July 23, 2010

What Hard Won Gift to Offer?

I see a glass ball: in the ball I see all the suffering I have experienced. What occurs to me first is a drawing I made when I was a young teenager. It depicted a ball, and inside the ball was a scene of horrific depression. The images were jagged, the faces tortured. Where did this come from? Divorce, neglect, depression, cruelty? I showed it to my sister and she agreed. It was an accurate account. Other images in the glass ball were ones of living in fear and doubt - suffocating within myself - quiet desperation.

Then there is perhaps the granddaddy image of them all, Schizophrenia. They say it can start manifesting at a young age. Was this the true source of all the pain and suffering? I don't know. It is always an open-ended question- it is always a mystery - nothing is set in stone - it all flows richly down the stream of experience.

This question brings up an idea that has inspired me throughout my adult life, and perhaps even before, maybe before I could even recognize what it was. The great muse of MYSTERY! What gift these glass ball experiences have given me. And I have already well named it - the awe and wonder of mystery.

I guess through suffering comes wisdom - so I have been told - but I don't feel wise. We learn from our mistakes but I don't feel educated. Perhaps this all sounds miserable but I don't feel miserable. I look at the morning sun stream through my window.

Yet I am forgetting the greatest of all gifts - ART! It is my true passion and I thank God every morning for this gift however mysterious its origins. It fills me with wonder and awe at this beautiful horrific world we live in. Perhaps I can transform the glass ball experiences into crystal bright light even if the subject may be dark. It all boils down to this: each morning is a gift.

(from a meditation on the "6 of Fire" tarot card)

June 23, 2010

Fire Wheel of Fortune

Standing at the edge he sees the sun
often in the dead of night the sky opens up
and out flows the grand essence of peace
will the stars fall in the correct order or will
the chaos prevail and the sylphs come home?
all the sun can do is shine and follow the path
where the chariot awaits and careens across
the night flowing and fixing to create rapture
and joy - the bright light dazzles the eyes and sends
him into the stratosphere dancing with the clouds
and singing with the constellations - all will end in
the blast of never ending explosions of free will
and choice - in the morning after the freedom
he sits and rests while his spirit catapults itself
always seeing all that it can see and living all
that it can live - so he hesitates and looks again
at the sun then down to the abyss where creatures
wondrous light and mercy await his decision
one foot slowly creeps its way over the edge
his hands are shaking and his breath quickens
across from him the mountains loom large
and full of mystery where blue and gold shine
as the fiery stature ebbs and falls into a white
web where the pregnant spider all but shatters the
sky with its beauty and grace - in the meantime
his spirit grows cool and soon he begins to shake
and tremble - he has never felt sorrow like
he does now weeping into his hands as the wind
takes hold of his hands as they continue to relive
the terrible fright of the creatures down below
but all is not lost as the time for sudden peace
will shine its head into great fireworks bursting
forever in the dead of the morning - at last he takes
flight and sails past the fiery mountains and flows
deliciously through the clouds forever in prayer
and safety yet always out of control - will the flying
of the birds continue his search as the chosen one
who breathes and hiccups bubbles of cause
and effect where soon the light of the personable
and the way of security will singe the paper wings
as the terrible hills beyond hills always tied to
the end of the string - "sing once again and use
your breath to steal the pins and needles as
if you will never come home" says the salamander
as he floats into a circle and spins and whirls
a wicked top out of control brings the notion
of failure crying and warping the instrument
of togetherness where the sun will once again
rise and fill the coffers with berry juice staining
the hair and coat of the chosen one as he
enters into the ride of his life - a ride so full of
passion that red turns to white

May 15, 2010

Alive in my Consciousness

Rain - the wind blew as I made my way up to the deans office. What will become of me? How will this play out? It was the final day of baseball practice - as an 8th grader I had elected to join the team - sports not being required until 9th grade. As a celebration Scott had brought a small bottle of Sherry - the kind one gets on an airplane. Of all the places to drink it we chose the middle of the hall just outside the door to the boys locker room. Just as Scott opened the bottle Mr. H entered through the hall doorway. We broke into a run and Mr. H chased us. I ran outside and up the stairs to the gym, that is where he caught me.

Walking through the rain I wondered what my mother and father would think when I told them. It is actually quite funny to be caught with such a small amount of alcohol - there was no way to get drunk. And why had we chosen the middle of the hallway to open it? Stupidity. Mr. R the dean listened carefully to my story. He shook his head and informed me that I would be suspended for one day - the last day of classes it turned out to be.

Coming home my mother was out but my brother Steve was home and we went out to get Mexican food. I told him my news and he said that our parents would not be harsh with me for I was a good student and never really got into much trouble before. On the phone expecting a punishment instead my father said that I was already getting enough punishment at school - he chose to let it go. My mother felt the same.

Every year at the end of classes all the school had what was called "work day" where we all cleaned up the school. It was all part of the "self help system". The school had a whole hierarchy of student government. The seniors were assigned areas of the school to be in charge of. The rest of the students worked under the seniors. The seniors had what was called "slip power". This meant that anytime a student broke the rules (and was caught) the seniors had the power to" write them up" with a bad slip. If on the other hand the student volunteered they would be given "good slips". At the end of each week the good and bad slips would be reviewed and the student would either get more privileges or be punished - namely Saturday morning cleanup.

It was a work day that Ron came up to me and said, "How goes it alkie?" as in alcoholic. News traveled fast. I did not find it funny.

That year I got into more trouble this time off campus. Each year we went on what was called the Whale Watch. We took a bus ride to the tip of Cape Cod got on a boat and looked for whales. Camping out it was all fun. Before the trip as we walked to soccer practice I had a great idea - or so I thought. "Why don't we have a competition to see who can steal the most." I offered. All agreed it would be great fun.

In Provincetown we hit store after store. The first thing I stole was a Hustler magazine - we were all more than interested in such a find typical of boys our age. Then we came to a novelty store. I had on an open flannel shirt with a t-shirt underneath. When I stole something I put it under the flannel shirt. In the back of the store my friends turned to leave noticing the shopkeeper looking at us from under the cabinet. I did not see him.

Yes this was a mistake. Taking a hat I put it under my flannel shirt but then for some reason I had second thoughts and put it back. As I left the store theshopkeeper, a rough burly bald headed man, took me by the collar and gave me a headbutt. I don't remember what for I was in shock. He scared me to death. Outside the store I was shaking much to the mirth of my friends. That was the end of my career as a shoplifter.

April 11, 2010

The Fool Enters the Blessing of Water

Enter the Blessing
let the figures dance freely
The Fool asks a question
not for the faint of heart
I will leave it up to you
Great Spirit
why do the fish fly freely
on the wind?
why do birds float freely
in the water?
why do spiders create
their webs?
It is just as it should be
difficult to think
imagine the butterfly
first a worm
then a cocoon
then the magical transformation
Never will I Understand
my mind stretches, but.........
let the Unknown free me
no destination
just process
move in wonder and awe
let the Mystery free me
no truth
just beauty
move in and out of the labyrinth
let the Ineffable free me
no rain
just ocean
move up and over the mountain
where are the signs?
I am blind