Archive for the ‘Thoughts on Life’ Category

fall.jpgAlmost 4 years ago I sat in a doctors office, bouncing my baby daughter upon my knee, whilst a medical professional told me I had breast cancer. She looked at me with a sadness and confusion that almost annoyed me as I desperately tried to calm my fussy baby. In that moment, I was more interested in calming my daughter than facing the concern of the stranger in a white coat who patted my arm and asked me “Do you understand what I am trying to tell you? This is bad news.”

Yes, I told her. Yes, I understand. I whipped out the offending breast and popped a nipple in my daughters mouth. I looked at the curvaceous white flesh that provided my baby with life giving nutrients and wondered whether the same breast would take my life. Yes, I understand. But in the way of human nature, I clung to the little piece of hope hidden within the box of bad news – more tests meant uncertainty. I could live with uncertainty. (more…)

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hearth altarAs part therapy and part devotional writing practice, I often use writing prompts given to me. I don’t know what I will be given, and I don’t know what I will write, I simply put pen to paper and let it form before me. These prompts can be an amazing technique for getting over writers block, or for self analysis and self exploration. I don’t think about the prompt too much, I don’t usually edit what words hit the page, and after the fact I often find myself surprised by what is created within the spilled ink. It is as if the deepest parts of me surface, and the small snippets of subconscious become a focus for conscious meditations. Today I was given the prompt “If I were a house, my walls would be…”

I fully expected that the word ‘walls’ would bring forth ideas of boundaries, defensiveness, perhaps even raise the many challenges I have faced this last year. As always, I surprised myself.

If I were a house, my walls would be cracked and patched with plaster and paint. They would be old and new, rough and smooth. Layered with years of paint in various colours, reflecting the seasons and reasons of my life. Here and there, holes still remain from pictures long since removed. Art peppers the walls in muted, rich and earthy tones; pictures and paintings and fabric hangings. To the stranger, a single glance would reveal a creative and artistic house, beautiful and uplifting. It would take a renovator, someone who understands the nature of broken things, to see the cracks and repairs beneath the surface. Someone who knows how much time and effort goes into gentle repairs and careful redecoration. Someone who knows how to make old, tired and broken things beautiful again with love and belief. My walls show the story of a house made a home with perseverance and pride.”

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Writing prompts are endlessly revealing. Take the time today to put pen to paper and let yourself be surprised.

Blessings, Romany

Broken_Heart_by_Chain_sawIt is possible to drown in ones tears.

I know.

I died a little this last dark and new moon.

The funny thing is, I have been drowning for quite a while. Every tear has been adding to the pool around me, threatening to engulf me, as I have turned my head this way and that, kicked my feet, and tried desperately to keep my head above water. Most of the time I succeeded, although there were many occasions I thought I was going under. It isn’t surprising, but it is terrifying. I feared drowning in my sorrow, feared what it would mean, feared the possibility that I would never surface again. I feared dying inside. So I fought endlessly, pushed myself, sought comfort and support. I just kept swimming. (more…)

hearth altarI have long been trying to live in the now. To be present in each moment. To let go of my past and to stop grasping at unknowable futures. To be open, receptive, aware. Willing to be who I am, where I am, right now. It is a challenge.

Much of the time my mind whirls with memories of the past and possibilities for the future. My emotions fluctuate around previous experiences, or tangle themselves into hope, anxiety or concern for the future. I react to life as it happens, and my reaction times are slow. I worry about what might be. I grieve over what was. So I sought to become less reactive and more proactive. I tried to tune into each moment as it happened, to process it like raindrops swelling my inner rivers. I tried spiritual techniques, mental tricks, psychological methods. I affirm my connection to the here and now. I practice mindfulness. I meditate. I let go.

I realised that we are never truly in the present moment, we may come close, but we simply cannot immerse ourselves in the now. We need time to process our understanding of now, and the greater the lesson, the longer the arc of understanding. Even listening to my own heartbeat takes the time of feedback and interpretation, but listening to my heart and its desires takes longer, listening to the hearts and desires of others longer still. We are never truly now or then, we are always somewhere in the middle. Like Janus we have twinned faces looking back at past and towards the future – a body in the present, and a mind split between what was and what will be. We are never fully present, even in the present moment.

The present is the past before you are able to grasp its importance and significance. And the unknown future is upon us before we even avert our gaze from that which just was. The importance of a single moment takes time to realise, yet it is the time in between experience and understanding that unravels the truth. This is the time when we listen, learn, understand and integrate the importance and value of every now. Therefore even if the only moment we have is now, it is the liminal times that we both seek and treasure. The liminal times may be brief and in sharp relief, or they may stretch over years as we slowly come to terms with that which once was, and with that one moment that changed everything.

This was my lesson, hard learned. By striving to remain present, I fell through the cracks of time and discovered the in between. The dusks and dawns of my own understanding. I live in the liminal times.

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“Some would even say that love is the most complex [emotion] of them all. If for no other reason than within those four letters lay all emotions.”- Tony Lantz

BW Sex3We love in cycles and waves, in tidal pulls that tug us off our feet. We speak of love and loss each time we lose our balance and are swept away on the currents. We ride high on the crests of the waves, soaring free. We are dashed against the shore and rise shaking and exhilarated. We turn our backs and try to find our feet on shifting sands. We take a deep breath and dive headlong back into the swells. We fall in love, we fall out of love. We fall.

Love is what it is, for the heart wants what the heart wants, and yet love is also an emotion that can be nurtured, grown, discovered or revealed. Love is sometimes not enough to sustain the kind of relationships we want, love is sometimes not enough to meet the expectations of those around us, yet love is always enough. Even loving into the void between us is enough. Love is pain and pleasure, heartache, heartbreak, joy and laughter. Love is the twin of grief, for we could not hurt so deeply if we do not love so deeply. Love is vulnerability. Love is release. Love is without expectation. Love is the altruistic act of being open, present, and compassionate, with honour and respect for others regardless of their response.

Love is a storm that we can hide from, shutting our doors and windows to the chaos of feeling, or we can choose to stand in the centre of it with open arms, raise our voices to the winds, and let the wildness lift our spirits and cleanse our souls. Its power and fury can overwhelm us, knock us off our feet, even send us running to safety. In lashes of rain and whipping wind we are stripped bare and raw, exposed and vulnerable, blinded and unbalanced, but our very being soaks in the nourishment to be found within the raging tempest. Love beats down upon our upturned faces or bowed heads, seeking entry to our deepest selves. It feeds us, refreshes us, gives us fuel to grow.

We love, even when it feels like love has left us behind. We love even when the walls that contained it crumble around us. We love even when the well is drying up; we still thirst for the last drops hidden in the darkest recesses. We love with salt tears, wet cheeks, tired eyes, and bitter taste upon our tongue. We love when there is nothing left but love. We love because that is all we can do.

Love is what it is. And it is both simple and complex, for we are both simple and complex.

We are love.

 

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This blog post was inspired by random conversations with Tony Lantz. Thanks for the thought provocation sweetheart.

Epstein QuoteI try not to regret the things I have done, because at some point it must have been what I wanted. Even if it simply seemed like a good idea at the time, but in hindsight was a terrible idea, harmful and hurtful in its teachings. I do often regret the things I didn’t do, the opportunities I missed, the times I said no even when a part of me was screaming ‘Fuck, yes!’ The times I said no from fear or a sense of not being capable, or not worthy or not good enough. I look back on those missed opportunities and wonder where I would be today, or who I would be today, or how much richer and wiser in experience I would be had I followed through on those chances.

Every experience has made me the woman I am today, for good or ill. Each yes and each no has shaped me in some way. If only I had been brave enough, smart enough, creative enough, more confident, more willing, more daring. If only I had said yes instead of no, or no instead of yes. If only I valued myself more. If only I had chosen a different path. (more…)

I am currently working with the very luscious Lady Lisa Lister of Sassyology, and she is inspiring my personal truth-be-told style of writing. This post is a little bit of a departure from my usual Pagan and Poetry based blogs, but I felt called to share it. Today we were exploring the idea of letting go of the safety of repeating old patterns and taking the safe path, and instead becoming the heroine of our own story. It hit home with me in a big way, ripped me up a little inside, and forced me to face my own reflection. This is what inspiration feels like – a mix of pleasure and pain, excitement and fear, and the inescapable desire to express it. I challenge you to also  explore the idea of your own hero story, your own journey, of becoming the leading role in the tale of you. If the lovely Lisa inspires you as much as I, then check her out here.

In the meantime, this is me – Writing my freakin’ heart out and bleeding all over the page.

Epstein Quote“In my dreams I am the everyday superhero. The one without magical powers, but is fit and fabulous enough to leap fences, kick ass, know every form of street fighting and martial arts, who can pull terrified people together, who can save those in distress, who can fight the monsters, who can win the war, who can save the day. I totally rock in my dreams. I face Armageddon with barely a blink, I take on the zombie apocalypse with style and determination, I face the end of the world with a Fuck Yeah attitude. I run, I jump, I race, I fight, I fuck, I fly helicopters and I feel completely alive in the face of death. I am the hero on the journey. And I will survive. (more…)

fall.jpgSo today is Canadian thanksgiving – one day among many days to express gratitude. Our first thought on a day like this is gratitude for the harvests, for the food in our bellies, the roof over our heads and the warmth we need for the coming winter. For this and more I am grateful. I am thankful for those who have stood by me, with me, and even against me, for they all help to shape my sharp and smooth edges. I am thankful for those who have pushed me, challenged me, supported me and encouraged me. I am thankful for health, happiness and well being for myself and those I love. I am thankful for beauty, change, inspiration and the coming darkness. I am thankful for busy days and days of rest. And even many, many years after traveling around the world, I am still very, very grateful for hot running water and flushing toilets. Today, I am thankful for the small things and the bigs things, for the physical things and the spiritual things, for the intellectual things and the emotional things, and for the sunshine lighting up trees of red and gold.

Happy thanksgiving.

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Autumn arrives

As my son cries

And places fallen leaf upon my outstretched fingertips

Fix the tree he pleads

The leaf

It fell over

Fix the tree

If only it were so simple

To kiss it better

To hug away the hurt

To ease the seasons sorrow

I wonder if his heart will break a little

With every red gold shiver

With every bitter breeze

With every leaf crunching underfoot

The tree is broken in his mind

How does one explain

The time and tides

The ebb and flow

The come and go

To brimming tear filled brown eyes?

Is it too hard a truth to learn so young

That some things cannot be undone?

I cannot fix the tree for him

And reality upon me dawns

Just as the time has come for leaves to change

The mighty Mama also falls

No longer magic touch

Healing all with simple love

There are things in life beyond a Mamas reach

She cannot even fix the tree

(c)2013 Romany Rivers

Blessings of the Autumn Equinox to you all! May the turning of the seasons bring you peace and bountiful harvests. Look out for the story behind this poem in the upcoming community book ‘Pagan Planet’ due for publication soon!

helping-handMy heart goes out to the loved ones of Robin Williams, and to all those touched by his life and death. His suicide has opened a wave of discussion about the impact of depression and what it means to live, and love, and be within the shadow of sadness. This has hit me hard, not least because I know what it is like to smile through sadness, to live with depression and to face suicide. Mr. Williams brought laughter to so many, lifted the hearts of others so often, and yet he lived with a shadow that many of us endure and never speak about. Now people are talking. Everywhere I go I hear people talking about it. The internet is full of people talking about it. Talk is great, we need an open discussion about mental health and its impact, yes we do. But talk is also a trigger, and these last couple of days have forced me to poke old wounds, bringing memories to the surface. (more…)