Honouring Life’s Magic

There is something about sprouts. New life grows the fastest, so fast you almost see it happen, which is as near to witnessing magic as you can get. It’s like nature doesn’t want you to see her working, so she hides it all where you can’t see, which is why we don’t feel the Earth moving and we don’t know the multiplication of our own cells. But nature comes closest to showing her hand when life’s just emerging. It’s a sacred moment and I’ll honour it in any way I can, without even thinking about it.

We witness new shoots coming up from their seeds. We run mold experiments on petri dishes, just for the thrill of it. We experience birth in our living room — at this moment, we have about 20 blind baby hamsters wiggling in their nests, maybe 10 more baby mice, and 8 baby rabbits with more on the way. For no other reason than that we love to see it all happen.

The sacred magic of new life is a damn delicate thing. Magic gets destroyed so easily. And new life is the most vulnerable.

Watching new life isn’t all that easy for me. Sometimes I cry when I see chubby wee ones sitting shopping carts. Because when I was little, my father and some others near as much destroyed me like stomping on a baby bird fallen out of it’s nest. So much so that I don’t think I could ever bear to look after a wee one of my own. It’s too much. In my dreams, my daughter’s name is Storey and I couldn’t bear to see her cry at all.

Having baby hamsters, baby mice, baby rabbits isn’t a whole lot easier. But on the other hand, I value new life so much that I need to do something to honour it. I need to hold space for it.

My house is full of toys, crayons, stuffed animals. There’s no children here, except for all the ones in me. It’s complicated sometimes. It might look bizarre from an outside perspective. But in here I’m holding space for new life in every way I can. All things wee are given so much love here. We have ice cream for dinner and we have all the cupcakes we want. Anything goes.

And when I wake up to 8 baby rabbits nibbling at my toes, running out from under the bed, my inner wee ones heal.

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How the Fox Survived

I’m Kassie. I was little once, but I was always big. I just got to a place where I didn’t want to face myself, didn’t want to think or remember, and I curled up into myself, like I was cradling myself as carefully as a baby.

I went to sleep and self-comforted for years, wishing I could actually feel loved and worthy of love. I wanted comfort and felt guilty for even wanting that. I stopped wanting much. Just cried like a baby, like a baby when you can’t tell what’s wrong with her and why she’s unhappy. I couldn’t tell anyone what I wanted. I just cried.

I don’t know how to tell this story. I was little once, that’s how it starts. I was little and people made me feel like I didn’t deserve care, like I deserved abuse. My father started it. It’s his fault because of the choices he made to hurt me, use me, and let others do the same.

I don’t remember a time when I wasn’t waiting for something ugly to happen. But when it’s your daily experience, your only window to life, you can’t go through your whole childhood feeling one emotion. Your emotions come and get tangled up in everything that’s happening. So it wasn’t as simple as me being sad and scared all the time. I experienced every emotion about it that I could. Love and hate. I was simultaneously turning away from and pursuing the only attention I could get.

I was little. I was always trying to find the path that would get me somewhere I wanted to go. The way to act that would get me a treat. I wanted to feel good and I wanted to be comforted and heard. To get those things in any way at all, I had to do shit I didn’t know was far beyond a four-year-old’s typical experience.

You don’t know it’s wrong when you’re little and it’s what your life has always looked like. It’s like when they tell you the Earth is round. That’s what you learn. Thing is, they could have said it was flat and you wouldn’t know any different.

So when I could make decisions for myself, how could I really do different than what I knew? By that time the ways to the places you think you want to go are well tracked and worn into neat little paths for you. So you take those paths. And it’s still his fault.

Things happened that I don’t need to repeat here. The point is, I shut down in the end. I couldn’t take it anymore. I became four again. That’s the beauty of being a part inside a host, you can do shit like that. You can make the whole system go real quiet while you lie down in some corner and cry yourself to sleep every day, while your host survives by being mostly numb and oblivious.

Then something amazing happened. Her name is Willow. She found Janice first and saved her, and then shortly after that she found me.  I was four, and I got to be four in a very real way. I just took a couple years to be four with her. She taught me every single day that I could find new paths to my happiness. I could get what I wanted, what I thought was impossible. I could be loved and held and given treats just for being me. Just for asking.

I ate a lot of cupcakes. I mean, I ate a LOT of cupcakes. It sounds dumb, but I just wanted treats for doing absolutely nothing. For asking. For being me. I got all the cuddles I could want. And it wasn’t easy because I had to learn to want cuddles first, good safe touch.  I didn’t let myself want things I thought I couldn’t get. Cupcakes were easy, real love was harder to accept. But I got there in the end.

The day I got there, and this wasn’t long ago, I grew up again. I was ready to be me. I thought I could forget what got me to this place — my history. But you can’t turn your back on yourself and your truth. Something bubbled up. Then came the strength to deal with it and face it and claim it back. Because it would make me stronger, it would make me a hero, never a loser. I wanted to be that hero.

I’m newborn 32. I feel baby-skinned and a little fragile. I’ve found a new world to be born into, one where I’m who I am and I’m worth getting the things I really want. It’s a beautiful place. I feel reincarnated into my own life, the life I wanted.

I am here. I am real. I am the Fox standing next to the Deer and the Wolf. We all have threads of this story. Every string is a little tangled,  little frayed. But we’re honouring it all.

My Kind of Survivor Story

In us we have it all, we’re wild

country and deep root cellars.

Our fingers sift

flowers and light, we knit

sunbeams cast like scarves

for air, we ride

summer’s long shadows until the day

bleeds out and kisses

our newborn cheeks — hello, goodbye.

Raucous life lives here

in us, we have it all,

joined hands and stray strands

of hair streaming

long behind us all, telling

time another kind of tale, one

where we lift

up and know what we always were:

us the lovers,

us the heroes,

us all in us.

The Universe Sends Owls

Lots of Owls, lately. Ever since I took the name Owl to represent a particular mental state of being, it’s been nothing but owls. Today after work we got the perfect shot, a snowy owl on a wire.

snowy owl 2

snowy owl

Things have been rocky, but the Universe always takes care of us and never fails to send blessings for those who look.

Rabbit Will Run

 

We have baby bunnies in our living room.

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Life is overflowing everywhere. Is it the same for you? We cut back the houseplants and carved out a new space to fill with stories, memories, meaning.

We are poor folk. We gather things from the wild and make do. Somehow we always feel the richest. Strange how imagination can satisfy and fulfill you. That’s how kids live, remember that? They have nothing but stories, they invent worlds out of the air. Children know we live in imagination. There’s the dream world where you can see and feel your imagination but you can’t quite control it. And there’s the harsh world where you can control your imagination but you can’t see or feel your creations. It’s an Uncertainty Principle of Massive Proportions.  We can only know our imagination in one form at a time: you can either know you’re imagining, or imagine you’re knowing.

Do you see how everything and nothing is the tension between Potential and Actuality, Imagination and Reality? These two states create each other. Stop asking the physicists to tell the story of the beginning of the Universe, and find it here. Or simply meditate upon it, like a koan.

My world becomes curiously made for me, or I for it, as I am it, and it is me. I stroke that relationship from nose-tip to tail. When my eyes open like the baby bunnies’, I will reclaim my right to dream everything into place.  Thus “Shamanism” takes new meanings lately. When Owl stares at me and says only, “Love,” I hear enough to ponder for days. Suddenly everything accuses me of not dreaming a myth and theory for why it exists, what it is, and what it’s doing. I want to be small again and play, running off benches believing I might be able to fly.

Dreamsmiths

Real power lies with the dreamsmiths, as they shape stories fresh from their forges.

I dreamed I would visit a screech owl near a place where my wife and I track coyotes. I had not seen an owl before but Screech Owl became important to me. Then, a week or two later, screech owl visited me near the place I saw in my dream. It stayed for some 15 minutes, staring at me from a thin windblown branch, as my wife and I illuminated it with flashlights and took pictures. I got about 8 feet from it, at eye-level, before it flew away.

owl-2

owl-1

Stories tell the world, like mothers tell their children, what the world is like.

We have rabbits in our living room, and Mama Rabbit made a nest for the New Year. Now some 6 or 7 kits are wiggling in the straw and fluff. They are tiny, fuzzy, and blind, but starting to move about. What stories are their parents whispering in their ears? The cats sniff the nest curiously but don’t pounce when it moves; they stay away. Even my cat who likes to play with twigs won’t pull at the straw. Something in the air breathes a tale of birth and life, and the cats respect it.

May we all hear such wisdom. May we all bravely tell our stories.