Woman need to learn their place #woman #MightyTogether
If you want it all. Listen to yourself.
she has deceived me
I've been given taste of what it means to be a women
and only this
I don't know if I will ever run with the bees again
Grow with a new beating heart
or enjoy the pleasures of a man
Oh she is vicious
knocking me out every month without any warning
throwing all my hard work off the shelf
Burning this skin over where she sleeps
Sometimes I wish I could reverse this process I was born onto.
then maybe then
this would just all disappear.
Traditions of mysticism appeal to me for their seemingly universal applicability in addition to how they fit with me own, individual life experiences. Most major religions have applied the term mystic to members whose testimonies of faith essentially transcend boundaries of established doctrine and incorporate miraculously experiential elements of personal, spiritual growth. Thomas Merton’s translations of the early Christian Desert Father’s are mystic revelations. Rumi and Khalil Gibran can be classified as Muslim mystics (“Sufis”?). Tich Nat Hahn and Merton co-wrote a lovely volume entitled, “Going Home: Jesus and Buddha as Brothers,” whose central message of spiritual enlightenment’s and growth’s being fundamentally a process of letting go of prejudices against all positive, compassionate practices contains decidedly mystical ideas. Mysticism is often difficult to grasp, as though one must possess an aptitude for deep contemplation prior to learning how to contemplate it. As I understand it from my readings of the above and other texts, a mystic is one whose search for knowledge of God has resulted in their coming to experience and ever thereafter believe in God’s Divine Presence and Salvation residing in the Here and Now. Insofar as mysticism simultaneously involves BOTH a kind of Aristotelian, empirical knowledge (certainty) of God through first-hand sensation AND great leaps of faith into believing in the unseen, unknown/unknowable (through aught but spiritual transcendence), mystics and their documented experiences defy common logic and simple rationalization. One can pray, meditate, and beseech the Divine Creator to appear to them and alleviate one’s life suffering, but ultimately, mystics attests to experiencing God not through any effort of their will but through God actually responding to them, their becoming aware of God in fact revealing Himself to them, and their somehow learning that He abided with all along. At base, mysticism is founded upon paradox: Through one’s seeking God, one is made ready to awaken to God’s eternal omnipresence; Through exerting one’s individual will in a desperate yearning for Divine Light in this world with its heart of darkness, one suddenly experiences salvation from darkness through surrender to the Light which God miraculously Lights within their own heart and Teaches them was there all along. These paradoxes cannot be understood via anything save for personal experience, and not everyone is willing to undergo the ironically arduous trials required to have a mystical, spiritual experience. Therefore, mystics have been and continue to be at the fringes of all documented, religious traditions. Paradoxes are difficult and, by their very nature, at least somewhat non-sensical. They are akin to madness. Paradoxically, I find myself willing to confess that I am indeed mad (e.g., legally mentally and emotionally disabled) even as I attempt to use my broken brain and shattered spirit to think and pray myself
-ductive member. Yet I am still grateful to be aware of my training, experience, and skills. Daily, I ask and thank God for granting me willingness to be willing simply to keep on trying to keep on trying to survive the difficulties of my life. Even this morning, as a painful memory recurred to me of my being a young girl desperate to soothe my abused sibling while she cried and, later, that same sibling abusing me without consciousness or conscience for how her hurtful actions served to magnify or multiply both her and my pain and suffering. As an adult looking through retrospect, I recognize my sibling’s mistakenly thinking that, if she enacted the role of abuser toward me, then her feelings of terror, shame, and helplessness about her own having been abused would negate and erase themselves. Rationally, I know of course she simply “made a mistake.” Emotionally however, her mistake murdered the child in me and set me on a lifelong path of shame and confusion. Recovery proffers me the salves of acceptance followed by forgiveness. I am aware that I may never be able to fully trust myself or anyone else due to the traumatic abuses I’ve endured. Yet, I can acknowledge the Gift of God’s granting me willingness to gradually forgive the unintentional perpetrators, the intentional perpetrators, others, and myself for mistakes we all made. Finally, I can remember and acknowledge my own attempts to care for the emotions and lives of people from my past who, for various reasons, returned my efforts not with reciprocated compassion but with pervasive neglect for my emotions and denial of my reality (even my very existence). The miracle is in the dawn of my inner self-appreciation and finally being able to trust that I don’t have to abuse myself even as I strive to comfort myself. Ultimately, the enemy is me, and I am not the enemy: I can choose to learn, to forgive, and compassionately move forward stronger and wiser than before.
The enemy is us, and we are not the enemy. As a recovering alcoholic/ addict, as one who struggles daily with heart-wrenching mental and emotional illness, as a transcendental mystic lover of God desperate for spiritual community yet terrified of human religions’ tragic insistence upon embodying fear despite their preaching that God is Love, and as an instinctual contemplative in a world seemingly devoted to thoughtlessness, I find forgiveness of myself and others vital regardless of how absurdly impossible it may seem. 12 Step Recovery has guided and continues to guide me through a process of identifying “enemies” of my very life and health - alcohol, illicit drugs, co-dependency, and abusive behaviors (even my own chronic suicidal ideations upon remembering childhood emotional and sexual abuse). But the trick then is to somehow transcend dependence upon these negative influences (people, places, things, even ideas), have my thoughts and feel my feelings about them, and then “forgive” myself and them all the while recognizing that there is a fine line between things I have some control over and things over which I am completely powerless. Any notion that I can somehow “will” my way out of addiction - that my addictions are completely within my control - is equally as erroneous as the notion that there is nothing I can do to alleviate the hopeless, helpless state of body and mind that attends addictive behaviors of all kinds. Similarly, the idea that I should or could just “snap out” of mental illness by some act of pure willpower wrongly assumes that what occurs in my physical brain and existential mind is entirely within my control. In all of these things - Recovery, spirituality, living with mental illness - I find the 12 Step philosophy that (God’s) Grace, Peace, Love, and Forgiveness are the ONLY forces capable of saving and sustain me. Perhaps I have studied too much or too little: I don’t know. There is just so very much I do not know. I don’t even know why I don’t know and I get tired of questing for answers. Hence the “madness” about me. Still, as so many other individual human beings before me have done, I experientially seek and continue to find miraculous, ever more profound yet simple comfort in what is Good. I am unable presently to interact with my family due to what I perceive to be their insistent denial and thus unconscious perpetuation of severely dysfunctional and abusive behaviors toward me. Yet, at a safe distance, I am able to remember good times and forgive mistakes made at bad times in the past. Presently, I am unemployable due to overwhelming emotional dysregulation and mental illness. Yet, miraculously, I am able to volunteer my time and energy and make vibrant art crafts for my local Recovery community. I am entirely ignorant of how, where, to whom, and when to next apply my extensive education, professional experience, and abiding desire to usefully serve others with compassion so that I might rejoin society as a pro
ssing that thought is so frightening and threatening to the “powers” that be. Incidentally, in my recent studies of indigenous North American spirituality I have learned that the most peaceful AND long-standing peoples (e.g., the Hopi and related Uto-Aztecan tribes) believe true “power” only comes from four things - Love, Integrity, Intuition, and Health - and that each of these things are only actualized and brought into the world by each individual doing the work necessary for them to live in harmony with the Great Spirit’s Will. What beautiful vision and wisdom these ancient peoples had and have! And yet, in the plight of indigenous Americans too here again are the markings of whips and scorns, the outrageous fortunes of those seeking peaceful survival being relentlessly persecuted by those seeking perverse, personal profit above all else. Maddness. Vanity. Somewhere, I hope that King Solomon, Camus, Shakespeare and Thackeray are all finally experiencing lasting peace, sitting around together having a good laugh at the utterly oxymoronic quality of “human progress.”
Every day, like Sisyphus, I feel I have to begin anew all over again. In a quote from SparkNotes’ website about Albert Camus’s book, The Myth of Sisyphus, which concerns “Sisyphus, who, according to the Greek myth, was punished for all eternity to roll a rock up a mountain only to have it roll back down to the bottom when he reaches the top. Camus claims that Sisyphus is the ideal absurd hero and that his punishment is representative of the human condition: Sisyphus must struggle perpetually and without hope of success. So long as he accepts that there is nothing more to life than this absurd struggle, then he can find happiness in it, says Camus.” How lonely and strange it is to, at once, recognize my own courage and perseverance yet simultaneously be perpetually discouraged and exhausted in my dogged pursuit for Truth - however stark or harsh - and survival - both of my inner, spiritual integrity and outer, physical existence. As a young child (aged ten to thirteen), I began a sincere search for God and Meaning which, ironically, angered and annoyed my supposedly devout, Seventh-day Adventist Christian family. Once I became able to think for myself, my independent questioning of both Biblical passages (e.g., Was Job’s faith being tested necessary or merely God and the devil waging a bet for their entertainment?) and Ellen White’s writings (e.g., Why so many summaries of the Bible?) served only to result in my family members’ angry refusals to discuss matters of faith. Rather than being happily recognized for and warmly encouraged in my budding interest in learning about God and Truth, to my great surprise and dismay, my family seemed to react with embarrassment and disgust as though questioning religious writing was completely taboo. This was my first indoctrination into the ultimate hypocrisy not only of my particular family but of many Protestant faiths: The message seemed to be, “Our protesting not being allowed free thinking in our faith ended with the split from Catholicism.” This hypocrisy (and treachery when extended to the dynamics of my dysfunctional family) has been and remains a constant in my life. During a family vacation to the Grand Canyon, I was literally abandoned at age thirteen because I dared to state to my mother, “I don’t know if I believe in your religion anymore.” During early adulthood, my mother flatly directed me to, “Figure out on your own what you believe and then come talk to me; Don’t keep bothering me with your constant questioning of all manner of beliefs!” During later adulthood, my father expressed disgust and exasperation when I chose to attend a spiritual retreat instead of attending my 10-year high school reunion through which he wanted to vicariously re-live his own high school experience. From Jesus to Julian Assange, the desperate and dangerous path of the sincere seeker and lover of Truth is plainly proved perilous. Yet it still startles and dismays me how the simple act of independent thought and expre
ious condemnations for being anything less than “blissfully peaceful in Jesus” threaten to consume and utterly destroy what little peace of mind, body, and spirit I am able to wrest from my small yet vital acts of self-validation and selfless service to others. Truly, prayers and meditation are heard and rewarded by a Divine Supreme Being or else I wouldn’t not be alive today and, by all rights, should have died years ago. Yet, even that magnificently comforting belief is considered “magical thinking” or fantastic delusion by many in contemporary society. Even True Believers in God seem to always require confirmation that the Divinity I perceive is the exact same as the one their religion professes before they will afford me permission to feel comforted by “Him:” If I fail to sufficiently testify in language dictated by their particular religious faith, then that region influences them to treat me like I’m a devil worshipper who deserves hellfire and (con) demnation not only in the hereafter but right here and now! So I retreat to my peaceful cabin the California woods, mindful that recluses have historically often been suspected of madness even as many revered historical figures often depended upon solitude and reclusive behaviors to achieve their greatest feats: What would Thorough have been without Walden Pond or Emerson’s profound charity? What would the Upanishads, the Analects of Confucius, the Koran, the Bible, or the Torah be without all of the isolated individuals in monasteries and other quiet, holy places seeking peace and inspiration in solitude and retreat from the common world? I do not seek to enact some great work destined to inspire multitudes, but only to honor my Creator with my continued existence as long as that Great Spirit deigns to continue animating the beating of my heart and the filling of my lungs with breath. So I retreat into physical and spiritual solitude. Then I find that my “screaming into the void” out to you, my unknown (perhaps unknowable) audience, becomes a kind of prayer in itself. So be it.
I don’t know how to survive. Despite fully realizing that my circumstances must be far from unique (not in whole, but certainly in part), I feel as though I’m constantly screaming into a void when I ask for help. As a highly educated, sensitive person, I know one of the cardinal rules of effective communication is to know your audience and write (or speak) with them in mind. I do this to the best of my ability. I’ve asked and continue to ask for help surviving from spiritual guides/mentors, doctors and therapists, family members, friends, 12 Step recovery program sponsors, professors/teachers, compatriots in my profession, and state and federal aid programs. For each different individual, I diligently apply my extensive communication skills to the best of my ability (e.g., verbally explaining and preemptively begging pardon for my emotional dysregulation due to mental illness) as I describe my current circumstances and solicit advice for how to carry on. Please don’t misunderstand! I have received and continue to receive various kinds of help, including baptisms, shamanic healings, medications, numerous psychological tools to combat various diagnoses, shelter in a peaceful environment, state Disability insurance, and #SocialSecurity Disability Insurance. What I do not understand and, therefore, am here striving to “confess” is my pervasive and perpetual dismay and #Confusion over why none of the help that I have received and am now receiving has or is in fact working to make me “better” - better able to survive in the present and feel more certain that I can go on surviving in the future. Every day, despite the excruciating, recurring, almost constant certainty that somehow I have failed in absolutely every area of my life and the pain of that certainty is too great for me to continue to bear for even one more day, I do my best to employ the psycological tools, financial aid, social support, and material environment with which I’ve been provided for my recovery from debilitating illness. I pray and meditate, make art crafts, attend support group meetings, volunteer in my community, search for new opportunities, and give of my time and talents whenever and wherever I can. But then gas prices here in #California continue to rise from gouging to hemorrhaging levels and I can no longer afford transportation. Then my health insurance changes or is just cancelled and I’m forced in an instant to face discontinuing medications and relationships with healthcare providers which have taken months and years to establish. Then a family member who stated that they would be willing and able to provide help for my basic survival (e.g., financial assistance, emotional validation, or even just acknowledgement of my existence) announces suddenly that they are no longer able to help. All the while, social stigmas and taboos surrounding mental illness, mass medias’ and politicians’ blaming mental illness and poverty on the mentally ill and impoverished, and relig