Posts tagged as:

Memory

Disclaimer: Run now or hold your peace

No parent wants to read about their child’s first sexual encounter under their own roof. And so for that reason, I caution my dad and anyone else who feels fatherly or motherly toward me, or anyone squeamish about teenage love to click away right now.

See you clickers in the next post. 4 – 3 – 2 – 1 . . .

Virginal

For all who have stayed. Welcome. To the night I got naked. With a girl. In my brother’s bedroom. It’s a passion play that, like all good dramas, begins its slow turn much earlier.

She and I were best friends. On this night, we turned lovers, in a willful gesture that I learned was desire. It took over me as if I was watching myself on a movie screen. And yet, I lived each moment in the heat that spread in my heart, my gut, my skin, exploding my head. Each choice. And then the next. I was 16.

My dad was a preacher. My mom slept nearby on the living room couch. My brother was no longer. At least, not his physical form. He had died suddenly, nine months before, at 17.

The end of innocence

His room was intact. I would go in there from time to time, to make his absence real. And to pierce the mute, open doorway standing at the end of the hall, that no one walked through anymore, but which shone blue from the paint on his walls.

It had a bigger bed than mine, covered by the blue and red afghan our grandma crocheted. I would sit on it and stare out the window. Run my hand over coarse yarn and stare out the door. Stare into his closet. Velcro my eyes to the song lyrics he had written on the pad still on his desk. The cartoons he had drawn. His life still in the lines.

But this night, the scratchy afghan slipped to the floor. My best friend and I, we’d been to the beach. Heat from our sunburns made the room feel like day. Street lamp light sifted the darkness telling us it was night. All of it transcended time.

Resurrection mix tape

Dawn came. Then morning sun. Then sleep.

It was Easter Sunday. My dad woke us ten minutes into slumber, to get ready for church.

Pastel floral farm skirt and my favorite greenish cropped top. What I wore that day is sealed on my memory, as is the way the sun slanted through the windows and her next to me in the pew in black pedal pushers. Somebody preached. About Jesus dying for our sins. And coming back to life. While I flashed on fresh sins I could still feel. And felt alive in them.

The people here hurt for me and my family’s loss deeply. They wrapped me in love as much as I would let them. And I knew with fearful certainty that if they knew the sins I knew, they would reject me without argument. That was the day a new piece of my spirit struggled free, while my relationship with religion ground to its end.

Lost

As it happened, it was my job to drive Grandma to church. That wasn’t going to change. So I went, every Sunday, for the next three years until I left for college, smiling to see the folks that raised me in this community, and dying inside to think we wouldn’t be having this conversation if they knew what I knew about me.

If you’ve ever been a closeted gay teen stoic at church, you know that hyper-self-awareness can widen into silence and separation. Turn into rejection and resentment. Years into the shut-down, I became allergic to all things holy. The day, a decade later, that I sat in traffic behind a Christian fish symbol bumper sticker, and raged at the intolerant audacity of a blindly religious vocal majority, I heard the silence in my car stab back at me. My outrage, the silent echo suggested, might be a bigger fish to fry than the one on the bumper.

A modern chance

There was no where to go in the traffic. No one to hear but myself. I’d learned enough to know that inordinate venom is usually the tip off to a personal problem buried so deep you can’t see it. It was there, gridlocked behind the Christian fish car, that I missed spirituality.

If I were a preacher, I’d be fourth in a generational line of them, starting with my great-grandfather on my dad’s side. Church, before there was a building for it, used to be held in the very house that I lived in. My dad as a boy would set out folding chairs in his living room for the congregants, which, if you’ve ever crammed into a living room and shared stories and reverence, you know is a silly name to call each other when it feels rather like family.

I missed…a feeling. That family. The reverence. The sensation of awe and peace and wonder that my dad called “the spirit.” I missed people caring and loving and coming together just to be together in a sacred hour. As much as I had grown to detest all things related to a religious tenet that would kill me if it had a modern chance, I even missed praying.

Found

And so there in my car, I cracked open and allowed myself to feel, allowed myself to wonder, and to wander through thoughts of God as God related to ME and not a religion.

That was the beginning of what has become an increasingly spiritual journey. I remembered the reverence with which I absorbed nature on the walks to school and in the national parks we traveled with my grandparents. I remembered the joy and gratitude of stewardship that my grandma modeled. And I remembered that I had as much fascination for a fundamentalist’s diehard faith as I had vitriol for what it espoused.

I think they call this collection of attributes “humanist,” and maybe that’s what I was becoming. But what I knew in the moment was that access to spirit was no longer trapped in the church box. It was no longer separate from me and my heathen ways. Access to spirit is mine if I want it, even if religion has its party without me.

Thank God.

In the Pulpit with Ronna Detrick

In addition to stripping down and exploring through memories, I’m gearing up for Sunday morning in the pulpit with Ronna Detrick, spiritual adviser and conversation sparker extraordinaire, creator of sacred community through conversations on God and women. Please join us for her inspired invocation of the divine in all of us, as we talk about new ways of understanding and incorporating faith, beliefs, spirituality, and gorgeous, significant story.

Sunday Services you want to WAKE UP for!
with Ronna Detrick, Spiritual Director and creator of Inspired by Eve.
and guest, Pema Teeter, Story Charmer
May 27, 2012
10:00 am (PST)
We need congregation. We need sacred space.
 And we need conversation that is unscripted, unedited, and unboundaried.
 We need each other.

Dial: 530.881.1300 Code: 590920#

(Skype callers: Add ‘freeconferencing.5308811300′ to your contacts.
Once you’ve dialed in, locate the key pad and enter the access code. )

Smart, engaging conversation about topics that matter. Soak up community wisdom. Even worship. It’s divine.

I hope you’ll join us.

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A golden pool

Me in it up to my calves. Looking across it at a figure. Lying on his side on a temple, seductive somewhat. Caressing the top of the water with his hand. Looking at me. It’s Ganesh. The elephant god. Eyes black rimmed in kohl. He beckons to me with his eyes, his fingers tracing the water. He knows I want to come. I am afraid. Reverent. I stand still, water lapping at my calves.

The water is not water. It is a liquid golden light. It is a pool of liquid light lapping at my skin and moving beneath Ganesh’s fingers. I am an Indian boy with thick black hair close cropped. I am a girl. I am me. I want to answer Ganesh’s invitation but I do not know if I can rise to it.

He watches me from across the pool.

I see other…initiates? Devotees? Women with loose cloths draped over their breasts, their legs. What are they doing? Are they afraid? They are dipping their hands in the golden light water and dripping it on themselves. Down their chests, behind their necks. I do what they do. I dip my hands in the water and pull it to my head. It runs down golden in rivulets. It feels good. I feel grace. Gratitude.

Still afraid but surrendering

I look over to the other women and when I look back, I am up to my thighs in the pool. Ganesh still strokes the water, eyes on me. He wants me to come to him. I am still afraid, but I am surrendering. He is asking me, isn’t he? Why be afraid? But I remain thigh deep in the golden pool of light. I run my hands in it like Ganesh. He smiles his slow smile. I step toward him.

Are the other women? Where are they? Totally self-absorbed, in their own light. I am chest high now and my arms float at the water’s surface. Ganesh is beautiful and I am closer to him now. He wants me to surrender fully to the light. To come to him through the light. To approach him. His attention, relaxed as it is, is trained on me. His look beckons.

Now it is just me. No more attention paid to the other initiates. It is me in the light, up to my chest, it cradling my arms and flooding my body.

“There’s more,” says Ganesh’s look, which hasn’t changed. His smile is a coy smile. He knows something I don’t.

Worthy or not

Somewhere here, my fear gives way. The resistance leaves and I realize I must submerse myself in the light. Worthy or not, I must dip myself into it entirely. Will I be able to breathe? Am I worthy to approach Ganesh in this way? Will I disappear? What is within the liquid light?

My left shoulder is in. Then my face as I look beneath the surface. And then I am submerged. My fear has left me and there is only experience. Light against my skin. Warm bath of gold washing against me, holding me in it. I am horizontal. Naked. I am caressed by the gold, lit by the light. I see no other creatures but I know that they are there. I am light. I cannot see them because we are all light. I have become this light. I feel like I am exploring this sensation. This experience. This disappearance indeed. But I am calmed by knowing that Ganesh is above the surface, tracing his hand along the water. He is there so that I do not have to be. He is a placeholder for me and a place for me to return to. An anchor. I can remain under the light pool’s surface without fear of not coming back. I can come back. For now, I feel the light. It is light-weight and airy and golden. It is grace.

This is me

I stay because it is not time to leave. And suddenly, I spring from beneath the water’s surface to the branch of a tree on the shore where I started. I am an owl. I have taken the shape of an owl! I spread my wings and shake them. Golden! Made of light! This is me. I watch Ganesh in his shrine. He smiles at my ride in this light. The branch beneath my golden feet begins to turn gold. The light spreads all down the tree. And I am back under the surface of the pool, submerged, floating subsurface. Enjoying this.

There is something more. I can feel it but I don’t know what it is, so I float. I am close to Ganesh and his hand above the water’s surface. I remember that he had beckoned me. I was to walk to him. I go to him, to his hand at the water’s top. My vision of his hand is golden from my submerged view. I place my hand beneath his. I place my hand beneath his and it is a man’s hand. It is an elephant’s ancient foot, leathery. It is a man’s hand again. We touch, my palm reaching up against his.

Several images and sensations of this occur, like flipping slowly through a deck of cards, all versions of the same picture. Our hands touching at the golden light’s surface, me submerged and he aloft.

Me and God

There are a few flashes of this image, and then I am Ganesh, lying on his palette under his shrine’s ceiling, upon the grand, shallow steps of his temple, leading down to the golden water’s edge. I am Ganesh. And Ganesh is me. Ganesh is me beneath the water, submersed in golden light and I am Ganesh. We are one. I am god. This is his lesson. Why he called me from the other side of the pool. We are one. There is no one between me and god.

I trace the surface of the water with my hand. It is warm and soft in its texture. Liquid light. My gaze is fixed on a young figure across the pool. It is me. Or another me. Another initiate, with short cropped black hair, loose cloths covering his or her limbs. It is me and I am Ganesh and Ganesh is beneath the surface of the Golden Light. We create a triangle, timeless. We are God. Ever beginning and ever complete. We are one.

 

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Memories

I’m writing memories for a while, in exploration. Staring out the window in the mornings, letting them fall out of lit corners and dark folds, rustling leaves, blunt sunshine of spring. Join me if you please. Write yours in the comments, or link to your blog. Explore with me.

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Write the Block

May 9, 2012

See it

It’s like a bruise, best I can describe it, purply-yellow and tender. Radiates shocks of panic to see it approached for touch. Breath hikes up into the lungs and hovers there needing convincing to come out.

Describe it

It’s long, and narrow. Imagine a length of, imagine a street dash, the length and width of a paint strip in the street, put there to keep the driving in line. And bruisy in colored lanes along its length, swollen purple, swollen tattoo blue, swollen gray to yellow.

Feel

That was yesterday’s anxiety. A bruise. Today’s is a star at the back of the neck, top of the shoulders, arms of it jutting up, cutting into the air around my head, above the shoulders.

Ride

There’s a woman next to me. She got up to stand in line for a drink and her laptop stood open. “Finding Home,” the screen read, chapter headings cascading from the title, organized, articulated, achieved. I felt home there for a moment, calmed by the order, the accomplishment. Then she came back with her drink, glass mug, foamy coffee, fingers gripping the handle and her eyes on the screen like tractor beams. I hate her for it, for the way her body leans in like a bird with each heft and sip. Down goes the mug. Up immediately with the heft and slurp, dainty, driven, wholly unnoticed, she’s so on track for coming home, while I write the purpled symptoms of the block.

There’s a guy in my line of vision wearing a wedding ring, reading student papers. I know this is what they are because I ate several lunches with him years back in this same downtown. He didn’t wear his ring then. He was in the middle of a divorce, teenage daughters in his stories as we stabbed salad in sunshine, shade, and moments unfolding that would never matter again.

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Memories

I’m writing memories for a while, in exploration. Staring out the window in the mornings, letting them fall out of lit corners and dark folds, rustling leaves, blunt sunshine of spring. Join me if you please. Write yours in the comments, or link to your blog. Explore with me.

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A glimpse of love’s legacy

I never noticed the two of them as they were seated by the hostess. They were just another couple in for lunch. Conversation with my client and a smoked turkey sandwich kept my attention until our meals were finished. He headed for the restroom before our return to the office.

It was only then, seated there alone at the table, that my attention was drawn to her, at the next booth, facing me, alone. She sat still, head drooping, expressionless, seemingly, staring through the finished plates remaining on her table, her mouth partially open as if in a stupor, motionless.

Knocked out

Dishwater blonde hair was combed, acceptable, but not coiffed as she once would have insisted. Aged beauty faintly hinted in her tired face. She had been exuberant and playful, beautiful and sexy once. Never would she have gone out in public dressed like this back then, wearing a waist length jacket with the sleeves rumpled and the shoulders not pulled down primly, and plain dark brown slacks. She would have “knocked them out” with her stylish attire.

Her husband, neatly dressed and hair well groomed, appeared from the men’s room and returned to the table. As gently as if he were lifting his first born from a cradle, he helped her slide out of the booth and stand to her feet facing him. His gray hair belied many years as her mate, her companion, her lover, and father of her children. She was his girl, once, and she still is today.

Negotiating passage

Gently he helped her on with her coat, first one arm, around her back, and then the other, patiently waiting for her slow, clumsy movement to accomplish the task as much by herself as she could. The warm smile never left his face. The blank stupor never left hers. Adjusting her coat nicely and handing the cane to her, they turned together and proceeded toward the door, his cheerful gait slowed to match her laborious plodding.

Carefully, he opened one door and held it for her as she slowly negotiated her passage through it, then the second door to the outside, again he waited patiently for her unsteady gait. Across the walk way and the parking lot they marched together in slow motion, he firmly by her side, holding her arm, supporting her, never pushing her or hurrying her alone. Many miles and many years they had traveled together to arrive at this moment, taking these steps, across this parking lot.

Steps

In today’s world of disposable everything including marriage and families, I witnessed a man’s man escort a queen, his queen. Into the sunset they stroll on, he at her side steadying her by the arm, on their way to forever.

Whether she knows him now I know not. But this I do know. He knows her. He has known her. He has loved her since the day they met. He has worshipped her. And, he will be there, steadying her, supporting her, guiding her, loving her, till the moments cease, and there are steps…no more.

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I met my dad when I was born, and we have been getting to know each other ever since. Preacher, people-person, privately pensive, Jim Teeter is a lot of things. Storytelling—and the observation that leads to it—seems to runs in our lineage. There will be stories to tell a very long time.

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Story Charmer’s Waking Up Series is the month of March in meditation on WAKING UP. What does it mean? What growth does it spur? What wonder and challenge? GUEST POSTS and personal queries will appear here throughout the month. Read all the posts in the series here…

If you’re spurred by what you read, and you want to write a post in reply, email me (hi) at (storycharmer) dot (com).

Join the conversation. Leave a comment. Write a post.

Let’s wake up together.


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What an incredible month of writing it was, leading up to September 11. Deepest of heartfelt thank you’s to everyone who read along, who dropped in to read a couple of days, who wrote comments and shared stories, on this blog and also on your own. I am moved by the community here and moved by our universal experience. I am grateful for your presence. Hearing your experiences kept me writing every day, got me past doubts that wanted to quiet me down.

We all reflect each other. For this reason alone, I am seven levels of grateful to you. These stories ranged in me for years. Without you, they may still be ranging inside, and they most certainly wouldn’t be echoing with all of the life you helped to infuse in your comments and companionship and eyes-on-the-words, hearts-in-the-experience.

A process of healing

The 31 days of writing was meant to be an exercise in expressing grief and loss. It was meant to be in honor of the 10th anniversary of 9/11. What it turned into was a process of healing for me, and from what I read in the replies, a process of healing for others, too.

And memory really did turn to light. There are gorgeous experiences that keep surfacing, and conversations I had during the 31 days that still are waiting for their way to the blog. I thought I might be done writing about loss when the project finished, and maybe I am done writing about loss as loss. But what has opened up, what lies beneath the grief is the other side. Loss has turned into something more, like the gifts I keep finding after my grandma’s death–the inspiration for this project being one of them.

The grief season

In Dorothy Allison’s Cavedweller, the narrator is a young girl. Her mother suffers a severe trauma, moves the family from Los Angeles to a remote area of Georgia, and gives up drinking. The narrator says that her mother cries every day for three months straight, and calls that time, in retrospect, “the crying season.”

In my own world, in the wake of Memory to Light, I’m very conscious of being that girl that talks about death all the time. But as this content persists, and as it grows open, I wonder, maybe this is “the grief season.” I can tell that I am lighter, and changed. I hear from others that they are growing and writing their own memories.

Life at every turn

Maybe it is just a season. There will be different topics soon: the dark does always turn to light. What I notice in the conversation about death is that is it not completely dark. There is life in it at every turn. It’s part of our lives, one that is not acknowledged in most circles.

Having walked through loss, and witnessed the other side of grief, I want to normalize it and help make fluid the relationship of death inside our lives.

Please stay tuned for my continued post scripts to Memory to Light. They will more personally thank the wonderful people who contributed to the month of writing, and they will include conversations and interviews that there was not time to include. More gorgeous words and wisdom from insightful thinkers and talkers.

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9/11/11 – Memory to Light

September 11, 2011

(Post 2 of 2 today. Please let your eyes wander from the end of this post to today’s first piece, from Laura Smith, a mom remembering 9/11/01 and every day since.)

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A masterpiece of moments came together in a swoop. They are coming together still today.

. . .

Plans

It’s early July. I have plans to spend the tenth anniversary of 9/11 in New York. My stories will be written by then. The circle that opened there in 2001 will find some bit closure there on September 11, 2011. My pilgrimage will culminate in glorious celebration of the city on the Wonder Walk, the Secret City’s annual 14-hour art and performance walk from the northern tip of Manhattan to the Brooklyn Bridge. There will be much to marvel at and much wonder to behold, in a city that is still healing from its loss.

I have plans to spend August writing in Santa Barbara. I will miss a big portion of my best friend’s pregnancy. But the project is necessary. It’s a healing and a calling. I’ll squeeze in as much time as possible to make up my absence when I get back, and before I go.

I have plans to spend my birthday with my boyfriend. He’s taking vacation from work to come visit for the week and make it special.

Departures

I get a call from a friend in Santa Barbara who says a mutual dear friend and mentor has died suddenly. I feel shocked and sad and unhinged. I feel out of control of my fate in the universe. I set about making it to his funeral, against all good judgment regarding time and distance. But I am resourceful. I have spent a life organizing on the fly like this. I can make it happen. I can begin my stay in Santa Barbara early.

I cancel everything.

In the call to cancel on my best friend, she asks, “When will you be back?” And I say, “I’m, I’m, I’m just not sure.” And she says, with some futility in her voice, “My baby shower is September 11.” My best friend tried for five years to get pregnant. Now, she is living her dream, due in November, with twins.

And I in my spin say, “September 11??” While I’m thinking, “Does she not know me??” And I say, “It’s the tenth anniversary!” And I can hear the loss in her silence, the shock in it, and I can feel the shock in my reply. I can feel the impossibility of it. My best friend. Living her dream. I am not there for it. This dream of my own–these stories that have been trying to get written, too intense to ignore, finally finding expression, ending on September 11 in New York, my dream against the grain of her dream, impossible fusion.

The spin

I tell her I have to go the next morning early. Which means no time to come over and say goodbye. She’ll understand. It’s a funeral. I have to go.

Inside a day and a half I have made all of the arrangements. They slid into place strangely easily. But by the time I finish making them, I am no less unhinged.
I call my friend, Lisa. “Can you help me?” I ask. “I have to talk this out, will you listen?” And Lisa agrees. She listens. And when I’ve spun my wheels to exhaustion, she quietly asks me, “Why did you come to me with this?” And I say, “Why?” And she says, “You know, we go to different people with our problems when we want to hear particular answers. What kind of answer are you looking for from me?” And I say, “Whatever there is for you to say.” And she proceeds–softly, with the precision of a friend whose love observes and waits for the right time to share–to put words to the moments over our years, that I have prioritized death over life, even when we were young and still figuring things out.

And I see all of a sudden that I have chosen death over life. I have chucked my plans that are full of life, full of people I love and who love me back, to be present at a funeral that, while very dear, is a two-hour memorial, for a friend who is gone.

Overtaken

I sit with that. I get it. It is part of the uneasiness I have been feeling in my spin. I just haven’t been able to grasp it.

And Lisa, as my friend for years and years, quietly testifies that it is not the first time. That this impulse in me has had impact on my relationships in the past. And I for the first time am seeing them in this context. Seeing my leaving in this light. Seeing my running toward loss against the presence of love, right here, right now.

I feel the gravity of that. I feel like heaps of shit. I have made a very big mistake. For decades. But for the first time in two days, I am calm.

I hang up with Lisa. I hold my head in my hands. I begin the effort of patching back together what I have undone.

. . .

The Dream

It’s August. I’m in Santa Barbara. I am writing a story a day to give grief its due. From August 11 to September 11, I am airing out grief, telling stories of trauma in my life that came before 9/11, and telling my stories of what I saw that day in New York.

I have come to believe, at the time I begin this project, that giving space to grief by telling its stories is the process of transformation. When we let grief move through us, and outside of us, we let ourselves become who we are meant to be, or who we have the opportunity to be, should we take it.

There is an end to this project, on September 11, 2011. What will the story be on that day? What is the takeaway experience of witnessing, allowing, feeling opening, healing collectively from loss we share in stories?

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Light

It’s September 11, 2011. Yesterday and the day before, I spend in my car, driving to the final chapter.

I arrive. I help set up tables in prep for a gathering. I spend the morning crying while listening to radio interviews and audio files played in honor of the tenth anniversary. I wipe my face of tears while watching videos that are traveling around the internet. I post a poem, remembering what has come and what has gone. And soon, I choose a time to let my crying cease, let the grief be fully felt, and then recede, let light come back into the day, as I get dressed for my best friend’s baby shower.

There are new twins being celebrated today, as we remember the Twin Towers that fell. There are new lives coming into focus today, as we remember the lives that extinguished ten years ago. There is love in a tribe today, collecting around parents and two little humans finding their way into the world, as our nation forms community in remembrance of whom we have lost.

There is life here. There is life in the pain. It’s why it hurts.

There is life in the grief, in astounding volume. There is life past it.

There is love here and love and love and love.

There is light here.

 

(Post 2 of 2 today. Please let your eyes wander from the end of this post to today’s first piece, from Laura Smith, a mom remembering 9/11/01 and every day since.)

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(You can read all of the Memory to Light stories in order on the side bar –->)

P.S. I miscalculated. There are, I discovered last night, 32 days between Aug 11 and Sept 11. Today is 31 days + 1. Thanks for reading all this way, or reading bits and pieces. Your presence has moved me into each day’s post.

Thanks for reading Day 31 + 1 of “Memory to Light: 31 Days of Stories, August 11 – September 11, 2011.” It is an exercise in writing about loss, for the purpose of letting grief wake, live, and pass through the system. Grief is transformation. Story is transformation. Our world could use a some wakeful transformation right now. Take a peek at the introductory post for the full story of what we’re up to.

Join me

Consider this project an online story circle. Read a story that moves you. Write your own on your blog. Link it to the comments below, so we can read your piece. If you don’t have a blog, write your story in the comments.

Let your memories live. Let small corners of your grief breathe. Let your loss be swept into the collective experience of people sharing, witnessing, and letting be.

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(Post one of at least two today, in remembrance of 9/11/01, in witness to grief in our lives from our collective and individual loss, and in offering to the evolution that awaits us in our willingness to feel. Much love to all we lost ten years ago today, peace to all who lost a part of themselves that day and since. May we together heal, and blossom anew in perpetual healing.)

9/11, and every year since, remembered

On 9/11/01, after I saw what I saw, heard what I heard, I walked with a few students and administrators to an office with a land line, so we could call home and tell our people we were okay. I am blessed. I have a lot of people. But I didn’t have a lot of time on the phone. So I called one household, holding two of my core, with spokes leading to everyone else in my circle, and gave them phone numbers of family to start a calling tree.

Laura bolted out of bed with a grumble to turn on the TV at Suzy’s urgent demand she do so. Suzy was on the phone with me. We connected, I shared phone numbers, we told each other we loved each other, and I went back out into the city. In California, Laura and Suzy watched the news play and replay the iconic videos of the attacks.

Today’s first post is a remembrance from Laura, of that day, of these past ten years, of motherhood and possibility and impossibility and peace, in observation of September 11, 2001.

Setting it free: My poem 10 years later

by Laura Smith

It’s 1 am and I can’t sleep.
4am on the east coast.
I walk to the kitchen to get a glass of water.
Place a finger beneath my daughter’s nose to make sure she’s still breathing.
Can’t shake the feeling that something’s not right.

4am on the east coast, 9/11/11.
Ten years ago, thousands of people still sleeping in their beds.
Deep in their peaceful REM cycles on a crisp fall morning,
Unaware that they’ll leave their homes for the last time that day.
Unaware that something is just not right.

What did those people leave undone that day?
Lawns unmowed, fish unfed, dishes unwashed?
Last month’s electric bill past due and fallen between the desk & the wall.
Who were they and how did they live, how did they love?
And how do the people they loved continue to go on without them?

And what, I must ask, what in their names, have WE done?
How many times has a mother in Bagdad felt every day for the past 10 years
What the mothers of this nation felt on that one terrible day?
Waiting to hear if her children have survived a battle zone.
Waiting for someone to walk thru the door who will never come home again.

And what, if anything, do we still need to do, 10 years later?
Is it even possible for us to choose peace?
Is it possible for us to rise up as and say that we were wrong?
Can we ever convince our leaders that a war on fear
Is like smacking a kid to teach them that hitting is wrong.

It’s 2am and I might sleep.
I might dream of the stories of my friends who have started to share
Where they were and what they saw and what they remember.
In the sharing of memories and emotions, we breathe it out, and we honor it.
We honor the dead and the grieving and the wounded by sharing and setting it free.

 

Laura writes at her blog hipmamababe.blogspot.com. You can find some of her constantly effervescing brilliance there.

. . . . . . . .

(You can read all of the Memory to Light stories in order on the side bar –->)

P.S. I miscalculated. There are, I discovered last night, 32 days between Aug 11 and Sept 11. Today is 31 days + 1. Thanks for reading all this way, or reading bits and pieces. Your presence has moved me into each day’s post.

Thanks for reading Day 31 + 1 of “Memory to Light: 31 Days of Stories, August 11 – September 11, 2011.” It is an exercise in writing about loss, for the purpose of letting grief wake, live, and pass through the system. Grief is transformation. Story is transformation. Our world could use a some wakeful transformation right now. Take a peek at the introductory post for the full story of what we’re up to.

Join me

Consider this project an online story circle. Read a story that moves you. Write your own on your blog. Link it to the comments below, so we can read your piece. If you don’t have a blog, write your story in the comments.

Let your memories live. Let small corners of your grief breathe. Let your loss be swept into the collective experience of people sharing, witnessing, and letting be.

 

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Leap

Today I am making muffins. I am driving to Portland from San Francisco. I am getting a pedicure because I’m going to a party where there will be pretty girls in pretty dresses and I want to be one of them. Today I am fighting with my boyfriend. I am feeling like a woman. I am arriving home.

Ten years ago today I was sitting in a café in NYC, across the street from my new grad school, writing a letter to a friend from days and cities gone past. I was attending our first taping of Inside the Actors Studio, and riding the subway with excited classmates to Brooklyn after the show. The car was nearly empty. We were singing show tunes and I was imagining a new play.

Levitate

Eight weeks ago today I was moving into a $20/night hotel room on the edge of a factory town, because nine weeks ago yesterday I got a call that a dear friend and mentor died suddenly, and I backed out of every plan I had made for the remainder of the month so I could make it to the funeral, four days and a 16-hour drive away. This included securing cat-sitters that would call my apartment home while I would be away, cancelling a weekend on the coast with my pregnant best friend, and canceling my boyfriend’s vacation of a week-long visit for my birthday.

I worked like a whirlwind in my panic. I have to be at the funeral. I have to drop everything and go. He was important to me. He sent the last email in our correspondence on the morning of the day he died. We were making plans to see each other a few weeks later, when I would arrive for my August stay. We were going to share ideas. We had plans.

Dime

They changed. The plans all changed.

Today I am back for the first time since it all began.

Tomorrow, the rest of the story.

I changed too.

. . . . . . . .

(You can read all of the Memory to Light stories in order on the side bar –->)

P.S. I miscalculated. There are, I discovered last night, 32 days between Aug 11 and Sept 11. Tomorrow will be 31 days + 1. Thanks for reading all this way, or reading bits and pieces. Your presence has moved me into each day’s post.

Thanks for reading Day 31 of “Memory to Light: 31 Days of Stories, August 11 – September 11, 2011.” It is an exercise in
writing about loss, for the purpose of letting grief wake, live, and pass through the system. Grief is transformation. Story is transformation. Our world could use a some wakeful transformation right now. Take a peek at the introductory post for the full story of what we’re up to.

Join me

Consider this project an online story circle. Read a story that moves you. Write your own on your blog. Link it to the comments below, so we can read your piece. If you don’t have a blog, write your story in the comments.

Let your memories live. Let small corners of your grief breathe. Let your loss be swept into the collective experience of people sharing, witnessing, and letting be.

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Mind’s eye

It is a Saturday. I pin my voice recorder mic to my jacket and lie down on the crest of a grassy hill. View of the ocean. University buildings behind me. Weekend courses in session and people around, but no one close. I plan on talking to myself about some very off-the-wall stuff, so “no one close” is important. No more futzing. Final falsetto trill shakes the nerves. I close my eyes.

I breathe. I meditate. Almost immediately, I see a woman in my mind’s eye. She wears white denim pants, a white sweater, loosely knit, and a slender belt on her jeans. She is barefoot. She stands there looking like she is waiting for something. Of course I figure I am making her up…so she waits. Finally I say, “Nancy? Are you here?”

The image smiles.

Ohmigod.

Reach my story

An image of a DaVinci drawing pops into my head, the man in the circle. I ask her if that is for me, and she nods.

Weird. Okay, continuing. I notice a few other things about her out loud, like she’s not wearing glasses, she’s standing, not sitting. I get this feeling that she’s still waiting, and that something is working. So, I launch in.

“Can you tell me why I’m here today?”

She has been nodding up to now. I tell her, “You can speak to me. I would like to hear your voice.”

Nancy speaks. I can’t hear her, but I am reading her lips as she speaks slowly. “I want you to tell my story. I want you to reach my story to the world and all who will listen to it.”

She is nodding and saying thank you. I’m watching her mouth move, turning into communication, and I get a rush of wonder.

Rush of wonder

“Thank you, Nancy. I’m listening and I’m watching. What is your story? What do you want me to say for you, on behalf of you? I feel an urgency in my chest and my heart right now, kind of a welling up.”

Nancy’s nodding is vigorous now. Yes yes yes. Her feet are together, her hands on her knees, which are together. She is s sitting up. “I want you to share and to pray. Pray for yourselves, for your welfare. Pray that your welfare be in good hands.”

And immediately my heart plunks a minor key. “Pray?” I ask her. “Is that what you said?” I am definitely not making this up.

She nods again. “The most important word is ‘pray,’” she says.

“Who should we pray to?” I ask.

“Your god, your nature. Your spirit. Just be quiet.” Nancy is closing her eyes in stillness. She brings her hands together in front of her chest, drops her head in a bow and says, “Just be still.” She takes a deep breath. “Go inward.”

Letting the light shine

At this point as I lay on the blanket, I feel an odd stillness in my feet, as if they are sleeping, not tingling, but as if they are taking a nap and I don’t want to disturb them. I tell Nancy this and she nods. Then, they do begin to tingle, but only from the top of the arch to the underside of the arch. The tingling intensifies to give me another image in my head, and yet another plunk in a minor key. But, I’ve come this far. I decide to go for it.

“Nancy, do you mean Jesus?”

She nods.

This is not the hip, New Age experience I am expecting. I follow the image she is giving me, the Jesus in my feet, and her hands placed together in prayer, and continue speaking, “Letting the light shine through the crucifix holes of the palms as they’re placed together.”

She nods. My feet begin to buzz.

Fiercely love

“Is Jesus present?” I ask.

She nods again.

“Did you pray to Jesus?”

Nancy is crying. She was very afraid before she died. She prayed. I am seeing her on her knees. She was sending her daughters love. She was wishing they could hear her, that she could be with them, wishing that the distance between them in that moment was not so impossibly far. Nancy is crying. Her face is wet with tears. She stands up and looks out a window of the World Trade Center.

“You should love your daughters fiercely,” she says, “but tenderly. Bless them because they are not only your daughters in flesh but they are your tribe, your people. You reach far forward and far back in time together. You miss them not only when they die but when you die. You love them as family forever.”

One

Nancy is now on her knees with her hands together. “Tell my daughters to take the best of me and send it along through their lineage. Let them know they carry the lineage of light. It is our lineage to spread this light, to share it, in being this family of light, this soul family that started long before our human flesh. Remember what begins with you ends with you, and connects in you, and together, you are whole and one, and you may walk on the earth as one, together in light, with Jesus, who is light, beaming through him. One.”

The words come in a rush. When they are over, the image of Nancy is quiet, still kneeling.

I am quiet too. Then, “Nancy,” I say. “Do you have more to say?”

She shakes her head. I thank her. And then I open my eyes. The sky is as blue as when I started. A bird circles overhead. I am a little afraid to notice myself now that I am back in real time again. Did all of that just happen? I press a button on my digital recorder and hear the words again. I press stop.

It did.

I give thanks, fold my blanket, and drive away.

. . . . . . . .

(You can read all of the Memory to Light stories in order on the side bar –->)

P.S. The name in this story has been changed.

Thanks for reading Day 30 of “Memory to Light: 31 Days of Stories, August 11 – September 11, 2011.” It is an exercise in writing about loss, for the purpose of letting grief wake, live, and pass through the system. Grief is transformation. Story is transformation. Our world could use a some wakeful transformation right now. Take a peek at the introductory post for the full story of what we’re up to.

Join me

Consider this project an online story circle. Read a story that moves you. Write your own on your blog. Link it to the comments below, so we can read your piece. If you don’t have a blog, write your story in the comments.

Let your memories live. Let small corners of your grief breathe. Let your loss be swept into the collective experience of people sharing, witnessing, and letting be.

{ 3 comments }

In 2006, I had a series of readings with Robin, the psychic medium who confirmed what another person had suggested were “souls in my field.” Earlier posts refer to her channeling them. It was also suggested that the serious, seemingly impossible-to-heal problem I was having with my skin was directly related. The following is an excerpt from one of our readings.

Ash

R: How are you feeling?

PT: I guess it comes in waves, I’m, well. I’m really, really itchy. I mean, that is there all the time at different parts of my body. But in terms of anxiety, like when I saw you guys last, I was a wreck, so anxious from all of the itching. In the past week or so I’ve gotten some calmness but I still get pretty anxious sometimes when the itching is bad.

R: Yeah I would think so.

PT: It’s, bad. I look like I have the chicken pox.

R: I’m so sorry that’s happening to you. What did the doctor say?

PT: I went to the homeopath, and he’s just checking it out. It’s just the beginning. I didn’t go to the regular doctor because they haven’t tended to help me and also, every time I take something for it it seems to get worse.

R: Yeah.

PT: And a couple of things have crossed my mind, like today I noticed, I was scratching and scratching and scratching and the skin I just leave skin behind like dust, and I saw it falling to the ground and I thought, “it’s like ash.” And then I thought oh, it’s like ash, it’s the working title of my book is Voices from the Ash.

R: Yeah, well that is what I feel vividly, is that this is about that, and I guess you have a predisposition to it anyway, but this is really intense. So I am hearing to proceed in reading so I’m gonna go ahead and connect with your soul and say a prayer and then just see where we go and take it from your questions and just see what happens, okay?

PT: Okay.  . . .

Charge

R: The voices from the ash are telling me we need to clear your system so that you’re not carrying it through your physical body but you’re downloading their experience through your higher states of consciousness, so that– There it goes it’s shifting.

Now I seem to be inside either a room or an airplane, and I just heard “Airplane is it.” And I’m seeing people in their seats and they’re not very alarmed. There’s people walking up and down the aisle, but there’s no disturbances, no energetic knowing that harm is about to descend on people, so the lack of awareness is really permeating this vision, the innocence of this vision is coming in, and then I’m seeing an individual begin to make some sort of an attack, whether it’s someone taking someone else hostage or a verbal exchange, you know getting people to understand what’s about to happen. And there’s a lot of emotional response here.

You’ve picked up on the emotional charge of the people this time. I’m hearing it’s a byproduct of the people in the plane. I’m hearing there’s 8 people here that are somehow involved with you that are running your energy. I’ve got to find a way to communicate here.

Long strange trip

Okay I’m going back up into the vision of the airplane. And there does seem to be an individual who is remaining calm. Very calm. I’m gonna see if I can bring some of that energy into your field. And I’m hearing that approach isn’t working either. So I’m just gonna stay with that individual and just see if there’s um—okay let’s try tithing that calmness out to the group and bring them in this pre-death experience to—there it goes, it’s shifting. What are you feeling in your body right now?

PT: I feel like  calmness washing over my skin, not just over my muscles or something but over my skin.

R: Good. Your energy became your own again. Now, “transmutation device is deficient.” What the heck does that mean? Is that in Pema or is that in the soul group? I’m getting soul group, Beloved. Okay. So, what is a transmutation device?

PT: I keep thinking that I’m the transmutation device, if I’m trying to transmute their voices out from my body and from this experience into, you know, existence. I feel like, my biggest question is, “How do I train myself through this?”

R: Yeah, I think this is exactly it. And that’s what I’ve been feeling that this story is about your experience with these people, it’s not—Like I think before you were thinking about just channeling them, but what you’re having to go through to be their transmutation device so their voices can be heard I think is just as important, because I think as people. It just feels like it’s really important that in the process of all humans waking up, we all become more telepathic, we all become more sensitive, so how does one cope with that?

PT: Right.

Prayer

R: Okay. . . And now I’m back up on the airplane and the man who was calm had the tools to remain calm in a crisis. He had the metaphysical tools, he had the knowing, he had the trust, that you know, no harm would come to him, you know, even if he blew up in an airplane, he trusted that everything was happening for a divine purpose and he was equipped for the danger, if you will. So okay let’s see, he says he wants to speak a little bit more here. I’m feeling that he might have been either of Indian descent, although I feel he may have been American as well, so he may have been both, or he had studied the India approach to using the different tools of staying calm.

It seems like this person had something red. And I’m also hearing he had prayer beads. And the power of prayer is very strong here. He’s saying that he was praying that their voices would be heard. He was praying for peace. He was praying that there would be a transmutation device who would hear him beyond death and be his voice and speak this information that’s coming through. And he’s saying it’s not about religion it’s not about that separate thinking. There you go, you’re taking it in. What’s happening with you?

PT: When you were talking I had chills all over, I have tears in my eyes, like I’m here, like I hear him, like, “Oh, it’s me.”

Impact

R: Yeah. Yeah. I feel like tonight is really about connecting with this particular soul, because he knew that there was no other means of communication but to go directly to his soul, to his high self, and put out a signal from that high place, that he would be heard beyond the grave, that he knew the eternal.

PT: I feel that so much I just keep getting chills all over my body, and I feel really close to him.

R: Yeah. He feels really close to you too. My feeling is that there was almost like a moment of impact where your souls connected. And I’m hearing prior to death is strong, so his conscious attempt to reach out to someone and your willingness in your ability to pick it up feels very very strong to me.

PT: I have chills again.

R: Yeah. So I’m feeling like he may have actually had some kind of a vision, or a knowing, he’s saying it wasn’t a vision it was a knowing just prior to the impact that caused his death, he knew someone had conn—he knew he had connected, and he’s saying when that happened, his soul purpose was fulfilled, and what you do with it, Beloved, is up to you.

. . . . . . . .

(You can read all of the Memory to Light stories in order on the side bar –->)

Thanks for reading Day 29 of “Memory to Light: 31 Days of Stories, August 11 – September 11, 2011.” It is an exercise in writing about loss, for the purpose of letting grief wake, live, and pass through the system. Grief is transformation. Story is transformation. Our world could use a some wakeful transformation right now. Take a peek at the introductory post for the full story of what we’re up to.

Join me

Consider this project an online story circle. Read a story that moves you. Write your own on your blog. Link it to the comments below, so we can read your piece. If you don’t have a blog, write your story in the comments.

Let your memories live. Let small corners of your grief breathe. Let your loss be swept into the collective experience of people sharing, witnessing, and letting be.

{ 3 comments }