Finding ‘Home’

What is the difference between Good and Evil?

Are they just labels that we assign each concept, or are they concepts that transcend our mere understanding?

And how can I know the difference between the two in this utterly confusing present?

This feels like a silly question to ask since there seem to be so many examples of good and evil in the world today – even asking this question feels unfathomable. But the more I lean towards a limitless inner world and trying to erase the lines of separation around me, I tend to believe that these two labels – these two lines in the sand – are causing far too much trouble than they’re worth.

They are both just energy – but in how we direct this energy, in how we assign it, in how we nurture it, it will manifest very differently. The ultimate agent is ourselves.

 

I know, I know
You can bring the fire
I can bring the bones
I know, I know
You make the fire
My bones will make it grow.

 

This is a lyric from the song “Hometown,” by Twenty One Pilots. To me, these lines represent that any of these forces – good, evil, or countless others that we label – can be invited in, be planted and channeled within us. And from within our mere flesh can be grown. Fostered in our bones.

‘Evil’ is a name we attribute to bad things that happen to us in this world, a force that we negatively associate with. A malicious, chaotic energy. A life-removing energy. ‘Good’ is the name we attribute all that we feel positively about, a force that is uplifting, kind, and benevolent. A loving, life-giving energy.

But these are both just forces of energy to which we ultimately assign a name. And there is nothing in our power to stop either from existing except for this: To nurture the energies that give life, and to ‘let be’ the energies that don’t.

 

A shadow tilts it’s head at me
Spirits in the dark are waiting
I will let the wind go quietly
I will let the wind go quietly

 

We cannot stop the wind. We can only let it blow past us. US being the indomitable beings we are – the pure, open awareness; the calm within the storm. We can know the storms that tumble and rumble will pass. We can have faith in our hearts that these storms, winds, energies and forces beyond will always bother us, and will always blow past.

The “evil” energies and malicious thoughts will always be there, but we have a choice to let them go. To let them be. To remain the observer of these forces rather than the grower of them. And when we recognize love and a life-giving energy – we can invite it in.

We are the vessel from which any and all things may come or not come – it is our individual and collective choice.

This is the pivot of our free will, the crucial choice of what we will grow in our bones. Often gone unrecognized and bogged down in the minutiae of everyday life.

*

As these ideas and forces whirl about us, and I fret about making mistakes and nurturing concepts that are not ‘Good’ from within myself, my heart reminds me to look unflinchingly inside: To re-route all things through my heart and examine how those labels are assigned and who did the assigning.

The door of the heart is open, always unlocked with a simple request; a simple recognition. A reminder to me that the lock and key that I imagined there had never existed in the first place.

 

Where we’re from, there’s no sun
Our hometown’s in the dark
Where we’re from, we’re no one
Our hometown’s in the dark

 

This lyric might ultimately mean something else, but for me it speaks of the Heart. That in this darkness of within, the cavern deep, there exists the illumination we seek. It is Home, and it will steer us true.

When we are in love, and acting from love, we will make the right choice – and let the wind go quietly.

 

Zenith

Seeing stones and sills go by
I see these things and start to cry

So many notes are gone and missed
I reach to feel them, shores to kiss

I greet You and I rise up tall
I want to search the Garden’s sprawl

To wander freely, touch what’s true
To love as greatly as You do.

An Inner Inquisition

Timing is everything
Timing is gold
Sending our signal
Out into the Fold.

Wandering spotlight
On moment
On space
Leads us to now
To where we must face.

Beyond this mere slice
We must reach
We must grasp
To seize the ordinary
Audibly *gasp*

A shock to the system
Of mediocre life
But what would we be
Without inner strife?

In ‘Recognition’ of Happiness

Why do we need to apply conditions to our perceived state of happiness?

Can you be happy always, anytime?

I was confronted with these thoughts recently, and finally saw them for what they were: illusion breakers.

Undoubtedly, the first time I saw a quote or meme that stated something along the lines of “Happiness is Unconditional,” I didn’t get it. A line like this evokes one of those mystic, woo-woo Buddhist concepts, spoken from the master to the pupil. In one ear and out the other. A part of me pipes up: “I’m not a monk, I’m a regular person!”

But more and more these words wormed their way in deep. Wriggled and wrought to my heart. I get them now so much more fully and deeply than I ever expected to. A pleasant surprise.

*

A while back, after the birth of my daughter, I was going through a hard time. I wasn’t depressed per se – I was just despairing a little. Feeling unfulfilled at work. Tight on bills and uncertain of financial security. Unwilling to work harder to make said needed money as I now wanted to be home more and not at the office. Plus, I happened to be blessed with a micro-manager who liked to provoke and push – the very opposite of what I wanted and thought I needed. And to top it all off, a lot of my neuroticisms transferred to my husband, who carried the weight of those residual damages.

I didn’t know what to do.

So for whatever reason, I started writing after hearing a speech at work. And about a year ago, for whatever reason, I felt a pull to blogging. The ‘whys’ of such decisions I still cannot fully articulate, but I went for it.

After starting this writing practice on a regular basis, I finally started seeing and thinking and feeling what this misty concept of ‘unconditional’ really means. About what it means to be happy and satisfied unconditionally.

To have no condition or state of being or thing or person or job or money dictate my state of happiness. And to think this could even happen.

Lately, even with long days at the office, shitty traffic, messy houses and emotional toddlers in my life pretty much every day, I am able to see small moments. To slow down. To breathe.

None of these things or situations cause my unhappiness. Their presence or lack thereof does not determine my state of Being.

For if I tied my happiness to any of these conditions, my happiness has the potential of being yanked away at a moment’s notice. My happiness would be tied to this world, and all the ephemeral things that move in and out of it. My happiness would ultimately be elusive.

These things that we typically tie happiness to – people, jobs, money, health, children, cars, time off, social circles, etc – are things that change in life. They change all the time. They are conditions, and our charge is to exist beyond them.

To BE unconditionally.

So back in my tough days (and they are far from over) I had trouble with this line of thinking. It was so clear to me that money and a more satisfying job would solve everything. Right?

Currently I am still at said job, making the same amount of money, and I am happier than I was.

There might be other reasons for this, but a major part is that I’ve now realized that my happiness isn’t tied to those things. If I based my level of satisfaction on earning more dollars, then my happiness would have the potential to never come – and there is nothing further from the truth.

I have power over my happiness.

*

Everyday, I sit in amazement and stare at my dog sleeping so soundly on the floor at my feet, ears twitching at small noises.

I kiss my daughter’s head with fervor even if she’s screaming and I’m losing my grip on patience.

I think fondly of my husband and his zest for life that sometimes lies buried underneath self-criticism and doubt.

I recognize my ridiculous wallowing and give myself some space and forgiveness.

I am in awe of this life and all it contains in this perfectly imperfect moment.

And that is my happiness. ❤

Undulations

Butterfly visions
Abound in the wrist

– A flick of a tempest
– A wick of a cyst

A fiery sorceress
Tempts and expands

A wizened old mistress
Unfolds her worn hands

A child underneath
A girl yet unborn

A teenager
Sullen and stricken with scorn

All of these women
Are here with me now

They speak in the spaces
That I can’t avow

They leave a mark, sudden
A contemptuous spark

Lines that condemn – and affirm – from the start.

Heart-Shaped Herring

Boney, stringent
Lines that cross

Steely gazes
Minds of loss

Pearls of wisdom
Lined up, neat

Beaten down
With golden wheat

Trusting no one
“Who is there?”

Fraught with misery
Winds that scare

Solace seeks us
– Every – One –

Yet turned away
We look for Sun

The rain will fall
If only we’d ask!

The hidden heart flutters
“Are you up to the task?”

Plexus

Mindless galaxies triumph by
Locking mechanisms, each in stride
Leaving by the wayside, knock
The pocks of craters, grateful stock.

Sinking to my knees and then
Putting bygones at the end
Crass, brass, renegades pass,
Not really listening to the grass.

Meet me here, again and now,
Meet me there within the bow.

In Search of the Forest and the Trees

My professional background is interior architecture. I’ve worked in the professional design community for almost 10 years now. Surprisingly, part of me loathes it… but an equal portion is enthralled. An oscillating love/hate relationship. But the design instinct is ingrained and natural and I will never get rid of it.

Design and architecture in general is quite fascinating to me, but you will never catch me ever owning an Eames lounge chair or an overpriced Noguchi coffee table – the inherent materialism in the design industry is quite off-putting to me. But this profession pulls me into it given a natural balance of over-arching vision, and the methodology of how to convey such a lofty intent in the physical, built environment.

I have been trained to seek the Why behind the What; To see the ‘Vision’ through the individual pieces of methodology; To see the Forest for the Trees.

*

I think a lot of us focus on either the Trees or the Forest, but never both. I like to think I focus on the Forest, but really I am just obsessed with trying to see the trees. ALL of the trees and possibilities of trees that have ever existed.

I think that many of us, when we think of the term ‘Forest’ we are actually conjuring a pre-ordained paradigm that we believe to be the ‘Forest,’ when in reality it is a cultural assumption that we have taken on as our own. We have been told by others that have come before us what the ‘Forest’ really is, and what it consists of, and we take their word for it. We take on these systems of belief as our own.

Therein, I think a lot of us think we are seeing the Forest in its awe-inspiring grandeur, but in actuality we are only seeing a projection of our own Tree.

*

But maybe all we can ever hope to see is our own singular Tree? Our own singular observable universe.

Maybe the other trees that exist in this multi-verse of a Forest cannot actually be observed, but only felt? Only theorized?

It is hard to fathom or imagine the breadth and scope of all the other trees out there that might live in this Forest with us. Side by side, interconnected in a symbiotic dance of an un-seeable ecosystem that we can’t really perceive – only postulate.

In my work-life, and in my spiritual-life, I am drawn to the trees – ALL of the trees in their myriad of possibilities. I have a drive and curiosity to know each of them intimately so that I might know more of this Forest beyond. To trace the seeds of all the Trees amongst the many.

And while these other Trees and seeds might exist just out of sight, perhaps they are within reach of the heart.

Sight

Breathing, misty,
Into light
Yearning for much more,
Despite.

Be here now,
Walk the line
Never straying
Down the spine.

Follow footsteps
That you know
They are there before you,
In the snow.

Do not question
Your own heart
For that was there
Before the start.

“Language-twisting-twisting”

Words are always following me. They hang above, trailing me wherever I go. Constantly composing, re-forming, re-stating. Once I have a moment of peace or silence, they flood me like the deluge…. An onslaught of compositions, essays, poetry, and random statements.

I am used to this constant internal narrative. It’s been there for me all along, so it’s all I know. Constant and normal. But I do have to work to keep it productive and not obsessive. Once I open the gates to the flood, it is hard to retain balance. To find the prior equilibrium. I’m working on it, but it is an ongoing battle. A battle I enjoy, really, so I am at least thankful for that!

The more I write these thoughts and think things out in words, the more I find it’s not really about the words at all. The individual words, meanings, or technical skill. It’s not even about the literal story. No… it’s really only about conveying a concept. Communicating a feeling. Incepting pictures to the hearts and minds of others and to myself. The words themselves are meaningless, but together with intention and imagination they create, transform, and build.

Feeling these concepts in my writing, spirited and soulful concepts, is the goal. I hope I am on the right track. It feels good, and moves me passionately, so I think I am stepping in the right direction. The pictures of the soul are so much more communicative than any human written piece could aspire to be. Transformative, intimate, touching. These pictures are the ones I reach for and hope to glimpse.

Amazonian shamans have a distinct relationship with words. They talk and describe their spiritual journeys and ayahuasca dreams in far-reaching metaphors that seem nonsensical to the outsider – but they make perfect sense to them. They tell us that this is the only way one can know the unknowable and examine the unseen. To get close. To glimpse.

They describe this as tsai yoshtoyoshto, which means “language-twisting-twisting.”

In his wonderfully readable memoir about his studies in the Peruvian jungle with indigenous peoples, The Cosmic Serpent, author and anthropologist Jeremy Narby posits why they must speak in twisted language – the “language that is double and wrapped around itself.” The shamans use their koshuiti, or particular song they sing, during their hallucination dreams in order to communicate with what they are seeing. They say:

“With my koshuiti I want to see – singing, I carefully examine things – twisted language brings me close but not too close – with normal words I would crash into things – with twisted ones I circle around them – I can see them clearly.”

Here, we could infer that normal language does not let us know these concepts adequately. We need the metaphoric meaning, as this is the only real way to see. Mental pictures cannot be described in mere words. They are concepts, feelings, pictures that reach beyond and within the self.

I have been writing my poetry stream-of-consciousness style for a while now, and I am only just grasping the pictures and concepts that it conveys to me. When I write, I try to let it flow unhindered, and it naturally comes out in rhyme. I’ve decided not to fight it – indeed, maybe rhyme is the best way of seeing the universe?

I will heed to the “language-twisting-twisting” as it shows me what I cannot see in this rationalistic, brain-based world. It shows me the language of the heart…in singsong.

*

I want to know, but feel unrest.
I want to formulate the best.
And so I must take my time…

Pyramids are built in rhyme.