The Hidden Spot

I chased my heart out of my chest and into the woods. I hid her in the shadows of old growth trees, beneath brambles enough to entangle rabbits.

I sat with my heart amid the leaves and vines, holding her until fires died and birds went to nest and coyote mothers called their pups to move in the darkness. Undetected, my heart and I were perfectly silent, still as stone.

I learned to leave her there nestled in the moss against a large oak of many years my acquaintance. And without intention, I walked out and left her as she rested.

I decided to sit with my heart in the woods again, forgetting that I’d left her until I found her there in that hidden spot. I fell in love and wrapped her in my arms. I placed her gently in my chest. Reclaimed.

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My old friend, the hidden spot, is still standing but is now free from holding my heart for me, and profusely thanked.

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swim

You swim through my soul

silently pulling me to a place so still

I forget that you are you and I am me.

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Laughing Leaves

Sit with me

while the leaves fall

like laughter on our bodies

and our souls grow strong like the trees.

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a little asleep

If we need an other to learn self love,

the awakened will need no one.

I will stay just a little asleep,

to convince you

I need your kisses on my skin.

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The Rest Will Remain

The important thing is to keep your intention clear.

I’ve been thinking about my intention lately; defining and refining to the essence as is the way of the Virgo-born. My intention at this point in my life is quite clear to me, and it is two-fold. A deep and simple way of living is emerging for me. Refining even my possessions to create a home filled with meaning rather than superfluous objects. The other aspect is to live in love.

So when faced recently with the loss of something I love deeply, I was left looking at my situation and at the choices that lay before me. How do you maintain your path when you’re in the throes of emotion that sweep you up like black waves in the midnight ocean and push you under into the airless dark? How do you simplify the experience rather than soak it with the story details that are the reflexive response of escapism?

Simplify. Look deeper.

Easy, huh?

Not so much. But I expect it will become manageable after this initial stumbling effort.

I asked myself the critical question in all things: What is true? The answer of course was that love is. Love is true. When I looked at circumstances from this angle, things were a little different. The ache of loss started to morph a bit. There was still loss. Still something missed. Still something longed for. But that third one, the longing, didn’t resonate as clearly with love as the other two. Longing is wanting to hold on; wanting to keep something for myself. Love doesn’t do that. Humans do that for their own needs – to keep safety, comfort, perceived happiness. Love only loves. Love allows.photo

The grief of loss is real. And in order to properly experience it and let it complete, you have to feel it in it’s entirety. This can take years or it can take minutes. I think the difference is in how far along you are in the path to experiencing pure love rather than attempting love via human maneuvering. I am much much slower than minutes. I have been in the years category. I’m hoping for evidence of evolution in this instance.

But nonetheless, the truth is I love, and I feel deep sorrow from an experience. How do I simply love authentically while I experience this grief process? Erase my stories about why or what happened. Clinging is not love. Wanting is not even love. Love accepts. Love loves. Love makes room for all that is. In this case: letting go.

The beloved is loved. Period. The nature of the experience has changed. The grief will finish itself out. The rest will remain.

I hope I remember this tomorrow.

 

 

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Empty Now

Nothing inspired and nothing expressed.

Time stops as a vacuum forms inside.

It envelopes the universe.

Breathing, I recall, creates movement. I notice I can’t move;

can’t return,

can’t go beyond.

This stillness holds no memories, no future plans.

Just now.

This empty now.

An electric fan whirring finds my ears and notes from the radio seem to drop

one

by

one

as unrelated events.

I listen for lost heart songs once made of memories and future plans.

The fan again.

It seems so loud just now.

In this now.

This empty, empty now.

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Letter to a Friend – The Moments that Matter

Until I learned to appreciate someone’s soul, and found myself willing, even grateful, to let them go though my heart was torn apart to do so; I didn’t really know anything about love.  I wrote this letter to my friend, one of my true believers, after his passing in July of 1997. He was 33. I was 30 at the time. He taught me how to rise to the occasion of real love rather than fall, no matter what happens.

I like to think my friend read the letter over my shoulder from his new vantage point. I think he knew the time together in his last week mattered to me more than these words could possibly convey. He taught me how to honor the moments that really matter and to make sure people feel better having spent time with you even if you don’t do anything for them. That’s love. Love for all. He knew that, and I do too because I knew him.

Today is Memorial Day. He was not a military soldier, but he soldiered on through some difficult situations in his life. I’ve been thinking about putting this here for a while, and somehow the timing seems right. In honor of honor:

Dear Kent,

I know you remember all of this, but I want you to know that I too remember; often and well. Part of this story I didn’t witness, but you told it to me so tenderly that I could see you, a boy of 17, nursing your father. You watched him suffer from colon cancer. You felt him ache with the sorrow of having to leave you. Then one day you became a wise man in your seventeenth year. It was the first day of deer season; the day you and your dad always bought your hunting licenses together. You went to his room and saw him lying there, struggling to hold on to life, to you. I saw the image of you bending down to kiss your dad. I saw your beautiful blue eyes fill with tears that never were allowed to spill over and wet your lashes. You were brave. You told your dad that you would get the licenses for both of you that year and that you were leaving to do so. It was your tradition to go together every year. Then you did the most amazing thing for such a young man living alone with a father that you loved and cared for through the long painful days and nights of cancer. You leaned in and said to him, “Dad, I’m going to get our hunting licenses, and I don’t want you to be here when I get back.” You kissed him and left.

I’ve wondered about how you found the strength to give him permission to go. That must have been an agonizing drive to buy the licenses. I wish I could have been there to hold your hand when you went back into the house. You knew he’d be gone. Just as you knew he wouldn’t leave as long as he was worried about his boy. But a grown man could take care of getting a hunting license. And a grown man would be okay without his dad. You spoke the lovely language of allegory all the time I knew you. Teaching other people about themselves through story. Bless you, for that. And bless you for being so fine and strong for him. I know how much you needed your dad, a need that never left you until you saw your own time shorten. I suppose your need must’ve changed to anticipation.

I witnessed the rest of this story. You, of course, were there too, but I want to tell you how you changed me. Do you recall that last week when we spent time together? Maria called me to come three times that week; you were in a great deal of pain and the bodywork treatments eased that for you.

Monday we talked while I worked on you. I said how glad I was to be able to help you. You said you were mostly glad for the time spent. You showed me how the fluids were collecting in various places on your body and described in detail how having your intestines rerouted felt. We talked the nuts and bolts of your illness. I mourned for you that day and wished to be able to carry the cancer to the end of the earth and throw the demon into the abyss. I would have walked for years to do that. Then you told me about the things you’d been seeing. You knew your were letting go and looked forward to it, I think. You described that peaceful bedroom without windows. Three soft blankets, one blue, one oatmeal, and one mauve, were folded across the foot of the bed. A light in the room that came from nowhere. I knew then, you needed rest.

Wednesday, you said you were losing time. You couldn’t tell when moments passed or follow the flow of events. I didn’t understand, so you explained. I was at your left side massaging your shoulder. Then I walked around the bed to your right side. You said you knew when I was on your left and on your right, but your weren’t aware of my moving. In your awareness I was in one place and then appeared elsewhere in the same moment. Once you’d told me this, I watched you slip into that timeless place, and I followed your eyes as they watched things moving around the room above you. I saw your happy face and felt you relax as you saw whatever you saw. Later you told me about the spring green field and trees that were parted by a white gravel road. A white school bus came down the road toward you. A little girl dressed all in white got off the bus and waited. She must have been your angel.

On Friday, your mom and wife were very sad. I went in to give you treatment. You were not able to talk to me that day. I tried to help you, but you motioned as if to shoo me away. You tried to say something, but I don’t think you were talking to me. You seemed to be concentrating. I felt I was interrupting your conversation with someone else. I wondered if it was your little angel. I kissed your forehead and told you to rest.

On the drive home, I remembered the day you told me you were sick, and I cried. You said not to worry, death was just part of life. You saw the whole of life as a journey and the good, the bad, the happy and the hard was all just part of the trip. You relished the voyage more than anyone I’d ever met. You kept your mind open and your heart tender. You taught me the importance of looking off the cliff before you jump, so you don’t miss a thing on the way down. And if you crack up on the rocks, well, that’s just part of the journey. The most important thing is to keep your eyes open and enjoy the view.

I keep you with me in memory every day. I miss you dear friend, but don’t doubt that I’m enjoying the view from here.

Love much, always,

Jana

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The Girl in the Gray Sweater – One in One Billion

Today I rose up. I danced. I held the hands of my sisters as we gathered in revolution to put an end to violence against women and call for social justice. We danced as one without fear.

We could. We were in Dallas at One Arts Square.

But in hundreds of thousands of places on this planet on this day, many women are too afraid to step out. Women are changing that. Collectively all over the planet (last year it happened in over 200 countries) we are One Billion Rising in a global movement for justice and an end to violence against women. It’s a dance revolution of women (and good men and sweet children) rising in love. I am grateful for this movement, for change, and for lion-hearted women.

I am also grateful for someone I’ll call the girl in the grey sweater.

After we danced the One Billion Rising, we were loosely gathered  listening to music, dancing, talking. Someone on the mic was talking about the importance of creating change so women can escape from violence. The girl in the grey sweater jumped up and shouted happily “I escaped this weekend!”

People heard her, but so much was going on there was not a collective response to her personal celebration. She stepped a few feet a way. I could feel her sort of shrinking – not completely – just a loss of that rush of joy. I walked to her and asked what she escaped from.

She showed me the bruises on her arms.

We hugged. I cried a few tears of heartbreak and joy for her tenderness and bravery. She embodied the need for this movement. She also embodied the fearlessness a woman’s heart is capable of.

Blessings on the girl in the grey sweater. She ran all the way from work when she heard about the event. Bless her future. Bless her children.

And bless Eve Ensler for creating this movement. And bless Monica Blossom for organizing it locally.

Happy Valentines Day to all women and all children and all good and kind men of honor everywhere.

https://www.facebook.com/vday

http://www.onebillionrising.org/

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I can’t take much more of this. Or, can I?

Since the end of October, the 27th at 1:00am, my daddy (I’m Texan and that makes him a daddy, not a dad) has been in the hospital. And my family and I have run the gamut of emotions while caring for him and tending to his needs beyond what hospital staff can do or are doing because of overwork and poor communication. Fear, worry, sadness, hope, joy, relief, and anger are all a part of that. And stillness too. At least that’s where this is taking me; to that still quiet place of introspection that has long been the safe harbor in which I moor my tiny ship when seas are rough to make sure I’m navigating in a way that brings the most peace, health, effectiveness and joy. Sometimes seas need more harbors. And sometimes the absence of safety for a time teaches the ability to choose calm and continuation.

And then another harbor comes in time. It was in this last respite, one desperately clung to when I had reached my seeming end of coping with all the demands placed upon me by my heart wanting to care for Daddy, my work requiring my physical presence for income creation, and my social community in which I submerge myself for joy and comfort with friends and family that I found a new thought emerging. A still, small utterance within me . . . whispering a special story just for me; my truth regarding this experience:

Does the feeling “I can’t take much more of this” really define a limit? What does it really mean to feel oneself at the edge of capacity?

I was engulfed by the emotion, the awareness that I was dwelling on the edges of my capacity to continue in reasonable form; eating, drinking, sleeping, bathing, dressing, working, being present with the tragedy that was rising and filling all the spaces between the cells of my existence. It’s scary emotionally because you feel on the brink of collapse. It’s frightening physically because you get in touch with the primal drive toward survival that moves us forward in ways both egocentric and communal. When they are at odds, the psychological stress grows more intense.

So feeling that going on is not an option is an interesting experience when viewed from the back side. Once the stress dissipates – food is eaten along with the luxury of actually tasting it; sweet sleep restores the body and rested the spirit; space returns between the cells to breathe in and breathe out absent of the fight-or-flight response – that moment of knowing, really knowing, that continuing was simply not an option when recalled seems misunderstood.

That moment was not the end of capacity, though it seemed critically necessary to acknowledge it as such at the time. I have gone on, and I will continue. The limit that loomed like an executioner with axe was not truly the edge. It was the limit of capacity to function within the selected criteria (this much food, sleep, work, etc.), but not the limit to function in some way. That was found. And is found in moments of crisis. The “I can’t take much more of this” feeling is signpost marking the entrance to the land beyond the idea of what is necessary for sustaining the self. Beyond that border is continuation in another form. Or death.

I find it interesting how intensely the over-burdened central nervous system indicates that the border is the actual finish line; the end. It amazes me how perfectly attuned we are to our own survival and to how the survival of a communal member affects our own, creating a willingness to go beyond our borders to sustain one another; to walk up to that edge and squeeze just a few more feet or inches into the distance to our own decline.

I think that’s the critical piece. Part of what we call love. And part of that deep river of innate knowledge that in helping one another continue, we continue ourselves. The limits of life are held collectively within the cells and souls of each person.

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March Against Monsanto, World Food Day – Dallas, Texas

On the eve of participating in my first ever organized public protest, my value and belief in the power of intention was prominent in my thoughts. The first layer of developing values is an internal one. The framework we establish for functioning in society, for relating to other people, animals and our environment emanates from within if it is valid and sustainable. When faced with taking our internal values into the open, where strangers can scrutinize and judge us, where we might meet with opposition, we find out not only how strongly we hold to our beliefs, but how we share those beliefs.

Thus, I began to view the coming day’s experience as an experiment in energy. I believe whatever energy we contribute to the collective conscious adds to the amount of that particular energy within the field. Period.

I want a planet filled with love, peace, joy, abundance, support and relationship. So how do I take my desire for healthy food, appropriate labeling regulations, and change from corporate behaviors that harm life toward corporate behaviors that support life into the public forum without adding to the collective conscious the energies of anger, conflict or even hate that sometimes arise when people gather with the intention of being against something. I want to add my voice to the collective calling for change. But as an advocate for good rather than an advocate for destruction (even if that is the destruction of a harmful entity).

And so the day came. I prepared my poster. This was interesting in itself. I wrestled with how to express myself in a positive way within the context of a “protest.” I came to a conclusion:

Photo by Serkan Zanagar
Photo by Serkan Zanagar

Upon arriving, I began to notice all the people who had gathered. There were many friendly faces and conversations about the need for change. The energy of the group felt positive and hopeful. There was a lovely fact-filled speech by a bee-keeper. He offered a call to consciousness: ask your grocers to carry non-GMO foods, ask your restaurants to serve non-GMO foods. He offered a pro-active way for the population to affect change. Loved it!

Also, there were group chants. I noticed that they were of the same structure and rhythm of the cheers that ring out across football fields all over the US. Those cheers always have a destructive element in them: Down with ____! Go home ____! Today’s chants: No mo GMOs! We are done with corporate greed. We don’t want your toxic seeds!

I couldn’t join in. Instead I said a silent prayer that we teach our children to cheer for positive outcome rather than the destruction of their peers.

I wanted to sing out: Corporations are groups of people! Wake up, wake up Monsanto employees! Love your family! Love your friends! Love your planet before it ends! I send love to you in hopes you find your hearts!

It doesn’t rhyme, but intention covers everything.

Then I noticed something else. A small group (I counted 6) of people with assault rifles draped across their shoulders. One had a shirt that read “free men bear arms.” They had gathered with the Monsanto group to support their cause as well, I suppose.

I am a country girl. I grew up in rural Texas, so guns are neither foreign nor scary to me. But these people were unknown to me. And they were in a public forum, as is their right, with their weapons displayed. I had no idea what their agenda might be as the assembly was about change in our food supply and in corporate behaviors. I found myself in a group with some heavily armed strangers whose emotional stability was unknown to me. My friend and I were not comfortable. We didn’t stay. As it turned out the assembly finished just fine. But I noticed some of the smiling people with small children left about the time we did. And as the group marched away down the street, the chants became more enthusiastic and tinged with conflict, adding to the global volume of conflict energy.

Happily, I found it fairly easy to maintain my personal energy field in a positive manner. After the arrival of the armed people, it still was positive, but in a field that contained a diverse energies that diffused the intent of the event. Energies I wasn’t prepared to lend my own to. I choose to exit.

And the results of my experiment?

It is entirely possible to maintain the integrity of my intention within a larger group.

I understand that my belief in the power of intention is serving me well. It sets the way I flow myself into the greater collective.

I have an even greater desire for the collective of humanity to understand the strength of intention – to create what we desire rather than expend our precious and powerful energy expressing dissatisfaction with what we do not want.

Peace.

And if you’re wanting more information about the subject of GMOs here’s a great documentary: http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=a6OxbpLwEjQ#t=13

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