Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Mirror Spells

I am stuck at home, on a temporary regime of Prednisone and rest for the sciatica that has afflicted me for a couple weeks as an aftermath of my hospital stay in May. I have grown pensive and tender, more than usual, find myself grieving at odd moments. That is not so unusual, I think. By this time in a life there are sufficient things to grieve built up from the first disappointments to now. What I have learned about grief (and many other weighty topics) is that you never really finish them and that each old grief tacks onto the new, that in this way grief stops being a harsh new song but an older symphony. That is why it seems to me very good if I make peace with all my losses. Then I can be transported by the beauty of the symphony rather than crushed under the heaviness of my surround.

At the same time, Prednisone makes me hungry and itch and not sleep. The pain is less, but I understand that really does not give me permission to stress my body with normal things. I am better sitting carefully, and even better lying down with my left thigh close to the sitting position.

I ran into something that I am trying to bend my heart around, that I may hold it close. I will share it here.

Just This Much

Full attention is both an activity of learning and the actualization of unconditional love. It is this selfless, choiceless love that heals the illusion of separateness, brokenness, and alienation, yielding a gratification, faith and confidence not dependent on external or internal conditions beyond our control. Practice-Life is the dynamic activity of bringing full attention to what is presenting itself most clearly in the awareness for as long as it is there, and with deepening simplicity and joy, knowing just this much!
-Douglas Phillips


Mirror Spells

Fairy tales are dark
like the heart of oldest woods,
like hatred and fear.
You look in mirrors
enchanted by wizened witches
expecting to see
your true shape within
but see only spells cast not
even on you but on
the mirrors so that
they twist the view cleverly.
Don't forget that fact.
It is not your fear
nor your hatred but beauty
seen through putrid spells.

February 18, 2009 9:46 PM


  1. Oooh.

    Got me.

    I like that, beauty seen through putrid spells. I feel like that a lot lately. Like no-one is seeing 'me'. Or finding me beautiful's a weird place. And trying to just stay still in that and not run screaming to the nearest man/mirror is hard and yet easy too. Life is so full of fucking contradictions right now.
    I send you healing for your pain Christopher and thank you for helping me with mine.

    Love you


  2. Michelle, I promise you I see you. I have no other investment except that I am rather fond of you. There are some things about distance that work really well. Try the mirror of your own past, say the mirror of the day before you got sober. You also might follow the Starfish Link in the next comment.

    Robin, always happy to find you here. I left you something there :)

  3. Full attention is a stranger to me that I have recently met thanks to my therapist. Before this year my default was fog, distrust, independence. I was so good at getting away in my own head I did not turn to drugs or alcohol. This was all learned in early childhood and perfected through time. When I read a quote like this one in your post it has meaning for me at last.
    I wonder why they have been called fairy tales. They were mean spirited and meant to hurt.

  4. TB - I am happy to hear that you have been successful at lifting the fog. That is not so easy a task. Often it turns out after the fact that it was simple, but it is never easy. Congratulations.

    Yes, fairy tales is a weird name for those tales. I believe that at the time that name rose out of the stories elves and fairies carried themselves a meaner, colder, and more dangerous reputation than we give to these creatures these days.

  5. Ahhh.

    When I look in my eyes I see god. I just forget in between times.


  6. Michelle, I believe it's set that way to maximize our purpose. We seem to hope that life is comfort driven but it is not. To the extent that life is driven from within, it is driven by Higher Purpose. Somehow that purpose is defeated by too close a relation between the finitude in which we move and breathe and our infinite roots. We would be much more comfortable but much less capable were we to sit too much in God's lap.

    Our purpose seems to be involved in our definition and our choice, and thus in our capacity to take responsibility. God has to let us go, and go we do, but the price is steep and unavoidable, and confusion all but inevitable.

    Loving each other in this situation is essential, and nearer to the purpose. Withdrawing into isolation for protection is seldom the better path. Wisdom is seldom free of pain.


The chicken crossed the road. That's poultry in motion.

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