Thursday, May 27, 2010

A baptism, or I FINALLY listened to myself instead of everyone else giving me advice

This morning, I experienced what I might call a baptism in my new approach to life. Big changes have been coming for a while now, and I knew they were going to happen, I just didn't know when.

The other day, I took the leap and began to make those important changes.

I wrote here about my love of the water and how it purifies me, beyond the physical exercise of it. I vowed then, back in March, that I would return to swimming.

Yet, when I returned to the "real world," somehow that vow slipped away from me. I got distracted.

In January, I started taking a Yogadance class, mainly because it was being taught by a friend as a new venture, and I wanted to support her, and I thought it would be good to move. And I stuck with that class for months.

I thought is was good for me. The music was fun. I was exercising. How can that be bad?

But gradually my back, knees, and ankles were becoming worse. My arthritis was kicking up. I was in constant pain. I came home from every class exhausted and wanting only to sleep. My mind shut down. Yet, like a robot, I kept going to class.

Now, please, understand. I am not saying that Yogadance is no good. Far from it. Everyone has different needs. And watching the other women in that room, I know that it was good for some of them.

It just isn't good for me.

And this morning, for the first time in nine months, I returned to the Y to swim.

It was beyond amazing.

After a nine month hiatus from swimming, I plunged in and swam thirty laps. THIRTY. That is what I was doing when I was in my peak swimming routine a couple of years ago.

And when I emerged from the water, my brain was on fire with electricity, and my back and joints felt better than they have in years.

I have come home.

Home to my beautiful, life-giving water.

And I plan to return to those waters regularly, probably four times a week all summer long, to drink from their spring of energy, and replenish all that life saps away.

I am reborn.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Taking stock and cleaning house

(this is the view from our deck)

Yesterday, I spent several hours sitting on our deck, reading and doing a lot of thinking about things in general. I was taking stock of my life and what I needed versus what I was getting and doing.

And I realized that my life was cluttered, and was demanding way too much energy for non-essential things.

So, I decided to clean house.

Both literally (I cleaned the windows so they sparkled!) and figuratively.

I decided I needed to cut loose some of the things that have been sapping my energy and wrapping me up in unnecessary drama, and to re-order my life so that I was focusing my energy more wisely.

This is something that has been building, and coming for some time now. I wrote about it here, when I talked about de-choring my life and re-treating it. I realized that I was letting obligations get in the way of my own health. And I was so involved in listening to other people that I lost sight of what I was telling myself.

I made some conscious decisions yesterday about exactly what I needed to cut out or reduce in my life, and what I needed to retain. And I felled the axe. More cuts are coming, eventually. And some additions, to be sure. Healthy additions.

And tomorrow, I am starting my swim routine again.

I know, I know. I've been saying this for months.

But this time, I have made the necessary changes that will let that happen. My swim bag is packed and ready for me! And I need the water.

After all, I'm a fish!

And I need a new routine. One that is geared to my own personal schedule, and not tied to those around me.

So, today marks the beginning of a new era. A fresh start. A clean house, both inside and out.

Just in time. And we have a great, fun, and exciting weekend planned!

What will you do to clean house this week?

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Midnight Musings ... a poem of sorts

Midnight Musings

Deep into the night,
my thoughts went racing,
venturing in directions too dangerous for the light of day.
The symbols of my dreams
danced through my waking mind,
playing games as I tried to decipher their cryptic meanings.

Past, present, and future merged,
as the mist descended upon my mind,
enfolding me with
its dark, damp tendrils,
pulling me deeper and deeper
into the almost trancelike investigation of its turnings.

My breath slowed and grew heavy,
and my senses began to detect things from other realms.
A cat’s plaintive meow, the ringing of a telephone,
the shadow of a man.
All of these images came together urgently,
trying to reveal some great truth to my stubborn and resistant mind.

It lay just beyond my grasp,
tormenting me,
teasing me with the promise of some incredible reality
that remained just out of touch.
The intensity of the thought brought a pounding to my head,
and an aching to my face and jaw.

It was almost as if the images
were beating me upon the head
to try to draw my attention to something
powerful and marvelous,
that they believed should be painfully obvious,
yet remained cloaked in mystery.

And so I finally gave in to restless sleep, full of dreams now forgotten,
and tortured with symbolism that remained locked.
As I lay in the bed the morning after, pondering the events of the night before,
I feel like a codebreaker, listening in on the enemy’s communications,
just waiting for that moment when it would all be revealed. And the tap, tap, tapping goes on in my head, constantly poking at me, reminding me not to forget that it is there.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Letting go....

Let me preface this by saying that today's blog post is all about me. If other people can take something away from it, then that would be wonderful, but this post is truly just about my own reflectiveness at this point.

Ok, caveat laid out.

If you have been following my blog, then you know that it has been a rather difficult year for me. I have been struggling to find direction and meaning in the wake of those rather unsettling events.

I have turned to to Osho Zen Meditation Tarot deck, among other sources, to find guidance.

My dreams have been deep, vivid, and frought with symbolism.

I have asked for advice from friends and loved ones.

And I keep coming back to one phrase: Let it go.

For we can not control what happens to us, but we can control how we react.

Let me repeat that.

We can not control what happens to us, but we can control how we react.

The universe, it seems, has a rather wicked and twisted sense of humor. It often throws curves at us that we do not expect.

Some of them are quite unintentioned, to be sure.

Others, more premeditated.

But the results are the same. They leave us feeling betrayed, beaten, exposed, robbed.

I spent the weekend doing a lot of very deep thinking. So deep, in fact, it made my brain hurt.

And I realized that it is time to let go of all of the crap that I have been letting get to me.

Job crap.

Personal crap.

Even world crap.

And I am determined to focus on being the best person I can be, doing what I believe to be right and good, while holding onto my own standards. I never set out to undermine anyone or to harm them. In fact, the truth is quite the opposite.

Sure, other people may get in my way. They may try to steal my thunder. They may misinterpret my intentions or my responses. They may even think I'm wrong.

But that's ok.

Because I'm letting it go.

Something bigger, better, and wonderful is out there, just waiting for me. I know that. I just have to let all this baggage go that is weighing me down, and I'll reach it.

Then, I can fly. Like I used to do on the swings at the playground, when I let go of the chains as I reached the peak of the swing arc.

Let go with me, and let's fly together.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

More Holocaust poetry

(This image is of the entry gates at the camp at Dachau, outside of Munich, Germany)

The end of May always evokes memories for me, memories of my trips to the various concentration and death camps used by the Nazis in their plan to eradicate all non-Aryans in their domain.

I have written about some of my experiences at these camps, here, here, and here, and I suggested that these were very powerful, almost overwhelming, encounters with not just the physical reminders of the horrors, but the spiritual remains of the victims as well.

These intense interactions at the various camps left indelible marks on my soul, and impelled me to share them with others, through poetry and images.

In particular, one visit, to Dachau in May 2008, was full of psychic engagement. I spent my time walking the camp. Almost immediately, I was channeling things.

The first thing I heard was loud shouting, crying "Schnell! Schnell!" over and over again.

I also heard moaning and crying and the sounds of soup bowls.

A little later on my walk, I felt someone ill, with dysentery or pneumonia perhaps, shivering beneath a thin blanket, too weak to do more than just moan softly.

I also kept hearing the rhythmic crunching of the shoes on gravel - the repetitive, uniform sound of marching.

And I picked up two stones from the ground, which oddly enough refused to warm up in my hands. They were cold, like the death they represented.

These stones, which I keep in a bowl next to my desk, remain cold, even today, even on the warmest of summer days. They are tainted with the powers of death and destruction. They carry that stamp with them.

After this most powerful trip, I wrote the following two poems, both of which capture at least part of what I experienced that day.

They are dedicated to those who perished at the hands of the Nazis, under the guise of creating a "better world."

(Memorial at the camp at Dachau, an image of twisted bodies, trapped in barbed wire)

A Faustian Bargain

The muselman emerges
as artistic muse,
the product of Nazis,
the collection of dues.

From skeletal frames
their life's blood will ooze
as for diabolical aims
their demons abuse.

(These are my Dachau stones, picked up there in May 2008)

Dachau, May 2008

A pair of weathered stones,
cold as death,
freeze their imprint
upon my palm.

The crunch of gravelled steps,
rhythmic, sharp,
cut their way deep
into my calm.

Voices from the tortured past,
echo loud,
resonating deeply
within my head.

Visions of suffering and pain
flicker on,
projecting facelessly
the fates of the dead.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

TRUST: Today's Osho Lesson

Today was one of the graduation ceremonies for our students. It was rainy and miserable. And we had to process through the rain.

As I stood there, umbrella in hand, watching it pour and waiting to venture forth into the deluge, I thought about how appropriate it was.

You see, this could very well be the last graduation I attend as a faculty member.

And I thought, "Life is spitting on me."

And I worried that the rain would ruin my academic regalia - not an inexpensive set, I might add. And the next instant I thought, "So what? When will I wear it again? And isn't this a fitting end?"

I was, quite obviously, feeling sorry for myself.

I was being Whiny. Self-centered. And I was most definitely Stuck.

And then we walked through the downpour across campus and took our places for the ceremony, and my attention shifted to those wonderful, miraculous people who had worked hard, sacrificed, and persevered to earn their degrees today.

Several, in particular, made me a bit teary.

The single mother of two, including a special needs daughter, who scrimped and saved to go to school full time, while also raising her children and volunteering, in order to make a better life for her family.

The visually impaired student, who wore more honor cords than I knew existed, and who EVERYONE in the school know because of his academic skills as well as his strong sense of spirit and direction.

And the nun from Africa, soft spoken, demure, devoted, who worked diligently and produced excellent work in all her coursework, not for the high grades she earned, but for the knowledge it gave her.

And I felt proud that I could be some small part of each of their journeys. And it made me feel just a bit guilty about my own selfish attitude earlier.

Then I came home, through the rain, still thinking about those students, and my own life, and I drew a single Osho card to meditate.

It was the TRUST card.

Here's the accompanying text. It reads:

"Now is the moment to be a bungee jumper without the cord! And it is the quality of absolute trust, with no reservations or secret safety nets, that the Knight of Water demands from us. There is a tremendous sense of exhilaration if we can take the jump and move into the unknown, even if the idea scares us to death. And when we take trust to the level of the quantum leap, we don't make any elaborate plans or preparations. We don't say, "Okay, I trust that I know what to do now, and I'll settle my things and pack my suitcase and take it with me." No, we just jump, with hardly a thought for what happens next. The leap is the thing, and the thrill of it as we free-fall through the empty sky. The card gives a hint here, though, about what waits for us at the other end -- a soft, welcoming, yummy pink, rose petals, juicy...c'mon!"

What an amazing lesson for today, graduation day. For this is not just graduation day for the students, who are leaving their alma mater behind; it is also graduation day for me, as I let go of the difficulties that have plagued me this year and embrace fully whatever is to come.

And as I drew this card, and began to contemplate its meaning for me, the sky has cleared, revealing sunshine for the first time today.

I guess the universe is trying to get my attention.

I'd better take heed.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Re-treating into the ordinary

I wrote here about my need to find ways to refocus my life, to de-chore and re-treat it in small ways. Today the weather was beautiful, after a string of not so nice (at times ugly) Spring weather, so this afternoon I decided to take advantage of it and do some things outdoors.

First, I spent time weeding and cleaning up our rock garden off our lower patio. It was full of weeds - a job that really is for our yard crew to do, but which has not been done conscientiously in recent years. So, I lovingly pulled out the weeds and tended our lilies and other plants under the gaze of the afternoon sun.

It felt good to put on my gloves and dig in the rocks and dirt.

I worked slowly, methodically, with no deadline or pressure to hurry me.

And I quit when my back began to ache.

And I looked at the results of my efforts, and took pride in the beauty I had created.

Then, I picked up my book (the novel Mysterious Island, by Jules Verne) and headed up to our deck, and spent an indulgent hour reading in the sun. I sat with the rays beating on my back, penetrating the black of my t-shirt, and heating the very core of my being.

I could feel the sun recharging me. Earth and Fire had both lent me their power.

It was quiet, peaceful, and I sat listening to the chatter of the sparrows and the occasional bark of a dog or the engine of a passing car. The world was mine and mine alone for that hour.

Today was a day of ordinariness. I did nothing fantastic, nothing remarkable. I just was.

It was good.

And then, tonight, I drew a card from my beautiful Osho Zen Tarot Meditation deck. Now, recently, I have written about how amazing this deck is, and how absolutely spot-on it has been every time I have turned to it.

So, I should not have been surprised tonight.

I drew the Ordinariness card.

Here's the accompanying description:

"This figure walking in nature shows us that beauty can be found in the simple, ordinary things of life. We so easily take this beautiful world we live in for granted. Cleaning the house, tending the garden, cooking a meal - the most mundane tasks take on a sacred quality when they are performed with your total involvement, with love, and for their own sake, without thought of recognition or reward. You are facing a time now when this easy, natural and utterly ordinary approach to the situations you encounter will bring far better results than any attempt on your part to be brilliant, clever, or otherwise extra-ordinary. Forget all about making headlines by inventing the latest widget, or dazzling your friends and colleagues with your unique star quality. The special gift you have to offer now is presented best by just taking things easily and simply, one step at a time."


I had to stop and think about this description for a bit.

I thought about how I have struggled so desperately with the book writing project this Spring, striving to produce something dazzling to show my colleagues, and not having great success.

I thought about my efforts to prove to people that I deserve better than the treatment I received this year at the hands of my institution.

I thought about how hard it has been to envision a future path that does not include teaching.

But this card has reminded me, as the other recent cards have, that it is time to change my perceptions.

It is time to be patient and ordinary.

It is time to tend my gardens, both figuratively and literally.

And in doing so, my true self will emerge, stronger, better, and brighter.

Another Holocaust Poem

This morning, I got up and was feeling pretty good, despite everything. I had some physical aches and pains, but I was facing them pretty optimistically. My mood was not bad, all things considered.

I came into school, determined to be productive and positive.

And then, while I sat at my desk, a tremendous BLACK wave descended upon me, almost smothering me in its intensity. I felt isolated, hopeless, devastated.

And I took a deep breath and asked who I was feeling.

Because it wasn't me.

Not today.

I felt a tremendous need to overcome this wave of darkness. So I pulled out the only available music in my office, which happened to be a cd of Piano Klezmer Music by Leslaw Lic.

And I popped in the cd, and began to listen. I focused on the notes, trying to push aside the black blanket that smothered me.

And I opened Word, and began to write.

Here is what emerged. It's pretty obvious that the sensations I was feeling were from a Holocaust victim.

So, here's my tribute to her.

Our last refrain

Where has the past gone?
Who has stolen it away?
When our lives were free and gay?
What have we done wrong?

Once we were carefree
Living our lives in peace
In an instant, that would cease
And we would have to flee.

The bark of dogs and guns
Chasing us into the woods
Blindly tearing at our goods
Not knowing who it was who runs.

Far from the home I love,
Our belongings cast aside
With nowhere here to hide
Behind, below, or above.

Even as I flee in fear
Fragments of that song remain
The haunting last refrain
Lingering in my ear.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Reminders, Retreats, and Reaffirmations

I have been writing lately about trying to figure out where I'm headed, and what I need to do to get there. I have been so focused on the material side (ie: getting a new job), that I have tended to neglect the more basic, psychological and spiritual side of my path.

A good friend of mine has been trying to do an at-home "retreat" lately, as she wrote about here. That gave me pause for thought.

A retreat.

What does that mean, exactly? From what or to what should I be withdrawing? What would be the purpose of such a thing?

And then I approached the word again. Not a "retreat", but a "re-treat." As in, treating myself. As in doing something just for me, not for anyone else. This is a very novel and difficult idea for me, I must say.

And I realized that even the things that I THOUGHT I was doing for myself, have actually become about other people somewhere along the way.

I tend to do that, unfortunately. I lose myself in giving to others, or taking care of them, or doing things to help them. And along the way, I stop paying attention to me.

So this weekend, I decided to do something about that.

I took a "re-treat."

On Saturday, I took a long, decadent nap with my husband and pets, neglecting the long list of chores and activities that I SHOULD have been doing. Saturday night, we went out for pizza and wings, and I ate until I felt I would burst. And I enjoyed every bite.

I picked up a novel and started reading just because I wanted to do it. I am reading Jules Verne's Mysterious Island - a wonderful tale, full of mystery and adventure.

And yesterday, I painted my nails, for the first time in almost a YEAR. I took my time, first filing and smoothing them, and carefully choosing a color (from the bag of about 40 bottles that I own), and then painting not just my toe nails (it is sandals time, after all) but also my fingernails.

Now THIS I see as truly decadent, since polish lasts less than a week on my hands before I have it chipped and messy. But that hour (or less, I wasn't counting) that I spent on myself yesterday had a marvelous effect. It made me feel pampered, beautiful, and important.

And I realized that my life has become a long list of chores that I perform for other people. Some chores are more enjoyable that others, of course, like the chore of feeding my husband (I love to cook), but they are chores none the less. They are expected and routine actions that I am forced to perform on a regular basis.

And I made a conscious decision to de-chore and re-treat my life. Starting with a long snuggle on the (unmade) bed with my kitten and puppy.

Oh, and the painted nails? I think they're staying.....

Friday, May 14, 2010

Finding the answers within

I have become quite entranced with my new Osho Zen Meditation Tarot deck, as you might have gathered from my recent posts. I have long loved the traditional tarot as a form of meditation and insight, and when I needed a little guidance I often would pull out my Lovers' Deck and ask questions of it, reading various spreads or just meditating with a single card.

But this new deck?

It is uncanny.

It has not yet failed to provide me with the perfect response for my query.

This week I have been trying to find balance in my life, looking for the path that I need to take. I have been feeling, as I have written about here, a little lost and directionless lately.

So, again, I turned to my Osho deck last night, thinking of all the elements in my life right now, wondering what I need to be doing.

And the deck's response? GUIDANCE.

This was the card that I pulled. And the image on the card had a particularly strong impact on me. It was uncannily similar to the spirit drawing I had done for me by a medium at Lilydale, several years ago. I had gone there, in search of some guidance for the future.

Here is the accompanying commentary for that particular card:

"The angelic figure with rainbow-colored wing on this card represents the guide that each of us carries within. Like the second figure in the background, we may sometimes be a little reluctant to trust this guide when it comes to us, because we are so accustomed to taking our cues from the outside rather than from the inside. The truth of your own deepest being is trying to show you where to go right now, and when this card appears it means you can trust the inner guidance you are being given. It speaks in whispers, and sometimes we can hesitate, not knowing if we have understood rightly. But the indications are clear: in following the inner guide you will feel more whole, more integrated, as if you are moving outwards from the very center of your being. If you go with it, this beam of light will carry you exactly where you need to go."

These words were like a beacon to me, reminding me of that part of myself that I have been ignoring or neglecting for so long now.

I have been focused for some time on my WANTS, on the material self, on the things that surround us, rather than that which lies within. I realized last night, as I meditated with the Osho deck, that I need to concentrate on my NEEDS.

Of course, that means I need to figure out what they are.

And I mean beyond my physical needs. We all have the basic physical requirements: food, shelter, sleep, love.

Beyond that, however, we each have our own set of psychological, spiritual, and mental needs that make us into the complete beings that we are. And I think - no, I know - that I have been neglecting my whole self of late.

So, the appearance of the Guidance Card last night reminded me that I need to pay better attention to me.

I have always been a caregiver, and I frequently get so wrapped up in the needs and desires of others that I leave my own by the wayside.

Now is the time to remember ME.

And as I do that, as I begin to satisfy the inner needs of my soul, I will be much better able to continue my role as caregiver and empath for those around me.

So, here's to me.

Tuesday, May 11, 2010

Another Osho Zen Lesson: Patience.

Today was a horrible weather day. It was cold, windy, rainy, and simply miserable. And I gave into my need to cocoon myself in the house. I stayed home, I did laundry, I cleaned, and I nourished my soul and mind with reading, nestled on the sofa with the dog and the kitten.

It was one of those days that I desperately needed to do something other than "real work." Every time I tried to open my writing, I got frustrated. I was getting nothing done.

Oh, and did I mention we lost power for a bit today, too?

I was feeling ungrounded, listless, directionless today. I felt as if there were a million things I should be doing, but just did not know how to begin any of them.

So, again, I turned to my Osho deck.

And again, of course, it told me just what I needed to hear.

Today's card was "Patience."

Here's what the commentary says about this card:

"There are times when the only thing to do is wait. The seed has been planted, the child is growing in the womb, the oyster is coating the grain of sand and making it into a pearl. This card reminds us that now is a time when all that is required is to be simply alert, patient, waiting. The woman pictured here is in just such an attitude. Contented, with no trace of anxiety, she is simply waiting. Through all the phases of the moon passing overhead she remains patient, so in tune with the rhythms of the moon that she has almost become one with it. She knows it is a time to be passive, letting nature take its course. But she is neither sleepy nor indifferent; she knows it is time to be ready for something momentous. It is a time full of mystery, like the hours just before the dawn. It is a time when the only thing to do is wait."

As I read that description, I kept thinking "yes!" It reminded me of the earlier post I wrote, here, where I talked about the beauty of the pearl.

It also reminded me that I have been full of just such a powerful "somethingness" lately. I have had this feeling that I am on the verge of exploding into something beyond words.

Patience has never come easily for me. It's part of the Pisces being. We move quickly, decisively, impulsively at times.

But now, I see, very clearly, that it is time to be patient.

To wait for what the world will bring me.

That is not to say that I expect that the path will not require work.

I know, whatever comes next, will be a challenging path. But I also believe that, if I am truly patient, the way will make itself known to me. I just have to open myself up and be ready for it to appear.

And the results, I believe, will be truly miraculous.

Thursday, May 6, 2010

Part of the Answer I Seek.....

So, right after I posted my last entry here, about feeling stuck and paralyzed, I decided to turn to the Osho deck once more, and give it one more try.

Interesting, how it works.

As I shuffled the cards, I said to the deck, "Ok, I know what's wrong - I know I'm stuck. But tell me how to get UNstuck. What do I do NEXT?"

And I felt the energy pulsing through the cards. Felt the rhythms in them. Felt my hands absorbing it.

And I drew a single card, and turned it over.


It was the Guilt card.

And here's the accompanying commentary for this card. It says:

"Guilt is one of the most destructive emotions in which we can get caught. If we have wronged another, or gone against our own truth, then of course we will feel bad. But to let ourselves be overwhelmed with guilt is to invite a migraine."

WHAT? "invite a migraine?" DUH.

It goes on...

"We end up surrounded by nagging clouds of self-doubt and feelings of worthlessness to the point where we cannot see any of the beauty and joy that life is trying to offer us. We all long to be better people - more loving, more aware, more true to ourselves. But when we punish ourselves for our failures by feeling guilty, we can get locked into a cycle of despair and hopelessness that robs us of all clarity about ourselves and the situations we encounter. You are absolutely okay as you are, and it is absolutely natural to go astray from time to time. Just learn from it, move on, and use the lesson not to make the same mistake again."


The commentary goes on to state:

"How can you enjoy life if you are continuously feeling guilty?...It becomes impossible to delight in life. You become heavy, loaded. Guilt sits on your chest like a rock, it crushes you; it does not allow you to dance. How can you dance? How can guilt dance? How can guilt sing? How can guilt love? How can guilt live? So the one who things he is doing something wrong is guilty, burdened, dead before death, has already entered the grave."


There it is.

I need to let go of the deep levels of guilt I have over my "failure". When talking to others about the events of the past year, I have said "I did my best". Apparently, I didn't believe that, or I wouldn't feel this incredible guilt.

But I did.

I did what I could do. I approached my job (and my life) with diligence and care, and devoted attention to the things that needed to get done. I tried to balance my life and see that nothing was neglected.

I. did. my. best.

And I need to believe that, let go, and move on.

Because I need to dance, and sing, and love, and live. And guilt always stands in the way.

So here's to being true, and living real, and for not apologizing when it falls short of other people's expectations.

Here's to releasing my guilt, and freeing my mind and body from its clammy grasp.

Here's to the future. Guilt-free.

Here's to me.

A Confession of sorts

I must admit, I have been struggling of late.

If you've been following my blog, then you know that my baby, Monte, has been facing some health issues, as I wrote about here and here. He's doing much better now, thankfully, and I even see glimmers of the feisty puppy emerging once again, for brief moments, so I know he's not quite ready to leave me yet.

But the stress of his illness, added to the already overwhelming stress of the events of this year, have taken their toll on my body and soul.

Physically, I have been a wreck. Flu. Migraines. Arthritis. A flare-up of my stress-induced fever blisters. My immune system has gone on strike. My body is a war zone, and I'm the one losing the war.

It is as if my body is telling me "stop the ride. I want to get off." It seems I have reached my breaking point.

And there has been a mental effect as well.

I am supposed to be on a "research contract" this term, meaning that I am supposed to be producing some significant results. In other words, I should be WRITING large pieces of my textbook project. And to date, I have completed 16 pages. Now mind you they are 16 GOOD pages. But 16 pages is not enough.

So I sit at my desk and stare at the piles of notes in front of me, thinking "I need to do this."

And I think about the other projects that I want to complete, including the Psychic Trails book that I have posted some excerpts from on earlier posts here, here, and here.

And I think about where my life is going. And how I need to get there. And how I'd really really rather not go back for another year at my current institution, under these stressful conditions.

And I find myself paralyzed.

So I turn to my new Osho Zen Meditation Cards. And they keep telling me the same things. I need to let go. I need to put the past behind me. I need to move on.

Well, heck, I KNOW all of that.

What I DON'T know is how to do it.

So that's where I'm stuck. How do I move past this stuck place, and move on into the new phase of my life that I know is there waiting for me?

I feel like I'm this beautiful crab tree, full of tight, red, buds, just waiting to BURST open into beautiful blossoms.....but first I need to find the right combination of air, water, and light to let me bloom.

I don't like being a stuck chick. In fact, I have always worked very hard at NOT being stuck. But right now I feel like I'm missing some gigantic sign that is out there, like a neon billboard, telling me which direction I need to turn.

Anyone else see my sign? I could use some help here....

Because one thing is crystal clear to me at this moment: I can not continue this way for much longer. It is likely to kill me before too long.

And I have far too much left to do for that to happen. Just like Monte. We need to stick around for a while longer.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

My first Holocaust dream, at age four....

The earliest Holocaust dream I remember came to me when I was about four years old.

I was somewhat of a precocious child. I was reading at age three, much to the surprise and disbelief of the adults in my life. I preferred the company of adults to children. And I felt a particular affinity for animals and nature.

Yet, for all of that, I was a normal child.

I was surrounded by love and security. I was a lucky child, in many ways. I played games, sang songs, loved cookies and hugs, and knew very little of the atrocities of which humanity is capable.

Still, I dreamt of the horrors. In vivid technicolor and terrifying reality.

This first dream, like so many of them to follow, went something like this:

I was a young girl of about ten years old, dressed in worn and ragged clothing – a long dull skirt, covered by a wrap-around long-sleeved blouse that had once been white, but now was stained and tattered. On my head, I wore a kerchief, tied under my chin, and I had thin, worn shoes slipped on my bare feet.

As the dream opened, I saw myself standing before a set of massive wooden doors, constructed like a barn door with no windows or openings, as the doors swung shut with a bang, followed by the clank of iron as the doors were bolted into place.

Tears streamed down my face and I cried out for help. “Wait! Stop!” I cried. “Let us out. Pleeeaase.”

I felt desperation as I sunk to my knees with my palms resting flat against the barred exit.

Behind me, the building was cold, dark, and damp, but bustling with noise. I turned and awe an unbelievable crowd of women pulsing through the cramped spaces. All of them, it seemed, were intent on finding a portion of bunk on which to settle.

I scanned the crowd, looking for…. Someone, anyone, I recognized. And yet, I knew, even before I looked, that I would find no one. I was all alone.

The darkness seemed eternal, and I prayed that would soon end. I huddled in the corner of a bunk, jammed in with three other women, and waited. Gradually, quiet crept over the barracks, as exhaustion – or death – won out over the fear that kept us all filling the silence.

Finally, when I thought I could stand it no longer, there was a loud bang as the doors were thrown open, and the guards pointed their rifles at us, yelling “Raus! Schnell! Schnell!” We scrambled out of the bunks and massed out of the barracks, squinting into the bright daylight beyond.

As I was propelled by the crowd, I lost my footing and fell into a puddle, splashing muddy water across my face. Behind me, two hands reach down to pick me up, their owners not breaking stride as I was wrenched along.

Once outside, we were pushed into a formation of sorts, and we all fell silent.

Terrified, I snuck glances side to side, trying to discern what was happening. I looked up, between the rows of women in front of me, and my eyes could not believe what they took in: before us, on a platform, stood a scaffolding with six nooses, hanging empty. A line of prisoners stood just beyond the scaffolding.

Loudly, the guards shouted at these waiting prisoners, prodding them with their rifles, and they moved slowly up the wooden steps to the waiting ropes….

It was at this point that I awoke, in a panic.

A child of four.

I knew nothing of Nazis or Racial Cleansing, or death camps. I knew nothing but the warmth and comfort of my loving family.

And yet, there it was, thrust into my innocent dreams – the horrors of the Holocaust – and there it would stay, for the rest of my life.