Earthworm

I was on my Bowflex strength training machine this morning. It’s in the basement. For half of the exercises I’m facing a fun red wall. For the other half, I’m looking up through the window well at the Southern Ontario sky.

As you can tell, the metal well is ribbed and resembles brick. I love the natural look. I was grunting through two sets of the leg press when my vision caught something unusual in the scene. About eighteen inches below the lip, there was an earthworm, basically vertical. As I pressed in, I’d occasionally glance at the newcomer. Between sets, it was clear: the worm had died there, and his body would stay stuck to the side until I scraped it off. I made a mental note to do that … tomorrow. Future exercise sessions wouldn’t be disturbed by a dry thing hanging onto the lovely bricked pattern.

Minutes later, it was the leg extension exercise. Another glance showed that my flexible friend was a bit higher up the well, and not quite so vertical. “It’s alive!”

Closer inspection showed a tiny head wobbling back and forth, and the whole being wriggling upwards. When it came to a rib, it would keep on going, pulling its body above empty space in its pursuit of freedom.

“Oh my God … I’m looking out the window at an elite athlete!”

As the workout continued, I saw “higher, higher…” No cage will constrain. My mouth kept dropping open.

When there were no more exercises, I pressed my nose close to the window. Mr. Worm was pretty much horizontal now, about four inches below the lip. It was approaching a tiny crevice in the plastic surrounding the window. As I watched, there was a full five inches of invertebrate being poking towards the hole. Then four. Three … two … one …

Gone

Unfinished Business

A long time ago, in a province far, far away … I was a trainee in Werner Erhard’s est program.  A weekend for us in Vancouver had been scheduled and we had homework to complete beforehand.  One item on the list caught my attention:  “Clean your fridge.”  So down-to-earth, not really transformational at all.  

Except it was. Once soggy veggies and scum-laden crevices had been dispensed with, I gazed in wonder at the shiny freshness. On the flight west, I marvelled at the release I felt, and images of my dear fridge kept appearing.

Then there’s now. Seems like the lessons take time to sink in. An unopened box sits in the den at the front of my home. It’s done that for a month now. Inside no doubt is a new printer. My old one really struggled with the latest Microsoft update and the future looks bleak for this model that’s been left behind. You could say that it’s not really a problem, since printed pages continue to spew out of the beast.

But then there’s my mind. “I bet it’ll take a couple of hours to set up the new printer. Probably there’ll be stuff I don’t understand and I’ll be stuck on hold with the folks at Hewlett-Packard.” However I spin it, the basic fact is that I told myself I’d do X, and X keeps sitting there, sticking its tongue out at me. My printer energy is stuck, and that’s not good enough for this fellow who wants to flow out into the world.

It’s 6:30 pm right now and I choose not to begin the box-opening saga, but I promise you I will get the new one going tomorrow daytime. Whatever I write about tomorrow evening, I’ll attach a note about my progress/success. So there.

I get there’s power here. Moving unfinished to finished. In the past few days, I’ve done a few simple things that leave me with a head held high:

1.  I cut my toenails.  No big deal?  Wrong.  The arthritis in my right wrist makes it hard to wield toenail clippers, but I persisted.  It took a long time and I don’t care.  I’m tempted to attach a pic of my toes but perhaps I’ll choose discretion.

2.  I cleaned the shower, finally figuring out that wearing knee pads would allow me to really give ‘er with the brush for minutes at a time.  I don’t care if I never clued in before.  I now have a clean shower.

3.  This is an unmentionable concerning the human body so I won’t mention it.  But it’s been a long time coming and (Praise the Lord!) the deed is done.  Definitely no photos of this one.

4.  I … dusted.  And swept.  Where exactly did all this flotsam and jetsam come from?  No matter, the accumulation is now residing at the bottom of my garbage can.

5.  Over the last week, I phoned three friends to see how they’re doing.  We haven’t seen each other in person since March.  Very cool people, each their own distinct flavour of humanity.  We met.

***

Hmm.  My head is higher.  There’s a spring to my step.  The flow is flowing once more.

And yet one more vestige of incompletion remains.  Another dear friend hasn’t heard from me for awhile.  So when my tapping, proofreading and sending is done in a few minutes, I’ll give her a dingle.

Ahh …

Hanging On … Letting Go

It seems pretty clear – happiness resides in the land of the open palm, the gracious gesture, the ease of time stretching slowly away.  Misery knows the closed fist. the grasping, the muscles tense and rigid.

But then there’s money.

I love tennis.  In August, 2019, I booked ten nights in a Montreal hotel for the summer of 2020.  My sole reason for going was to feel the majesty of the women’s Rogers Cup tennis tournament.

This spring, the Government of Quebec said no to any professional sporting events in the province, due to Covid.  Sad but alert, I leapt into action, asking the hotel to refund my money.  They told me I’d have to talk to the travel company with whom I booked.

And so it began.

Actually, it wasn’t just one conversation with the hotel.  I’m guessing that I’ve phoned them 20-25 times and have talked to a real person 2-3 times.  Many requests on the answering machine for the manager to phone me went for naught.  (Sigh)

Four months after my initial contact in May, and after probably 8-10 hours on the phone, $886.83 is still in someone else’s pocket.  Today’s contribution was over two hours, talking to two reps of the travel company.  My case had been “elevated” but instead I felt submerged.

Throughout the process, I’ve seen errors of omission, broken promises about when people would get back to me, and I believe (on the hotel’s part) some deceit.

The next chapter will be a phone call on Monday morning – the hotel manager, the travel company, and me.

I’m not letting go.  Am I creating a lot of unhappiness for myself?  Am I wise to stand up for myself?  Am I being “Bruce”?  Somehow it feels right to be in these shoes of mine.  To quietly ask for fairness.  To not give up.  Although there are far better ways to spend eight hours than speaking into my smartphone and listening to what comes back, I find myself quietly nodding in approval for the journey I’ve chosen.  Whatever the outcome.

Let It Go

I can’t remember what I was doing in 2013 but clearly it didn’t involve keeping up-to-date with hit movies. I had vaguely heard of Frozen but that’s as far as it went.

Early last December, I was talking to some kids about films and admitted that I hadn’t seen Frozen. The universal response was basically “What!?” with the implication that I must have spent a fair slice of my life in a cave. Having been suitably humbled, I added a movie viewing to my mental to do list.

Later in the month, on a plane that was going somewhere, the entertainment system revealed that Frozen was an option. I jumped at the chance, but I do believe fatigue diminished the available joy. The film made no real impact.

Then there was last night. Disney Plus was telling me that Frozen was only a click away. I clicked … and sat in wonder for the next two hours. Elsa was a revelation, and so was her sister Anna. I fell in love. They were both so alive, such examples of full humanity.

And then there was the song. Elsa was seeing a new realm inside her, ready to burst. I was pretty close too.

The wind is howling like this swirling storm inside
Couldn’t keep it in, heaven knows I’ve tried
Don’t let them in, don’t let them see
Be the good girl you always have to be
Conceal, don’t feel, don’t let them know
Well, now they know

Now they know, Elsa. There’s no turning back after discovering a vivid, ecstatic, vibrant way to live. “Throw yourself into the world, Elsa.” And she did.

Let it go, let it go
Can’t hold it back anymore
Let it go, let it go
Turn away and slam the door
I don’t care what they’re going to say
Let the storm rage on
The cold never bothered me anyway

Ahh yes … they will say lots of things, some of them mean, designed to diminish the outrageous happiness brimming through you. “Settle down, Elsa.” No thanks. Bring on the winds. Let them buffet me, smash me to the ground. I’ll stand again.

It’s funny how some distance makes everything seem small
And the fears that once controlled me can’t get to me at all
It’s time to see what I can do
To test the limits and break through
No right, no wrong, no rules for me
I’m free

I’ve had my moments when those last two words escaped my mouth. It was real. It was a message I could trust. It was home … lying on the couch before a crackling fire.

Really getting that I’m free, now what will I do? Think I’ll watch Elsa one more time. I believe she has an answer or two.

It’s Been Awhile

I’ve enjoyed blogging so much in the past year that I never thought I’d go five days without doing it. But here we are. I’ve been on lots of trips where my writing started with Day One and ended as the plane touched down back at Toronto Airport. Not this time.

As much as I’ve loved being so regular with the posts, there’s a rigidity to it that doesn’t serve me. ‘I don’t have to” could be my mantra. Actually, I am free. On any given day, I can focus on pleasing myself rather than reaching out to you. And I love reaching out to you!

There’s no wisdom in feeling guilty about a five day absence. Truly a waste of energy. The Evolutionary Collective seminar was immersive and very challenging. I felt my power … I felt my weakness … I felt my love for other human beings … I felt my need to be loved, noticed, included, accepted, communicated with. I felt the whole darn enchilada! And I chose not to write to you about it.

Hmm. This feels good – writing again. I knew down deep that I wouldn’t be gone for long. It’s too much fun to put thumbs to screen. Writing “sings” to me. It makes me smile.

There’s no need to “catch up”, to remember something that happened on Day Five, etc. So … a ten day trip that seemed to end on Day Four but really was just hibernating for a bit. I wonder what else I need to say. A few hours from now, I’ll be in the Pacific Grove Library – a perfect spot to share some more stuff. Stay tuned.

Spondic Love

 

I was on an internet call tonight with members of the Evolutionary Collective Global community.  I revelled in the experience of beaming love at a partner and then receiving it in return.  The topic for the evening was spondic love.

Beatrice Bruteau coined this term.  It’s not about what typically suffices for love in our society, where often it’s “I’ll be tender to you if you keep doing what I want you to do.”  It’s not about a couple turning inward in their devotion, shutting off the world.  It’s not about picking and choosing whom you love.  Here are some quotes from smart people to help us all see what spondic love actually is:

(Ilio Delio)

Bruteau indicates that a “person” is not an individual being.  Rather, a “person” is the unbounded activity of freely projecting energies, or what she calls “spondic” energy, a Greek word that means “libation” [pouring into].  Spondic energy does not originate out of thought or will.  It is not the act of an individual.  Rather, it comes from a deep, transcendent center, the still point where we are being held by Omega [“a final point of divine unification”].  It originates spontaneously, arising only from itself.  It is always free.  A “person” is one who acts out of a spondic, self-giving center.  Anything other than a spontaneous energy center of relatedness is not fully reflective of a person … Bruteau indicates that only “persons” can enter into communion consciousness.  “Individuals” remain external to one another.

(Patricia Albere)

Spondic love is the experience of “I am.  May you be.”  In the way we practice, there’s this experience of love, and when you love someone it comes from some place that’s deeper than your personality loving them.  There’s almost this cosmic energy that wants to just go “Ha!  I want you to have everything.  You know … like I love you.  I love you!”  You just want to imbue them with everything.  We feel that for our children.  Sometimes our heart bursts open into this kind of empowerment that is deeper than just human love.

You can feel it when you’re on the other end of spondic love.  It is palpable.  You actually feel like part of your life just got made because this person loves you from a place where they’re in and for you in a way that’s real.  This mutual spondic love is part of the consciousness that we’re working with, and the consciousness that I think is next.  I think that the next place of innovation will be that kind of love – instead of being separate, instead of not being even neutral towards each other and just surviving on our own, or competing or actively using each other and stomping on each other.

This spondic quality of love and connectivity will be the foundation for a ridiculous amount of miracles, innovation, creativity, coming together, working together, doing things that can’t be done, et cetera, et cetera, that’s going to be the next explosion of where evolution is going to be working.

(Brian Wilcox)

Life becomes libation, libation-ing.  Intimacy with Spirit, being one with True Self, from which flows this spondicity, flows into intimacy with the other.  To have this intimacy, we do not have to like the person, as defined by “personality”.  We do not even have to share a physical space with him or her … This libational kindness is non-local.  This loving can reach into the past, into the present, or into the future.  This love is boundless.

***

I asked myself tonight what my life would be like if I projected spondic love to people who come my way?  If such love was present in my thoughts for most of the day?  If it didn’t matter at all whether the love was returned?

Wouldn’t that be a recipe for freedom?

Free

We will begin to marvel that we let ourselves build our lives around the belief that we, the real self, were identified with these various descriptions, which descriptions required so much protection, justification, grief, anger, pride and so on.  So much vital energy.  We exhaust ourselves in the support of our descriptions.

I don’t know who wrote this but I like it.

As soon as I say “I am X”, there’s the opportunity for fear, smallness, defense.  “Could it be that I’m not really X?”  And would that possibility be a problem?  If it is, I better muster lots of energy to protect the truth of my Xness.  There are enemies out there who want to prove I’m actually not X.  I tighten my fists to beat them back.

I am a real man
I am intelligent
I am kind
I am determined
I am handsome
I am mature
I am generous
I am athletic
I am creative
I am popular
I am loved

But what if, sometimes, I’m not?  What then?  If I shrug my shoulders and say “Oh well” without feeding the statement and its contradiction, what would happen in my life?  Would angst fade to the background?  Would a reservoir of energy previously invisible be revealed?

I believe the answer is “Yes”.

Perhaps I’m not a personality riding on the roller coaster of life, raising my head here, letting it slump there.  Maybe I’m a fierce spiritual being who’s vibrant with the energy that flows outwards and unconcerned with the energy coming in.  There might not be any deficit, nothing to be fixed or improved.  What’s it’s all about could simply be expression rather than reaction, giving rather than fending off, flowing rather than damming.

In my better moments …

Bruce, you’re free
Bruce, you’re simply a space vibrating with possibility
Bruce, you’re marvelously sufficient
And did I mention that you’re free?

The Real Self

For those of you who read my most recent post, here’s some math:

100 + 104 = 204

***

We will begin to marvel that we let ourselves build our lives around the belief that we, the real self, were identified with these various descriptions [age, gender, personality, relationships, job, income, house, car, vacations …] which descriptions required so much protection, justification, grief, anger, pride and so on. So much vital energy. We exhaust ourselves in the support of our descriptions.

Beatrice Bruteau

“All those descriptions add up to me.” That’s what I’ve often said. Beatrice points to the possibility that I’ve been wrong. And now I sense a “bigness” that’s far beyond. It doesn’t matter if wise things come out of my mouth. That proposed V-shaped body is irrelevant. Crying when faced with heartrending stuff isn’t the be-all-and-end-all.

Perhaps what I really am is a huge space in which I’m free to move, to express. As much as I feel pulled toward an unknown future, there is a stillness unaffected by the ups and downs of life.

What if Beatrice is right, and I’m wasting precious energy in protecting all that I’ve said I am? Can I be brave enough to put up my hand without knowing what I’ll say? Can I trust that the space is large enough to contain all that I have to give, without me hunkering down to fend off supposed threats?

There may be no need for armour, for umbrellas, for closing my eyes to ward off the world. Maybe I can keep my eyes open to all that comes my way. And truly what energies can be released if I feel no forces pressing down on me, if I really get that “I am free”? Well, the answer to that is beyond my current mind.

I walk slowly, porous in my body and soul. There is no danger. There is nothing outside of me and so I cannot be hurt. All blends in love. We go forward together.

And then fear shows itself again. I grab my shield and ready myself for the impending attack.

In time, the shield falls to the ground.

I am free once more.

(Repeat)

Ordinary Freedom

I showed up at school yesterday morning, not realizing that it was Crazy Hair Day.  And I was wearing my usual short grey persona.  Hmm … this won’t do.  Who am I to miss out on a celebration?  Kids were getting off the buses with all sorts of designs atop their noggins.

To the secretary I went, with thoughts of alligator paper clips in mind.  She had lots of the black ones, and I started arranging them on my tresses.  Okay, this is better.  I’m fitting in now.

Off to the Grade 5/6 class for more clips.  Jayne had a good supply of my preferred accessories.  “Why don’t you have some kids help you?” she suggested.  Immediately there were five girls ready to lend a hand.  I was clipped here and also there.  One girl grabbed an elastic and proceeded to tie the world’s smallest ponytail in my upper greyness.  Felt like it was a half inch tall.  And here comes a small sponge inserted into a forest of metal at the back.  Jayne too was busy.  She had cut a swath of 2″ wide red ribbon and finished me off with a tidy bow.  Gosh, I looked good!

Now the freedom part:

1.  I pranced from classroom to classroom, from principal’s office to gym, showing off my new look and admiring the creations of the short people.  Lots of laughs pinging off the walls.

And then I thought about my afternoon, to be spent out in the world doing cool things.  Should I retain my adornments for the community or ditch the whole thing in the spirit of normality?  Some kids said “Take that stuff off.”  Others smiled and offered “Go for it!”

I’ve never been really big on normality, so let’s continue the list:

2.  Went to my bike shop.  Ta-pocketa was ready to support me in life, having been tweaked for the mountains of the summer.  My bicycle guy and gal had lots to tell me and grinned considerably between explanations.  Sadly there were no other customers in the store.  I wanted to flaunt my newfound beauty.

3.  To the gym.  One last day on the elliptical before testing the roads of life.  Lots of v-shaped men sporting maximum muscles.  I wondered if my red bow would fit in.  I was nervous.  I quelled the pain by initiating conversations with guys who were starting to stare.  I’d laugh and I guess they felt obligated to join in.  Later I figured out that my proactive words were a way to protect myself so I stopped doing that.  I walked around silently from then on, watching a few frowns appear, and quite a few smiles.  I survived nicely.

4.  How about supper?  I jaunted over to one of my fave restaurants – Mai’s Café.  Lots of folks inside.  I gulped a bit and opened the door, marching up to my favourite server and asking her if it was okay to come in looking like this.  She laughed and said “No problem.”  And there was chuckling from most of the tables too.  See?  I’m still alive.

5.  Walked back to my car past evening strollers.  There were a few averted faces but also some nodding and mini-cheering.  Cool.

6.  Why not go to a movie?  Sure.  The story was forgettable but I loved being stared at – before, after and probably during.

After walking in the door at home, I disassembled.  Here were the contents of my head:

20 black alligator clips
1 red alligator clip
1 maroon alligator clip
1 green alligator clip
1 elastic band
1 small sponge
1 lovely red ribbon

What a pretty boy

As I headed to bed, I got thinking.  Despite some initial qualms, the whole “Look at me!” adventure was no big deal.  Yes, I felt free, but it seemed so … ordinary.  Who cares if some folks frown?  Who cares that sometimes I was the centre of attention?  As you no doubt can tell, I like that.  And who cares if I journeyed outside the box of expected public presentation?

There are infinitely larger challenges to address in life
Will I be brave enough to do so?

You Are Free

It feels like I wrote about this same topic a few weeks ago.  My yappy voice says that therefore I shouldn’t repeat myself.  But I don’t care.  I was walking home from breakfast at the Belmont Diner today when this thought once more exploded in my brain:

It doesn’t matter what comes back to you in life
All that matters is what you put out there

It feels like a cozy new age message but no, it’s a world beyond that.  As I sauntered down the snowy sidewalk, joy wrapped itself around.  “It doesn’t matter.”  The pains will continue when they do.  The sadness, the fear, the loneliness will still come calling.  And none of that directs me.  Waves of energy roamed behind my eyes on Main Street and fell down my face.  “You are free,” spoke the quietness inside.

“No, I’m not free.  That’s ridiculous”

You are free”

“No.  I’m bound by self-esteem issues”

“You are free”

“No.  I’m bound by what other people say and do”

You are free”

“No.  I’m bound by what my body chooses to do”

You are free”

“No”

“Yes”

***

I’m sitting on my couch, thinking about going to yoga class tonight.  The mouth tightens.

“I’m so inflexible … can’t get my knees anywhere near the floor”

You are free”

“You’re not strong enough to do most of these poses”

You are free”

“You can’t even balance on one leg”

You are free”

“Your fellow yogists see your flaws, and are critical”

You are free”

***

“And about that bike ride of yours this summer … you suck”

You are free”

“You don’t even have the balance to get your water bottle out of its cage”

You are free”

“Too old, too weak, too far”

You are free”

***

“You’re alone in life”

You are free”

“You’ll never be in a committed relationship again”

You are free”

“You’ll never have sex again”

You are free”

***

Quite a persistent voice, wouldn’t you say?
Perhaps I should listen