Sunday, October 5, 2014

To Forget Or Not

I cannot shine the spotlight in your mind,
nor can I walk upon your winding road.
I cannot climb the stairs inside your mind
nor can I catch the hooks where your thoughts lie.

I  hear not the thoughts you must keep,
nor know the sentiments therein,
I look not upon the visions you hold dear,
your windows closed perchance to peer.

I wait and wonder what secrets you have
hiding under surface of your skin.
My ears are wanton, left in dust,
awaiting truths that you entrust.
Wrapped away far from your lips.
dormant in a sea of inarticulate.

The effort to discover or discern,
ain't great enough to make you seek or learn.
As to recall - would take desire you see.
Which seems I lack priority.

So as it stands I am bereft,
longing for moments that have been left
inside the mind of man who holds no words.
To share of joys untold.

Until then I'm pushed to seek,
meaning, hope, joy, tongue-in-cheek
rhetoric, wit and sarcasm bound,
in another's brain playground.

Although your swings are the ones I seek,
I cannot sit to sway or swing.
The chains are broken, the seats are cracked.
Left unused, unloved, unchecked.

And so I move along to play,
with another mind who'll dare to say,
what they think and how and why.
So I can enjoy their unique wiles.

Perchance to share thoughts of my own.
So I can revel at what's shared or shown.
Yet still I sit and ponder why,
when asked you dare not need reply,
to any query I suppose,
because your thoughts are in repose.

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Parental Musings From A Blended Mother Of Five

Periodically it comes to my attention how easy I make raising a family look. While I always take it as a huge compliment I've recently come to understand that this may be very misleading. In light of this new found perspective I've decided I'd write a blog post that may shed more light on the actual truth.

I have been a mother for a very long time, especially when considering my age. I recently turned 41 and I have two adult children. Both of whom have left the house to pursue their own lives. A feat I am most proud of for both of them.

The journey of raising two adults and releasing them into the crazy world was wrought with much heartache and hardship. This fact is less known by those that have yet to raise a progeny to US standards of adulthood.

Some of these heartaches were unavoidable and some were not. My oldest daughters had suffered many things. The usual self-doubt, lack or blurred self identity, lack of or uncertain self-direction and the elusive and yet very much needed accurate self-worth. From where I stand these concepts, precepts and perspectives are under siege almost daily by individuals that are "raised on media". The raucous din of confusing input wreaks havoc on the daily lives of any who dare to gaze into the vortex that is media, whether social, musical, film or otherwise.

Then there are societal pressures stemming from the litany of institutions, peers, school, church where applicable and community. These institutions also play a part in the lives of our children each day. Navigating the winding path of a myriad of different agendas is enough to make anyone's head spin.

Now I will share how I had endeavored to navigate this Escher-like circus with my different and yet numerous children. I watched them carefully. From the day they were conceived I paid close attention to my body, my thoughts and feelings. When I was very young and expecting my first child I had some inkling, a thought,  that perhaps my child could feel what I was feeling when I was pregnant with her. So I decided to go with it and was very careful what I would think, watch and do while I carried her to term.

When she was born her personality was already perceptible to me. She didn't like people, almost at all. As a matter of fact I was the only one she liked or loved for a very long time. A fact her grandmother and paternal grandfather was rather dismayed by.

I noticed that she was cheery and mysterious. She had an incredible attention span and was fearless as long as I was in the area. She showed evidence of a strong sense of justice from a very young age, at almost two years-old in fact. I watched her every move in silent, rapt attention. Hardly interrupting her as she played, mused, flit and fancied from one experience to the next.

This allowed to me to see that from a very young age, she was strong and where she needed help. I discerned her leanings, her motivations and interests this way. Taking what I believed I had gleaned over the years as her mother I made all my decisions based on her reactions and decisions. Whether or not I'd let her stay the night with someone, or whether or not she could watch a certain movie or not.

I had always noticed that she would either stop watching or walk out of a room when some form questionable media was placed in front of her. My understanding of this meant she was good at self-governing. That's one thing I won't have to be as vigilant about in her regard.

Then I married my husband whom had two daughters of his own. I didn't get to watch them during this important young age as I did with my oldest. I'd have to start now and try my best to understand. It took years to see the differences and leanings of each of them. Some traits were more glaring then others. There was a great deal of trial and error. Best by the difficulty that I was the one that made it impossible for their natural parents to ever be together again. I was an obstacle, the enemy. A hardship difficult to overcome but worth every endeavor.

My approach in general as a mother and as a step-mother (a term I loathe to use or identify with) is more hands off. I try to allow my children the freedom to experience life the way they want, yet with as much safety and guidance as possible. I typically only step in when I see them deviate from being themselves, something that happens a great deal after the age of 11.

Up until that age most of what I do as a mom, is love them, talk to them and make them laugh. I show them how much I understand and care for them. To be straight, I'm less of an environmental nurturer and more of an emotional and intellectual nurturer. The day to day runnings are less of a consequence as the tidiness of their inner state.

Not sure if that a good thing or not, only time will tell whether this methodology is a good one or not. But I have to be honest, that is where my attention stays. I spend less time trying to incept my beliefs or opinions and more time helping them decide for themselves what is important, right or wrong. I believe that as a parent all your children take with them is what they've seen and what they've learned. So I spend a great deal of my time adding to their invisible treasure trove of understanding and perspective.

Now here's where the hard part comes, everything I've mentioned so far isn't that hard at least for me. Here's the hard part. What if I'm wrong? That is the battle I fight everyday. Just under the surface of every parenting moment lies that question and doubt. This makes parenting for me, very hard. In the end I had to take on what I had learned from my father as he was raising me.

"Be confident, be a leader, do your best and everything will work out. You may not do everything right but in the end they'll see what you were trying to do and that will be enough." He said that to me. It has stuck all these years and with all my children.

The hard part about parenting is knowing whether the right decision is being made. Is this the battle that should be fought. Is this the stand that needs to be made? In order to answer those questions I made my criteria very small. Is what my child about to do or could do be harmful later on? If it could get them hurt physically or put them in harms way, I say no or explain what I'm worried about.

In the end all my decisions come down to two questions, is this part of their plan? If not I ask why they want to do it now. If it is I allow it. Will it put them in harms way? If it will, I let them know my concerns. Otherwise I let the chips fall where they may and hope that the sum total of all their experience spells out the person they're supposed to become. Goodness knows my path was far from the one most traveled and I am better for it.

Friday, September 19, 2014

I'd Like To Thank The Tampa Bay Film Community...

Believe it or not this is my first trophy ever. I've won plenty of certificates and contests, but had yet to win an actual trophy for anything, until now. I am humbled. I have to say if I had to wait 40 years to win something, I couldn't have asked for a cooler accomplishment right out the gate.

I remember hearing about how my sister had found her people when she went back to school to get her doctorates in literature and rhetoric. That was back in 2009/10 and I remember thinking, who are my people? I yearned for that feeling. I had no idea where to look but felt hopeful I'd find them one day. Then I came here and trusted my gut to be fearless and hunt down my greatest aspiration.

So I took a leap of faith and started delving into the Tampa Bay Area film community. Within a few days I had been invited to produce my first short film with Joe Whall, titled Syntax. After we wrapped the film I started my own web-based talk show. After that I helped in one capacity or another on over 20 locally made short films and various projects. It was on the set of Syntax when I had realized I had met my people.

During one of the longest and hardest shoots we were running behind on time. So I opened an app on my iPhone called Pocket Whip. I started shaking my phone at various crew members asking them to work faster and move the lights quicker or get into make-up. Admittedly I had used it before when I produced my first iPad game. My team for WordScape HATED that app. I was met with glares and pleas to stop "whipping" them. Yet, on the set of Syntax this act was met with laughter and funny enough expediency. THAT is when I knew I had met my people. I used the app to let people know I needed them to work faster in what I thought was a humorous way. That I cared as their overlord and I needed them to be on their game. I was fortunate to have found them, my tribe.

It wasn't too long after that film that I was invited to help on the set of Waves directed by Domonic Smith and Tom Galang. Where I met an entire group of people I wanted to call my friends and colleagues. Like-minded, creative individuals with the same passion, desire and goals I had for this entertainment industry. I was excited and honored to be a part of this crew. I would not take it for granted. I worked very hard and did anything I could to make a difference on set. This movie was good and I wanted to be a part of putting it in front of the world. I met creatives whom I believed in, that I could devote my regard with utter confidence that is is well placed.

After the shoot for Waves, Cindy Krapfel and I got a notification that we were officially invited to be part of the Domonic Smith film clan. Cindy and I cheered and jumped around screaming on my back deck at 3am in unchecked elation. We did it, we both exclaimed. The feeling of acceptance by our well respected peers was indescribable.

For months afterwards we would go to set and help out anyway we can. At the same time I was finishing up and assisting on numerous other projects one of which was my talk show Art & Soul with Trina Fallon. My season finale was quickly approaching and I had a few ideas of how to end it with the proverbial bang. I would find award winning producers and pick their brain on how they'd done it.

I started my search on Facebook the mother of all social networks and discovered that none other than Scott Sullivan, whom I met as the cinematographer on Waves, had one Best Film on a number of his films. So I contacted him and set up a preliminary interview.

We met at The Oxford Exchange and spoke for over fours hours. We talked about marriage, the film community, tactics, priorities, methodology and philosophy. Question after question it became crystal clear that I had a great deal more to learn and that I had to work with him.

After our conversation we made an appointment to discuss his latest great endeavor, his first feature film. I asked him to send me the script and we'd talk afterwards. In short, I loved it. Scott extended an invitation for me to produce his film. I was beside myself. Nervous, elated, bolstered and humbled I said yes.

We both worked tirelessly for the next few weeks creating a business proposal. Something I had never done before. Together we brought it to completion and just in time for him to meet with his investors.

We had some great ideas but we still had a mountain of leg work to do. Our ideas for the BTS footage for our film left us with hope and trepidation for our feature. We needed to test our execution. We needed to test our relationship. We needed to do a dry run. Scott is a teacher and he uses his summers to follow his passion for filmmaking. We had to put off the feature to do it right but he still had to make a film. He didn't want to feel like his summer had been wasted not making a film for himself.

That's when we discovered the 48HR Film Competition of Tampa. He called both Domnic and I and asked if we wanted to do it. We both said yes. I was reluctant for one reason only. It was 48 hours of uninterrupted filmmaking two days before the first day of school. As a mother of 5 kids three that are school aged this prospect made me nervous. I had voiced my concern for being able to assist on set. He let me know it was nothing to worry about since technically the producer doesn't need to be on set. I shared my concerns for being absent and he assured me everything would be alright.

Scott is a work horse. Domonic is a wizard. I am resourceful and positive. Together I felt we were the dream team. Scott kept me in the loop, he asked for my blessing on script elements and plot. I voiced my conditions. He competently met them with ease and aplomb. 48 hours later we had an entry and I forked over the cold hard cash for a chance at winning a film festival. He sent me the link and I knew we had a good one.

When the time came for us to see the contestants and our film on the big screen I couldn't help but feel regret. I had helped in one capacity or another on over 20 projects in the last year. None of them have been seen in public much less on a real film screen with an audience. Yet here I was sitting in the back row of the Tampa Pitcher Show about to see what would be my first completed film I had the honor to help produce.

I wrestled with self-worth, insecurity and self-doubt, did I really help with this venture? Did I truly make a difference on this film? Scott sat behind me, he saved a seat for my husband Joshua and I. He bought us tickets as a way to say thanks for my covering the entrance fees. Domonic is a full-time at-home-dad and a freelance editor and filmmaker. Scott is a private school teacher. I am a full-time at-home-mom. Together our finances can be tricky but our drive for filmmaking has made us resourceful. That being said, I was in the best financial position to cover the fees. This being heavily afforded my my mate, Josh The One and Only. A title given to him by my film friends.

As we sat in the theatre, I beside myself with the aforementioned personal afflictions, Scott had noticed my complicated emotional state. A gift, that I believe, only true friends can discern. He leaned forward and whispered in my ear. Hey girl, don't start with any of that crap we couldn't be here if it weren't for you. I started to utter the grievances I had at my absence when he said, "STOP. Just stop. Dom and I always said family first. You had to be there with them. Dom and I took care of everything else but make no mistake we couldn't be here if it weren't for you. Now sit back and enjoy it."

So I did. Just before the films started rolling I leaned toward him said, If we win Best Film I don't want you and Dom to pay me back. When we first started the project Scott had proposed that we all kick in a third of the fee since we were all three producers on the film Nana. I asked my husband if that was okay and he, being the supportive and able provider said yeah, no problem that sounds reasonable.

So as we sat in this crowded theatre with well over 300 of our colleagues and competitors I felt compelled to say, if we win I'll eat the cost. That's when he said, if we win, you get to keep the trophy. As I looked down to see that the awards ceremony was weeks away I noticed that it would take place on my 41st birthday. I mentioned this to Scott. Where he stated, what a great birthday present that would be. Imagine winning Best Film on your first completed film on your birthday. I was hopeful.

Now it's Wednesday, September 17th 2014 and I am dressed and ready to go to my first film festival awards ceremony. We had been notified that we were nominated in several categories. The categories were: Best use of line, Best choreography, Best Editing, Best Actress, Best Writing, Best Directing and Best Film. We were baffled at the absence of Audience Choice. When we'd seen the film we'd noted how well our film was received.

In the end we won, Biggest Supporter our villain Hoon Park had won for his involvement in the film. We won, Best Writing, Best Actress, Audience Choice and Best Film. It was exhilarating. I had my first trophy in hand as we all stepped out to the back patio and continued enjoying our complimentary Moscow Mules provided by our sponsors from New Amsterdam Vodka and toasted our victories and to my birthday.

So now I'd like to thank the Tampa Film Community for giving this 41 year old stay-at-home mom a chance at pursuing her dreams of making quality entertainment so late in life.

Sunday, September 7, 2014

An Argument On Arguments: Handling Marital Strife With Children

It comes in torrents. Like a down pour in the Amazon, the sky opens up and lets down its drenching bounty. Friendship and finding ones tribe carries with it a sense of connection that is hard to ignore. I have searched for many things in life. A healthy relationship with God, the love of my life, a happy family, good friends and my craft.
My mother was a searcher as well. Although I know little of what she truly desires to find I do have a small understanding that she too is still searching. I dare not to dishonor her by attempting to articulate what it could be, I'd only be guessing. There is no glory to be found in that exercise.
Last night I was blessed to be invited to a friend's birthday. A friend that I made while assisting on a local film production called Caster's Blog. It didn't take long for me too see just how kindred we all were in respect to each other. Thus began our friendship.
I had forgotten there was a party that day and luckily my phone had notified me an hour before this celebration. So my husband and I got ready and took off for a night of unknown fun. As I got dressed and into the car I had him drive so I could read various parts of the menu to him.
After the menu had been deliberated on, my husband had made a statement in regards to our marital disagreements. He had suggested that we argue less in front of the children. This came as a shock to me. I had no idea that he felt this way. So naturally we started discussing it.
My opinion was the discussions we had of this nature were always executed in a respectful healthy manner. Truly, I believe this. I always listened to his side of the discussion. I ask questions, I state my points clearly, with evidence and real examples.
According to my husband he took issue with the volume and fervor in which I approached the argument. He would rather I remain, what in his opinion was more a more calm and reserved manner. In his humble opinion I was "yelling". I know myself very well and I can tell you now, I do not yell at him. That is a whole other nasty beast that I call upon very rarely. Even then I only do it with carefully executed precision and effect.
I of course took offense to his suggestion. As my argument now is that, I in fact, am in no way yelling at him. Nor does he yell at me, we do not yell at each other. I then brought into example the one time he ever yelled at me and how he's never done it since that time. He agreed. I then brought into example that if and when I do yell, it's unmistakable.
The conversation continued. I made the distinction between arguing and discussing. An argument is when two different points of view are discussed with varying points from either side. He agreed but went on to say that it needed to be executed in a way different from how it's been done currently.
I made the argument that I have some friends whose parents never argued or even disagreed with each other in front of them and just how devastating this was in their lives. Since neither had never seen their parents resolve matters of conflict in their presence,  it had left this element of their intimate relationships in a state of retardation. Both of the children had a very hard time having a healthy intimate relationship as a result of it.
In my own home my parents fought what felt like daily. As a matter of extremity these arguments would go too far. I assured him none of that was happening in our own home. He was not satisfied with the extreme's of these examples naturally. So I continued. My next point after bringing into example these two extreme's was this; if our children never see how we resolve issues, how we approach, argue, reason and execute our points of view with one another, how would they learn to do the same in their own relationships?
He humbly wanted me to keep my calm, watch my tone, be more aware of the pitch and timber of my voice at various parts of the argument. I stated that this was unacceptable, as I believe it's important for my children to know and see that I too am an emotional feeling person that is still capable of making a point, asking questions, listening and rebutting to the matters at hand.
I stated that I am not someone who willy nilly walks around inflicting my emotional drivel to all in my stratosphere. In fact, I never let loose the emotional details and intricacies I experience unless it's with him and at home. I think it's healthy for my children to see that their mother feels safe with her husband enough to let him know exactly how he makes her feel. By being honest and yet still controlled I can make my point while still displaying the depth of my feelings.
He was still reluctant so I went on. I then drew into example that when we had experienced a serious tragedy not too long ago, I had every right to be enraged and unreasonable and yet I had remained a picture of reservation and calm. As I saw that the situation was so dire that it demanded such reserve and calm. What I had truly wanted to do was on the exact opposite of that spectrum and yet I had not expressed those feelings at that time. A point he immediately acknowledged.
Then I went on to say that when I was growing up I had witnessed my tiny Asian mom always stand up for herself. She always stated what she had to say. Sometimes in a very gruesome way but still. What I had learned from her example was, what I had to say as a wife was important and that I serve the highest good in sharing that unabashedly with my husband. That doesn't mean he has to do what I say, or even believe in what I say or has to agree with what I say, but by golly he'll listen or we're through. I share because I trust him. I trust him to hear me and do what he thinks is best. I have to honor his own actions, choices, and beliefs. I as his wife, must share what I see, what I think and what I feel is right. In the end his actions are his own. But I cannot sit idly by and remain silent.
My last argument in this matter ended with this. I stated that of all the things our children will learn from this is that, as women, we must make a stand for ourselves, especially with those we trust to be in our lives. That we have the right and must have the safety to express ourselves. Especially in our marriages. My children, most especially my daughters, will know and see their own mother, succinctly state what her issues are, what problems she sees in the situation and how she approaches a problem. They'll see how I validate my views with questions, that I listen carefully and ask for clarification if I don't understand. I'll repeat what I think I do understand and ask for validation of that before proceeding to the next point. They'll see that when evidence is presented I acquiesce, that when I'm wrong I concede, apologize, assimilate and adjust accordingly. That when there is no solution I state earnestly that I disagree but then leave it at that.
If these things are bad, unacceptable or distasteful then I'll have to answer to that in the end. But I see no harm in allowing our children to see the differences in how my husband and I execute making our various points and views known to one another.
Joshua is a picture of calm. The Lake Placid of human existence. He has the patience of a saint, is logical, respectful and very subdued. I on the other hand am passionate, colorful,  and intense. As well as logical, inquisitive and respectful. Yes my voice is loud, it's loud all the time I have a voice that rings out like a shot-gun. I was born with it. I'd have to make a conscious decision to become someone completely different during our discussions.
My final point was it was important for the kids to see both sides of the coin. The honest sides of each coin. That the children will see and make a choice which example to follow. Perhaps even call upon both during different times in their lives when the situation calls for a different tactic. That having both well speaking, logical, intelligent parents work out their differences was crucial to their development. In the end, they may do what I did and decide that neither was good enough and choose a whole other path, which is what I did in my own life.
In the end he agreed with me that it was important for his daughters to see a strong mother stand up for herself and what was right. To see the gift of sharing their life with a man that makes them feel safe enough to handle the rawness of their feelings and emotions and still listen with care and consideration. But most importantly that they also get to see two very different ways of handling disagreements and one day they can decide to pick and choose which way makes the most sense for them. Should the day come when they're married and have to work something out.

Saturday, September 6, 2014

The Spiritual Inquisition

All the struggle to discover usefulness when by willingness alone guarantees participation. This I need to understand. After a certain age, I wonder if we all desire to be useful. To contribute something of benefit for all man kind.

When I was a much younger woman, I had gone to college to become an educator. I had taken a class back in the late 90's with Dr. Goldstein. She was a diminutive woman with sharp eyes and poise. All would-be educators had to take her class.

She brought to class her cap and gown. She called me to the front and stated that I would certainly one day wear this when I would receive my own doctorates. She saw something in me I had been reluctant or unwilling to realize. Perhaps I am still in denial or rebellion. I couldn't help but wonder, what did she see?

I married too young and for all the wrong reasons. Embarking on a mission for a different life, rife with experiences that would lend immeasurable assistance as a mother. Now, as life has simmered down and I am now with my second husband, I still wonder should I return? What would I study? What would I contribute to benefit all humanity? This question has guaranteed my absence from academia.

Yet I have no doubt that if and when it should dawn on me, I will stand victorious. This prideful knowing is not necessarily good. Just in case anyone wondered.

Alas today's rumination is born from my attempts to gently succumb to the spirit and how it moves me. The verbalizing is just as important as the commitment in this fleshy tomb of mine and so I sit and put these things into words.

After watching Mind Of a Chef on Netflix I had seen an episode where one of the chef's had the opportunity to visit one of her first mentors. Her compliment to him was in regards to his craftsmanship. This concept had somehow escaped the entirety of my life on this earth. How could this be so? At any rate, it has now entered the intellectual sub-streams of my consciousness. This thought and concept has now sent me down a path of self-examination.

What do I do, what have I been doing on a daily basis that could in fact be my so-called craft?
Mothering? Cooking? Analyzing? Rumination? Guidance? Intuition? Oh man, what is it? The mind and it's blindness serves no one. I would normally call any number of friends that have known me for years and ask them invariably what they see? However, they wouldn't know.

The problem with a person like me, is that I am vastly interested in other people. Believe it not, people aren't used to this. So when I arrive in their lives but whatever amount of chance, luck or circumstance, what happens next is I learn everything I can about them. Unfortunately, this leaves a great deal of room for them to not learn anything about myself.

That being said, not many other people are that interested in anyone else so, I am left unexamined. Funny how that works isn't it? If only I could turn that microscope around and let loose the fiery acumen I am so willing to free upon the soul that is before me. A herculean endeavor to be sure.

So instead I have put in place the eye's of objectiveness and set their gaze wide upon my daily life and body. Surely at some point something of interest or of merit will catch the laser gaze of my mind and set me on the right course. Here's hoping, Cheers!

In the collective commiseration of artful endeavors, I do believe that somewhere there are those waiting, searching, looking for that specific brand of expression that is held within those that would extrude their creative offerings.

I rely on this hopeful musing. I've yet to be proven right or wrong in this. Although the Taser photography artist is certainly heading in the direction to prove me right, in my opinion anyway. The next move I think I have is trusting in this hypothesis.

In the past, I have been trying to fit and trim my art, my craft, my motives into the palatable. This safe and rather bland route does not serve any higher good. Rooted in the depths of this modus lies the tangle roots and vines of insecurity, safety and the desire for acceptance. But luck favors the prepared, and victory is in the hands of the bold. And this method secures neither.

Now I must harvest the knowing and understanding into courage and freedom. I remember when I was free. I know now why I am not. Alas, I no longer have to remain chained. I know now what is needed. I also know now what elements where against me to have made that incarceration necessary at one time.

The animus, the impulse, the twists and confusion have subsided. All that remains are the scars, the lessons and the smile of getting back up again. In the reflecting pool of survival comes the hope for what is next. Complete with the knowing that I can move on, begin again and be renewed in the tools that I have acquired.

Resonance happens when one soul opens to share what it has experienced. This happens in music the most often. In writing it ensnares the unwitting and hopeful. In acting it portrays a side of the self we struggle with and gives us a chance to vicariously experience the things we fear the most for one reason or another. In painting or sculpting we become vessels of empathy carving out or drawing up that which already exists in the ether. It lies in wait for the one that can hear it's call and bring it into being.

Without connection, resonance is impossible. Without open-heartedness, art is impossible. Without courage, truth is impossible. Without faith, action is impossible. Without empathy, connection is impossible. Without love, understanding is impossible.  Though all these things are good and needed, without one or the other the grandest of each is removed. This gives way to a life out of balance. Imbalance sets one on a downward spiral until the chain is corrected and each element is put back in its place. Each step in an unbalanced life leads to one unfortunate decision after another. Securing the destruction till all is burned away and all that is left is the realization of that which is most important. Whatever that may be for the struggling Argonaut.

So it remains, each day I sit and let these contemplation's soar. Leaving them here for any who may have the chance to stumble across them. Perhaps for those in need to relate, to contemplate or to join me in the inquisition of life and existence. Here's to us.

Thursday, September 4, 2014

Hear The Call and Ride Off Towards It

When we are moved, our hearts stir and our eyes see. We are being called. I am being called. I have been a rapt observer in this thing we call life. I have been influenced by the philosophical nature of my mother. She helped me appreciate and acknowledge that the unseen world exists and needs to be respected. Because of this my mind learned the right questions to ask when I was very young.

These inquiries have guided me throughout my life. Telling me what to ask, where to look and what to heed. Such as it is, when my heart says pay attention I do. When my head turns, I immediately ask what am I to see? When my feet move, I wait to see where they lead.

A dear friend of mine Hannah Hunt had called me one day many years ago. She had been distressed over a situation that she had been brought into. After much discussion she asked me what should she do, she was at odds with herself and the situation at hand.

Admittedly it was a very tenuous ordeal. I honestly had no immediate answers. However, when she posed that very important question, what am I supposed to do? The answer just spilled out of my mouth.

The answer I gave her was this: If she is present when a situation arises and she notices what needs to be done, it's her spirit that has made her aware. Not to be a bystander, but to act on the very thing she has become a witness too. I went on to explain that when we find ourselves in a moment where we see injustice, see a need, or see a solution,  it is our deepest selves that is being brought into motion. This part of us lets us know that we do have the ability, the courage, the heart and understanding to effect real change. We cannot ignore it. To do so is to deny what we are truly capable of doing. We must bravely and faithfully attend to each of those moments.

I brought into focus the many times I have been somewhere when something went down and how I had not seen the event that brought so many people in an uproar. I told her that I was not activated to attend that solution. I've noticed over the years that when I have the eyes to see, I know it is I that must do something.

The subtly and truth of this can be validated in reflection. How many times has something happened right next to us that we did not see? How many times have we seen something that everyone around us missed? By being present and then feeling the urge or seeing the solution quickly is our consciousness revealing our capacity to assist. It is then that we must act. Trust ourselves, trust our consciousness, trust our abilities and let the moment unfurl before your eyes. It as at that moment that we will be amazed at just how connected we all are and how we are always at the right time, at the right place, to do best each of us has to offer. 

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

The Prose of Reconnection

The world lacks nothing of what you need. All that must be present is unwavering commitment in obtaining it.

I’ve been blessed to have met some incredible people as of late. One such individual is Kenneth Kall. This author, educator, professional and academic has become a dear friend. Yesterday I had asked him to read over my latest post and to grant me his most honest feedback. 

I was not let down in my request. His input was simple, honest, experienced and filled with wisdom. His warnings were quite helpful. But of all the advice he gave me one stands out above the rest. Write for yourself, Trina. 

Admittedly, this was something I excelled at in a previous life. After becoming a mother it became increasingly harder and harder to do. 

Putting myself first or on the forefront of my writing had become such a thing of the past I no longer knew in which priorities to keep my writing focused. 

I had lost the voice I used to speak to myself with words. 

The echo of my sage-given heart had been silenced and uncalled upon for so long, do I even know the number anymore?

It would seem the answer to that was no. It had been misplaced. Misplaced by shame, regret, delay, insecurity and lack of confidence. Where did the lion’s roar of my writers voice go? How had I lost that indelible connection to my writing heart?

I have been disconnected from it for so long. It seems the tepid grey silence of my heart had a purpose after all. Having it fall silent and still, sent me on a tail spin of desperation. I had taken for granted its constant hum, its ebb and flow in my life. I rely on its trickles, waves and ripples. 

Without these tiny movements and moments I am blind in a world where I have grown accustom to navigating with these signs, sounds and nudges. 

So I retreated. I went into the Bat Cave sanctuary of my home. I informed the masses and my comrades that I needed respite.  I didn't know how long it would take or even what needed to happen. 

So I did what I always do when I feel the heart go silent. I started reflecting on what happened to cause this. No clear answers, just tiny quivers of 'your getting closer' as I started asking myself hundreds of questions. 

I decided I needed to make the usual changes. Lifestyle, eating habits and interests. As I continued down this path of trial and error it made a clearing in the overgrowth. 

I had not been feeding my spirit. I had essentially depleted it of all its nourishment and now I pay the price. I had to pick up some of the old ways and reincorporate them into my life. 

One thing I always do when I get this way is just start writing. It never matters what, just sit down and make the words flow in any direction.  

It would seem that somewhere in the subconscious of my being I knew that this exercise is what I needed. And yet, the obvious had been obfuscated from my comprehension. 

All that changed when I spoke with Kenneth. His earnest urgings and honest feedback all pointed in the same direction. Write for yourself. Put away the outline, leave out the title, get rid of the agenda, let it happen. It’s already inside you let it be revealed. 

He is completely right. The importance of these moments, the flow and fire of my heart as my fingers let the ink flow. Coursing through fingertips, dancing across page after page, line after line as I take rhythmic pauses for articulation and prose all add up to the choreography that is my reconnection. 

I am a dancer, a warrior, a maiden, a child. I am invincible, vulnerable, impenetrable and permeable. I run, I trip, I hold, and lose my grasp from one moment to the next. With each line I give birth to, I am a hulking mass of vulnerability one word at a time. This sensation, this realization, this acknowledgment holds all the keys to my needs, my life, my understanding. In each one, in each word, in each phrase holds a key, a peephole, a shadow and a glimmer that reveals the very real truth of what I am. 

I am alive. I feel, I see, I know and I need. I am not without failings, I am unabashedly present and openhearted. I need to stay in touch with myself. Without these fits of words and phrases I am deposed from my prose-filled heart.  It must beat, flit, fall and feel all in its own way, in its own words and I cannot quiet her anymore. To do so is to deny myself. 

I know Sacrifice. I know Avarice. I know Cowardice. I know Love. I know Lethargy. I know Temperance. I know Delusion.  I know Courage. I know Pain. I know Joy. I know Apathy. I know Peace. I know Cruelty. I know Compassion. With all I know I have denied my relationship with them. 

I have neglected their presence. I have ignored, and disregarded their place in my life and because of this, I have not learned from any of them. These teachers, criminals, sages, saviors, and villains live within us all. And yet, not exploring each one in its present form and occupation in my  understanding is to invite its dominion, its poison, its effect into my life unchecked to wreak its invisible bounty upon my existence. 

The prose is a wild fire of absolution. Coming into me and letting lose all the powers of understanding, in order to take control of these unseen forces.  It calls their name to gain command and control over them so that I may carry on. 

The desperate exercise of writing for myself heralds a private moment between myself and the page. This bedroom of intimacy is created so that I can examine each part, each nook, each cranny with sophisticated detail. This way I am not surprised by my hubris, possessed by its animus, or haunted by the subconscious. With it I now hold dominion over that which endeavors to influence me. 

It’s been a long time since I even honored this truth. Longer still that I have exercised it. I had divorced it. It’s time we got reacquainted. 

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Hurry Up And Wait

My spirit has been softer than normal since I'd decided to start writing. This blissful sensitivity comes for the expressed use of my gift. So I start now to share the moments that come to mind. 

My mother once said to me when I had called her to let her know I was getting married to my first husband, "Trina, did you find your love of did you find your death?"

My mom is a special human being. Her life, her story is rich with wonder and amazement. That being said she is the greatest mystery to myself and all who have the privilege of knowing her. 

She has a rare and incredible gift. One that fills her with fear, terror, and crippling emotional paralyzation. She must keep to herself and isolated in order to exist as peacefully as she can and even that riddles her with pain and confusion. My mother's gift is incredible sensitivity. This sensitivity allows her to see and feel people very deeply. Because of this she can see right into people, what motivates them, effects them, ails them. With crystal and disturbing clarity she can see all the good and bad as if it were all right there plain on your face.

I've known this since I was in my late 20's. That's not true, I've known since I was 30 but I had started to understand back in my 20's. The moment I mentioned above and countless others after that one gave me clues as to the true nature and splendor that is the gift of my God given mother. 

I wished I had heard her words more carefully back then. But if I had I wouldn't have "died" so to speak. That death she referred to was the death of my old self. The young, angry, proud and hurtful self. She/I did need to die. I wish it didn't have to be so painful but truth is, it was.  

What I learned from her words in retrospect was to look at myself. Not in the mirror, not after a selfie, not through anyone else’s eyes. But to look at myself and all the minute subtle cues I gave myself that I ignored out of habit, out of misunderstanding, out of a lack of respect for the intuitive nature that I inherently posses. 

If I had looked at myself then I would’ve seen that the regard for my soon to be husband was already lacking. I’d have seen that when I gave my vows, I was already praying to God for answers that I was doing the right thing. I would’ve noticed that I was crying and not tears of joy. That I had dropped the ring and somehow already knew that I was on a highway to Hell. 

Women are deeply feeling emotional creatures. Capable of discerning countless details and little moments or omens. What women are losing is the encouragement to listen, acknowledge and value those little moments and messages. 

I have come out of the ashes of my formal life to herald a call for all of us to hear. That call is to stop, wait, listen and wait some more. 

Few good things in life come so fast that if they’re aren’t taken right then we miss out on what we need the most. All the best things in life, the most needed things in life come with a hurry up and wait moment.

From the dawning of the sun, the rising of the moon, the promise and hope that being with child brings. The eve before your wedding day, and the morning of your 51st birthday. All these things come in their own time and cannot be rushed. 

All good things are as such. So take the time, watch the body language, notice the questions that arise, honor the doubt, the flag, the quizzical look that reflexively gets revealed. Then, take the time to wait for the answer. It’s not far behind.