Category Archives: Freedom

The Secret – my version of it

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ ]

I was watching the lower branches of some spruce trees waving slowly in the breeze rising from the River on the north side of Chilliwack mountain today as I worked at re-mulching terraces and pathways. It was dark, grey and cold and my feeling was of strangeness, of alienation. Once again being forcefully reminded how little of Earth desire I harbour in my heart. Once again having to face the fact that I am from another place, soon to return to it. For those who cannot understand that, it is what it is.

The most difficult task I ever set myself to tackling is understanding Earthians. I cannot. Even when I deliberately lost myself in the Earthian mythos, forcing myself to “be one of them!” – one of you – all I accomplished was losing myself in a swamp of perceptions that had little to do with me. I became unreal to myself, a creature of habits and knee-jerk reactions to everything. In time I seriously panicked. I would have ended it all through suicide if I’d been allowed to follow through but instead I reconnected with “my people” and what they had to say and to teach was in my heart language and I eventually re-discovered myself.

I’m still trying to understand Earthians and I’m still stymied and utterly bewildered, even though I know why the people are the way they are; why they do the things they do. I call it programming because it’s the term that fits best – and also because I know it’s programming but on a level that Earthians are forbidden to access.

Jumping around a bit here: the greatest gift the Teachers gave me was expanded awareness. They gave me a greater history of this universe than I could ever find in Earthian records, or would have ever received from any Earth teacher. You can’t write or teach what you can’t know and as long as the programming is active in someone’s mind, ‘truth’ will remain subjective and subject to change without notice. Never, however, can any ‘truth seeker’ be permitted to explore outside the boundaries set by the programming. Think invisible dog fence. The dog wears a collar that will hurt it if it gets too close to the fence even though it cannot see the fence or know of its existence. That’s the reality of living withing the confines of Earth’s Matrix.

I am certainly old enough now to seriously think about my journey home and the calling has made itself felt stronger lately. One of the reasons is obvious to me. It will be forty years ago on Good Friday, that I had my intervention, a physical healing and a mind opening that set my life on a totally different tangent. April 19, 1979, at approximately 3 in the afternoon. It was another dark grey, cold and cloudy day, perhaps chosen on purpose to demonstrate that light can come from within. Perhaps also because this time of equinox is particularly powerful for renewal.

Forty years of studying, experimenting with, testing and practicing the Teaching in a state of expanding awareness has certainly made me look at man’s world in ways quite alien to the *ISSA residents of planet earth. I see why the things being done here don’t work because I know the source of the trouble and it is a hidden source to all the wisdom and all the systems operating within the programming.

For example, I can claim, and state without any reservation that I possess the key to the solution of this world’s greatest and most vexing problems. I can also state unequivocally that I have never made it into some sort of carefully guarded secret to be imparted to some chosen few, nor used it to make disciples and followers and create another institution or collective replete with its fund raising committee. That is not how we operate. Should I write down “the Secret” for you to read? Let me seriously disappoint you – and your disappointment is the sign that you are responding predictably according to your programming. The “Secret” or the key is called compassion. Not love, not charity, not caring, not wishing, hoping and a-praying, just compassion.

It should be easily seen that living the compassionate life puts an end to… exploitation… oppression… misogyny… racism… fear… hate… anger… selfishness… greed… power seeking… pride… rape… torture… need for adulation or some kind of public or popular success… war… genocide… condemnation. Ultimately it ends all the great collectives and monster governments.

That is how we live on my home world therefore it is eminently doable. But not on planet Earth. On planet Earth we do things differently. We create massive problems for ourselves which we then attempt to solve by creating even greater problems. There is an exponential aspect to this which condemns this world to terminate in entropy. In terms of civilization that is exactly what we are experiencing now and we’ve added an even more terminal effect: planetary entropy through overuse and abuse of natural resources.

“Après moi, le déluge” is supposed to be Louis XV’s admission, on his death bed that he had squandered France’s national and imperial resources without ever attempting to rein in the excesses of his peers and courtiers. This would have been in 1774. Fourteen years later came the storming of the Bastille and the beginning of the bloody French revolution.

As in every other time of crisis, the solution is here, accessible to all and ready to be put in practice. As in every other time of crisis, the wrong choices will be made; the wrong solutions applied and the propaganda will do the rest. Earth, thanks to man, is in its downward spiral of entropy.

Could it still be stopped? “Nothing is impossible” asserted the Teacher YLea among other priceless gems of wisdom. But here on Earth there is a program running and that program dictates how people respond to crisis. Unless and until the program is neutralized, the wheel will continue to turn; to crush the poor and the oppressed; to spread terror, famine and disease. Gradually but exponentially even the most advanced and affluent nations will in turn fall under the wheel and be crushed like the rest.

Even if the programming was neutralized and every Earthian individual was suddenly free to practice compassion, there is still a time frame for such a drastic change of mind to become effective. It has been forty years for me and I still feel as if I’m but scratching the surface of this concept. Granted if everybody was pulling in the same direction that time frame could be shortened, but do we have, say, even ten years left in which to change our mind and choose life over death? How long must we “practice” before we fully realize that the only way to choose life is to give life, meaning giving full freedom to choose to all comers?

*ISSA: intelligent, sentient, self aware

Quote: “Most of the change we think we see in life is due to truths being in and out of favor.” (Robert Frost)

Reaching for Awareness

[short story by   ~burning woman~  written by Sha’Tara]

“If it is true that we only live a small part of the life that is within us, what happens to the rest?

What could, what should be done with all the time that lies ahead of us?

Is it a wish, dreamlike and nostalgic, to stand once again at that point in life; to be able to take a completely different direction from the one which has made us who we are?

The fear of death might be described as the fear of not being able to become whom one planned to be.” (quotes from the movie, Night Train to Lisbon)

It was, he figured, around the middle of the night. He’d crawled out of the warm sleeping bag to stand outside and look at the night sky. The stars were slowly revolving overhead, only he knew it wasn’t the stars that were moving, but himself riding his wild planet through space and time. The thought made him feel vulnerable, fragile. Who am I to be standing here alone to witness this incredible sight? A couple of dozen years have gone by already since I was born and what do I know? I don’t even know why I was born. Happenstance? That’s it? I’m here, feeling this incredible surge of life just because, and no reason for any of it?

He thought about that as he began to shiver and long to crawl back into his little tent and the sleeping bag with its residual warmth. “I think therefore I am” he said out loud. “Well, that’s not good enough anymore because really that is meaningless. What I need to establish for myself is not the realization that “I am” which is pretty obvious and need not be stated, but “Why Am I? That’s the point!”

It was early Summer and the river level was still rising. There was the smell of fresh leaves and muddy waters flowing over mud banks and through thick grasses. You could hear the waters hissing as they flowed by the little island he’d chosen for his stay: it had just enough room to pitch the tent and bring the kayak safely out of the water. He knew “his” river, that the little island would not wash away. For the time being it was his own little private world surrounded by water. He’d chosen it as his sanctuary, a place to be alone and away from people. A place to think in ways not possible among others.

He had given himself this gift. He already knew that from here his life would take another path, go on another tangent, new ideas coalescing in his mind to foster yet another nature even if his body chose to remain essentially the same, ageing and eventually dying. That, he understood, was the way of things on Earth, “but not for me” he would say and watch friends and family walk away from him, afraid that his madness might be contagious.

“I’m sorry, Nadia” he’d told his young wife as she berated him for leaving on his “crazy” kayak outing on the river. She of course wanted nothing to do with his water ways and had done her utmost after their wedding to dissuade him and get him to sell his kayak even though she had promised she would never interfere with the part of his life that involved the river. “It’s my time of year to go on the river and partake of her awakening. I know you cannot understand this but there is no need to fear, or be jealous. This is whom you married and I kept no secrets or surprises to spring upon you. I will be back when I have done what I must do. If you do not wish to share this with me you are free to leave. I would be pleased to find you here when I return but I will not be expecting it. Take care o’ you, my lady.”

That had been his way, to set the people around him free of bonding to himself. The freedom he sought, he gave to everyone. He had never told his wife that he loved her – he did not believe in love because, as he so often said, love has proven it’s weakness in unreliability. Respect and honour, that I can offer, but not love.  This included his concept of bonding.  Stay or leave, as you choose.

Ignoring the night’s cold he let his mind wander this strange new world he had decided to enter into: detachment. Is detachment simply a coward’s way of dealing with a violent, cruel and unpredictable world? Is it a morbid fear of losing someone close, another that one has fallen in love with or developed a special bond to? Is that why I’m here, to work this out for myself?

The stars continued their uninterrupted journey over his head and he realized once again and logically that what he was observing was his own journey through the cosmos, one tiny fraction at a time.

‘I’m traveling through the cosmos but not only that, I am fully aware of this fact, right here, right now. But where am I going? Do I get to choose that or am I a piece of flotsam on the river of space-time? No, that will not be. This new nature of mine I will dedicate to discovering my destination and the next one I will use to figure out how I am supposed to get there.’

It was some time before he could calm his mind and resume his sleep.

The Alternative Path to Everything

(Please note: I’ve been having trouble with the comments section – no resolve yet. If you wish to comment, use the Comment prompt on the email notification you receive, or alternatively, click on ‘Like’ and use the ‘comment on this blog’ prompt that appears. Hint: you can click on ‘Like’ as many times as you wish, it’s an on-off switch, so clicking a second time makes your ‘like’ disappear, then clicking again makes it re-appear.)

The Alternative Path to Everything
[thoughts from   ~burning woman~  by Sha’Tara]

I’ve been asked to share some of my personal thoughts on the deepest issues concerning mankind and coincidentally the planet the ruling species lives on. It appears that “finally” there are some sincere and credible individuals who care about man’s plight and the plight of the one and only world we have to exist off of so this makes my tiny effort somewhat meaningful, or so I feel anyway.

What have I got to add to the cacophony of words and ideas surrounding such massive issues as misogyny, racism, endless war and now anthropological climate change? What are my credentials and why should anyone pay heed?

I’ll tell you right off: none, and no reason, beyond the fact that I have lived a long but observant life here. I have participated in life with a view to causing improvement through personal commitment, discipline and serious change. When I was still a child I personally experienced some of the “wrongness of things” upon my own body and upon my mind which made me a different person. I lost my childish trust in humanity and its institutions and vowed to find a different way to live my life.

No matter who or what you are, where you live and under what circumstances, that’s where it begins: a turning away from all the normal; the tried and failed; the endlessly false promises of better days ahead. Realizing that as long as “the system” remains essentially untouched no significant change can ever happen.

I began with total rejection of man’s values; I began with honest despair and I seriously toyed with committing suicide from about age eighteen to thirty at which point I was determined to end it. I took steps, acted on them… and received an intervention. Obviously: I’m still here.

That’s when I met the Teachers and my life made a one hundred eighty degree turn. After being healed of a serious debilitating physical condition I was challenged: change your thinking and you will have a new life. They would explain things to me and set up situations in which I could test their words against my Earthian reality.

I don’t need to go into details. It was gruelling and inescapable. Everything had to change – everything. No more believing IN anything. No more attachments to anyone, or any ideology, religion or tradition. These things did not disappear, I just chose day by day to see them differently so I could understand rather than just accept “the way of it.” There was no longer any way of it.

How serious were these Teachers whom I called the Altarians? One example: I had to involve myself in a life-for-life trade, offering my own life in exchange for another woman held on “death row” ostensibly for having committed adultery in a Sharia law controlled country. She had three young children, mine were all grown up. It would be a just trade. I did that, putting myself on death row for about two and a half years until she was exonerated. I can tell you these Teachers are very serious and they are now “my” people, not the people of Earth.

I learned to become a free, self empowered individual. I learned that no problem can ever be resolved unless the source of it is uncovered and dealt with, i.e. destroyed. I learned that it is literally impossible to bring about any meaningful change within an existing institution, or condition because of its inherent corruption. I learned that it is impossible to scrape clean a corrupt system, you can only annihilate it and present your reality, your world, with something entirely new.

So now, so near the end of this life, what do I offer this world? Nothing. But it is in this ‘nothing’ that a wise person finds everything. I do not offer anything new and certainly no alternative technology that would make our current conditions ease off enough that we could continue fooling ourselves that with, say, the elimination of fossil fuels, we can continue to play. The more the “System” is tweaked the worse things will get.

So here’s my gift to you, from me, from the Teachers and from your ancient sages, saints and philosophers: refuse to accept them and sign your certain death warrant.

One: change your personal ways completely. Stop believing that you can fix or renovate anything. Your civilization has reached an irreversible state of entropy. Write that on a wall as a reminder.

Two: force yourself to become a compassionate being without any excuse, ever, for failure, and you will fail miserably but the point will be sticking to the exercise. Compassion – not love. Do not let yourselves be fooled any longer by things that have never worked.

Three: learn what it means to live a detached life. Learn that being detached means to practice being an empath. Learn to shed hot tears for your world rather than for one “loved” individual or group. Forget the “we are the world” or “we are one” Matrix bullshit. We are not “one” and never can be. We can however be the Watcher, the Compassionate one, the one who stands alone, detached, and feels it all without cringing away from the burden of it.

Four: reject! Reject utterly all things to do with the “System”; all of its manifold institutions. Reject God and all other deities and associated beliefs: they are all inventions of the Matrix. Reject Money as a power source, the only power it has is what you give it for it is a god in its own right. Reject all your politics and political systems for they too are gods. Reject history and traditions: more lies to create dissensions.

Five: Recreate yourself in your own image. Be who you choose to be and that is the final reality. Whatever you want to be, be that and accept the consequences of your choices. If you choose good, be good. If you choose evil, be evil but do it as a self empowered individual.

[thoughts from   ~burning woman~   ]

This morning there’s a burning in my heart to express something, but it wasn’t until I received the following in my mail that I realized where I was walking once again.

Quote: “Despair is the state in which anxiety and restlessness are immanent to existence. Nobody in despair suffers from “problems”, but from his own inner torment and fire. It’s a pity that nothing can be solved in this world. Yet there never was and there never will be anyone who would commit suicide for this reason. So much for the power that intellectual anxiety has over the total anxiety of our being! That is why I prefer the dramatic life, consumed by inner fires and tortured by destiny, to the intellectual, caught up in abstractions which do not engage the essence of our subjectivity. I despise the absence of risks, madness and passion in abstract thinking. How fertile live, passionate thinking is! Lyricism feeds it like blood pumped into the heart! ― Emil M. Cioran, On the Heights of Despair – 1933)

Some of us exist as bog fires. We burn, winter and summer and we are impossible to extinguish. Why? Because no one understands the source of our fire.

In fact, I don’t understand it either, it just is. Perhaps I should use the term “burning bush” because the more we burn, the more we have to burn. Nothing is consumed. No entropy here, quite the opposite. The world and its desires may well pass away, over and over, but this struggling thing I call “me” remains, dies, returns, again and again.

Why? If ‘nothing can be solved in this world’ (see above quote) why return? In those nebulous times in-between endless strings of lives, do we forget? Do we re-arrive here all innocent, a tabula rasa, having no remembrances of having walked through vales of tears and mountains of glory, in bare feet or harsh armour? Of hunger and surfeit? Of enslavement and mastery?

Passing through, surviving (to what end?) and perhaps fixing a few little things, I know I will not solve, nor resolve any of this world’s major and obvious problems. For those solutions I must defer to greater aspects of life than me. When I was young and my fire burned on the surface I would not have accepted this truth but now that I have gone underground and the burning is steady and controlled, I realize it is how it should be. I am not the conscience of this world, or any world or reality. Suffice that I am my own and that I have the power within myself, finally, to understand how to control that tiny part of all that is.

As Victor Frankl wrote: “Who would bring light must endure burning” Passion is burning. Some time back, feeling my burning, I wrote the following. Perhaps another in similar pain will receive validation; take comfort from these words, they are not empty utterances:

Where Hope fails Despair will Serve
[a poem by ~burning woman~ ]
There, I’ve shown you:
No hope, no hope left
Not for you, not for them.
Your children are dying
Don’t you see? Are you blind?
I’ve taken away every strand
Of your pitifully weak hope
And what can you do now
But admit my power,
And bow to the inevitable, to me?

She looks upon her foe as he gloats over her,
She turns and stares ahead
At a land stretching before her tired eyes
Dark, menacing, parched, dead.
She hears the incomprehensible,
The language of the damned, tortured screams
Rise from places she cannot name.

She looks down at the children
Cowering at her bloody feet
Whimpering, hungry, frightened,
Shivering in their bits of rags;
Her own clothes in no better shape.
She feels the hollowness
Of her own body and tired mind
Dragging her down to yield,
To sleep and to forget.

This must be the end she reasons once again,
And I’ve been misled, lied to, to take this way
Try to lead the children and find a way of escape:
I cannot go further; I have nothing left.

Her enemy laughs again.
You’re done then, hey?
Say yes, give up, give up!

“No!” she says turning to face him,
Her cracked lips bleeding:
This isn’t our end, this is our beginning.
Hope there may no longer be;
No comfort may be waiting
When we walk from here but know this:
Where hope fails, as it often must,
There is always despair.

Rousing the children
She leads them into the darkness:
We shall not be his slaves
She tells them,
Let death take us then if that’s how it must be.

But it wasn’t death that waited there,
It was freedom earned
From courage to say “No,”
Taking that last resolute step
Where he could never follow.

Despair is the end of all power usage and as rawgod said to me commenting on another post, “Non-use of power IS the ultimate use of power. To have it, and refuse to use it, that is powerful.”  I am just beginning to understand what that means, and the personal costs associated with it.

Believe what you will but let me believe what I will

[pure off the cuff, spur of the moment fiction, by ~burning woman~ ]

“No, no!” I said. “Stop beating me up with it, I thought we had agreed we were not going to discuss this. I know what you believe and it doesn’t bother me, it’s your choice. By the same token, you know what I believe and it’s my choice.”

We were sitting at the table in the dining nook, me at the window facing west, he across from me. I had a glass of white wine, he his strong, dark beer. It was already late, of a Summer Sunday evening, and I just wanted to enjoy the darkening skies and the fading colour from the clouds hovering near the horizon.

This is how it started:

“I am going to watch for meteors,” I said. “Make a wish, you know?”

“That’s pure superstition,” he replied, looking up from his book and taking another sip of beer, “when are you going to give up that childish nonsense? It’s embarrassing.” He looked at me with his mouth turned down, making it obvious how displeased he was with me at that moment.

Only he wasn’t talking about my wishing upon a shooting star, he was talking about my belief in the spirit world and particularly in my insistence that I was fully aware of past and future lives.

We had agreed, before we decided to live together that our differences in those areas we would accept from each other and only broach the subject philosophically, in a “what if” sort of way. It wasn’t supposed to become another patriarchal relationship in which he, the man, decided the correct way we, meaning me, the woman, should believe, or think for that matter.

When it came to beliefs, as far as I was concerned, there never had been and never would be a “we” in the equation. I didn’t care what he believed or believed in. He was (still is!) handsome, kind in his own way, supportive most of the time, great in the sex department, an important aspect of the relationship to me, and I must admit that I loved him, well, sort of. Is it love when there is no passion in it, just an easy comfort?

But does that mean I have to give him my mind so he can fill it with his own ideas while excluding mine? Not on your life. I’m not made to take things that way; to be taken for granted, or thought of as the little trophy woman who bats her eyelashes and exclaims, ‘Oh, but you’re always so right, dear!’ No, he’s not right, not when his “right” needs to supersede, or cancel my “right” as it does when I express myself in what he calls a superstitious way.

This isn’t about who’s right, who’s not. This is about who is free, who is not. I didn’t sign up to have my ideas replaced by someone else’s. Not that I signed anything to get into this relationship mind, but you know what I mean.

So I countered: “When you buy a lotto ticket, what do you call that feeling it gives you? You don’t buy a ticket without some hope that you could win, even win the jackpot. What do you call that hope, if not a form of superstition? Logically it’s patently ridiculous for anyone to buy a lottery ticket because the odds are so against you. So in that moment you override your logical thinking and allow yourself a wild moment of magical thinking. You allow yourself to be pulled into that shameful realm of illogic.”

“It’s not the same thing,” he replies. “I don’t believe in the lottery as if it was some spirit force, some divine being, an angel or the Great Pumpkin. It’s just a game.” He did enjoy mocking me with that reference to the Charlie Brown cartoon super being of Linus’ he called the Great Pumpkin.

“But it’s a game of chance!”

“So?”

“It’s a game of luck!”

“And?”

I could feel myself becoming frustrated and upset. “It’s superstition, honey. The other morning, when you came storming back in the apartment and said, ‘God, I went and locked my keys in the truck last night,’ were you subconsciously praying to some superbeing you say you do not believe in because you were in a tight spot, in a hurry and didn’t remember where you kept you spare set of keys? Instead of invoking some deity neither of us believes in you could have said, ‘Karin, do you know where my spare set of keys is?’ and I would have told you. I told you anyways but you didn’t ask me. You addressed the problem through a kind of superstition of your own which you justify with excuses and that hurts. Do you think I’m so stupid I don’t notice these things?

“It’s late, I’m going to bed and I’m sleeping in the spare room. We’re both working tomorrow, I’ve got a pile of reports to check over before my first class so I’ll be off early. I’ll eat on the way, you make your own breakfast, or not. Tomorrow evening I want you to apologize to me and reaffirm our agreement to enjoy each other and leave our beliefs as sacred and private to each other. If you cannot do that, and do it sincerely, I’ll be leaving by next weekend.”

“Where will you go?”

“That’s a really stupid question. Since we’ve been together I’ve been propositioned at least a dozen times, the last one was just a week ago. I travel light as you know and there are a lot of lonely beds out there whose sheets will eagerly part to let me slip in. Don’t self-blind Rico or think I need you because no one else will have me!”

I was getting angry and hated the feeling.

“You’ll miss me.”

“Of course I’ll miss you, you don’t have to state the obvious. But that too shall pass because I choose intellectual integrity over a great fuck.”

“Is that all I am to you, a great fuck?”

“That doesn’t please you?”

“Well, yeah, but isn’t there more for you?”

“Of course there is, or there could be but not when you try to emasculate my choices. My feelings for you cool very fast then.”

“So I’m wrong then?”

“I’m tired and I’m not going around this mulberry bush with you Rico. Good night.”

That was a year ago, probably why I remembered it today. He didn’t apologize, he said he couldn’t see that there was anything to apologize for so I left him that weekend, I could tell he was going to try to talk his way around the problem but I was having none of it. I’ve seen him a couple of times since; he bought me a drink the last time. How are you doing? Fine, you? Oh, OK, I’ve got a girlfriend, Nina, she’s Italian. Good for you. Our team lost again. Yeah, too bad. I had her change the drapes in the bedroom; they reminded me too much of us. Good idea, no point dwelling on the past. That was about it. I suppose it never was what you’d call a deep relationship, more of a convenience.

It’s not the way I prefer them but it’s the only way to keep my options open. I’m sort of living with a guy too but I saw no point in mentioning that, he’d already assume I was or he’d already know that through his male gossip circle. I know the pub where the circle meets and what is talked about there.

You know what? I need to find another direction for my life, I feel I’m on treadmill if not on a dead-end street. I don’t like myself much these days and I used to feel so sure and so proud of what I’d accomplished for myself. I feel that the more I insist on my independence, or perhaps the way I go about it, it’s making me increasingly self-centered and selfish. That never used to be me and I’m certainly not blaming the men in my life for this quandary of mine. If this was another girl’s story I’d end it with: “Get a life, woman!”

We have Played this Game

[experiences – by ~burning woman~]

It is time. I walk to the edge of the River’s bank, take a deep breath then slowly step down into the water. The water is fast, the current noisy, hissing with the effort of carrying sand to some unchartered destination.

 

The water eddies around my legs and thighs. The current is very fast here, that’s what makes it so exciting and challenging. The water is cold but not numbing as a month ago, repelling and inviting all at once, I feel a desire arising in my heart, like wanting to abandon yourself to make love to a stranger you don’t really trust and who is much too old for you.

I tell myself I don’t mind the cold. I feel the sand eroding off the bank under my feet and suddenly I slide down into the water, slipping as much as three feet, down beyond my standing depth and thrust outward from shore. My heart skips a beat, maybe two, as I find myself facing the rushing, swirling surface of the murky water. I’m committed now, no turning back: my body is pulled away into the spinning whirls of colder waters. There is no swimming back to shore here. All I can do is follow along as the water spins me in an ever-widening circle, then sweeps me downstream.

I am alone here, it was always my choice. No one to throw a rope, or shoot out in a kayak to help me back. I swim slowly, carefully avoiding panic. After all, did I not seek this? Dream of it? I am in the River; I am one of her children, whether she acknowledges me or not. I acknowledge her and I’ve always loved her, even if I’ve never trusted her. She has her life, so much more awesome than mine, so much more significant. She flows off and down, to lose herself in he arms of her lover, the sea. All I am is a bit of flotsam, that’s all. Alive or dead, she will carry me until an eddy throws me upon a gravel bar, or into a pile of driftwood stuck in the trunk of a giant fallen cottonwood.

I have a life too, however. I have dreams and purpose. I have drive. I chose this encounter, not to challenge the power of the River, but my own silly kind of courage. I spin around, still filled with fear that the whirlpool will suck me under but I’m just far enough away from its center to drift, arms out, legs kicking slowly, trying to find traction. And I do. Suddenly I find myself moving in a chosen direction. I decide to aim for a spur of gravel far downstream where the current assumes a more predictable flow. I roll, front to back, one look at the serene blue of the sky and I know, once again, I am going to live.

We have played this game, the River and I, for a very long time. It’s not a competition, just a game. It is also a played-out allegory of one life lived outside the communal box. No “life jacket”; no safety net; no buddy system. Alone to face myself and grasp a fleeting taste of some vague remembrance of a primordial relationship with nature as a purely natural being unencumbered by societal mores, taboos, complications.

O Beauty, thou art Relentless

[a sensuous meditation from ~burning woman~ ]

I drop my hands slowly to my bare thighs and gently pass them over my skin. I realize, mind fully engaged, that both, my hands’ skin and my thighs’ skin is my skin. The pleasure that arises from the touch is my pleasure, not someone else’s hand-me-down. Mine. I pleasure myself thus, as my hands, of my own free will, continue to feel me, down to my knees, then around the back, over my round buttocks, up and around my slim waist, up more, to my armpits, hairless and lightly tanned. I continue to explore this marvel of my body, moving to my throat, down, extending my fingertips lightly between my breasts, then outwardly, cupping, then gently rubbing my nipples to make them stand out, throb, hunger for a baby’s lips, adding to the effect of this beauty that is all mine.

I am not done exploring. My hands, of their own volition, move down, caressing, caressing, so gently, my fingers eagerly exploring between my legs which, as I stand on wet grass, spread out. I feel my heat there, my desire for that ‘more’ that drives ‘normal’ people to seek out another to complete the cycle.

But for me, the transgender, the androgynous, there is no need of another: I complete myself and with a loud moan of utter satisfaction, let myself fall to my knees in the grass, bending back to stare into an intense blue sky, my auburn, waist-length hair spread out under the back of my head, a living pillow of lavender scent. Up there stars without number play hide and seek and as they have all my life, invite me out to them to let them taste me.

An image of a nature creature appears in my mind, rolling over towards my knees spread in subconscious invitation. It murmurs, ‘Earth girl… earth girl… O Beauty, thou art, relentless.’ I lock the feeling in a smile so it can never be taken from me.