************************************Denial covers the pain of the past * A blanket over the world * Lift a corner * Don't be afraid * Your life awaits you*************************************

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Where is Hell?

How could Hell be an actual, physcial place if it is only occupied by Spiritual beings? If Hell is "in" the elusive Spiritual world, it exists beyond the physical universe. In that case, much the way one can say, "God is everywhere," Hell could be anywhere and everywhere.

So, I personally believe it is possible to “be in Hell” at any time or place. I believe many people find themselves “in Hell” right now, as they walk the Earth.

I don't mean people who have, say, lost a child or are suffering great physical pain through cancer or are right now dodging fire in the front lines of a war. While it may feel desperate to be in this world, dealing with physical and emotional pain,to me that isn’t Hell. It's awful, horrible, sickening, excrutiatin, but even in the worst pain imaginable, we can still have something which does not exist in Hell.


At my darkest moments, it was the loss of hope that most terrified me, and what I most was afraid of losing was not my life or health or that of another - it was connection.
Even with nourishment and shelter, a child will fail to thrive without a sense of connection. It is a fundamental need. When that sense of connection is threatened, panic drives people to desperate acts. Some people spend their entire lives in that desperation, searching for the connection they desperately need.

Imagine a man who has flirted with the very edge of this desperation all his life. As a young child, his mother threatened to take her love away over the smallest disruptions as a way of controlling his behavior. He was a sickly child, one who required surgery when he was only three months old, to save his life. He died on the operating table, but was revived. Later, he was told he had almost died because he hadn't been a good boy.
  • He learned that he had to work very hard, to be good so he wouldn't die. 
  • He learned that his own behavior was what controlled whether he lived or died AND whether he was loved or not.
  • What he wanted more than anything was connection, and he learned that the way to get what he wanted was through force and manipulation.
As this man went through life, the fear of the loss of connection was his obsession. Even when he thought he was in control, this obsession ruled him. He spent every moment devising ways to manipulate the world into a place which would feed his overwhelming hunger.
Of course, he was unaware of why he behaved as he did. If you were to ask him, he would tell you that he didn't need anyone. He was fine on his own. He couldn't admit, even to himself, that he needed this connection because it was unbearable to face the possibility that he might never have it.

He married young, searching for that connection in a way that society expected, but his fears and mistrust prevented him from finding what he needed most in that relationship. When the marriage ended, the church he’d grown up in told him he could never marry again. This felt like a rejection from not only the institution of the Catholic Church, but also from God.

The man said he didn't care. “Religion is fake and God doesn't exist!” he proclaimed, thus cutting himself off completely from an already tenuous Spiritual connection, as well.

He took his next wife hostage. He carefully chose one who had already been abandoned. She feared the loss of connection as much as he did.

He played the game very carefully, charming and thus convincing her that he was the answer to her great need to feel loved. When he had her firmly within his grasp, he began to use a ploy he’d learned very early on – he threatened to take his love away if she didn't do everything he wanted.

For decades, these two lived in this way, one completely engulfed in the shadow of the other. Despite the anniversaries ticking away, beyond the silver, beyond the gold, they both still felt a desperate need for connection because their relationship was felt as empty as a child suckling a stone.

They tried to pull others into the vacuum of their lives, but anyone who could break free did so, and ran as far as they could. The more people ran from them, the harder they tried to hold on and the more desperate they became.

And still, even today, this man is just a frightened little boy, sitting on the edge of hopelessness. His life is waning away, minute by minute. In his complete denial of any power greater than himself – a denial he feels he must keep up in a warped attempt at self-protection – he can’t acknowledge even the possibility of a life beyond the one he knows. He lives in the hell of disconnection with no hope of redemption; a hell of his own making.

The man is my father.

It may be that his being gone for the first year of my life allowed my mother to form a deep connection with me, when I was an infant. It may be this connection that drove him to hurt me. Not only was he jealous of my connection with my mother – something he still craved with a vengeance – but also I was threatening his hold on her. If she had me, possibly she wouldn't need him.

He did everything in his power to isolate me, and when that didn't work, he tried to own me. He told me there was no God and that anyone who thought there was, was a foolish sheep, following liars and in denial of the truth – that we would all die and that was the end of it. He told me, many times, that when people found out what I was really like, they would turn against me. He told me I couldn't trust anyone, and then he proved it to me, in ugly and hurtful ways.

Was that hell?

Not for me. It was terribly painful and at times it seemed unbearable, but somehow there was some glimmer of hope that there would be a way out. I just had to make it through… and I'm finding my way.

Hell is where my father lives, and where he has been for as long as I've known him and for a long time before. He is terrified of death, which he still portrays as the end of everything, but I feel that it is only in death that he will be released from Hell.

We can’t know what comes next. We are physical beings and can only understand what our physical brains can comprehend. However, when we die, I believe the Spirit within is freed of this body and all its limitations. Even though I can’t know “where” we go after that, I am convinced that when we get “there”, the connection we all seek is going to be as limitless and constant as the universe… and that is Heaven.


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Writing Excercise Submissions: Animal Stories

This week's writing suggestion was in honor of my black lab, Jake, who met his end this past Saturday. I asked to hear stories of how an animal has changed your life.

Submitted by Desiree:

My obvious choice would have been to write about Romeo, since it's only been a week and a bit since we lost him. However, as he was really my daughter's pup, I am rather going to write about Tessa, who we had to have euthenased a year ago (May 5th 2010).

Every single dog we've had the privilege of sharing our lives with has been special. Each, totally unique. Each, irreplacable. Tessa, however, possessed something even more profound in her makeup. In every way, she was the very best of everything 'human' We could see her thinking things through! She really understood! Her eyes were deep pools of love and she held you with her gaze. She was a large German Shepherd and was an outstanding guard dog, but, to us, she was as placid as a kitten. She was exceptionally gentle and trusting and never ever snapped or snarled at us, or grabbed anything we offered her. I trusted her with my life.

She took on the role of foster mother to both Bonny (now 10) and Heathcliff (now 6), raising them as though they were her own pups. She shepherded and watched them closely through to adulthood and beyond. In return they both loved her and bowed to her authority. We found this remarkable, because when we got her as a puppy, our then German Shepherd (also spayed, bitch) Ziggy who was 7 at the time, wanted to have nothing to do with her! They eventually became good friends, but Ziggy really gave Tessa a raw deal as a puppy.

Tessa, on the other hand, was quite amazing. She taught the others to play with a ball, she showed endless patience playing tug the rope with them and allowed them to cuddle and snuggle to their heart's content. When they were doing anything not permissible, she would growl at them or nudge them away and they'd learn so quickly from her. We were constantly marvelling at how much she taught them and how fair she was with them. She really doted on them and always wore what can only be described as the most beautiful smile. The only time she 'sulked' was when we went out and left them behind. Then she would truly give us the cold shoulder and turn her gaze away from us. She forgave us instantly when we returned though and always held up a paw in greeting. She used to sit just like a human, with her bum on the top step and her back legs sticking out from underneath, while she supported herself firmly with her front legs on the step below.

She loved her meals, her bath time, being brushed and petted. She loved being in the garden, smelling the flowers, watching the birds, bees and bugs...truly! She was like putty in our hands despite her size and strength and yet, in an instant, she could turn into a fierce looking guard dog if anyone came near our gate. She was regarded with respect by all who met her and she was extemely discerning when it came to choosing who she felt worthy of befriending. Some were accepted quite quickly, whilst others were never accepted by her and we always said she knew who could be trusted. I reckon she was spot on every time, too!

When I was sad, she would come over and nuzzle me and stay firmly by my side. We spent lots of time gardening together. She was always with me and always made me feel so very safe. Sadly, she suffered a stroke and was unable to move on her final day with us. We had to allow her to be put out of her suffering and insisted our vet come to the house so we could let her go in her own familiar environment with us right beside her. It was one of the hardest things we'd had to do, but we knew that it was the kindest thing we could do for her at that stage. I truly thought I'd never recover from the shock of losing her (she was 12.5 years), but we had no option but to move on for the sake of Bonny and Heathcliff, who were also grieving. We got Toby, another German Shepherd (our first male Shepherd) the same week Tessa died and knew she would have approved. Raising Toby helped us come to terms with her death and helped Bonny and Heathcliff over their own grief.

As with Ziggy, we had Tessa cremated and both of their ashes were scattered in the raised flowerbed beside our frontdoor. The plants grow lush and are permanent fixtures reminding us daily of our two wonderful, irreplacable dogs.


Submitted by Ivory:

I had a small gray poodle. Nickie was a lively, ball-chasing crazy dog - and she loved me. During some of my darkest hours, she would jump onto my lap and lay her head on my chest and look into my face as if she wanted to console me. She would do anything for me, including allowing our cockatiel to climb up and preen on her back as she lay snoozing in front of the heater vent. She also climbed up onto the back of my chair one evening and lay her head on my shoulder and watched me crying as I tried desperately to keep her newborn tiny puppy alive. Nickie taught me what my mother did not: complete and unconditional acceptance and love.


Submitted by Paul:

When I was about 10, I did not have much going on that was positive in my life. But one day I found this abandoned kitten. A tabby. Perhaps he (or she) was not a kitten. He was a bit older than a kitten. But I never really had any contact with cats before so I did not know what to make of him.

It was as if everything in my life had changed. Immediately I knew I wanted to keep him in secret. So, I stowed him away under our back porch and snuck money from where my Dad kept his wallet, walked to the store, and bought cat food.

This went on for days. It was a very new feeling for me to know what it was like to care for another being. And care for that kitten I did. I cannot remember for how long I cared for him. I think it was only a few days. And I do not remember too much about it all, only that I know it was hugely important for me.

Here is where my memory becomes rather vague. One day I came home from school and the kitten was gone. I cannot remember what my mother told me. I think she either told me he ran away or that his owner came to retrieve him.

I wish I could tell you how I felt. I would like to think I was devastated. But I cannot remember. The memory is too faded or has always been too compartmentalized.

At some point, and this is also not very clear, I think many years later, I asked my mother about that cat. I seem to recall that she confided in me that the kitten escaped and got run over by a car in front of our house. I seem to remember this because she made it clear that she was worried that I would come home from school before the animal control officer came to remove it. Yet again, my reaction is not known to me.

I only have the vaguest sense that it was very important to me. He was my kitten. My life was changed. It was all better. Then that was taken away.


And my entry, which I'm only writing now because something interesting happened this morning. I opened the deck door and stepped outside. Bonnie and Clyde, three-year-old beagle/terrier mix siblings, ran across the wood and leaped over the steps to the yard, in their usual, playful race. I closed my eyes and enjoyed the smell of the imminent Spring shower and the warm breeze on my face.

What happened next seems, for wont of a better word, miraculous. I didn't try to visualize anything, so what I saw came as a surprise.

Behind my closed eyes, I saw Jake and he was in a full-out run. He was moving through a high, green field near a rushing stream. He splashed into the water, swam a bit in it's depths, and then climbed easily onto the bank. A cloud of droplets flew from him as he shook off the water with mighty strength. His tail wagged in a way I haven't seen in far too long.

His mouth was open, his tongue out. He looked at me with bright eyes and a joy that came to me in waves, engulfing me.

When I opened my eyes, I had tears on my face.

I want to believe it's real. I want to believe this vision came to me from a place where he can run boundlessly without fatigue or pain . So many times in the last six or eight months I've seen his legs moving in a stiff running motion while he slept the last of his life away. I know this is what he wanted more than anything. Please, let it be true.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Sad Day

The sweet and gentle Jake, our fifteen year old black lab, took his last breath this morning at 11:45. The vet gave us a paw print to keep.

He will be missed for a very long time to come.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Writing Exercise - Finish This Story

For this week's writing exercise, I wrote the beginning of a story and those who felt so inclined wrote then ending.

I got four submissions and I was blown away! These are really fun to read - hope you enjoy them, too.

Here is the beginning of the story:

I yawned, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, as I opened the front door. I was heading outside to retrieve the newspaper, hoping that this would be the day I wouldn't have to pull it out of the flower bed next to the driveway. The sun was still low in the sky, so I squinted as I searched with my eyes.

Ah, good! It's Right on the edge of the pavement.

Luckily, I looked down at the stoop before stepping outside. There, right where I was about to step, was a small, red, paper bag. I shifted my footing and then squatted down to look at it more closely.

The top was stapled shut and a note, written in red ink on a 3x5 index card, was taped to the side.
And the four endings, in the order they were received:

Submitted by Gail:

........at first I thought it was an anthrax thing or some other terrorist threat via a bag of whatever. I quickly dismissed that as I did a sort of reality check where-in I thought, who would send anthrax to me in a brown paper bag with a note on an index card?

Duh, no-one!

I stared at the bag, and saw that the name on the outside said -Gail-Anne', few people referred to me that way, and one in particular I had searched for and longed for, for many a year. She was my best friend, I loved her truly and we survived a war of all wars 17 years ago as victims of the church leaders and their betrayals of all things sacred. It was the only time in my life I ever thought I could "be" with a woman as my life's partner and we loved each other so much.

At the end of the saga of betrayals she simply left and never looked back - never said goodbye she was just gone. I ached for a long time. As time passed I began to look for her and eventually, via all the social networks found her and emailed her, she did not reply. A few years later, I emailed again, and after several more years and one more email she replied. It didn't resolve much although she finally said she was sorry for leaving as she did and for hurting me but it was the only way she could deal with all that happened. I begged her to meet with me but she refused.

I looked at the brown paper bag and in my heart I knew it was her. I picked the bag and held it. I stared at my name "Gail-Anne" and gently pulled apart the stapled bag. Inside was an envelope, plain white - sealed - I pulled it out and opened it. A few words on un-lined paper "please meet me at our spot, this Friday at 6:00 - bring cigarettes" Love, Janet-Marie.

I sunk to the ground sobbing - a flood of emotion rushed in and I felt all the love again - I began to cry and sob uncontrollably.

And so the day came, I brought cigarettes and coffee too, I went to our spot on the hospital grounds - I saw her so small and fragile in the car. I got out and leaned on her door - I felt the window come down and her hand touched my side - she began to squeeze and grab - I backed away and opened her door - she leaped out and fell in to me and I In to her - it was invasive and desperate and long over due...... we held on for dear life. I had the bag in my pocket, I reached back and pulled it out and said - "I got your note"....we both laughed heartily and leaned back on to the car and lit a cigarette..................and just smiled, each with a tear rolling down our faces for all that was........

Submitted by Middle Child:

Red. My favorite color. Something about this unsettled me.

I picked up the bag and also retrieved my paper. Inside, I went to the kitchen, opened the blinds and grabbed a cup of coffee. Staring at the bag on the table, I thought I noticed a faint, familiar scent. Couldn't quite put my finger on what it was exactly, but I liked it. Then there was the way my name was written on the card. It sent chills down my spine.

I went out to the patio to have a smoke and try to get my emotions under control. Breathing deeply of the sea air, I looked out into the horizon. No one ever understood how I could bear living here. It is too sad, they said. You cannot heal here. I could not tell them they knew nothing of love. I have lived here for 35 years and I can't imagine living anywhere else. I have my writing and my two pups. Enough, I said to myself.

My curiosity overcame my fear so I went inside to open the bag. Inside was a tiny plain box. My hands shook as I removed it from the bag. I took a deep breath and opened it.

I froze in amazement. Picking up the tiny gold ring I was thinking....it couldn't be. Thirty-five years ago -to the day-I had lost it and my new husband when our boat capsized out in the lake. I couldn't entertain the thought that it might be a prank but still, I needed to be sure. I looked inside the simple band and there was the inscription, "Always"

Submitted by Life of a Middle Aged Student:

My heart fluttered as I slowly bent down to pick up the paper bag, I had no idea who would have left something for me, other then the person who delivered my paper or the mail person. I wanted this moment to last for as long as I could, so I decided that I would open the bag before seeing what was written on the card.

Ever so gently I pulled the staples out of the bag and slowly separated the sides of the bag. Inside I could see the one Beany Baby that I had always wanted, the angel one with the halo. Within an instant my sister came to my mind, but just as quick as her face came to my mind, is when I remembered that it would have been her 50th birthday.

A tear appeared just as the memory of her passing had. Now curiosity hit me hard, because I thought she was the only person who would have known I always wanted that Beany Baby. Now having that urge to know, I quickly remembered that card that was attached and turned the bag so as I could read it. In my sister's hand writing it said, "Though it is my birthday, I know you would have wanted to be with me, but I have sent this bear to you, to let you know, I am here and always will be."

With tears running down my face so hard and fierce I turned the card over and in her writing was this message. "Make sure this is delivered on my birthday (date inserted here) to the one person who knew me best and loved me anyway." it was followed by my address.

Submitted by Desiree:

I had no idea who had left the package on my doorstep, or if it was meant for me, so, stooping low I picked it up. I wasn't wearing my reading glasses and couldn't make out the message. I placed it carefully on the patio table before retracing my steps back inside to collect my specs. I thought I'd grab my coffee at the same time, then I could sip it while reading the newspaper headlines and examining the contents of the little red package.

The message on the card attached to the outside was simple: "Pay it forward!" it said. Huh? What did that mean I wondered, as I gingerly undid the staples and peeped inside.
There was a beautiful, handmade, gossamer teabag filled with an assortment of dried leaves and flowers. I smelt it. Gorgeous! Jasmine, rose, orange blossom and subtle herbal notes. Instead of a string tag, it was tied together with a pretty ribbon. There was something else inside the bag. Two delicious-looking homemade shortbread hearts with half of each side dipped in chocolate. These were tastefully wrapped in cellophane and tied with a piece of the same ribbon as the teabag. Still wondering what this could mean, I tipped the bag upside down and a sprinkling of little hearts, and dainty butterfly and bird shapes fluttered lightly on to the table like confetti. There was also a little handwritten note instructing me to make a cup of tea, in my favourite china and to sip it slowly, savouring all the fragrances while nibbling slowly on the two biscuits. The note told me to imagine myself enveloped by love and to do one unsolicited kindness for a stranger within the next day or two in order to "Pay it forward!"


I have some more writing to do, myself, now. Two things have been going on in my life which are making me fairly crazy, at the moment. (making me crazy is a turn of phrase some might use with much less truth)

So - I will likely be putting up another post, in a little while.

Thanks again to those who participated. I needed a distraction this week and you provided a wonderful one!

Monday, April 18, 2011

A Turning Away

A banging
Pounds out another failure

Turning away
In a nightmare twirl
Sudden darkness follows blinding light

Far too many didn’ts
Follow a myriad of shoulds
In a broken, twilit landscape

Snippets from outside sources
And snapshots from deep within
Flash striped shutter shadows across our faces

Eyes closed
Unable to see
Hands cover ears
Unable to stop

The little one's fists
Are fiery frustration
Her simple request
Floats in a filthy gutter of self-doubt
Surrounded by the marred and ancient walls of unworthiness

I shake my head
Her chin trembles why?

But how can I ever explain it?

I'm tired?
I've had enough?
I don’t want to see!
I don't want to know!
I just don’t fucking care enough because
YOU are just ME and i’m not worth the effort...

Even as a half-remembered promise
Gently pushes the hair from her face
The truth is so harsh
So ugly and cold
Darkness continues to enfold us

Some lives are destined to fail 
And my head shakes again as I turn
Turn away
From arguing echoes ache

Keep trying
I'm not enough
Keep pushing
I've never been enough
No one can do it for you
I'll never be enough

Despising my weakness
I snuggle into a familiar blackness
The cold and dry breast of despair
While the frantic rhythm sounds

My own heartbeat
Becomes a hammer
She just gave up
Pounding home
We always knew she would
The final casket nail


This YOU TUBE LINK. The shows a free-spirited little dancer -just s I want to see the little one inside me. 

Sunday, April 17, 2011

Writing Exercise

Another Sunday, another writing idea...

I want this one to be just for fun, something to carry your mind away for just a little while. So... lets do this a little differntly. This time, I'll write the beginning of the story, and you can write the ending. Feel free to write your ending right here, in the comments.

I hope to get a few responses this time. Whatever I get, I'll remove from the comments and post on this blog, on Tuesday.

If nobody feels so inclined, so be it. :-)

Here's the start:

I yawned, rubbing the sleep from my eyes, as I opened the front door. I was heading outside to retrieve the newspaper, hoping that this would be the day I wouldn't have to pull it out of the flower bed next to the driveway. The sun was still low in the sky, so I squinted as I searched with my eyes.

Ah, good! It's Right on the edge of the pavement.

Luckily, I looked down at the stoop before stepping outside. There, right where I was about to step, was a small, red, paper bag. I shifted my footing and then squatted down to look at it more closely.

The top was stapled shut and a note, written in red ink on a 3x5 index card, was taped to the side.

Okay... your turn! What's in the bag? Who left it? What does the note say? Why did they leave it on my doorstep?

I can't wait to find out...

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Writing Exercise Submissions

Thanks Gail, for submitting a story for Sunday's writing prompt. I also received two others but then both authors changed their minds and asked me not to print their pieces.

I'm thinking the instructions were confusing. The idea was to select certain words from an email and use them in the story. Complete instructions are HERE).

Here is Gail's submission, followed by mine.

Some small thoughts were racing though her mind when the request was made that she take sides with him. Him!! The man who hurt her terribly now must be an ally with her as they face the task of escape. She stood firm in place and looked around and boldly said - give me a moment.

by Gail

The words in my emails were:


I call my story, "Embarassment at Sea"

“Whoa!” someone in the gathering crowd exclaimed. “Is it true?”

Pointing to a distant yellow speck, I repeated the exciting news. “There’s the alien ship!”

Passengers and crew stared out to sea. A Steward asked, “How do you know it’s a UFO?”

“I heard a transmission on my Ipod. It said, ‘May Day, we’re crashing on Planet Earth‘. ”

The crowd grew silent. The Steward furrowed his brow. “The transmission was in English?”

Somewhere between the excitement and the three tequila sunrises,
I hadn’t thought of that.

Two boys pushed their way through the crowd. “Do you see it?” One asked.

The other nodded, then pulled out a walkie-talkie., “Dad,” he screamed into the device. “Frankie lost my rocket!”

 The crowd broke up. The boys walked away. The Steward remained, staring at me. All I could say was, “Sorry.”

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Writing Exercise

Hi everyone,

I'm back from a really relaxing and much needed vacation. So, without further delay, here is this week's writing prompt: 

1.      Open the first email in your inbox.
2.      The first word in the email will be the first word of your story
3.      The first noun in the email will be the subject of your story
4.      The first adjective in the email should be used to describe the subject
5.      Now open the second email in your inbox and use the first noun in that email as the last word of your story.

Don’t use any proper names – skip those and move on to the next word, if necessary. Let’s keep these to around a hundred words (or so).

I’ll post mine and any other submissions I receive right here on my blog, on Tuesday. Have fun!

I’m going to go write mine, now.

Co Creation

Co Creation
We create the life we live

Love your inner child...

...for she holds the key...

...to your personal power.
A lesson is woven into each day.
Together they make up the tapestries of our lives.