Tag Archives: joy

Antierra Manifesto – blog post #68

I know you are all busy, and many may not have noticed even, but for those who have been waiting for more of the Manifesto, finally and finally… with one computer back on line, here’s the next instalment. Enjoy!

As I explain to them the rudiments of worship and its real purpose which at its core is always self-empowerment, I ask myself how much of what I teach I believe.  But then, if you already know something to be true and real, you don’t have to believe in it.   You never have to fear that you could be wrong about such a teaching.  I have the experience of it and experience is the greatest of all teachers.

End blog post #67
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Begin blog post #68

I know in my heart there are high-level entities who care about such as these oppressed people and will help them when they die if the connections have been made.  I’ve been there too, a helpless mendicant, lost and afraid.  I was taken care of then and that changed me forever.

I know we can “fly” without a body, go wherever our state of mind allows, I’ve done it.  I remember Altaria now without even trancing.  I remember how I manifested here in my pre-chosen form.  It’s in the remembering that one can choose the direction of one’s empowerment.

As for the prayer, well I know it is a communal exercise that brings the powerless together and in it they find a power they otherwise cannot have.  So it is good.  I am not lying and I am not making false promises or giving them false hope.  There is an immediate mutual benefit in this sharing of belief: they will be drawn closer to one-another and not see themselves so much as competitors.

The lesson is over for today and I motion to them to change places and resume exercising and practising the moves.  There is a new spring in their step which I immediately notice.  Is it the work of the Teaching?  Well, hope does powerful things, especially to people who have absolutely nothing and face death every day of their short lives; people who know with certainty they will die young and in violence.  People who know they will lose their friends and lovers to that self-same violence and, at least until now, know they are powerless to prevent it.

I move fast, push them hard to test them and release the tension I’ve created with such bold ideas.  They seem to enjoy the challenge and respond in kind.  I do not wish to hurt any of them and I parry their thrusts with blurring motions that remind me of Deirdre’s performance.  At the thought of her I feel a sudden pang of the heart.  I hold it and explore it.

‘Yes Deirdre, I remember you and I still love the memory of you.  But I know now that if you came back here I would not “fall in love” with you, nor would I take our relationship back to where it was.  I would set you free and you would have to set me free.  I think that you know this by now, wherever you are.  I thank you for the joy you gave me, but mostly for what you taught me.  I grew up with you in my life.  I became a better person because I’ve known you.  May you have the same effect on everyone you meet and may you know the bliss you were made to live in.  I release you – I release us from our bond of love.  Be forever free.’

As the training session ends for the day, the weather changes.  Dark clouds roll in and we hear distant thunder.  The air is charged with electricity, thick with ozone.  There is a flash and a discharge, followed by a deafening crash of thunder.  Lightning strikes one of the tallest eastern towers and a stone is dislodged, tumbling down the wall and through a roof.  We hear the distant yells of men.

The women look up and exchange startled glances.  I know what they are thinking, hoping.  They imagine it’s the work of their goddess beginning the destruction of the keep to set them free.  If they were allowed to cheer, what a din there would be!  I feel vindicated, somehow.  That was a timely portent.  A coincidence?  If I have learned anything from my endless wanderings it’s that there are no coincidences.  “Who” was behind that lightning bolt?

Let us just say it is the power of ‘the Teaching.’

We go to the water troughs, wash using the coarse home-made soap that feels more like the surface of a sharpening stone than a bar of soar, to scour the dust, sand and grime from ourselves.  I use the soapy water to wash my hair, now in need of cutting again.  It is matted and stiff.  As usual, we sit at the long, dark tables and wait for our evening meal.  Young trainees bring the food bowls and we eat hungrily.

Tiki brushes my back with a free hand as she walks by, still sulking from thinking of herself as condemned to gorok work.  I smile, but not so she can see.  The rain begins to pelt down but warm now in this world’s summer season.  I want to stand in it and dance just as total darkness falls in the courtyard.  That would be a sight indeed.  The oldest crone in the compound dancing wildly in the rain.  I know I could get away with it just this one time, but I cannot take the chance another woman would be punished for my actions.  They do have a sense of justice here, however twisted!  Somebody always has to pay or make up the difference.

End blog post #68
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Search for the Meaning of Life

[thoughts from ~burning woman~ by Sha’Tara]

Life, I ask myself, late in the night as I ponder reality: what is life? I know what I think it is; I know what I’ve read about it; I know many other peoples’ thoughts on it, but none of that answers my question. Is life a ‘what’? Is it a ‘who’? Is it a guide? Something to be endured, gotten over with on the way to something else?

I suppose my question makes as much sense as a sardine asking itself what the ocean is. Unless I can travel all of time and space, and beyond time, such it seems must remain the unsolvable riddle, the unanswerable question. Yet knowing this only makes me want to wander the labyrinth even more. I don’t want out of there until I have received a satisfactory answer.

Am I meant to live forever then, forever searching for an answer to my ultimate “Why?” and never arriving at that answer: is that how it works? Or, am I meant to discover the answer serendipitously, by assembling the puzzle pieces through a series of events based on some common sense and pure luck?

Is life the greatest master teacher or the final trickster? Or as some have tried to convince me, nothing more than a meaningless happenstance you go through once never to be heard of again?

If one were to either through luck or good management discover the secret of life, would that answer all the other “why’s” that led to the final answer? Wouldn’t I not then be asking why was such and such a process used to create all the pieces of life’s puzzle? Why pain? Why happiness overshadowed by loss? Why they good crushed under the jack boots of evil? Of sorrow and joy, why can’t one exist without the other?

Tonight I experienced another of those recurrent bouts of empathy for a world I don’t even particularly like or care for: a world I just happen to be in at this time. I “saw” people, not as groups, collectives, races, ages, genders, but as individuals, yes even in their billions, like rain drops falling in a storm-tossed ocean. It was a wave of sorrow for this world so powerful I had to find some support to lean on, my legs did not want to support me. The world, mankind, passed through my mind and all my physical energy was focused there.

Life, so it seemed, was passing through me as through a filter.  There were sobs, sighs and tears and I thought, yes, that is what it means to become an empath. You feel but it’s a knowing, aware feeling, not an emotion that flares and dies and leaves you free to continue where you left off. This changes you, each time it happens it gives birth to a new awareness of life, a new ‘you.’

So that’s where it’s at for me in my current understanding of the meaning of life. It is an endless birthing of new awareness; an awareness that determines the path I must walk until another birthing happens, then the path changes again. Push, feel the pain, along with the need to bring this about, push again and again, then rejoice in what is birthed.

Nurture this preciousness until the next time.

Life means there will always be a next time.

Jeanine Winslow

[short story  by Sha’Tara]

Devon avenue is an old street with old trees, old houses and old people. This is where Jeanine Winslow lives, with her old cat. She is a widow now, her old husband died about two years ago, but no one remembers that except Jeanine and the Revenue Service. Jeanine’s house and home is one of the most decrepit small bungalow type houses on the street.

Today is a grey day. It’s raining, a cold, miserable rain that hits the skin as frozen needles. Jeanine’s arthritis is bad today, that being one reason she has been unable to go to the corner store. The other reason, of course, is that as usual the month outlasted the pension and there is not one red cent left in the house. The cat is the fortunate one, he can go outside and hunt mice. There are lots of nice fat mice in his neighbourhood. Yes, it’s his neighbourhood, he’s a cat.

There’s a steady tinkling sound in the small dining room, just behind where Jeanine is now standing and contemplating her situation.  There’s an old, rusty water can on the floor to catch a steady drip from the ceiling, a drip that keeps wandering as the drywall gradually sags lower from the water coming through the old worn out asphalt shingle roof.

A knock on the door takes Jeanine out of her circular thinking about a situation she has no control over. Wiping her tears, she goes and answers the door. On the rickety old porch, long without a roof, two very well dressed young men with briefcases smile at her. She smiles back and politely invites them in. They come in and begin their spiel.

They’re from the local “Tabernacle” they say, and they are collecting funds to finish the inside of their church, and inviting their neighbours to participate in the services.

The tinkling continues as Jeanine, sitting nervously on a small stool, the only two chairs taken by the young men, listens politely. One of the young men stares at the drip in the can, then follows it to the sagging ceiling. It impresses itself on his mind as his father is the owner of a local lumber yard and he’s done some construction himself. He understands this lady’s problem but says nothing, letting his partner do the talking.

Finally the spiel is over. They stand, realizing that this woman was certainly not made of money and perhaps they’d have better luck on another street. They make to leave when suddenly Jeanine finds her courage and her tongue to say something to these nice young men. She does not berate them or call down their religion, or their God. Far from that. Jeanine is a very kind lady. But there is something she needs to do.

She grabs the coat sleeve of one young man and say, “Please, don’t go yet. There is something here I need to show you. Please follow me?”

They follow as she leads them deeper into the old house, through a short, dark corridor. She opens the door to a tiny bedroom and in the bed, two small children, obviously a boy and girl and obviously siblings, sleep, the little girl sucking her thumb, the little boy having his arm over her in a protective way.

“I found them downtown five days ago, she says. They were crying and hungry, abandoned as so many are. What could I do but take them home, feed them, wash them and provide them with a bit of warmth and the comfort of a few sheets and blankets? I have nothing to dress them in and their own clothes were nothing but dirty rags. Now… I have nothing left to feed them. I just wanted you to know that it is not because I’m stingy that I didn’t give you anything, it’s that I don’t have anything… nothing. I’m sorry.”

The two very nice young men looked at each other and something flashed between them, some thoughts that found agreement. The oldest of the two, the one who had done the presentation, spoke then.

“We’re sorry too, very sorry. Look, here’s forty dollars that I have on me. Take that for now, and I promise we will be back.”

The younger searched his own pockets and came up with another fifteen dollars and some change. He also handed that over.

With a trembling hand, Jeanine took the money and the look on her face showed all the gratitude that words could never express. The young men left and Jeanine, knowing the children could be trusted to stay in the bed, got dressed for the cold and wet, painfully put her winter boots on and went shopping, slowly dragging her old two wheeled cart and counting her steps as was her habit.

Two days later, early morning, the storm having passed and the pale winter sun having made his appearance in a bright blue sky, a construction truck loaded with roofing materials and several cars pulled up along Devon avenue, close to Jeanine Winslow’s cottage. One man walked up to Jeanine’s front door while the rest, a crew of some seven men and three women, began to unload the truck and wheelbarrow the materials to the house. Ladders came next.

The “foreman” whose name is Jason Farnham and none other than the owner of the lumber yard, had gone to speak to Jeanine and got her shocked OK, for the work to proceed forthwith. The old roof was quickly peeled off and the happy pounding of air nailers and commands hurled back and forth filled the yard. Two women, one a strong teenager, the other, middle aged, went into the house and after moving the meagre furniture and spreading a tarp, pulled down the damp drywall. While finishing they explained to Jeanine,

“We’re sorry about the rush but the drywallers are only available tomorrow. They’ll start at 10:00 AM sharp and they’ll be done the hanging by noon. We’ll be back to finish the taping and mudding tomorrow afternoon. Any mess, we will clean up and we’ll paint next week. Is all this OK with you, Mrs. Winslow?”

“I… Yes, of course, yes…” She sat, small and quiet, with her big tomcat in her lap, her face in her hands. She didn’t know what to make of all that was happening. She thought, maybe she should just let it happen. And that’s what she did: let it happen. She went to the children’s bedroom and sat on the edge of the bed where they were occupied drawing and colouring. They looked up at her and smiled and her heart nearly burst with joy.

The small, basic roof was completed in record time and while the roof crew was cleaning up and running the magnet along the walls for stray nails, the foreman went back in the house, expressed his satisfaction on the removal of the old damp drywall then addressed Jeanine.

“Mrs. Winslow, I must apologize for our brisk performance but we just wanted to get this done in the shortest time while the sun was shining. We didn’t want to leave you as your situation was described to us so we put our emergency crew together, gathered the materials and soon I promise, your life will be back to normal, minus the roof worry. We will also put a new roof on your front porch. That, and new steps, comes later this week. I would have called you, and certainly we should have sent someone to warn you, but you don’t have a phone and we didn’t think there was any option either for you, or us so we decided to act instead of debate. My son Steve, whom you’ve met, was very persuasive and quite insistent.

“We will need to talk about the two children you are harbouring. The situation will have to be, shall we say, legalized? We have a couple of very compassionate people who we rely on to discuss these situations. Would you agree to meeting with them?”

“Yes I very much would. I know I can’t keep them but I need to know they will be sent to a good home. They really are wonderful kids, you know? I wish I could have them meet all of you but I’ve got them wrapped up in old clothes of mine and my husband. I haven’t been able to go shopping for children’s clothes, I’m sorry.”

“Did you get that, Leona? The kids need clothing. Could you leave the clean up to the rest of the crew and go get some children’s clothes from our good will box? If you can’t find anything there, please go and buy em.”

“OK, sure Jason. Be back shortly.”

“Leona’s my wife, we’re a team! I’ve got to go, Mrs. Winslow but there’s a couple of things to settle yet. First, here’s a check for $500 to help you get through this time. Second, and most importantly, everything we did, or will do, for you, is our choice. You owe us nothing and we certainly do not expect you to join or attend our church or any such thing. You will not be embarrassed by having to give any testimony. When we’re finished, we’re finished. Certainly, should you need further help you are welcome to get in touch with us – use the lumber yard – but that’s it. We are very happy to have the means to help you and others like yourself. Is that all OK with you then?”

“Yes Mr. Farnham. Yes it is. Thank you.”

 

 

Another Gift of the Magi (part 3)

Near the end of that year her body finally gave out and she remained bedridden.  Ariana spent as much time as she could spare comforting her and listening to some of her experiences in the world of high class prostitution.  Sometimes they could be heard bursting out in laughter, followed by Sylvia’s terrible coughing fits.  Surprisingly, and perhaps not so surprisingly, during that year some of Sylvia’s clients who had helplessly fallen in love with her, traced her to the hospice and she was permitted to receive them.  There were strange tearful reunions and many a new anonymous donation appeared in the “Hope Fund”.

The week before Christmas was the hardest.  Sylvia labored for breath and could not eat.  Fed intravenously, she was slipping fast.  Christmas Eve came and she couldn’t hold any longer.  Ariana came in and saw that the battle was over.  She reached down and held the frail, wasted body of her sister and said: 

“Remember our vow – no matter what the circumstances, we would always spend Christmas day together?  You have to hold on tonight.  You have to celebrate the birth of our Lord with me tomorrow.  You can’t break your vow.  You can’t!”

Sylvia understood.  She held on and passed away in the evening of December 25.  Ariana looked out the window into the city night.  Snow had fallen all day and everything was covered in white.  Street lights reflected their pale luster upon store fronts decorated with various aspects of the kind of commercial Christmas the world has come to accept as normal.  For a brief moment the city, attired in a virgin’s white hid her ugliness.  Ariana thought it fitting that it would make an effort and put on a white mantle for the passage of her sister’s soul.  Above the city, between high-rise escarpments, Ariana saw a couple of stars twinkling in the cold night.  Only then did she allow the floodgates of sorrow from her heart to open and she cried silently, for a long time.

A year went by.  Things returned to their normal madness in the hospice.  Sister Celeste drove herself even more now, but learned to ease up on the younger postulant nuns and things ran smoothly.  On Christmas Eve she found herself alone in her small office in the old house that served as rooming house for nuns and postulants, and office for the hospice next door.  She had done her final rounds to ensure that all was under control there under the night shift. 

The old house felt terribly empty as those not serving in the hospice had gone home to their families to celebrate Midnight Mass and Christmas day.  She pulled out her rosary, thought of Mother Teresa doing the same thing and smiled to herself as she looked out her office window into the night sky filled with grey clouds that presaged more snow on Christmas day.  

The beads of the rosary slipped silently through her fingers from years of practice.  She thought of Sylvia and tried to imagine the kind of life she was now having.  Pangs of sorrow, regret and emptiness hit her.  Had her foolish dream, however well it had turned out, been the cause of her sister’s death?  She shook her head as she prayed through the rosary.  “I cannot entertain such thoughts.  It is wrong. Sylvia and I were as one and she made a choice that I would have made had our positions been reversed.  She chose her life of sacrifice, not just for me, but for the people here, for the city, for the world.  We both did, and found what we wanted most.”

The front door buzzer brought her out of her meditation.  She checked the monitor.  Two men, unshaven, poorly dressed and obviously hungry and cold, stood at the door.  Compassion moved her heart as she looked at them and in violation of an unbreakable rule she had made, against all common sense, got up and went to open the door.  She invited the men inside and as she turned to lead them out a side door to to the hospice cafeteria, they grabbed her, threw her to the floor and raped her at knife point.  Then the one with the knife plunged it in her heart several times.

As Ariana lay dying, her blood-soaked hands holding her punctured chest, she whispered, “I forgive you…!”  Her final thought from this side of the veil was, “As promised, I’ll be with you for Christmas, sister.”

It is not given to us to see beyond this point.  Death guards his territory with terrible jealousy.  His reasoning, often tragic to us, remains impenetrable.  We cannot investigate further; we can but speculate on the fate of those who “cross the bar” and never return.  Some will think, heaven, and some will think, there is no more to the story.  That is how it should be but regardless of our belief choices, it is given to us to have the mental means to contemplate the lives of people such as these two sisters; their motivation and the results from such sacrificial offerings to us and our world. 

The story is fictitious, certainly, but how many real lives provide the flesh and blood background for stories such as this one?  My question, as always, is: can we take ourselves beyond just admiration and perhaps temporary sadness?  Is there some food here for us? Something to move us to better ourselves and take new steps, however hesitant, towards becoming compassionate beings? Surely, anyone who has read the story to the end must realize such are not given to us simply to entertain, or bring out a few temporary tears, as beneficial as such may be to our eyes strained by the harsh glare of consumerism. 

 I do not easily give Christmas wishes for to the degree that I understand the concept I strive to live without hypocrisy.  However, I will do this: on behalf of Sylvia and Ariana, cast out any darkness from your hearts during this time and do give yourselves, one and all, a merry Christmas!