Passion splits skin like
an overripe melon
straining its boundaries –
Daring to go beyond
Comfort assumes new meaning,
reaches deeper –
until again, it stretches.
And what once exhausted
now sets the tone
for beginning anew.
in unabashed nakedness –
standing or lying
or sitting before another
like a well-polished mirror –
a little too frank,
yet one cannot look away.
Hot breath steams it over
momentarily, only to resolve
into palpable dampness –
running from the glass
like beads of sweat
flowing freely from rosy flesh.
Rivulets of salt and desire
commingling with sounds
a snake uncoiling,
then poised to strike –
and, once bitten,
one’s capacity for tolerating
the sweet venom increases
until, eyes dilated,
the blood purifies itself –
and we are healed.
Ever since I was little, I’ve been exploring the underside of things. As a small child, I’d toddle down behind our house in the foothills of the San Gabriel mountains, wading into the stream bisecting a grove of eucalyptus before, that is, it was turned into a golf course. In the water whose level varied with the seasons, I would discover rocks and water bugs and tiny fish trolling about in the rust-colored streambed. It was long before such places became overrun with people – I rarely saw anyone else around. Drawing in the odor of pungent eucalyptus leaves, I’d search until discovering just the right sized branch or twig for poking. Then, crouching down to turn over rocks and chunks of damp leaf mold, the fun began. Worms and bugs and salamanders, not accustomed to the light of day, would wriggle and squirm or wad their bodies up into little protective balls.
Fast forward twenty years and I found myself repeating the same fascinating ritual in the woods of eastern Maine. I don’t know if I experienced some past life, lending me a preponderance for prodding the flipside of things – I only know, at this later stage of the game, it is simply who and what I am – physically, mentally, spiritually. In Maine I would take faith walks in the woods at night; would lie on my back in a canoe for hours, floating freely on the pond, gazing upwards at the star-pocked heavens, pondering the imponderables of existence. Was I searching for something; longing for home? Or was it just that I found the home I had right here on earth infinitely captivating to its depths?
It’s not like I shun the light of day like some vampire. I delight in the daytime and all it offers. Despite my love of darkness and its thrilling, often unacknowledged world – I would be foolish, say, to swim in the ocean at night. It’s when sharks come in to feed. I’m not into tempting fate. And though most owls fly at night, the Hawaiian Pu’eo flies during daylight, sweeping over fog-drenched fields in search of tiny prey. Think of what I’d miss seeing if I only sought the shadows.
I suppose, then, it is only natural that I am a lifetime student of depth psychology. Humanity yearns for the light; Christians and Jews alike look heavenward for their father in the sky. Many Native Americans refer to Father Sky and Mother Earth. Gazing up, we search for answers, for guidance, for ‘higher intelligence.’ Surely life out there must be superior to that which originates down here. Yet the irony for me is that so much wisdom seems to lie right here inside and upon our dear Mother Earth.
University of Cambridge and Harvard educated scientist Rupert Sheldrake is best known for his discovery of morphogenetic fields, or the energetic imprints of all living matter which transcend time and space and are sometimes described as the soul of the world. These energetic fields contain all the intelligence ever derived from all of life, past and present, and may well be what sensitives such as Einstein tap into when discovering something ‘new.’ Perhaps it’s like throwing sticks in the air, and being perceptive enough to make sense of patterns as they fall, seeing an order to things that was previously unrecognized. Like reading tea leaves.
The late “Magellan of consciousness,” Terence McKenna, may best have been known for his experiments with psilocybin mushrooms and might still be marginalized because of it. But he’s always been after something – a fellow mulch-turner, I suspect. Eating fungus tapped him into what he terms the Gaian Overmind, which appeared to him surprisingly, at least once, as that which we’ve been conditioned to believe is extra-terrestrial. This apparition possessed the same features and face of ET; the same large eyes. He had come to believe these beings are not extra-terrestrial; rather they are super-terrestrial, “more or less a kind of integrated intelligence that pervades the entire planet.” (source of quotes: Twilight of the Clockwork God, John David Ebert, pp.92;98).
I had my own experiences with this so-called Overmind when small. Repeatedly. In that sacred canyon aforementioned. And that’s all I’m going to mention here, except that if you wish to know more, start with Ebert’s book, or listen to my interview with him via podcast.
There are more things in heaven and earth, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.
~ William Shakespeare
Currently my husband and I are in escrow on our lovely historic property and home we brought back from the dead in 2006-09. If I miss one of my two regular posts in the next week or three, please forgive me. I’ll be back on track very soon!
We are indeed fortunate to have discovered a wonderful retreat for rent almost directly up the hill from our current location until we can get our bearings and decide what the next move will be. The three dogs have three fenced acres in the trees, and we will again enjoy privacy. The house is a designer’s creation, though not entirely practical, as such structures can be. But it will be a fun place to live, tucked up in the ironwoods in the interim – with nice ocean and Maui views. Meanwhile I am reminded of the last time we were in an all-electric kitchen – and this is what I wrote back at that time:
I should bend to technology, thrill to the clink of a perfectly planed pot belly flopping onto glass surface illuminated by orange spirals of heat. Instead I long for blue fire, the sizzle of condensation kissing a living flame; yearn to heft cast iron onto burner grate – vessels requiring careful washing, swipe of olive oil – surfaces pitted like basalt from generations of honest service.
Who seeks to improve upon what is serviceable? If electricity were generated cleanly, I would understand and support such technology. But here in Hawaii, an over-reliance on oil is fortunately bringing this shortfall to the public’s attention, and the hope is that, instead of the truckloads of eucalpytus forest being leveled to ship to O’ahu for burning, we will continue developing the abundant natural and renewable resources of solar, wind, waves and geothermal energy available right here on the Big Island.
What remains when all we wish for comes to fruition? Can the mind rest, the body relax – until boredom invariably sets in and we shuffle toward the well, fish a coin from a worn pocket and toss it in; watching as light refracts from its spinning trajectory as it lilts lazily toward the bottom?
Is it simply human to trump up another challenge; to long toward fulfillment – initiating beginnings, striving toward endings – over and over again? Is this the nature of mind – an unquenchable yearning that lives for longing? Is boredom inevitable; universal – or simply an attribute of the creative soul?
The final chapter has been written to this particular tome, though there will undoubtedly be surplus in the offing. Meanwhile, the heart is lightened despite details needing to be grasped and fulfilled. It is not yet time to rest, for there is much to accomplish – the long-awaited transition into freedom of movement. It feels rather like the ball-and-chain prisoner – laboring over rocky fields while burdened with unbearable weight – who has suddenly and inexplicably been granted a reprieve. An encumbrance has been lifted, but can he now rest; will he accept that which has been granted? Or, like a bird nurtured in captivity, will she return again and again to that containment as though it were shelter; as if it held the key to enduring security?
I suspect it’s human to resist change. After all, we work most of our lives to establish vestiges of safety: home, family, possessions. In fact a fellow blogger recently posted a brilliant treatise on this very thing (http://esgeemusings.com/2012/05/16/the-transience-of-our-permanence/), just as we ourselves are in the throes of major transition. Fact is, the unknown is all that is known: universes are comprised mostly of what is commonly considered a void. Might as well get used to it, for accustoming oneself to what is allows one to delight in the journey. If we are willing to explore and master our fears as they emerge, infinite possibilities await!
Before we knew anything about the Alanuihaha channel and after moving to the Big Island, we promptly struck out and bought ourselves a Triyak (3-seater ocean kayak). The thought was to go out and paddle on a regular basis, and so for our first sojourn slipped the boat easily into the water at the boat launch in Kawaihae. Keeping to the shoreline, we headed north. Soon a pod of spinner dolphins jumped and cruised alongside, and I thought wow – this is going to be common enough! How lucky are we? What I did not know – and rarely grasped until much later – is that this kind of magic is not my birthright, though I’ve certainly experienced more than my share. Blessings are blessings because they are unpredictable and doled out in rarely repeated themes.
The day was calm enough, though my arms were tired by the time we returned and portaged the vessel onto the truck racks. It was that good kind of exhaustion, where no meal tastes better; when water is the only liquid that truly satisfies. In our naiveté, little did we know how quickly the winds could gust there and how strong; how suddenly and profoundly the water’s currents could shift. But Mother Ocean was kind, and we learned in increments.
The scariest time was when my young athletic daughter accompanied us, which put me in the middle non-paddling seat. Heading out was no problem, as there was an offshore wind that seemed so subtle we barely noticed. Without a job as such, I happened to capture a look of concern creasing the features of a Japanese fisherman as we rounded the breakwater out onto the open sea. I brushed off any sense of foreboding until we headed back and it slapped me squarely in the face; when my strong and rarely-complaining husband, in an escalating voice nearing panic, shouted that his shoulder muscles felt like they were tearing. Feeling helpless and without something to keep me busy, all I could do was attune more acutely to the fear creeping up in both of these loved ones. And though we did return to shore, it seemed to all of us that it took forever.
The moral of the story has been enduring: this particular channel, positioned between Maui’s Haleakala and Mauna Kea, one of the planet’s highest peaks, is known to be one of the most dangerous in the world. One never knows – and though islanders who have lived and fished here all their lives have a better grasp of the signs and symptoms of impending trouble, there is still the occasional unobtrusive article slipped into page three of the paper or beyond – about one of these folks losing their lives on the blue road.
We paddled again further south in the more protected Kealakekua Bay during whale season, but never spotted a whale that day, nor did we ever again cruise alongside dolphins – although after hauling the ‘yak out, we swam with moms and babies in a delightful, pirouetting display. I finally got out of the water when the cold seeped into my bones.
Two months ago, we sold the Triyak to a nice local family.
It’s almost unbelievable, the degree to which I become my own undoer. Life has brought me more magic than many, yet these days all seems static as a windless day. Perhaps it is the times we are living in or maybe it’s my own personal evolution. Either way, the past couple of years have presented more than a modicum of confusion and revolving doors.
I have not quite known what to make of this new turn in my life. Perhaps it’s the result of a second Saturn return – that pivotal change in the astrological purview arriving thrice in a long lifetime – life, death, and, perhaps, the pursuit of happiness, all bound into one bouncing ball of confusion. Profound transformation on a massive scale.
The first return brought me my first girl baby – a little stranger I least expected – who changed my life utterly; absolutely, positively. This time around the wheel seems to be gestating something else inside as baffling as the first, though I am yet mystified as to what that might be. Perhaps it’s restitching the fabric of my very being; something to do with my own birth into heretofore unknown realms of possibility. All I know is that a human pregnancy seemed a lot easier, though it is said that subsequent Saturn returns spaced at twenty-eight year intervals in a human life are themselves somehow simpler. Then again due to congealing life patterns, that might not entirely hold true.
Perhaps with all the global change occurring at the same time, much is thrown into confusion. What used to transpire with the snap of my will no longer rivets about in lightning-quick fashion. It’s like I’m wading thigh-deep in honey which is itself in the process of crystallizing. And it slows me down right into the present. Residing in that place of unknowing – remaining as peaceful as possible while wrapped in the precarious here and now as if swaddled in some divine straightjacket – is settling me into my skin in a brand-new way. Just when I think I have mastered serenity – when I’m smug in the knowing of my own mind – I discover its unsettled places; its childish demands that life dance to my own tune. Clearly this is a time to embolden the wisdom and magic of the universe – and I’m open to it – if kicking and spitting just a little.
It’s sitting right here on my desk, the unsent letter to the IRS. I thought to write it because, well, they might appreciate an explanation as to why we haven’t paid our taxes and might not yet for awhile. Then I was out riding my bike and found a little dog by the side of the road, obviously struck by a car and left there to suffer. Two other women witnessed her as well right in front of their professional office, and were ready only to call the humane society, who would have promptly put her down. They didn’t want to soil their hands with her, and barked suggestions from afar when I gently took her tiny head into my hands and gazed into her frightened eyes. Their excuse was ‘no money, no time,’ which I could have claimed with equal vigor. Yet my decision was made with a clear head, and when I phoned my husband, he was immediately in accord that we would do whatever we could. Of course.
No collar, no chip, loaded with fleas and formerly nursing a litter of pups somewhere in her recent past, this small being is barely a year old, give or take a couple of months. One thing led to another and we are trying to coax the little creature back to health, if such a thing can even be expected. She has yet to put any weight on her two hind legs but seems to have some feeling in them, though the vet says only time will tell. There remains a stack of papers to file, floors strewn with our other two dogs’ hair and dishes in the sink. And then there are the unpaid bills in a stack roughly equal to the file-worthy one.
Life changes on a dime, and those of us willing to be open and prepared to encounter the unpredictable are living it. The rest is just memorization, not really participation. And if sometimes that which inserts itself into our comfort zone feels overwhelming, this is the stuff of living – not the papers, the corporate demands, the manic housecleaning. Life supporting life as it does in nature, with no expectation of result. Death occurs every moment, and the symphony of creation is not ours to conduct. We can only play our part when the music is set in front of our noses, sometimes last minute, often without rehearsal. There is a fundamental rightness in this, a prioritizing of values that streams into the foreground like a runner breaking ribbon – and though there might ever be a close second, there’s rarely a tie – even if the first squeaks past by only a hair.