Tag Archives: shining

The Antlered Branch _ When Two Worlds Meet: Part 13

December 23, 2013

By the time I finally leave the house with Allegro and make my way to Aquatic Park to go look for what Oisín and the others have left for me there, it is around 5 PM. I certainly had no expectation of anything in return when I first agreed to make my place their own. I am still just as surprised as moved that they’d secure some kind of manifest world object for me to show their gratitude. I still know little about what is possible in the otherworld, but imagine that moving physical objects to specific locations is no small matter, and it is even possible that it would take tens to hundreds of otherworld people to accomplish such a thing depending on the size of the object. Even now, I have no idea how they did it.

The walk is quiet and uneventful. Hardly a manifest person is around. The water laps softly along its bank, the birds’ songs are muted, and the trees stand silent and resolute against the sky which is slowly darkening into ever more mysterious shades of twilight. This has always been my favorite time of day. As a child, I used to cherish my time outside when the sun’s light, glowing like ebbing flame starkly against the night’s deepening presence, revealed to me a world of image that usually was lost to me. Often, I’d stand precariously on the back of a swing in the yard, frightening my parents for sure, but too immersed in the ecstatic wonder of suddenly illuminated shapes and outlined objects to care much at all about something more earthly, like safety. Besides, I reasoned as only a six year old can, I had excellent balance. I could not as well leave this brilliant light behind just to heed adults who wished me to come inside.

As with then, the fading light fills me with a silent, quiet, wild joy and I still imagine myself laughing and leaping and flying through that light, which is filling every space around me now with its mystery. I walk through this wondrous world, tracking the shadows in the wooded areas to my left where I found the picnic table that I am trying to locate again.

An older man, who I met once before in passing and know is quite lonely, says hello to me and I ask whether he knows if I’m near the turn off to the table. I think I am, because there are lights above and beyond the brightly infused sky flashing in the trees at this spot. But finding a picnic table while offroading with a guide dog is a hit or miss project. He assures me I am in fact close by, and asks if I don’t mind some company. I look around and don’t see Oisín nearby, so I agree that we can talk for a little while.

The two of us sit across from each other as he shares some of his life with me and I listen. A half an hour goes by, and now I do see Oisín standing at the edge of the clearing. I send him a picture of the situation, and he says not to worry, he’ll stay until the stranger leaves. So finally I say to the manifest man, “I am really enjoying talking to you, but I have to meet someone now. Can I be alone?”

I briefly wonder, as there are no other manifest people within sight range to speak of, if the man might think I’ve had enough and am just trying to back out of talking to someone twice my age. Fortunately, he turns out to be happy to grant me my request for solitude without question, and doesn’t appear to be taking it personally. When he leaves, Oisín walks over to stand beside me.

“There are a great many trees around here,” he observes, “So I thought to come show you to the one I spoke of yesterday.” This is true enough. Together we walk over to a tree which is at a diagonal from where I was previously sitting.
Once I am standing in front of the tree, Oisín vanishes, presumably so I can discover for myself what he’s left there for me. I have to admit that I am now feeling a bit like a kid on a treasure hunt. No point in ignoring the curiosity of my inner child now, I decide.

Cautiously, unsure if I’m looking for something sturdy or fragile, I reach out my hand. The tree is eucalyptus, like every other of its myriad cousins in this area. But the branch my hand encounters is not only very detached from the tree, but is actually made of Oak. It is placed rather impossibly around the trunk, and to this day I haven’t been able to get anything else to stay up there. I’ve tried, I admit.

Antler Branch On Wall

I take the branch down from the tree. It’s big! From one end to another is approximately two feet across. There is a section of branch which is just the right size to fit my hand around. Holding it there, the rest of the branch splits into two halves that arc away from each other in a kind of narrow semicircle. On each end, two twigs stem out giving the whole of it an uncanny resemblance to deer antlers.

I know the significance of deer to Oisín’s immediate family. His father, his son, and himself were all named for this animal, after all. As a totem animal, a concept from a culture which Oisín’s clan would have never known existed, deer are usually symbolic of inner gentleness and compassion, as well as protection. I mean, that can be quite true of them and everything, but deer aren’t like that all the time! They’re also wild, fiercely territorial and adaptable, resourceful, and don’t hesitate to answer to a challenge. When I have looked into Oisín’s eyes, I have seen all these things, and more of course. I for one think that if a totem is going to give insight into the spirit of a person,, it’s probably best to recognize that nonhuman animals can have natures as complicated as any human. I digress, however.

I imagine that if clan Baiscne, to whom Oisín belongs, had a family emblem, I am holding a representation of it in my hand. I have too many thoughts and feelings occurring at once. I am astonished and happy and wondering how many people it took to get this branch here—it’s so big. I am moved by how one physical object could convey so much meaning to me. If I had ever worried about being accepted, it looks like that worry is both unreasonable and I not only belong, but somehow have been accepted into Oisín’s family. This realization overwhelms me. It would be hard to believe if I weren’t holding tangible proof of it.

Equally overwhelming, however, is that, as I gaze at the branch in my hands, it seems to emit a soft, continuous glow, as if the very wood could radiate that divine spark at the heart of itself out into the changing clay world. This is all quite enough to take in, so I do what I usually do when I have more energy than I know what to do with: I choose a direction and take off. Full of a wild inexplicable joy that seems to suddenly come upon me, I gather up Allegro and we walk so fast that we are practically running. I’ve never run with a flashlight, having never had the need for one, but the blazing light around the antlered branch in my hand illuminates the night, casting bright shapes across the landscape. Sometimes, when I look through the middle where the branch splits in two, I feel like I am almost catching someone’s eye. I definitely do not feel like I am walking alone. There are no manifest people in the park at the moment. Somehow everything around us holds still, while we, myself and what feels like many who I cannot see but seem to be with me, traverse the trail back to my apartment. I, or perhaps we, make it home in record time, and the whole return journey has oddly felt effortless.

Once I walk through the door into the kitchen, I carefully set the branch down while I go get a vase from above the refrigerator to place it in. This is not because it needs to be placed in water, but just because I can’t think of another way to make sure it won’t fall or get broken. I’m trying to grab a glass vase precariously from a cupboard which is slightly too high for me to actually reach safely. But I’m in a great mood and not alone. This means I’m determined to attempt to accomplish what I’m aiming to do successfully, since I feel I can do just about anything at the moment.

“Don’t do that, you’ll get yourself hurt,” someone is saying with concern, and when I turn around I see Oisin standing behind me.

“You think so?” I ask cautiously, “I think I can reach up there. I’ve done it once or twice before.”

“Well, it’s not a great idea for what you are aiming to do at the moment. Are you sure you are not actually trying to do something again beyond your limits to prove to yourself that you are worthy of our company?” Oisín asks, challenging me with his compassionate, yet wildly fierce eyes. “We want you safe, child.”

Is that what I was really trying to do, I ask myself a bit reluctantly? Well, okay, yes that was a substantial if far from explicit part of my motivation. It would be too awkward and self-defeating to deceive myself into thinking otherwise.

“Thanks,” I say, and grab a chair from the kitchen table to stand on. The particular vase I need, it turns out, is behind a bunch of other smaller vases and would have been impossible to grab from my earlier vantage point on the floor. I am growing, even now, but I just have to remember that won’t translate into physical height.

The antlered branch is still shining with otherworldly light where I’ve placed it on the counter. It’s amazing in its own right, but perhaps more, well, awesome still is that I have become like family to Oisín and the fianna. I am trying to integrate this into my world and it’s happening very slowly. Attempting to sort out my thoughts, one in particular suddenly comes unbidden into the forefront of my mind. Is it possible, the thought interjects, that I have always been a part of this family and just don’t know it for certain yet? How else to explain why I’ve felt like Oisín is a long lost grandfather? Why else does he call me child? But I can’t even entertain the idea. I almost desperately shove the thought out of my head so that I don’t have to possibly face another instance in so many days of my beliefs being turned upside down.

So instead, I turn to Oisín to thank him properly. In response, he simply fills the room with light. We are, I realize, speaking without words. And in the silence there is understanding, of what is, which words don’t ever seem to capture adequately. I’m glad that I can let go of trying to put everything into language and can communicate through wordlessness. This wordlessness is, I am beginning to realize, the grammar of being, it is why silence is intelligent, and how existence speaks for itself.

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Senseless

I think most violence is a senseless act driven by the false belief that people can have power over other people. Achieving such power is a life mission befitting a badly done Greek tragedy. People go ahead anyway, deluding themselves that death is a form of control. They only betray their egregious ignorance, the desperation of their ill-conceived despair over their helplessness, the rejection of their own fragility. No one is so powerful as to alter the principle of the world, and the principle of the world is life.

If each could experience
The truth, who we are,
How then could we senselessly
Destroy each other?

Shards of light,
Each fragment shines,
No telling now
What’s yours, or mine.

Life breaks open
Comes undone,
Scatters all
We’ve ever known.

Wandering through darkness
I hope one day we find
Undying love:
For we’ll leave all else behind.

Phoenix Returning

I woke up with a sunrise
Echoing in my eyes,

The colors all collide,
And all that I can find

Is being alive
Engrained in every surface where it shines.

What else could I do but trade
The limits of the world for a song,

The song in whose melody
I’ve always belonged?

Believing the words held in silence so long,
I am, I am, so grateful to be.

The categories stripped away,
The day made out in perfect contour

Against the breathing sky,
And I, The crying light beaming,

Each a color that streams,
And the words form wings.

They dance each ray of light leaping,
Expanding from every point, changing never leaving.

Like a young universe, carving its own horizon,
I reach out, there Is no point

From which I begin or then return,
I am, I am, so grateful to be.

And so I rise,
With the sun rising in my eyes,

Surrendering the need to try,
I know I can’t fall, only fly.

What else could I do but trade
The fears of this world for a song,

The song in whose melody
I’ve always belonged?

There is more to our lives
Than the world will let on,

Night has it’s stars, from the ashes I’ve gone,
I rise, I rise, and always I’ll be.

In The Silence: A Song

Listen to my song here!

This is a song that came together through me yesterday. It is the voice of the one, of the whole, not from a single person. It is about the truth at the heart of us all that I am so grateful, blessed, to know and experience.

This is a pretty rudimentary recording, please forgive me. Audacity isn’t the most accessible program and I was competing throughout the day with trains, which meant it took hours to lay tracks down.

Here are the Lyrics.

In The Silence

In the silence I hold
You, in my arms, in my arms.
In the silence I hold
You, in my arms, in my arms.

Once you heal yourself,
You can heal others.
Once you forgive others,
You can forgive yourself.

Keen, and the rain will weep with you,
Dance, and the wind will carry you,
Rise, and the trees will stand with you,
Shine, you are your own light.

Shout, and the stars will answer you,
Call, and the mountains will sound with you,
Laughter, the song of life in you,
Shine, you are your own light.

Dream, and the seeds will wake with you,
Breathe, and the tides will move through you,
Be, and your silence will shelter you,
Shine, you are your own light.

Surrendering, all you are shines through,
You are the light you see in you,
And in the silence I hold
You, in my arms, in my arms.

surrendering The Struggle

Fighting what is,
I am undone, threads wound
Fragment, pain tears through somewhere.

Rising, hoping to face nothing but the light,
I try to bargain with my ancestors.
It’s hold-on, keep-going, fall-apart, hold-on,

Solve wholeness like a puzzle,
Scream and flail into exhaustion.
Only then, softly, is each piece mended.

Now, standing still,
Waiting for dawn to break,
I make peace with darkness,

At its heart the hidden colors,
Dormant but alive,
Allow and shape the haunted and disowned.

I learn to love them,
My broken pieces,
Before the rising sun.

I walk by my shadow,
Insist on it,
Warm and needy.

That is courage,
To hold out hands and welcome
This still, searching night.

It knows my name,
Hears my cries, sees my scars,
Enfolds me like a child in its arms.

I let go, helplessly falling,
Tenebrous now, tumbling through silence,
I, like latent color, shine unseen.

And suddenly sky bursts open
With nascent golden flame,
Lightly, I soar, become a shooting star.

The Beauty In All Things

I look all around this world
For the beauty in all things:
It’s in your eyes,
It’s in the starlight in your hair,

It’s in the cries of children,
The murmurings of all that grows.
Sometimes it just breaks me to see so much anger, so much fear,
And the tears we cry over what people’s hands and minds have done.

Flowers do not know despair,
Sitting there so patiently
They never mind the waiting.
I am looking far away, struck by memories almost fading–

For what is left behind when we die, but how we’ll be remembered?
None of the trees, none of the seas, none of the green stands still,
Until pieces of the scars start to be beautiful, make sense,
Bright and radiant, even holding truth at our expense.

How change so suddenly engulfs us,
Forcing us to recognize dishonesty.
How change so suddenly enfolds us,
Transforming all we thought we’d be.

In time I know wounds will heal, mountains fading into sea,
Time smooths over what is real, while conquerors write its history.
In time the children crawl, then stand, to walk life’s mystery,
And I hope this time that I can find the beauty in all things.

Rarely is existence black and white,
As in betweens we have a power of our own:
To magnify the bruises,
Etch the outlines of scars,

Glint in the rain drops,
Shimmer with the echos through the sky,
And bless the dawn with light,
And draw out all the life in everyone.

Sometimes there is too much darkness,
And I don’t know what will become of us,
But as long as I am here, I’ll make sure I’m standing tall,
Taking in all, swaying when the wind blows.

I’ll survive somehow,
Our memories, our dreams they have survived,
Broken pieces of identity,
Often not invaluable enough to save,

Our needs not what they used to be,
In a way there is nothing more to need.
I am here, a testament to love,
What are tides, if we never had changed course sometimes.

It’s hard to say just how I feel,
Harder still to share the desperation in my eyes,
Hardest to admit when I’m afraid
To walk the world alone, unsure of what’s ahead.

What else can I say, you are shining, ,
You are changing the way I face the things of life.
Holding gently in my hands what time has left for me,
Songs of joy and sorrow, I wish to gather gratefully.

And I hope, despite what life might bring,
I’ll find shelter in some trees,
Look across the seas,
Hear the laughter of my children and with them, wonder at such beauty,
The beauty in all things.

Gratitude

I am counting my blessings,
Listing all that’s gone right,
I recount all the times I have conquered the night.

When I was told I could not,
Still I took flight,
Encouraged by those in the world beyond life.

The threads make their crossing, I am never alone,
Through the paths intertwining, I have come home.
And it’s what they said, words to silence the lies:
They tell me that I am enough in their eyes.

Enough, yes, enough,
I’ve lost count of the times
I repeat I’m enough,
Enough, enough in their eyes.

Until I know it by heart, and take it as mine,
Until no doubt lingers lost
In the maze of my mind,
Enough, I will whisper, mending whole what’s gone by.

And I thought I would never encounter this treasured
Incredible gift to live up to the measure
Of all I am made of simply by being,

And though sometimes I wonder
What within me they’re seeing,
They swear I’m enough
And it’s truth that they’re speaking.

I think I will scream,
I think I will shout
This truth that shattered my world inside out,

Crying my joy, since all I wished for in dreaming,
Now I am living, the world more than its seeming,
Despite so much disagreeing, I am believing,

And incredulously, endlessly ever worth keeping,
I am enough,
And my eyes they are gleaming.

Recovering a belonging, I thought never I’d find,
Neither selfish nor selfless nor too wrong or right,
There are no conditions, no snares or old twine:
A free person, I greet you, and radiant I shine.

Oisín’s Song _ When Two Worlds Meet: Part 8

It was the beginning of December 2013. The day was a quiet, uneventful one. As evening fell, I found myself in front of the small electronic keyboard that my mom gave me this year. No one else in the family seemed to be interested in using it, and fortunately despite my apartment having minimal room, I did have space for it.

On that night, I was enjoying myself, making up songs and not thinking about much in particular. Then, unexpectedly, a melody filled my head, one I understood right away was not mine. Trying to catch onto the music before it was lost, I began playing it over and over, wondering whose it was. It sounded like an old lullaby which would be sung to a small child. When I was confident I could play the song without forgetting it, I got the answer to my question. This was Oisín’s song, and he wanted me to have it, to share with others in this world.

It was a few days later, another late evening, when Oisín excitedly sent me a picture which interrupted my thoughts. He had the lyrics to the song, and could I write them down with him? I got up from my computer and walked into my room, for some change in scenery and got out my Braille Note, the one that doesn’t distract me by speaking every letter I type. Through words, pictures, and conversation Oisín told the story of the song to me, through me. It was, as I thought, a song for a child. But I never expected his words would be for me.

Oisín’s Song

Hush there my darling and cease now your weeping
I and the trees watch over you,
See me where grasses breathe in the sunlight
Meet me where hummingbirds drink in the dew.

I am the song of the sky in the morning
I write the lyrics of new falling snow
When loneliness calls you I wait in its silence
Nearer or farther, wherever you go.

Though you doubt your worth often, the truth is your aching
With all that’s within you to let go and fly
Please don’t forget you were made with the stars’ dust
While you’re here growing, remember to shine.

Hush now my darling, the night has reclaimed you
Dream of the dawning of a world without fear
In you is the turning of life’s yearning motion
In you is the beauty of unfolding years.

So much to know and to see and to wonder
Eternal and fragile one, take in all you can
The joys of the world that surrounds you are fleeting
But they all hold the memory of each woman and man.

Trust in the strength that lies buried inside you
For you help shape the world through your words and your hands
You possess all that’s needed to center and guide you
And when you’re uncertain, know that I understand.

Hush there my darling there’s no need for weeping
Though while you’re alive you get battered and torn
If you were not here now the hills would be grieving
Better life’s sorrow than to have never been born

Think of the fireflies who emerge every evening
Think of the salmon that swim in the streams
With their flashlights and wisdom they dance what lies hidden
Without ever questioning what it all means.

I’ve seen through the eyes of a deer in the meadow
I’ve known the pain of separation and hate
I’ve lost those I love to the weight of their shadows
There’s still time for changing, it isn’t too late.

Hush now young dear one, and don’t give up trying
There is a place here for all you can share
Life isn’t easy but it’s worth every moment
All your wild longing, live out if you dare.

People are rushing through days strange and empty
With food on their tables, they’re starving for time
And for all that’s new out there to manufacture connection
They don’t come to belong to who they are deep inside.

No wonder it’s easy to get lost in the endless
Relentless refrain that you’re falling behind
To so much wanton wanting, know that you need not listen
You don’t have to hurry, you’re enough in my eyes.

Come now and rest for the time is to dreaming
Weaving the web of all that your days could hold
Just close your eyes now and come home to the rhythm
The heart beat of landscape, in the clay of your bones.

I watched you surrender to life and to healing
Your light mending silently the scars that you’ve known
I watched as your eyes changed from embers to hearth fires
And the joy of your knowing was also my own.

If you ever worry that you can’t do enough here
That the world tries to stop you from being all you can be
Know you’re not alone, and the world vast and humbling
Is great and mysterious, so much more than you see.

Hush and be still now, the time’s not for weeping
I am the song that you sing through your day
Nothing is lost, nothing is wasted
All the most beautiful moments remain.

I am the color of fog in the moonlight
I am the cry of a wakening child
I know the songs that seeds sing while their sleeping
Meet me where roads fade and the land becomes wild.

You’ve seen what I see, the world through my eyes
You know the path that is taken by few
The world that appears free of limits or lies
All exists intertwined, and I share it with you.

Hush there my darling and cease now your weeping
I and the trees watch over you,
You’ll see me where grasses breathe in the sunlight
Meet me where hummingbirds drink in the dew.

False Beliefs

I must worry about my future because otherwise it will go badly.
In order to belong, be safe, and have security, I must fear change and avoid the unknown.
I must make everyone happy, otherwise I am ungrateful and selfish.
If god(s) have a plan for me, I must follow it: as well as routinely sweat over whether I am doing so.

I shouldn’t eat chocolate chip cookies at breakfast and the like.
I shouldn’t cry. I shouldn’t speak out on subjects that people prefer to ignore.
I shouldn’t make any actually or potentially unpopular suggestions if I want to keep my friends.
I shouldn’t color outside the lines, be too creative, too curious, too centered in my own belonging.

I should assume that fulfilling my dreams will be full of hardship.
I should only believe in the shared reality the world has agreed upon.
I should satisfy others expectations of me before I meet my own expectations.
When others see closed doors ahead, I should take their word for it, and not go investigate for myself.

It is wrong to be grateful and happy as long as other people live in misery.
It is wrong to feel of equal worth to those of higher status, wealth, or prestige.
It is better to act small, so that others won’t feel diminished by your light.
Pain, when familiar, is better than the uncertain task of finding which wild place calls you home.

These beliefs pass among us quickly, infecting all who adhere to them with dis-ease.
Yet we all too often resist questioning their authenticity. Why ever is this so?
Why allow disruptive, dishonest tenants to rent out rooms in your head? Go ahead and replace them.
Step beyond such specious shadows. Whatever are you waiting for? The light switch is right here.