If Hell Holds a Promise…

Healing is not for the faint of heart. It’s a contract built on a vow to harness and clutch only at ironclad strengths.

It’s quiet now; calmed are all those bouncing cells of thought and feeling that ricocheted through my panic borne in another round of ‘growth’.
I have been brought to this hushed place only by the grace of my Relations.
They, who took the suffocating lifetime of pain and lifted it to the skies – where our Ancestors tenderly pulled it into their own hearts.
Toward the centre of the Ancients where such things are cleansed; healed and rendered harmless.
To the place where all things are made sound again and holds a promise that surely
we’d all choose, if we knew.

This painlessness was not instant, oh God, not hardly. I wailed all through their processes.
They let me feel every piercing facet of what we’d endured, and then they mercifully
returned with understanding.
Every sting was an exposed hurt that hadn’t been acknowledged, sometimes for centuries.
Every prickle that scratched through my soul was a reminder to honor it and to turn toward where to offer it.
With every step in every ceremony they led me to, they walked me out of the darkness.
They didn’t need me to believe in them; they already knew I was too lost to know what to believe.

I only needed to follow what was offered, including the smallest fragments of feeling
that said – maybe.
I am a blank slate, as clean as the newborn, my future standing right in front of me, unseen.
I don’t know what to wish for anymore; I don’t know what my dreams are.
I only know I’ve been brought to this place, where every moment is a choice that I can feel only in my heart; a knowing that prompts me to accept it without even a clue as to why.

My canvas is a wide open space and I observe in wonder at what and at who is being placed onto it.
I don’t feel the immediate inserted images are the story, I only know that the reality, which traces to every soul that follows, is so much bigger than my pitiful imaginings.
They’ve taught me the reasons behind the hurt and soothing are far bigger in purpose; every healing moment is for every generation before me and all to follow.
It’s the only teaching I’ve ever been given that I know some day, will permanently alter everything.
It’s quiet now, and I know this is a gift – a treasure granted for maybe only
5 more minutes…

RL

Tempered

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Narcissus banished
Comforting reality
New sweet nothings real

Overwhelmingly cherished
All storms tempered by love’s grace

languid

And, I win.

Fabulicious street art, thanks to the wonderful walking & eye spying work of Randall Willis of CreatedByRCW and So, What’s Your Story  Randall’s photo posts are amazing views of art, wildlife and human wildlife… He has gifted me another batch of creativity challenge and for that, I’m thrilled to have the privilege of immersing in poetic thought for most of the summer. Hopefully.

RL

Haiku/Tanka

 

Turning Corners …and Tossing Blanket Excuses

Street Art, say hello to my little Haiku…

Chortles for healing Chortles for healing
Yes, another truth cliché’
Eyes wide open; cured

Chasing fiends togetherPain’s scales fully cleared
Nothing’s like smiling with you
Cleansing fiends away

createdbyrcwNice doggy...good doggy.JPGProffered disclaimer
“Stimuli response creature”
His faults “in stasis”

Ah, ha ha, behold
How sweet to laughably view…
Saps teach ogres wordsSaps and Ogres

createdbyrcwBefore the morning coffee finally kicks in.JPGSadly, pulled below
Into sulphurous kisses
Temporary bath

createdbyrcwLady of the LakeFool’s paradises
Repelled for solid grounding
Upscaled to real life

createdbyrcwGlorious colours on a dank day2.jpgElevated me
New knowledge; true tenderness
Freedom completed

An exercise in summer re-discovery. A former summer’s draft of haikus met up with a friend’s last summer street art photography. Great fun matching up those thoughts to these illustrations of chance.

Outside of that, I’m guessing at this point in the year, many of us are in a need of some seasonal change. I’m definitely hungry for more sunny experiences in sunny destinations.  I’ll bet you are too. Let’s get at ‘er, mon anges et amies!

RL

All photos – various Toronto, ON street/graffiti art and graciously leant to me by photographer and writer, Randall Willis, of  CreatedByRCW and So, What’s Your Story

October Surprises

He knows he’s always been loved
Held by an eternal ribbon of energy, binding lifetimes after lifetime
Until madness strikes, darkening, once again, all revelation

Hope became obscured by landmines of poisoned frivolities
Silly id dreams; a dance mix of Oedipus, Tantalus, Aristippus…
Every step an intriguing claim of elevation, all baseless; mocking Divinity’s design

The guileless taken unawares that soon their sky would become green
and the clouds will rain red and azure seas would boil brown
The world turned inside out within the haze of fear’s divisive fires

october-butterfliesHe knelt before her
held out his hand to her heart
whispered, forgive me

She sighed, can’t do dark
Only light truly sees light
You’ve always known that

You still felt my heart
in every distraction
Holy exceeds all

She takes his hand and holds it in her lap
She said, you were always my sun
and she joined all the spots on his hand with her lips

Her tracings on his hand reminded them of the beginning
when she first saw him and she connected all the dots
of a future begging to be mapped

Hope was their only highway
and desires assured everything was real
before meaninglessness ruined yet another lifetime…

…and then, Divinity promised another…

RL
Photo Credit: Randall Willis, who was treated to the lovely surprise of Monarchs October 2nd at Beaches Boardwalk, Toronto
Daily prompt, writing challenge: Promises
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/prompts/breakthrough/

Photo Project: … Reluctant Releases …

Portrait 1Relentless year called
I became a waterfall
I was swirled away

Portrait 2Released old dreams; moved
They commanded me, let go
Heart crushed from goodbyes

Portrait 3New is on its way
Release dross for destiny
All reward is nigh

Portrait 4Trust what angels say
Tears are healing; scars get cleansed
Real love fills all wounds

Life is pushy when it wants the best for you. Sometimes you have to give in & give up, a lot…

When this photo shoot was set up in the spring, I knew I wanted to wear the dress I’d hung in public the previous October 4th as requested by Metis artist, Jaime Black. Her ‘REDress Project’ is an art-based awareness campaign in tribute to missing and murdered Indigenous women. Red dresses represent these women. (See tree photo and background notes here)

I’d chosen to hang my dress under my beloved weeping willow tree. That seemed like a poignant statement in itself.  At the time of that participation, I was soul surfing through a course of life-altering loss, trauma, and life and death events.

In a way, even that gorgeous tree experienced the same before it let loose its majestic beauty. I’d saved it years before from being brutally hacked at when my ex would attempt to eradicate the ‘strange weed’ growing in the middle of our yard.  …  I guess my point is, there was a whole lot of understanding under and within that tree.

So, when I met up with Nadya Kwandibens, a very skilled and renowned photographer who honored me with her talent, she suggested we head to a local park and search for more of a nature-based/natural background.  When we arrived, she scanned the landscape and then she pointed and said, “There – head over there, I think we should get you under those trees” –  the weeping willows.

Nope, she had no idea of my story, it was just how this particular circle would finish.  It seemed like a good omen and I suppose it was.  I have come through what I think is the greater part of those trials and I have gained new strengths and continue to build them.

From a time I was certain I couldn’t even breathe for another 5 minutes to standing up tall enough to see – that no matter how hard the testing, no matter how hard life knocks at me, I will keep getting up. I know that now, because even when there shouldn’t have been a way I could have, I somehow did.

Like my tree, I am still standing.

RL

 

Photos by Nadya Kwandibens, Red Works Photography
https://dailypost.wordpress.com/discover-challenges/portraits/
You and I, there’s air in between

Margaret’s Baby

During a year of upheaval, reflection and even amazing rewards, a walk back to beginnings can help to return a sense of balance, to find an equilibrium that helps make life make sense again. I’ve been going back to some significant and poignant moments for me for that purpose. One of those periods was returning home after time spent in child foster care. This story was also published a few years ago, but for anyone who hasn’t seen it, maybe something in this will resonate for you too…

Sometimes old memories float up in need of
a little light…
A soul’s whisper to let it go.

curtains-city-skyline4

I was 14 years old.  My mother and I were living in an apartment on the 14th floor of a basic downtown high-rise.  We were there because that’s where she was when I ran away from the last foster home I’d intended to live in.

I threatened to run away and never be found again if they made me go back to that home.  The Department of Social Services, and my unprepared mother, gave in.

My mother had been struggling with escape from an abusive marriage, alcoholism, and no way to fully support her daughters.  That’s how we ended up in foster care just after Christmas that year.

We were six girls, ages two to twelve years.  I was twelve.  They were my sisters, and because I was the oldest, they were also my beloved babies. There was no doubt that having already traversed a very rocky start together, we were a fiercely bonded ‘band of sisters’.

I was quite used to taking care of them, and the house as required, which it seemed was almost always.  So, the demand to relinquish responsibility to the social workers who came to take us away or to the people who were to foster us was incomprehensible.  It was shocking and infuriating and frustrating.

Many nights I’d lie awake planning our escape from that foster home and formulating the many ways I’d find our mom. I usually ended up crying myself to sleep immersed in the despondency of realizing how powerless I really was.

We were all together in that initial home, except the youngest who was instead taken to live with our father – another story for another time.  I was eventually to move to two other homes within a year and a half. Only one sister was allowed to go with me; they gave me one day to choose between the four faces that pleaded to be taken.  Despite everything that we’d already lived through to that point, it was then that I learned that a soul could feel fractured.

In short time, and with little choice, we adapted and carried on as kids are so able. Then two years later, suddenly we were all being taken to visit with our mom at her own new home. The visit went by as quickly as I’d dreaded. When it was time to say goodbye to her, it felt like the beginning of all the bad goodbyes again. I could not return to that pain; the next weekend I bolted for home, for her, for good.

So there I was, on the 14th floor in a small, sparse apartment, a temporary only child, but finally with my own mom.  Life definitely took another turn in my day-to-day. I spent less time with my friends and more with my mother’s.

She had a friend on the 7th floor.  Phyllis was one of those larger than life characters; a hard-drinking party girl, a queen bee who had great pride in being a full-time ‘player’.  She seemed to take my mother under her wing.  She was a louder than life distraction for a young woman bogged down with desperate problems.

Phyllis held court to an allotment of very proud and loud butch lesbians.  They called themselves the girbols (girl boys, hard g).  One of them was Margaret. She was pretty, a large woman, and very quiet. Though she liked to hang out with the crowd and indulged in the same drink and smoke, she alone remained quiet.

I came home from school one day, at the start of spring break, and went down to the gang. There was a brand new baby girl cuddled up in Margaret’s arms.  I hadn’t even realized that she had been pregnant. The baby was so tiny and delicate, and wrapped in a pink blanket.

Spring Break began on a weekend and as on all weekends, it was time to get the girbol party started. I was immediately designated the girl baby’s guardian. I took baby, and all of her required possessions, up to my apartment.

The ‘weekend’ turned into nearly two weeks, during which I had full custody of baby night and day. It’s awesome, as in really awe-inspiring, how easily you fall in love with a child, even as a young girl, and you immediately wish to be everything it takes to nurture them to perfection.

She needed me for everything and I reveled in that.  At night, I would wrap her next to me and listen to her breath and smell the top of her head until I drifted off in true peace. Every minute with her was another moment of reclaimed love. I was once again protector, friend, sister, mother.  For awhile I was me again.

Spring break was over and I’d already missed two days of school, I had to go back.  That morning, I reluctantly took her down to the 7th floor, gave her back to Margaret and left for school.  When I came home, I dropped off my school things and grabbed one of her blankets to collect her. I sniffed her baby smell all the way to Phyllis’s apartment.

When I walked in, I saw Margaret sitting by the window, staring out with the curtains blowing around her. The girbol group was strangely quiet. I asked for the baby and no one said anything.  I went to Margaret and asked. “Where’s the baby”?  She wouldn’t answer, and then I saw her tears.  I was instantly alarmed, even afraid that the baby had gone out the window.

“Where’s the baby Margaret”?  I was ready to cry, but not sure why.

“They took her”, she said softly.

“Who took her”?

“Social Services.  I phoned them today and they came to take her away”.

I know I asked her why, maybe a few times, but I don’t recall an answer.  I doubt she gave one.

I turned from Margaret and I looked at everyone else.  No one would look back at me; they kept their eyes on the floor or each other.  I turned to Margaret again and watched her silently cry for a while.  I walked to the door and quietly closed it behind me.

It was the last day I saw Margaret, or our baby.  I went to sleep that night holding that baby blanket. I wanted to cry, but I couldn’t.  Somehow, I knew in my heart then, that no matter how much I dreamed, I was never going to get my family, my  ‘band of sisters’, back in the same way again.

And, we didn’t, not ever in the same way again.

RL

Originally posted on, with original comments 

 

The Love You Make is Equal To…Frickin’ Awesome If You Can Match the Joy This Inspires

Steven tyler 2

When life knocks you onto your buttocks and it feels like you may never catch your breath or a break again, sometimes something really, really wonderful shows up.

Maybe it’s not the lotto win or the love of your life, but it gives you at least a few minutes of awesome respite. Real awe.  Awe, as in the original intention of the term, reverential respect, astonishment, extra special wonder…

I know inspirations can be anything for anyone, but for me, a little gem I came across  a couple of years ago was positively heavenly in its level of power and I have returned to bow at it’s rainbow-hued unicorn hooves as much as needed since.

It is the  2010 Kennedy Center’s honoring of Sir Paul McCartney. It is a masterpiece of musical powerhouses, but within that group of exceptional talent, Steven Tyler, heartbeat of Aerosmith, brought me to my feet especially.

Steven’s initial magnificent mix is in this first link:  Steven Tyler 2010 Kennedy Center Honoring Paul McCartney

But…

But…

If you really, really want to treat yourself to a show that brought the President of the United States, the First Lady, Oprah,  the Sir Paul McCartney and even Sir Stoic, Colin Powell to their feet in joyous glee, watch the whole portion of that tribute: 13 Minutes and 50 Seconds of Sublime 

If this doesn’t have you up in mind, body or spirit, somebody better call the coroner. You have to be dead.

RL

On another note: My 2016 posts were mostly written weeks ago and pre-scheduled for publishing while I’ve been taking care of some things. (see Weird Normal – February 19). I’d hoped by now I’d be back in the saddle fully, but that hasn’t quite worked out. So until I get there, maybe you’ll bear with me & some sporadic posts, maybe you’ll scan some of my older stuff and enjoy the occasional guest post from fabulous people. 
 Cheers for now.   ❤