Saturday, August 21, 2010

Dreams fufilled and lost and the in-between

I woke up tossing a turning, arguing with ghosts of friends, and family, and imaginary characters.

I was pregnant and trying desperately to please everyone one involved. Everyone wanted my baby to be born and cared for a particular way according to what they felt was most important.

A lot of the dream had characters and a theme from the movie "Fried Green Tomatoes". I've been reading the book for the first time and could even her the local accents as everyone scurried about to help.

I know this came from getting my new Leopard Gecko last night and discussions I have had with various folks about children. From raising to teaching to loving, caring for a family can be very varied.

For too many reasons to go into, I never had human children. But I have had many pets (and such owners will insist "Pets are people too!") that have given me glimpses into what it would have been like to be a parent of a human child.

Like their incessant need for attention no matter where you are and what you are doing. I am so thankful pets don't have cell phones. Trying to do work is sometines down right impossible!

Balance is a constant struggle. If you never take the time to love your kid, this will definitely haunt you. On the other hand, you have to realize when you have been driven to distraction and have to get things done!

As I write this blog I am struggling with that big time. When I wake with an idea, it's most urgent I write it down before the details are lost but this blind cat of mine continues to tap me over and over to be petted without pause. I try to do a bit of both but it isn't easy.

Sometimes I lose it and grab her real rough and she whines while I rub her real hard. Then I set her down again and she immediately taps me for MORE attention! I pet her more gently and brush her because I know there will be a time when I will no longer be able to do that (so I try to BE in that moment so I can recall them later and not regret finding balance).

I'm also in the process of cleaning out the cabinets below the kitchen sink. This has become her favorite place to sleep so like any places like that for a blind cat, I have to occasionally clean up her "accidents" when she can't find her litter box. I just finished washing her bed from yesterday's accident. Not to mention the pillows covered with special pillow cases to protect them.

It reminds me of the nursing home I visited in New Orleans where my Aunt Emily Dinnete (not my REAL aunt) was staying after being found laying on the kitchen floor for days. She had suffered a stroke and was paralyzed on one side.

The nursing home reeked of urine. She was confined to a bed, had no children or friends, basically forgotten. I had had to work hard to locate her and sat crying in the car after the visit. I regretted not staying in touch and knew that since I was far away, I might never see her again.

It was one of those things that makes you reflect on your own life when you have no children and you wonder what you future will be like. It's not the same when you have kids and have some security that there is family to care for you.

Areas of my house don't smell all that great since I haven't gotten the carpet cleaner out but my cat is quite resourceful at finding ways around the fences I have set up everywhere to keep her from going places that are hard to keep clean (like the living room) but I don't have the heart to keep her caged up. I tried it and it just seemed to cruel.

She will be like this (or possibly worse) for the rest of her life. I never have had the heart to give her up or put her down. She is after all, my baby and I don't take such choices lightly though I know many think, "It's just a cat!".

She won't grown up or go to school or have children or a career but I still love her as my child. I try to look at the responsibilities and trials as learning experiences. How to keep my temper and realize it's not her fault and remain amazed at how hard she DOES try. She doesn't seem to waste time on what might have been or crying over her losses. She just makes do as best she can and seems very happy.

The dream I had of having a real child occurs occasionally. One of the first and strongest ones was when I found myself walking down the big streets of New York with my child Elizabeth (she had beautiful black her like my mom).

Her mother (a friend of mine that I had discussed having a baby with) had died in child birth (as she was often worried about) and I was left to raise Elizabeth on my own.

Elizabeth had just slipped from me holding her hand and run out into traffic. I immediately ran after her, putting myself between her and the on-coming traffic. My first thought was to protect her at all costs, even my life and woke up very upset.

Dreams are so vivid at times! You aren't wondering if it's real or not. Just acting on the moment. In that moment, I knew I would do ANYTHING for my child and the love was SO INTENSE!

The whole dream (from her birth to the moment of her running into the street) is still vivid so many years later.

I gave up a lot choosing not to have a child but I had my reasons. My own upbringing as well as the path I was following spirituality and the frightening state of the future world we are creating were some of the big factors. I refused to try to even adopt a child when my partner suggested it and I know it was the right decision at the time. Not an easy one, but a good one.

So I leave the care of children and adoption to others (whether they do worse or better than I could have). It IS a sacrifice and I often think upon it but for now, I think I have made the best choice.

It doesn't mean I don't know how or could not raise a child or give advice to others. I just feel it's a lot harder than many think and so very important to do it right (or try harder than so many that I observe do (or rather, fail to do)).

Whatever the case, don't forget to take the time to show love to those around you. Family, friends, and even strangers... And patience. Another one that's hard for me.

Everyone likes to hear they are loved, likes to get an occasional hug, a handout (see a hand, give a hand), or at the very least, a smile and a kind hello. You never know what profound affects such simple acts can have upon the world.

My cat's back for more attention so I am going to throw her outside. She likes that. It's one of those things she teaches me, to go with the flow. A lot of time her desire for attention is more an attempt to direct me to something else she wants, in this case, to go outside. I can't imagine stepping out the door if I were blind but it doesn't phase her.

She also teaches me not to fear the world even it has hurt you in the past. Even though she almost lost her life getting hit by that car, she still loves getting outside. She's even followed the sound of my voice and gone out to that road to get to me.

Loving, courageous, and fearless. That's Sister Sheena II

Friday, August 20, 2010

Bye bye Eastern Newts, Hello Leopard Gecko

A few months ago I bought two Eastern Newts which I named "Newt" and "NewtNewt". NewtNewt was restless and soon disappeared from the 55 gallon terrarium. I never found a body (yet).

"Newt" was much calmer and hung around the log, occasionally hunting food. I had brought home crickets, blood worms, tubafix worms, fish food, and pellets. I brought in rolly polly's, snails, centipedes, and even found a yellow-spotted salamander!

"Newt" occasionally ate small mites that climbed around on the stump but ever so slowly, she began to get thinner.

I went to the pet store for help and the above list of foods were tried. Nothing worked. I suggested I bring them back but the lady admitted they had the same problem and that they eventually died.

I debated on taking the to the vernal pools at Ruffner but knew they weren't local species. So I just watched as poor "Newt" waster away. I even tried force feeding her but that failed too and "Newt" died.

"Newt" now sits on her log desiccating gracefully. And I have a void to fill...

I finally get down to getting either a turtle, lizard, or gecko. When I got to the store, they had a choice of a cute baby corn snake or various geckos. Since I really didn't want to get back into raising mice or feeding them or their pinkies to my snake, I opted for a cute speckled Leopard Gecko that eats crickets!

It seems happy enough and was already searching for food when last I checked. Let's hope for the best while I start thinking of names...

This brings up the subject of captive animals. I am against it if the habitat isn't good enough. If the animal is not happy, it's better off dead.

So I have to keep that in mind. I think fish and reptiles are better off in a habitat and happier. They are safe and better fed. The have less fear (in whatever way they feel that). But I do think about it. That's why I don't get birds since keeping them from flying really is cruel (just an example).

But I think the energy from the plants and animals and the water feature is good for bringing the outside, in. A bit of Feng Shui. And I like just sitting and looking at it. Very therapeutic!

Thursday, August 19, 2010

The Church of ONE

I find myself comparing my spiritual beliefs to others quite often. I decided to take a walk at Ruffner Mountain this morning and that's where my mind kept wandering.

I don't claim to have much understanding for Einstein's Theory of Relativity but being a big guy, I can see how time and space can warp around large gravitational fields.

If space is seen as a dimension and some string theory suggests even more, will we ever have a Unified Field theory?

My mind often wanders over to science since I am made that way. Incorporating a spiritual side was the hard part. Looking back, it seems so obvious but I think most people see their perspective that way.

Even in science, you see the word "theory" dropped quickly and everything spoken about as if THEIR theory is correct and true. The same holds for many on the spiritual side.

I don't claim to have ANY of the answers and that's why I keep studying both science and spirituality (I avoid the word "religion" for it's negative connotations in my mind). But when I contemplate the INFINITY of EXISTENCE, a spiritual "Law of One" is where I find myself returning to.

If you look on the internet, you'll see a lot of sites under this heading. For me, this simply means that EVERYTHING, through whatever multiverses there are, is connected on all levels.

For some, that belief opens up some interesting possibilities. If you've ever learned how to look at a 3 D picture and see the 3 dimensional image, you might understand where I am coming from (or going to ;).

Before you learned how, you could not see this image. But even if you didn't believe, you could still be taught to see it. It wasn't faith. You just had to learn how. You just have to find what works for you.

Perhaps perceiving other dimensions is the same. You have to be willing to believe in such things. What might those dimensions hold? Are there actually multiverses? Is there such a thing as Spiritual energy? Could science AND spirituality be combined?

I find that if I try, I can explain scientifically things that I often feel are spiritual in nature. Perhaps that's part of the way it works. That it can be explained from either point of view and that one does not invalidate the other.

I just find trying to explain everything to everyone to distract me from LIVING. I'd rather spend the time enjoying the moment. I don't mind learning other folk's views but I am thankful that America protects my right to FREEDOM OF RELIGION.


Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Synchronicity - patterns in the Ether?

I first came across the term synchronicity in the book Cosmic Trigger. I'm still not sure if I have the correct definition in my mind even after reading Carl Jung's paper on the concept but I find myself labelling events in my life as synchronistic.

A lot of discussions on the Magic City Pagans forums lately have made me think a lot about it. And then something synchronistic happens!

I find such occurrences to be very personal. Those outside of the situation do not see the synchronicity. In fact, it's the typical situation where close scrutiny can explain it all away. So I am going to relate today's occurrence and you may take it as you wish. I just needed to tell someone...

I was sitting at my computer earlier and kept stepping on some folders near my foot. I finally slipped once too many times and bent down to move the folders. As I picked them up, I only managed to pick up part of them and the rest fell back to the floor.

On the top folder were written three words in my partners handwriting. "Insurance House Lost".

My partner died on April 8th, 2004. Just the other day though, I had commented about paying for the insurance on his house and losing both a theft claim AND the house because we weren't married and had not prepared any legal documents to cover each other.

I KNOW what he meant when he wrote those words. He probably was keeping all information on the theft of the items from his house while State Farm fought to pay on the claim. Jerry died before they paid and though they were withdrawing the insurance payments from MY checking account, they refused to pay the claim to me.

They may have slipped through on that one but they lost my business for house insurance. It was the second time they had treated me wrong on house insurance and I am glad to be rid of them. I use Safeco now and am quite happy with them.

Now it looked more like a prophecy come true. Not to mention that it should happen days after me talking about it online.

I still believe my partner is around and watches over me. And sometimes he lets me know it. Psychiatrists and counselors would say I'm delusional for having such beliefs and at the same time admit they believe in an entity called God. But THEY aren't delusional, just me...

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Grandmother Earth

I know, most refer to her as Mother Earth but in relation to me, I see her as a great-great...(add number of "greats" here as you desire)-grandmother and refer to her simply as "grandmother" when we have our little chats.

Having OCD, I'm an all or nothing sort of person. Finding "balance" in my life is...difficult. When it comes to walking my talk, I see myself as a failure. I know I am not doing all I can or should when it comes to respecting and caring for the earth.

The great Pacific garbage patch is a very vivid reminder that we must all do better.

I gave up keeping plastic bottles of water for my guests a while ago and also started using a reusable water bottle for myself. I think it's a good start.

I have been appalled to learn of so many people using plastic cups and utensils and styrofoam plates for all their meals because washing dishes is just too much trouble. Even on picnics, they don't bother using paper plates and cups which are biodegradable and renewable.

Though I have no children of my own, I still see the earth as a gift that we all must share. That includes taking into account the needs of future generations even if they are not my own children (we are all related in some distant way!).

I tend to think of the amount of waste something creates when deciding on what changes to make in my life. I eat three or four meals a day so the waste associated with that activity seems to account for a lot of the garbage I produce so I use reusable plates, cup, and utensils and wash them instead of creating more landfill.

This morning I was lighting some citronella incense after some mosquitoes had already raised a few whelps on my legs and realized another simple change I could make. No more butane lighters.

I see no convenience that I can not live without by using matches instead. They're not as convenient as a butane lighter and I have to be careful when putting them out but they shouldn't wind up in the great Pacific garbage patch like so many lighters have.

Since I don't smoke cigarettes, it's not as big an issue for me as some but I do use lighters a lot. After those I have are finished, I will try not to use them anymore.

I have to wonder what long-term affects this plastic sewage will have on our environment. It may take a long time before it works it's way up the food chain into our systems. The studies of affects on our health and genetics are probably a much longer way off.

And yes, I use re-usable bags at the store instead of plastic ones. My three little contributions to a reduction in the great Pacific garbage patch. Baby steps...

1) Ignorance
2) Awareness
3) Action

Simple is 1 2 3...

Friday, August 6, 2010

Spiritual Diversity

Living in Mississippi and Alabama since I was twelve, I have been exposed to a lot of opinions about what religion is and what mine should be. Fortunately, my parents allowed me to develop my own beliefs. My father’s background was Catholic though he considered himself Agnostic. My mother’s back ground was Lutheran though she had developed her own beliefs from a variety of cultures. Her family had stopped going to church when they were told that from now on the collections were to be silent. That meant no coins. In other words, if you were too poor, we didn’t want you.

So I was baptized Methodist as a child and taught the Lord’s prayer and left alone about religion. At 3 ½, we got ready to move to Saudi Arabia so my mother put me in a Bible school. I believe the intention was to have me Baptized again before taking me over to a “heathen” country. Though very young, I do recall two of the teachers talking about me. The one felt I shouldn’t be there because of my mother’s reasons for putting me in the school. The other took the high road saying it was important to help everyone that asked. My father also felt my mother had enrolled me for the wrong reason and I was eventually taken out of bible school. I guess my mom hoped that my earlier baptismal would “stick”.

I remember the folks in Saudi Arabia to be very kind and generous. About the only issue that was ever a problem was that my mom refused to walk three steps behind my dad. My dad loved the rule (surprise!) and my mother hated it. I also don’t think she was ever allowed to drive over there. I do remember the heads and hands of people that had committed crimes stuck on stakes on the side of the road. My mom always tried distracting me as the bus drove by. I always knew when it was getting near by my mom’s increased apprehension. Of course, as a kid, I had to see anything she didn’t want me to see. I think it was a bit drastic but it shows how different their beliefs were (an eye for an eye!).

When we returned to New Orleans, I got exposed to Catholicism at the church in Jackson Square at midnight mass. I remember it was hot, filled with smoke, my knees hurt, and I couldn’t understand a lot of what they said.

My next exposure to religion was in high school in Poplarville, MS. Many peers were pressuring me to go to church so I finally gave in. I got to ride an hour or more on dusty back roads in a hot school bus to listen to a Baptist preacher scream about going to hell (using 6 foot speakers to help him shout across ten or so aisles). After a few weeks of giving up my precious free time to return home depressed with a headache, I had had enough.

As more and more people told me how sinful I was and realizing my sexual orientation was a big problem with many, I finally gave up on finding my religion. I later found that many of my tribe had followed the same journey and turned their backs on religion in frustration and anger.

For me, this left a huge void in my heart. Eventually I began searching again on my own and eventually became a Spiritualist. I study many belief systems and follow my heart to the truth. I try to live my beliefs a lot more than forcing them upon others. I wait for those curious or in need to come to me.

My mother once told me, “Start with Love, End with Love and the rest will work itself out.”. It is the core of my beliefs. I even wrote a poem about it…


Think the WORD.
Say the WORD.
Be the WORD.

I soon wrote another poem called LOVE which replaced WORD. But really, whatever WORD you use for your intentions, this is a simple yet powerful guide.

So instead of denying your spiritual side, why not put the energy into something more positive? Instead of denying or condemning others, why not use the time to simply sit quietly and let life’s stress melt away? It will make it so much easier to face times of challenge. Or just not respond in an angry or hateful way, instead smile. It can be quite effective and disarming.

Two ears and one mouth. For someone that enjoys talking, it’s a lesson I have to constantly remind myself. I use this blog when I feel the need to vent.

There may be a time when you need support and developing your spiritual beliefs will insure that it’s there when you need it, even in the loneliest times.

Respect for life’s diversity is what America is about. And no matter what MANY would have us believe, RELIGIOUS DIVERSITY IS INCLUDED! Whatever your beliefs, you have a right too them. And so do I…


Wednesday, August 4, 2010

Emotions and the subtle skill of Empathy

When I was young, I read about a comic character named Raven. I think it was a DC character. Back in the stories I read, this character was dark and serious (just like me) but also had an empathic nature and ability to heal others by taking on their pain.

I found this to be very alluring and began to practice this empathic ability. Observing people is a big part of the training. You have to learn the subtle signs of posture, voice, facial expressions as well as the unseen signs in order to determine the best way to empathize and help someone.

The difficulty arises from humans natural defense mechanism, denial. You can see someone is upset and yet when you attempt to help and ask what is wrong, they SNAP "I'm fine!".

The fact that they SNAP at you is an obvious indication that they are lying even if you hadn't read the other signs properly. The problem is that this denial is negative feedback for an em path. We can't hone our skill if people are dishonest.

So most learn to keep quiet and use their skill in more subtle manipulations. After as many years as I've been practicing it, my skin has toughened enough that I reach out in a direct way and take the "SNAP" when it happens. I may have to take some time to recover but I find the direct approach brings the issue out quickly so it can be dealt with quickly. Ever read "Celestine Prophecy" by James Redfield?

The point is that we have developed our emotions as part of our evolution. They ALL have their use. Denying them is not healthy or constructive. Determining their function and reacting well to them is a much better way to deal with them (for everyone involved!).

For me, anger is still very much a challenge. The old type-A personality is loud and typically over-reacts when angry. But I recognize that anger helps me remember lessons I learn. It burns events into my brain. If I can just live long enough to sift through the event to determine what I should have learned.

Right now, I'm experiencing anger over the fact that even my family won't be honest with me. I've worked hard at being the social worker and trying to lead discussions in a way that helps them be honest and they just won't do it.

They use "justification" as their defense for lying. "They don't want to hurt my feelings" is their justification. They have no defense for the hurt I express to them on learning that they have hurt me by lying. They are so use to lying that they can't see that their desire NOT to hurt me has FAILED.

In reality, it's their own feelings they are protecting. They know the truth would have been uncomfortable to say and hard to hear so they justify their lie. And the em path has to let their intuition lead them to the truth in other ways.

We all lie so casually in such subtle ways throughout our day that most of us are in denial about doing it. I'll admit I still do it. Often to avoid an uneasy truth. I often lie to avoid confrontation (this includes that subtle "lie of omission"). But if someone says they really want the truth, I will give it to them or tell them I would rather not say anything.

For a while, I tried being honest all the time but people are offended by much of what I think. I realize that's my character flaw. But I've found it's better to keep quiet. Most people aren't up for a true dose of honesty or a healthy debate when they disagree.

So now I process my emotions and analysis of others through my diary and occasionally a blog. I am careful not to play analyst too often, especially with strangers because I often walk away doubting my abilities and feeling I've not helped much like my hero Raven always did.

It's so much easier when you can just touch someone and suck all their hurt away. I haven't honed that skill yet, for touch is even harder to use in empathy. Most just aren't ready for that level of intimate healing. Plus, I've still got lots of work to do on my other empathic skills.

So instead I try to remain quietly in the shadows until approached. Those that seek me out are the ones that recognize what I do and are the most open to my help. Plus I get to hone my skills of observation as I wait...

Loran the Shadow

Sunday, August 1, 2010

The Lighter Side...

Well, after a short night out at the Quest and a creative mixture of medications, I find myself waking from the most bizarre dreams and unable to sleep peacefully.

That blind cat of mine has insisted on sleeping at the foot of the bed even though I am tossing and turning and talking in my sleep. I've bopped her in the head a few times already though she insists on remaining IN BED and IN the same spot.

Instead, though blind, she uses those eyes of hers to give me that "if you smack me one more time I'm gonna piddle in your cornfakes!" looks. I correct her, telling her that I a no longer eat "corn flakes" (emphasizing the word "flakes" not "fakes" (since in my mind, my cat is still a kid and talks with a speech impediment)).

She corrects herself and says "Well I'll piddle in your multi-=gwain fakes" (multi-grain flakes are what I now eat). This is an inside joke since being blind, she often gets lost on the way to the litter box and does indeed "piddle" where the mood takes her! Leaving surprises in the most upsetting places. So I try to handle them with amusement.

Like using the paper towel roller (the holder in the middle of a roll of paper towels) to beat her with when I get angry. She LOVES the feel of it on her back and the "bonk" sound and I get to relieve my anger and frustration and lighten the mood without upsetting her. I think she just about has an orgasm from the beatings. Takes after me I guess...

The dream itself must have come from this new gay Alabama/Florida magazine I picked up at the Quest called "noise" ( We've been needing this since the "Alabama Forum" stopped and the format and content look good. I intended on writing Don to encourage him and fell asleep reading it.

The dream was about me being involved in some GLBT fund raising event. The details are fast going away but every time I fell back asleep, I found myself smack back in the middle of helping get it ready.

The last scene was of me debating on volunteering to do drag for a performer that had pulled out (the dress was BEAUTIFUL!). Always a secret dream of mine, I just can't bring myself to shave the goatee. It's the last butch thing about me!

Before that, I remember trying to work out the kinks (or put them in) on some display involving a big scoop and motor oil. I recall where this thought may have originated back in a Canadian leather run my Franco-Canadian boyfriend had shown me pictures of a young naked 20-something BOY covered in motor oil. (getting light headed with the memory).

The point is that maybe I need to get back into helping my gay community some. The more the merrier and Bham has seemed to have lost much of its energy though it might be on up-swing.

And instead of standing on the sidelines like a typical fag, bitching about what's wrong with the the folks that are at least TRYING, I may need to look around and ask if there's somewhere I can help file a hole... >:D