The Face of Joy

Have you ever looked Joy in the face and watched her wings break time into infinity?

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I have.

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Joy stood before me, weightless. Hovering. Her curious eyes, unafraid, staring into mine, but it was I who was held in thrall. A captive of tiny grace too huge for my human mind to fully comprehend.

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Pan held the veil aside while Horus kept silent vigil from above, and for one thousand of her heartbeats I let her be, wondering how long she would stay, and when she would return.

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July’s Rainbow

I have decided that my favorite season is whatever one is present. Each month brings new gifts for the awakening senses. Even winter’s muddy March into spring and November’s shedding browns serve to unearth a deepening beauty, feeding the sensory appetite of cyclical growth.

Now I find myself in the middle of July, where the air hangs heavy over a landscape of abundance. Spring’s early greens have burst a rainbow of life that overwhelms the senses. Stepping into my garden, I am greeted with the full spectrum of color split into vibrant hues that attract a multitude of buzzing life. When I pause to take it all in, the effect is the intoxication of Nature: A deep breath beside a full-bloom rose. A tuned ear under the apple tree in early morning, its bows laden with song. The spiky silk of growth massaging  naked feet.  July’s banquet of color bears no rival for opened eyes…

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The Call of the Soul

The Call of the Soul.

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No One Wants to be that Parent

Or That Child

Or That Child

But some of us are.

I’ll start with my childhood mistakes, at least the highlights that stand out in my mind:

  • In the 1st grade, my best friend of the day and I bullied another child, I’ll call him “Timmy.” Timmy was a year or two older than we were, and he was sitting alone on a bench because he was different. No one wanted to be friends with Timmy. He was heavier than most other kids, he wore glasses and he didn’t really fit in. On a dare, or double-dare you might call it, because there were two of us (energy grows with numbers), my friend and  I skipped past him and declared, “Timmy, you’re fat.”
  • For pretty much all of grade school I watched and sometimes participated in the shaming of a classmate of mine because she was also different. “Sally” wore glasses, looked unkept, came from a tough home and didn’t seem to care about fitting in.
  • For most of grade school, I avoided a family of children because they also came from a rough home and were “dirty” and different.

If you knew me, you might be surprised. When grown-ups met me, they thought I was shy, but exceedingly polite and well-behaved. On the outside I was a model child, but I made mistakes. I was so afraid of being different, I participated in the shaming of other children.  What most people didn’t know, was that I was a child in turmoil. I had many secrets to hide, and I tried desperately not to let them out. I would do almost anything to be liked and accepted.

  • In the 4th grade I laughed when my friend’s suspenders fell in the toilet water.
  • In the 6th grade I snuck inside at recess and changed my answers on a test about pH, lying that I had to go to the bathroom.

I also wanted to be perfect.

Why am I confessing all of this now? Because kids make mistakes, and sometimes these kids are the unexpected ones. But there is always a reason, even if it is as “simple” as wanting to fit in. To be a part of the crowd.

I am the mother of two children who have already made mistakes. I think it’s almost harder to be the parent of the child who makes the mistakes, than the child herself, now that I’ve been in both places. But, neither is easy. My early mistakes still linger uncomfortably inside the shadows of my mind.

In the eighth grade I was given a gift. I was bullied, shamelessly, restlessly, well into my high school years. It was, in hind-sight, a multilayered, difficult and beautiful gift. It helped shaped who I am today. When I moved from the center to the periphery of the popular crowd, I began to look at my world from a different perspective, and I didn’t like what I saw. I didn’t want to be a mean girl. I didn’t want to follow a crowd of girls that were not only outwardly unkind, but were experimenting with sex, alcohol and other activities that spelled trouble in my mind. So, I took the lonely path of the good girl. I still made mistakes, but not nearly as many as I would have, I am sure, had I followed the crowd.

Yesterday, I was given another uncomfortable gift. My daughter had made a mistake. A big one in some ways, a not so big one in others. There were consequences, there were punishments, and life has already started to move on. But there is a bigger picture to look at with this mistake, as there is with every mistake we are gifted. Unlike me, my daughter lives a pretty charmed childhood. Not perfect, but pretty darn good. Yet, she has had a habit, since early childhood, of making impulse “mistakes” without thinking through what she is doing:

  • She gave herself at least 3 haircuts when I wasn’t paying attention before the age of 5.
  • She sprayed perfume in her eyes to see how it would feel. I think she was 8.
  • She put gum in her hair to see if she could get it out when she was around 7.

Yesterday, she wrote some words in a friend’s memory book that were meant as a joke, but bore the energy of something much different. When I asked her why, she told me she did it because other people were doing it. She didn’t think about the after-effects, she was merely following her own impulse, buoyed by the energy of the crowd. The resulting gift was an opportunity for dialogue.

After my daughter told me what happened, we talked about decisions and choices. We talked about the pause required before we make a questionable choice. We talked about the consequences that can come when you blindly follow instead of  pausing and thinking through. We talked about drugs, violence and other unsafe behaviors that follow the energy of the crowd. We talked about being a leader and not a follower. We talked about turning this mistake she had made into an opportunity. Into a gift.

I doubt this will be the last time my daughter makes a mistake (I still make my own), but I hope together we can find the gifts always waiting inside these uncomfortable mistakes and grow them together.

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The Body’s Reply

The Body’s Reply

You see, Child of the Mind
I cannot lie

When you let go of constriction
I follow the moon-tide

Old blood releases
to return Her light

Whoever said the moon is man
lies to hold fear in thrall

Enchantment is a misunderstood
power of denial

The magic to being
is coded in every cell I hold

When you divide anger with forgiveness
you receive abundance

I play by simple math

The product of tolerance
minus hate is love

These rules you have created
only impede our growth

Would you starve a child if you knew
she lived inside the hunger of your heart?

Give her the breath you trap
it is enough to feed her

To understand infinity free the wings
you have tied behind my back

Reunion is simple addition
after you learn the rules of subtraction

Reuion

Reunion

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Healing a Voice Silenced

Healing a Voice Silenced

She asked me how I was doing

honestly, I didn’t know. The body

plays tricks on the mind. The tight

throat triggers memories of chocking

words. But they are coming easier

flowing beyond constriction

into the limitless space of Truth

Flowing Beyond Constriction

Flowing Beyond Constriction

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Drawing the Enneagram

I wrote this poem rather quickly, in one sitting, letting the words flow through onto the screen as I typed. I have been in a bit of a writer’s rut these days, and I thank Sue Vincent  for nominating me for a daily poetry writing challenge on Facebook. This has stirred the latent creativity back to life, somewhat, and I am grateful for that.  I’m sharing this one, today’s, because it is metaphysically inspired.

Drawing the Enneagram

After I finish my third one

I want to add colors

to the distorted shapes

I’ve created, thinking about fear

She told me it shatters the spectrum

throughout the body, lodges

light behind shadows

to find a home inside darkness

I have found splinters

in unexpected places

The child who slipped

into the pool of joy

for a moment and forgot

about the well in the forest

is living in my lower breast

below the plate of armor

in a sliver of blue truth

Shall I place her in the middle

and spread the rainbow

around her? He never built her

the swing-set, it still festers

in the gray matter of my mind

with conditional love

 4 cuts a path to 1, bisecting 9

and 8 to get to 7. My eye lingers

in the space between 5 and 6

even though I wore the number

13 last night in my dreams

on a magenta shirt. My other father

wanted me to change its design

but didn’t want to pay the cost it would take

Typical

So I refused, and the shark

in the water became a hippo

leading me to land, where I ran

until I looked back and laughed

myself awake

My Enneagram

My Enneagram with a Sliver of Blue

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