I Want to Know What "Is" Is

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Wednesday, 31 December 2008

Most Christians, with utter irony, worshipped Jesus the Scapegoat on Sundays and made scapegoats of Jews, Moslems, other Christian denominations, heretics, sinners, pagans, the poor and almost anybody who was not like them the other six days of the week. One would have thought that Christians who 'gazed upon the one they had pierced' would have gotten the message about how wrong domination, power and hatred can be. The system had been utterly wrong about their own, chosen God figure, yet they continued to trust the system. I guess they did not gaze long enough ...

Jesus is shockingly not upset with sinners, a shock so total that most Christians to this day refuse to see it. He is only upset with people who do not think they are sinners: These denying, fearful and illusory ones are the blockage. They are much more likely to hate and feel no compunction. Formerly, religion thought its mission was 'to expel sin and evil from River City.' After Jesus we find out that sin lies in the very act of expelling. There is no place to expel it to. We have met the enemy, and the enemy is us. We either carry and transform the evil of human history as our own problem, or we only increase its efficiency and power by hating and punishing it 'over there.' The Jesus pattern was put precisely and concisely by Saint Paul: 'for our sake he made the sinless one a victim for sin, so that in him we might become the uprightness of God' (2 Corinthians 5:21). I admit, that is heavy stuff. Only the mystics and the sinners seem to get it.

Richard Rohr - Hope Against Darkness

I am a violent, hateful woman. Oh, wordy lordy yes, I am. It is a sophisticated version, it has to be said. It comes out sideways, in strange ways. It comes out against stupid people who cannot at this moment see any better than they are seeing. It comes out as arrogance that things I have been shown and can now see, for whatever reason, are therefore things that should just be common knowledge to everyone. Such stupid arrogance. It just comes out, you know?

There has been a drought of God's presence for me over the last several months. Which is a teaching in itself. It is a cold sort of one but sometimes it seems he needs to place himself a little further away so that I will stretch myself like a plant toward the light. If that is what has happened. I can't rightly say, but what I know is that I do not need his honeyed presence to know that he is there. It's like riding a bike without training wheels. I do not need to rely on his presence but, like you don't need to be kissing your lover to know that they still are out there in the world, how much better it is to be kissing. It's like that.

Some small measure of wisdom has attached herself to me along the way, like limpets on a rock. She is so very beautiful, Sophia.

It is a mess in here amongst the contradictions and the paradoxes. To become more merciful, to myself as well as others, I need to learn to "switch others off" more. Weird, huh? Never would have been able to come to that conclusion by myself. But Life is a masterful, beautiful teacher and somehow, miracle of everyday miracles, we learn. The lessons seem to vomit themselves out at the pace to which we are willing to see them. How coldly sad how often we are not willing to see.

Today I look at how much hatred and violence is capable of coming out of me. Not physically, but in words, in thoughts. I look at the master Teacher and again, anew, he takes my breath away, and blows me away in the process. This seeing such horridities in myself is easy today. It is easy today because ... well, I don't quite know. I guess in some ways it's easy because seeing what is is always a relief after the strain and stress of trying to see things in the way that we need to see them. Another weirdness, that the cold harshness of seeing things as they are is a million times easier to walk with than the weird contrivances we need to construct to control our small little out-of-control worlds. How strange, though, that we can't come to seeing one second before we are ready and willing to see, even though living in what is is easier than living in our illusions. And I am in love with what is. I recognise it when I see it. It's like what really "is" has a Nike swish of its own, and my soul and spirit understand intuitively when they see it. And it just never ceases to astound, how much better is is, how flimsy my own constructs are next to it. It also makes me feel safe, in an unsafe world, that this is the ultimate reality behind everything. I cannot be shaken on that golden thread I hold, regardless of how stupid it seems to other people. I want to know what is is :) I want Love to show me.

I sometimes forget I am a sinner. And then I get reminded. And both are graces and both can be held. When you are smothered inside and out in Love, when you realise that you - you! - you! - belong in the middle of that Love, it makes it easy and a joy to dismantle those flimsy little constructs. The grace is in the seeing.

Happy New Year everyone. Love to all of you. We are so loved, even if we cannot see it or feel it.

Blah blah bloody blah

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Tuesday, 30 December 2008

My goodness, I am so goddamn sick of the boring old crap that goes on in my head! Agh! I reckon it would be cool if we could all headswap. I would wear your head for a week, and have the time to get sick of listening to the same boring old crap that swims around inside yours. Wouldn't that be cool? Then I would understand you better, having crawled inside your head for a week, and would have had a break from my own. I think I need to build a dollhouse or seven.

(One of today's Gremlins: "You are such a smartarse, know-it-all, mouthy bitch. Shut the fuck up.")

I concur with the first part of that statement at times, nevertheless decline the suggestion, safer option though it be.

Sigh. I am going gardening today. Clearing away the crappy old pine bark that the previous occupant before my current landlord laid down. Stuff that leaches the soil, according to the good people of the CERES nursery, where I spent 40 bucks to buy lettuce, kale, parsley, tomatoes, compost and lucerne mulch. Which I shall plant sometime today, unless I die suddenly of an undiagnosed brain aneurism, or a giant truck ploughs through my house killing me instantly.

But if that doesn't happen, I am going to garden, inbetween catching a movie about a man who grows younger instead of older. To dig some of my frustration into the soil. To feel the satisfaction of doing something I've been intending to do for over a year. To get out of my goddamn head before I go insane!!!

(In other news, my brother came here yesterday for a couple of hours, then disappeared back into the bush again after he had driven out to his self-storage place to find out they were closed until a few days into January. So I didn't need to impose my one night only rule because he wasn't even here for one night only. And I feel very guilty about being happy about that, but that doesn't change the fact that I am. Happy, I mean. Oh, and guilty too. But you know :)

Blah blah bloody blah. I'm so bored right now with my stupid little inconsequential life.

See what happens when I don't meditate for two days?
The Gremlins are those horrible, awful things we say to ourselves in our head. The things that often impede us from moving forward because - well, because, "You're pathetic and you'll never change."

Some people begin calmly, rationally talking back to their Gremlins, countering their claims with a bit of rationality. "Well, so may you say, but I've actually changed so much in the past 10 years I wouldn't recognise myself down a dark alley." Which I have used from time to time, when I've remembered, with a bit of success.

Magpie Girl has taken it a step further, with a lot of success. She - of course, why did I not think of this - has made a dollhouse to put her Gremlins in. Genius! :)

Huh?

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Monday, 29 December 2008

If someone says, “I love God,” but hates a Christian brother or sister, that person is a liar; for if we don’t love people we can see, how can we love God, whom we cannot see?

1 John 4:20

This verse has been swimming around inside my head over the past few weeks. I understand what it is saying in broad terms, but in another way it seems strange to me. It is far easier for me to love God than it is to love other people.

And I understand that this is talking about Christian love, brotherly and sisterly love within the Body, the fact that we share way more than we don't share. But still, it seems sort of naive to me in some ways. Maybe I've just gone all hermitically sealed, but I find it, like, uh, 486 billion times easier to trust God than I do to trust human beings. So ... what do you think when you read this verse?

Hands and Feet

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Last night on Compass I watched a Buddhist nun go round to men in prison and help them understand that they can be in a 10 foot cell but still be free in their minds. She told them about the power of the mind, the power contained within us to still our mind, the inherent amazing ability of humans to find peace within our own heads, despite the chattering of 10 thousand monkeys about this, that, and the other.

Today I walked around the environmental park and nursery at CERES. Experienced firsthand and on a spiritual level the goodness that can come from groups of people doing good - coming together in creativity, who love the earth, who want to contribute towards the renewing of the earth that is the claim of Jesus Christ that he shall accomplish.

Do we believe that? When does that begin happening? We are his Body after all, are we not? Do we still believe that? See, I'm with Fiona when it comes to the flutter of hope within me that He is food for the hungry, even while we sit by and watch children starve to death day after day while the West burps from its latest large round of consumption. I believe the way to God and the nature of God are such things of great beauty that all persons would fall down on their knees in tears because they are just so goddamned thirsty for this. "I didn't think God was like this," they will say, face-to-face.

How about these figures (HT to Bill Kinnon): in 2006, churches in Northern America borrowed $28 billion. The estimate of how much it would cost to save African children from hunger and easily preventable disease: $25 billion.

I remember a prophecy I read, several years ago when I was drinking in that sort of stuff, but a vision that has sat with me ever since, of a great Giant awakening, sitting up slowly, thousands and millions of tiny little creatures falling off of it as it sat up, this beautiful, glorious Giant that knew who it was and who it wasn't, and who only wanted to listen to it's Head, which was also its Heart.

Sometimes I think I can see the kingdom arising alongside this one. It beats in places like CERES, where ordinary people do ordinary things in extraordinary ways and create beauty. It beats in the hearts of people who are tired of being told what puny pieces of shit they are, in one way or another, either by the system that they are enfolded within or underhandedly by the Christ believers who proclaim that the way it is, is that God cannot look upon his creation without doing a bit of vomit in his mouth, because he despises his creation. As if the incarnation never happened. It beats in the words of people who see a great light, who understand what it is to live in this kingdom, who loathe Christmas and all the crap that comes along with it but understand, in the heart, what incarnation means.

I harbour dreams of happily ever after, still. I believe that God is good, despite the evidence to the contrary. I believe that this God and this good lives and beats within the hearts of human beings. I believe that hope is the most amazing thing that ever lived, unless you consider love.

I do suspect sometimes, in glimmery moments that come in through the fog, that the Church these days is eating vegetables. Is it a beautiful thing to You, this hope You see shining through us despite the muck we sit in and that we have created? I think it must. It must be like a toothless smile from a baby to you, to see this thick-threaded hope, shining warm. We understand its strength. We feel it within ourselves, the way it changes everything. May it grow stronger and brighter. We cannot walk without you.

I know in my heart that you are listening. I know you are acting also, but it is in ways I cannot see clear. I am convinced that you are crying with all of us in our sufferings, no matter how small they are, just as I am convinced that you are threading yourself through all of that stuff, in dark thread this time, thread we cannot see too easily. But still - when shall the times of pretty words and heartfelt posts and wrenching of hands sit alongside massive justice running down like a river? Like juice down the throat of the world?

Barley Festival

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Sunday, 28 December 2008

It's taken me three weeks of having my house back to myself to get my equilibrium back. That peaceful soft centre has returned (strawberry).

Speaking of chocolates. Doesn't matter how good you are at Christmas, there's still always bloody chocolates falling out the sky that people push on you like legitimate drug dealers. Should have seen my Mum on Christmas Night as I was leaving. "Take some pavlova," (I did, don't need to be asked twice, not for pavlova. I had it for breakfast the next day). "Take these chocolates." Shoves them in my bag so I see them when I get home and eat a few at 3am. And I wonder why I have gained 4 kilos in the past few months. Then my friend gives me chocolates yesterday. My landlord gave me a box of truffles the other day. Which is all very well except that then I eat them, you know? Like I am now. There is more than one chocolate wrapper on my desk, and now I am polishing off the last of the liqueur-filled truffles. This is the second day out of three that I have had chocolate for breakfast.

But that's okay, 'cause I'm on holidays. So they don't count :) When you're on holidays you can do whatever you want and none of the normal rules apply. My holiday is akin to one of those festivals they used to have in the Dark Ages where all the standard rules did not apply for the duration of the festival (today I imagine we would call it the office Christmas party). As people celebrated and danced and feasted and hung out together, I'm sure many pregnancies occurred that would not have otherwise occurred, and many horrid things came out into the light that normally would have been hidden (make way for the healing further on down the track). It was kinda like a giant scapegoating festival for the senses. We have one of those, it's called Easter. We eat 47 tons of chocolate each and miss the point :)

I want to live in a Catholic country. I'm tired of how goddamn boring Protestantism is. We are a bunch of bloody killjoys, and we're not even a Protestant country anymore. Worshipping the economy is even more boring than worshipping a God that sends everyone to hell. I think maybe the whole purgatory element is like a safety switch for all of those Catholics. Richard Rohr was telling me yesterday in a book that at one stage, two thirds of the days of the year in Italy were feast days. Now, that's the flipside of the Protestant work ethic coin, but one I'd like to sit on for a while. I've wanted to go to Italy and France forever. I want to loll about in a country that doesn't know how to stop partying. I imagine Italy and France have probably largely forgotten now also. Too much worshipping of the Beast.

I think that's why people drink in our culture. We need to be taken out of ourselves to behave in all the silly ways we are yearning to but can't because we are boring. We want to be rescued out of the tiny confines we have built ourselves into. Life in Western civilisatiion these days is so monumentally boring. When was the last time you saw someone cutting loose? Laughing too loud in a public place? Wearing purple hats? Saying something vaguely controversial? This is the space the Church should occupy in the culture. Once she gets the hang of the fact of how free she is, maybe she will. I think the second follows the first without even trying. Actually, I reckon if the Church, in Protestant countries, was to be a Church that had no more fear of a very small God sitting there waiting for people to mess up so he could throw them in hell forever, if we could have that stupid notion dispelled out of our hearts, then we would be the most amazing countries on the earth, countries full of free people. Just dreaming out loud :)

I remember when we played chasey at school, there would be a place called "barley". This was like Switzerland. It was neutral. If the person who was "it" came and found you, but you were in the barley place, they couldn't get you. Well, my holiday is like barley. No one can get me unless I allow them to. I am not doing anything except things I want to do. It's why my brother called me the other night and it went to messagebank and he asked me to call him back and I just haven't. Because I don't want to deal with anyone else's shit except the shit that I allow on board, or the shit that is contained within the pages of the latest book Im reading.

How nice it is to tell the world to just back off and bugger off for a couple of weeks :) Very nice indeed :)

I wish for my holidays the neutrality of barleyed Switzerland, the military defensiveness of the US, and the festivity of old time Italy. I think I can feel a creativity return forthwith. Not a moment too soon :)

Later: Okay. I am pretty sure this is not a cop-out retreat back into old known patterns. I am pretty sure this is instead a demonstration of my newfound boundaries. I hope. In my freedom I have just spoken to my brother on the phone. He is heading out to South Australia (hopefully) on Tuesday and needs a place to stay tomorrow night on his way through. He will be at my house tomorrow dropping off some stuff that I have suggested he could store in my garage instead of paying for self-storage. He will be here anyway. It makes sense if he stays here. For one night only. He is out in a state forest past Bacchus Marsh, camping with his dog. He is making good plans, I think, ones that will propel him forward rather than keep him stuck in the same old crap he's been stuck in for years. In my great grandiosity I said yes he can stay here for one night because, surely, my equilibrium will not be buffetted by one night. Because those are the rules in my newfound boundary zone. One night only, no more. I am happy to help him out, but not at the expense of my equilibrium. Not for nobody :) This feels good, I tell you what. This feels like some sort of balance where I don't lose mine.

Ponderings about Romance

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Saturday, 27 December 2008

Today I met up with a friend and we sat at a cafe in Williamstown and chatted for three or four hours. We pondered. We talked about men, about the easiness in which we both succumb to obsessing over those weird creatures, about how pathetic that is. Wondered what the hell it was all about. I was pleased to report that I am obsessing over nobody at this point in time. She was displeased to report that she is, over a potential old entanglement re-entered, but that she is taking steps to remedy that situation by instead choosing to pour her obsessing into someone unatainable, namely the comedian and TV personality Adam Hills. I understand the attraction. He rocks my socks too. We surmised that her obsessing over unattainable Adam is something akin to the dynamics of rebound love without the splatters. Me, I've had enough of the love that plays out only in my head. It's the safe and sound sort that gives about as much satisfaction as a block of crap chocolate and a dose of porn. I much prefer the dangerous variety that occurs out in the world, but the thought of that actually scares the living waste matter out of me these days.

I have not been in the situation of having a new man in my life for 12 years. It feels impossible, but then you know what they say about riding bicycles. I know the thought of being with someone else felt impossible like this the last time I was single, for a four-year period from the age of 22 to 26. Perhaps it shall suddenly be possible, some time in the future, and I will be surprised all over again. New spring budding in autumn. That would be very lovely, I admit to myself in my more honest moments, when I lift up the love flap and peer inside. Yes, still there, the desire. Hidden away there under my left ribcage. It is enough to admit to myself that it still beats there.

I honestly don't know if I am capable of being in a sustainable relationship. Which is a strange thing to say after being in one for 10 years but it is nevertheless true. Maybe everyone feels like this, even those in successful relationships. I say that I want the person that God has for me. In my more negative moments I think that is a way to allay my fears, to get out of the responsibility of choosing someone I will be able to stay the course with. In my more positive moments, I think that is a way to allay my fears, to blessedly give over the responsibility of choosing someone I will be able to stay the course with. I don't think there is only one person out there for one other person, by any means. I think there are many people out there for one person, but I am not inclined to settle for anything other than a God-fit if I ever do manage to spew myself forth into something again. It is a glue that is necessary for me to take such a patently ridiculous chance, unfortunately :)

I tend to think that the best times to enter into relationships are when you are of the opinion that a woman needs a man like a fish needs a bicycle. The times when you have some sort of confidence about you. My confidence that I could attract someone feels more shot to pieces than it ever has before, unfortunately. I feel strong and capable when it comes to living in my own skin and loving it, but bring a man and attraction and things that remind me of how ugly I feel into the picture and the picture blurs. How those two things could mesh is beyond me, but things mesh all the time that you never thought could. It is far better to invite someone into a life that is already full to share it, rather than to invite someone into your life because you are trying to assauge something. I have never been amenable to the second way, and I am in the process of refuelling the first. But perhaps the longer I go on loving living in my own skin, wiser, wounded but healing, walking into something new, mysteries I've been building for years, the less I will be interested in attracting a man to share it anyway. I don't know.

It is nice to not feel that I am incomplete because I don't have a man in my life. It is embarrassing to think of how many years I did spend thinking that way. Back in the 22 to 26 period, I yearned and yearned and wanted and wanted and daydreamed over unattainable men. This time I yearned and yearned and daydreamed over an unattainable man for a while but now have returned back to my beautiful senses. I must say, being single when I'm 38 is easier than when I was 22. My house is so much bigger than it was back then.

I am hesitant to write about romance here. A man with whom I made the biggest fool of myself ever in the entire history of Susieness reads this blog and I am tempted to hide this side of my personality away. But then, why am I hiding my thoughts about this? Embarrassment? Yes. I said and behaved in ways I vowed I never would - and I thought I had escaped it only to fall into being a moron at the ripe old age of 36. I don't pretend to understand much of that episode. I tried going somewhere that I had no business going into. The frenetic spree that followed, of pushing someone away by blurting as much of my deep yukky crap as I could call forth, was one of the more bizarre episodes of my life, but taught me a lot about what I do when I am rolling around in things that I'm not even half cooked-for yet. And I suppose there's no shame in telling all of that, only a release in admitting that I made a doofus out of myself. I suppose there are worse things one can do, aren't there.

It is not about becoming spiritual beings nearly as much as about becoming human beings. The biblical revelation is saying that we are already spiritual beings; we just don’t know it yet. The Bible tries to let you in on the secret, by revealing God in the ordinary. That’s why so much of the text seems so mundane, practical, specific and, frankly, unspiritual!

We have created a terrible kind of dualism between the spiritual and the so-called non-spiritual. This dualism precisely is what Jesus came to reveal as a lie. The principle of Incarnation proclaims that matter and spirit have never been separate. Jesus came to tell us that these two seemingly different worlds are and always have been one. We just couldn’t see it until God put them together in his one body (see Ephesians 2:11-20).

Richard Rohr - From Things Hidden: Scripture as Spirituality

Anyone Read ...

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Friday, 26 December 2008

... Women Who Run With the Wolves by Clarissa Pinkola Estes? This was recommended to me by my art therapist. I've been immersed in its 500 pages ever since I got it a couple of weeks ago. Through this book Estes talks about aspects of the female psyche, from a Jungian perspective, using fairytales to do so. It's really quite wonderful, true, resonant, and I recommend it for all women.

I would especially like to know if any of you "I believe in God and Jesus but sheesh, the church as it stands basically sucks as badly as our culture" women out there have read it and what you got out of it. It really is helpful for me at the moment, a bit of a roadmap, if you will, into those aspects of my psyche that have been buried or wounded or lost. Here is the blurb:

'The wild woman carries with her the bundles for healing; she carries everything a woman needs to be and know. She carries the medicine for all things.'

Women Who Run With the Wolves shows how feminine wildness is both a positive and a necessary quality for women to carry and cultivate. Clarissa Estes argues that woman's genuine nature has been repressed for centuries by a value system that trivialises emotional truth, intuitive wisdom and instinctual self-confidence. A Jungian analyst and storyteller of many years standing, Dr Estes draws on a huge range of myths and stories to teach us how we can reclaim, and rejoice in, our true feminine power. By relating the messages of time-honoured stories such as Bluebeard, The Red Shoes and The Woman with Hair of Gold to our contemporary lives, she shows us how we can awaken within the depths of our souls one who is both magic and medicine.
Note: Estes, when talking about the "wild woman", is not talking about women who run off crazy manic having sex with people on the side of the road and being totally out of control. She is talking about the nature of women which has been suppressed in favour of women who are good, nice, who don't rock the boat and who die a little bit to themselves in the process. This book is about all the elements of femaleness, of reclaiming back what is rightfully ours to begin with.

For a while I had this bizarre idea drummed into my head by cultural Christianity that to be strong within myself, to listen to those aspects of myself that are deep and knowing, was to deny God in some way. It was as if those aspects were automatically put into the same basket as "trusting in yourself" in the negative way that the Bible talks about when we trust in the negative and destructive aspects of ourselves as somehow being able to bring forth life when really they bring forth death. I think we're all pretty damn familiar with that, right?

Of course, the problem with Churchianity's approach to women in that way is that denying the good, knowing parts of ourselves, the way that God has made us, is to allow to happen the very things they are so petrified about. The good, knowing parts repressed can certainly become negatives, while the negative, tricksterish elements of our nature which are in every single human being on the planet, are therefore allowed to run riot. Telling women to suppress their womanliness creates women whose shadow sides are given full rein to kill them off quicker. Have I ever mentioned how much I despise cultural Churchianity? I have? Okay, as we were then ...

The bringing out and demonstration of different aspects of my soul into the light is what I love about this book. Estes really brings all of this stuff out where I can examine it. It's been a real illuminating trip for me so far. I highly recommend it for any woman who is struggling to reconcile what she knows with what the culture tells her, who wants to grow, to redeem her wounds, heal, get emotionally healthier. I don't think this is anti-God work. I think this is totally God-honouring work, being who we were created to be. Not some kind of lifeless puppets that sit around in our crap waiting for a great cosmic God to come from outside to fix us up. Not that there's anything wrong with that and sheesh, I bloody well wish s/he would do it more often than s/he (seemingly) does. But this for me is the opposite side of the coin. This is just doing the necessary soul work that is contained within the bounds of living inside of ourselves, properly, not abdicated.

Do yourself a favour. Then tell me about it when you've done it :)

But Wait! There's More

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Tuesday, 23 December 2008

I put some more sardines out for the kitten this evening, in a fit of weakness. I looked outside but couldn't see it anywhere. Figured it must have gone back home. Sat down to watch a movie, and then got up to have a quick look outside. And there is kitteh, chowing down on sardines.

But wait. There's more. From under the house comes another kitteh. And another. There are three kittehs under my house. I really need to go talk to the people down the road. Check out what their kittens look like. See if maybe these are their cats who are traipsing down to the take-away joint a few doors down, or if I've got myself a couple more cats than I bargained for.

Edit: an hour and a half later. It is quite mesmerising watching scared-of-you pusses eating food. They battle between being scared of you and being unable to resist the smell of sardines. I sat almost motionless in the doorway for about half an hour. After a while I began to be able to distinguish between the three of them. Until the fourth one came along. The fourth one is more black than the others, less tabby markings. It must take after it's mum, who I saw at the very end. She came walking around the corner and bolted even faster than her kittens when she saw me. Looks a bit like she hasn't eaten for a while, too. I suppose the rest of the sardines are going to have to go out there, aren't they?

I don't think these cats live down the road somehow. I think maybe they live here. Aaaggh! Is this some kind of cosmic joke? I talk about my dislike for cats, then begin to consider getting one, and suddenly I attract an entire family under my house (which is an especially good house to live under, having as it does so many different spots for entry). I sat and watched them, how sweet they are. I can hear them banging around under the house as I type. I suppose I shall have to go door-knocking over the next few days, see if I can find out whose they belong to. I must confess, my mind began wandering while I watched these pusses. Do vets take discounts for group desexing? :)

As I sat and observed these kittens, in that wound-down way that comes with sitting and watching and doing not much else, I thought that if I kept watching them I would come to know them. That simply sitting and observing, without the distraction of beeping electronic things, draws you deeper into something or someone, into its itsness. Knowing. In the same sort of way I know my little wooden chair so much better now after I sat and drew it for an hour a week ago. Got so involved in it it almost disappeared. The deep knowing that comes, I think romantically, from living quieter, simpler, contemplating. The kind of knowing that astonishes you at times with the realisation that you have forgotten to see again the rare beauty that infuses everything.

This beauty is sadly so often exempted from our eyes simply because of the pace we are forced to live. I can feel it when I slip back into it, like slipping into something most comfortable of all, and I wonder how I ever manage to slip out of this relaxed alertness without realising it. It's the way I felt when I used to do yoga. It's the way I feel when I mould clay and, more recently, when I draw things. And it is so terribly easy to slip out of it that it bewilders me.

Nature is what draws me back in, slows me down, gives me peace. Enables me to gaze at the objects of my focus with the gazing it requires, lest I gaze too quickly and begin treating that object abominably before I even realise it ~ dismissively, like an enemy, as something not-of-God.

You are "within all things but not enclosed; outside all things, but not excluded; above all things, but not aloof; below all things, but not debased" (Bonaventure)


How cool is this Aussie nativity scene, put together by my blog bud Kel and her hubby Mr X, from leftovers from their house-building site? Cool, huh :)

Kel has written here about some of the things that encompass an Aussie Christmas. I must say, I would like to be more active and out water-skiing to work off the extra kilos that are going to pile on after I've pigged out totally on turkey and pavlova, but that isn't gonna happen, I'm afraid (never could get the hang of that bloody water-skiing thing, dammit, on the one day I tried). Still, might think about dusting off the old bike, which still sits in the garage. I have had a physically busy weekend, doing heaps of housework to get it in shape for my inspection by my landlord yesterday. It feels so nice to go into my holidays with a clean house. It's funny, but after all those years of having CFS, and having to stop the intuitive urge to push myself when I was tired, now it's the opposite. Now I have to push myself when I'm feeling lazy, because physically, I am so much healthier and stronger than I was. It's just that now, what was once counterintuitive has become intuitive and I need to unlearn the lessons it was so hard for me to learn in the first place.

Opposites. I have felt disconnected at times reading all of these wonderful darkness-themed advent posts some of the talented people on my blogroll have been posting lately. I love what they have been sharing, but I can't really relate to it at the moment. Summer is just opening her eyes here. The summer solstice has just passed. I would LOVE for Christmas to be in Winter. (Actually, I think I would prefer Spring. Spring makes more sense, instead of shoving it on the solstice. I would like to remove the solstice from all the Christmas trappings it's been wrapped in over the centuries. How paranoid was the Church back in those days about people celebrating things like the solstice? Goodness me. Can't have anything like that. That ... well, it looks like nature worship! Looks Pagan! If we allow such things, the populace will go nuts and worship the earth, and break loose and rip their clothes off and have wild maniacal orgies. Whatever. Silly Church :)

But I digress :)

Yesterday was hot. I drove out to do a spot of shopping for my second cousins. (I keep going to call them my nephews, even after all this time, because Andrea is much more like a sister than she is a cousin). I drove with the window down, and the dry air coming in the window. I'd just left my house, which swelters under a flat roof with no space for pink batt insulation. It's a bit of a brain switch, turning on to hot weather. But I love it once I do. The bare feet. The bare shoulders. I can understand why so many people hate the hot weather, but it just does something to my body, you know? It smells like freedom to me. Bring it on, baby :)

I think I shall save all of those wonderful advent posts and reread them again when June and July hit and I am suffering under not enough light. Then I will really be able to appreciate them :)
3 comments

Monday, 22 December 2008

This is how it starts. You hear the kitteh a few days ago. It is meowing outside one of your lounge room windows. It is meowing at whatever is under the house. When you go outside, and lie on the ground, feeling all of your years, you see a pair of eyes shining back at you once your eyes adjust to the dark ... no, two sets of eyes. Are these the parents of the kitteh? One of them is black. You wonder if it's the same one you see running across your yard several times a week.

But this little tacker, you haven't seen before. You're not much of a guesser of kitteh ages, having only ever owned one cat in your adult life. Your family had cats when you were younger, but you can't remember much about them. The most you remember is being forced to cohabit with a snobby snotty half-Persian who you did not like because she would not purr and snuggle and do puss-like things with you the way the other kittehs you had when you were a child did. But you would hazard this little puss is about 12 weeks old. Maybe even younger. It's a pritteh kitteh. Grey and white fur with blue eyes. Maybe it belongs to the houseful of kittehs that live about 5 doors down, and it's now forgotten its way home. You and Lester met the Mummy of those kittehs a week or so ago. She ran towards Lester flat stick and whatcked him across the nose with her paw as he approached. Just so he knew not to mess with her kittens, which were all lolling around the front yard, about six of them. He didn't learn anything from it, unfortunately. Indeed, last time you drove past the house he barked very loudly. Just so she knows he didn't take her attack on board.

Maybe this kitteh belongs there. You dont know. But it's the second day it's been hanging around. And so you feel sorry for it, you know? You leave it a couple of small pieces of shredded cheese on the front step. Not particurly good for cats, you know. So half an hour later you open the cupboard, open the tin of sardines, and put some of them in a plastic container and leave them out near the opening where you last saw the kitteh crawl out from under the house. They are gone the next time you look 10 minutes later.

Kitteh runs away every time you call it. It is curious though, and peeks inside when you leave the door open, walks right in for a few seconds but then bolts when it sees you lying on the couch. But again, an hour later, it does it again. You can see it wants to come to you but it can't override its instincts. Maybe you shouldn't feed the kitteh anymore. Maybe tonight was just to give it some chow in case it hasn't eaten for a few days and is hungry. Because you don't want to encourage it, even though you really want to encourage it. Because there is no problem indulging in this sort of behaviour when Lester is at Mark's, but Lester will at some point return.

Funny, you've been entertaining the notion over the past few months of getting a cat. You just haven't been able to work out a death-proof method to ascertain whether the meeting would be a mutually life enhancing one. How do you determine whether your dog would not eat your kitteh? Would not mistake it for an overgrown hairy mouse? Because God knows, when you had a mouse infestation when you lived in Footscray, he went nuts. Came into his own. You didn't believe he could move so fast, but some long dormant instincts of some doggish ancestry came to the fore and he hunted those poor mice down. Masterfully. But you don't like to think of those memories. It was gross.

So yes. Maybe that first meal needs to be how it stops.

Shame, though. It's real cute :)

Life ~ Death ~ Life

11 comments

Sunday, 21 December 2008


But the angel said to them, Do not be afraid. I bring you good news of great joy that will be for
all the people.

This is some of what I think. I think all people everywhere are like giant palaces. We all have amazing, beautiful rooms within us, so many rooms that we would never be able to enter into them all. But they are all us. Some of us feel that we only have a couple of rooms, because of damage done to us, but this still does not change the fact of our enormity. We are our own mother, we are our own father, we are our own children. The rooms have not gone away just because we haven't entered them.

This is some of what I think. I think all the people are loved by God. I think part of what Christ did was to enter into the midst of the shit and the strife to seal forever the fact that God loves us. But he entered into the bloodstream, into the midst of our palaces. He entered in so deep that we can't even recognise him half the time. And that's fine, because each of us is on our own journey and will discover our own stuff in our own time.

This is some of what I think. I think he entered right into the middle of our palaces so that we would begin to stop thinking that we are stinking piles of shit. I think he sits in the middle of our palaces so that we can sit in the middle of them. I think he sits in the middle of our palaces so that we can learn that it is not just an optional extra to learn to love ourselves because the best we will do is manipulate and control other people out of our fear if we don't learn first to love ourselves. I think he sits in the middle of our palaces to teach us what love us. Because we surely do not know that ourselves.

This is some of what I think. I think he came to demonstrate to the world what women of ages past have known inherently, in the deep knowing places, that death is never the end of anything, that all things die to their own nature to be reborn again in some other form. This is the way of a world not asphyxiated by death. There is no life without death, and there is no death without life. Life ~ Death ~ Life. We know the first two but forget the third. How bizarre, out of cultures which have proclaimed themselves as Christian, to fear death so much that we do not learn from it anymore. We fear letting things die, but many things must die.

This is some of what I think. Perhaps justice is not so much punishing people for what they deserve. Perhaps that is more like revenge. Perhaps justice is closer to honourable relations.

That is some of what I think.

Traditions of Men

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Saturday, 20 December 2008

I've been thinking a bit lately about traditions, and how free I feel of them. Its an amazing thing to be able to see the traditions of men for what they are, because it also means that I am free to enter into them if I choose. I am also free to not be bound by them, and this is a good thing.

Because seriously, traditions make stupid people out of smart people sometimes, you know? They cause grown men to wear dresses in cultures that do not wear dresses. They give us yet another excuse, as if we didn't have a million inherent and ingrown ones already, to go to sleep and close our eyes and just go along with the flow. Which is nice when you're in a river, but sometimes it stops a lot of meaningful activity happening.

I think that is why I love this video so much :)

And My World Spins on its Axis ...

11 comments

Friday, 19 December 2008

... because I am listening to Christmas carols. Me! Old Scrooge, listening to carols! :)

I'm listening to Sky FM's Christmas channel** and been thinking about how yeah, Christmas has been a monumental royal pain in the arse the last couple of years, with my aversion to commercialism, but wondering in wondering wonderment at how much BETTER it is now we are stuck in the midst of a global financial crisis! :)

I mean, sure, I saw more homeless people as I went for the train tonight than normal (although I did leave work an hour early so maybe it's homeless happy hour at 5pm and it's winding down by the time I get the 6.20). And it was a bit depressing seeing homeless people, and all the other continuous shit that is going on in our world constantly, on and on and on and on. But is that enough reason to never feel happy or to push away any kind of Christmas spirit when it deigns to visit moi? Nay. Not these times for any of us, bloggers. We should grab every single scrap and shred of joy we can find or muster or conjure because the fact there is so much bad shit going on in the world is MORE than enough reason to do so, mereckons.

Tonight, after I got home and was thoughtfully taking all my papers out to the recycle bin, and pulling weeds, and picking up dog poo, and thinking in the midst of all of those mundane tasks what an amazing thing it is to consider, even just in purely theoretical terms, what kind of God who would insert himself right in the midst of his own creation. And the joy flooded in. Sometimes it just comes in sideways, you know?

Last night I walked my dear doggy round the streets, and there was a house on a corner that was blasting O Holy Night out its front window, of which a pretty Christmas tree was a-glowing, and suddenly it didn't seem so horribly blasphemous to my political and cultural sensibilities to enjoy certain aspects of one of the few festivals we have going on in our strange, dark little times.

Merry Christmas to ye, bloggers.

** They've just done their dash, I'm afraid. Too many songs about Santa, and the truly demonic Jingle Bell Rock just came on so that dashes that. Off to find some more carols. Wish I still had my turntable, I'd give Patsy's Christmas Album a spin :)
I very much appreciate Richard Beck's blog over at Experimental Theology. Reading it for me is akin to going on a wide ranging walk across hills and through forests. Good stuff.

I'm inclined to agree with him that the most faithful act of Christianity is the renunciation of Christianity. This idea would have been gobbledegook even 15 years ago in many circles, but now it is the experience of many. However, Beck argues that doing so is not to stop at repudiating the brand (what he calls "the weaker response") but to renounce religion altogether. And I would argue that once you see that - and it does involve a new way of seeing more than anything - then you can never not un-see it again. Just depends on how deep you wanna go.

And that's when the vistas get really broad. And that's when God can really do his stuff. Bring it on. Bring it down, Papa.

(And of course, that does not necessarily mean that people do not still meet together in church buildings. It is a way of seeing the world much more than it is where you place yourself).

Read the rest here.

Speaking too soon

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Thursday, 18 December 2008

So I've done it again. I have realised recently how often it is that I speak too quickly about what is going on inside, that I am seeing. Another wall to rebuild. I have done it again with all of this empath stuff. It's like you start solidifying things when you talk about them, and it's necessary for me to keep it all fluid while I try and work out what the hell it translates to for me (especially considering reading up on this stuff is disorientating my head as it is, seeing a lot of what is spoken seems to be coming from a New Age psychic sort of position, which I'm not all that enamoured with, to be honest, so I'm trying to draw out the strands).

I am trying to fit this in with what I know to be true in my own experience. I know the boundaries are way too thin between me and other people. I am now looking at how that extends out spiritually also, something I have not really considered before. It has taken me a long time to realise that I literally take on other people's pain. In the past year, on several different occasions, I have entered in with prayer and tears into what I can "see" is someone else's pain, to embrace it with them, even though we are not in the same room. It felt terribly holy to me. I understand the phrase "enter into His sufferings" in a new way lately. I understand why I retreat so often from the world because I haven't yet learned how to switch it off when I need to.

So yeah. Anyone else suffer from this problem of blurting your half-formed stuff out way before you're ready? It's a disconcerting habit to have, that's for sure.

My head is aching.

Empathy

14 comments

Wednesday, 17 December 2008

For those of you who enjoy doing tests, I'm wondering if I could point you in this direction: Are You an Empath?

Just curious. I scored 81% Certified Empath. Weird word, empath. Has some connotations I'm not sure about. But hey, better an empath than a psychopath, I guess :)

Now isn't it weird?

7 comments

Monday, 15 December 2008

Now isn't it weird
how sometimes
for some
what taking up your cross
and following Him
means
is laying down your whip
of self-flagellation?

Now, isn't that weird?

The Dance of Body and Mind

3 comments

Sunday, 14 December 2008

I'm telling ya, there is something to this chakra business. Not of course that it could be scientifically proven or deduced, in the way that we often expect truth to be available to us. Some describe it by saying that chakras exist on the spiritual plane of our bodies. I wouldn't know. I'm not all that interested in being able to scientifically test whether these chakras exist so as to prove them to other people and validate my own experiences. All I know is that when I meditate upon these balls of energy in my body, I begin to inhabit my own body again. It is sometimes distressing to realise how much of my life has been spent removed from my own body, in a sense. I have intellectualised, or fantasised, when I could have been dancing too.

It is a funny thing, but I never really felt like I could dance. All clunkiness, you know? I didn't understand how other people could do it. And so in my late teens and early twenties, when my friends and I were regularly getting together on a weekend and drinking and dancing at the pub, I would sit out on the sidelines. I felt too unbalanced to dance.

The whole idea of the chakras is that loosely there are three that are related to your body, three related more to the mind and the spirit, and the one in the middle, the heart chakra, that binds them all. It is a nice thought, isn't it? It is also interesting to note that, regardless of whether these things actually 'exist' or not, I consistently notice that those chakras related to mind and spirit are very strong in me - I have a strongly developed sixth sense - and the ones that are related to my body are often undefined and difficult for me to tap into unless I work to strengthen them. This is certainly my weakness. It is becoming so apparent to me I wonder how it is that I could have missed it for so long. But then, it always feels like that, doesn't it? We see what we see and wonder how it was that we couldn't.

Last night I did some chakra meditation, and I could feel the effects of this uncomfortable period I have been going through in the last couple of months. All of a sudden I have felt back at the beginning again, before I started all of this creative and bodily exploration. Almost without realising it, I have become way more ungrounded and fearful, feeling a certain disconnection from myself. Thing is, I spent so many years feeling that sort of disconnection that I suppose in times of stress I slot back into it, unless I am aware. I suppose that it is no coincidence that this period of unsafety of the past few months has dislocated me out of my own body.

It is no coincidence that most people I know seem dislocated from their own bodies. It's a product of living in a Western society. We lose our heart because we lose our feet, and so we lose our heads. I can only pray that the Body does not forget what it is joined to. Sometimes I think we are living in the converse of the Renaissance. At that time, people were supremely confident about the ability of humans to rise up to greatness. There was a flourishing of creativity in that period, of discovery, of realising how much people had been held back in the past. Where is our vision, these days? Where is the vision of the Body? Oh, I see smidgeons of it here and there. I see it is returning. I see that one of the greatest things we seem to be grasping hold of is the untenableness of grasping hold of anything else except God. Perhaps this is all we need.

Of course, that idea that we can do nothing of ourselves, that we are the branches - well, it doesn't sit well, does it? I think it's something we all need to learn for ourselves, what that looks like, feels like, plays out in reality. We think that acknowledging that we are just the branches is taking something away from us, making us smaller. I suppose much of life involves God showing us what it looks like when the focus is instead not on what we lose but in what we gain. Life giving water instead of broken cisterns of our own hewing. This takes so long for us to learn, does it not, this overcoming the horror that we are not the Great Originators? But over that hump is the vista that we don't end up losing anything at all that is not worth chucking in the first place, and we gain everything we could desire. This is our giant collective blind spot.

The Body has sat outside of itself too much in the past. It has allowed itself to be violated by the culture. It has sat outside of itself so much that I think it is just beginning to get in touch with the levels of its own self-hatred. This is scary work. You need to be safely connected to the heart to begin to acknowledge and recognise the disconnection. Perhaps this is where we are at? I don't know.

I am seriously tempted to start up some yoga again. The lovely discovery of yoga was that it was like a form of dancing to me that I could do. How wonderful to discover that I could do these movements, these postures, with something like grace. And afterwards, the most wonderful thing of all, the settling of my fears and insecurities in some strange way. It was like tapping into my body, actually moving in it, twisting it (sometimes into such forms I never would have thought I could twist it into) settled and calmed the fears. In writing this post I am understanding over again how it is that I don't need to have all of my fears removed, as if they are a cancer within my body that I must have surgically extracted. It is enough instead to be held, and have them quelled.

I have had a deep loathing of my own body for many years. It is way too hairy, lumpy, wobbly. I believe I have still not quite come to terms with it. I also believe this is like a manifestation of some things I have going on inside of me. I am not willing to share my body with anybody else until I have come to some sort of healing, to some extent. Doing yoga, I felt that I was entering into my own body in a way that made me realise how hollow I often felt within it, how not at home I was within my own body. Like us. We're often not at home in our own Body either.

But we're becoming more so, I believe we are. I have no evidence to back up that claim except what I feel in my own heart. Do you feel that too? I think it is about acceptance, of ourselves with all of our hairiness, lumps and wobbly bits. But even more than that, it is something overarching that we need to realise. I think it has something to do with vision, with seeing, more than it is to do with getting rid of all of our many and horrible sins. I think that is a byproduct of the seeing way more than anything else. I don't quite know what it all looks like yet. I know that it is the same sort of vision and scale removal and grabbing hold of something that is not from ourselves that enabled those first century Christians to chuck all they had in common with each other. We haven't experienced anything like that yet, not really. I think maybe we've all had glimpses of it. We haven't even begun to dance yet. I don't think we believe yet that we are able to. I think maybe we are just starting to hear the music.

Rainy Advent

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Saturday, 13 December 2008

Living on the driest continent on earth, when water falls out of the sky people talk about it. We ring each other up and preface our conversation with, "How about the rain, huh?" At work yesterday people were looking at the Bureau of Meteorology website to watch the rain's progress from west to east across the state. I could see it out the window, raining heavily into the grey concrete streets. Beautiful, life-giving water. We are so thirsty. Can only hope the rain made it into the catchments, of which ours are 32% full at last look. We need the rain, in more ways than one. Our thirsts are multi-faceted.

It is some kind of blasphemy these days to complain about the rain interrupting our social lives. Beggars cannot be choosers, after all. And I don't mind so much today. I am tired in my soul, melancholy (which is a different beast than the depression and grief I've been smothered by over the past two years. Those are lifting, but that doesn't mean the melancholy does not pay its recurring visits. Indeed, I don't mind its visiting. Melancholy spurs me on to be creative. And there are, after all, many things to mourn about in our world, and some of those are in my own heart.) Perhaps it is right that this Advent, so many of us seem to be spending dry periods, the empty waiting that burns. Life is sometimes just unutterably sad. We do reel to and fro these days, don't we? The hope remains though, a living miracle, peering anxiously at the skies while we gnaw on our fears and sadnesses. But the Christ will be born. Even while we feel we will wither away on the inside, our organs just drying up and disintegrating from the lack of water. This is the mystery. I have gone through an entire 4B pencil for the first time in decades, while in the midst of feeling like I am so creatively withered I shall never bloom. The faith sits in the midst of the broken pottery shards, even while it drags them across its own skin. Some say it is double-mindedness. I say it's integration.

Christmas this year is a pretty low-key event where I am living. Which is fine by me. Funny, though, that the previous two Christmases have been almost unbearable for me in some ways, being stuck in such a bad place. This year feels different with the fog lifting. And anyway, apart from that, I am just patently tired of deconstructing the guts out of everything. It is a necessary thing to do, and I actually really enjoy it, but still. Deconstructing when you are so dry yourself is always a danger, like flicking cigarette butts out into the bush. I want to look ahead, forward, at what is being constructed around our ears and our eyes, though we cannot see it and doubt its existence. Because we must ask these questions, seeing we are the ones who do the reconstructing.

I still think Christmas is an empty ritual at it's heart. The thing is, we have so few rituals that we share as a people that I am almost hungry for it this year. And when I remove myself from my deconstructing and analysing, I can just say that I am really looking forward to seeing my dear cousin Andrea and her boys on Christmas Eve, and going to her church with her to sing carols, and then going out to took at the pretty lights on the pretty houses.

Which is some sort of miracle in itself too :) There are always miracles, even in the dark, even in the sadness.

What is it?

5 comments

Tuesday, 9 December 2008


When my friend Debbie saw the picture of the sculpture I did months ago, she said, "That's the nicest one I've ever seen ... what is it?" :)

Last Monday at art therapy I played with clay for the first time in weeks and weeks. And I came up with this ... thing. And even Maggie, who is the sweetest, kindest, most non-judgmental person in the world looked askance at it and said it was weird, LOL. I really don't know what the hell it is. I guess it explains partly why I have this trepidation when I think about going and playing with clay lately. Maybe I'm worried about the weird things that come out :)

And yes, yes, I know this ... thing looks very penile. Which was annoying, you know, when I noticed it, because I was right in the middle of my anger spew about men, where I could barely even look at them in the street, so maybe that's why I bent it in half, LOL (apologies for grimace inducement, blokes). Perhaps in Freudian terms this thing demonstrates some latent desire I have to be a lesbian, who the hell knows. The head reminds me of a telephone, but it also reminds me of that giant hammer in Pink Floyd's The Wall. The body looks like poo. The tail is obviously mermaidish. Maybe it is some uncsonscious allusion to shark fins (hammerhead = shark along with the mermaid tail) but shark fins hold no relevance for me at all, and why the hell is it sitting on a cushion? Maybe it is a representation of my incorporating some more of the male side into my personality, the ying - or is it the yang? Maybe I sound like a total tosser :) (I do love a bit of psychobabble, gotta say). I was wondering what you guys think it is when you look at it :)

Or maybe it means nothing. There's an idea!! To not try and work out the hidden meanings behind everything I do! But still, that is the whole idea behind art therapy, after all. I was actually going to work on this thing further, and I was going to maybe make a friend for it, but then I forgot about it and left it in the boot of the car and now it's gone leather hard. Still, it was just nice to actually make anything at all.

I have really lost momentum and confidence to explore in the past few months. It feels like it is starting to drip back again, very slowly. And with it has come an understanding and appreciation of how much I need to feel safe to be creative in this way. Like, 100 times more than I orginally thought. I clam up and it shuts down like catatonia and it amazes me, the way we do that for our own self-preservation, and how it is like a way of enfolding ourselves into ourselves. I like to think that God is in this ages-long-even-past-this-one process of unfolding everybody, in our own time and way, very very slowly, so that we come to it ready to fully immerse ourselves into the birthing task. Or alternatively, we come kicking and screaming and get through it anyway. Which I suppose is what birth is, right?

I am beginning to get on top of my detox now. The worst of the effects are behind me, and I am almost up to the maximum dose. Which is amazing when I consider how I felt when I had that first dose. But still, this is what I keep seeing in life in the past year or two, how it is that we can always go further than we believe we can. I can definitely feel some improvements in my health, although I've been so stressed out with other shit that now things are settling down I will really be able to see how far it's all come along. The whites of my eyes are getting whiter than I have seen them in years, which is really kinda cool. My anger has spent itself like a fish Gollum-slapped against a rock. This is a beautiful thang.

(It was interesting today, reaching Richard Rohr's book, to note his observation that maybe getting angry is often something that women need to do but find difficult - overcoming the "this doesn't look nice" thing - while grieving is something that men need to do but find difficult - overcoming the "I can't do powerlessness" thing. I can't vouch for men, but I would definitely agree it is the case for women. We are far too concerned with appearing "nice" to other people. It is good to be able to look back and see how all this anger spewed forth, old anger that I have had in me for years and have always been scared of expressing, you know? Always this fear that somehow it would come out like boiling water from a kettle and scald the entire universe. But it didn't. It came out safely, with no harm to anyone else. That is like some sort of a grace, you know? I plan on allowing anger to assume some sort of rightful place, where I can express it without repressing it and making it bigger.

You know, it's funny, but I always thought I had pretty reasonable boundaries. Like Mocca said to me the other day, people generally have a pretty reasonable idea of where they stand with me. And yet, there always seems to be a converse with everything. That is so, but then there are parts of me that are just all over the shop, and it is a real discomfort to really start to acknowledge them. Example. The other day a girl from down my street was standing in the street talking to me and Lester. And she came inside the front yard, to where a large yellow-flowered shrub lives, and grabbed an empty plastic soft drink bottle from where it had been thrown into the middle of the shrub. And she said, "I suppose I should get this. I threw it in here the other day." And I was thinking, "Yes, you little bugger, don't throw stuff in my front yard" - even though it's not really my front yard but the boys', but it's on my property, you know? And I was thinking, "Shite. People really do disrespect me sometimes. I didn't realise it before. But I'm not gonna just allow them to do that anymore." But obviously I was going to wait until next time to try that out, because instead of saying, "Yes, don't throw stuff in my yard, thanks" I said nothing in answer to her. Then, the weirdest thing, she just threw the bottle back in the shrub again. Like, as if because I didn't say anything it meant that I didn't care and it was okay for her to do. We people, we really suck. I walked away scratching my head over the fact that I didn't say anything to her, and that she threw the bottle back there again. And it didn't made me angry at all, but it kinda made me sad instead. It was like a demonstration of something I've been learning lately where we all take miles when people give us inches, and how it's like we all have radars on each other, and can spot the people with the deflated boundaries, and we just take advantage. And we do it without thinking, unless people begin standing up for themselves. Why don't they teach this shit in school as well?

Anyway. Tonight, when I turned into my street, I was thinking about how long it has been since I have felt that sense of optimism about the future, that bubbling of potential, the excitement of growth and having fun again. It's a different thing to hope. The hope comes from God, and it sits in the middle of the dark, not determined by circumstance. The optimism I always believed I would have, being of a generally sunny disposition, until the Great Desert Dwelling began. But there are glimmers again. So tonight, I tried it on again for size, that feeling of optimism. Driving down my street. Can I feel optimistic about my future again? And I felt it. It bubbled. I can feel it now, inside. I can see not only a light at the end of this tunnel. I can actually see, at least at times, the end of the tunnel.

Everything Belongs

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This weekend so far has proved to me that everything belongs. Again. Friday night I felt so incredibly sick to death of everything going on, couldn't see God working in my life, couldn't see what the hell was the point to everything. I am so tired of this portion of my life, just patently exhausted by it all, that it is no wonder I have these times of meltdown. I don't feel entirely comfortable with having them - I am tired of feeling like my vulnerabilities are hanging outside my body like a string of sausages and those times just exacerbate that feeling - but then the afterwards, the peace that descended on Saturday morning as I sat on the steps in the sun, feeling the effects of people praying for me (hello Kentster). This is the life that comes from death. It is the opposite to the reverb that I often feel, that has going on in me the past few weeks, as the things I deny come to the fore anyway and force me to look at them. That reverb is like a death that comes from death, from denial, from unconsciousness. It is why I want God to enter into all of my rooms because I will not ever be as safe as I want to be unless he does. I just wish he'd stop taking his sweet goddamn time about it all ;)

In the meantime, I am trying to sit in the midst of these things, these scary things, these little deaths living within life, to learn from them, because it feels to me like the safest thing I can actually do while they continue to exist within me. Doing otherwise feels like a form of bodily abdication. Thanks for the reminder, Mr Rohr.

Yesterday I took a mental health day for myself. Well, I didn't plan to, it's just that by the time lunchtime came and I hadn't done anything but read, I decided to just kick the ends out and let myself rest. Pour water on the expectations. We get taught in every possible way to strive, and we don't get taught the wisdom of lying down and rolling with it when we need to. That's the sort of shit they should teach in school.

So it felt good to me to yesterday allow myself to do nothing. And so I did, literally. Read two books basically all day. Got online a bit here and there. Watched television (old reruns of Fast Forward, an Australian comedy show). Ate the leftover takeaway from the night before. Didn't even bother having a shower, all day - gross :) Couldn't even be fagged going up the supermarket to get the dog's food. Instead, went to McDonald's for dinner - such a violent method of eating but I didnt care - and my dog was forced to eat a couple of burgers for dinner also :)

Still, today I have woken up and feel soothed. I think the equilibrium is returning, after a week of feeling like I am living inside the middle of a giant gong. And all I know is this. I have freewheeled from feeling like I could just throw in the towel and give it all up on Friday night, to feeling the slow return to some sort of equilibrium today. Inbetween those two states, there is always some sort of almost violent throwing myself back onto God, onto what I can see I am losing focus in. It feels wrenching and it feels like death, it really does. I can see some more areas in my life lately that I am seeing wrong. How funny that space is - seeing that you are seeing wrong, and yet not yet knowing what it is to see right. It is this continual ongoing walking the dark path, having to trust in this unseen being who you have never seen face to face before, and who is strangely silent sometimes to the point of wanting to throw things at him (and because I can't see him, what can I throw? Well, most oftentimes it's my words, my vitriole, and my anger, but he can take it. Indeed, I think he wants to take it. That has been demonstrated 2000 years ago surely. It is death to our egoes to think this way, that God wants to take all of our rage and our wounds and our fuckedupedness because we can't cope with them ourselves. We like to think that we can cope with anything and everything, even while the world reels to and fro and we bite the insides of our mouths in anxiety.
[The] classic pattern of transformation into 'who we are in God' is called the paschal mystery. And it is the only theme of each and every Eucharist - because it is so necessary to believe, and because we will do anything to avoid it. The liturgy slowly convinces us of who we are, although I have often said at Mass that it is easier for God to convince bread than it is to convince us! Bread knows, wine understands. Humans fight, deny, resist and disbelieve anything they feel unready for or unworthy of. Thus Jesus had to present the gift in the image of a resented banquet in Luke 14:12-24. Paul speaks in the language of free inheritance for those who would prefer to be slaves (Romans 8:14-17). In all cases, it feels like a wounding to our sophisticated soul. For some strange reason, love wounds us and beauty hurts us.

When the wound happens in a secular society like ours, we usually look for an immediate way to resolve it: playing the victim, mobilizing for vengeance (while sometimes calling it 'justice'), or looking for someone to blame, or someone to sue! A sacred culture would never bother with such charades and missed opportunities. Rather than a sacred wound, suffering for us often becomes a mere wound and, eventually, an embittering wound. The journey stops there and there's no future. Without the dignifying wound, there is no mystery, no greatness, no soul and surely no Spirit. The theme is so constant in poetry, literature and drama, that one wonders how we could continue to miss it: The wounded one is always the one with the gift; the comfortable one knows nothing.

What we have now in the West, by and large, is embittering wounds. The spiritual 'machine' for turning wounds into glory has been lost by a secular people. Yet all the great mythologies and mystics tell us that we will be wounded, we must be wounded. It is what you do with the wounding that makes all the difference. There is something that you know after having passed through 'the night sea journey' (an archetypal theme denoting a necessary trial of the would-be hero) that apparently you can know in no other way.

... Faith allows you to trust that God is in the suffering and trial: 'I thank you, Lord, for what you want to teach me in this.' Now you won't say that on the first day, or probably not even on the second, but maybe on 'the third day'! Such people are literally indestructible, or in Christian language, 'resurrected from the dead.' This is one meaning of being 'born again' and has more to do with having come through suffering alive and better than an emotional experience after an altar call.
Richard Rohr, Hope Against Darkness

Whinings and enjoyablenesses

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Friday, 5 December 2008

I had dinner with my ex last night. It is always good to see him even though sometimes it is very painful to. We watched the present he bought me, a DVD of Hawthorn's finals campaign. Fun times. He is off to Sydney this weekend with his girlfriend, to go to a music festival. He apologised last night for not cooking when we were together. It was nice to receive such an apology. He has grown so much and changed so much. I am glad he is having such an enjoyable time in his life. I am even glad he is in love and that he is having such a great social life. Even though I am jealous. I am tired of the hurtfulness when I compare our lives. When is it my turn, Papa? I'm so tired of this season. If you don't get me out of the mire soon, I will be stuck here like a pig.

My latest Richard Rohr book was inside my letterbox when I got home this evening. Hope Against Darkness: The Transforming Vision of St Francis in an Age of Anxiety, co written with John Bookser Feister. Just the ticket. Mr Rohr speaks to me like few others, and I need some of his vision this weekend. It's been a bit of a slog the last week or so, entering in to some of the more unsafe places in my soul, acknowleding their existence even though I don't want them there. I am tired of acknowledging my vulnerabilities. I want to return back to my old self, the one that doesn't exist anymore, the one that sickness stole.

She doesn't exist anymore, but I still do, whatever that means, and so this struggle goes on, realising the latest steps I need to take to do whatever I am seeing I need to do, which in this case is learning to counterbalance those pockets of unsafety while trying to embrace them at the same time. It has been distracting and upsetting, and to begin the return to some sort of Goddish equilibrium to start off the weekend via Mr Rohr is just the ticket.

I took a blanket and some pillows outside and lay and read. I even had a Nanna nap for 10 minutes or so, until the cooler weather blew in and across my bare arms and woke me up. Like a kiss. There was a certain sweetness about it, being woken like that, and just the combination of the Rohrian words and the Spirit breath and I felt a bit more enlivened. Walked Lester after I woke up and then came home and treated myself to some takeaway and some drawing with watercolour pencils. All small things, done in mindfulness, in some sort of way to restore myself back to a level sort of field. I feel like I unravelled a bit this past week. Or maybe I got put back together a bit better. Sometimes I can't tell the difference because sometimes those two things feel the same. I'm sick of growing. Really sick of it. I want to move on in my life and have some fun. Is that possible?

I know I know less than I thought I did at the beginning of the week, and that despite the fact that I am one of the strongest people I know, this only means that those unsafety pockets have been able to hide themselves away underneath. I am tired of slogging my way through these sorts of things. Sometimes I wonder if I am simply stuck, and stuck in a moment I can't get out of. Where is God in all of this? Is there a method to all of this madness, or am I simply trying to read meaning into things which are just the way life is? Perhaps it is too much to expect that I shall get out into some sort of more rarefied air where my hurts aren't hanging off me like rags. I don't even know who this bloody person is. It's certainly not the me that I have lived with for ... well, all my life! Maybe this is just detox talking, I don't know. Maybe I'm playing the comparison game and coming out losing. Maybe I've just lost perspective. But right now, I just don't know what the hell my life is all about and if it's too much to expect that it shall get easier in some ways. I am finding it difficult to see God working in my life at the moment. And if I could just see that, it would make all the difference.

Nice :)

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Wednesday, 3 December 2008


This was the sight that welcomed my parents and my cousin and I on Monday night when we walked out into the street. Venus, Jupiter and the crescent moon formed this, and made me smile :)

This shot was from Brisbane, just a couple of kilometres away ;) but it was still pretty much what we saw too. Nice :)

It's unfortunate that we live on a globe, as from some places on the earth it appeared like an upside down frowny face (see here, for example) - but whatever way, it still looked pretty cute. How fun!

Pic by Tatters

Happy birthday ... to me :)

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Monday, 1 December 2008


This kindergarten photo, age 4, is one of my favourite photos of myself ever. Can you guess which one is me? I was the same age Andrea's son Campbell just turned last Wednesday, and whose birthday we celebrated yesterday. I figure in a post where I am wishing myself a happy birthday, I may as well have a picture of myself as well :)

I have this picture sitting in my playroom. It is a reminder to myself that the same spirit of play I had then is still alive and well and willing and desperate to come out with a bit of coaxing. It has become more clarified to me over the past few weeks that the majority of the work I have been doing in art therapy this year is really just all about creating a place of safety within myself so I can do so. The past few weeks have reminded me about why my past requires me to do this. It's been such a massive year of growth for me. I'm excited about my future.

I love my family and friends and appreciate them even more the older I get. I have been reminded again lately that it is not a matter of luxury but of necessity to surround myself with people who are open to the two-way street of relationship, who energise me rather than drain me. Tomorrow I am meeting up (hopefully) with Andrea in the Dandenong Ranges after my art therapy session. I am going to my parents' tomorrow night, where I shall insist, with the barley rights that belong to the birthdayed, that we have Seven Stars chinese food for dinner. The night after I am getting together with my ex for some Mexican. Next weekend I plan to hijack a couple of friends so that we can go and see a band. I am grateful for all of those people.