A FLAME’S PERSPECTIVE

I already commented on the Northern California fires. I told you some of what I felt and how I let it work for my good while I waited to see if the fires would reach me or not.

It also allowed me to do something else.

Change my opinion.

Or, rather, my perspective.

 

ONE

We are all equal when natural disasters look at us.

Hurricanes destroy the rich and the poor. Fires burn the athlete and the old in age with dementia. Earthquakes split highways regardless of whether there are black people or white people, Native Americans or Asians, navigating them.

A flame doesn’t look at someone, their life, their behaviors, decisions, bank account, yada, yada, yada. A flame doesn’t look at you. It burns you.

But natural disasters give you a lot of room to grow. Everyone knows we learn best from pain, whether it be emotional, physical, or a combination.

I heard about a man with fireman equipment at his home and was capable of keeping the fire away. Instead, he helped the people without vehicles that he could see wouldn’t be able to make it out of the fire’s path on their own.

A woman lost her entire house, counted herself amazingly blessed to have family in town to live with (keep in mind she still lost all of her and her family’s hard worked for belongings), and spent the rest of the fire helping mothers and their infants to whatever they needed from her shop in town, free of charge.

People, where I live who were untouched by the fire, took time to listen to people’s stories, grieve with them, spending time with them. We donated clothing and plushies, time and love.

 

 

TWO

I decided to stop seeing only my pain.

And start seeing, appreciating, and focusing on my joy.

It’s no secret, I have a lot of medical issues. I was recently diagnosed with a new one, one that proved more challenging than all my others, and equally intent on staying.

I’ve been focusing on how much I can’t do. How I can’t keep a full-time job. Ways I cannot help people in life.

After the fires – no, during the fires, I realized real solidly how negative that was.

So, I stopped. I’d already been working on it, but the fires really woke me up.

I can help.

I do work.

I care about people and I can find my callings in life. Just because I’m not physically able to do the jobs most people can doesn’t mean I’m a failure. It means I get to do some other things. We all have things we excel at. Time for me to find mine instead of ‘boo-hoeing’ on not excelling at what others do.

I can become who I am, joyfully. Validated by myself, my conscious, and my Higher Power.

Instead of looking at who I can’t be, all that I can’t do, and wringing my hands in despair.

 

 

THREE

Be actively grateful.

For me, there’s a difference between being grateful and really acting grateful.

To me, it’s the difference between two people.

The person who says they have so much to be grateful for (but typically only list off the same five or so and don’t really seem to feel what they’re saying) and then go right back to complaining about all the wrongs in their life. They don’t want to make changes. The focus on the bad things in their life and/or health.

Don’t get me wrong. We all have reasons. But that doesn’t make them excuses not to do what we can do.

Being positive, focusing on the good instead of only on what’s horribly wrong in life, is something we can all do.

The second person is someone who understands this. Recognizes their limitations and does what they can. And they do it well. They excel at it because they try. They aim to find what all they can do and enjoy doing it, while coping with the illnesses and pains they have in life. They find what is wrong in their world and if they can, they take steps to change it.

I want to become more like this second person.

I’ve been in a limbo in-between them for quite some time now. Not complaining but not really searching for the positive.

And so I have. Become positive. Grateful.

I can jog, write, read, play with my dog, communicate in meaningful ways with my family and friends because my legs work, I have the proper coordination, I’m not blind, not deaf, not mute. I’m not missing limbs. I’m not eating through a tube. I’m not in a hospital bed. I don’t have cancer, I live in a country with running hot water and refrigerators, ovens and laptops. I have a solid roof over my head and air conditioning and a heater. I have so much.

How often do I really count my blessings?

I heard this slam poetry kinda thing earlier this week and I loved it. The last thing the poet said really struck me.

“You are alive. Act like it.”

I don’t think we’re really acting like it if we have a ‘poor me’, ‘look at all this horrible stuff in my life’ attitude.

Look at all the beauty. The opportunities for change. Look at all the good.

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The Fire I Let Burn Me

Face to face with:

  • My mortality.
  • I didn’t care if 1/3 of my stuff burned.
  • The unknown.

 

What occurred to me:

  • Fire is cleansing.
  • I’ve already taken suitcases, packed my life into bags, and lived in a 9x20ft. room with my entire family.
  • I was not frozen in fear.

 

What I did:

  • Packed my dog a bag.
  • Packed 10 bags/tubs for me.
  • Made a list of what to do if fire hit my town.

 

What went on inside, chronologically:

  • Fear.
  • I need a purpose.
  • I can and will survive no matter what happens. And not only that. We will be okay.

 

What fires?

Last week in Northern California fires broke out. Everywhere. Overnight.

People just miles from me were awoken by a neighbor pounding on their door, yelling for them to run. They walked out their front door and saw fire eating toward them. Grabbed their families, their pets, jumped in their vehicles, and did just that. Ran for their lives.

And lost everything.

There was a fire about ten miles in front of me. A fire twenty miles to my side. A fire fifty feet behind me. (those are my rough estimates)

I was waiting.

To see if my apartment would burn.

 

A funny thing happened.

 

 

I threw out old, huge paintings. I threw out clothes I never wear. I threw out clothes I loved but never wore because they were itchy or constricting. I threw out loads of books I no longer wanted to read again or that were lukewarm.

I decided I was tired of lukewarm.

I went through my entire room and got rid of things I never used. I got rid of one-third of my belongings.

And it felt good.

Scratch that.

It felt great.

I took everything off my walls.

I have a bag full of papers I’m going to burn (in a safe way, don’t freak out).

It was this insane burning inside me. This sudden, intense urge hit. But it didn’t just hit me. It ran through me. It brought me to life. It let me look at everything I owned and see it as a part of myself.

Some of me was cankering, old, dying. A piece of nature needing to be pruned. Weighing me down.

So I pruned.

 

I’ve changed.

In the past five years, since moving up here. I have changed. Insanely. Beautifully. Messily.

But my physical environment had not.

 

Somehow, I took the instant fear due to these fires, and let it almost just as instantly change into something purifying.

Something purposeful.

Creative.

 

I re-organized my entire room.

The place in the living room where I write. (my version of an office in an apartment where I share a room lol)

The wall next to me in the living room.

 

Let me tell you.

It feels good.

Genuine.

 

The point I’m trying to get across (mostly to myself, but hopefully, your eavesdropping can help you) …

I let it

Move

Through

Me.

 

I didn’t run from what I felt. Even though what I was feeling was quite scary.

I gave myself a purpose tied to what I was feeling.

I did not deny.

I did not ignore.

I did not justify.

I did not make excuses.

 

I felt.

I decided.

I did.

I created.

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I AM

I AM

throwing out all

my masks

they no longer

fit

 

I AM

checking under

my bed

for all the

monsters

I’ve stored there

 

I AM

peering into the

hollows

behind my eyes

whispering,

coaxing out

my soul

 

I AM

rewriting my

future

keeping the

pens to

myself now

 

I AM

demolishing

the porcelain

walls

and painting

the air

about me

 

I AM

coming home

to myself

nothing can

stop me

not even me

 

I AM

smoking out

the lies

untwisting

the truths

 

I AM

tired of pretending

so I’m not

anymore

 

by Daphne Shadows

 

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We Have ALL Made a Terrible Mistake

We have made important things

Cliché

Trite

Corny

 

Even those of us who do nothing to create it

Laugh at the jokes

Discount the truth

Mock

Roll our eyes

Buy In

 

Real Love

Trust

Truth

Joy

Happiness

 

Important Abstractions

 

A child’s love for their parent

The misery created via tragedy

The seeking for something better

The pain everything can entail

The hope

Striving

Searching

Hurting

Finding

 

We’ve made a joke of it

All

Human Emotion

 

If it is genuine

I suppose

The world

Will

Mock

 

And what

Will

We

Do?

…..this time…..

today

right now

tomorrow

 

I mean wow

We’re low

We’ve even found a way (and not just A way but many ways) to make a joke out of sex – the most vulnerable, most alive, most real we can be with another human being, the truest form of love incarnate

A Joke

 

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Why Are You REALLY Angry?

Earlier this week, (I started this post quite a while ago but couldn’t put everything into words) I woke up quite happily, went about my morning routine, got to an early meeting, and suddenly realized I was flamingly enraged.

Everyone and everything irritated me.

I wasn’t angry at the little things, at the people. The circumstance.

Anger behind my anger.

That’s what had me.

Lurking back there like a freaking chained Chihuahua I’d been trying to ignore.

After a while, you can’t ignore the real reasons.

(and by the way, what horrible person chains up a dog and ignores it in the first place? just saying…it was the only metaphor I had at the moment)

 

Notice that the word “anger” is in the word “danger”.

Go ahead.

Take a minute.

I know its a real hard one to wrap your mind around.

*rolls eyes*

 

I used to think being angry was the danger.

Nope.

Nah-ah.

WRONG.

 

I used to think “letting go” of my anger meant, noticing the anger and shoving it away as fast as I could manage.

 

Safe to say, its been a while since I’ve “felt” my feelings.

 

 

That’s the danger.

NOT feeling the emotions trying to flow through you.

Anger is telling us something.

Are we listening?

Typically we’re angry because we hurt.

 

What other emotions am I ignoring?

……

That wasn’t a fun thing to think on either.

 

My advice?

(and wouldn’t it be great if I would take my own advice?)

Figure out why you’re REALLY angry.

It might require more than thinking about it.

Do something creative in an angry manner.

I’m serious.

Have you ever seen a toddler get pissed off while holding a crayon/pencil/pen?

They FREAK. OUT.

And suddenly there’s a bunch of angry scribbling going on.

Have you seen a toddler get mad while holding a toy?

They throw things!

They feel their rage. And yeah, it’s freaking rage.

We downplay what we feel, then try to hide it, ignore it. Or the people around us tell us that’s not what we’re feeling…. “No honey, you’re not angry at your brother.” How often do parents tell their children this? YES! I’m bloody mad! That’s what I feel right now! Don’t try to tell me I don’t. We grow up being told that we don’t feel what we feel. That what we feel isn’t okay. We only grow that issue as we grow. Well, some of us. Some of you enlightened people get that healthy vibe real fast.

But eventually, while letting go and feeling that anger, you’re going to notice some things whispering from within.

And that’s when you start to figure things out.

 

You know where not feeling my anger has gotten me?

Therapy.

Al-Anon.

A psychiatrist.

Medical issues I now can’t get rid of.

 

Stress is generated when we try to act as if we’re someone we’re not.

We are EMOTIONAL creatures.

WE. FEEL.

It only becomes a problem – a danger to ourselves – when we try to deny it.

….or you know, when we express it in an inappropriate way…. which is different than denying it to the point that we snap, blow up, have a psychotic break and decide to shoot everyone in sight.

 

Emotion can do a lot for us.

Or we can ignore it, hide it, deny it and screw ourselves over.

We’re not going to be able to let go of the nastier emotions until we first acknowledge and feel them.

 

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7 Movies That Inspire Hope Within Me

I have an odd question to ask you.

Odd because I’m a writer, shouldn’t I be asking about books? Well, lots of movies came from books.

Plus as a writer, it’s stories that I love.

Odd because, hope as a subject? Not many people focusing on that lately.

Odd because my poetry doesn’t always appear hopeful (but it is to me).

Odd becuase because because.

Anywho…

 

I’ve arranged these 7 movies in order of how strongly they affect me. The first being the absolute strongest. Isn’t that how you detect hope? …. you FEEL it, are MOVED by it.


 

Collateral Beauty

I cannot put into words what I feel when watching this movie. Love, Time, Death. Who doesn’t decide to hate them at times? Which of us doesn’t need to remember their true meaning in our lives?

I guess there’s some words.

 

The Shack

You don’t have to even believe in a specific kind of Higher Power to feel the message of hope. I guess there was a bunch of controversy over this movie. All I have to do is google it to find out about what. I don’t care. Everyone everywhere can find something negative in everyone and everything, ever, if we look.

This movie has a message, this story has a message. Beyond that, the rest are trappings; extra for us to do with what we want, what we choose. The meaning of this movie, in my opinion, is something we all need. We get hope from forgiveness; for others, for ourselves. I know I need that. I know I need to believe, to know, I am loved and worthy of that love.

 

Best Exotic Marigold Hotel

This one I really don’t have words for. You’d have to watch it for yourself to possibly understand what I cannot communicate.

 

Hidalgo

This gives me hope that people can see ALL people as people, ALL animals as souls. Few things bring me pain so greatly as to see people hate, hurt, or become indifferent to animals.

 

No Reservations

Hope that everyone can change. Hope that love can find us all a way back home. A way back to ourselves. A way to healing. A way to hope.

 

The Addams Family

I’m weird. I’m certain you’ve noticed.

Now this movie doesn’t inspire a feeling of hope within me. But it does GIVE me hope. Hope that we can each be our own weird selves and still be accepted, loved, for who we are.

 

Remember the Titans

I often find it hard to remember to respect those who see me, Daphne, as white. I find it hard to see people as black. As Latino. As Asian. As Middle Eastern. As Pacific Islanders. As Native Americans. As “mixed”.

I am not my nationality. Sure, people can become products of their culture. But English culture is the same to a black English man and a white English man, in its purest form. We make things sexist. We make it about black and white. We make skin color important. Instead of loving differences in culture, being curious, exploring the many peoples on this painful, beautiful, crazy, messy world we’ve been gifted.

So what do I see before I see skin color? Easy. There is a person standing in front of me, different and similar to me, with a life full of experiences, tears, smiles, and blank faces I know nothing about.

This movie restores hope to me that we will find our way back to that within our own personal lives, if we so choose.

 

 

MY QUESTION IS THIS. What movies (and movies, only, for now, please) that inspire hope within you?

I’d really appreciate an answer.

We all struggle, right? We all need hope.

You don’t have to give an explanation or reason. Just a movie title. Or a few. I’d value some help from those of you who listen in to the inner ramblings I share with you. Thank you.

This isn’t a cry for help. It’s a cry for more hope. Something beautiful from our lives that we can share. That we can feel.

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THYSELF, MYSELF

IM SITTING WITH A BUNCH

OF LITTLE PIECES

I RIPPED THEM UP

I PUT THEM THERE

THEY HURT AND THEY CRY

AND THEY KIND OF KNOW

WHY

THEY ALWAYS KNEW

THEY ALWAYS KEPT

KEPT QUIET

WATCHED

REMEMBERED

I ALWAYS KNEW

DIDN’T I?

 

I GUESS THEY’RE PEACE

EACH BROKEN SHRED

THEY’RE SITTING THERE

STARING AT ME

THEY’RE ALWAYS MINE

EVEN TORN

OKAY

OKAY

SO WHAT DO I DO WITH

THEM EACH PIECE?

BROKEN SMOTHERED

USED WORN

 

I GUESS I SUPPOSE MAYBE

THE POINT THE NEED

THE URGE THE

DESIRE

IS TO FEEL THEM

HURT

THAT’S WHAT THEY ARE

 

IM SITTING WITH A BUNCH OF

LITTLE PIECES

I RIPPED THEM UP

I PUT THEM THERE

 

THEY’RE CRYING

AND I DON’T WANT TO

THEY’RE CALLING LIKE AN ANIMAL

SHORN WITH PAIN

MADNESS AND SADNESS

CLAWING INTO EACH PIECE

THEY’RE MY WAY TO PEACE

ARENT THEY?

 

I’M ALL THESE LITTLE PIECES

I DON’T WANT TO BE

ALL THESE LITTLE PIECES

ARE MY WAY BACK

TO ME

 

 

by Daphne Shadows

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