Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Right now I am living what I think of as a rather small life.  I go to school, study, keep in contact with my grown children, keep in contact with a couple of friends by phone, go to choir and church and when it's really good I get to have dinner with a friend every 2 or three weeks.  (I feel better when I get to the gym a couple times a week - but I've gotten lazy and I don't get there - so I hike the stairs at school when I can. Up 2 flights, around, down 2.  Up around down. Back to class.) 

I had imagined that life would be filled with more friends, and less study.  School has been harder than I expected.  I don't learn the way I used to.  Parts of it are easier, but mostly life as a grad student is very different than I expected.

But while I was letting life kick me around - mostly because of my lousy attitude about some really hard classes, I learned a lot about humility, respecting resources, appreciating the efforts of others. I have come to accept life's eccentricities with Grace.

But regardless of where I am, I often find myself in the right place to calm fears, catch someone who is falling, and lift someone else to their feet.  Someday each of these dear people will do the same for someone else.  And with each lift, we change the planet... Someday, way over in the farthest corners of the earth, people will change the course of the planet because somebody cared enough to lift them to their feet.

I'm learning to grant myself permission to follow mental tangents, learning to laugh at my "Oh it's a squirrel" attention span. And then go back to what I'm supposed to be doing. #NoteToSelf #BacktoStudying

I probably won't come up with a cure for XYZ disease, but maybe someday I will give someone just the right idea, and they will.  I will continue to chop wood and carry water, heading into a future that will be a little bit bigger than the one I live in now.

~Gayle McCain~

Friday, February 19, 2016

The end of One Journey... the Beginning of the Next

Softly, she slips away, knowing it is time to leave the traveling companions of the last 6-8 years. For that road leads back on itself in a never ending cycle. (Isn't that a form of hell? or Purgatory?)

 I suppose it doesn't matter for I am not the same woman who stepped foot on that road so long ago.  I made friends, found and lost love, lifted, was lifted, made mistakes, learned more about kindness, love and loving support  than I expected from a 'social media'. I watched science programs, Ted Talks about psychology, music, and amazing innovations.  I watched as Randy Pausch gave his last speech, prayed for his family, reached for the stars, dove deep into my heart - releasing baggage, laughed and cried. 

I learned to interpret moods of other people from the placement of a few letters in a short sentence.  Screwed it up pretty often too.  I learned to pause before jumping to conclusions, decided to learn how to tie a bow tie, and discovered the value of a virtual hug (provided I stopped what I was doing and actually imagined it happening).  I figured out how to take photographs of flowers to send to friends for birthdays, funerals, holidays, when they were sad, and sometimes just because I wanted to send real flowers, but darn it FTD costs so much. 

And yes, I learned how to make friends, though I admit it is easier in virtual life than real life on odd days that end in Y.  OK probably all days.  Because we don't really expect anything of our virtual friends. But I learned in a virtual world what behavior I found unacceptable and was able to bring that back to the real world, stand my ground, and release my need to tolerate bad behavior just because I wasn't perfect.   I learned to tell people who tried to control my life that it IS MY life.  I allowed myself use that self-knowledge in every-day life..   I have come to accept that sometimes I'm not going to live up to your expectations.

Or you to mine. 

I fell in love with piano & violin music, Andrea Bocelli's music, Ted Talks, a couple of physics lecturers, Nova re-runs, you-tube, and Pandora Radio. I still don't care for Eckert Tolle (I'm ok with that).  I've expanded from only liking country and western music to include Celtic music, 70's and 80's, musicals, church music and whatever I can sing... (Plus a little rock - please keep it a secret.  I don't tolerate loud noises well and most rock & rollers turn the volume to frequencies that hurt.)  I've listened to Bach, Beethoven (zzzz),

Chopin (ho hum), Vivaldi, Tchaikovsky, Zimmer, Horner, Brickman, Robin Spielberg, Brian Crain, a whole host of fabulous musicians, lyracists and people who write music and a variety of some truly beautiful renditions of Canon in D (soft sigh).   I have the good start to a well-rounded musical 'education.' And I just discovered Rachmaninoff.

I learned to pray for those who needed hope.  My loving words often gave them something to hang on to.  And watched people (who thought they were broken) weave these virtual hugs, kind words, and support into hope as they learned to overcome some pretty horrible things.  I've held the virtual hands of those melting down, those ending their marriages, losing their parents, those fighting to save their children, and those struggling to have just One Good Day.

Twitter is a funny thing-often ridiculed. I joined because I wanted to connect to writers.  Only to discover that my writing was better than most of those I connected with. Even though I thought it was bad. (So did the 1/6 of the people who bought my book who complained about the proofreading. Though all who commented did like the story line. Sold 18 copies. Sigh) 

My book for children is fabulous - whether you're looking at the paper version or what's on Itunes. And always will be. But I don't own the rights to it anymore. Chalk it up to one more of my twitter related mistakes.  My novels are better now, though I don't know anything more about marketing books, and I have less time to work at marketing now than I did 6 years ago. 

 But along the way - across almost seven years and two twitter accounts and 130,000 tweets - I met some awesome writers  - among them one who sets fire to my imagination, and I just ache to write, and then cry because I can't write and be a medical student at the same time.  The two passions belong to different universes and one screws up the data regurgitation of the other. I met a great woman whose writing sets fire to the status quo.  We became friends only to have to let go of her when she moved on.  I got comfortable with an adult male for the first time as I chatted with a third who writes like he talks - feet on a virtual coffee table.  I know there are a many others that are just my 'friends', but I'm unobservant enough that I don't notice that they're writers.

I've met firemen, police, the uber rich, the just-scraping-by-poor, musicians, homeless artists.  I've probably met a butcher, a baker, and a candlestick maker.  

I met a few snakes, many really good people and others who were so defensive they were hard to talk to.  Sometimes I was the defensive one, sad, angry, preachy, joyful, sickeningly sweet, loving, kind, hard and soft.  

Through it all I laughed and cried as though each 'person' I met was real and sitting here in my living room.  No I'm not crazy.  I have an imagination that rivals Lewis Carroll's.  

I have disappointed many, myself included. Because sometimes I wasn't as attentive as I thought I should be, as kind, or forgiving.  I went to the trouble to meet a number of these incredible people face to face.  One became my best friend for ... a while... till he moved on and I returned to school.

In an odd sort of way, twitter became rather like a roommate.  Except it was one who doesn't make messes in the kitchen, but didn't vacuum either.  I would wake up and say good morning.  I'd drop in for a quick chat over lunch.  Share the news of the day as I made dinner. And chat with friends till we were falling all asleep at the keyboards.  I finally figured these 'people' weren't the ones who left socks in the couch - you know the ones that work their way under the cushions. 

#NoteToSelf - do laundry.

None of these are bad things. And many of them have been healing. Creating vivid memories of conversations, pictures, wisdom read, kindnesses shown, and support given when I'm down. These virtual friends have been willing to allow me to be/do those things in return.  I have loved many of these characters.  And I am grateful for their companionship along the way.  There were times when they caught me as I fell.  Reaching down into a dark place (that only I could see) to lift me up.  I think I have done the same. Only time will tell.

Well meaning- controlling friends tried to force me to get off twitter sooner. Not understanding that this was part of MY journey.  That there was healing to be done and I couldn't manage it with live people.  I knew it was time to leave when I left a noisy party early to go home to my quiet space to chat with people impossibly far away. 

And now I leave it behind.  For I need flesh and blood.  I need to hold hands. Dance slowly in the living room.  Peer over someone's shoulder as he makes dinner. Or I do.

Along the way, my writing skills improved.  Without struggle, because I spent time trying to write just what I wanted to say. Though brevity was not my long suit.  I learned to write my thoughts fast when I was just writing... Spiritual writing on the fly - that's fast.  I never expected it to come quickly. But I've learned to Listen and write what I hear.  Story telling takes a little longer.  

I can read hundreds of tweets in a short period of time - because they are surrounded by lots of white space - but read a whole paragraph? The words twist and turn, the lines run together and I end up using my finger to make the words stay in a line so I can follow along.  I'm a graduate for god's sake - how could this happen? My mom could read a book in an hour.  But a paragraph longer than 8 lines - and something in me cries. I loathe academic reading for that reason. (If they would insert more white space. sigh... )

I can skim a magazine article - picking out the meat of the article - because it is a pleasure to allow my mind to wander till something catches its attention.  No pressure to remember what I read, where I read it, what it said, when it was written, and what historical data was mentioned (which takes all the pressure off - making this kind of reading a pleasure - and amazingly I remember more of it than the academic must-know-stuff). I make notes when it feels important - which seems to make it stick. I remember that I have read the information - maybe not where. But if you give me time to check - the info comes back enough to use it. And there is always Google. 

But I've digressed.
When I first joined Twitter, I had a hard time facing the "real" world.  I used twitter as a way to grow - to heal things I didn't know were broken.  And I have outgrown that crutch. Though I admit that at the moment I write this I am going through what must be a grieving period.  Letting go of the old habits, if you will.
There are people who were part of my timeline that I miss fiercely. Though as a metaphysician I know that if they're supposed to be part of the life I'm building, we will find each other somewhere along the way.  This I KNOW.  Now.
Since this blog post is about my old stream, I must include what I have come to think of as gentle wisdom.   Maybe not the best of the best - but it is nonetheless - worth

  • Dream - dream well - for it is from those dreams that we create the life we want.
  • What we put out into the world - comes back to us.  Whether it is good or not.        
  • Decide whether love is more important than looking cool, your pride or being right. (Love is way more important.)

  • Breathe. 
  •  Let your smile reach your eyes.
  • Listen with your heart.
  • Live vividly.
  • Laugh from your belly.
  • Learn Voraciously.
  • Love without holding back.

Know this... YOU ARE ENOUGH !

They say that it takes seven days to go through all the astral layers when one has died.  I wonder, if this letting-go-melancholy is a 'death' of sorts. hmmmmm.

RIP -- @gaylemccain and @crystalbutterfl
Go with God... it lightens the burden.
And through it all - I kept returning to -- I BELIEVE !! 

***Hugs***  ~ Gayle McCain~

Saturday, March 14, 2015

If I was/am God... I owe you an apology...

(or perhaps a whole bunch of them)

First off – I’m sorry I threw you out of the Garden of Eden.  I got mad.  I gave you one rule – without ever explaining the consequences.  And you, being normal children, had to test me till I snapped.  I’m sorry.

I should never have asked Abraham to ever consider sacrificing his son.  What was I thinking?  Life is sacred.  And all I did was set humanity up for human sacrifice.  ‘Face Palm.’

In fact, the first time some oaf sacrificed an innocent life (lamb, calf, or worm) I should have brought smoke and fire.  Eeewe.  Killing a cute baby critter– just for me?  Food, I understand.  But to appease me?    Please don’t do it again.  I’m sorry I didn’t put my foot down sooner.

I wish I’d thought of simplifying the ‘rules for living’ into “Love him, love her, love yourself, love God” sooner, but I got so caught up in writing Tweets with Moses and I ended up with 10 rules. Thank god he was a good editor – or we’d have ended up 80,000.  My fault… I didn’t know how much I’d like tweeting.

Jesus was a good guy.  Yes, he had a temper.  It’s ok.  He was a good guy.  And he reminded me when I was getting really mad over his crucifixion that the priests, guards and Judas were just foolish guys caught in their egos.  When it really counted – he kept his head on his shoulders.  So I rewarded him with the whole roll the stone away thing…  In fact Jesus has been the best friend a gal could have. 

I should have taken a page out of his book and forgiven those foolish men for each religious war and each ‘holier than thou’ idiot who burned some innocent (if perhaps outspoken) woman at the stake.  I'm still struggling with that.

I did promise not to cover the earth with water again – wiping out a whole lot of humanity.  See, we still have rainbows.  And they sure are pretty.  : D

I’m sorry I didn’t stop power hungry old men from sending millions of young men and boys off to war – simply because they didn’t have a clue of how to handle all that young energetic testosterone.

Testosterone is a lovely thing, but I probably should have figured out how to channel it better.  Oh and instituted some sort of instant chemical castration for rape.  I was negligent.  I’m sorry. 

I have tried to keep my hands off your stumbling around trying to live.  Sometimes I’d get so mad the earth would shake.  Problem is… my control isn’t so hot, and I’d end up shaking up a bunch of innocent people.  Oops. 

 I have made mistakes, I’m sorry.  And I’m doing a lot better these days.  

And while I'm writing... Here are a few suggestions for what I’d like humanity to do.  These are NOT laws - they're suggestions for a better world:
·  Be kind. 
·  Put down the weapons. 
·  Learn to communicate.
·   Learn to apologize properly – because we all stumble.  
·  Be kind to yourself – your heart is tender – and you matter. 
·  Please learn to work together – without worrying about color, tribe, profession, language, differences, and similarities.  Working together is a skill that is so valuable I can’t even begin to tell you.  It allows you to accomplish the most amazing things.
·   I’d like you to clean up my oceans.  Stop killing my whales, dolphins…
·  You’re going to have to share… Because the big powerful countries won’t stay that way long – if they don’t. 
·  Oh and please don’t pee in the kitchen sink.  Ever again.  It’s icky.

 Try to adopt a ‘Pay it Forward’ kind of attitude for favors, debt, and labor/energy exchange, because sooner or later what you put out comes back to you.

If you have gotten rich on the backs of and/or at the expense of somebody else… shame on you.  Go sit in a corner while we redistribute your wealth to someone who will be a good steward.  If you have received help from someone – we expect that you will do what you need to make it count.

If you make mistakes (errors in judgment – or simple stupidity) – that’s OK… we forgive you…  Did you learn?  Did you pick yourself up, apologize, and go again?  That is what we hope for.

If you were mean, or selfish, or not respectful – that is NOT OK – go sit in a time out, until you can figure out what you are going to do to make it right. 

And eventually you’re going to have to apologize – so make it a heartfelt one.

It’s my fault for allowing humanity total freedom to have their heads somewhere dark.  But you have picked yourselves up and become some of the most loving, compassionate beings in the Universe. 

I am proud of you.  I wasn’t a very good god… I didn’t always do my job right.  And I was often petty, spiteful, jealous, and well – you know the religious history better than I do… (All those names and dates confuse me.)

BTW – I’d like to thank the guy who invented the typewriter, and by extension word-processors.  As much as I love the art of the old fashioned scribe, it’s slow… and my hand isn’t any too steady. Oh yeah and air-conditioning.  Thanks guys.

I have learned.  Some of the lessons have been very painful – learning about love, loss, and love again.  Learning lessons about who you can help – and who has to help themselves. 

I have learned patience.  And I have become kinder as I mature.  Thank you for playing humanity with me, and please forgive me for my errors, mistakes, and my temper. But through it all – I have loved you.

One last bit of advice:  

Treat each other with the greatest of respect.  Nurture one another every chance you get.  And play well together.

I love you.    ***Hugs***


(If this post offends you, I'm sorry.  I believe that we are all One.  Which means that on some level each one of us must accept the responsibility for the good and the bad that has been done - because each one of us has been stupid at some point.  And if it's like Shakespeare's quote"all the world's a stage and the people merely players" then I'm the director/producer of my stage - which still means that I'm responsible for having directed and/or not directed as needed.)  

I should put pretty pictures in this - it would be richer. And maybe some day I will.  But I'm pretty busy right now.  

Friday, October 17, 2014

Words... Have... Power...

Someone asked a question.  And I needed more than a few lines to answer..

Words – Love, tragedy, cooperation, prayer, meditation, Listening, God, Universe, joy, anger, grief, illness, peace, death, life, birth, failure, success, ugly, soft hearted, kind, light, tears…  Love. 

I could go on for pages with words that are ‘loaded’ for someone… So let me just say: 

Our past experiences color our interpretation of each of these words.

Because we are surrounded by a number of things that are being called tragedies … that’s there I’ll start.

What makes a TRAGEDY? Our belief that something “shouldn't have happened,” along with our grief & anger about it. What if… its purpose was to open the hearts of those of us involved or left behind?

Remember the outpouring of loving kindness that surrounded the tsunami in Japan.  People worked together, helping strangers, feeding, clothing, giving shelter to someone they just met.  People
covered in mud, in shock, who maybe just lost everything, maybe even their family.  Loving support was given. Looting was rare. People caring for each other.  Would that have happened on its own?  I don't think so.

A friend told said that after a hurricane devastated New Orleans, the recovery was going really well.  People were cleaning up the aftermath, helping each other.  Supplies were pouring in from all over the country, funneled through charities, churches, schools.  Until the bureaucracy got involved.  Essentially the recovery ground to a halt and people expected the government to take care of the rest of the cleanup. 

Does it manifest tragedy to focus on the possibilities of how truly bad it can get?  I think it does.  If only because we look at the rain, instead of looking at the silver lining... the forest fire was put out. (or some other ‘something’)

What if... somehow everything that looks bad... is actually a blessing in disguise?  An abused child grows up to change a broken system so that children are no longer punching bags. A forest fire clears out the chaff of years of deadfall & new trees sprout up growing a stronger forest.  A volcano erupts devastating everything for miles - its ash nourishes a land robbed of its nutrients by over farming.  A disease threatens a continent and the medical genius of other continents rise to the call and deal with it once and for all.   Triggering a revolution in how medicine works.

Do we ask for help when we are struggling - from some inner wisdom or higher power?  Yes. 

Do we do our best to listen for the answer?  Yes. 

You may call this Inner Dialogue. Listening to the Still Small Voice.  Prayer. Meditation,
Imagination.  We can feel it when we are connected to something greater than just ourselves.  And this is our point of power.  It is the point where we are calm enough to hear the answers, and solve the riddle before us.

In order for humanity to survive, we must learn to listen to that inner wisdom and to each other.  This goes for the ‘haves’ and the ‘have nots’ and everyone in between.  We are all needed to make this
world work.  We need the guy working as a janitor at a school, just as much as we need someone who has vision to teach us to work together once again.  Somewhen, a kzillion years ago, we forgot how to be cooperative on a grand scale.

So do yourself a favor.  Learn to Listen – with more than your ears.  Listen with your heart and your soul.  Don't look at the tragedy.  Look instead for the silver lining.  The love that you put into every moment ripples out from each small loving act into the world, changing it.

Your words have power… the power to hurt a fragile heart, or to heal one.  Even if that heart is yours. 

Use them wisely.

Gayle McCain