Open Diary: Day One

September 12, 2010 at 10:19 pm (Uncategorized) (, , )

This piece is more than just a way to talk to Scin while I am out of town. It is a way to explore a particular form of writing that is memoir-like in style, mixing fact with literary elements. I am enjoying playing with this medium and hope you like it as well. 

It is 9-11 and that is not lost on me. It never is this time of year. But, the Gulf of Mexico is calm, people are few, and having a quiet beach to roam moves my mind to other things. 

I think of you. I think about the fact that we began this journey together nearly a year ago. And, I wish you were here. After all the months of short visits, long leavings, and the past couple of months finally in the same place, any leaving is hard. It seems wrong in some way to be anywhere trying to relax and enjoy things without you. It is what it is, however; and mom is clearly glad to be here. So, the mission of the trip is being met. Still, I miss you.

Last year while I was here, I wrote about learning to float. Really, I wrote about trust. This year, my mind is on all the many forms of trust.

I think of the trust between us. It still amazes me how I trust you so—trust you with my feelings; my affections; my deepest thoughts, fears, dreams, secrets. I trust you with my body in ways I have no other. I trust you with my life. I have trusted few. None so deeply as you. It takes a lot for me to trust, as you know. I spent my life trusting only myself, my instincts, my own learning and experience, my own abilities to cope and problem-solve, and a few carefully chosen, close people. I had to learn, by experience, to trust people again. This is how we all learn. I had to learn, by experience, to trust God. As you know, that trust grows, in many ways, each day. I know how hard trust is for you as well. The trust you bring me, I know, is not a thing you give easily. It is a gift. I cherish it. I recognize the largeness of it. And, I respect it.

Looking out at the vastness is that is the Gulf, it is natural for the mind to turn toward the smallness of our daily lives. The blessings we receive each day come to mind almost as a consolation of the difficult things—a kind of reminder that, even in the uncertainty, there is much that is given. Much that is good. Much that is better than good. I watch the sea after the sun has gone down. The water moves in shades of blackish-purple, grayish-pink, and deep indigo. A crescent moon hangs low and shimmers silver on the darkening water. 

As we have talked of faith, of the forces that shake it, the events and forces that revive and increase it, I think of the things we are taught. Our battle, we are told, is not with governments, principalities or people; it is with darker, unenlightened forces. I watch the changing water and ponder these things. We are like the water. We, too, can absorb and reflect both the light and the dark. These simply manifest differently in our solid bodies than they do in the water. In the water, the light is so clear, as is the lack of it as the sun goes down—clear, deepening blackness. Like the normal human doubt we feel when we are walking on shaking ground. We do not fully trust the ground to remain firm. At times doubt is good. It keeps us from becoming too comfortable or careless. But, if we are not careful, doubt can overwhelm us and become a state of being—a state of pessimism and lack of belief.

The things with which we struggle now, the uncertainty, the things we cannot see but which work on us, are like the sun behind passing clouds. They are temporary darkenings that seek to increase our normal doubt and uneasiness. Circumstances are simply the darkness trying to move us into the blackness where we cannot clearly see all the evidence that we are being cared for, that our needs are met, and that we live in a benevolent universe that responds to us. The difficult times are, indeed, the dark night removing the evidence of light from the water. But, the sun does rise. The light does return. And, we can carry the memory of the light within us, shine it outwards until it begins to shine as real as the sun. We can hold a torch into the darkness.

That light comes from the things we know. That we have been given much. That even in the difficult times, there is evidence every day of all we have been given. I look upon the moving water and know that this vastness teaches me much about the movement of the light and the darkness. I know that I need to continue to focus on what I can see, on all of the things that evidence I am being cared for—perhaps learning new lessons in preparation for something else—but being cared for nonetheless. I need to remember that there are things that are mine to do: that trying to be the best person I can be, trying to be responsible and accountable for my own thoughts, words and deeds, and seeking to do the next right thing, are mine. The rest is in hands larger and more capable than mine. It always has been. It is mine to remember that. In that, normative doubt and fear cannot become the lack of faith that brings about a deep undoing.

I am going in now. I will attempt to sleep. I will miss you as I have throughout this day. I will talk to you before we both retire in different beds, in different towns not unlike we did before. When we talk, I will remind you of my love for you, my trust in you and in us, and my trust that we are being cared for, that all will be well. I cannot help but think of all the ways that our journey together has already served to increase my overall faith. I am aware that as I grow in my own sense of self, I grow in my love for you and for us. There may be much I do not know. There may be much that is so uncertain the possible outcomes are out of the range of my sight. But, I do know this. I know from experience that when I am on the right path, obstacles are removed, things beyond my control are resolved, and the things I need come to pass—usually not in the form I envisioned, but they do come. We are part of all that comes to pass. We were brought together in a way that deserves consideration. I do know that this path is not only a good one, but the right one. And, I know there is no one I want to walk it with me but you.

In the morning, the sun will return. The water will be so clear, again, that I can see my feet pressing gently into the soft sandy floor. So, clearly that I can see the way in front of me.

NOTE:  This work is published here as proprietary and may not be reproduced, distributed, sold, or otherwise utilized outside the posting on this site without the express permission of the author; these works are the sole property of the author writing as Androgynonamous or DreadPirateRobert.

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Hump Day: Mid-week Musings

April 14, 2010 at 8:20 pm (Hump Day: Mid-week Musings) (, , )

Where You Least Expect It…

More than once, I have discussed some of the issues, frustrations and complications of reinventing myself in my mid-forties and career shopping in this strange and delicate economy.  Meanwhile, each week I have continued my basic routine: daily searches of job boards, City and County jobs, postings in the local paper, etc.; completing  job applications; and, running myself ragged trying to work at whatever odd landscaping jobs I can get.  I am sure many of you know that serious job hunting is, itself, a full-time job.  Trying work at something in the process can be overwhelming. Oddly, I think the manual labor has actually kept me from becoming completely exhausted.  I know that it definitely has kept me from coming unglued as I fret over securing a living wage before I run out of all my savings and lose my house.  I have been going at this pace for over two years…and without much light at the end of the tunnel showing itself.

Each week, I have faithfully applied for an average of six jobs.  It is often more like nine or ten in a week.  Sometimes, I apply for several in one day.  Often this is the case as, most days, there are not a lot of jobs that I could actually apply for with any credibility or hope.  I usually apply for jobs that are applicable to my skill sets and overall experience–in other words, management jobs, non-profit or other program directorships, human resources related jobs…or, just plain retail, low-level management jobs.  This week–Monday, in fact–I branched out and applied for a job that is not at all related to anything I have ever done.  It is a job I have actually thought about for a long time.  You know, the “wouldn’t-it-be-groovy-if,” kind of job.  I applied on a kind of lark.  Oh, what the hell?…why not?

You see, I have been going about this thing in a very methodical and practical way for a long time.  Applying for things for which, either, I have previous related experience or for which I have similar skill sets and which I could quickly learn.  For example, at the end of last week, I even applied for a job with the local Employment Security Commission.  This is a State position.  They wanted someone with either social work or counseling experience [that’s me], or staffing experience with a focus on hiring and interviewing [again, that’s me].  I thought this was perfect since I have both sets of skills and experience.  The folks at the ESC thought it was a great idea for me to apply–who better to assist others with finding a job than a person who has all the required skill sets and has been job hunting for over two years?  The application deadline was last Friday.  I have not heard a word from them.  This is the case with most of the jobs for which I apply.

So, Monday when I saw this other job, I was intrigued.  It is a fitness trainer position with a local center that has its own training program and trainer certification process.  For some time now, I have thought that it would be really neat if I could somehow become certified and work as a fitness trainer.  Afterall, I was a good counselor largely because I am really good at empowering and motivating people.  And, I love to work out.  I could spend my whole day in a gym and be in hog heaven.  But, I had no real way of becoming certified and I figured I should focus on what I know and apply for things similar to what I have done. 

For some reason, however, when I saw the ad in the paper, I could not pass it up.  So, I hammered out a cover letter and emailed it along with my resume to the email provided in the posting.  It was not much more than an hour later when my cell phone rang.  The guy was calling to set up an interview with me!  He was even calling on the same day I applied!  I nearly fell down into the pile of river rock I had been arranging.  I have applied and applied for countless jobs for which I am either over-qualified or perfectly suited to and I have not had so much as a phone interview in months.  Then, the job I apply for largely for shits and giggles turns out to be the one for which I am going to interview.  Go figure.  Or, as my mom would say:  who would have thunk it?

While, all along, I have had faith that things will work out, for the first time in some long months now, I have some real sense of a possible turning of the tide.  And, not directly because I finally have the opportunity interview.  The reason I feel some sense of light breaking after a long night is, also, more like a kind of faith thing.  It is not the interview itself; it is that the interview is for a job that seems completely nutty and far-fetched.  It is the opportunity out of the blue.  It is the road not even considered a real course, let alone traveled.  It is the least expected option in a universe of more reasonable options.

It has been my experience at many points in my life that, when the next right thing comes, it is often the last thing I expected–that when the best thing that could happen actually happens, it turns out to be something I had given up on entirely or never even imagined.  And, it comes quite unexpectedly.  Usually, when things are darkest.  Or, when I have settled into settling, become content with being basically content.

An example that I think best describes the kind of serendipity–and, perhaps, synchronicity–I am talking about is the reunion Scin and I were able to bring about in our lives.  Sometimes, the thing you think you lost turns up in a drawer you thought you looked in a hundred times; or, it was in the pocket of your favorite jeans all along.  Sometimes, the thing you think you really screwed up presents itself anew.  Sometimes, we do get second chances.  Often, when we least expect it. And, in many cases, it ends up being the next right thing. The best thing that could ever happen. The thing, in our slumber, we dreamed of but never expected would happen. 

Sometimes, the phone rings and we answer.  We answer, recognize the voice, and we speak our truth–boldly, bravely, and with heartfelt intent.  “I’ve been thinking of you for a long time and have been trying to find your new number.  There are things I want to say to you.”

And, the response we get is:  “I’ve been thinking of you too…in fact, I woke up in the middle of the night last night and had to get out of bed to write about us.”  Sometimes, the phone rings.  And, we answer.  And, it changes our lives forever.  For the better.

Sometimes, the phone rings and we answer.  And, a voice says, “I received your resume and I was calling to see if you’d be interested in an interview.”  Sometimes, when we least expect it, a bell rings. A door opens.

NOTE:  This work is published here as proprietary and may not be reproduced, distributed, sold, or otherwise utilized outside the posting on this site without the express permission of the author; these works are the sole property of the author writing as Androgynonamous or DreadPirateRobert.

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The Spirit of Things

April 4, 2010 at 11:40 am (The Spirit of Things) (, , )

A Matter of Faith:

It is Spring.  All around us, there are the signs of a world in regeneration–a coming alive of all things after the winter waiting time, a resurrection of all that lay in slumber during the dying time.  We feel it too.  Our awareness and experience of this rebirth varies from person to person, yet the need to feel connected to the process, to the coming alive within and without, is present in all of us.  We reach into the dirt, cultivate and plant. Or, we buy cut flowers.  We tend our yards.  We go to the park and walk. Or, we pull the motorcycles–or bicycles, or both–out of the winter storage and we ride.  We open our windows.  We sit on the porch and drink in the growing sun, the blooming around us, the birds and squirrels and, yes, the rabbits.  Whatever we do, we are on some level aware that the change has come, that we too are waking and are renewed.

This is an ancient process–the basis of all ancient religions that celebrate a way of life based upon the belief that all things are connected, that we and the earth, its cycles and processes, are essentially tied to one another in an endless turning of generation, birth, death, regeneration and rebirth.  It is no accident that the believed resurrection of the Christ occurs in the Spring.  It is all literal, metaphoric, allegoric and psychologically powerful stuff.  No matter what else is happening in our lives, most all of us feel the instinctive, subconscious pull of the process of rebirth.  We feel lighter, more energized and tend to be better able to cope with and move through the other things in our daily lives in the presence of all that is Spring.  For many people, this is the basis of their faith.  It is for me as well, but not in the conventional ways you might expect.

Without getting too involved, let me say that my concept of God is…well…nearly heretical in the eyes of some.  No doubt there will be more about that as I write here.  But for now, I will simply say that my view of God is bigger than dogma, religion, or the common anthropomorphic ideas of God.  My view of God is living and breathing and rooted in physics, the commonalities of all religions, the cycles and processes of the universe around us, and some basic universal truths about the human experience.  And, it is rooted in my personal experience. Things others would view as synchronicity, serendipity or plain old happenstance.  My experience of God changes as I change.  While I do not believe in the currently popular view of God as some puppet-like magician simply waiting to give us whatever we ask for, I do believe that God moves in our lives.  Within us.  In cocreativity with us.  I am panentheistic.  And, I believe the action is internal.  I also believe that what we think about and turn our mental energy to, we manifest.

These are things that have come up in discussion of late between my friends and I, and between Scin and I.  People wonder how I can continue to have faith that all will be well, that forces are moving around and within us, that God is active, and that more will be revealed when I am dealing with such difficult circumstances.  As are the people close to me.  People ask:  how can you believe that a loving God is taking care of you when you have been job-hunting for over two years, your health concerns are unresolved, your mom’s house still has not sold, and the things you need do not seem to be appearing?  These observations are correct.  There has been struggle and uncertainty.  In addition, Scin and I are struggling with significant circumstances:  financial concerns, securing housing for them so they can move, difficulties related to being apart–for now–and trying to plan, while also trying to keep faith that somehow all will be well.  Struggle abounds.

So, my response to all of this is simple, really.  My entire life has provided me with examples of the care I receive from a benevolent universe and an active, present power greater than myself.  Greater than our conceptions.  Greater than doctrines.  If I look back on events that at first seem to be bad, not what I thought I needed or, for that matter, wanted, I can see how I was saved from something worse by things not going as I thought they should.  I can see how events were unfolding in ways that led to other things, that were better in the long run, that–once more was revealed–carried greater gifts for me than what I expected.  Also, good things happen every day.  My reunion with Scin is an example.

This, to me, is the action of God in communion and cocreation with us.  This, to me, is like the metaphor of Spring.  All seems dark, dead and stagnant until Spring comes and we see that things were at work, doing wonderous things, unseen and in their own time.  Spring is the point in the year when what was unseen becomes revealed.  Much of the action in our lives is this way:  internal, unseen, connected to other forces and processes, and is obvious only at the moment of its flowering.

Now, you could say that what you have read here is simply the expression of the obvious influence of perspective, of how one chooses to view things over which one has no control and how one mentally processes events and daily life.  And, to that I exclaim a resounding: yes; you are correct.  And, isn’t that what faith is–belief without tangible evidence, conviction without immediate proof, a set of beliefs to which one is committed, a mindset?  The issue is not simply the mindset, but how one comes to have this perspective and to be committed to it.  Experience, in conjunction with willingness to examine and interpret the experience, is the origin of the mindset.  I believe we are, indeed, transformed by the renewing of our minds (Romans 12:2).  By the way, this kind of thinking–as some of you know–is the basis of Eastern traditions, Pagan traditions, and, interestingly, behavioral science and the majority of physics.  In fact, there is a vast compilation of science to suggest that “mindset” or expectation–that is thought–is a physical force.  So, perhaps, faith is not conviction without evidence.

For example, if we study light as particles, that is how it behaves; if we study it as waves, that, too, is how it behaves.  Expectation, or the perspective of the experimenter, influences the thing being studied.  Thus, how we view our lives influences the unfolding of our lives.  Similarly, how we view God, or view our spirituality, determines how we experience our spiritual selves and our lives.  This perspective, like Spring, is a turning–a shifting of our view, an expectation from which is birthed the evidence. 

So, yes.  I have faith the things are going to be, both, as they should be in the scheme of things, and OK as well.  I believe that I will continue to have what I need, if not always what I want.  I believe that, like the bulbs that were lying in wait, there will be important gifts and growth in my struggles.  I believe that this time of uncertainty carries within it the seeds of the new, as yet unseen, budding of myself, others and our lives.  I believe that Scin and I will have the things we need to build our lives together.  I believe our reunion and the growing thing that is our relationship is a gift.  I receive it gladly.  I believe that things move and unfold in our lives in ways that work toward what is suitable to our individual selves and provides us with opportunities for our best interest.  And, I believe more will be revealed.

Finally, I believe that my role in my spiritual walk is simple.  It is mine to do what is in front of me, to tend to what I can and take responsibility for my choices, actions and my life.  It is also mine to tend the garden of my thinking–to be mindful of my life, my thoughts and perspectives, my actions and my participation in my relationships to my spiritual self, others, and my God.  It is mine to tend to the turning of my sight.  It is also mine to view myself as a valuable and to believe in myself as I am and as I am becoming.  If I believe that God is in all things and all things are in God, then God is in me as well and I need to trust the tools, talents, and abilities I have been given–and trust they have purpose.  I view others in the same way.  We are all connected, all part of the spirit of things.  We are all waking, slumbering, and waking again.  Each day, we are all being reborn, resurrected.  It is Spring, eternal.  That is enough for me.

NOTE:  This work is published here as proprietary and may not be reproduced, distributed, sold, or otherwise utilized outside the posting on this site without the express permission of the author; these works are the sole property of the author writing as Androgynonamous or DreadPirateRobert.

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