The Unforced Rhythms of Grace

This has been a heavy week. I can see the silver lining of all of it, still, because I stay connected to the idea that we do not “die” when we die; we only lose our bodies. I can’t say I know what comes after death, but I know it doesn’t make sense that we are annihilated and nothing remains. That thought keeps me tethered after this heinous week.

Usually weeks like this leave me in a very dark place. But I’ve been graced with some good things this week:

A friend who came over just to give me a hug, reminding me that none of us are alone in this world.

Reading some of A Ring of Endless Light; remembering to come back to the light, remembering to affirm life.

Staying away from the news.

Zoning out watching The Life of Pi.

Getting a perfect 100% on a test I had little energy to study for.

Spontaneous movie night with some dear friends, with delicious ice cream and conversation afterwards, which warmed my heart.

And when the movie was a little too intense, a long drive with the windows down through North Cheyenne Canon to clear out my soul. I would swear, swear, swear that my sister Rach was controlling the shuffle on my Ipod, just when I needed to talk to someone who has also looked death square in the face.

Sharing a meditation with a friend.

Seeing a friend walking home just as I was heading out; right at the perfect time that I could give her a quick ride.

 

(I really can’t believe I’m so blessed to know people like the ones I know now; honestly, my friends have been such a grace this week)

I feel like it’s been a good mix of enacting self-care and just plain being given grace this week. I find it lovely that when I make a move to take care of myself, a Higher Power steps in and hands me some extra grace.

And so, I haven’t reached the dark place that I sometimes get, where the world is terribly full of pain and I’m underneath all of it. Something has kept me buoyant…and though I’ve had a hand in it, I can feel that it’s not only me. I’m not that good.

I’m not saying it’s perfect; today has been another sad and heavy one for me. It’s the 14th anniversary of the Columbine High School shootings. I clearly remember when it happened and where I was when I heard, and how deeply I took it to heart, even at 10 years old. I’ve also been blessed to have survivors of that event as a part of my community, so I share in their pain today. And the other events of the week are pressing in on me. I’ve been teary today.

But I feel it and I’m not overwhelmed by it. Today I explained to a friend as, holding the darkness of the world in one hand, and the light of it in the other. So far, that balance has been maintained; the light makes the dark more beautiful, and vice versa. And that can only be grace.

Daylight

[Written Last Night – 4/15/2013]

“Did you hear the news today?
I’m not coming home, now
And I wish they’d all away
I felt so alone, yeah.
And the darkness crept its way
Like stars that we all know will die too soon
There is never any sunrise here
In the shadows of eclipsing moons
Crawling on a tightrope
The bravest thing I have is hope.”
(Brave Saint Saturn)

I wonder if death is like a black hole. You fall in, but no one knows what happens inside. But once you fall in, you escape from the cage of time, and you are as you were always meant to be. You become who you would be without the necessary masks of earth-living.

Maybe that sounds somewhat far-fetched, but I honestly think that’s true. We go on after we die, but only we are more ourselves than we ever were before.

A heavy feeling came on today as I left work. You might call it a premonition. Then I received news, twice tonight. One, then two.

After many moments of tears, a deep awareness crept in. Life passes. Safety is an illusion. What is not an illusion is the eternity in my heart, in your heart, in all our hearts. In that eternity, nothing is lost.

Energy cannot be destroyed, remember?

You have left the necessary masks of living behind, and with them, those of us still wearing them.

But, “there is nothing lost that cannot be found, if sought.”

And we earth-dwellers, none of us, are alone in the darkness of this life. We each hold a candle in our hearts to guide the other on. Tonight, I’m holding that candle for you, Boston and dear friends in the Springs. There is a light that shines in the darkness.

Recreating Mass Shootings through Dramatic TV Shows… and what a shooting survivor thinks about it.

This past Thursday, April 11, Glee aired an episode called “Shooting Star”, which depicted a school “shooting”. In the past, I’ve been a Glee fan, but stopped watching in the middle of season 3 when I got bored with the unrealistic drama of all of it. So I am somewhat familiar with the storylines and the mood of the show. I personally didn’t view Thursday’s episode, but reading the synopsis was enough to bring me to the brink of tears. From what I read, I found it disturbing, gratuitously overdramatic, and insensitive.

            As a firsthand survivor of a shooting where I witnessed my sisters’ deaths, I will speak for myself and say that, had I viewed this episode, it is highly likely that I would have had an intense PTSD episode; in fact I guarantee I would have turned the TV off immediately and then sat there shaking and crying. All it would have taken is hearing the bangs and screams. When I remember December 9, 2007, it is those sounds I hear in my head. Trust me when I say it’s the most terrifying thing you could ever hear. Why anyone would want to recreate that is… Well quite frankly I find it revolting.

Furthermore, this episode was aired in April, an absolutely infamous month in the realm of school shootings. April 11 is 13 days before the anniversary of the Columbine High School shooting. To air a TV show depicting a mass shooting (or possible one) at any time is deeply troubling, but the fact that Ryan Murphy chose this month is insulting. In the popular media, there is sort of the impression that since Columbine was 14 years ago, people are “over it.” That is far from the truth. As a shooting victim, we never get over things. Part of my community is Columbine survivors and I assure you that they were affected by this episode.

I can’t comprehend why American TV producers would want to reproduce such a horrifying event. Are we really so low in finding ways to spark arousal that we will stoop to using a mass shooting to do so? In this sense I find the Hunger Games-like mentality of our society is clearly displayed.

This is not a game. This is not a TV show. This is not a drama to act out in order to get some viewers.

This is real life. This is our reality. These are the experiences we had as survivors of horror, and it’s not for your entertainment or ours. Re-experiencing these events in the confines of my mind is quite enough; I really don’t need to see it in live color on the TV in front of me.

My deepest desire is that Ryan Murphy, and all others that glorify violence in American society, would wake up. To all of you, I would say: please, please stop.  I say that not maliciously, but pleadingly. Please, please wake up. See what you are building this society to be. Open your heart and see.

Intuition and the Blame Game

The past 2 weeks, for me, have been one giant baseball game of “it’s all your fault.” It started with me, at home plate with a bat in my hand. I got that feeling in my gut that happens whenever you know deep inside that your bat will connect with the ball in a resounding smack and send it over the fence.

It’s that feeling that says “Listen softly to me, your intuition.”

I know better than to ignore that feeling. It’s been a hard won year and a half of learning not to ignore it. I even wrote down the things that feeling was telling me. Then, I promptly ignored it, discounted it, decided that I was just afraid.

I still got that home run ball. My bat collided with the ball and it flew over the fence. “CORRECT!! THIS WAS A BAD DECISION!” the fans screamed as I ran around the bases. The cheering turned into a chant. “It’s all your fault!”

That’s a pretty paralyzing little sentence to hear. Especially when your “bad” decision lands you in a place of absolute panic, triggering like crazy to traumas from years ago and the feeling of being trapped. The shame is suffocating, especially when I knew what the result would be before I walked through the door.

And right now, I am trying not to bolt out of panic, out of the stadium and far, far away. Trying to take logical next steps. Trying to be patient while figuring out where to go next. But it’s draining my soul and I can feel my energy leaving.

I’m left with this crawling, achy, sad, dark feeling that all I want to do is hide. Forever. To run, run, run and never look back. Worst of all – it’s all my fault.

I’ve been slowly approaching this little sentence. My proclivity to take responsibility for things that aren’t mine. The ease at which I take it all on myself to prevent… annihilation. But, it’s not ALL my fault.

That word is the definitive one. ALL. Perhaps some. Perhaps my ignorance of intuition. But ALL? That is a grand and overwhelming word to take on. And just because something happened because I ignored my intuition; just because I got hit in the head with a ball, does that make it my fault?

These are things I’m wrestling with. These are things I’m trying to decide.

[Sorry this post is so disjointed; not my best piece of writing]

M

summer 9 years ago
agony ripping a girl into
Morbid
little pieces.
icy December parking lots
bullets ripping skin into
Macabre
little pieces.
two rings on two hands
infinite chains ripping hearts into
Maudlin
little pieces.