Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Growing

Already I see the both of you
trying to leave me
leaping upward with the flight of
all living things. You
are always growing away from me.
Some days I cannot wait
cannot bear the counting of the countless breaths
that stand between my worn out bones today and
the free ringing bell promised when you are gone.
You are my children
first unleashed with a thick cord heavily
woven in my long hair and stout
mother muscles. Though you are only
eight and four
already the cord is wide-brimmed silk strands
against which you dance and pull.
I know you are growing away from me.
I prepare at nights
when you sleep
soaking in your closed eyelids the
lashes spread like soft fern against the forest floor
your cheeks full and smooth with
youth, I imprint your tiny faces inside me--
inside me a swell of something
sweet and large
maybe joy
watching you grow older
second by second the sadness
so impossibly intertwined with this thing
that loves you and knows
I will clap the loud clap of our
Creator when He created
the heavens and the earth and said
This is good.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving

Hello all and Happy Thanksgiving, my favorite holiday. Sometimes it seems like we try to rush past the giving of thanks straight to Christmas. This last Thursday of November is the perfect day to pause and take inventory of all the good that came our way in the past year.

It's been a beautiful day here in Nashville, 63 degrees today. I am stuffed and enjoying Charlie Brown's Thanksgiving with the kids, so what more could I ask for?

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Coming Out

In light of today's cheery encouragement from me to FEEL your pain... smile, it won't be so bad. :-)

When you are running--
a shadow of yourself running from
and to yourself
frightened by a ghost self
in brambles the ache scratches
your body when you try to escape--
when you are running.
Just stay on your feet.
Know the darkness in its fullest
reach into the deep of the black
pour the anointing of the pain over
your head.
Keep running.
This is not night that comes and
goes in cycles with day, this
is suffering. This is
your very self at
its cellular level expanding and
constricting in its own rhythm.
If you can hear me there,
know that light will come when
darkness inks away
a self will emerge cracked
still running. It
will be blinding just as
the darkness is blinding.
Behind your forest wall
steady follow this scent
thick with heavy evergreen.

Addiction: A Train Ride to Nowhere

What is addiction? How exactly do people get addicted? How can they get un-addicted? Can they ever really be free from addictions? Good morning and welcome to my mind at 8am. I work with people everyday with various addictions and am fascinated with a horror-stricken fascination with addictions.

A common feature I am beginning to see emerge is the self-induced trance of an addict. This trance seems to come on once the craving for the addictive substance or activity reaches a threshold. This threshold can be different for each person dependent upon his/her stage of addiction. Once the craving reaches a threshold, the person seems to go into a trance-like state where the only goal in life is achieving the high. Once you have entered this state it is very difficult to come out of it until the trance runs its course and the individual "uses." This self-induced trance can last for days while the person fantasizes about the substance and creates plan for attaining the substance/activity of choice. While in this trance, I have seen mothers neglect and abandon children, individuals place their lives at risk, maxing out credit cards, losing sleep and interest in essential everyday activities.

Most interventions seem to focus on strategies that would prevent one from entering this phase of intense craving and plans to fulfill the craving. What I am wondering is this-- is it possible for someone to come out of the trance without using and what would this require? Someone under hypnosis would be brought out of the hypnotic state with a word or sound initiated by the hypnotist. Could we do a similar thing for ourselves? Can someone else do this for us? I certainly believe this is possible-- that there are things we can do to bring us back to the here and now, getting us off the track of addiction that leads nowhere.

In fact, that is exactly what addictions and addictive behavior is like-- a train ride to nowhere. Imagine you enjoy the feel of riding a train, yet the only train available is one that drives straight into hell and drops you off. Nonetheless, your enjoyment of the train ride is intense enough to compel you into countless rides on the train to hell. After numerous trips on this train, you know once the ride ends, you will be sweating it out in the blasting inferno of post-trip exultation. The train ride, as wonderful as it is, seems to only last an hour or so (if you're lucky), but the work required to get yourself out of hell afterwards can sometimes take days or weeks. After many repetitions of the ride-then suffer cycle, you may even begin to say to yourself, "Why am I getting on this train again? I know it's only going to leave me in the middle of nowhere!" Yet, because of the trance-like state, you enter like sheep led to the slaughter.

Now imagine you are mid-train ride and begin to realize the absurdity of the situation. What I hope and am beginning to believe, is we can stand up from our seats and make our way to the conductor. We can insist that this train to be stopped so that we can get off, and the initiating force that snaps us out of the trance is our own pain. The pain of knowing where this addiction is going to lead you is intense enough to break the spell and propel you from your cushy seat on the train. The pain of knowing you are going to hell and may one day never return is just as intense, if not more intense, than the craving that put you on this train to begin with. That is why it works, a necessary evil of nature I suppose. Pain is our friend and some of us need it in order to recover. So, here is my hope for the day-- we do not have to suffer on this crazy cycle any longer. The way I can help someone today is to allow their own pain to do its work. Realizing I cannot stop your train is the very action that gets me out of my own seat today, "Conductor, I need you to stop here. I'll not be going all the way this time."

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Hello Guilt, Good-bye Shame

I was thinking today about that horrible feeling-- guilt. For some of us, we avoid guilt at all costs because tied to it is the even worse-- shame. Guilt tells me, You've made a mistake. Let's see what we can do to fix this. Shame tells me, YOU ARE A MISTAKE. FORGET IT. It's kind of like a family member coming to visit (in this case, guilt) and she wants to bring her wild and dirty dog inside with her (shame).

I realize now that I can let guilt come inside for a visit. In fact, it's good that I let guilt in for a cup of tea. When I shut it out, guilt begins to sulk, blocks the doorway, and prohibits all my other friends from entering, including joy and creativity. I can allow guilt to come inside and listen to what he has to say, AND I can let guilt know at the threshold of the door, You can come in, but you've got to leave your mangy pet outside.

Today I happily invited guilt to come sit a spell with me. He told me about some things I've done, some rational, some not. I smiled, thanked him for his insightful input and said good-bye. Immediately upon ushering guilt to the door with a thank you and open invitation for another visit, I noticed a long lost friend coming down the road-- serenity.

It is about 40 degrees this morning here in Nashville, our coldest day of the season and gorgeous outside. After my morning coffee I decided to grab my camera and head to a local park, where I swear I've spotted misty-bodied muses. This place is beautiful, especially at morning. I have a picture to share of the creek nearby.

I crouch against a crashing wave waiting
for your body to vaporize a mist
forming against sunlight particles-- here
where I can capture you
inside a lens.
It is worth the wait
to find you
a secret speckle of light.

Get to the inside?

Good morning World. I have finally taken the plunge into the blogosphere. I fill countless journals every year and recently began thinking, "I could publish this stuff!" I started thinking about what I would most like to accomplish with a blog and the phrase that keeps coming back to me is going inside... get to the inside. I believe we spend much of our lives living on the surface, looking at the surface, when there is more to be found down beneath. Behind every person, every moment, every breath, there is the unseen layer. If we can just get to the inside, there is another level of living there for us! I hope this thought evolves along with my blog, as I'm sure right now I just sound like a total quack. Actually, that's not too far from the truth, nonetheless, I'm a well-educated and introspective quack, which makes for good entertainment. So, stick around.