LANDSLIDE

I am like a landslide.

At first, I stand tall;  stable and intact.  I feel full and free and easy, perched precariously on top of the world, looking down peacefully at the life around me. I am a significant part of the top of the world, and I can stand proudly and feel as if I am in the right place, at the right time.   I am the solid footing underneath the lives of those I love, and I honour that role and stand strong, doing the best I can to help them get from here or there .   Something about me makes people want to climb higher and higher and higher, when I am strong. Strong and earthy, gilded with multifaceted lights that shimmer and move with the slithering of the sun across the day’s sky.  There are those who would like to climb my slopes, slide down my curves, erode away at the side of my self that faces the sun.  I hold them up, let them trod on my back.  I do my job.

The one piece at a time, they chip away, one demand at a time, one expectation;  until I am left unstable and uncertain as to where I may find myself the next day.  I beg them off of my cliffs, but for that one moment, they cannot see into the place where I find myself slowly falling to pieces.  I feel irrational. Other mountains seem so certain, and yet, there is nothing certain about me.

One by one, pieces of me slowly fall, plummeting to great depths.  I suppose part of me is aware that one day soon I will meet them all at the bottom.  But for now, I erode, and I disseminate… and I rock on.

I try and gather myself and put back the pieces that have become detached, but I cannot reach them, for they have gone to great depths that is the opposite of my solid self.  They have been reduced to dust at the bottom of my landscape, and all I can do is watch helplessly as I become less and less of myself, and more and more of what lay at my feet.  Feeling that my back should be able to stay straight and strong and predictable, and yet, even the smallest pressure feels like the greatest weight, and no one seems to understand that what I could carry yesterday is no longer  possible.  But I do it anyways, because it is simpler than explaining the way a mountain really functions. It is simpler to stop drawing attention to myself. Now I just hate myself; easier than hating the rest. I am weak where I was strong.

I am frustrated and hurtful.   Can’t they see that they have less under their feet now? That they must seek to repair the damage?  And yet, it is not their damage, and they only walked where they found their feet. Where I put them. It is my damage, and perhaps it is too far gone.

I become furious. I want them all off of me NOW. There are so many! So much noise and talking and scrambling about constantly poking and prodding at my most exposed parts.  I want to be alone.  I tell them, but again they don’t understand.  All this time they have had a place for their feet, and now…where will they go?  But I see no purpose, I see no point.  I feel disconnected from it all, and I want them off me NOW. I scream at the top of my lungs, shattering the peace around me like a fine chandelier that has become detached from its setting and now plummets to the ground scattering broken glass around its entire periphery.  They all jump and shudder, scrambling for cover, seeking escape…from me.

Now I am furious and sad. Now I am frightened. Who  am I in this scheme of things?  Where am I falling to? How will I find myself to climb back up to my perch?  I no longer recognize myself, and I don’t  care. Just get them all the  hell off me.

I begin to fall to pieces; it’s only the beginning. More and more of me escapes into the darkness and I hear the splash of the larger pieces landing with liquid resonance, sinking further to the bottom.   I try to grab hold of anything solid, but it dissolves at my slightest touch. This makes me angry as well.  Here my anger ruminates,  churning and scheming, flares occasionally shoot up through my solid rock face.   Now I am slamming down at an unwieldy pace, unable to even keep up with myself.  But mountains don’t feel ANGER, so I pull it back inside of myself, into the depth of the place where it was first created.  More of me looks down, away from the feet on my back, towards myself.  Soon, all I can see is myself.  I try to scream, but I seem to have forgotten how. I don’t even recognize my own plea.

I fall now – all of me even further than I thought capable. When did God move the floor? I look for it, but can find no solid footing. Those I love now hang in the balance, from a cliff bereft of my former solidity. I see them fading as I look up, and soon all I can see are clouds and darkness and their dangling feet disappear in the distance. It is hard to breathe at such depths.  I no longer care if I breathe; and yet I do.

Now I am in pieces at the bottom, everyone looks down  on me as I lie incapable of being different from what I am.  I try to put the pieces back the way they were, but they don’t seem to fit.  I drop a final piece, and lay still, no longer caring about what shape I am in. Nor am considering the fact that those people now have nothing to walk on. They can create their own footing, because for today, I am not it.

I watch the days  come and go. Sun rises and sunsets all look the same after a while. And the spaces in between the courses of the sun are all bereft of light,  like a profound darkness steeped in hypocritical light. I don’t want to be your ground!  I want to slide away into everything and be invisible to it all.

I hate the sun. I remember a time when the sun would infuse me with all of her power, and each day I would begin anew, rapturous and elevated by her heat and desire to plunge myself  into the miracle of a new day.  I ran like this with the sun once.  But now, I only feel irritation at the suggestion that I rise again.  Can’t they see all of me in pieces around them…where they found me. I cannot be your ground!

Life drones on and I wish for nothing more than nothing.

Then I see a small certain hand reaching into the darkness towards a part of me that had been left aside. It grasps the part and tosses it over the water. I skip and laugh as I glide along the edge of the top, skimming and hopping joyfully, 2,3,4…SIX times!  I feel alive, and joyful. I surrender to the pull of it all.  I sink to the bottom but am quickly washed on shore. The small hand grasps another part of me, and I am again propelled into joyful unnatural buoyancy.   I sink again, but   I feel the small hand strong and certain.

I am awash in the power of change, and wait patiently for the next hand to propel me forward and give me new purpose as I roll along becoming as smooth as a pebble in an endless river.

And Tonight I Pray…

So tonight I am praying;  I am praying for everyone and everything around me.  I am unable to express my feelings right now.  I am in one way relieved that I have something that I can sink my teeth into.  Hurricanes, tremendous environmental chaos is something that will focus the unfocused minds of the world.  Now we will simply have to assume greater cooperation , or perish.  It is the nature og the universe to claim equanimity, and so now nature is simply back-lashing at us what we ourselves have imposed upon her over the few centuries we have been in existence.

The answer to this storm and all the crises that will follow this one, is certainly not to continue doing what we have always done!  Patchwork repair jobs on enormous issues that are deeply rooted in the basic set of belief systems we teach ourselves.  We need to think differently about ourselves, and who we really are – what is our role here.

We’re going to lose power tonight, but I wanted to send off a note before the internet goes down, if that is in fact what is going to happen.  It will feel especially strange to lose that connection with the world after having become so used to it.

But we will find other ways to communicate.  I believe we will be increasingly able to communicate intuitively, in one form or another over time.

Unfortunately, time is what we don’t really have a lot of right now, so I suppose I am hoping for a miracle.

I have people away from home that I love very much.  I am just praying that everyone is safe and off the roads.

I will sit still with this storm, and take it all in.  I will focus on dismissing the storm, dissipating it.  making it smaller.  I know it sounds like a pretty ineffective use of time. but the way I see it, everything that has ever happened has begun with a thought. Therefore THOUGHT is our most powerful force.  Doesn’t it just make sense that if thoughts are united, the thought itself becomes EXTREMELY powerful?

I urge anyone reading this to simply sit back and focus your thoughts on seeing the storm dissipate.  Visualize the clouds breaking up and light shining through.  If we focus on the terror and devastation, we will only create more of it.  This is simple what I call “buddhist physics” – what you focus on grows.  You give it energy – it flourishes.

Take the energy AWAY from the disasters, and only feel peace. In fact now is a good time to forgive the people you thought were unforgivable in your life, because holding resentment takes up some of the energy you need to help us heal. What I am recommending is a type of living meditation, where you walk and try to keep your mind focused all through the next few days on recovery and health to the planet.   Our emerging intuitive capacities must be used somehow in this catastrophic shifting of the planet’s energy.

Maybe it takes this much chaos to wake up humanity to our inherent power?  Here’s ta hopin’…

~Namaste~

“ACCEPTANCE IS THE ANSWER TO ALL OF OUR PROBLEMS TODAY”*

Lately on the news we are hearing a great deal about the suicide death of Amanda Todd, a young girl in the United States who committed suicide last week following brutal acts of bullying. She was pressured to the point of depression and hopelessness so pervasive that she no longer wanted to be alive. On Facebook, the topic is all over the place. I have read several posts that strongly state that she made bad choices which she was responisble for, that she committed suicide and therefore made a choice. In other weords, people feel so terrible they are relegating our responsibilty for our own children and each other’s children away from themselves.  Frankly, it is breaking my heart, although I realize that they are coming from a place of feeling fearful and out of control over something that clearly reflects our culture’s greatest failing – a lack of understanding how to love ourselves and each other.

Amanda Todd suffered from depression. Whether it was brought on by the horrendous experiences she endured, or whether the experiences were made worse due to a predisposition to the illness (which would of course affect her choices and decisions), is a chicken-and-egg question.  The problem lies in how we are percieving and dealing with depression in our children and members of our culture.

Let me remind you of what you surely already know:

Depression is not weakness.   Depression does not demonstrate a lack of willpower or discipline, intelligence or capability. Depression can come because of something biochemical that happens in your brain which when coupled with life events that make you feel out of control, helpless and hopeless can make you think and do some pretty crazy things.   If someone suffers from biochemical depression, when there is not enough serotonin, or mood balancing chemical, in the brain, or if that chemical isn’t doing what it is supposed to sometimes they are put on medication that normalizes the rate of the chemical they need to make their moods more “balanced and normal”.

I can relate strongly to Amanda’s story, both as a mother and as someone who has had to contend with bullies and depression – the second being the worse of the two. I was diagnosed with severe clinical depression and hyper-manic rapid cycling bi-polar spectrum disorder (ueah…say that ten times fast :) ) – in my thirties. Basically it meant, as my best friend in university often said about me, that I would “emote at the speed of a strobe light”.

I was born like this, although if you would meet me in person today, you could not imagine me having these conditions in any form.  I would seem vivacious maybe, but not manic.  I would seem pensive and introspective, but not depressed.  A person with combined disorder of both really can go from one end of the spectrum of feelings to the other in a day, several times.  It is truly exhausting.

I think at some point, whether you ar young or old or have been diagnosed with these disorders, if you have enough shocks, or terrible sad painful gut wrenching things happen to you, the more your brain needs to put out serotonin to balance out the constant state of sadness you are feeling, and for some people eventually this machine gets overused and breaks down.

People become depressed when they suffer from guilt, anxiety, anger, resentment.  They suffer when they feel out of control over their own lives, like Amanda Todd did.  They become manic when the relief from long periods of feeling like you are covered in a 200 pound robe made of mud lifts gleefully from your shoulders and your mouth opens and you can;t stop singing with the sheer joy of it all.  It’s the swing, and many bi polar people go off of their medications because they would rather have the opportunity to feel the happy swing of manic wash over their debilitating depression, than never feel it at all.  Those drugs they put you on make you feel like everything is oatmeal. Food, sex, colours…you really don’t give a shit.

I didn’t write music or paint a painting or sing a song for 13 years.  I was in the lost zone of complacency.  It makes sense, the doctor explained it to me:

I went to see my GP and was having a particularly happy day after a long period of depression.  I was really just happy until he said straight out:

“You’re manic”. he waited a second until my jaw dropped openm then leanned back his body language almost strangely smug.  He waited for my response.

“Hunh?”, I asked blankly.

“You’re hyper, and so you’re manic”.

“What do you mean?” I ask dumbly…

He pulls his chair up to his old wooden desk and pull s his pen out of his shirt pocket to draw me a picture : Here’s where my fascination with the word NORMAL begins.

He draws a pair of parallel lines on a paper sitting adjacent to me on the corner of his old wooden desk. He is a year away from retirement.

“You see Josee, Most people live their lives within the boundaries of these two lines”, he stops and looks to see if he has my attention. I sit blinking.

“Most people go this high when they are happy energetically, and most people go only this low energetically”, he continues. I am still focused on the word Boundaries.  I am born a fire horse after all and you know what they say…

His talking interrupts my thinking that looks more like this…

“…and so they prescribe specialized drugs to help you regulate your emotions and make you better able to function normally in life”. Normal. Normal.  What is normal?

The next thing I knew I was whooshed off to a psychiatrist.  He doesn’t really talk, he just wants to tell me what drugs I need to make me normal.

I almost have to fight with him in our weekly meetings to try to talk about the things I am now willing to be aware of and take responsibility for in my life.  he wants to talk about his wine tasting trips to Switzerland. At the time I had been attempting recovery in a 12 step program and I found our talks particularly annoying. He suggest I see a good psychologist.

This was crazy. But it did give me the desire to start to look at myself.  You can’t get to love and accept someone you don’t know, and frankly, if you don’t know yourself, you can’t really know anyone else.  So if you think it’s your relationships hurting you or your friends or your boss, look again.  The greatest source of pain that comes to us comes directly from how we think about ourselves.  Having biochemical depression at first is a real blow to your perception, how you see, your life. But if you think about it, everything changes depending on how you see your self in your life. So, I began looking at who I was, from a more objective and honest point of view. Although these doctors may have been a little misguided, I believe it was so important for me to go through all of this and come out with self-awareness at the end of it.  You see, the one thing I had going for me was that i was older and had had more experience which allowed me to begin to look at myself, my emotions and my life more objectively.  But Amanda Todd, only two months older than my youngest daughter at 16, decided that she WAS how she felt, and I don’t know anyone who could have endured what she did. If you have ever  considered suicide please understand that if you wait a little longer you will discover that self acceptance needed all of these experiences to emerge, but that when you get to the place where you understand who you really are and how amazing and unique and beautiful you are, you would never considered hurting YOU – or anyone else.

I read some comments on Amanda Todd’s YouTube after watching the video and bawling my eyes out, selfishly seeing my own 16-year-old in Amanda’s eyes. Some were honest and sad. Others were hateful – almost angry. Those are the kids I would worry about.

Don’t limit the love you give to your family.  It is a waste of how much power you have.  Extend that love outwards by making it your ABSOLUTE MISSION to teach your children how to love others properly.  This is especially critical at this time in our history.

Can you imagine how incredible this world could be if we all suddenly stopped teaching our kids how to be selfish assholes and turned about-face and focused exclusively on teaching them and each other how to behave properly, respectfully and with acceptance towards each other and everyone we meet? Sound idyllic? I don’t think so. All it takes is a conscious decision on your part. Will it be easy? Nah…nothing worthwhile ever is though is it?

But remember: Depression is created by a person’s ability to be able to love and accept themselves.  You cannot teach what you don’t do or understand yourself. So your first job as a parent and as a member of this-worldly community is to learn to love and accept yourself and leave all the bullshit aside.  Face it – as a community and a culture we can do a MUCH BETTER JOB at promoting this all important philosophy.  The first step is in recognizing this and taking responsibility for it individually and together.

Our kids are our future. Let’s stop making the mistake of teaching them that HAPPINESS is the goal. It is NOT the goal.  Our goal as humans is to be able to learn to handle the crises that will come our way, as it does in every life, with a measure of serenity, deference and peace.  And our ultimate challenge is to first learn it for ourselves and pass it on to our children.

My heart goes out to anyone who has every felt like this.

~Peace~

*P.449 AA Txt 3rd edi.

**Release: please note I am not a medical doctor and am in no way recommending any advice on prescription drugs in this article.  This story is only based on my own opinions and understanding based only on my personal experience.  I recognize that every experience is unique, as is every approach to healing.

The Adopted Life Part 1 – interfamily adoptions

THE ADOPTED LIFE – PT 1

I have an adoption story to tell which is unique and I believe can help others.  In my lifetime I have met two others like me:  a kid in grade six named Terry who bullied me took my lunch money whenever I tried to talk to him,and Jack Nicholson, who went a little (more) nuts when he was told at age 50. We all have in common that we are children of inter-family adoptions.

Inter-family adoptions were very common of course in French-Catholic  Canada  in the 1950’s and 1960’s.  Abortions only happened in dark secret corners and basements because of the strength and power of the Catholic Church. Women had sneak into backrooms or basements where dirty illegal abortions were performed often making them incapable of having any other children after surviving these barbaric procedures.  We have come a long way since then, but when I was born, the world was different. So, girls who became pregnant “out of wedlock”  were relegated silent punitive convents, like my own mother was. And  when things became more obvious, they were kept until the baby was born.  Of course there was great family shame in the pregnancy (marinating in a toxic womb much??) and the community around the child was kept unaware.  Usually adopted people feel a little different from the rest of their kinsfolk.

I was adopted when I was four days old. The story I was originally told goes something like this…

My parents went to an orphanage, and amongst the many babies in the room, they spotted me with my little Beatle’s mop-top hair cut wrapped in a pink blanket fell in love and took me home.  My mother always said she grew me “in her heart and not her stomach”.  The “label” of adoption felt like an honour to me.  It made me “different but special”, and I carried it with me like a banner.  It was a major part of “who I knew myself to be”.

My family was big. I was the seventh of seven;  one of five girls and two boys.  and like many families we had some pretty serious secrets, but the biggest one was ME.  My brothers and sisters all knew I was adopted, and really I was never made to feel separate or apart from them.  They were much older when I was brought in,  the closest sisters to me were 12 and 13 years older.  The ones who had moved out I really didn’t get to know very well until recently. My sisters took me under their wing; one was an artist and one a musician, and for the first thirteen years I grew up learning outlets for creativity.   Only a very few knew who my biological mother was and when the news came out, it hit the family like a truck.

My parents were older and loved me very much but had their own issues after 30-something years of an uncompromising and unhappy marriage.   My father was a prominent Canadian politician and was the leader of the non-succession movement in Quebec. Our lives were very public.  My mother was an unhappy alcoholic and a politician’s wife.  Our entire world revolved around “what the neighbours would think”  and so we kept many deep secrets within our walls, never to be discussed openly.

Until one day, in October 1979 when I was 13 my mother having gone a little far on the bloody Caesars that day decided to “tell me” who my biological mother was.  I remember being in the kitchen, badgering her to tell me and finally looked at me and said very seriously, locking eyes…

“Do you really want to know?”

The MINUTE the words were out of her mouth my inner brain screamed “NO!” because I immediately read her and before she said anything I knew who it was for the first time.

I hesitated before and spoke before she did…

I said my  favourite sister’s name in a small voice. Intuition between a mother and daughter is strong.

She began to cry.

That night, we raced over to my now sister-mother’s apartment.  She was one of my two eldest sisters, identical twins born twenty minutes apart.  Her twin and I had always been very close and have always maintained a sisterly relationship.  But my mother was my favourite person in the world. She was adventurous, living in Africa and beautiful and lively. She reminded me of Mary Tyler Moore.  This was going to change everything and at 13 nothing was going to process easily in my mind or heart.

As it is with any shocking situation I remember the scene in vivid Technicolor. I was wearing my new light blue bell bottom jeans and a red shirt. I sat in my now sister/mother’s living room and watched The Day of the Dolphins with George C Scott on television while the mothers plied me with hot chocolate chip cookies they made in the kitchen while they drank and cried.  The apartment was near downtown Montreal, it was wet and rainy out.  The carpet was blue. There was a split leafed Philodendron to the left of the TV, the curtains were made of velvet.  Periodically one or both would run out of the kitchen to cry and hug me.  I felt like I had done something very wrong.

My reaction and unconscious decision regarding how this information would affect my life was to ignore it for thirty years.  I would maintain my brothers and sisters as who they were to me, my parents would stay my parents, and I didn’t have the first clue how to relate to Paulette who had been formerly my “favourite sister”, and the one who of course understood me at a deep level.

The family reaction was to then send me to West Africa to live with her.  This was a monumental trip for me.  I always had a very very close attachment to all things African, like a pull of attraction.   I have actually journeyed many times since and discovered that I had previous experiences there, although in this life I am a Caucasian Canadian –  my feet were happiest when they landed on African soil. I was HOME.  I got to spend months there, but my father forced me home and put me in a special international boarding school afterwards sending me to university at 15 to start preparing me for becoming a member of Canadian government. If you ever meet me, you will fully understand the irony of this move.   And life went on….for many years. No need for resolution or for understanding – I went into ignore mode. When anyone would question our relationship (am I your cousin or your nephew??)  I would get annoyed and snappish.  I insisted on EVERYONE ELSE ignoring it too.

Then my grandmother/mother died two years after the big news when I was 15 of cancer.  My father died when I was 30 and now, my biological mother has brain cancer and it is time to move forward with this part of my life.

I am interested to know if anyone else has a similar or any adoption story they would like to share. Tell me how it was for you?  Did you feel different?  How was the experience, positive or negative?

I am great friends with my bio-mom today after many years of struggle.  I believe this is an act of Grace.  I hope that my experiences can bring others some peace in some way.

Namaste