Sunday, September 27, 2009

Patrick Henry's Ride

LISTEN, my children, and you shall hear
Of the midnight ride of Paul Revere,
On the eighteenth of April, in Seventy-Five;
Hardly a man is now alive
Who remembers that famous day and year.

He said to his friend, "If the British march
By land or sea from the town to-night,
Hang a lantern aloft in the belfry arch
Of the North Church tower, as a signal light, --
One, if by land, and two, if by sea;
And I on the opposite shore will be,
Ready to ride and spread the alarm
Through every Middlesex village and farm,
For the country-folk to be up and to arm."

Then he said "Good-night!" and with muffled oar

Thursday, September 24, 2009


By James Dillet Freeman
The flowers that blossom in the mind
Are fairer than the garden kind.
Though violets and roses seem
Beyond compare, the dreams you dream,
Though sometimes they are hardly more
Than half-unopened buds before
They start to fade away, more frail
Than touch-me-nots and moonflower pale,
Merer than mists, yet in them you
Catch glimpses of a truth more true
Than any outward forms can show,
A vision of what you may grow
To be, a beauty passing far
All you have, every thought you are.


As my fingers typed, my heart remembered this and sighed. It had touched me when I first read it in a Daily Word in the mid-90's. It fit then.

In fact, I had liked it so much that I typed it in a tiny font, cut it in to a 2" x 3" square, and carried it around in my wallet. I'd pull it out occasionally to reread his reassuring words. And to remind myself that there was never, is never, will never, be another one like me. To remind myself to keep the faith; that as we peeled away the layers of my onion, as I got more and more of the s--t out of the way, learned one more lesson, made one more amend, walked through one more door, I would not only be that vision, but I would feel like it, too.

It fits, still.

Today, it reminds me that my thoughts are gifts, precious and ephemeral, to be written down, cherished, cultivated, loved. I can let them fly by, or I can grab hold and give them life.

Which reminds me. I harvested my garden today. The crop was phenomenal, and I'm grateful for the fruit, but there's a hole in my heart where my plants were. I'll plant more next year. In fact, I've already started, planting broccoli, an artichoke, some bush beans. In time, the sadness will fade.

What does this have to do with growing? Who knows.

But, if the the point of growing is to flower and then fruit, I'm glad that God made me a perennial.

P.S. The anniversary of my mom's passing is approaching. I feel my heart contracting, tighter and tighter as the day approaches. This is my way. I will eat sweet things to keep from feeling too keenly. I will watch TV, write in my journal, listen to my Holosync meditation CD's.

I will go to the spa, see patients and get lost in their lives for a while, then come home, watch more TV, eat more sorbet. I watched Always last night, let loose and cried...and if Steel Magnolias or Beaches happen to be on when I'm surfing, I'll be there, watching, crying, sticking it out for the tough parts.

Because part of growing is learning to cry when we're sad, even if it takes a Ouiser.

And, you're right. The hole in my heart is not about the plants at all, but more about missing my Mama. To Mama.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

The End of Seeking aka The Light at the End of the Tunnel

A woman met a man she didn't want to meet.
She liked him. She saw in him a burning light.
From deep within a feeling unbidden
overwhelmed the woman. The feeling
frightened her. How could this be from the
sight of the light in the man she didn't want
to meet? The woman sat still. A memory of a
far off place came to her and remembering
the beauty, the awe and the wonder, her fear
left. The man talked on, unaware. His flame
burned bright in the night. - Olivia Herrell


This is from my personal library, and was penned painstakingly one February, years ago. I was early in recovery in AA, stinging from a long weekend in Hilton Head with my wonderful, but alcoholic mother, who'd spent the entire weekend whining about anything and everything in general, but mostly about me in particular.

There was a man in my life, just then, who was a member of Al-Anon, the sister organization to AA. Though I was sober in AA, I had no defense against my mother's drinking, nor against her tongue when she was drinking.

That man introduced me to Al-Anon, where my recovery continued and grew.

It's been almost 19 years since I started down this long road of recovery.

Over that time I have peeled away one layer at a time, doing personal inventories, making amends, clearing up wreckage, learning to say no. Then learning to say yes. I've spent countless hours in AA meetings, Al-Anon, group therapy, individual therapy, motivational seminars, ashrams, self-help books, meditation, walks in nature, journalling, writing, thinking, feeling, being, sleeping, reading, dreaming, cell, one breath, one heart beat at a time.

I've had good teachers. The best. And, I'm a good student.

But there was always another.

And another.

Today, that came to a rather abrupt stop.

I even heard the "eeerrrrrkkkkkkkk!"

It was a peculiar sensation. Rather like being slammed against a concrete wall. The wall at the end.

Now, for all my fellow seekers out there: Have you ever wondered how you'd know when you reached the end of your long search? I don't think I'd ever even pondered the question! Yet, now, here I am, at the end. And knowing it.

"What's at the end?" you ask?

The light.

The light that burns bright in the night.

The big surprise? There's really no surprise, at all.

It's what every weary seeker must find.

I don't feel cheated. Not at all.

I do feel deep gratitude. And relief. And not just a little silly.

I bow to my divine, to that burning light within me.

Baba Muktananda advised, "Honor your Self, Worship your Self, Meditate upon your Self. God dwells within you as you."

Tonight, I know, more than ever before, what he meant.

Thank you, to all my teachers. I love and respect and appreciate you, more than you may ever know.

And, thank you to Karen Anderson, Angelic Intuitive, whose loving Spirit helped me to recognize the end.

I will close with this. We all know this story. But...guess what! I found the teacup! :)

Taken from an NPR script:
A seeker has heard the wisest guru in all of India lives atop India's highest mountain, so the seeker tracks over a hill in Delhi until he reaches the fabled mountain. It's incredibly steep, and more than once, he slips and falls. By the time he reaches the top, he's full of cuts and bruises. But there's the guru, sitting cross-legged in front of his cave.

Oh, wise guru, the seeker says, I have come to ask you what the secret of life is. Ah, yes, the secret of life, the guru says. The secret of life is a teacup. A teacup? I came all the way up here to find the meaning of life and you tell me it's a teacup? The guru shrugs, so maybe it isn't a teacup.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

Government OF the People, BY the People, and FOR the People

There have been many poems over the years that have inspired me deeply.

During my early years of sobriety, I found this poem, by Edgar A. Guest, in some AA literature, possibly The Forum. I copied it, cut it out, and carried it in my Big Book for years. I refound it the other day, along with several others that I will share at a later time.

This spoke to me, then, and it speaks even more loudly today.


An Edgar A. Guest Poem

I'd rather see a sermon than hear one any day,

I'd rather one should walk with me than merely show the way,

The eye's a better pupil and more willing than the ear;

Fine counsel is confusing, but example's always clear;

And the best of all the preachers are the men who live their creeds,

For to see the good in action is what everybody needs.

I can soon learn how to do it if you'll let me see it done.

I can watch your hands in action, but your tongue too fast may run.

And the lectures you deliver may be very wise and true;

But I'd rather get my lesson by observing what you do

For I may misunderstand you and the high advice you give

But there's no misunderstanding how you act and how you live.


Please, can't we all stop spouting hate and vengeance and get out of the problem and in to the solution?

Can't we have a little humility and stop calling our country and our leaders Socialists, just because they're trying to help us?

I know this country was built on free speech. But words do hurt. Words are breaking the backbone of our country.

This is one of the most perilous times our country has faced, and division within leaves us exposed to the dangers without.

The real 'enemy' here is not our government, nor our leaders. The real enemies look like you and me and they represent big business. They have a vested interest in keeping us sick and tired and broke so they can profit from it. It's the insurance and oil companies (and many others) who post record profits each year, while you and I go broke, even bankrupt, lining their pockets.

If we have to fight, let's fight to change the laws that allow these corporations, whose only interest is in their own bottom line, to buy our elected officials' votes.

Let's separate the election process from these corporations' profit motives.

Corporations ARE NOT PEOPLE. Corporations should not be allowed to vote. And, believe me, they vote every day with their dollars. How, as individuals, can you and I compete with that?

We can. After all, this is a government OF the people, BY the people and FOR the people. That would be you and me. When we unite, our voice is loud, and our leaders must follow.

Please, please, PLEASE let's unite in the common cause of healing our country. We must, at the very least, be able to agree on that.

Let's all stop slinging hurtful words and labels and become part of the solution, rather than the problem. Let's join the grassroots movement to take our government back.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

"What Is An American?"

I love this!

I first read it several years ago. It brought tears to my eyes then, and it brings tears to my eyes each time I read it. I found it in my inbox today, and decided I wanted to pass it on.

Though some things have changed a little, I think this is mostly still applicable today, eight years later.


What Is An American?
A primer.

By Peter Ferrara, an associate professor of law at the George Mason University School of Law.
September 25, 2001 9:20 a.m.

You probably missed it in the rush of news last week, but there was actually a report that someone in Pakistan had published in a newspaper there an offer of a reward to anyone who killed an American, any American.

So I just thought I would write to let them know what an American is, so they would know when they found one.

An American is English…or French, or Italian, Irish, German, Spanish, Polish, Russian or Greek. An American may also be African, Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Australian, Iranian, Asian, or Arab, or Pakistani, or Afghan.

An American is Christian, or he could be Jewish, or Buddhist, or Muslim. In fact, there are more Muslims in America than in Afghanistan. The only difference is that in America they are free to worship as each of them choose.

An American is also free to believe in no religion. For that he will answer only to God, not to the government, or to armed thugs claiming to speak for the government and for God.

An American is from the most prosperous land in the history of the world. The root of that prosperity can be found in the Declaration of Independence, which recognizes the God-given right of each man and woman to the pursuit of happiness.

An American is generous. Americans have helped out just about every other nation in the world in their time of need. When Afghanistan was overrun by the Soviet army 20 years ago, Americans came with arms and supplies to enable the people to win back their country. As of the morning of September 11, Americans had given more than any other nation to the poor in Afghanistan.

An American does not have to obey the mad ravings of ignorant, ungodly cruel, old men. American men will not be fooled into giving up their lives to kill innocent people, so that these foolish old men may hold on to power. American women are free to show their beautiful faces to the world, as each of them choose.

An American is free to criticize his government's officials when they are wrong, in his or her own opinion. Then he is free to replace them, by majority vote.

Americans welcome people from all lands, all cultures, all religions, because they are not afraid. They are not afraid that their history, their religion, their beliefs, will be overrun, or forgotten. That is because they know they are free to hold to their religion, their beliefs, their history, as each of them choose.

And just as Americans welcome all, they enjoy the best that everyone has to bring, from all over the world. The best science, the best technology, the best products, the best books, the best music, the best food, the best athletes.

Americans welcome the best, but they also welcome the least. The nation symbol of America welcomes your tired and your poor, the wretched refuse of your teeming shores, the homeless, tempest tossed.

These in fact are the people who built America. Many of them were working in the twin towers on the morning of September 11, earning a better life for their families.

So you can try to kill an American if you must. Hitler did. So did General Tojo and Stalin and Mao Tse-Tung, and every bloodthirsty tyrant in the history of the world.

But in doing so you would just be killing yourself. Because Americans are not a particular people from a particular place. They are the embodiment of the human spirit of freedom. Everyone who holds to that spirit, everywhere, is an American.

So look around you. You may find more Americans in your land than you thought were there. One day they will rise up and overthrow the old, ignorant, tired tyrants that trouble too many lands. Then those lands too will join the community of free and prosperous nations.

And America will welcome them.
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