcing myself on anyone. Having said this ... I suppose I belong where I give myself the okay ... to be.

To be... or not to be?

 To Thine Own Self Be True....

More relevant to me than ever!!

And for the record, those these references of course come from the works of William Shakespeare ... don't for a moment, believe I'm some sort of literary scholar ...

I first became acquainted with the first quote, from an episode of "Gilligan's Island."

And the second, is quoted in A.A. literature, and is inscribed on some of their "medallions.."

R. O'Neill (November 25, 2018)

Thursday, 22 November 2018

Keep it Simple (except when it is not)

I came down to the dining area for breakfast this morning at the B&B I'm staying at. Both the staff on today remarked on how "early" I was. I wasn't aware I had established a particular pattern. To be fair they both worked here when I was here last year (when my stay at this place, alone  was collectively  maybe 2 or 3 months) maybe more, I was six months in Ireland all together. And I based myself in Derry for long stretches went off, and came back.

By there account this was the "first time" I had ever been first for breakfast. I made light of it (as I do, when I've been unexpectedly "exposed," and proceeded to get my cereal and fruit cup. One of the staff, wishing to confirm the remainder of my breakfast, guessed (what I had a couple days previous, when she had been working). As it happened that wasn't at all what I wanted today.

There is absolutely no "foul" committed here. But the experience got me to thinking, how interesting, that want/need; to categorize/simplify (reduce to the lowest common denominator). Here it was being applied to me by someone else, I absolutely have, can & do the same towards others and of course toward myself (maybe even more vastly than I realize).

This notion that "the known," is far more predictable and therefore "safe," can run deeply through one's life, by which I mean, mine.

I'm know without question through out my writing for example, there would be examples of my thinking I knew something and then presenting it as though it was some unassailable truth for everyone. Further self-exploration reveals to me, that represented my compelling need for "safety" and attempting to present something as impeccable to provide myself some form of stabilizing foundation..

On the one hand, I regret any assault I may have inflicted on other people's belief systems and journey's. Alternatively that was where I was at the time, and couldn't be somewhere I wasn't.

Given there will always be infinitely more I don't know than what I do, that would seem then to invite a greater ease, with "not knowing."

For me, not knowing, had become associated with humiliation and shame. By no means the only factor that contributed to these beliefs about myself.. but anything that triggered these painful feelings became strong motivators to avoid pretty much anything that might pull the trigger.

I was also reared in an environment that was "conditionally loving" at best, so the "unpredictable" nature of it (not knowing when someone would fly into a fit of rage) spawned ways of being that were aimed at "controlling" people and outcomes.

There was also a very regimented approach to life in that home and while some structure and form are useful... I would say, an environment that is too "predictable" and inflexible - fosters a seeking of uniformity in the world, in order to feel safe.

I hope my writing and world view continue to reflect my honest discovery and insights... further to that my intention is to leave others to their own discovery and beliefs. If something I share resonates for you... great. If you patently believe it's misguided that's great too.  I might come to believe that myself eventually. A season for everything (and everyone). I envisioned my healing journey and exploration to be of service to others... that cannot hope to be true if I beat people over the head with what I am learning..

Some will have stepped in the same minefield as I, and others will have avoided it altogether. The underlying fear and shame that comprise my own healing journey have compelled me to speak in terms of knowing how it is for others what need be done about it...

I am being granted, through grace, insight into the human condition (mine)! It is possible there are underlying reoccurring themes that would be true for others, it is up to them however to declare that as true. I "know" nothing.

I've been back in the B & B in Derry for (roughly 3 days) and when I walk into the bathroom, I still reach for the light cord as though it is situated in the same place as where I stayed in Dundalk!! I'm not trying to make a federal case about such an inane occurrence..  It just shows me, how easily I can slip from being present to current "reality" and be grasping for the past (familiar). Relating to myself and others with that same inclination, in effect won't allow my seeing anything else possible, but what I have predetermined.

Again I apologize for what certainly must be seen as a lack of humility on my part.. These realizations must in turn inform how I present, as I seek to lessen my imposing of limitations. I seek those places within myself where "fear" resides - a deepening of that search and discovery holds for me expanded potential freedom. Nobody can provide me with the "safety and assurance" I have been seeking. This is true whether they "agree" with my assessment and equally true and fruitless, is my trying to assert my truth on others, rather than consider theirs (if only to acknowledge that we can both remain with our respective beliefs) and perhaps gain an expanded perspective; rather than succumb to my own perception of being "threatened" and destabilized and an associated need to "defend," myself.

Travel has a way of serving myself.. up to myself. I suppose in no small part, because geographically speaking (culturally, time zones, and most everything) is unfamiliar. Even to rely on "who I am" and what I believe, can still be reflected in a different reality, and therefore, come up for reassessment.

I'm not one that likes to be in a different town every day. For one thing I like to more deeply experience where I find myself (I don't immediately tire of some growing familiarity). There would be I'm sure some influence by those facets of myself I've already mentioned,  so I do look to some sense of familiar to ground me. I don't know, but I suspect this would hold true as part of "how I like to do things." I try to allow for some "spontaneity" - but I won't invite a full on assault of what I experience as "chaos," I just don't think my growth has to always come in such harsh packages. There are times too, when I enjoy to "retreat" into myself and don't want to be "on the go.." This has nothing to do with the people I might have previously spent time with. It is the recognition that.. no matter how much I love these others, I need time, where I don't have to be "on."

I think I'm learning to walk a gentler path, I am realizing newly that fine line that exists between when I'm being "defensive" and in turn becoming "offensive." I'm not talking about massaging my views (hyper-vigilant political correctness) nor care-taking the feelings of others. I'm trying to articulate a further departure to "black & white" thinking ... that for me has nothing to do with being in my heart.

I don't like being "put in a box.." - I need to realize that is likely true for others. I don't "stereotype all day, everyday.. I also don't consider at all times, how much more is going on, than what I currently or maybe ever, will understand.

I know experientially how good it feels to really be heard. I want to provide some version of that for others. Granted "Non-Violent" or "Compassionate" Communication - NVC) is yet another paradigm, but there are elements of it's "formulations" that invite so much more to be conveyed between people. I know the validity of that for myself anyway. It doesn't mean that I'm now going to hoist that platform as the be all to end all. It means that through various paths, and experiences and yes, systematic lenses ... I become aware of more being possible than what I previous believed.

Somewhere between seeking a place of peace for myself through something familiar and knowing I'll never "understand" (it all) and perhaps was never meant to; there exists a way of being that is always new, ever-changing and refreshing and yet is not at all threatening/life-threatening. (I suspect that place exists or is obscured, between my ears).

I defer once again, to an old "Standard..."

God grant me the Serenity
To Accept the things
I cannot change

The Courage
To change the things
I can

The Wisdom to know the difference!!

R. O'Neill (November 22, 2018)