Happy Mother’s Day

“I saw my life branching out before me like the green fig tree in the story. From the tip of every branch, like a fat purple fig, a wonderful future beckoned and winked. One fig was a husband and a happy home and children, and another fig was a famous poet and another fig was a brilliant professor, and another fig was Ee Gee, the amazing editor, and another fig was Europe and Africa and South America, and another fig was Constantin and Socrates and Attila and a pack of other lovers with queer names and offbeat professions, and another fig was an Olympic lady crew champion, and beyond and above these figs were many more figs I couldn’t quite make out. I saw myself sitting in the crotch of this fig tree, starving to death, just because I couldn’t make up my mind which of the figs I would choose. I wanted each and every one of them, but choosing one meant losing all the rest, and, as I sat there, unable to decide, the figs began to wrinkle and go black, and, one by one, they plopped to the ground at my feet.”  I was thinking of this quote by Sylvia Plath today.  How it captures how I’m feeling today.

It’s so true about human desire.  More often than not we have more than one desire at a time, often some conflicting one another.  Some, even conflicted by the reality of responsibility, an idea that often betrays logic.  It’s why I resist moving forward as a spiritual teacher or life coach.  Far too often we try to advise others on “what’s right,” or “what’s loving,” when what is really right is to simply be present with another as she feels her way through the layers of decisions—both hers and others—which landed her in her current life position and then listen non-judgmentally as she, like Sylvia Plath begins to understand what she’s feeling.  Then and only then is a person capable of pausing for thought and asking themselves, “Of this list of wants, which do I want most?”  It’s only when a person gets to this point that she can understand herself and begin to order her desires from most important, to least.

For example, when I was a child, having a baby and being a mother was high on my list.  Now that I’m older and a parent, I’ve discovered that my mother put a belief inside me that being a mom was an ideal for women.  She taught me to be a caretaker and it’s taken me nearly two decades to realize that an abundance of my unhappiness is rooted in adopting other people’s desires and beliefs as one’s own.  This said, does it mean I’m saying I don’t want to be a mom or that I regret becoming a mom?  Not at all.  Motherhood has awarded me the grandest of educations and provided me with the gift of consciousness.  I have become the woman I am today because of my daughter’s influence.

She has taught me that our life is a profound gift.  I’ve learned that love isn’t love until we give it away.  She’s made it possible for me to order my list of desires, not by wants, but instead by what matters—what transcends the here and now.  She’s taught me what love is and in doing so enables me to prioritize my list of desires.  As mother’s day approaches, maybe this song can help you with whatever you are struggling with.

Much love, dear friends!! ❤️❤️

 

Recovery

I once read that only those who can explain something with few words truly understand any given concept.  The more words used, the less we understand.  It’s why many spiritual teachers turn to objects such as a solitary rose as a muted form of teaching.  Once we can understand the message absent language, we come to realize that language is the roadblock between us and our own recovery.

I found this poem today while going through my poetry file.  It isn’t a solitary rose, but there aren’t many words.

Much Love,

Phoenix!

 

There was a time I relied on you, Drug

Dove for your arms to cradle me in

 

That was the time you were comforting

Safe and secure where fear stayed out

 

Then was the time the light dawned

Truth cracked through introduced laws of motion

 

Do was the time till you’d be gone

Pain was the wall ‘cause my heart had doubt

 

Trust was the thing I was told it would take

Love is the prize if we don’t give in.

Self-Love?

How many faces

Fit inside a heart’s womb?

Do they have names—

Have they ever been known?

How many days

Pass without being shown

Stretched and grayed over—

Little girl fully grown

Suppressed, locked away

Time ticks by unknown

Cause, delivery depends

On the love that we’re shown.

Feministic Famine

A mother’s supposed to be

Stable and strong

Consistent

Courageous

Loving and

Kind

 

Present and patient

Sunny side, half full, gracious

Warm comfort foods

Atop, starched linen tables

 

But what about when

There’s a glitch in the system?

When a heart gets forgotten

And love’s lacking in it?

 

What do we do when

A mom drops into

“I’m broken and weak

Not a drop in me, Jude!”

 

When Tom, Dick and Mary

Are caught in between

The back and forth swinging

Of his and her needs

 

A child deserves more

Than a hope and a prayer

More than a future of

Looking back with despair

 

If it’s true what they say

About love and attachment

Nurture then nature

We’re in quite the predicament.

 

Sense and Responsibility

If you listen very carefully

Let yourself feel you

Sink into the layers

Outer, middle, till—

Inside our own bodies

Love is talking to…

The me never witnessed

Curled and clinging to…

A me who’s sore and severed

Years of living

Two

Different lives entirely

Of me without you

There in your own shadow

A being never seen

Touched with lies expression

Of love lost in between

Running from existing

Inside a caving world

Shoulder heavy burdens

To rise above this truth:

Our sensory senses will not

Hush until they’re felt.

Growing Pains

Have you ever felt so terrible about how a relationship ended?  Maybe you find yourself agonizing over it?  You might be sitting with your thoughts thinking, “nothing that I said to this person begins to capture how I’m feeling.”  Maybe you’re feeling empathetic toward them and their circumstances and you wanted to convey that in your interaction. Maybe you wanted them to feel your love for them and believe it.  And yet, in the end, the dissolution was perceived by the other person as you being a cold, heartless, selfish human being.  Even worse is when someone is closed to even hear your post-script thoughts. 

In those instances, feeling is all that’s left.  Unless of course that’s too overwhelming in which case we reach for food or alcohol or some other vice that will aid us in distancing ourselves from the very thing that might free us.

Pain isn’t easy to feel.  It’s uncomfortable, distracting and it hurts.  While feeling pain it can feel as if we’ll never feel joyful again. Then fear starts to creep in and tell us all kinds of lies.  We start to believe the lies fear is telling us…

“I won’t be able to cope without the person.” 

“I’ve made a mistake.”

“I’m an awful person.”

And down we spiral to the point of no return.

Unless…

Instead of resisting pain in favor of pleasure (comfort, safety, acceptance) we make a decision BEFOREHAND to accept our pain in favor of freedom next time.  To make this choice, we must first reach a place where we feel tired of swinging and doubting; where we are sick to death of emotional acrobatics trying to get everyone to approve of us.  

Once we make this decision, we can then ride out pain and call fear’s bluff and with it discover that pain is temporary and love is infinite.  Once we feel this for ourselves, choosing love is the only option we can see in any given circumstance.  The more we choose love, the more we attract like-minded people.

Think about it.  I did and it’s changing my life!  

Much love,

Phoenix

Goodbye, Goodbye Wanderer

It’s been awhile since I’ve posted anything.  A close friend of mine died about a month ago.  The cause of death is unknown–or at least not released to the public.  I have yet to talk to his parents about it.  My laryngitis has acted as a convenient buffer for me as I develop the nerve.

I recently asked a new friend of mine if it’s possible to kill a person with love?  I remember reading once something about that–that if a person doesn’t understand real love and is caught in its path before they are ready to receive it, that it can kill them.

My friend died on the 22nd of October, which was the day I posted the blog, Riding on Fumes of Faith.  I had written that post because I was feeling this strong dissonance within me until I finally heard the words within me speaking, “Riding on the Fumes of Faith,” and felt impressed to write that post.  At the time, it was nothing more than an idea for a post.  But now, as I begin to look back and connect the dots–nearly three weeks since I learned of his passing–I recognize how synchronistic the world we all reside within is.

As you can imagine, every day since I learned of my friend’s passing, I’ve kicked myself that I didn’t pick up the phone and call to check on him.  He was the one riding on the fumes of faith after all.

He had called me a few days before this on October 17th leaving a voicemail asking me about God and telling me that he didn’t know where to go or what to do.  You see, he’d just been released from a halfway house after serving 9 months in jail.  He had suffered with alcoholism for most of his adult life.  When it came to coping, alcohol was the only way he knew how.

When he first contacted me last July, he had asked me to help him with his addiction.  As I began to help him, he told me that it felt like a “Divine Intervention.”  His passing has been my own spiritual experience making me believe more than ever that something lies on the other side of death.

He and I were estranged when he passed.  I’d withdrawn from our relationship in August.   The writing was already on the wall that he planned to return to drinking and absent an alternate solution, I bid my farewell.

But, it doesn’t make it any easier.  I wanted to help him.  I wanted him to know love and feel love and freedom; I wanted him to get a second shot at life.  It’s why I’d urged him to face the warrants that had been out for his arrest from previous offenses so that he could stop hiding out in his house and finally live.

And I suppose this is what I’m struggling with the most now.  I cannot see how far my love stretches.  Does it reach the other side? I’ve also been plagued by doubting thoughts such as, “maybe I shouldn’t continue to blog?” and “maybe I’m not as developed as I once thought–I couldn’t save him.”

Right now, all I can feel is what his leaving has impressed upon my life and that is that I feel this deep sense of finality.  When something becomes final, there are no more edits or revisions we can do.  How the story ended is in ink. The last thing I said to him was, “Sometimes we try so hard to make something work and it just doesn’t work.  I can’t make you do what you don’t want to do.  I can’t fix you or change you either.  I can only love you and accept your choices and sometimes, accepting a choice means making my own choice.  I made the choice to walk away because I don’t want to be a participant in your self-destruction.  But it doesn’t mean it’s not hard for me, because it is.  It’s hard to watch you be confused and frustrated and not understand.  It’s hard to come to terms with the fact that you don’t know love and you are fighting to get what isn’t love and pushing away what is love.  It’s hard to come to terms with the truth that the only way you’ll ever know love; the only shot you’ve got at knowing love is for me to put one foot in front of the other and move farther and farther way.  It’s not easy to love, but it’s right.  And my hope is, one day, you will understand and on that day, you’ll become what I become to you.”

I keep re-reading old texts and emails he and I shared over and over, trying to come to terms with how greatly this experience has changed me.  Only after we give away love can we understand it and feel the overwhelming presence of it in our own lives.

My friend was a musician.  He once wrote a song for me called, Goodbye, Goodbye Kallie Blake.  (In my younger years, I was a model with the stage name, Kallie Blake).  I used to call him the Wanderer.  He once asked me what my favorite word was and I told him, wander.  He asked me why and I told him, ‘because only when we wander can we find what we’re looking for.”  I told him that he was a wanderer now and that in time he’d find what he was looking for and once he did, his whole life would change.

As Christmas approaches, I’m attempting to step out of the shock of this stupor so that I can enjoy the beautiful lights, music and spirit of the season, yet when I consider the truth that the very last day the Wanderer was home before all this began was on Christmas, it’s difficult.  His goodbye to me happened twenty years ago when we were just kids, far too young to know what love was, and he got a second shot. Knowing love, absent a second shot, I’m the one who struggles to say Goodbye, Goodbye, Wanderer.  And I guess today’s post is my first attempt at coming to terms with it.

Much Love,

Phoenix