Pistols At Dawn


 

Let’s talk a bit about resolving conflict. There is the tried and true way of yelling and screaming at each other which achieves nothing but a sore throat and resentments. We can also do the ignoring of the elephant in the room and begin the second cold war. If that doesn’t work we can blame and shame the other into some kind of submission, that’s always a fun one. If all else fails, we can (sigh) try to work it out with discussion and understanding.

I know, this is a radical concept, but stay with me for a minute or two.

If both parties are not heard and respected, then there is no real resolution to any problem brought to the table. For a misunderstanding to be cleared up, everyone has to be willing to listen and consider. Not just one person, but all persons involved. If there is an assumed insult to deal with, somebody needs to listen to the offense taken and the other must listen to the intention of the words spoken.

Unless you just want to be angry, then you should quit reading right now. 

Any kind of successful resolution to conflict comes from both sides being able to share their intent and emotion, from both being willing to listen to the other and consider that maybe, just maybe no harm was intended. That is not to say no harm was done, because who are we to say when we have caused another pain? We don’t determine that, they do. Our part is to listen, understand as best we can and explain from our hearts that our words were from a harmless loving place. That we truly meant no harm or hurt at all.

If someone hurts us, it is our right to speak up and stop them where they stand. We have a right to say what the injury is and expect an explanation and apology. If the offender is important to us we will give them equal time and respect to listen so that we can understand what caused them to hurt us so carelessly. If they don’t matter to us, well we say what we need to and move on, leaving them behind. That alone will tell you where you stand.

Let me tell you what doesn’t work, in case you’ve been in a cave or under a rock the last 50 years or so. A Johnny Carson monologue on someone’s transgressions with no feedback is worthless. A gag order where the other party has no time or right to say anything to explain their side is worthless. Deafness to any belief or truth other than the one already pre-decided is a real resolution killer.

I hope I’m not being too vague in pointing out that resolving conflict takes input from both sides to be of any value to the continuing relationship. If the relationship matters at all.

Each of us see and understand life differently based on our personal experiences and traumas. We all need to respect that about each other and tread carefully. That being said, it is impossible for us to go through life without treading on each others hearts, memories and experiences. Impossible. So our only option for loving and lasting relationships of any kind is to refine the art of resolving conflict.

I have been in a relationship where there was never any resolution to conflict. It is a soul killer. I am no longer there, and will not be in another one of any kind where there is not the heart or courage to give and receive and resolve. Period. I will not go there.

If I’m not looking at someone with the guts to take the same truth as they are willing to give, then I won’t be looking at them for long. I have just learned that about myself. If I’m willing to shut up and listen and absorb and ponder the possibilities, then by god the one I’m looking at better have the balls to do the same. Or they can move on to someone else who hasn’t lived the reality of what it’s like to be forced into silence.

I will never be that person again.

Another important point before I close is to fight fairly to resolve the issues at hand. It’s wrong to use any weakness shared with you as a weapon against the one you care about.It shows a dent in your character to use what has been shared in confidence to harm the person who trusted you to begin with. Resolve the damn issue like people who actually care for each other.

I have wondered recently why a person wouldn’t just say “ouch, you just stepped somewhere I don’t want to go” and let you step away and respect their space. Why does everything need to be a huge offense to humanity instead of a “hey, okay sorry, I won’t go there”? If something stabs you in the heart, by all means say so! We can’t know unless you do. But let there be a reasonable, mature solving of the problem.

Forgive my diatribe. If I have offended you, your feedback is more than welcome. We will resolve.

If all else fails, we will go with pistols at dawn.

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The Perception Of Truth


 

While I do agree that all of us have a different perspective on things, there are times when I look inward to find the truth of a matter. There are times when someone’s perception of me is so totally opposed to what I see as the truth that I have to stop and take a good hard look at what I’m doing, and how I’m sharing it with others.

I’ve made some major changes in my life recently that will affect the lives of others for a long time. They’ve been a long time coming, much feared and thought over and extremely traumatic to put into play. I have done my best so far to own my part in every negative situation, even though at times it did have to be force fed down my throat for me to consider it. It is really easy to blame others and to portray myself as a victim of circumstance that triumphs in the face of the greatest odds.

A friend recently commented that when I write, it is as if I have it all together. I have all the answers and am on top of the game. I’ll admit to being totally taken aback by this and began to wonder if I’d been misrepresenting myself in some way in my writing. If I have done so, it has not been intentionally. It’s not easy to admit that I am responsible for where I’ve been and where I am now, but I have tried to do so.

My earlier writings were, I freely admit, whiny and self-serving. I did see myself as a victim and my writing freed things that needed to be brought out and taken to the trash. I believe writing cleanses and heals the heart. It has helped me survive my own mistakes and have the courage to attempt to correct them to the best of my ability.

At some point in time, the words I wrote became a love letter to myself. Not a guru-driven directive for the masses. Not too long ago, one of my best friends said to me, “Now you will finally be the woman you write about”. It brought tears to my eyes to know that she saw that. I told her honestly that all those stories and articles had been written to me. I was trying to save myself. She simply said, “I know”. That’s what best friends do. They know.

I don’t know how to write any differently than the words that come from my heart at any given time. Tomorrow, I won’t write with the same heart as I do today. I hope that is always true so that I can see myself growing in everything I write, whether it be about my own life or something I see in the lives of others. I don’t mind saying I’m a screwed up mess from time to time because that means I’m doing something other than refusing to try and fail. I don’t mind admitting I’m not perfect in any way because, really? What a  relief that is to give that up.

I have a lot of work to do on myself. I don’t have a problem with that. I’ve disappointed a lot of people. I can live with that. There are those who will never really see me, and as heart-breaking as that will eventually be, I will live with that too. All I have to do is see myself clearly, pick the most alive path I can find for myself, and take that one.

No matter how goddamn hard it looks.

 

The Mirage of She – Hiding a Heart of Thunder


She made an art of her disguise, although her greatest yearning was to be recognized, known, and accepted by those of like and thunderous hearts. She walked in the world, but not of it. She participated, and contributed, but did not belong. She worked, and laughed, and fulfilled her duties so flawlessly that those in her circle accepted the mirage; the illusion of her that would disappear if one were to reach out to touch her.

She remained concealed behind the reflection that allowed those around her to see what they were comfortable with, instead of the truth of her. She gave them their comfort in this, as her heart thundered in her chest, and her downcast eyes hid the flashes of lightning that preceded each rumble of the imminent storm of her.

She began to know, as her self-awareness grew, that the storm could not long be contained without causing irreparable damage. She knew the heart of her needed the wind, earth, fire, and rain that were hidden all around her; she needed them to manifest the reality within her, as much as they each needed her to do the same within themselves.

She knew for certain that there was only one way to tip the world from the false facade of power, into the glory of a world of magic and possibility. It demanded the courage to drop her defenses and let the truth of her call to the truth of the others at the far edges, and dark borders of their own lives. She had to be brave enough to open her eyes and let the lightning be seen, and the overwhelming thunder of her heart be heard as it responded. She had to show them how to create a new world with only the flashes and pounding to lead them through a shallow existence that didn’t welcome change. She needed the winds of change, the nurturing earth, the fire of transformation, and the rain of life’s mysteries to have a prayer of succeeding.

So she began.

There were many who turned from her, mocking her as she dropped her disguises. Those she loved shook their heads and distanced themselves from the discomfort of her self-searching and truth-telling. Although it grieved her, she let them have their comfort of space, and continued to call to those with elemental hearts, wild spirits, and souls of fire.

All that was not the truth of her fell away.

She took her seat, placed her fingers on the keyboard, and began to call to those who would listen, who could hear, who held inside themselves a Heart of Thunder. She called to those who were not afraid to bleed for the wrongs, and were willing to heal them. She called to those whose hearts were weary of carrying the armor of pretense. She called to those who were at last desperate to see, hear, feel, be…to unapologetically live.

She called to them-her heart thundering against the madness of this existence as it is.

Can you hear her?

The Word Sorceress and The Sword of Truth


She watched them prepare to burn her alive. They were in a frenzy to put an end to her softly spoken observations, and the clear-seeing of her gaze as she looked upon them. She had held them spell-bound with her words for so long, it came as a shock when the truth of those words began to cut like the sharpest sword, cutting into ego, and slicing away lies beheld as truth for so long.

Her voice rang out across the clearing, reminding them of how they had searched so hard for the magic of life, only to recoil at its power when they found it within themselves, scrambling frantically to destroy it, or at least cover it up-forever out of sight if not mind. They winced, and hunched into themselves defensively as she asked them what they loved the most about their lives. Was there anything that called to them; gave them joy? Did the heart inside them beat in excitement for anything? What did their eyes behold that left them in awe of the world? What made their souls tremble with ecstasy?

They stacked the wood around her feet as she stood calmly before them, tied roughly to the stake in the center of their world. Nobody would meet her eyes, but she saw their reactions as her words struck home over and over again, and she would not be silent. She would not turn away from them now, even when their every action conspired to send her into the darkness she was safe from, but would be their prison if they refused to listen; if they refused to awaken from their slumber.

“You think to send me into the Abyss, ‘the regions of Hell conceived of as a bottomless pit’. I know that you do this because I am the whisper that screams to your heart, the light of awareness that hurts your eyes, the fire of purpose that causes you discomfort, and the finger that points to the frightening power of your own heart. I know you are afraid of all you are capable of, but to ignore this truth of you is to sentence yourself to the very hell you wish upon me.

I am the Life you look out upon, your fingers pressed enviously upon the glass of the window, seeing freedom, and never touching it with your own hands. I am the Integrity you lost to ‘blend in’ with the crowd, I am the wild, the bold, the fearless, and the joyful part of you that will always remain silent if you do not heed me now. I am the Word Sorceress, the Sword of Truth, the Light of your Soul, the Way to Joy. I am the very best of you, do you really seek to destroy me to blend into the world of today?”

As she spoke, many listened, many held back, some were even brave enough to try to stop the few whose minds were locked into public perceptions, and acceptable behaviors. But the frightened were many, and the torches in hand reached desperately forward to light the lies stacked around her. As the flames fed greedily on the rebuttals, accusations, and denials, she closed her eyes and whispered into the flames that grew in intensity.

“May these words rise on my breath, above the lies that burn.

May every tear that falls from me be just a lesson learned.

And as I dance upon the flames, my spirit turned to smoke,

Let every heart I long to save believe the words I spoke.

At last, when fire lights my heart, as it is wont to do,

May that illumination be the Truth that leads them through.

Remind those who would disregard the Soul they hold inside

That Hell is here on earth disguised as Life they once denied.”

The crowd grew silent as the crackle of the flames grew louder. There was silence and sobbing, sorrow and joy in that clearing as she disintegrated into smoke and flame, the flame of her sparking in the hearts of those hungry, and the smoke choking the perpetually dissatisfied.

As the smoke cleared, all eyes were caught by the figure of a small girl, heart yet untarnished by world or ego. She seemed to shine from within as she walked slowly to the edge of the fire and picked up the Sword of Truth the Sorceress had dropped in her burning. There was total silence, not even a birdsong, as she looked at everyone and smiled sweetly, turning to walk into the forest alone, the heavy sword cutting a path in the dirt as the tip drug behind her.

And those who were not amazed, were envious.

The Power of One – Every. Single. One.


The forest was dark and a little frightening as she moved around the clearing, gathering everything she needed to begin. She knew her purpose now, and it burned in her; her need to share it with the others almost an anguish in her heart. She knew it would be difficult for most, and sadly, impossible for a few to see and accept the truth that lived inside each of them; but she refused to give in to negativity or hopelessness. What if she was their only chance, their last one?

She began to place the things she’d gathered in the center of the clearing. She carefully stacked them one upon the other; her dreams of making a difference, her wishes for the broken hearts she ran with, her hopes for a kinder way of living, her longing for a network of scarred, yet whole warriors of the spirit to link across the world, the prayers and determination that all souls could be spun into gold, no matter their circumstances.

The sisters of the heart she had found on her journey moved around her, adding theirs to hers in the center as the forest seemed to grow even darker. They danced around each other in silence as they worked, not stopping until the stack of everything they had to offer reached their shoulders, almost blocking them from seeing each other. As their eyes met, they lifted their hands to their hearts and drenched everything with the only thing they had left to give.

Love.

The light within each of them leapt out, igniting the huge stack of Everything They Offered, and it began to smoke and hiss, the flames flaring, growing, running from dreams to wishes to hopes, to leap victoriously up into the blackened night sky. They reached their hands out to each other, holding tightly, as they let their eyes, for one glorious moment, be blinded by all they desired written in flames for the whole world to see. When they heard no sound or movement surrounding them, their eyes met again, flickering with a little hesitance, concern, and a tiny bit of sorrow. She slowly turned away, lifted her head, and froze.

They were everywhere.Just at the edge of the clearing, eyes watching, faces flickering in the firelight. There were others behind them holding back, but not running. She held out her hands in welcome and held her breath.

Then came the first one, cautiously, slowly, carefully protecting the small flame in her hands from being extinguished. She stepped to the fire, pulled her own offerings from her heart and added them to the stack before tossing her light in with the others. The fire danced joyfully, and her eyes ran wild as she dropped to all fours, as her real self ,then turned to motion the others with her head.

Do it.

They came forward, one by one, guarding their lights and dreams and loves. They found the courage to step forward and add them to the fire along with the others. With each act of courage, each dream and light offered, each captured One dropping free to all fours, the fire grew…and grew…and grew…until the power of what they had created illuminated the sky as if lit by the sun, the moon, and every star.

We turned as One and gathered around her, around them; the original warriors of light. We bowed to her and her sisters in the face of their joy and tears, and we knew what could be done with the Power of One, because each one matters.

Each one of us was critical to the fire of change.

Every. Single. One.

Addicted to Change


This must be what happens when you start chasing down the Truth of yourself, and begin to know things that you really weren’t looking to know. Once you get the courage to be just a little honest inside, you feel the truth of it, and you have to change that little thing. You just can’t help it. Then you have the terror, and the rush, of not being quite who you were before, and there’s a bunch of external hysteria to deal with while others adjust-or don’t.

When things balance out a little, and you start to backslide, not only do you yank yourself in line, but you look further than you did last time. You see another truth, and you have to change another little thing.

Before long, you’re on a roll, and the general public starts to think you’re a little nuts. Maybe you are a seeker, a searcher, looking and questioning everything, seeing through the pretenses of others because you did the same pretending! Those who know you can become quite aggravated at what they see as a weakness, a flaw, a need to drop the status quo.

This is my current story, and I can say I’m okay with it. It will never be complete, and it will be ever-changing, but it’s my story~and I’m determined it will be an awesome tale for future generations. I want it to be real. I want to be real.

I have learned at this point, that when I treat someone as they “deserve” to be treated, rendering justice, and helping them reap what they sow~I am crippling myself, locking my heart down, and allowing the circumstances to rob me of who I really am at heart. This just came to me as I was driving to temple classes, and I understood that my real desire was to help heal as much as I could for the benefit of both of us, not to mete out punishment according to my injuries, real and imagined.

It’s hard, at first, to see someone’s suffering when you are so busy feeling your own. It’s hard to believe that the injuries you sustain from someone you love are not personally meant, but a symptom of misery and sorrow and lack in themselves. It’s difficult to disassociate enough not to strike back, yet not so much that there is a complete lack of compassion; and resentment begins. Its a fine line, but another soul in pain is surely worth the effort, as is the building of the light in your own soul.

There’s a lot boiling in the heart of each one of us, and it’s the only way to refine the gold we’re made of. It stands to reason that when one of us catches a little light, we should be willing to share the illumination with those around us. Sometimes, those close to us have no desire to see, and that is completely up to the individual.

We each have to live the truth of us, as we uncover it, to be truly joyous in our daily living. We must become addicted to change, and growth, and transformation. If we’re not growing, we’re dying, or stagnating~which is just another slow death.

As annoying as it may be when it occurs, I look forward to what I learn tomorrow. I hope it can be the same for you.

Masks We No Longer Need


What I most want to bring to the world today is…me. Just me without all the labels I’ve acquired over the years. I want a clean slate, a fresh start, a do over. So I’m going to have one, or maybe more. I’m going to do-over until every word I speak resonates with the kindest truth, every effort I make is done with the most genuine love for me/you/the world. I’m going to  grow stronger and more understanding~letting go of what no longer serves me, and situations where I am unable to serve at my highest level. I’m going to grow more courageous and leave behind all the “should”ing on myself I’ve become accustomed to punishing myself with.

I dwell in the midst of circumstances I find appalling until I feel like I’ve learned my lesson in that place. I don’t allow myself to cut and run when I want to, I wait, and ask myself…”what arrogant part of me has been buffed smooth by this”? I’ve taught myself to change the thought of hating something to accepting that it’s a step in the right direction, not my destination, so there is no room for hate~and no cause.

I was disappointed earlier this evening by learning that the cost of starting school for a wellness coach certification was just straight more than I could do right now with my family happenings. I let myself wallow in depression for about 20-30 minutes before it overwhelmed me so I hopped on the tread climber and burned away calories and sadness for an hour.

So many masks over the years, so many roles I play along with everyone else. This big ridiculous drama, that should be an adventure, this black and white silent film that should be in color with surround sound, is coming to a close. It’s time for me to take a bow and step up. I will find a way. I will start training no later than September of this year. I promise myself this. I pinky swear myself, and I know I’ve got to keep that shit.