The Lion’s Roar


I saw this piece posted today, and it was like a bolt of lightning illuminating the answers to the how and why questions I’ve been asking myself the past six months.

I realize now that there came a time when I let my hands fall helplessly to my sides in a silent gesture of defeat. I see clearly now that the moment I did so was the death of my hope.

I welcomed the numbness that slowly filtered through my heart and dimmed my belief in the joy to be found in life, as well as the pain of it. I was so tired of hurting.

I became a coward. 

I had been, before that moment, one who would not comply when I disagreed with a directive. I was lion-hearted, and it roared through the silence of my deliberate actions, choice of words and the look in my eyes.

I knew how to get what I wanted. I made things happen. I got the jobs I chose for the advancements that would follow. I held the ones I decided to love for the time we were given. I faced losses and disappointments that took me to my knees and accepted  the consequences of wrong choices without a single excuse. I was brave, foolish and proud.

Until love chose me, and I let it break me.

At that moment, I let go and accepted what I believed to be true. I loved too intensely, demanded too much in return, my personality was too strong as was the fire of my imagination. I was too much to be tolerated.

I pushed the mute button and settled for the “sanity” I saw in the world around me. That choice, that path, that life that everyone else had-seemed so appealing to me as I sat there quietly…

Letting my heart bleed out.

I’m no light weight. I tried. I gave every effort, tried every suggestion, tolerated every insult I brought upon myself. This spanned decades. It felt like an eternity.

I felt myself dying.

I would wake up each morning with a sense of sorrow, whispering the question “why?”. Why was I still breathing? What was I here for? What was the point?

It frightened me that those thoughts didn’t frighten me.

Something, some survival instinct I suppose, flickered enough that I began to ask myself hard questions. When I did, I began to wish and want. As if lit by a match, a tiny feeling of hope sparked to a slow smoking spiral upwards.

I wasn’t dead yet, so I wasn’t done.

I began to dream, then plan. In an act of sheer bravery (or foolishness) I took a step, and then another. On my third unsteady stagger forward hope flared in me so brightly that I could see every possibility.

Every action I’ve taken since then is more gasoline feeding the flames of a hope that will burn you to ashes if you try to extinguish it.

Lack of action feeds hopelessness. Action creates it, feeds it, dances in the light of it.

If everything I dream of is not to be found in this lifetime… well then I will have lived a wonderfully adventurous life seeking it all …won’t I?

There have to be others out there stomped by life yet still determined to stand up with pieces torn and damaged, loving large anyway. I believe there are those who face being loved with equal parts joy and terror who still have the courage to open their arms wide and welcome what would overwhelm most.  The spiritual samurais who won’t shrink back, the ones who have the superpower of huge emotional capacity, the junk yard dogs of loyalty.

I can feel you out there. I can hear the beating of your hearts. I will find you.

You are not alone.

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War Paint


 

 

It may seem to you that I am weak in my beliefs because I don’t scream them out at the top of my lungs in defiance of the world. You don’t see your roars and ravings blowing past me like a hot breeze through my hair as I stand quietly in the truths I know.

You think me shallow in my support of those I love because I don’t rant and belittle others in a public display in some kind of show of solidarity. Your eyes don’t see how I quietly remove their fractured foundations from beneath them to let them crumble into their own foolishness.

You see my kindness and compassion as a flaw of selfishness given out to the world to make myself look good, or feel better about who I am. You see my generosity of heart as a character flaw of pandering to my own ego; my desire to hold and love and heal the hurts where I can as nothing but a big show. You see my joy in giving as an attempt to purchase love where none is offered, my reaching out as a request for validation.

After all this time. You don’t know me, darling. You just wish you did.

Your words fall harmlessly away from my heart, causing me none of the damage you hoped to inflict. Your opinion of me is regretful, but not something to cause me a moment’s wavering from who I know I am. You are a damaged, deceitful mess. You are a legend in your own mind, playing out a story you’ve written where you are the star, and the rest of us merely supporting characters.

You do not see me. You never have. Any description you give of me would be met with blank stares and astonishment from those who love me and know me well. You are not one of those few. You are not capable of it. After all this time.

I will admit to stepping back, diminishing myself to make room for you, adjusting who I was to make you more comfortable. Therein lies my weakness. Neither one of us deserved that. If I had allowed myself to remain, what kind of person would you have become? That is my second regret. The first one is that I diminished myself at all. I made myself quiet and less and vague. I quit speaking freely. I stopped sharing who I was. I shut myself down due to lack of interest. The most important being my own.

This is not your story anymore, baby. This is mine. Feel free to go ride in your own rodeo, I’m not buying any tickets this time around. You’re so good at showing the world your war face. You thump your chest and shout and decree how the world should be. It’s quite a sight to see, especially from the front row.

Unfortunately for you my love, I’m no longer in the building.

I’m just a little busy shaking off the paralysis that comes from teaching myself not to give a shit about what’s happening around me. I’ve got a lot going on with this remembering how to breathe, speak and laugh freely whenever I choose. I’m really tied up right now with kicking my own ass for wasting so much of my time on someone who didn’t really want it anyway. The joke’s on me, and thank god I’m still alive to laugh about it. I will always laugh about it, because that’s the point where my vision clears and my heart beats strongly and my mind is wide open to possibility.

Thank god I didn’t lose my sense of humor when my common sense veered left of center.

You think yourself a great warrior. A veteran of life’s battles. A person of integrity in a sea of wasted humanity. I see you. You hate it that I do. That’s very sad for both of us.

But I can own my shit, recalibrate and live an amazing life.

I thank you for the lessons learned. I would not have appreciated what I have now, and expect to have in the future, if not for each and every moment of sorrow I chose until I learned enough to choose differently. The smile in my eyes and the laughter in my heart?

That is my war paint. See it and weep.

A Magical Life vs Reality: The Non-Arguement


It seems to me that the people who least believe in magic, are the ones who most want it to be real. Somewhere inside them is a little flame that holds onto the hope that there really are miracles happening in the mundane, that all of us really do have magic in us, that we do have the supernatural power to change the course of our lives and create our own worlds. We breathe air we can’t see, feel love we don’t see, hold dreams within us that are not yet seen, and still we doubt?

Those scientific, physics-minded secret-holders of the light don’t understand that physics and magic are one and the same.

Physics: knowledge of nature, the natural science that involves the study of matter and its motion through space and time, along with related concepts such as energy and force.

I believe in magic. I believe I make it. I believe I can create whatever I want for myself. Not by sitting around in a pink tutu, hugging a teddy bear with my eyes closed, wishing for things to appear. Physics, science, cause and effect, whatever you want to insert here, is my magic wand. Physics teaches us of particles that don’t exist except as probabilities.

And the mind, my love, is a formidable force for magic.

Magic (noun): the power of apparently influencing the course of events by using mysterious or supernatural forces.

So apparently my dream of a more beautiful, expansive life, at this time doesn’t exist except as a probability, a possibility. I will use my dream to influence the course of events to move through space and time with such energy and force as to bring them to fruition. That’s physics, and magic.

Magic (adjective): used in magic, or working by magic; having or apparently having supernatural powers. Wonderful;exciting.

So I bring my force and movement and energy into my daily life to create circumstances that are opportunities to create more magic for myself, more wonder, more excitement.

Magic (verb): to move, change, or create by or as if by magic.

What do I need to say here aside from pointing out that someone focused on bringing a dream to fruition may appear to go beyond the realms of possibility. It could appear to be magic. The things they create for themselves began as dreams so tiny and fragile that the reality seems larger than life. The tools they applied to bring these dreams into being are many and varied.

But all are merely tools bending to the power of the magic of the human heart.

Let me be clear to the nay-sayers of magic. The supporters of physics. I agree with you both. I cannot wish for something to be so, and it appear before me like a wish granted by a genie. Yet. But I wield every single law of physics as a weapon of mass construction. They are merely the tools for my magic. The support system of my dreams and desires. They are simply the ingredients I need to mix with what is inside of me to make what I want become real.

There is dark and light in everything.

Our days, our dreams, our hearts, our magic. Even our tool of physics has its light and dark application and result. There is a purpose for them both. The physics and magic, the light and the dark, the dream and the loss. We cannot have one thing without the other. We cannot have magic without the science of physics, and who can study physics without seeing the magic? They are each a phenomenon.

So to those of you who scoff and curl your lip at those of us who live and believe in magic…those who seek us out to alleviate the darkness and the harsh edges…we say this to you…

You’re welcome.

Relationship Apocalypse: The Warning Signs


What are the warning signs of a dying relationship? Why does it seem that only one partner is aware of this impending tragedy? Is this really true, or is it simply that one person chooses to be blind, is comfortable with the way things are for them, and hopes to ride out the discontent of their partner? The equivalent of pulling the sheets up over your head and thinking the monsters can’t see you.

This whole scenario astonishes me.

If someone I love looks at me and says, “It hurts me when you do that.” You can bet your ass I’m not going to be doing whatever that is again. Because that would make me an asshole, which I am not. If my partner looks me in the eye and tells me he needs something from me that I have the power to give him to ease his heart, then that exact thing is what I’ll do. If I learn there is a particular thing I can do that makes my partner feel loved…it’s happening.

It seems simple to me.

But this is not what happens in a lot of relationships, and they are dying by the thousands, even if divorce isn’t mentioned. When one partner prospers at the expense of the other, and has no problem with that..? I have a problem with that. If one has a concern and the other refuses to listen because it is not important to them..? I have a problem with that. If one says quite plainly, “I am unhappy and am telling you this in hopes of repairing us instead of hating what we have”, and the other belittles and dismisses the other…?

I. Have. A. Problem. With. That.

A relationship is a two way street, a collaboration, a joining of two to make a sum greater than. It is not King and servant, Lord and minion, Owner and possession. It is supposed to be two people who mean so much to each other that they both give to the other, building a fortress of unconditional love while doing so. It is the constant pursuit of that ideal for each other, and for themselves.

Do you remember the first time you were in the middle of an argument, and instead of crying and feeling heartbroken you found yourself thinking, “Who the fuck do you think you are?”. I do. Do you recall feeling upset and sorry and ashamed later like you should have had more love to give there, and you didn’t? I do. Do you remember much later actually opening your mouth and saying the words, “Who the fuck do you think you are?”.

I do.

I remember it clearly. Because I felt the first vertebra in my spine solidify in what would eventually become a backbone. I remember it because I shook off the thought of “if I only tried harder”, and decided to burn every single relationship self-help book I’d ever purchased. I decided if I were going to become better, stronger, and more alive, I would do it for me.

Because that’s who deserved my efforts.

This is where I stand. Don’t tell me you don’t know. Don’t be a coward. Just step up and say, “I can’t give you more than two weeks of effort, because it just isn’t important enough to me”. Just admit you want someone to make your life easier without having to do the same in return. Admit that you want to be respected and valued without having to reciprocate. Admit you’re afraid of being alone so whatever you call this is just good enough for you. I say all of this knowing you won’t, because you know if you did…

It would make it easy to leave, and you know it’s hard to do.

This is where we are now. Take a good long look. Frightening to you isn’t it? It should be, because the future that you fear…

I welcome with heart wide open.

A Kingdom Falling: The Flight of She


She walked through her Kingdom smiling, and doing, and caring for others, and making life run smoothly. Everyone thought she was strong, competent, brilliant, funny and kind.

Inside she was just one long silent scream of despair.

She did and said all the right things. She went where she was supposed to, did what everyone else did, and built an entire world with stones of commitment, mortar of guilt, turrets of shame, and surrounded it with a moat guarded by the dragons of WhatEveryBodyElseDoes.

Her burning eyes constantly scanned the horizon for something she could not name.

She had grown tired of the performance and longed for something real, something of value that would give her a reason to wake up in the morning and rise to face the challenges of another day. She didn’t need anyone to come and save her, for God’s sake, she had a King in the castle, and what good had that done her?

She was perfectly capable of saving herself, if she could only believe she was worth the collateral damage.

She knew she could walk across the moat of regret at any time. She could catapult herself over the wall of bullshit. She could tame one of the Dragons and fly him into the sunset. The power was all in her hands.

But she first had to find the belief that she was worth every dream she held closely in her heart.

The hardest thing of all for her to bear, was the knowledge that she herself helped build every wall, reinforced every rule, diminished herself to fit the mold, voluntarily, so that no one would notice she didn’t belong.

She became her own judge, jury, executioner and now held the keys to the dungeon.

After many years of sitting on the ramparts, thinking her thoughts and dreaming her dreams, finally the largest dragon spoke:

“What do you want?”

“Freedom.”

“What do you want?”

“The space and respect to be myself.”

“What do you want?”

“Passion.”

“Even if it’s only your own?”

“Yes. Even then.”

The questions continued long into the night. The questions the dragon asked were horribly hard to hear and painful to answer. He wanted to know why she had stayed so long in a Kingdom that had no room for all that she was. He wanted to know what she was doing to fix her circumstances. He wanted to know why a Queen was behaving like a little mouse skittering out of the way of the brashness, the selfishness, the arrogant anger. He wanted to know why she allowed herself to be manipulated into being a spark when she was in fact a fire of such power she could reduce the entire kingdom to ash if she let herself go.

But the most painful thing he made her see, and admit out loud, was that it all happened with her permission. The hardest thing he made her realize was that she had the power to change her entire life at any time she chose. She had only to make it so.

It made her ashamed…and afraid…and hopeful…and strong.

So she gave it much thought, and pondered it deeply in her heart, and finally stood. She turned to the King, who could not see her, and bid him goodbye. She turned her back on the people who were not hers, and the home she didn’t have, and the dreams that lay in rotted piles.

She turned to the dragon and asked him his name. He bowed his head, slightly, and growled out “Rogue”. She laughed at the appropriateness of that and stroked his face in love and gratitude for the pain he’d caused.

Because she wouldn’t have freed herself without the pain and the harshness of his questions. She would have trudged along in an unutterably defeated life. So she owed him for the pain that set her free.

“How can I repay you?”, she whispered.

“Just ask me.” he answered.

“Ask you what?” she whispered again.

“Ask me to fly you away from the life that is killing you.” He answered, his golden eyes burning.

So she looked him in the eye, and bid him do as she commanded. She hiked her skirts up, and climbed on his back, holding tightly as she leaned over and whispered in his ear…

“Take me where the broken can be beautiful”

And he did.

Giving Up The Ghost-The Perils Of Living Dimly


I could see through her. It was obvious that her lack of substance was not apparent to anyone else, but I could see where parts of her were so thin as to be translucent. She appeared to leave the world undisturbed as she moved through it; unable (or unwilling) to notice the beauty and the possibilities all around her. It was as if there were a veil between her and the real world that she didn’t have the strength to rend through, no matter how she longed to feel her heart beat again.

Her soul weariness was evident, and when I finally caught her gaze she just stared at me quietly, without without even a hint of a smile. She shrugged a shoulder and looked down and carefully removed the few remaining dreams and treasures she had that still clung to her, and let them flutter to the ground between us.

I was appalled and for some reason frightened by this, and I demanded to know what she was doing. Her eyes widened and her voice quivered a little when she asked me if I could really see her. When I told her of course I could, the almost desperate expression that crossed her face left me with a deep sense of unease. I fidgeted a moment and started to turn away, knowing it would be easier on me if I did. Her whisper stopped me before I could do so.

“You’re the only Hope I have of living in your world”.

I was astounded and horrified, was she dead? Before I even spoke, she was shaking her head and answering my question.

“Oh, I’m alive…but I’m not living”.

I was staggered by her words, and my heart was thundering like a thousand wild horses set free. There was an almost insane look of hope in her eyes that squeezed my heart and made me want to run for safety at the same time. The growing determination I saw on her face caused my chest to tighten and compress, making it difficult to breathe, her hands clenched into fists at her sides as she waited for some mysterious sign from me that remained lost in my growing panic.

I looked past her and saw the trail she had left behind her disappearing far into the distance. I saw discarded dreams, crushed hopes, relationships buried under piles of neglect, talents set aside and scarred by mockery, and worst of all-drop after endless drop of Hope all along the way. She stood before me, losing her last remaining drops, and dared me to turn away.

I lifted my head and looked directly into her eyes as my chest loosened and my heart began to beat strong and steady, like a promise to myself. I lifted a trembling hand to reach out and touch her face in compassion…

…and my fingers brushed the coolness of the mirror.

Pieces of Her


Her scars were calling to us, the odd beauty of the pain she carried drew us closer, whether we willed it or not. In the dim light, we could see her bending down to choose a tattered piece of this, a scrap of that, and periodically sit quietly for a short time and stitch it onto herself. With her own hand. She didn’t make a sound but the occasional tear would slide silently down her cheek to land on the piece she was stitching~and then she would smile to herself and stand, looking for the next torn piece of her that was relevant enough to sew back on.

You could tell she had been a great beauty at one time, by the world’s standards, but every piece of her was from a different heartbreak, and her destruction was evident in the face we saw now. She would look at us from time to time, and give a sweet little half smile, as if she knew something we didn’t. But when we dared to meet her eyes, they were a clear burning flame that left us in awe, and somehow ashamed.

The next time she sat to begin her stitching, with considerable nudging from my tribe I stepped closer to ask her a question. She looked up at me and raised an eyebrow bisected by a thin scar, questioning what I believed was my folly.

I met her eyes, and they broke my heart, but I held her gaze anyway as I spoke. I asked her how she came to be in such a patchwork state when she had obviously been a great beauty. I asked her if it hurt when she stitched those pieces of her back on, and how-I wondered-did she decide from all the torn and broken pieces, which ones were worthy of bringing back into herself.

She started slowly, and her voice was as torn as her appearance, but her eyes never wavered from mine, and the Truth bled through her every word. She told of a fractured foundation, a hopeless grasping of home, her longing to feel safe. She spoke of the slow and insidious death of her joy and spirit, the rejection of her heart, the silencing of her voice. She did not cast blame, saying only that she lost her clarity of soul~and when her fingertips no longer touched the others of the universe, she was lost.

She explained to me, in a voice that filled my heart with tears, how she sorted through every heartbreak to find the one piece, every time, that made her living worth the effort.

I was spellbound by her story of a love given, greater than any I had ever known, her infection of  ‘life-blindness’, and the loss of her power with the loss of her belief in anything that mattered. Every once in awhile, as she told her story, a tear would fall again, and in it I would see the sorrow in every single one of us reflected in its shine.

As she spoke to me, the others drew closer, unable to deny the pull of her soul made audible. She told us of battles won, and lost…the sorrows of love squandered…and her final, agonizing acceptance of her own power.

You could have heard a pin drop in the silence following her last words. She looked at each one of us, cauterizing our foolishness, and stopping our breath.

Then she stood, just as a single beam of light broke through, shining into the heart of her for the first time. She allowed herself to be filled with wonder, and we struggled to take the next breath…she glowed with an inner fire…

And we had never seen anyone more beautiful.