Flashback – then and now (1)

(Originally written 12-4-12)

This writing is like creating my own beads.

I’ve written in a journal for years. But then I’d need to cull through my journals to find what I wanted to type up and put out.

By typing what I’m thinking instead of handwriting it, I’m saving a step. I have no idea if this will work, but it is journaling while typing. It isn’t as natural, because I have to remember to type. I have to remember how to type. Typing class was the most valuable class I took in high school. I’m thinking that more of high school needs to be how-to and hands-on.

When I bead, I go through what I’ve found. I’m limited by what is already there, what has been created. I may want to “say” something in bead, and I can’t do that easily because that bead doesn’t exist. But I still try. I’ve created a “Griffin and Sabine” necklace, a “DaVinci Code” one, and one that is for “Alice in Wonderland”. I’ve also created ones that remind me of a trip to Gulf Shores, and one for what it is like to swim in the pool at the YMCA. They are impressionistic.

But this is different. I’m creating the beads – the paragraphs. With this, I can string together these beads, these sections, to create something bigger. I just have to create them, and put them in a logical place. Perhaps then I’ll put the sections together in folders, and then they will make sense. I suspect I’ll have themes. There are ideas I return to again and again, because I still don’t have them figured out. I may never have them figured out, but the working with, the wrestling with them, is all part of it.


I’m going through my older saved pieces, ones that I’ve not posted. This is from a year ago, when I started this blog. It is interesting to see how I’ve evolved in my process. I now dislike handwriting anything because it generally means that I won’t post it. Neil Gaiman has an assistant who will type up whatever he hands her. I don’t have anything like that, so I have to do it all. I now will type anywhere and anytime. I use my “notes” feature on my phone to write up ideas while I’m at a doctor’s office or standing in line at the post office. I’ll write while I’m walking at lunch. To the average person it looks like I’m texting. In a way, I am, but just to a larger audience. I’m glad I’ve gotten over feeling it was awkward to type instead of write. I still handwrite some things. Sometimes it is the only way to get ideas out. They still (generally) stay in the journal and don’t come here, but sometimes the main idea makes it out. I use my Kindle to write as well. Now, writing by typing seems natural.

The bear and the monkey.

There is a part of the Hindu epic Ramayana that I like very much. Rama, the blue-skinned human incarnation of the god Vishnu is searching for Sita, his wife. She has been kidnapped by the demon Ravana. On his quest he comes across a white monkey named Hanuman and a black bear named Jambavan.

The two animals join in the quest and they enlist the aid of the entire monkey and bear clans. After a month of searching they still haven’t found Ravana’s lair or Sita, and they are at the end of the Indian continent.

Jambavan knows a secret about Hanuman that he himself does not know. Hanuman is the son of the wind god and has immense powers. This information was hidden from him to keep him from annoying the meditating sages. Jambavan breaks his promise to the gods and Hanuman wakes up to his true self, grows immense and is able to see the island where Ravana’s fortress is, thus leading the group of searchers in Sita’s rescue.

How many years did Hanuman go before he was told of his birthright and his power?

How many of us are similarly asleep?

I am that bear.

I am here to tell you a secret.

You are more powerful than you know.
You have within you the light of God.
You are made from stardust.
You were put here because you are needed and necessary.

You are beautiful.
You are powerful.
You are eternal.

Act accordingly.
Use your powers for good.

(If you are interested in an especially readable and enjoyable version of this tale, please go to your library and get “Ramayana: Divine Loophole” by Sanjay Patel. It is illustrated in “Samurai Jack” style.)

“Post Secret” God

Remember those “Post Secret” books? You’d read them, and feel like you weren’t alone. That somebody else was having that very same experience as you.

I remember feeling very alone as an adolescent. I remember hearing lyrics in songs by the Police and Styx that gave me hope that perhaps I wasn’t as far out there as I felt. Perhaps there were other people who had an “other” sense of knowing, who were “weird” but in a good way. When I moved to Virginia for a summer, I lived with a lady who also had that sense, and she talked to me about it. It was refreshing to hear that this sense wasn’t odd or weird, but shared.

It is like having an extra sense of color – say it is color that is somewhere between pink and orange. There is a stone called “padparashca” that names that color. But say you haven’t heard of that stone. You can see and identify that color, but nobody else sees it as different. They call it pink, or salmon, or orange, but you know it is not any of those, but it is more than those.

I have that with God. I’ve always known of God. I’ve always felt God. And I’ve heard from God since I was 12.

The problem is that in our society, we don’t talk about God like this. Lilly Tomlin said “If you are talking to God, you are praying. If God is talking to you, you are crazy.” This may not be the exact quote, but you get the idea. Is God the elephant in the room?

However, we are told in our religious institutions to pray to God. We read about people who talked directly with God. Yet if we say we hear from God today, we are shunned and silenced. Perhaps this isn’t the way in all denominations, but it sure was in mine.

Hearing from God is a normal part, is a desired part, of being a human. It is our birthright. Sadly, we’ve forgotten how to make this connection.

I’ve always felt different. I keep having these experiences. I’ve already begun writing them down and sharing them here. I first started writing this post a year ago. I was trying to warm up to the idea of sharing what I now have in my “Strange but true” section.

My embarrassment might be your awakening. And that is fine with me. I don’t share what I share to build myself up. I share it because it may help others who feel like I do. I share it because I know there are other people who hear from God but have been silenced or intimidated.

I prayed at Cursillo to not cry at the final event. I had been crying happy, overwhelmed tears a lot that weekend. I didn’t want to embarrass myself or my group in the final event. But then part of praying is that you have to be willing to accept God’s answer. I said if I can’t stop crying, let it be that my tears help others. Sometimes folks need to see someone else cry to let them know it is ok to cry. They want to – but it is socially unacceptable. You cry – and it is a release for them. It as if it gives them permission to cry, to let it out. That is healing.

So I’m giving you permission to speak your truth. I’m letting myself be open so that you can be open. Let us strengthen each other with our stories, in the same way we help each other with our tears.

Life *before* death

I’ve had a lot of people say to me that if they get a bad diagnosis or their quality of life declines, they are OK with the idea of killing themselves. Conditions are discussed like ALS, or becoming so disabled that they are unable to move without assistance.

I think it is important to have some control over your life. That if life isn’t life – if it is just being alive but not living, then it is important to do something about it.

But then I got to thinking. What about all the folks who aren’t really alive now? We are often zombie-like. We wake up. We go to work. We come home. We eat. We go to sleep. Repeat. There isn’t much life there.

What if you don’t have a terminal or debilitating illness, but you just aren’t living? To be fair – we all have terminal illnesses. We are all dying. Our fear of death means we have ignored it, glossed over it, sanitized it. This is a grave mistake. Death gives life meaning. Because it will end, we need to make it count.

What about making life count now while we can?

Instead of debating about life after death, why not focus our energy on living life now? Now is what we have. Now is what we are dealing with. Life after death is an unknown. What if there is life after death and we waste it too with mindless television and bickering?