Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Written In the Stone

I’m spending less time stumbling around trying to make sense of all sorts of recent happenings, life-long ineffective habits and really annoying behaviors that I've built up across nearly half a century.   I’m trying to just let life happen, or at least I’m visualizing my way toward this.  I have these ingrained beliefs based upon a devout Catholic upbringing, a working class frame of reference and a genetically Irish cellular make-up.  With those three interconnected factors, one doesn’t generally allow life to just happen.  My guiding mantras: 1. God helps those that help themselves, 2. You have to work hard for anything you want in life and 3. I need to be in heaven half an hour before the devil knows I’m dead.  I’m busy.  Always.  I have to keep one step ahead and I have to keep my nose to the grindstone.  Slowing down to let life happen, or taking a close look at my part in how things turned out, well, that will just give the devil a chance to catch up to me- (as if he hasn’t already…..?)

When a sign from the cosmos shouts at me to let go and wait to see what the world offers, I might just need to listen and learn and let it all happen without being at the helm with landing gear and flood lights to help lead the way.   I have a funny way of taking in messages from the cosmos.   I don’t want to let too many in on this, but I kinda make it up as I go along.  I do.  I think.  I’m not really certain.  And those times that I was absolutely sure someone strolled into my life for a big cosmic-like reason, I may have been a little too Junie B Jones excited about thanking them and all of ‘tarnation and the saints abounding for shining their ever blessed universal light upon me.   I can occasionally behave as though God Almighty has brought you to me and I have a big soft chair and a cold libation awaiting your arrival.  At least in my head.  I don’t usually let out all this tomfoolery and mystical mania but occasionally someone gets into my head. 

Here’s an example of the Universe working with me, leading me right to the very path I need to be on. It’s magic in that scary, telepathic, Irish voodoo way that I have mastered or master-minded.  Even if I am already on the right path, I make it into a Universal happening. I’m the type of person that believes in signs.  And just about anything is fair game.  A rainbow on a bad day.  Making it to the last ferry just on time.  Running out of coffee. Hearing from a friend unexpectedly and maybe hearing about something that appears random but fits exactly into my day.  Mourning doves on my lawn after a storm.  Random things and mystical things.  Birds seem to be big.  You don’t know what that means?  I don’t really either, except that when my father was dying of cancer I’m certain that blue herons were watching over me.   Someone needed to be, so why not a blue heron?

I know this is magical thinking.  Sixteen years ago, driving over 6 hours from the hospital in New Jersey to my home at that time outside of Rochester, these herons seemed to follow me.   And just maybe in between blank faced grieving, red-eyed sobs, a sense of hopelessness and hours on the road, the two or three times I glanced heavenward, I would see a heron.  This might have been a fluke.  I know this, but ever since, I am quite convinced that when a blue heron flies across my path, it is a good luck sign.   

Last summer, I drove south and decided unexpectedly to camp at a beach in Perdido Key, Florida.  Off-course and out of the way, unplanned, I made it to this amazing beach.  The beach was filled with….. frolicking, meandering, chilling out  blue herons, at a time that I was in need of love and support and maybe the encouragement I once knew from my father.  Sure, they have to hang somewhere, but how did I happen to end up there?  Signs.  Omens.  Good Luck.   And well, maybe my past year hasn’t been so lucky, but it could be heading there.  Blowing a kiss heavenward didn’t harm a soul, but warmed mine. And then there were the two mourning doves that came and stayed for a week on my front lawn last fall when I was questioning where I belonged.  (Mourning doves symbolize home according to some internet mystic site. They might also symbolize displaced birds looking for worms but that's just not as romantic and hopeful.)

This past  weekend "the signs" worked like this;  I was helping out at a big, exciting, celebratory inauguration ceremony in Poughkeepsie.  I was sitting at a table, with the task of checking in guests, big wigs, little wigs, and average everyday wigs, all.  So as luck turns out, or Hades checking in to see if I’m still breathing, if this is my last half hour... a certain guest that I did not want to see came in.  (Mind you, only one guest of the approximately 300 to 400 guests was particularly unappealing to me and very recently brought an extra dose of pain and suffering to my holiday season.)  Of the 9 different, beautiful, smiling check-in operatives, he just happened to end up checking in with me.  A sign!  I smiled politely as opposed to making a scene, getting up and running, or hanging from the chandeliers to avoid contact.  I listened to the inaugural speech happily and proudly, having clocked a great many hours on the campaign trail.  I beat feet without breakfast and made my way out into the early Saturday without a plan or a care.  

The Universe prodding me along.  I texted a friend, as she lives across the bridge and has children that I love to rile up and wrestle with and laugh loudly amongst.  I could be there in 5 minutes and around those I love.  But again, the Universe has other thoughts. Just as I pass the bridge exit, a message came telling me to come over.  I respond. Too late, catch you on the fly, just passed the exit.  So I head south.  Beacon and the art galleries?  Barnes and Noble for the coffee and potential companionship?  (I have friends and acquaintances who swear B&N is better than eHarmony.)  Ahhh, Beacon it is.  My dating legs are just not quite steady or ready and I can’t afford to purchase a great many books as I wiggle and squirm and surely spill coffee whenever a man approaches, walks by or simply breathes in proximity to my angst.  The Universe quietly concedes without attempting to make me feel bad.  A silent scream, as it goes. 

The city of Beacon interests me.  Sitting on the southern point of Dutchess County, along the shores of the Hudson about a stones throw from Newburgh, it has this mix of rag-tag, left behind, long ago, not quite charm and boisterous, edgy art revitalization.  Emerging and colliding with a gritty contentedness all mixed up and evident on the streets and alley-ways of this small upstate city, creative edginess abounds.  I stumble about with camera and calm and quietly enter a few galleries.  I decide to approach a receptionist at the Howland Cultural Center  after taking in the exhibit to maybe, just for kicks, and what do I have to lose at this point?  ask about exhibiting.  The conversation becomes easy and relaxed.  The Universe is here on my side prodding me along.  I show a few of my pieces tucked safely in my iPhone and the feedback is positive, enthusiastic even, interested.

I’m not so accustomed to this Universe.  I have been hiding out in my own.  Soon the receptionist beckons the director to come over and we engage in a warm and engaging conversation as she views my pieces. After some time, she sends me on my way with hope and confidence alighting in my cheeks.  A far cry from the sweaty blotches and hive-necked aftermath of not so long ago just considering promoting myself or my art.  Age, the Universe, surviving the split-up, has helped me.  I have nowhere else to go but right where I am, or wherever the Universe is leading, but I still routinely kick, and buck and try to go one way or another to get exactly where I started out.  I'm learning, and the Universe seems OK with this. 

The director shares that she is booked through next January. Next March, she encourages, might work and she asks me to submit my work to her email.  She directs me to another gallery on the west end of Beacon.  I leave thankful and content for the cosmos, the alignment of the stars, the calm that is starting to be more evident in my skin and in my eyes.  I take a walk and some photos as I make my way to my car and head to the west end.  I park and walk toward the gallery, and the Universe pulls me into a small shop.  I am initially attracted by the jewelry and rings in the window.  I walk in and the incense instantly fills my lungs.  It turns out it is a spiritual, healing, motorcyclist apparel, gift and crystal shop with readings offered in the front window.  I’m open to this.  Some.  I’m not disinterested at least.  And you know, my “peeps” seem to be represented here in spades or shamrocks.  In these shops, you can always find Celtic crosses, Celtic symbols, assorted wax leprechaun candle doo-hickies…spirited people those, I mean us, Irish. 

I glance around the shop.  I’m drawn to the stones.  I’m odd this way.  I like rocks.  All different rocks.  I move around this Earth with rocks in my car, on my desk, in my pockets, in jars and pitchers and drawers around my home.  Odd.  Not quite hoarding.  Just collecting the smooth good feeling, sparkly, fossil imprinted, and/or heart shaped rocks. And OK I still relate a wee bit too much with my eight year old tomboyish self, when I’m not breaking into hives, or calmly breathing in my quiet or doling out a stink eye or occasionally spitting out a sailor’s repertoire of swearing, under just the right conditions, that is.  My eight year old self loves rocks and assorted nuts and bolts and maybe a small salamander carried in my pockets.  My 40 year old self had a dump truck of rocks gifted to my garden that I moved around with the help of a sturdy son until it resembled a replica Paleolithic tomb or shrine .  Resembling ruins of a sort.  I didn’t dally in witchcraft or meditation or incantations…..I just like rocks.  That might have qualified as hoarding.  The infamous rock rescue missions….well, those were missions, of rescue, and relocating.  It was like a catch and release program for rocks, ultimately, they just all got released into my rock garden.  Everyone, every rock, a winner. I stand by this. My nearly 50 year old self is interested in a sparkly rock of size and substance, size 6.5

I move in closer to the healing stones.  Blue Lace Agate, Kyanite, Lapis Lazuli, Rose Quartz, Lepidolite, Labradorite….I touch them. I start to reach for another, and stop myself.  I think maybe I am messing with the Universe. I think I need to take the first one I was drawn to and follow the wisdom of the Universe, not fight it, or disregard it.  I read the definitions.  I’m not sure that I should seek out control, but calm is what I am maybe sensing here with these rocks.  

I take a Blue Lace Agate, a Kyanite and a Lepidolite.   They each have the power of calming.  The Blue Lace Agate seems especially important and maybe my fillings should have been made of this.  Blue Lace Agate offers a peaceful gentle energy which may allow me to soothingly express what needs to be expressed.  I think me and expression does not always go smoothly.  It’s laced in snark and bite at times. I think if my teeth were filled with Blue Lace Agate I would have had a better chance at expressing myself with calm and kindness.  Openness. According to the notes, Blue Lace Agate is known for providing encouragement to express ourselves in appropriate and kind ways.  It offers a calm stillness in which to gather your thoughts, Damn! I could really use calm, stillness and quiet whispers.  I hold on to it.

I look at the Kyanite, it looks like a wafer with flaky layers “perfect for cutting through negativity and emotional blockages”.  Constipation of the heart and soul one might think.  This stone also works with communication and self-expression.  Hmmmm, I’m sensing a pull, a theme, speaking and creating…wrap it up, I’ll take it.  It does not accumulate negative energy, then where will mine land? The Universe will take care of that, or the blue herons.   

Lepidolite - A most effective stone for calming frayed nerves, helping one to release stress and worry. It can dispel negative thoughts and remove emotional attachments such as resentment and envy. Lepidolite is a stone used for spiritual purification and meditation. It can clear blocked energies in any of the chakras and throughout the meridian system.  I don’t know what that means, or where my chakras are, but I don’t need any negativity or resentment.  I add that stone as well.

I don’t know if any of these stones will heal, or calm or get me to tame my occasional mouthy snark, but I buy them anyway.  As I am paying I do wonder why the women that run these shops always appear as though life has knocked them down good.  They generally have raspy, smokers voices. Tattoos of fairies and crosses and perhaps, Betty Boop? adorn their bodies.  I’m not sure what healing powers Betty had.  Uniforms from the Pier 1 Gypsy line circa 1983 or 1978, or Stevie Nicks play togs seem to be the fashion staple here.  Ninety miles of bad road and cat hairs in their tofu scramble.  Which stones might help with makeovers?  The snark rises up and I let it go.  No judgment, just snarky observation, all love and wonder

I put the bag of stones in my pocket.  The next day I find them and take them out, examining each one.  I tuck a piece of Kyanite in my bra, I need balance fast.  The Blue Lace Agate I toy with and the Lepidolite is about the size of a golf ball.  I’m wondering if I launch it squarely aimed in the direction of ….Oh, I don’t know who wants a piece of me this week?…..will it release my anger?  Maybe it can provide the release of emotional blockage for another if it hits him/her squarely on his/her heart-less chakra.  I know there is a lingering gray aura around me and a shard from the Kyanite just pierced my nipple.  I think I saw some very fashionable rings in that shop for nipple piercings…what is the healing stone for cynicism and skepticism?  The release of resentment might be a really big goal for me.  Wait! Maybe those feelings were stimulated for release because I picked up that stone???  WOW! This is awesome! 

I’ve got my own uniform of what-the-hell-have-I-been-doing-here-on-Earth, and running on empty. I think the Universe is telling me I need to calm down, not worry so much, release the lingering blockage and emotional baggage, heal the inner child and maybe carry a big stick. OK, OK, no big sticks.  I read that taking a bath with my rocks will help release the healing powers.  I like this in contrast to walking on burning stones.  There is that other way to get stoned, also known for the calming effect.  Hmmmmm.  Legal issues, morality, that triumvirate factoring that makes me, me. I guess not.  But maybe for healing, medicinal reasons?  I do have that occasional headache or sinus blockage.  

The herons will be back soon, until then I can be found making stone soup and taking a bath with my rocks.  I’ve got nowhere else to be, but right where I amRock on.  

I'm feeling a bit Beaconish- rag-tag, not quite charming, sometimes boisterous, edgy art type.  Emerging and colliding with a gritty contentedness, all mixed up.... stone cold calm.   Does Barnes and Noble have a dating site?  I think I just wrote my dating profile...

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