The Shining Blade

“There are those who have made themselves eunuchs for the sake of the kingdom of heaven.  He who is able to accept this, let him accept it.”

–Matthew 19:12

Ever since I read this yesterday I’ve been contemplating its meaning- whether in the shower or watching Galaxy Quest with my son or even staring into the fridge wondering what I’m having for lunch.

Like the metaphorical eunuch, can I cut off my false dreams, painful thoughts, and delusional fantasies? Is this cutting off even possible?  I’m intrigued.  I’m scared.  I’ve crushed some thoughts to my chest like an old rag doll – doesn’t matter if it’s coming apart at the seams.  Doesn’t matter if it offers nothing in return for my devotion… I don’t want to let go.

Looking back, I see how loss was part of the journey and even sowed the seeds for future joy. Intellectually I get that. Emotionally, letting go can feel as if I am giving up on purpose. And yet there is something in me that dares to know the truth. Maybe the modern day eunuch questions his thinking and the thoughts release him. Maybe questioning is the fire that heats the blade. Maybe the eunuchs know.

Maybe I can know.

Photo by Xtream_i

The Daily Prompt: Purpose

(and, yes, abbreviated quote from Matthew 19:12 )

Calmed

It’s not enough… How could it be?
You gave me a taste, a drop of vanilla
Splashed across my lips.

I wanted more but you turned the bottle
Upside down and shook your head
Then walked away from that look in my eyes.

Like a swimmer who suddenly finds herself
Far out to sea
I struck for shore, a flutter in my chest.

No lifeguard to rescue me, no stranger
On the beach to wink and say it will be ok
Just my heart and the memory of that taste.

I am calmed now, remembering that day
I didn’t make it, you know…
But my God! That water held me closer than I deserved.

(Thanks to OSI for the writing prompt, “Calmed”)

Antidote

“Love Me Two Times”

Chapter 1

It began the way most things do – with a stab to the heart.  Dying that day was not on my agenda.  Not to say I wasn’t depressed.  Of course I was… Yet I’d somehow accepted that living small was safe.  It was comfortable, familiar.  It kept my disappointments to a minimum.  If I cried sometimes, randomly, well, that was part of it.  It was my life and I had no serious intentions of leaving it.

They said the attacker was lucky – a stab to the heart is hard to do.  I knew that because I heard the conversation of the crowd that had gathered around my cooling body.  Apparently the ribs are a pretty good defense against things seeking to pierce the heart.  Evolution or God… Our bodies seem to have a bit of wisdom when it comes to survival.

Floating above the circus of co-workers and rescue personnel, I noticed one individual who seemed calmer than the rest.  Happier.  There was something soothing and grounded about him.  I guess I glided over, because suddenly there he was, staring at me with piercing green eyes.  Gray wisps of hair seemed to dance from his eyebrows and a crooked smile highlighted his somewhat crooked nose.

“Mickey O’Hara,” he said as he tipped an imaginary hat.  “Nice to meet you.”

Feeling a little off guard because in no way did my random after-death musings ever lead me to consider anything Irish, I smiled.  “Are you here for me?”

“That’s right, my dear.  Are you ready?  We’ve got a nice warm body waiting. I wanted to give you a chance to get used to your new state, but…” He tilted his head. “You seem like a fast learner.  Shall we go?”

Me a fast learner?  I was the 40 something sliding into Prozac and late night TV infomercials.  The most I’d done since finishing college was tread water in a job way below my abilities but that paid the rent. Barely. I didn’t count my half finished novel or the poetry that screamed mid-life crisis.

“What do you mean you have a nice warm body waiting?  I just left a perfectly functioning warm body… Don’t I go to some kind of review?  Or get bathed in healing crystal energy or something?”  I’d watched enough B movies to figure that one out.

Mickey rubbed his jaw.  “That’s not the way it works.  At least for you.  You’ve got a different assignment that needs your immediate attention.  Now dear, shall we see what it’s all about?”

My recently deceased eyes bulged.  What the hell?  “Look, I have no idea what you’re talking about.  A little more information would be spiffy here.”  Then seeing his eyebrows draw closer, I added, “Please.”

“Darlin,” he said as he leaned into me, “You want the antidote to your life?  A way to fill the hole gaping in your chest?  Do you even see the metaphor to your death?”

Well, shit.  He had me there.  “Okay.  I’m willing…”

“That’s all that’s required.”  He gave me that crooked smile again and something in me relaxed.  Death isn’t so bad I thought.

And then I felt a thousand volts coursing through my body and the smell of ozone.

……

(This is part of a new novel idea, using the writing prompt from Sunday Scribblings, “antidote.”)

Twin Flames

me and my shadow

“Why do you watch me?”

I pulled my hood lower across my forehead. “Your aura.”

Black eyes narrowed. “I don’t believe in that stuff.”

I hugged myself and turned away. “Which is why I’ve kept my distance.”

“And yet I know you’re there all the same. When will you lose interest?” He gently lifted a lock of my hair and tugged.

The fog drifted as I pondered this haunting question yet again. “When I go to you and instead find my feet walking in another direction.”

He let go of me and started pacing. “I’ve never lead you to believe…”

“This isn’t about that. We’re bound, twin flames. We work better together than apart.” I purposely shrugged. “Romantic love doesn’t have to be part of it.”

He laughed. “Do you know what my heart feels when I see you?”

Surprise flashed like lightning. “I didn’t think you felt anything. Or perhaps, pity.”

He laughed as long steps carried him to the shadows. Devil’s eyes found mine and pinned me. “The need to possess.”

It was a challenge, a fork flung into the middle of a road. And I, sure of his ambivalence, was completely unprepared.

Photo by Alice Popkorn

The Daily Post: Fork

No more waiting for me

Looking into the future

 

If I’m honest, waiting is my super power. I can sit in plastic chairs drinking stale coffee with the best of them. Because at some point, something will arrive and reward my patience, my suffering.

At least that’s how I thought it worked. Except these days I’m feeling restless. I’m dreaming of mesas and blue sky. I’m wondering if I can chose differently? Deal myself a new hand.

What if I just threw the entire deck away? What path would I walk then?

………………………

 

The Daily Post Waiting

Photo by Alice Popkorn

Oh Kali

Kali is destroying old boundaries

Healing comes from letting there be room for all of “this” to happen: room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.   – Pema Chodron


I am not walking away from myself today

Instead I sit and choose to burn

Anger rains down on me, ruby red coals

My heart expands in the bittersweet embrace of Kali

Memories collide and tangle, the pain expands

But I am finding myself in these flames

I am holding my heart as it bleeds

I am finding the mother the father the community the best friend I’ve never had

Here

Photo Alice Popkorn

The Daily Prompt: Angry

Nadia’s Test

fearful thoughts

“Do you understand?”

“I do.”

“The poison you drink will hurt.”

“I am aware.”

“You won’t be the same, you won’t be …”

“Just give it to me. I cannot continue to live as I am.”

“Remember, a mere sip will do, death is not our objective.”

“Death is my only option now. What else is there?”

“Transformation, Nadia. Which will you choose?”

Photo Alice Popkorn

The Daily Post: Grain

 

The Rooster Files and the Meaning of Life

CHUCK

“So you’re telling me this is just a phase?”

“Oh, it’s a phase. It’s totally a phase.”

“But it feels so permanent… this whole being human thing. I mean, until we die. It feels hella real. And I haven’t accomplished a damn thing, you know that, right? It’s embarrassing, really. Heartbreaking.”

“Oh, god, you really believe that matters! Hold on, I have to wipe my eyes.

“So not to be insensitive, but how long do you really think you have on earth? At the outside, say 90 years or thereabouts? Would you even want to be around longer? Never mind, not relevant. Bottom line, you are literally the twitch of a blink of a cosmic eye. There’s only one reason you’re here and everything else is filler. You can judge that filler as good or bad. Accomplished or tragic. But Life isn’t judging you and there is no prize for Best Human. Shit. As if.”

“You make sense, but you’re a rooster so really, I’m probably just talking to myself.”

“If that makes you feel better. I am a rooster, true. But wise as the stars, my friend. Wise as the… But hey, you believe concepts that make no damn sense anyway. Am I just a rooster? Appearances can be deceiving.”

“I’m so lost… Wait. What’s the one thing I’m here for then? Was that rooster speak or do you really know?”

“Being lost is fantastic. Great place to be. When you question everything you enter into freedom. And the one thing? Remember City Slickers?”

“The movie? Where Curly holds up a finger? That’s the one thing?!”

“Ok, corny, but yeah, that’s where I was going except… and here’s a hint… the one thing has nothing to do with accomplishment. He, he… NOTHING to do with it.”

“So find my one thing…”

“Except that it’s not a thing, right? It’s more a state, a north star. Makes sense?  Just don’t compare your one thing to someone else’s.”

“Because I rock, I talk to roosters, and to hell with living up to expectations. That about it?”

“Now you’re getting it! Fly high my dear and don’t be afraid to crow with the sun. It feels good to make a little noise.”

Daily prompt Phase

Photo by Alice Popkorn

Dare, Essence, Practical

“I don’t even know where this leaves me…”

Marty squinted against the high desert sun that couldn’t be muted with the darkest eyewear.  “I’d say the practical answer is, deal the hand that’s been dealt you.”  She raised her shoulders.  It wasn’t much but she knew there was no answer that would satisfy Luce’s need.

“You did not just say that.  What do you call what I’ve been doing  – what?  My whole life?  I’ve been showing up.  Meeting the moment, as you put it.  God, M.  There’s got to be more.”

“More…”  This was the refrain, the background hum to her sister, Luce’s life.  It didn’t define her, exactly.  It wasn’t her true essence, rather a cloud of suffering that followed her no matter what her life circumstances.  “Honey, open your eyes to what you have…”

Luce bowed her head.  “I know.”  She brushed wispy, honey colored hair off her forehead.  “Don’t think I don’t know.”  And then the groan.  “I love my son, my husband.  I love this place, I appreciate the gifts of grace, the moments of joy.  And still.”  She shifted on her rock, the blue New Mexican sky caressing her profile.

“You still don’t get it,” Marty said.  “No, you’re not a doctor, a lawyer, a candlestick maker.  That oneness you’re looking for, that sense of purpose…. It can’t be found by what you do.”  She paced across Luce’s backyard, small but Zen-tranquil.  Her sister couldn’t even see the connection – Luce designed this space.  She was a flame that didn’t see her own light.  Could not sense her inherent worth…and nothing Marty said would ever give it to her.  “I’ve got a dare for you.”

Luce blanched but rose to the challenge.  “What?”

“I dare you to stop running.  To stay with whatever comes up, good, bad, numbing, terrifying, boring.  For ten minutes a day, stay with it and see what lies underneath.  Meet the shit that you avoid – see just how empty this yawning emptiness really is.”

“Ten minutes?  That’s the dare?  I don’t see how that could even make a difference…”

Marty leveled an aquamarine stare at her sister.  “I thought you said you’d do anything?”

It took a minute.  A full minute, but Luce nodded once.  “Okay.  I’ll try it.”  She rose from her rock and paused at the sliding glass door.  “For a week.”

“Two weeks.”

“Ok.”  Luce gave a small smile.  “Talk to me in two weeks.”

Big thanks to Three Word Wednesday for this writing prompt