Searching for Oz

 

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 A book review.

Sometimes in an author we recognize a voice, startlingly familiar, as if angels have guided their pen to page… tap, tap. I find myself engrossed in Adele’s book, feeling honored that  she would “share” her inner thoughts with me.  I want to take her words in slowly and ponder them all, for I was meant to read this. Adele’s style of writing is one in which the flow of words, although seemingly random, form beautiful, rhythmic patterns, like the movement of water in a stream.

This smacks familiar to me.

It is a voice through channels unexpected, that reminds me of home.

And thy own soul a sword shall pierce, that, out of many hearts, thoughts may be revealed. Luke 2:35

PTSD & the Blindness of the Just Man

blog image Yoda

We are rescued by those whom we have rescued.  The saved become the saviors of their saviors.

– Dean Koontz, The Darkest Evening of the Year

Melissa Flemings, who has worked with refugees, claims in a TED Radio Hour segment that the victims of war can hold the key to lasting peace.  She believes for this to happen the stories of survivors must be heard.

Recently I took part in a research study with regard to OIF and OEF veterans that was designed to examine how a vet’s post traumatic stress syndrome affects present and past relationship partners.  Psychiatrists are now discovering that the failure of military systems to provide effective deprogramming to help veterans resolve war trauma is resulting in widespread PTSD in their “dependents” as well, as if wives, husbands, children, and even romantic partners are also traumatized war survivors.

Seems incorrectly treated or untreated PTSD in combat vets is contagious, and secondary victims now have their own war stories to tell.

Though stress disorders may be somewhat “contagious” in general, combat vets and those that love them are uniquely susceptible to this emerging PTSD epidemic.

I think it’s a big mistake to assume that this is ocurring because combat-related PTSD (what used to be called battle fatigue) is somehow by nature far worse than any other form of PTSD. Stress disorders are worse and going viral among the military population because this country keeps its soldiers ready for deployment by medical suppression of symptoms and emotions, utilizing anti-depressants, anti-anxieties and stigma propaganda.

Stress disorders are worse and going viral among the military population because military entities largely do not make use of cognitive therapies known world-wide to help heal PTSD.

Let me reiterate:

Our veteran services largely do not promote cognitive therapies known world-wide to help heal PTSD.  

Trigger normalization in particular, not avoidance of benign triggers, and detachment from all abusive authority figures, whether it be from disordered parents (preventing infantile regression) or from those very broken systems (military or governmental) who by nature continue to place in harm’s way but won’t set free, is necessary for a vet, like all trauma survivors, to adjust to normal life. As well, one traumatized must relearn the trauma to which one has been exposed and how the conscious and unconscious mind relates to it.  One must unlearn what one has learned wrongly.

Why would psychology be anything different for a soldier?  Are we not all human beings with the same basic, human  needs?

If vets want effective help they have to realize they need it, it’s out there, and obtain it on their own (like the rest of us) but typically will not do so because they place unconditional trust in systems for which they were, for lack of a better word, brainwashed to be expendible.

And what disturbs me the most is that military authorities and strategists are aware of this.  They know the law of war is the exact opposite of the laws of love and life, and that our government’s lack of psychological accountability is killing vets, their loved ones and families, but are doing nothing about it. Encouraging the use of maintanance strategies such as yoga or dissociative meditation is not the answer.  Relaxation therapies are not the same thing as providing combat vets with grounding strategies and effective, corrective, cognitive, mental exercise tools that they really need.  Couching the argument in terms of dollars spent on ill-designed military or veteran medical programs urgently in need of reform, not more dollars, is a glaringly obvious, intentional diversion to anyone familiar with the means to overcome PTSD, who will notice effective therapies and instruction noteably lacking, and in reality, not even being promoted within the veteran medical community.

To make matters even worse, war is different now.

The enemy is different now.

We are different now.

Because today’s war is terrorism.

I believe terrorists’ placing of their own innocent women and children in harm’s way and using them as human explosives has contributed to returning vets misidentifying their own loved ones as emotional liabilities, being triggered by them, and mistaking them for the enemy. Having to watch one’s friends being sent directly into harm’s way without being allowed to do anything to help save them just reinforces this. Who will turn on who, and who will abandon who first for this “greater”, terrifying cause?

In America, trauma related disorders are epidemic, while those who have the power to shape public opinion impose volatile mental manipulations on those unitiated in the self-serving brokeness of our political, military and medical systems. In our country we now have powerful leaders who actually suggest disproportionate untrustworthiness and potential for invasion, criminality and violence in all persons of certain nationalities. These politicians promote enmity towards those that speak out and warn against the dangers of their own fear mongering and racism.

Those who warn against the dangers of enabling PTSD in combat vets are likewise blamed for our veteran’s inability to recover from PTSD.

Americans are pressured by veteran “activists” to stop setting off celebratory fireworks on the fourth of July, and are wrongly taught to walk on eggshells around anyone traumatized from active duty.  These kinds of behaviors would not only normalize a disorder, PTSD, they do nothing to help non-deployed veterans express their emotions and normalize life – while actually encouraging an uneducated public to view the combat vet as helpless and inherently more dangerous to himself or others.

None the less, some veteran groups continue to encourage vets to blame those who are simply out enjoying life, and healthily living it.  Now it’s those who live life who are untrustworthy, and the pathology that must not be denied accomodation.

And while flashbacks and panic attacks are a normal response to unresolved trauma, normalizing refusal to resolve trauma, and normalizing refusal to separate from by-nature abusive authority figures that cause PTSD in the first place, while wrongly blaming other innocents for what vets are going through, is not.

What could be a more irresponsible thing to do to our vets and the families vets will, if no one gives them the information and tools they really need to heal, ultimately abandon?

People don’t get trauma disorders simply because they have been exposed to trauma.

They get PTSD because they have been lied to, indoctrinated or brainwashed in some manner by an authority figure about trauma.  They have been incorrectly taught (in some manner, through some kind of system, familial or otherwise) that trauma or abuse equals love, duty or obligation.  The victim knows deep down inside what they’ve subconsciously learned is not true, and this makes them feel out of control. The symptoms of PTSD are just the body’s way of letting the conscious state know there is something that must be revisited and relearned correctly, so that they can heal and enjoy life again.

As Yoda said, you must unlearn what you have learned.

But what that is that must be relearned correctly is usually the last thing that will occur to a victim of PTSD, especially if he or she tries to dissociate, meditate, medicate or suppress symptoms away.  And although the last thing that occurs to the PTSD victim is that in some manner they have been scammed, it is always true that in some manner they have been scammed, and typically, once the person figures out how and why,  they are well on the road to recovery.  Quite honestly, they are usually blaming themselves for something they need to correctly blame on someone or something else.

Examples of healable PTSD and the authority figures that unjustly impose it include the following:

A father beats or molests his son, teaching the innocent child he deserves and needs to dispense physical abuse to become a man, and if the child objects or tells on the father, the father will beat the boy’s mother and siblings as well, placing the child in a double bind.

An emotionally suppressed Cluster A single mother teaches that manipulation and emotional absence is maternal or feminine love, and that it is her son’s job, even when grown,  to protect or save such a mother from exposure. If the adult offspring manages to separate from the false mother, or finds an adult woman who loves them in a healthy manner, such a mother will verbally or emotionally punish the adult son, and scapegoat the healthy relationship partner.

A drill sergeant teaches (commonly male)  soldiers it is their job to “save” those in a dependent position (commonly women and children), but showing emotion for the victims it is their job to save is discouraged, because emotions make a soldier vulnerable.  And if the victim is the enemy’s race, the authoritative sergeant teaches that those victims are expendible. This is because secondary victims could be being used as human weapons.  Therefore a US soldier must be on guard against any innocent or ill-used it is their job to save.  Soldiers have been taught to be willing to kill or abandon those whom they would in other circumstances protect or love.

Yet military authorities will never teach vets it’s time to drop their guard against innocent victims so that the soldier can get on with love and life. They are much like Manchurian candidates brainwashed with a mental disorder that only works in a war zone.

And these same military “authorities”, that with “good” intentions inevitably “lie” on the battle field about the expendibility of innocent human life, will send vets to continue to stand guard at the funeral of a soldier who has died in the line of duty.

This may be a beautiful, even admirable and touching token of gratitude towards the deceased soldier and their grieving family, but it wrongly implies that loyalty to a by-nature abusive system (even after death) is the law of love.  And considering the suicide rates of soldiers with PTSD and the increasing rates of suicide among military family members including children, it smacks of way too little too late. It will continue to appear this way to self aware individuals until military authorities provide a surviving soldier and their families the correct cognitive therapy and effective deprogramming tools necessary to have a normal life, which would involve learning how to drop one’s guard, and perhaps leaving the war lifestyle behind them entirely.

The situations I have described are classic psychological double binds that destroy unaware victims from within if they are not revisited, and the laws of love and life are not relearned correctly and properly restored.

PTSD victims typically will keep choosing new abusive pattern types (an abusive job, an abusive spouse, etcetera) in a desperate effort to finally “win” love and security where love and security can never be found, because it is not in the nature of that entity to provide it.

People with PTSD will continue to do this until they realize separation, ideally a “no contact” policy (not loyalty to by-nature abusive entities) and rethinking personal trauma is what really sets people free and allows one to bond with other free innocents, which is necessary for life.

Moreover, since all human beings are equals and the words we use determine how we think, the military should reconsider referring to spouses and their children as dependents.  For the indoctrinated soldier, his or her recovery often depends upon accepting effective treatment through the love, insistence and zero tolerance policies of  loved ones, for this sort of thing is not going to come from Veterans Affairs.

War is complex, but life is simple. To live life healthily one must be willing to love and be loved.

It follows we must use proportionate force to help one another, by providing truth, physical defense when able, and caring for and being present for all human beings, when the other, be they a man or a woman,  is suffering or has had an injustice imposed upon them.

But no one human disproportionately one gender, should be taught it is his or her job and responsibility to “save” all other human beings, as if man is God. And though human empathy and gender equality may be a liability on the battlefield,  it is necessary for love and life.

This timeless lesson is taught by biology, but it has also been emphasized in the language and reflections of various religions throughout the centuries. I would think Christians (who still consititute a large proportion of our Armed Forces) would take both heed and comfort that a savior already died and rose again so that humans would choose love and life.  One would think that all thinking people could agree that one can believe in a strong military defense, but no one should really be “pro war”.

G. K. Chesterton was emphasizing this when he spoke of “the true soldier (who) fights not because he hates what is in front of him, but because he loves what is behind him.”

Yet I have seen American civilians who have survived horrific traumas of their own, such as domestic violence and rape, or who suffered severe child abuse at the hands of their own parents  or a clergy member (also abandoned or retraumatized by our own systems) get ridiculed and demoralized by combat vets for correctly comparing their resultant stress disorders, when they tried to reach out and share with these vets the information they need to recover, as I am attempting to do today.  Fearmongers and stigma propagandists are very good at dividing good people, genders, families, and misdirecting attention away from the military and government entities abandoning our vets that society should be holding accountable.

I say it’s about time someone let the cat out of the bag, if not for our soldiers’ sake, for the sake of the country, those they went to war to defend, not harm, and for the sake of those they will inevitably, pre-emptively abandon, who are mostly innocent women and children, if everyone continues to keep looking the other way.

For how is military training just if we permanently brainwash all human vulnerability out of the man, and destroy his capacity for love, trust, human empathy and bonding?

How is military training just if it does not allow those who have tried to save and defend us – to be saved and defended by us – when they return home?

Wouldn’t that mean then, that terrorism has won?

I have written this piece for all combat vets but especially with men in mind because men have been lied to, and wrongly taught, not just by the military, that vulnerability and healthy expression of emotions (necessary for healing from PTSD) including the processing of just anger and grief, is weak, unmanly, socially unacceptable, unhealthy, or a sign that one lacks “decorum”.

The just military man still tends to say things like “How can I help others, if I don’t calmly put my own oxygen mask on first?” as if he is the savior of the world.

Then he swallows his pain and the lies that are slowly eroding his stomach, like magical bullets that will somehow suppress the truth from popping back up, or from being visibly written across his forehead.

Women tend to act instantaneously and with passion, but this doesn’t mean women don’t think and consider facts first, like those written on the backs of medicine bottles, noting side effects of which their husbands preferred to remain ignorant.  Women have been pondering uncomfortable facts for thousands of years, knowing action and proportionate expression of emotion is not only allowable in real life, but necessary.

Women know men’s oxygen masks aren’t working right and are instead slowly exuding something more immobilizing and poisonous than mustard gas.  This is because they themselves are commonly the very victims abandoned by men’s ineffective strategizies.  And this is why the just woman, the good mother, will immediately, intuitively and automatically give of her own life force (not a man’s oxygen mask) breathing directly into the mouth of a dying child.

I say if helpless children are dying or their lives are being destroyed, it’s because they didn’t have parents or villagers of both genders willing to do the same.

It is not an inconsequential fact that men, particularly heterosexual alpha males, tend to seek counsel only from other men, regardless of credentials, rather than from intelligent and intuitive women that, because of this empathic nature, can help, as if it’s men’s job to protect women, despite women being their own equals, from hearing or bearing the truth. These men seem to think women, who by nature are life bearers and in that sense paradoxically both stronger, wiser and more vulnerable than men all at the same time, haven’t been noticing the destructive nature of men’s physically domineering (but ironically more impotent) strength all along.

And whether you like his politics or not, whether you liked his opponent or not, most mental health practitioners do not think it benign that the president of this country is a man who actually degraded a women publicly just for menstruating and got away with it.  Our leader and current military commander-in-chief is a man who Harvard psychiatrists even publicly warned as narcissistic and potentially sociopathic,  precisely because he has demonstrable contempt for the vulnerable and those who suffer, as if to feel and express human empathy or endure pain makes you weak, or someone who thinks with your emotions and not your head.  Most significant in my opinion, is that Donald Trump’s election lent a dangerous social acceptance and perceived credibility to having an emotionally void, might makes right, bullying mentality.

He was actually cheered on, even though the war mentality, believing that only winning matters, is the hallmark sign of sociopathy.

Now we have volatile, reactionary, war-like polarization sweeping the nation.  Nowhere is this reflected more clearly than in the fragmentation and division we see by way of social media. Brute expression and behavior is lauded rather than reasoned arguments based in critical thinking ability. The mental health of the nation and families are at risk moreso than ever recently before, and gender relations have been dangerously compromised.

But let me make this clear.

This piece is not written to blame everything on or scapegoat the president.  Neither is it written to condemn our military leaders personally. This piece is not written to knock the brotherhood and bond often felt by those who fought side by side in battle.

Our military, whose interests and directives, although not always 100% humanitarian, has defended our nation and freed many foreign citizens from abusive, terrorist regimes.

Many of our young people join the military in fact, to find order and meaning in life, after suffering emotionally void or abusive childhoods. Internationally leading cognitive therapists and neuro-linguistic programming experts believe the most severe cases of combat-related PTSD are really CPTSD, with war being the secondary trauma to childhood neglect.

I write this piece only to remind vets that man’s systems including the military, the Department of Veterans Affairs, and all systems within the government, are self-referential. Systems exist so that systems work (read: stay in existence) not so that you and I stay in existence.  Systems are not designed to save you from them.  Therefore systems are the blue falcon or more crudely put,  the buddy or cluster fuck.  Systems see you as the expendable and they do not exist to serve the laws of love. We must hold them accountable if not for ourselves, for the sake of others whom they might harm.

Only humans can do this because only humans have hearts and souls.

And as human individuals, we have choices to make in life. We must take accountability for our actions – yes –  but also our inaction, refusal to communicate with one another, inertia, emotional and voice suppression, the freeze response in PTSD, and self-imposed blindness that is putting a lid on an already boiling pot, causing us to dissociate, become less human, and making us part of the monster.

Are we going to serve love and life by facing, expressing and sharing our grief and pain (not dangerously suppressing it) and being there for our loved ones, ultimately finding joy?

Are we going to hold broken or ill designed systems accountable for what they are incorrectly doing to veterans and their families?

Are we going to serve war and death by trying to make ourselves as “invulnerable” as drones to everything and everyone around us except those disordered systems, while punishing the innocent for being healthily human, those who scream out when they are in pain, or laugh when they are happy?

Or are we going to punish people who have often survived equally traumatic, private wars of their own?

I say no, for the answer is clear, very clear, and should have been perceived and acknowledged the first time an American child commited suicide because Daddy came home from war and couldn’t love him anymore.

Healing, for the returning combat vet  (like all civilians who have gone through a living hell) depends upon a willingness to detach from all abusive authority figures and relations, jobs and systems, and a willingness to let a healthy love, not a war mentality, save them. This holds true for their families as well,  and receiving what is necessary to get on with life (knowledge of and access to correct cognitive tools) is the soldier’s and his or her family’s earned right.

Since systems, which by nature place human beings in double binds are abusive, victims (both military and civilian) must bond with each other, and stop identifying with and relating war systems to Almighty God.

For in war, vulnerability gets people killed.

But in life, only the vulnerable can help save the powerful –  from themselves.

 


you sat on a fence waiting

watching your options fall,
like a chandelier come crashing down
from great heights

you sat on a fence
thinking you were protecting them
while you served as
a slave to the man

frozen in February,
you sold Sarah to the naysayers,
to the crooks,
and to the liars
for suffering too much

you mistook her for the enemy
because you mistook yourself
for the physician,
the savior
and master

you honor the old woman instead
who shot you in the head
without making a sound,
while cutting your skin for a doll
and calling Sarah jealous

like a spell caster
fashioning admirers
some sell their own gifts
and lie about love

men think it is their job
to save the world
so they say semper fi
to their own image

and to men who don’t love them

women think it is their job
to save their own sons,
so they bury them alive
in basements of funeral homes

clatter, clatter against a fence post
I saw your body wrung,
a broken walking stick
with the body of a crustacean

only when the just man leaps
will he hear Sarah’s screams,

will he find that
it’s his own plane on fire
but she has placed
invisible nets waiting

only when the tide brings in
not dead bodies and debris
but the truth one has hushed
in self-bottled silence
will chains unravel

love float,
and pearls rise on the waves


for only those
who make themselves small
and trust in the power of love
not war
walk,
on invisible waters

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Rich Man

“Never had she danced so beautifully; the sharp knives cut her feet, but she did not feel it, for the pain in her heart was far greater.”

― Hans Christian Andersen, The Little Mermaid

 

blog image tea

 

 


Life is like a dream, and it is also like a book.

I dare say I like it when life’s seemingly insignificant moments come together, forming patterns, and a lesson can be drawn therein –  as if the Creator created the universe, and time, specifically, for each of us.  But I find life’s mysteries and their unraveling fascinating, not just because they are central to who we are as individuals, but to who we are as a humanity.   We are in this life together, like it or not.

Unstable people might also find meaning in every day things, but it’s not this fact that makes them crazy, for everything does have meaning. Even in mental disorders, according to Jung, lies a secret order, and in all chaos, a cosmos. I dare say by contrast, I find those who don’t find meaning in anything, perhaps not crazy –  but not that bright,  either.

For what makes the delusional who do find meaning in everything deluded, is that they dare to assume what the meaning of these things are, as if they are God, and personally infallible.

For me, I simply like to ponder mysteries that don’t end,  and such mysteries, fortunately, are really quite abundant.  Spiritual mysteries are, in fact, way too big and plentiful for anyone to understand completely, this side of the grave. But moreover, I like to ponder how, if a Divine Being would so supernaturally order the universe, to put mysterious parable, or infinite pattern, into each of our very small lives – so that our souls can mature – this must mean that this Creator is all good and all powerful, even when we don’t understand the bigger picture that His puzzles present.

Perhaps life is less about finding out who we are, and more about finding out who the I Am –  is.

And maybe knowing the created, and knowing what created the created, is somewhat interchangeable. Because to find out about anything created, one has an advantage if first one finds out – what purpose for it – the designer, he or she, had in mind.  I have learned this lesson the hard way, from perusing Lowe’s hardware department – only to come home with a “tool wardrobe” that only makes me look like Rosie the Riveter – while rendering all my renovation aspirations into renovation limbo.

Stay with me here.

Yesterday was rough.

First of all,  I have a problem with the repetitive mundane, and a lack of self discipline exacerbated by loneliness.  I become increasingly aware of my shortcomings and limitations, as well as arthritic pain, when I force myself into some marathon labor, on yet more renovations, started a very long time ago.  I speak here of tasks that will not even grant sweet, artistic satisfaction – until I’m entirely done.


“The whole world is a series of miracles, but we’re so used to them we call them ordinary things.”

― Hans Christian Andersen

 

 

Yesterday, exhaustion fell upon me as early and inevitably as the dusk, and it was exhaustion made deeper and more complex by reoccurring memories of a human love I had once found –  but now, had lost.  I felt heavy with not only physical, but emotional weariness, which had been mitigated briefly while I busied myself, but come to fruition in the night, in high definition, highly sensitive person fashion.  So I sank into the old and weathered-but-welcoming sofa in my living room, next to a coffee table that I had managed to refurbish, and in fact graced with laptop, pen and paper, and a glass of Merlot, self-served in a crystal wine glass –  because I, at least, should love myself.

Now, I won’t ruin it for those of you who peruse movie channels regularly, for new releases capable of entertaining (or at least distracting, for awhile) –  but who don’t regularly get your hopes up to this end, because you are smarter than a strawberry.

I won’t ruin it for you, in case you haven’t yet seen American Fable, by telling you how this movie ends.  Suffice it to say,  last night I watched, on my laptop – placed upon that refinished coffee table –  a palatable and pleasing tale, about a little girl who risks everything, including her family, to do the right thing and help save an old man –  imprisoned in a silo – simply for being rich and powerful.

 

blog image rich man

 


And then I fell asleep.

When I awoke, the rain which had come down earlier in the evening had stopped. I awoke disoriented, trying to assess my this-is-not-my-bedroom surroundings.  I only found comfort and familiarity in my dogs, still dozing loyally beside me on the thick, fake bear rug I had placed below – to hide for the time being, unfinished floors.

Not every creature has left me, I noted with what I hoped was not bitterness, but gratitude.

Or perhaps the dogs had just been afraid of the thunder.  This was more likely.

I was vaguely aware of a recent nightmare, but the physical pain I felt now was greater and more intense than merely attention consuming. I glanced with self-accusation at the empty wine glass, a migraine teasing at my temples, but this unfortunate, punitive severity paled in comparison to the pain as sharp as hot knives, shooting through both my arms and in particular, up and down both of my legs.

I had assumed it was arthritis.

I realized now, I didn’t know it to be arthritis.

I had felt compelled to play doctor.  I had  blamed – perhaps wrongly – my not so ensuring government insurance program (the kind that not-rich and not-so-powerful entrepreneurs like myself,  are necessitated to use).  I suddenly felt regret and even fear in this moment, such as that that derives from a long bout of personal losses, and an inadequate, self preservation plan.

Had I been like the schizoid, seeing only the meaning I wanted to see, in what I only sensed to be true?

I fumbled for my reading glasses and immediately googled the symptoms of fibromyalgia on my cell phone, each movement exacerbating the pain.  I now read each symptom dutifully,  feeling way too old for my young looking,  fifty-one years. As I read these symptoms, what I didn’t want to know registered as true, with a corresponding emotional impact that seemed once again, to double and triple already unendurable pain.

Could it get any worse than this?  Perhaps I should google bone cancer next.

Or not.

At least I had had the foresight to pick up a spray bottle of something promising to be both icy and hot, the last time I had gone to the drug store, and if I could just be stubbornly tenacious, like Lazarus raising himself from the dead, I might extricate myself from the now not-so-comfortable couch. I could then, perhaps, after a generous application of analgesic  (and two ibuprofen swallowed with something other than wine), settle into a more relieving and restful position, perhaps even post-meditative slumber, upstairs.  But the searing, burning sensation in my legs must stop, before I could meditate, or contemplate anything – and sleep at all. 

Oh Lord, please make this stop.

I prayed that angels of strength would strengthen me, for I was sinking fast.  Melodramatic?  Perhaps.  But the intensity of this pain scared me, and I don’t scare easily anymore. If I cannot be reasonably well, I worried, how can I complete those tasks, even greater than my renovation projects, which God wants from me?  Have I healed from so many traumas and shocks in my life, have I been shown so much discerning my true vocation, only to find God really intends for me a sickbed martyrdom, at this point in time?

I can’t believe His will for me is “just” immolation and offering of physical infirmities – despite not being exempt from this worthy path, through any merit of my own. Besides, I don’t want to burden my still rather young, adult children, and there would be no one left to tend to my side, pay my bills, or change my sheets, when I potty myself.  (The dogs remain my dependents, not the other way around.)

But are these thoughts just another, I do not want to know?  Or the evil one, intent on discouraging a dream?

“Brave soldier, never fear.

Even though your death is near.”

― Hans Christian Andersen, The Steadfast Tin Soldier

 


So upstairs, about an hour later, lying in bed, I felt both strangely cold, and strangely hot.

I had sprayed an awful lot of medication from the small metal bottle on my mostly stripped down body, standing as relatively upright as I could in the upstairs bathroom, and now stood in a puddle of it. Even the spray bottle slipped out of my hurting hand, clattering loudly against floor tiles, rolling somewhere unreachable.  I could not endure the pain necessary to bend down and clean up the mess I had made, so I could not take precautions against slipping in the puddle the next morning – with preemptive housekeeping –  those good habits of which Mother had warned me never to forego, when I was just a little girl.

But even after this self-dousing with medicated spray, I could not detect any lessening of pain, only an added, feverish twist. Now, as I pulled covers up, then off again, writhing in agony, I found someone had turned my mattress into a stone. Soon, I found myself trapped in that self-defeating loop, of trying too hard not to think about pain, trying too hard to drift into contemplation, and trying too hard to sleep. The magnitude and sharpness of pain filled up my mind, blocking everything else out, and I imagined a bleak, fibromyalgic future, the pain leading to sleeplessness, which would lead, in turn, to anxiety and depression.  I had read that commonly happens, thanks to google and my cell phone. What then? What’s next?  I cannot do this alone.

The limit of my endurance had broken, and I started to cry.


Nothing less than God can satisfy us.
– Julian of Norwich

 

Then I noticed the morning birds singing. 

And it was just starting to get light outside.

Casting my eyes upwards, head extended back against the pillow, I stopped crying for a moment, and looked up at the same brilliant moon that I had seen almost every other night, through the window which rose up behind my head board.  It was a moon which now peeked out from behind a brilliantly patterned, green underside of a canopy of leaves, on the giant tree which grows very close to the side of the house. I must have fallen somewhat into a dream state, because I heard myself silently talking to God about my place of business, my soul speaking some spiritual language that we both seemed to understand.

This is my woods.

I see that it is…  I long to sweep you up, into my arms.

And finally, half awake, I noticed my pain had slightly diminished, replaced with an even stronger, burning sensation. It was a feeling of longing I have felt quite occasionally in my life, and it transcends everything else here on earth, even physical pain.  I wanted to go home.  I was homesick.

I do not know for certain that my birth was accompanied by a near death experience, but I remember, in a vague way, that other home, that better place outside of time, where the Bright Light, the Presence, is, and the angels reside. It is a home I remember forsaking only to help undo whatever my mother had done –  so that she could continue to live with me, and the rest of my family there.

I loved her so much, as I still do now.  But my mother has grown old in this life, I too am tiring, and I long for what I can’t quite remember in fullness here below. I am not suicidal, but I’ve longed for that Someone and that Place with all of my heart, in times such as these, but also in times of great joy.

Child, do you not know? You never left My side. 

In that moment, in my bed, it felt like if God allowed me to remember heaven more fully,  my soul would detach from my body right then and there, and go to Him.  He would, indeed, sweep me up in His arms. I imagined at least, He was giving me this option.

But what about my children?

The longing was something so ecstatically sweet, it hurt – but it was not pain like sharp knives in the legs. It was a burning of the heart I cannot explain adequately. The only thought that could prevent me from entirely succumbing to it, was the thought of my adult children, and the grief they would feel if I were suddenly dead. This thought grounded me in that moment –  with sorrow, compassion and love for them.  I even shuddered to imagine my dogs, who would sleep faithfully until they starved to death, beside my already dead corpse. For what are our lives worth,  if not opportunities to sacrifice for others?

And isn’t it more fitting that a parent give her life and sufferings for her children, and the caregiver care for the creature, than the other way around? So, in that moment, I offered to God my pain (which was now re-surging) and the rest of my life for my children. I also offered up these things for all those God might want me to assist on this earth by way of love, even as I had once, as an infant soul, come to life – for my mother. And perhaps there was another human love, that I wouldn’t get to love,  if I let God take me now.

I don’t remember when I fell asleep again.

But in the dreams that soon followed, I heard voices speaking over me, talking about how I needed emergency surgery.

It is her third emergency surgery.

No, she has already had five.

The human love I had lost was somewhere in that room, and a doctor’s assistant with a silent angel’s voice was asking him, will you care for her (meaning, will he care for me)?  My former love shook his head.  He looked irritated and tired.  No, I have to work to do. He was an important, hardworking man, and he too, had recently been sick.

The feminine voice hovered over me again, telling me “they” could get me on his father’s insurance plan.

No, I have to see my son, my former love answered, now offering a different excuse,  and one successfully silencing me  –  because I wouldn’t question his parental love.

But wasn’t this disordered, if his son was fine, and my life was in danger?

And even in my dream, I recalled that this man had blamed me for his own illness, as if love was counter-indicated for good health, rather than what God intended to help heal and set people free. But in fairness, Former Love could have been trying to say that his only business in the world was to exist for the sake of his children.  Was he an analogy for God?

 

Author Leo Tolstoy in Peasant's Garb

 


No, clearly, he was not God.  This was the man who had broken my heart and abandoned me,  not the Bridegroom of my soul, who had done neither of these things.

So I wondered, in the dream (because I am ever logical) how could it be true that I could get on his father’s insurance, if we were not even married?  How convoluted and dark this dream has become, I thought. I was somehow aware that I was dreaming, but able to stay asleep.

Then I saw his father in the dream, who was older, unshaven, and surprisingly rather disheveled looking, even though he still wore a suit, as if he too, had recently endured a lot of pain or abuse. In fact, he looked strangely like the same man from the movie I had watched the preceding evening, who was imprisoned in a farm silo for many months, simply for being rich.  Now this kind, gentle man was in my dream, sitting alone in untidy clothing in a hospital, or some kind of waiting place, but looking relaxed now, as if in secret, he really owned the place.

You can be on my insurance, he intuited to me directly, without speaking a word, not because he is my son, but because you are my daughter.

I don’t remember the rest of the dream, but as I awoke the next morning, I had the brief sensation of being wheeled out on a gurney, through the exit doorway of a surgical unit, into a recovery area.  I was slowly waking up in my dream, and in real life. I just had time before I woke up for real to notice a very small sign posted on the wall (in my dream) beside the surgery door through which I had just exited.  So I sat up in the wheeled cot, straining to read it.

It said:  I HAVE A PLAN.

And one more time, right before my alarm went off, and I sat up in my real bed, I heard an assistant’s voice, hovering over me, saying something like:

She’s stable.

And it was then that I noticed my pain was almost gone.

There was one more dream I had, because, finally feeling more at peace and refreshed, I dosed off a bit longer.  It was about tea.  That’s all. A flash of rich imagery, tea leaves in one of those plastic baggies in which I usually store it,  and a heady, sweet, herbal fragrance.


  

 

The Powers, the Feminine & the Black Witch

 

Jealousy is the fear of comparison.
– Max Frisch

Life has its own hidden forces which you can only discover by living.
– Soren Kierkegaard

The door is wide open, don’t go back to sleep.
– Rumi

snow white wicked witch

 


There’s no Power but God, the Feminine says

I am forced to work,  I Am
All force is a lie, She says, sorrowing
And disagrees
You are not I Am, you are the world
And no cosmos in your hand
Who told you man, to serve The Lord
was to serve the man?
For what serves man’s interests
does not serve Mine
nor those that are My kind
I am not the mother who forced the claim
to what’s inside your head
The bottom of My Heart
your Spirit begged
like Angel’s dying cries
where you punished My Voice
which had not made so
and stoned Me till He’s
dead
I Am the one can talk to souls
My angels talk at night
The black witch steals her own relief
As if your life her right
When your Soul returns to you
My life insurance plan
Don’t fear the birthing pain
that frees Soul’s Voice

False mother’s Victim is
I Am

 

 

 

 

The Way Angels Speak


blog image angel young man singing

“It will all be better in the end, and if it is not better, it must not be the end yet.”
– Dean Koontz

“God wants us to be happy and enjoy our lives, and so he sends angels to help us.”
– Lorna Byrne

 

 

When people talk about their life flashing before their eyes, they often speak of it as reviewing images from a reel of movie film.  I contend this film, or mental story book of our life, is constantly replaying somewhere in the back of our minds – especially as we age.

Some images come to us crisp and clear no matter how often our tape is replayed, popping to the surface of mental awareness with a flush of warm nostalgia or sudden inspirationThese memories have meaning and emotional depth, marking our lives like purposely placed book marks.

Others images fade into white, like footage or a window obscured by static or snow, and try as we might we cannot clear the window to remember what really happened to our second cousin ten Thanksgivings ago.  We also can’t recall the discussion our parents had, that night we were sent to our room early and missed the season finale of our favorite TV show.

Perhaps the forgotten or missing elements of life are insignificant, the monotony of everyday life finally overcome, and that’s why we forgot them in the first place.  No mystery hidden here by powers unkind.  But periods of monotony may not be insignificant and are not always forgotten.

Trauma or stress on the other hand is that from which we tend to dissociate, and sometimes forget, only to have these memories resurface later in life.

I contend there is meaning in everything, even in the why of why we forget certain things, and why other memories constantly show up.

I believe bad memories that constantly show up, show up not to condemn or threaten us, but because there is something we need to figure out or unlearn – and then relearn correctly – if we are to realize our own innocence and natural birthright, which is always peace and joy.   Darkness and self doubt is just an illusion.

But sometimes not unpleasant scenes keep resurfacing like benign flashbacks, of which one is at first unaware.

One begins to notice these if only for their repeated persistence.  And they become more and more interesting until one is compelled to figure them out,as well. I have several mysterious or “cryptic” memories like this in my life.

Here’s one.

It was summer time.

I was a highly sensitive child, so I was often more in tune with my interior life, nature and animals, and the beauty and mysteries of the changing seasons, then I had tolerance for children of my own age and the games they seemed to enjoy.

I see West Point very clearly, the visuals and smells of it. I remember tiny, sparkling rivulets of crystal clear rainwater meandering merrily down the road where I lived.  I remember gentle sunshine filtering through leafy, overhead ceilings of oak and pine, and the soft, warm breeze which carried with it the sweet smell of green, neatly cut military grass.  I remember the incense-like stain of red and gold marigolds, which adhered to my hands like golden finger paint,  from giant seed pods broken open with a pleasing snap.

For me, even to describe this induces overwhelmingly realistic sensations that render the use of words inadequate by comparison.

And this summer that I’m remembering there was a birthday party at the end of the road at a house where a girl I knew from school lived.

She was slightly older than me.

She had been kind enough to invite me to her party, and therefore I was obliged to go.  The fact that she was not a close friend and sometimes gave me a vaguely uncomfortable feeling was not relevant, nor was my disinterest in the trivial games that seemed to very much interest the other kids.

I don’t remember the cake.

I don’t remember the interior of her house.

I don’t remember of what most of the games consisted.  But I do remember when one of the girls dramatically announced that one of the other little girls – arriving late – was a fortune teller and was going to “read” our futures, and everybody got all excited.  At that point I decided I had had enough, and tried to quietly slip away.

Too funny. I guess I had spiritual pride at an early age.

My interior life was way too interesting and I was way too intuitive, to imagine enlightenment could be aided by another little girl.  Especially not one who might not mind overly sweet frosting, the brutality of bobbing for apples, or God forbid –  playing spin the bottle with the few boys present.  But if I was anything at that age I was docile, and did not want to hurt or offend anyone.

 

blog image marigolds


So when one of the older girls ran after me across the back yard (after I had made my quiet escape, sneaking guiltily out the door) I was subject to her, and returned with her. I was told that the little girl telling fortunes was really “nice” and she specifically wanted to tell me my fortune, for some reason unknown.  I didn’t know who this fortune teller girl was but she had specifically asked about me, wanted to speak with me, and tell me my fortune.

With some kind of glass ball.

Or something she was using as a glass ball.  I think it may have been a basketball.

Looking glass, basketball, did it even make a difference to them?

But I probably said make shift prayers of deliverance – you know – just in case she was consulting with demons.. or a basketball.  I didn’t like demons, nor did basketballs particularly inspire my trust, and I certainly entertained more than a little superstition of superstitions.

The fortune teller girl matter of factly told me I would have three children –  one of whom would die young (I think she said I would miscarry) and a boy and a girl, who would survive.

I remember thinking she was the unfortunate one.

I remember interiorly balking at this stranger’s insistence that one of my future children was going to die. She said not only that, I would be divorced twice.  But I also remember she was indeed very “nice” and said do not worry, you will be very happy in the end.

So for some reason, every once in awhile, I remember this little clairvoyant, her calling me out, her “service” to me, and her ever so confident prediction.  This is one of those odd scenes that has kept resurfacing in my life with increasing, mysterious persistence.

Of course, I don’t remember the little girl’s face, but perhaps that’s because it was obscured by a veil.  I make note that this is not unlike the scene in Jane Eyre when Mr. Rochester disguises himself as a fortune teller,  and gives Jane a spankingly accurate picture of herself.

Yes, for some reason, certain memories will occasionally resurface in my mind like a slide from a slide show, or movie the angels are showing me, to show me something important, repeatedly, until I finally figure out what it… IS.

Of course at fifty-one, three children later (a boy and girl now grown, and a baby I tragically miscarried) and two divorces later, I am paradoxically quite joyful, and have my suspicions why repeated exposures to scenes like this are important when taking instructions from angels – who reveal the mysteries of life to us, like scenes from a silent film, rerunning through our brain.

For they teach the highly sensitive we are not alone even when we thought we were, and unlike what we might think we are not the only child of God who intuits truth of a deeper variety –  than held in fashion by what we perceive – as the “many”.

Yes, we are very special.

But so is every other individual human being in the eyes of God.  God loves each of His children in a mysteriously individual way, much as if the suffering or death of just one of His children is as untollerable as was the – also “predicted” – suffering and death of His only begotten Son.

There are many paths not widely taken, in fact, an almost infinite number of them.

This is because souls are as unique and individual as there are stars or snowflakes in the sky, and we each get our own road upon which our souls must “grow up”, our own private revelation language of sorts –  in which God’s angels speak.

And though we may feel alone in our journey (because each path is different) we must never forget our shared humanity, and the author of life who calls after each one of us.  Angels teach us how to be happy, bring us together, and help us learn what is important to learn, even if we remain unaware of their assistance.  But as humans, we must also learn that service to others is as much a result of healing and happiness as it is a means to that end. For it is God Who forever holds the globe of our earthly existence in His own hands.

And there is only love or hate.

These are the only priorities left.

 

Fiat of the Eternal Father

This is a Place

This is a place
Where the faeries play
In perfect imperfection
This is a place
Where reality grows
In meaning and intention

woods 13

Cause like the wind
Is a record borne
Upon glorious exultation
Thought like the sky
Is the heavens sought
Above man’s lamentation

woods 11

What name by the same
Do the Druids go
This age’s contemplation?
This is a place
The invisible sing
In quiet adoration

woods 4

Listen if you will
For the woodlands speak
Of things not man’s invention
This is a place
Where the dreamers dream
Of angel-sweet intention

woods 10

Grasp if you will
Tales of wordless Voice
And wordless deep expression
Grasp if you will
The Tale of the Wood
By intuited impression

Eros’s Error and the Compensatory Grace

 

“I thirst.”
– Jesus Christ

blog image gothic wedding tree


In retrospect, Oracion felt Mother had done her a greater disservice when she had recommended Oracion be auctioned for dragons, than when she had sold Oracion’s night visions to a troubled prelate, for the cost of a trikerion lamp.

After all, the dragons had done Oracion no harm, and when she, a princess but only five years old, demanded Mother tell her –  what offenses dragons had committed that all of them were guilty of death (just so a princess could bear a prince) – Mother could give no answer.

“If any knight slays an innocent, unproven dragon for my sake, not tried for its case” Oracion had announced, licking honey cream casually off of her fingers (for she was eating a thick slice of current bread) “be he a knight, a prince, or even be he a king – he will never have my hand.”

Oracion had gone then to see Father, still licking her fingers.

She found him in the expansive castle library on one of the tall ladders towards the back of the room, beneath the ancient ceiling vault upon which the artists had drawn angels. He was paging through a heavy volume he had pulled from a shelf, beside an open window the height of one wall. From this emitted a gentle, summer evening breeze, that caused long, gauzy silk curtains to flutter, like wispy skirts of garden nymphs.

Father often seemed to understand Oracion, when others could not.

Indeed, he had overheard portions of Oracion and her mother’s conversation, which came echoing in from the dining chamber. It was funny how within this castle there were so few secrets, yet so many, that Oracion was wont to realize.

Glancing down at Oracion, Father was now only halfway absorbed in the fine volume, which had such outstanding, gilded lettering running down the length of its spine, luminous calligraphy seemed to jump right off of the binding, in response to the flickering candlelight.

“In your mother’s culture it was an honor for princesses to have suitors duel over them,”  he stated, matter of factly, still appearing to peruse the book.  “And where there was not game, the men would invent.”

Oracion crossed her arms at this remark, her brow knit with great consternation at what seemed like Eros’s error, then sat down silently into a great armchair, three times too big.

“That does not impress,” she had finally responded, which was a response that was also three times too big,  for such a little girl.   “So why would it honor?”

Father considered for a moment, then slid the book back into the row of bound manuscripts, closing the space.  He came down from the ladder and sat down next to his little girl empty handed, drawing her lovingly  – into his arms.

“Do not worry, my righteous little Oracion,” he told her.  “Your mother knows it will not happen that way. For I will not let her do that to you.”

blog image knight with dragon

Oracion had looked up at Father then, suddenly more hopeful of a future not devoid of that virtue of which marriage claimed to promote, and which Father had taught her only too well. Father knew what love was, and he also had a habit of fixing things right.

His love for Oracion was like a deep well from which she could draw many delightful draughts, to the degree to which she was thirsty, and simply trusted he had secreted them there. Satisfaction was always there waiting. And since satiation could be so endlessly drawn – with little more than an inclination of will, or the sound of one’s voice in this kingdom, why did not everyone know joy?  And why then was poor Mother, so often sad?

“How then, will it happen?”  Oracion asked.

Father smiled.

“Oh that.   I do not know… for that is for you.  But you are part Etherate, so you will not be won.  You are also nobility… so you will rule with your king.  You are a shape shifter, so you will marry like mind –  with free choice –  and finally – you have warrior blood within –  of deep and ancient origin.”

“Warrier blood,” repeated Oracion. “Oh Daddy, I know.  I will duel with the suitors and whomever can beat me – I will allow them my hand.”

At this Father had laughed robustly, even slapping one of his knees.

“I don’t know about that, my dearest, funny heart.  Perhaps, but not like you imagine it.  You are sure to meet him in the midst of battle, but you are going to have to be willing to be saved.  The saving part is mutual, and non-negotiable –  for true love is a gift freely given, and accepted.”

blog image black red gothic rose

This explanation sat true with Oracion, so she had not pondered it further, or plumbed its depths.  Until she met Cosmos, the angel-boy she called Christmas, in Father’s mysterious orange grove.

Now it made even more sense, as if Father had been mapping for her the lines of his face.

As for Mother, perhaps she had just been teasing, but Oracion decided never to tell her about the boy she had heard being called Cosmos.  Telling Mother such things might worry her, hasten competitive suitors, or provoke a loosening of dragons.

And she had instantly loved that little boy like Christmas morning.

But that she was going to marry Cosmos  – the boy she called Christmas   – was something the Presence had revealed to her as well,  so in Oracion’s mind it was already settled.  There only remained decorating the ballroom with balsam and pine, not encouraging the other suitors, and planning the feast to which she planned on inviting all nobility, fairy-kind, shape-shifters,  servants, commoners and animals alike,  regardless of rank, species, table manners… or lack thereof.

But as the years passed, that magical and sleepy spring day in the orange grove faded like a sweet dream rather than a certain, tangible memory.  Though she missed her beloved Christmas with an aching, ever-present longing, Oracion had begun to assume her angel boy was already in heaven and waiting for her there, like one of those perfect cherubs, whose images had graced Father’s ceiling.

Black_Forest_Germany_Amazing_Place


The significance that the Divine Presence would allow her to meet Cosmos again, right before Oracion found herself, as an adult, shifting into the past to revisit her father’s death –  was not lost on Oracion, whose mind was ever reflectant, and constantly sifted analogy and thought. Analogy and thought, to be effective, were like shadow and light, juxtaposed. Though she had perfected these mental skills in time travel lessons as a child, instantaneous contemplation and awareness were something she had never been without.

So truly, as an adult, Oracion knew that hearing Cosmos’s voice (even as he rescued her from a blended-dragon, who was really her brother) was at the same time what gave her strength to face this uncomfortable reality.

Should it have come then as any surprise, that the Artist who tempered the forest she loved so dear, with variant hue and melodious bird song, had balanced her life with such a great paradox, albeit in the unhurried, eleventh hour, like her own father, glancing down from a book?

But He had.

And it did.

It did come as a surprise.

The sound of her lover’s voice, when she had heard it that second time, as an adult.

blog image prince holding rose


Oracion noticed that during the most important events in life many things happen at once, and perhaps this was how they tended to take one unaware.

Even as she found herself shifting helplessly away from the now adult Cosmos, back into the past, visions started flashing rapidly before Oracion’s eyes like cut away still shots of life. The current buns with their sticky, dehydrated fruit – now a startling, disturbing ruby red –  and her mother’s eyes, on the surface kind –  but with hidden complexity.

This was a jarring disorientation, more dizzying than grains of sand in a sand storm, flying into her face.

The two visions crossed, in a sense also juxtaposed, and she saw her mother shifting into a dream snatcher.  Mother’s eyes seemed to sink in her face until they were filled with heavy, deep pools of currant jam –  which became dried, coagulated blood.  Oracion suddenly became aware of her own eyes becoming filled with something opposite – wet, stinging, and raw.

The wetness of tears upon Oracion’s cheeks stung like a bitter salve, even as she passed over and saw below the hang man’s noose being erected by the priests – and the testers –  in the castle square.

But she needed to cry to put back into her own mother’s eyes – life.

A loosening of emotions had been necessary and caused by this time shift, and Oracion wept even as she felt, and was becoming aware, of new – but past – surroundings. She felt the godmothers clinging ever more tightly to the folds of her skirt – Sweet Joy, hiding her eyes, burying her face, as if in this time shift she would be Chagrin once again. But it was also then that she heard the Madonna of the Glistening Wood saying  “He thirsts”.

Her voice was both a startlingly lovely, beckoning song, and a gentle pleading. She had promised Oracion to stay near.

Suddenly all Oracion could think was “Father”  –  the immensity of him –  and the depth of his love for her, what it had been, and what it was.  She was back in the turret bedroom her parents had given her, now weeping for Father, whose death was about to begin.

This was how Oracion realized it, the day the kind lady turned her tears for her mother – into tears for Father – at the sound of her voice. For if she hadn’t spoken Oracion would have died of grief, and martyred herself –  for a wrong cause.

My Pretty Rose Tree