Sunday, June 10, 2018

We are all Each Other’s Angels and Demons

There is no real rest in life.  There’s a path, but how many of us are really ever on it for and extended amount of time?  It’s narrow and tenuous.  Hopefully, it’s forgiving.
   What follows is that you need a fundamental understanding in order to endure.  You need to know your truth.  So many of us don’t.  Or have lost our way.  It’s easy to know when you’ve lost your way.  You feel sad.  Or angry.  Hurt.  Diseased.  You need help.  You feel guilty.  Lonely.  Out of control.  Scared.  
   None of these are bad and we all feel them.  Judging them in yourself or in others is hypocritical.  These are moments we really need to stop acting.  Withdraw and breathe.  Count.  Talk it through with someone close.  Get back into a present moment.  Find the now.
   It won’t solve the problems.  It will stop you from making them worse.  If you’re not in control, or coming from a “good place” you shouldn’t drive.  And you do drive.  You drive the course of your life.
   The universe speaks to us though.  We know this.  If you don’t, access the now a little harder.  You’re life isn’t yours as you are now to create, but it is yours to observe and respond to.  Do that long enough and you’ll see.  Feeling negative?  Pay attention to the negative you put out there.  Your thoughts, words, actions.  Feeling alone?  Whose hand have you held with unconditional love and acceptance recently?  Feeling angry?  Who have you angered?  Whose anger have you sullied?  This is where you can pull on the truths of the greats: Buddha, Jesus, Mohammed, Lao Tzu, etc.  They heard the universe.  They listened.  But many many others have too.  We are all each other’s angels and demons.  Whether we are ultimately in Heaven, or Hell, some computer program, or the cell of some child’s bubble.  If you stop and listen, love and really know and feel how much we don’t know, you’ll stop judging.  Stop playing god, and be one.

Saturday, December 16, 2017

Life, Heaven or Hell?

Ok.  Face your fears and come with me on a trip through my spiritual journeys and the many authors that lead me here:

What if we are all actually in Hell?  Hell, as I most simply heard it defined is “without God.”  It could easily manifest as a lake a fire or crowd of shadowed torturers.  Pick your nightmare.  Doesn’t matter.  Imagine all of us currently in this life are caught in a Matrix sustained by our own imperfect minds manifesting our own realities and only glimpsing the occasional momentary escape in love or laughter, ecstasy, meditation or prayer.  Every person we meet

 - every single person -

is either going about their lives as though God doesn’t exist or Gods are irrelevant or arguing over who’s flawed idea of God is best.  I have multiple issues with the God or gods I’ve been introduced to, so what if I’m a god?  As a mere thought experiment this works.  You saw “What Dreams May Come” right?  Millions of people here writhing around in our own bubbles with God or reality, Heaven or maybe even a kind of eternal us just outside our bubbles helling, teaching, whispering all around us.

Every “righteous” person bearing signs of our (not their) doom is actually breaking their own rules of judgement and standing next to us in hell - a true fellow sinner in a way Abraham, Mohammed, and Jesus explained but I never really internalized before.  Nobody above or below, and yet everyone is.  Ever see a person glow? (James Redfield, Celestine Prophesy) Other people could be demons, or angels, or messengers.

And, what if it truly is a VERY narrow path we walk to Heaven?  We walk it with every choice we make as we navigate through this Multiverse.  Every sin, every judgement trips us up.

- every single thought (Eckhart Tolle) -

- every single definition (Robert M. Pirsig) -

- every label -

can actually steer us wrongly.

What if we have never really “lived?”  All this is actually a dream (Bishop Berkeley) or we died and it is a dream now at least as many near-death-experiencers have described?  And the lower you are in the Inferno (the smarter, sweeter, most intellectually and emotionally invested you are) the harder it is to break through the illusion.  Doesn’t all that truly fit?

But, doesn’t it also have the effect of casting a ethereal light on even the most totally mundane?  Doesn’t it truly make you want to embrace your enemies knowing they’re simply manifestations of either the real you or God or someone who loves you trying to wake you from your own nightmare?

Doesn’t it compel you to speak to your loves your every  truth right away?  Doesn’t it wake you up to listen and talk almost directly to this universe/multiverse/self/God//energy/love?  - trusting your actual life (as much as you can get your regular self out of the way) not simply waiting for synchronicity but knowing it will answer you right away if not directly than through a kind of symbolism only you can decipher?  It’s speaking, however, in the language of our lives when we stay on the path.  Nothing here is new, and yet for me everything is.  Because as much as it’s like I can feel Hell - I can also see Heaven.  Can you?

Monday, August 21, 2017

Truth, the Fine Line, a Collective Phallus, the Magic of Sustainability

I think there's some truth to the argument that statues and free speech are being threatened in this country.  I think the demographic is changing, and whites are at an unprecedented economic loss ...akin to what everybody else is more or less used to dealing with.  I think their plight deserves to be aired, noted, and forgiven.  I even think now is a good time even if their public presence calls out others.  The stark reality is that they couldn't mobilize a majority (even if they could sway an election). 
  I think some have a point in that they feel their religion teaches that abortion is murder, and one should have a right to not only practice that religion and believe in that religion, but also vote in accordance with what they believe that religion recommends one vote.  Freedom of religion is a central ideology in this country installed in response to some horrific persecutions not unlike The Inquisition and The Crusades.  We know how bad not having that can get.  
   And I think religion is being strangled in that education leads most to shed the confines of their youth often in light of the many truths other religions offer, and the short cited ignorance and gargantuan atrocities committed by their own.  I'm aware I speak as a product of that but that my voice would be silenced in any other universe.
   The fact remains that kids are having sex, women are being raped, and men are becoming terrorists.  Laws are being used to oppress.  Population needs to be controlled.  Violence benefits no one but the unseen.  
   These guys, they're confused, mislead, alienated.  They can't live up to the abundance of their fathers and they don't realize none of us can or ever could.  They only hear how they aren't good enough and they're wrong or responsible.  They think when we call out privilege that there's some stack of money they were supposed to get and be apologetic for.  They think that got stolen somewhere and they don't see that the US used the "free" labor of slavery to stockpile a collective phallus.  It's sad really.  Now we're left with a castrated majority and an imminent threat of nuclear war.
   Hate, violence - it won't get anywhere.  So much fear and judgement... I just refuse to deem any one person "bad" or "good" and not because any god tells me so.  Just because it's ignorant.  
   Each of us need to seek happiness - focus on it.  Feed it.  Sometimes you can find that in protest.  Sometimes you'll find only fear, hatred and ignorance there.  DT's inadvertently right (and I'm sure he didn't mean to be).  But there are many sides to all this.
   It took a walk on a very fine line for us to get here.  It'll be just as fine to make it out.  I know I won't last forever and only what I do for others will mean anything.  I also know only the strong survive.  That's the line we walk.  "Right" and "wrong" will wind up becoming what is sustainable, and what will end it all.  Violence, hatred, judgement and fear are all emotions that signal a wrong step.  

Saturday, April 8, 2017

My Gifted Tin Man

I can still hear the thumping of my heart and see the room kinda whiten and slow down strobe style as the words came out of her mouth.  "P-D-D N-O-S" she'd said then. (She wouldn't now).  

My little one, my perfect little 1 year old boy who had started talking at 8 months, who would entertain us with his depiction of the Tin Man's dance routine from the Wizard of Oz, who had become everything to me... Was being boxed by this psychiatrist who was crushing our souls with these letters.  His stacking of the toys was apparently an indication.  His banging of a bottle against the floor.

She didn't care that he was breastfed.  She "knew" how we were taking it and assured us that there are "programs" for children "on the autism spectrum" and that many grow up to lead very regular "almost normal" lives.  

But she didn't know how much this child meant.  She didn't know that he hadn't just been made - he'd been designed by not even two but three!  She didn't know that so many of my friends had seen his charisma and intelligence already that they based their own kids' progress on how those kids measured up to mine.

But here I was facing a nightmare I'd only ever scarcely entertained a notion of.  That morning (as every morning for the past year and a half had been) had been perfect.  The redemption (it felt like) of a less-than-happy childhood of my own.  All that hope was gone now in the time it took for a stranger to sum up my child and mouth the letters P-D-D... my heart stopped.  Everything felt gone.

   It wasn't though.  

   Amy and I were no strangers to autism.  Amy was already a special education teacher in a District 75 12:1:1 classroom, and I had subbed at a school with her for a time before college.  I'd also taught at a day habilitation for adults.  I knew what autism looked like.  I was a teacher and I knew.

I didn't.

   But I learned!

I watched in awe of my wife as she tailored 5Xs 30 Speech,  3Xs 30 OT, 3Xs 30 PT on top of 30 hours a week ABA.  Letters and numbers entirely new acronyms bounced off the walls of my mind all the time without my comprehending any of them.  Before he was 2 my boy worked more hours a day than I did!  We were bombarded with strangers in our house who became our new best friends.  We pushed away all old as we learned they were all too happy to go.  At first (meaning days after his diagnosis) he got worse.  Suddenly he was stimming!  Maybe it was only just then that we noticed?  We couldn't get him to sit still for a picture.  We realized we hadn't in a really long time.  And we were hyper aware of this new thing (to me) called "joint attention" he so blatantly lacked.  I went back to school and got my sped license.  

I would love to make this long story short.  But it was years of a kind of agonizing tension on all our routines, our values, our relationship (80% fail under this stress), our hopes, dreams and quite honestly and in many different ways, our very souls.  

But things got better.  I learned that autism is a spectrum.  I learned how much we are all only just learning.  I learned that autism can be a kind of trajectory.  A child doesn't make eye contact easily.  That child misses social cues.  Others misinterpret and avoid the child.  This in turn hurts the child's opportunities to learn from those others.  Early Intervention teachers then swoop in and supplement as much as they possibly can while the child goes through this.  They work together as a team to help the child, teach the parents, and indeed help the parents teach the child.  I felt like I was being cared for by angels when I hadn't the strength to even care for myself, let alone my boy, my broken hearted wife, or our newborn.

   In time, he caught up.  He got into a NEST program at school.  He fought through the despair of realizing he wasn't like everybody else.  He learned to sort through his emotions and behaviors.  He reads and writes on grade level.  He performs in talent shows.  With certain supports, he makes friends.

   The other day I received news that he and his little brother made the Gifted and Talented program.  Both scored over 90% on a test administered to the best and the brightest.  And next month he plays the Tin Man in his second play, a part he's been mentally practicing for years.  It won't be hard for him however.  This guy knows how to act like he doesn't have what he needs inside.  He's awesome and has always been a born entertainer.

   Never lose heart.  


Friday, March 31, 2017

Interview with my son about not having a dad.

Interviewing Actor/Comedian Extraordinaire, Kody!

Do you feel any different having two moms?
Yeah - one of a kind.
Do any of the kids at school care?
No.  When I was a kid I thought you were a dad, Mom.  
Yeah I know.  I wasn't too happy about that I remember.
But you weren't a dad.  
What do you think would be different about me if I was a dad as opposed to my being a mom?
You wouldn't be as loving
...and you would pick your nose like me because all men pick their noses.  I heard that from the movie Frozen.

Ah Disney.  How you corrupt our young!

Saturday, March 11, 2017

The World is Missing an Obernburg

When I was a kid my granny had a house upstate NY just outside of this tiny little one-intersection town called Obernburg.  It cost nothing as it had been passed down from generation to generation in my pop-pops family, and it was in a town with a population so small the "school" was literally a loft in the church with maybe 4-5 farmer's kids and all mixed up grades.  I mean, this was Little House in the Prairie time.
   It was only a summer home for us that my uncle Robert would occasionally visit in the winter to hunt.  We'd open every Memorial Day weekend and close every Columbus Day in the fall.  But every summer vacation, every weekend in between almost, someone was always visiting and for whoever it was it became a fairly annual tradition. 
   I wouldn't say we were a very rich family, but I remember being at least comfortable for a while.  There weren't too many modern conveniences there (if you don't count the running water and electric oven).  You had to climb a long hill and follow a long dirt road to get there.  The things that stood out was that there was a giant Lilac bush right outside my granny's bedroom windows (always blooming opening weekend), a wood burning stove and separate fireplace that was the only source of heat for the two hemispheres in the house, several small bedrooms (it was almost littered with them), two pits on the hill, one for barbarque and one for garbage, and great big front porch lined with mismatched rocking chairs.
   It wasn't any one of these particulars that lent this place it's magic.  I've since been to many one-intersection towns, and barbaqued on several different barbaque pits.  I've even come to envy some of the more modern conveniences of other people's homes in the country.  None of that was what made this place special.
   There was no just "stopping by" as it was hours away from really ...anything.  And there was no TV, so when you were up you were engaging.  Each swarm of people who came had their own charm and each bring back such unique little memories I won't share here because I can't.  They are a part now of the very fabric of me.  
   Years later, as my granny retired she had to make a choice of whether to keep Obernburg, or sell it and continue her "real" life in the city.  In the end she thought she chose to be close to family.
   It's ironic though as for me it seems that was the end of family.  No more long weekends working together to complete the chores of opening the blankets, taking the rock off the chimneys, or mowing and weed whacking the tremendous lawns.  No more revolving doors of company.  No more late nights playing board games at the table, rocking with the old folks on the porch, or lying out under the stars up on the hill.  No more long uninterrupted chats.  No more swarms of people looking into each other's eyes or side by side watching whatever.  No more real sharing.  No more clear memories.  No more laughter.

   But whenever I catch a scent of Lilac, or cedar and moth balls, I'm back.  Clear summer skies, long afternoons, and stars so close and plentiful you could almost literally taste them.  The world needs a little Obernburg again.  I'm not sure what is wrong with all of us, but that I know now for sure.

Thursday, March 9, 2017

lgbT

When your wife, your bestie and your old friend all question your judgment it may be time to stop?  It's just hard because is it crazy that I love him?  I think he's just about the most beautiful person I've ever seen.  And she's right,  I'm learning every day about how there is cause for concern when you're different.  I straddle the line between standing out and the fitting in every day and still struggle with it.  But when I look in his eyes all I see is beauty and love and light and perfection and it doesn't matter if he's wearing a dress but what I can't tell is whether or not the dress actually enhances the beauty.  And if it does, is it fair?  

   Transgenderism is the fringe of our community.  It always has been.  I remember my professor in college opening my mind to the reality that we think the "Trannies" are the most visible and therefore avoid association with them or embrace them only in humor.  It's our coping mechanism.  But in the end, our movement is actually a push to show the world that we're not like them.  We're just like you, Straight People.  That's why we come out in droves to you as your sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, peers and friends.  We aren't just lovers.  We live - everywhere.

   And the truth is, we always have been.  Just look the history of blending in by switching teams.  My eyes opened to this after reading Trumpet by Jackie Kay, and the movement now to understand Transgenderism and their long history of going to bathrooms!  

   But then just as Staceyann Chin says, sooner or later we see that all oppression is connected.  And it's time we turn around and look seriously at our transgendered brothers and sisters.  What are they doing?  We inevitably ask.  Don't they see?  Look what we've done for them!  Gender no longer matters.  Why are they insisting on it?  Girls need not wear dresses anymore.  Why are they wearing that dress!?!

   Complicate that even more: I thought that as an LGBT parent there would be nothing I couldn't handle.  Why is my son wearing a dress!  What's going to happen to him?!

   Much to the confusion of my family I always purported that it was my wife who eventually gave me my feminine side.  Two years after dating her I dropped to one knee on a beach in Florida, asked her to "marry" me, and gave her my entire inheritance: my late mother's diamond engagement ring.  We returned, proud and euphoric showing off her fingers to family who smiled politely at a stone they'd all seen before, but happy to be nice to me.  One year after that, they didn't know what to do when she shocked me by saving up for a rainbow studded diamond engagement ring to give me when she asked me to "marry" her.  All they knew was that their little tomboy/lesbian was now running around like a blushed bride showing off her new rock saying something about marriage - which was illegal at the time - and didn't they already perform their smily faced support dance with all the proper etiquette required a year ago?

   I was so happy.  I wore that shiny ring loud and proud and never felt like I fit into society more than I did then.  It was like a rite of passage.  People would remark, I got to say that I was "engaged."  I got to refer to her as "my fiancĂ©" and bask in that unique ungendered uniformity.  I got to come out if I wanted to, but first, I got to experience fitting in.

   In our first child all I wanted was health.  Boy/Girl didn't matter.  I had beautiful names chosen for each and a cradle of love ready to grow.  But after we had our first boy, and I got pregnant with our second, I dreamed of a little girl.  I could raise her empowered with vision.  I already had "Future President" onesies I'd bought for my niece and I was armed with a full boy colored wardrobe ready for commandeering for gender battle with my old foe, the color pink.

   I cried when I was told Niky would be a boy.  Big heavy plopped tears even though I fought to stay adhered to my purported "Gender doesn't matter" face.  My wife told me it was awesome that Kody would have a little brother and she lovingly referred to them first as "The boys."  But I spent the better part of my life avoiding boys and by this point I feared the loss of my little mini me fantasy.  All that independence, all that privilege!  What would I have to offer a him?

   And here I am gazing into my mother's eyes real time just above my own nose and hair.  My heart twirls around my life on it's own two legs complete separate from me or my power and often in a green fairy dress.  He didn't specifically ask for a dress.  He just put one on at the first opportunity.  The first opportunity was at a friend's house of half girls/half guys, all lezbo moms.  There was no extra attention paid.  

   When it was "dress crazy" day at school he immediately ran to dig out the rainbow tutu he hadn't touched in six months.  He wore it to school too.  He even came home happy.
I showed him a couple dresses after watching this story about a trans girl's euphoria after getting a whole new wardrobe.  He liked the green shoulder strapped with the matching hairband of white daisies and green streamers.  I took a chance.  I bought it.  I thought I'd just have it available.

   And he didn't ask to wear it right away.  When it arrived he said it "used to be" his favorite color.  Then last night he just puts it on.  And this morning asks to wear it to school.

   We told him it's too cold and will later explain dresses are for special occasions?  He later asked to wear it to play rehearsal.  I was simply too tired.  I couldn't deal.  I told him no.  He changed without complaint.  

   Amy, my friends, everyone it seems to me is too quick to dismiss it as a phase or the whim of an all-too-proud lesbian mom?  I don't know.  I see him as such an individual I can't even assign gender.  He doesn't fit in those boxes to me yet.

   We took him to the department store to look for T Shirts.  Amy gathered five shirts, two from the girl's side and asked him to choose two we'd buy for him.  After much deliberation, he chose one of each.

   Are we doing it right?  It seems we can't help doing it wrong.  But we're trying.