TRIUMPH OF SPIRIT IN LOVE, NATURE & ART

Posts tagged “loss

Tyranny of Mind

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4AM
and you a warm lump
under the covers
of Morpheus

Me wide awake
eyes moist with tears
I write
lest I forget
the vulnerability of you
yesterday

lest one day
you ARE no longer
a day of dread
so locked into desire
for your presence am I
fearful of the future
lest it tears me from you
or me from you

Not yet awake

to the wisdom
of the sages and the ages
to live forever in the present

“Until death do us part”

The import of those words
have begun to resound
with a fierce vengeance
now decades later

The treasure of you
multiplies like the loaves and fishes

I fear a famine
not of food
but of your presence

I try to hold each wrinkled emotion
on your face
in a forever place
lest you be torn from me

The specter of loss
hangs over me
haunting our life together

And yesterday
when you cried
when you disguised your tears
with embarrassed laughter
your eyes dripped diamonds,
sparkling as they fell
in response to mine

I crying because
there will never be
a “happily ever after”
at our age
sure as shooting
death will come
and rip us asunder

Perhaps our love
will be born again
in Samsara
but it is a “perhaps”
without a guarantee

My faith is faint

My heart shudders
and flutters
under the threat
of separation
as you lay
a lump of warmth
in the land of Nod

Our love a fairy tale
in a fierce steely reality
of endings.

“Unless we can discover that basic ground of goodness in our own lives, we cannot hope to improve the lives of others.”
Chogyam Trungpa


“My Eyes are Leaking”

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The world a watery blur

one less source of joy and laughter

on this ailing earth

a delight to so many

in so many ways

“My eyes are leaking”

(Robin Williams as the alien on “Mork and Mindy”)


The Reign of Pain

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Tears,years, fears, pain, pane, rain, car, far, are you there, somewhere?

I can’t hear you.  I can’t see you.  I can’t feel you.  Any more.

Why did you have to die?  Why did you have to go?

Your kids bleed for you, you know.

Your wife aches for you, you know.

I pine for you, you know.

Your absence is our has been.

Attachment our sin.

And in this reign

of pain we fail

we ail

each in our own ways.

It may be a thin veil

 that divides our souls but

why then does it feel like an iron curtain

 creating the great divide

between our being and your nothingness?

(Written for the three year anniversary of my brother’s death.)


Good Friday Prayer

In death, decay

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blurred tears

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yet the promise of new life

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Overloaded Circuits: a Poem for World Bipolar Day, March 30, 2014

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I’m in somnia

with jackhammer brain

a buzzing mind

a humming with emotions

thoughts and pictures

memories of joys

lost to death

spirits close to my heart

seemingly worlds away

guilt, loss and happiness

sickness and death

as well as

breathtaking beauty

a bedfellow with

gnawing worries

and gnashing nerves

fleeting images from films and

music playing at high speed

in the library of my mind

voices of today, yesterday and

fears of tomorrow

vying for an ear

asking me to listen

to them all

all at once

a cacophony of sounds

in the humming silence

of the specter-filled

haunting darkness

with fearsome death dangling

its loathsome threats

before my darting eyes

afraid not for myself

but of losing him

as he lies beside me

breathing noises

breeding worry, sorry

dashing thoughts of love, passion, doubts

a scarily-still lump beside

insomniac-hyper-racing-mind

manic me

finally arising out of

maudlin months

of dismal darkness

and deep, dark despair

when death smelled sweet to me

*

I get out of bed

to lay my face

upon the windowsill

to gaze at the mystery sky

full of twinkling stars

glittering to the rhythms

of the pulsing universe

my only hope for some

semblance of somnolence

my only chance for peace.

For info on my Bipolar memoir, please see: http://www.independentauthornetwork.com/ellen-stockdale-wolfe.html


Cowboys and the “Dallas Buyer’s Club”

About three minutes into “Dallas Buyers Club” I just knew I was going to love it.  Well, I more than loved it. I absolutely adored it and watched it twice. Why? Apart from being a highly meaningful piece of art with political overtones with which I concur, here was a film about the cowboy in my life. My brother.
*
No, my brother didn’t die of AIDS or HIV. He was not a drug addict and he was as straight as they come. I was the one with the homosexual experiences in my family.  My brother didn’t even die of cirrhosis of the liver, though God knows he drank enough. No, my brother died of lung cancer at age 57.
*
Let me back up and give a synopsis of the film from Wikipedia for those of you who are not familiar with it: ‘”Dallas Buyers Club” is a 2013 American biographical drama film, directed by Jean-Marc Vallée and written by Craig Borten and Melisa Wallack. Matthew McConaughey stars as the real-life AIDS patient Ron Woodroof, who smuggled unapproved pharmaceutical drugs into Texas when he found them effective at improving his symptoms, distributing them to fellow sufferers by establishing the “Dallas Buyers Club” while facing opposition from the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).”
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Like Woodroof, Tony was a hard drinking, hard-living, tough-as-nails cowboy who worked on thoroughbred horse farms for awhile as a groom. He got into trouble from time to time but he was blessed with a good, big heart. And, unlike Ron he lived long enough to turn his life around and live an exemplary life I cannot begin to touch.  He married, settled down, became a wheelchair artisan and adopted three kids. He wound up doing volunteer work, too, therapeutic riding with handicapped kids. Things Ron might have done had he had the chance. Ron has a line in the film where he talks about wanting a family. But he died too young.
*
So did Tony. His cowboy life in Michigan was cut short when he was diagnosed with stage 4 lung cancer at age 54.  He was given 4 months to live. Dead set on fighting and aiming to win, he had chemo and radiation.  I sent him doo-rags when his hair fell out. I did Reiki on him.  And he did his God-damnedest to stay alive. All for his kids. He dropped down to 90 pounds, walked and looked like a dark-skinned, Latino Ron Woodroof at his most emaciated. It was heartbreaking to see this once rugged, handsome cowboy wearing long sleeves in the middle of a blistering summer so as not to scare people with his stick-insect arms.
*
Damn, the movie had guts! Power, too, in spades. Just like Ron Woodroof and his beautiful transvestite partner in business, Rayon. Just like my brother, and just like so many fighting for their lives.  Ron outlived the 30 day sentence the doctors gave him when he was first diagnosed HIV, and he lived some seven more years.  Tony lived three years after the initial prediction of four months. Chemo was hell for one week out of the month followed by three relatively good weeks. Relative is the word here. Tony told me time and again he was doing all this for the kids.
*
The Rons, the Rayons and the Tonys of the world– they are the unknown, unsung heroes of daily life. Ron Woodroof became famous  thanks to the producers, writers, actors and all who made this movie jump from the page to the screen to brilliant, vibrant life.  I thank them for telling the stories of Ron and Rayon. Stories that needed desperately to be told. Ron Woodroof made good in his own hustling way. So did my brother.
*
It was great seeing Tony again, even if only in metaphor. I cried plenty from the get-go and again the second time around, but even aside from my brother, would have anyhow. The characters, the movie was THAT poignant, counterpointed by humor, too. What a fantastic whirlwind of a life was portrayed in this outstanding, almost phantasmagorical film.

Tom Attwater Is Dying. His Daughter Might Die, Too. The Letter He Left For Her Is Unforgettable.

To see a video of Tom reading this letter, click on:

http://kindnessblog.com/2014/02/20/tom-attwater-dying-of-cancer-reads-the-letter-he-wrote-to-his-daughter-kelli/


Spirits Past and the Mystical Bliss of Horses

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It is almost Christmas, and my birthday, and today I cried reading an old birthday email from my sister.  She signed it “Lisa the Pizza, Tony Baloney and the rest of the gang ‘up there’,” meaning my brother, and my mother and father.

“Tony  Baloney” died two years and a half ago, leaving behind three adopted children whom he adored and who adored him, and a loving wife.  My father and mother died 25 and 20 years ago, as impossible as that seems.  Dad and Mom died this time of year.  And my best friend, Wendi, died shortly after.  All of cancer of some sort or the other.  But they all loved horses.

We now live in Millbrook — horse country.  Horse farms dot the countryside.  My father and mother and Wendi would have adored it.  My brother was the only one to visit Millbrook, coming with his family whom we put  up at a nearby horse ranch. They all  had the time of their lives.  One of my fondest memories of my brother is from that visit.  We are holding hands as he is relaxing after a day of riding with his kids.  He is drinking and smoking (what eventually killed him) and we are taking in the sunset on the porch of the dude ranch.

I love horses, too.  It is in my blood.  Dad played the horses and my brother worked on several racetracks, including Belmont.  Now I abhor horse-racing,  finding it cruel.  My brother had horror stories to tell of how the horses were drugged and run hurting.  I have seen horses being put down– all for a senseless sport.  Dad and I would quarrel about this if he were still alive.

I remember stroking a horse once at a show nearby and the bliss I felt was mystical in a most spiritual way.  I wanted that moment to last forever.  And the happiest I have ever seen my husband was on a moonlit ride we took in a canyon in Arizona on our honeymoon.  Horses bring happiness. My husband knows it. Dad knew it.  Tony knew it, Wendi knew it and to some extent, Mom knew it.

Too old to ride now I pet horses when I can, and admire them as we drive by horse farms.  I photograph them when the spirit moves me.  I ache inside for my parents who would have adored it here in our little barn.  For my brother, the cowboy, as different from me as night and day, but bonded by a deep love and shared losses.  For my friend, Wendi, with whom I shared a not-to-be replicated link of love.  Merry Christmas, Tony Baloney, Mom, Dad, Wendi!

My blessing comes from the love I share with my husband who married me despite my mental illness. It comes, too,  from our spiritual connection to nature. I admire my husband who works with society’s outcasts as a clinical social worker.  My giving is on a much smaller scale– tiny things here and there– online activism and such.  You play the hand you are dealt.

Christmas can be a hard time, and New Year’s, too, and I know there will be the inevitable meltdown into tears over losses of loved ones, over mortality, over our material nature.  And perhaps you will also have your own moment of bleakness.  But I hope that you, too, will be able to touch your bliss at Christmas and find a blossoming hope for the new year.

Blessings of joy to all!!


An Apparition

Apparition

Here one second,

the next, gone,

with traces only in our hearts.

The ephemeral nature

of all life.

Our loved ones,

people and creatures,

here with us

for a pause in eternity

and gone for seeming eons.

            *

It is as the Hindus say

all “Maya,”

a dream of life,

an apparition,

some form of us

awakens one day

somewhere

we know not

when or where or how

right now.


The Spiders’ Secret

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A chill wind blows the yellowing leaves off the trees. They drift down to the ground like giant snowflakes. The air is pregnant with the feel of the coming holidays. Fall has truly come, with the sudden drop in temperatures, a full 10-20 degrees cooler than a few weeks ago. This is the real Fall, no faltering Fall, but a Fall that will guide us appropriately into winter. November appears as a mirror image of March with its vibrant color of decay, while March is the decaying color of about-to-burst-forth Spring.

The birds are at the bird feeder all the time now. They are not stopped by our presence when we come to fill the feeder or blow leaves under it. Nothing stops them. They swoop around the feeder and the surrounding trees like Kamikaze pilots, darting here and there recklessly. The squirrels are in a frenzy as well, stock piling acorns and walnuts which they will retrieve without fail in a month or so in a snow-covered land.

To me, the trees are most beautiful at this time of year, when many of them are bare and a scattering of leaves remain on dark brown branches. The leaves that remain quiver daintily in their precarious positions on the tree limbs. Yet these are the survivors. The other leaves have fallen and gone the way all living things eventually go. Most trees have lost all their leaves and they stand in stark contrast against the blue sky, the stormy sky, the grey sky.  But I find them most beautiful against the night sky, with arms reaching up to the darkness, trying to touch the stars twinkling between the branches, as moonlight dances on their limbs.

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November holds the last glimmer of color. A carpet of yellow lines the woods now– and one can see inside the woods that are so dark and impenetrable in summer. Some forests have carpets of oak leaves– dark brown tan in color. Others are paved with variegated colors– vibrant crimsons against yellows and faded greens and tawny tans. The un-mown lawns are now taken over by the spiders covering the fields.  At precious moments, one can see a world of webs that only appears in a certain slant of sunlight and reveal a silent take-over by the spiders in webs that sparkle secretly, mirroring the infinite web of creation.

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The yellow, brown, and crimson leaves are complemented by the ubiquitous yellow, brown and crimson mums that appear on the roadside near mail boxes, on porches or along driveways. These tough little flowers withstand frosty chills and stand tall throughout most of November– hearty, generous souls, so giving in their colorful, velvety splendor.

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Halloween pumpkins begin to sag a bit or shine with wetness as if encased in glass. They will soon be tossed– pine combs, wreaths and fir swags to take their places, and the season of lights will begin. Anticipation hangs in the air. Autumn seems the fastest season to come and go. I try treasuring each moment, but the minute/hours/days just sift through my fingers like so many grains of sand. Then Christmas/Hanukkah comes and fades in a flash and we are into the Nor’Easter blizzards of January. Another year is gone and a new one has come. Would that we could be in forever in the season of love, but it is also a season of loneliness and loss and darkness. It is good we are defenseless against time.

Now, at Thanksgiving, it is our time to give thanks. Inspired by the Native Americans, let us thank the earth. Let us give thanks to the trees for their constantly changing beauty, to the stars for their piercing presence in the night sky, to the leaves for their inspiring colors, to the sun for its life-giving power.  Let us thank the Spring for its awakening hope, the Summer for its warm, thriving growth, the Fall for its beauteous bounty, to the Winter for a time of renewal.  Let us thank the soon-to-come snow for its hushed, white silence that transforms our world, to all the animals for their pure souls, to our families and friends for their precious love, and, lastly, but mostly, to the Higher Power of our belief for the macrocosm of creation.

Happy Thanksgiving and may you each be blessed with the all-embracing, pervasive, pulsating Love in Nature.