Category Archives: Society

The End is Coming!

image-1-1

 

It’s been awhile since I wrote a post for Cavedweller. I’ve been huddled in my comfy cave writing, musing, settling in. I’m in a new cave now and loving it. [A quick note: Whoever said it doesn’t rain in Southern California is wrong! It rains. And rains. And rains, but boy do we need it!]

So, I decided to stick my head out to take the measure of this past year and all I can say is, “Yikes!”

The end is coming!

Well, it’s true! The end is coming: the end of the week, the end of December, the end of 2016, the end of a cycle of weird and strange happenings that, I believe, have left a lot of people a little jumpy and on edge. (If Facebook is any indication, 2016 has been one hell of a roller coaster ride for people all over the world.) Between Brexit in the UK and the elections here in the US, the political world feels more than a little topsy-turvy. I believe that regardless of which side of the aisle–or the pond–you’re on, this has been a political year like no other. But we’re not here to talk politics, are we? Nope. We’re here to talk about the end!

Saying Goodbye…

I offer a thank you and a prayer for the many wonderful, talented people we lost this year. My son lost a young cousin and his cousin’s girlfriend in a tragic car accident in Georgia; my daughter-in-law lost her mother in Alabama; I lost friends in my old hometown, unseen for years but never forgotten. And we lost people who felt like friends and loved ones, people who touched our lives with wit, music, and humor: Alan Rickman, Glenn Frey, Harper Lee, Patty Duke, Merle Haggard, Prince, David Bowie, Muhammad Ali, Morley Safer, Gene Wilder, Leonard Cohen, Florence Henderson, John Glenn, George Michael, Zsa Zsa Gabor, Carrie Fisher, and Debbie Reynolds. I’m sure there are other losses, some very personal, whom we will remember forever. Life touches life as soul touches soul and we are blessed in that connection.

So, what does “the end” really mean?

As the year draws to a close, I’ve experienced my own sense of unease, of flux and fluctuation, of old issues coming back to haunt me. A friend pointed out that besides Mercury being in retrograde (okay…), 2016 is a year of closure. So I investigated.

According to the Astrology Club,

2016 is a 9 Universal Year (if you take the year and reduce it down to a single digit as such: 2+0+1+6=9). NINE is a finishing number, and represents the end of a cycle. It also is the number of the humanitarian. That means 2016 is a year of completion, rest and forgiveness. Phew! Everything in numerology goes in a 9 year cycle, so we’ve come full circle since the last 9 year, 2004. The Number 9 is about endings. But with endings come new beginnings. 2016 is a very karmic year. It is a time that we will receive the karma from the good or the bad we have done. You get a chance to end something this year once and for all. Something in your life will come to an end. Now this doesn’t have to be a bad thing. Endings can be good.

I think this means that all of those feelings (and dreams) we’ve been having about past loves, past lives, past successes and mistakes are simply offering us closure.

And now for the good news:

From a numerological standpoint, 2017, when you add them up: 2 + 0 + 1 + 7 = 10 and that is distilled down to: 1 + 0 = 1

So, in 2017 we’re in a 1 year!

 ONE is a number of beginning. 2017 bids us all to start something brand new, something that expresses our uniqueness, that uses our leadership abilities, that opens us to new perspectives. 2017 as a One year is a time to think and act independently. It’s also a year to put our leadership abilities and unique talents to use in the greater world, to practice cooperating without losing individuality.

The number 1 is the maestro, the director of activities and events. 1 is a number about beginnings and new initiatives of all kinds. At best, 1 symbolizes leadership and can get a lot done. At worst, number 1 energy of itself can be aggressive, cruel and even violent due to its pointed, narrow focus and approach. Understanding these basic vibration can help to manifest the positive attributes and recognize and overcome the negative.

So, maybe we’ll all get a chance to begin again. (Although we all know that “one is the loneliest number…”)

The coming year will be one of change and challenge. Personally, I still haven’t decided whether I’ll just barricade my cave entrance with rocks and come out again in four years or plant myself on the front porch with my journal and a camera and watch the changes sweep in. Right now, up feels like down and down feels like up and I’m not sure where this crazy world is taking me. Then again, maybe that’s because it’s raining in SoCal, it’s the last Friday of December 2016, and the winds of change are upon us. But that’s a good thing!

I wish you the best in the New Year. May the spirit of love, light, peace, and happiness hold you in its arms.

Sat Nam

Namaste

 

 

Love Yourself Today

Life changes. The days may seem to plod along, one after the other, in a monotonous reverie of sameness, but in the background, just past where your eyes and ears and heart can sense movement, the earth is shifting on its axis and change occurs.

I believe that we are the creators of our universe; I believe that each choice we make takes us closer–or farther away–from where we want to be; I believe that holding our intentions and our vibrations is the way our lives, thoughts, and feelings change. But I also believe that there are greater plans afoot than ours, plans created through intent and purpose that is grander than our minds can comprehend, plans that creep in on tiptoe to catch us by surprise.

Savannah called me home several months ago.  A short visit with family turned into weeks and then months of making friends, finding gratitude, and becoming immersed in the healing of sound and light. I found that I could breathe and think again surrounded by family–despite the heat and the mugginess and the humid frizz. I found that I could let go of those little pieces of me that felt dry and withered and allow new growth. And with that growth came new and more opportunities to let go of old patterns and behaviors and old anchors and thoughts and feelings that no longer apply to me. I stepped out of the cave that was me in another phase of my life and into the current of another phase of me, into a life that matters to me.

I feel as though I’ve been standing on a precipice of understanding, perched precariously on a crumbling outcrop of false security and feigned love. I’ve been hanging on tightly to a dream and an idea that is based in hope and fantasy. I’ve been seeing myself through someone else’s eyes, taking my cues from a distorted sense of responsibility that is not my own. As I’ve allowed my days to plod, one after the other, in monotony, taking little responsibility for where I’m headed, I’ve forgotten how to love myself for who I truly am.

So, today, I choose to set aside all expectation. I choose to be the power that I have become. Today, I choose to love myself for me and me alone and know that I AM.

And that’s enough for me.

From a FB post from Sparks of Hope. In an effort to share the hope (and love), I hope they, and Notsalmon.com) don't mind me sharing.

From a FB post from Sparks of Hope. In an effort to share the hope (and love), I hope they, and Notsalmon.com, don’t mind me sharing.

Acceptance

Difference 02

I’ve been spending a lot of time alone lately (even more so than is usual for cave dweller me). I’ve been listening to the roar and the snarl of the world around me as people and lifestyles and beliefs are weighed and judged. It saddens me that still today–STILL–there is an an entrenched idea that one individual, or group or minority/majority has the right to judge another. I am confounded by the thought that anyone feels they have the right to wave in someone else’s face a flag, a book, or a belief and call it an absolute moral compass.

As we step into a new age of understanding of who we are as spiritual beings and who we could be as human beings, perhaps it is time to get over ourselves, to give up our grip on tired, beat up dogma and accept each other for the glorious souls we are.

Like it or not, WE ARE ONE–even in our perfect and spectacular difference.

Black Friday (and Shopping on Thanksgiving Day!): What’s the Point?

No Shopping

I’ve never understood the need for Black Friday in our culture. Then again, I’ve never understood decorating a Christmas tree on Thanksgiving Day. Sure, maybe it’s the best time to recruit willing hands, family hands to get all the holiday decorating done, but this mish-mashing of holidays just seems overwhelming to me.

Then throw Black Friday into the mix. Yikes! I can honestly say that I have never, ever shopped on the Friday after Thanksgiving. Then again, I‘ve never used shopping as a sport, as a way to relax, or as a pumper-upper of my own self-esteem. I shop only when I absolutely have to and then it’s with a list, a plan, and an internal stop-watch that I hear ticking in my head as I cruise the aisles. Get in and get out! That’s the way I shop.

I’m all for saving money. Ask anyone who knows me and they will tell you that I am frugal (or more likely cheap!). I don’t mind spending money on my loved ones, but I refuse to overspend on designer label jeans or shoes. (I don’t care if they’re the only jeans my five year old granddaughter will wear, I’m not paying $90–even if they are on sale!) But designating one whole day–and now at least three days if you start counting Wednesday night and Thanksgiving Day–to shop is utterly ridiculous. We have turned our holidays into celebrations of consumer gluttony and our children into maniacal materialists. Frankly, I don’t like it one little bit and I refuse to participate.

I realize that I’m in the minority and that as long as there are people out there who will spend their time and money running and pushing and shoving to shop, retailers will invent new ways to spark the greed. I also realize that I can blithely say this as my living does not depend on retail customers who have an abundance of stores to choose from. I would like to reclaim at least one holiday, however, have one day on which we do nothing besides give thanks for what we already have.

So, I’ll say it today: Thank you to all of my loyal readers and followers for your kind support and comments. Thank you to every internet developer, programmer, and techie who makes it possible for me to write my blog, send email, and connect with the world outside my cave. Thank you to my friends who know that I love and care about them even while I’m working. And thank you to my family who supports me in everything I do and everything I write, no matter how strange it may seem. I am blessed to have a comfy cave, old broken-in comfortable clothes and shoes, plenty of healthy food, good, clean water, and enough love to last me ten lifetimes. I am blessed and I don’t need to go shopping to prove it.

Charley Brown Thanksgiving

A Change of Heart

Heart

 “They invade our space, and we fall back. They assimilate countless worlds, and we fall back. Not again! Not this time. The line must be drawn here! This far, no farther! And I will make them pay for what they have done!” 

The quote is from Captain Jean-Luc Picard in Start Trek: First Contact. And me–in my head.

I’ve been stressing lately over the bullying of my friend Margaret, preparing for a battle that seemed winnable but not without casualties. On an internal level, I’ve been meditating, visualizing, and spreading the light for a peaceful resolution. On a rational level, I’ve been promoting a stance of “hope for the best, prepare for the worst.” On a gut level, I let my past override all of my peaceful thoughts and reverted to living in fear. I’d been there, done that and I carry the scars of the bad guys’ wins. I guess that’s why it’s easy for me to shift into defensive mode, but I know that I can’t let my fear consume me. In the midst of my stress, change occurred.

I’ve found that subtle shifts can be surprising. Have you ever noticed that? You find yourself embroiled in some seemingly untenable situation, gird your loins for battle, lock and load your cache of snide and witty comebacks, and walk into the fray loaded for bear only to find Hello Kitty waiting to greet you.

It’s surprising. It’s shocking. It’s disconcerting to say the least after all of the tedious preparations and hard work. You’ve rehearsed exactly what you’re going to say (if he says this, I’ll say that; if she does this, I’ll do that); you are sure beyond a shadow of a doubt that you are about to meet Godzilla in the flesh and the battle will be to the death–or at the least  to total annihilation on an emotional level. “I will go down fighting!” becomes your mantra echoed by “I can do this!” You are psyched and ready to go to war for your rights and your dignity. Shields up! Set phasers to stun!

And then all of that flies right out the window when you’re greeted not by your mortal enemy but by a kitten with a smile and the shocking words, “Good morning! How can I help you ?”

Crap! Now what? I hadn’t prepared myself for this! Niceness is what I’d secretly hoped for, prayed for, wished for while doing my deep-breathing exercises to relieve the stress in my heart and gut. This is what I’ve wanted all along: civil communication. Margaret and I crossed the battle lines on Friday and were treated with respect and kindness. We came away with a renewed sense of peace and calm.

Apparently, there’s been a change of heart for those people who were determined to make Margaret’s life a living hell, for the people who have bullied and taunted and spread rumors about her for over a year. I don’t know how it happened or when or where or why. But like me, I suspect there are several other people involved in this debacle who are experiencing the same sense of relief I’m feeling. It’s very hard to live a happy life, to maintain thoughts of peace and joy while carrying a big stick. It’s exhausting, actually. Somewhere, someone has decided to lay down the stick, walk away from the battle, and try to live in peace.

The fight to end the bullying may be over for now and as hard as it’s been to deal with,  I’ve been reminded of a few valuable lessons:

  • Standing up for others is always the right thing to do.
  • Peaceful resolutions can happen–even when you least expect them.
  • Finding peace within me sometimes requires conquering old fears by allowing myself to feel the anger and move through and past it.
  • The desire to be “all in” regardless of my fears is sometimes enough to create a shift in me, in my heart and in my own beliefs.

I’m not sure how this works in others or if I’ll ever know what caused the shift, but there has obviously been a change of heart. At least for now. At least for today. My own heart has opened in gratitude for a battle unfought. I am thankful for this day.

I pray it lasts.

 

Jumping or Falling: It’s All a Matter of Perspective

Deep end of the ocean

We are one.

I’ve been feeling that for quite a while now, thinking it, meditating on it, talking about it with friends and family, writing about it, saying it out loud and then watching for the words to manifest. My friend Sue and I have been whispering back and forth across the miles, understanding that the deep change we have felt coming over the past fifteen years of our friendship has finally arrived. We are one.

October 24 was Global Oneness Day. I sat transfixed in front of my computer as I listened to panel after panel discuss Oneness. Joy took root in me as I listened to Marianne Williamson, Neale Donald Walsch, Panache Desai, Barbara Marx Hubbard, Lynne McTaggart, Ken Wilber, Don Jose Ruiz, Xiuhtezcatl Martinez and a long list of other visionaries come together to vocalize the words that have been hovering around me. We are one.

I’ve been searching for a way in to happiness. I’ve contemplated what I have that I can offer up to help fill the void I’ve been feeling. How do I become a part of the Oneness movement? How can I be in the Oneness? By 10:30 on Wednesday night, I knew the answer. I AM the Oneness. There is no way NOT to be.

It is not our identifiers of ourselves, our politics, religion, status, size, shape, color, ethnicity, or gender that make us one. It is our humanity that makes us one; it is the expansive soul of humanity recognizing itself as one spirit having a billion human experiences and coming together in Oneness.

The joy that I’m feeling is tinged with the thrill of anticipation and just a hint of anxiety. I’m a cave dweller, after all. Jumping in has always been hard for me. I’ve stood on the edge long enough. I’m ready to take the leap. Or maybe my certainty that I’m all in comes from the feel of a hand at my back, lovingly nudging me toward the abyss. One way or the other, I’m going in. Jumping or falling, it’s all a matter of perspective.

Know Choose Be. It’s All About the Love.

We Are One

 

A friend sent me a video yesterday with the words Know Love. Choose Love. Be Love.  I was having a crappy day, feeling inordinately (for me) emotional and angry, caught up in drama that has taken me from my peaceful place of acceptance to angry self-righteousness.

I’m struggling with my own fears of complacency. How can I stand back and watch someone else, a friend, be brutalized and bullied? How can I watch as carelessness is practiced? I can’t. What rises in me is anger. But what I need to tap into is love. I’m struggling. 

There is a strong connection between our thoughts and our hearts. While I’ve wallowed in my stress these past few days, I’ve felt the erratic beating of my heart. My sleep patterns are off; I don’t feel hungry; I’ve become unproductive. Letting myself think about striking out against injustice has left me discombobulated rather than energized; fearful rather than loving; angry rather than compassionate. By letting my thoughts take shape in anger, my body has followed their lead, taking me straight to a place of chaos. I have internalized those dark feelings and they are kicking up a storm of confusion within me. I know that I’ve reached an untenable place when meditation becomes a chore rather than a respite.

I watched the video this morning and it validated my thoughts about my own feelings of unrest and disconnection, my own fluttering heart and the thoughts that cause the flutter. The music and images opened a door for me, a tiny crack that I might slip through to find myself again.

I hope you’ll find the time to watch and that somewhere within you will come to a point of resonance and peace. Come join me. We can struggle through to peace and happiness together.

We are one.

 

Doing the Right Thing for the Right Reason

From Pinterest with no credit attached.

From Pinterest with no credit attached.

I’ve been struggling lately with the idea that “Something has to be done!” in several sectors of my life.  

I truly believe that We Are One,  that we are linked through an unconscious something that allows us to tap into each other’s thoughts and needs, to feel each other’s human-ness and/or spirituality. I’ve felt that something with my children often. I feel it with friends every great once in a while when I get a sudden urge to call or email them–at four in the morning.

Some people might call it compassion, our human ability to feel for others. Or empathy when we are able to experience someone’s pain and make it our own. Some people might call it a waste of time, a fruitless action, or a pointless endeavor. Some people might call it love.

Whatever you want to call it, it is time we all start taking responsibility for each other. I’m not talking about taking the blame or the credit. I’m not talking about building a commune to house each and every soul (although it wouldn’t be a bad idea to recognize that we already live in one). I’m talking about taking action to stop the bullying and the bullshit. I’m talking about calling people on their careless actions. I’m saying enough is enough.

The last three years of my life have been spent writing fiction. I’ve been quite prolific and successful, garnering my own sense of satisfaction. My next book and newspaper article and magazine story will be non-fiction. It is a story of neglect and needless pain, a story of ridiculous action and more ridiculous non-action, of lives damaged and destroyed, of loss and injustice and juris-imprudence. The names will not be changed to protect the innocent. The story will not be filtered or white-washed or cast in a rosy glow. “It is what it is” is an apt description.

I’d like to say that I’m rocking the boat, making waves, or ruffling feathers but I’m not, really. My new intention is to sink the boat; to drop the pebble into the ocean that causes the tsunami; to pull out the feathers one by one and then make chicken soup with the bones.

For those of you who ask me from time to time what I’m writing about, from now on, this will be what I’m writing about. There’s more than one story to tell, more than one life involved, and more than one person willing to come forward to talk.

I’ll still be writing novels and short stories and allowing my muse to take me where it will. But sometimes you just have to do the right thing for the right reason. With love and honor and respect, of course. Let’s just call it Right Action.

BTW: If anyone knows who the artist is for the above photo, please let me know. I’d love to give credit where credit is due.

Letting Go of the Outcome

Into the Vortex by Issi Noho

Into the Vortex by Issi Noho

One of the hardest lessons I’ve learned as a human being, regardless of how I identify myself at any given moment–mother, wife, employee, or writer–is learning to let go of outcomes. Any outcome. For me, my passion is always invested in whatever task I tackle, sometimes greatly and in large, blinding quantities and sometimes in a perfunctory way that may seem to carry just a smidge of caring light, a limn around the edges. I put my heart and soul in my work, my blood, sweat, and tears and pray that it is good enough, right enough, or just enough.

And then there’s that little voice in my head that says, “Finish what you start!” which means to me that I must follow through to the bitter end whatever task I begin and the finish has always been tied intimately with the outcome. How did the project turn out? Am I happy with the outcome? Does it fit the model of expectation? More importantly, does the outcome reflect well on me and my efforts and does everybody else like it?

Aha! There it is! My feelings about the outcome are tied directly to everybody else, to their ideas and thoughts and needs and expectations. We learn early on that every action makes an impact, every action must have a consequence, and so we do our thing, whatever our thing is, and wait for the response, for the vibrational impact, for the consequences, good or bad, relating to our action. We wait for the outcome in order to gauge where and how and when to take the next step. We are flummoxed if the response, in any form, never comes.

Writing is one of those endeavors that begs to be tied to an outcome. I am a writer, therefore, I write. The natural outcome should be that people read what I write and then make an informed decision based on a million tiny personal factors as to whether or not they like what I’ve written. This is how our society works. Create, display, sell, and repeat. The outcome comes at the end of the process when we are judged and deemed worthy or lacking by ourselves and others (mostly others) and despite our passion and joy, decide whether or not sales dictate a repeat of the process. Success is judged by the outcome of the effort, not by the joy, experience, education, and passion derived from the process itself.

I used to believe the fairy tale. I used to think that unless I got a book deal the first time around, I was a failure; unless I mimicked the efforts and the process of others that I was doing it wrong. And then one day I woke up and realized that it is the process of writing, of allowing those voices and images in my head to take control and tell their story that is my way of living–without tying myself forever and ever to some superficial gauge of success, to an outcome. I can do what I love to do and let go of the fantasy and expectation of what is supposed to happen next. Like a child, a story is born, shaped by life experience to the best of my ability, and then released into the world to make its own way.

My son at sixteen understood letting go of the outcome. When I expressed disappointment at the choices he was making for his life, he reminded me that it would be impossible for him to live up to the dream of him that I carried in my head. He could never live up to my expectations but he could live up to his own and his own were pretty daunting.

For me, letting go of the outcome means living in the moment–every moment. My life in this moment is full and rich and exciting and calm, peaceful and good and blessed. To continue along this path, I have only to embrace the next moment and the next in its turn, and forget about the outcome because there’s never an end. Moment by moment our lives unfold and we are simply riding the current to our next passionate surprise.

I also believe in Karma. But that’s a discussion for another day.

Beneath the Mask

My soon-to-be-daughter-in-law Amy is a very smart woman. She and my son have embarked on a new journey, a new life out in California and I am constantly thrilled and surprised by the changes and revelations they are experiencing. Whether it’s the climate, the people, the culture, or the vortex that vibrates along the fault lines beneath the earth, the potential for enlightenment seems to shimmer like a mist of potential on the west coast. I’ve felt it; I’ve dreamed about it. And I envy them the transformative essence in which they have immersed themselves.

Transformation is a sneaky little bugger, accumulating layer by layer until a new idea saturates and dissolves an old idea. It also springs forth in one epiphanic moment, changing the way you think and feel about life. Amy had one such moment yesterday:

“People think they know someone. . . everyone isn’t privy to a person’s heart and does not know exactly who someone is and does not honestly know that the person they think is so honest and moral and true would cut their throat or stab them in the back and it does not matter how long you actually do [know them], they may not be who you think, that smile could be fake and they could be dark on the inside.”

A thought provoking idea to say the least. Then, the following quote was shared on my timeline by another friend this morning:

 “The heart of a human being is no different from the soul of heaven and earth. In your practice always keep in your thoughts the interaction of heaven and earth, water and fire, yin and yang.” Morihei Ueshiba

So, the idea of dark and light and duality seems to be theme of the day which is appropriate and timely for me.  I’ve been reading The Four Agreements Companion Book. I don’t know which rock I was under when The Four Agreements originally came out, but I missed its debut.  (I just checked the publication date–July 1997–so that particular rock was located in Santa Fe and is better known as the Eastern Classics master’s program at St. John’s College.) It’s only been in the past couple of weeks that the book revealed itself to me. (And I do mean revealed. I believe that messages come to you when you’re ready and obviously, I must be ready.) I saw the author, Don Miguel Ruiz being interviewed on TV over the weekend and became intrigued. And then I found his next book, The Four Agreements Companion Book published in 2000, quietly waiting for me as I browsed the shelves at Goodwill a couple of days ago.

Part 1, Chapter 1:

Human suffering begins with domestication.

During the process of domestication, we form an image of perfection in order to try to be good enough. We create an image of how we should be in order to be accepted by everybody, but we don’t fit that image.

(He had me at hello.)

We create an image of ourselves in our own minds and then we fashion from the raw clay that is our being a mask that represents that image. We look and act and feel to meet the needs of our own expectations of perfection. We hide who we are. We get comfortable with the mask and learn to manipulate it according to circumstance, situation, and comfort level. But our masks are not who we are or what we are or even what we would truly like to be. Our masks are our perfect or imperfect representations of what and who we think we should be.

Amy’s timely revelation becomes a profoundly intuitive truism as we go along our merry way trying to understand ourselves and others. Even with the underlying idea that we are one, we are not able to discern the heart of the individual, hiding behind a mask of civility and perfection that has been fashioned to cultural and societal standards. I would like to see the world work together not to get to the heart of the individual but to create a safe space where masks aren’t necessary, where everyone is free to be who and what we are in all of our glorious spiritual humanity.

Amy responded to a comment I made regarding the light and dark in each of us. She referred to the unknowable in all of us: “. . . they put on a false face to everyone and sometimes even to themselves.”

See? I told you Amy is a very smart woman!

My Wish for You Today!

Let Peace Begin with Me