Early Morning Thoughts ~ The Winter Of Discontent ~

Recently I had the opportunity to tell someone that I had been where they were…that I had experienced the moments they were dealing with. It was not an easy conversation, not an easy moment to talk about, or to relive. It pulled truth from me that I had not wanted to look at or even discuss. But, if it could make a difference in someone not making a final decision they didn’t have the privilege to make – my own mental anguish over telling my truth would be minuscule in the long run.

And actually, it helped me gain even more in my journey. It started me toward this blog, toward re-evaluating many things in and around my life.

I doubt that there is anyone who hasn’t reached a winter of life. In my case, it became more than just a winter – it became a dark night of the soul.
I felt as a tree stranded in the middle of absolutely nothing. As if there were no leaves of any part of my life left.
That I was
faced only with the glares of
my failures. That was all
that was left of what might have
been, could have been. I was
ready to actually make it Final.

But, just as in this picture, something
stirred within me. I didn’t realize it at
the time, but it was as a child’s swing on my tree. Awaiting a new ride and rider. At that time, I began to replant my garden of tomorrow and the garden of possibility!

I am grateful for this picture from my friend Chris in Pennsylvania. He had no idea what I had in mind for it, but graciously gave me permission to use it as I saw fit. It may NOT be used without his permission. While he is by far one of the sweetest internet friends I have,
he certainly could be provoked.

One kind word can warm three winter months.
– Japanese proverb

I read a large number of blog postings each day (I’m not going to tell you how many, or you’ll think I have no life what-so-ever!). And I am continually reminded just how important we as people – and even more so – as gay people are to each other. We get so caught up in the “gayness” of our lives, that sometimes we forget the “humanness” of it. When that happens we start to lose leaves off our tree, and the bareness begins to show through. And searching for something to fill that void, we begin to frantically search for anything that will cover it up, create a distraction or numb it for a time.

Green thoughts emerge from some deep source of stillness which the very fact of winter has released.
– Mirabel Osler

This has been a fairly long journey for me. Having lost almost all, to begin to gain things back. But, having been to the point of almost losing everything (and I do mean everything – including life-!) I value now what I am finding/creating inside. And no, there is nothing perfect as it goes along. I’m still an – how did that one blog put it? Oh yes, “elderly frights” (older man – thanks Troll At Sea). But having been “there” and back, I also know the value of being able to wrap my arms around someone (or have them do it to me) and say “It will be ok” in a way that the words carry the meaning they are supposed to.

In a way Winter is the real Spring – the time when the inner things happen, the resurgence of nature.
– Edna O’Brien

So – using the nursery rhyme – Oh Mary, Mary. Quite the fairy – how does YOUR garden grow?

More on this for another post….

Early Morning Thoughts ~ friendship broken

I wanted to
be a friend.
To be there when
you needed me,
and share with
all you wanted.

I yearned to
make things
better
in your life,
in your thoughts
and
in your hopes.

We would stand
together,
united in our
friendship,
hopes,
dreams and
deep
care
for
each other.

I’ve had a long-term friendship with D for almost 9 years now. She been what I would call a very dear, long-term friend. We often were separated by distance or job, but when we talked it was almost as if no time had passed. She had an uncanny ability to see into the heart of situations and people. But then it began to change.

It’s always been an important part of me to accept people as they are – I have often said: If you can’t accept me at my worst, you have NO right to see me at my best. Having said that, I also realize the importance of being who I am in relation to others. As was posted last night, I had been through a situation where I gave up being me. And you can’t be you and keep you on track if the fences aren’t mended and the boundaries aren’t set.

The reason I like to use the fence analogy is because fences have gates…and you can let people in or out. You can also keep people out. When a fence is in need to mending however, that boundary is not there. And without boundaries, there is chaos. And try as I might, there seemed to be no repairing the fences/boundaries. I finally gently but firmly re-established some boundaries that I felt were essential to keep the friendship intact. There is a risk in any relationship – friend/lover/partner/relative – when that is done. There is the risk that they will not accept that and either try and tear it down, tear you down or end the friendship.

While not going into details, she chose two of the options, one of which was to end the friendship. As I had already weighed the risks – I was somewhat prepared. I say somewhat, because you can never be completely prepared for something based on human interaction.

I had written a long time ago: “The ending of a friendship is a painful as the click of a coffin lid.” And I still believe it now. However, I gained so much during this time and have enjoyed many many things with her that while there is a great loss, I have not lost myself or what is part of me. While you can have many acquaintances, you will only have a few close friends. Cherish those you have, and enjoy them – nurture that friendship. Build them up in ways that complement not only them, but yourself as well.

End Thought

Buddah once said: Holding on to anger is like grasping a hot coal with the intent of throwing it at someone else; you are the one getting burned.

Early Morning Thoughts ~ family

As I read blogs and commentaries this week, I was struck by the number of people dealing with family, family issues and repairing/bringing back family bonds. As I will not be with direct family this holiday, I began to think about the connections that bind us together. The bonds that create the world around us. Are we family by DNA or family by choice. I’m not sure there is always a difference.

What Is Family?
Family are the shouts in the dark that keep you awake
trying to be invisible under your blankets.
Family is the warm heart you run to
when everyone else at the rink skates too fast
and you’ve cut your knees on the ice.
Family are given to you at birth
with your eyes and lips and nose.
They will stick to you wherever you go
and shape how you see
and what you say
and how you are seen
forever.
Family are found new each day
wherever you put your heart last.
Family are the people you share bread with,
and whoever you share the lack of bread with.
Sometimes your family aren’t people.
Family is whoever lives under the tent of your soul.
Your family can be as big as you are,
and from birth to death, your real, real family
are the ones who make you grow bigger

poem by Anitra L. Freeman from “Families of Poems

So, during this holiday, I intend to examine my connections to those around me and those who are my DNA family. I want to learn even more where I fit in, what I need to change to make those connections better … and how I can help in bringing those around to their full potential of who they are and what they can be. A wise man once said: There are only two kinds of people in the world – those that want to lower you to their level and keep you there and those that want you to soar higher than you or they thought possible. I only want to be in the latter group.

On Self-Knowledge

And a man said, “Speak to us of Self-Knowledge.”

And he answered, saying:

Your hearts know in silence the secrets of the days and the nights.

But your ears thirst for the sound of your heart’s knowledge.

You would know in words that which you have always known in thought.

You would touch with your fingers the naked body of your dreams.

And it is well you should.

The hidden well-spring of your soul must needs rise and run murmuring to the sea;

And the treasure of your infinite depths would be revealed to your eyes.

But let there be no scales to weigh your unknown treasure;

And seek not the depths of your knowledge with staff or sounding line.

For self is a sea boundless and measureless.

Say not, “I have found the truth,” but rather, “I have found a truth.”

Say not, “I have found the path of the soul.” Say rather, “I have met the soul walking upon my path.”

For the soul walks upon all paths.

The soul walks not upon a line, neither does it grow like a reed.

The soul unfolds itself, like a lotus of countless petals.

Kahlil GibranThe Prophet

Christmas Tree Meltdown ~

Earlier this month, the airport of Seattle, Washington (Sea-Tac for Seattle-Tacoma) decided to decorate the airport. As a nod to the holidays and perfectly logically they put up a number of decorated and lit Christmas trees. As I said, this sounds perfectly logical as one can hardly consider an airport to be any kind of competition for Macy’s windows.

Then came the letter from a local Rabbi complaining that there was no Menorah as part of the decorations. All the Rabbi suggested was that one be included . Simple request. The officials of Sea-Tac immediately solved the problem by removing the trees and (how no one knows!) leaking the name of the Rabbi who complained. By now, the “media” had gotten a hold of the story and has begun to push the angle that the Rabbi somehow wanted Christmas trees out of the airport.

This, as might be suspected, did NOT sit well with the Rabbi – who, like so many of us, trying to deal with “important” people apparently kept running into a brick wall. He literally had to threaten Sea-Tac with a lawsuit to get the trees back up.

In the meantime, employees of one of the airlines bought Christmas trees and lights to decorate their counter. There is no word on what Sea-Tac officials had to say about that, but probably not much as airlines rent the counter from the airport and are not thereby controlled by the airport.

Yesterday the airport had the workers re-assemble and re-place the Christmas trees. Sea-Tac now plans to form a committee to look into what decorations should be placed in the airport in the future.

My concern is not the trees (turning brown) standing around looking forlorn in the lobby of the airport, or whether or not the canned music should eliminate the 16 different versions of “Grandma Got Run Over by a Reindeer” being played to greet bleary eyed travellers as the deplane.

My concern is two fold. First, the culture of fear this seems to represent. When something like a tree is placed and decorated it can be reasonably assumed that the airport is at least trying to allow some brightness in an otherwise bleak travel experience. When presented with a complaint, the illogical reaction seems to have been one of panic, followed by immediate removal of the trees. I say illogical because it seems to be a reaction based on fear – not thought. Which brings me to the second concern: the lack of communication. Would it have been terribly difficult to sit down and talk to the Rabbi and get his suggestion as to how to change the decorations. The Sea-Tac officials were worried that they would be deluged with complaints about the trees. But they were not. So, to my mind, the reaction looks like a knee-jerk reaction based on fear, which often leads to non-communication. And as long as those two things are operating, the chance to solve any problem goes away.

Of course, this was brought home to me today by a close dear friend. If I can’t say what’s going on, people have no way to help. Sea-Tac didn’t really talk to the Rabbi – so they now have spent a lot of money running trees up and down like a cartoon show. I started not talking about what was going on, so friends couldn’t do what they do best – be friends and acknowledge the situation.

Just as the American Express ads used to say:
Communication, don’t leave home without it!!

by the way, the picture at the top of this post is called The Christmas Tree from one the deep caverns beneath the earth.

Early Morning thoughts

My friend who I sat with at the ER center, is not doing well. He’s become angry and disgruntled at the time it’s taking to find out what’s wrong – even though we both have our ideas. He’s begun to take it out on those around. I wish that I could wave a wand and take it all away.

The anger shows in
the tone.
the anger shows in
behavior.

The smile might
still be on
the
face, but I’m
listening to
what isn’t said.
What’s there
but
not revealed.

I could offer
the
platitudes of
life ~
the appropriate
sounds we
make
when faced with
that which
is
uncomfortable.

But I can’t do
that for,
you
are
my friend.
I care too
much to play
a game
of caring.

I want to let
you
know
I care — really care.

And I shall show it
by just being there.
Just sitting and being.

We can talk –
if you want.
We can be silent –
if you want.

But what must
be known,
said,
understood –

I am here.
I care.
I will continue
to be here –
even when
you
try to
shut me out.