Saturday, November 10, 2012


I'd said just last night to one friend that I'd bury bodies for my best friend, so loyal am I, and she is so 'there' for me, and now I find myself at the kitchen door of her niece's first cousin's house wondering why the kitchen lights are on. Well, not her house, well, yes, her house, but really her parents' house who just decided like that to go abroad indefinitely and instructed her via voice mail to watch the house while she was on break from school but didn't even bother to ask her if she'd made plans. She had, and was indeed well on her way to them, so I was drafted to medicate the ancient cat, and keep an eye on the place and since I was conveniently (or rather inconveniently for me) in between places, how could I say no and I fumble with the alarm code while watching a tall man with broad shoulders (they all have them, I've noticed) making hamburgers in a frying pan at the gigantic stove in the lavish and no expenses spared house. He's a stranger to me and no doubt I'm one to him and he turns just as I open the door. The cat is snoring in an empty laundry basket on the kitchen island. Stranger says, 'Do you know where his medication is?' Just as I ask him who he is and he doesn't even wait for my answer, he says, 'Bill. I'm Bill', and turns back to his burger. 

'Do you want cheese or carrots?'
'Excuse me, did you say carrots?'

I think to myself, 'Well, I wouldn't consider carrots ordinarily but they are healthy' and  he says, 'I wouldn't consider carrots ordinarily but they're healthy' and every hair (not many exist, I want to point out that I'm not an APE) stands up on end and I feel this zing of glee, kindred spirit and weight of dread, serial killer with the ability to read minds? Ordinarily I would question him. Okay, I would back him up against a wall and interrogate him but I'm considerably smaller than him (which is rather uncommon) although a part of me would certainly like to back him up against a wall and he me but I walk past him to Jennifer's bedroom. To get the cat's medicine. Top drawer, dresser next to the second window on the left.

 And I drop the bottle which rolls beyond my reach and I silently wonder about the physics of anything rolling anywhere on a shag carpet so thick and when the hell did shag come back and who the hell buys it and how could such a gorgeous house in such an affluent area even allow shag carpeting to be installed on its floors and then remember that Jennifer is a kid but not really because she's in college and even, abroad, only in the opposite direction from her mom and step-dad and I also think about how I have a passport but have never actually left the continent. This 'kid' gets around more than I do and I mull that over while on my knees looking for the bottle of medicine behind or under a dresser too big for me to move. 

I reach up to turn on a lamp but the cord switch is beyond my reach but seconds later it's on and I feel fabric (linen, summer-weight, nice) brush against my hand and then he is on his hands and knees beside me asking me what we're looking for. Ordinarily, I would suppress the smile playing on my lips and fake outrage, well maybe not entirely fake, that this stranger hasn't even told me why he's here when *I*, *I* was given the responsibility of watching the cat and the house and the 1500 satellite stations and the fucking jacuzzi (well, not fucking, but well, yeah, it could be) and the pantry and bar, and I look down to better keep my cool although it's kind of cool that he's down there on the floor helping.

 And I see scattered among the carpet strands--are they strands? Fibers? It's a shag--is it carpet fur? are tiny little stone chips, semi-precious mostly, and they're EVERYWHERE as if something exploded and now I see a bigger pieces around but no more than a half inch or centimetre or so and I see snowflake obsidian, sunstone, lime green calcite, ocean jasper, apatite that blue is sort of rare, and I begin to pluck them and pocket them since I don't have a bag or anything but I do consider a pillowcase which is just as out of reach as the cord on the lamp and he says, 'I just came in from a movie shoot in Europe (everything is vaguely 'Europe')  and Jennifer's parents were gracious enough to let me stay here and I'm sure they meant to tell someone.'

Europe? Movie shoot? I don't say it but it's clear on my face as I look up from the floor into very warm brown, no green, no brown-y green, they kind of dance, eyes mmmm and oh no..I'm not going to, fuck you, ...well...ordinarily...wait not fuck you fuck you, but you know, fuck you I'm not falling for that shit fuck you, but he sees it on my face and offers more like a question, 'I'm big in Europe?'

This time I can't help but laugh. Okay, he's an actor, I get it. He's big there but not here, but he is big here too as evidenced by those shoulders and even on his hands and knees he's a foot taller than me and I'm kind of tall for a woman and he asks me what I'm picking up and I tell him that Jennifer has stones and crystals all over her floor and I'm picking them up and he asks me why and I turn my head sideways and without thinking I say, 'I really don't know.' I pick up a clear quartz point and say, 'Here', and he takes it and I say, 'Close your eyes and take a deep breath through your nose, feel the cool air in, and then breathe out through your mouth, warm air out, don't think, just breathe and feel the stone', and he does and shock fills his face and he drops it and sits back or up and says, 'What the hell was that', and I say, 'It's the vibration of the crystal' and I laugh and at once it's high and sparkles in the air above us and I fall down on my side and laugh deeper at this, with this stranger, this Bill, how odd this whole scenario is, I'm hunting for treasures with a giant and I don't feel the dread or suspicion anymore although a voice in the back of my mind says, Oh that's the last thought anyone has before their throat is cut and another voice says, Oh way to go with the melodrama, and I stop laughing and smile at him and he smiles at me. 

'The last time I heard 'I'm big in Europe....'...He nods and says, 'Yeah, obviously I'm not that actor. But the work is steady, the pay is great and I can come here and be anonymous. I'm sorry no one told  you. I didn't know you'd be here either until about half an hour ago when your friend called to see if you'd arrived.'
'It's okay, but I'm not leaving so we have to share. I don't really have anywhere to go and I like it here. I can come here and be anonymous too. At least for a week and I promised to take care of the cat.'
'Right. That would explain why he didn't come when called.'
'He didn't come when called because he's deaf. He's also a cat.'
'Right'. He moves a hand over his scalp and down his face. His hair is light brown and thinning, I see the receding hairline. It's short, shaved by the looks of it,  but growing in and just the way I happen to like it and I tell myself, 'no,'. Self mumbles back something unintelligible.

I feel nervous. It sideswipes me and I don't like feeling something and not knowing why and I fight the urge to get up and do something but I don't because I like it here with him, talking on the floor, so I start picking up more stones, crawling around, so he starts picking up more stones, and begins to ask me what each one is. That one is a celestine or blue barite, the light isn't good....angelic realms. That one looks like a citrine, that one ooh that one is nice..tiger's eye. They all have different meanings, different vibrations...' 

'They're nice. The colors.'  He hands me a chunk of rose quartz and an amethyst cluster. 'Rose quartz is for love.'  I blush. Why did I blush, did I just blush? 'I mean, not just romantic love, but heart healing, self-love.....amethyst is peaceful. Both great stones.'

The room isn't, but it feels very small, but not claustrophobic. Cozy. We could be having a picnic. The carpeting is grass green, the walls are blue, the sun is shining through the windows.  We just need a blanket and some ants. And some burgers. 'Your burgers?' 
'They're okay. I know how to cook. I mean, they're on low, lid, steam? You like onions too?'

We talk. I really don't remember anything except for little bits and pieces like the stones all around us. At one point we're sitting up against the foot board of the bed and laughing. 
'You. You have a great laugh.' 
'Yes, the snorting is quite ladylike, I know'.
'No, really.' and he leans in and just like that he kisses me and it's a question, 'Would you, will you?' and I kiss him back and it's a question too, 'Do that some more and can I think about it while you do it some more?' and I can feel him smile through our kisses and I say, without stopping because to be perfectly truthful, it's been a while, 'You don't even know my name'.
'He says, 'Lenny. Your name is Lenny.'
'You can call me 'Lenny'.

I think about the possibility of me prancing around in the baby-dolls I only get to dance around in for my own entertainment and my heart skips a little and I remember my mother telling me she was disappointed that I wasn't a virgin for my wedding and then I think that she would have been even more disappointed if she knew my ex was actually gay, but probably more in me than him and for the first time ever, I think about how I don't care what anyone thinks and while ordinarily I wouldn't jump into such things, I try to say that I'm spontaneous but there are rules and stuff which means by default, no spontaneous and I imagine myself getting naked with this guy and stop. The fight inside is relentless but I think the happy is going to win because it's telling the scared not to penalize him for what anyone else ever did and I agree with the happy and his next kiss is definitely that question and I sit back and say, 'I really need a shower. Do you know where the towels are? I'd be right back. I just need water, shampoo...?' He says, 'I'm doing laundry. The towels are in the washer.' 'All of them?' 'Yes, well, no...there's a washcloth or dishcloth or ten, I think'.

I reconsider. Not just the shower but everything. He sees this. He sees this internal debate and he waits. No pressure. Want, desire, but no pressure. And he's here with me, and me with him. I can feel him and reach out to him if I want to and he's here and real and just as I think that, he takes my arm and runs one finger down the inside to my wrist and lifts my hand to his mouth and kisses it gently and waits. I feel my entire body relax and I say, 'Carrots' and he smiles and I know everything will be all right.

Monday, November 5, 2012

Perfect Offering

There is a common misconception that strength means 'impervious' and similar such adjectives somehow construing that strong people have transcended the usual human conditions and no longer have lapses of depression, self-pity or worse, have completely recovered from and enjoy the amnesia of the usual or unusual traumas of life. But that's bullshit. The strongest people I know are those who have suffered and continue to put themselves 'out there' because they believe in life, love, the generosity and compassion of humanity and that not everyone is a colossal asshole and sifting through the rubble is worth it even though if you get tetanus or worse, a papercut on your tongue. Those fuckers hurt.

The walking wounded recognize each other. We don't wear team uniforms; unnecessarily redundant.  It's in the lines in our faces, around our eyes where they catch the tears, the grief and the exhaustion and circle around our mouths where they capture our rueful chuckles and smirks of surrender to reality. This is life and we didn't sign up for it, except perhaps at the dawn of time during some kind of karmic powwow where I saw you and you and you and thought you were awesome and a bright new soul (and you, me) and I could never predict you might become a colossal asshole rampaging through life destroying everything in your path including yourself and I was just in the way and you didn't recognize me because I wasn't wearing our gang colors. I love you anyway, even if you don't know me. It doesn't change the volume of tears but it does change the enthusiasm with which I enter into new agreements and relational contracts. I think that's part of the learning process, spiritual schooling, if you will.

There is a duality to my nature that those who are...I won't use the word lucky...but perhaps, patient and tolerant enough to endure my frailty and flailing, able to see that the rest of the world, no matter how much they think they know me, never will. There is so much that I do give to everyone that they assume I have a natural gift and complete lack of discretion for dissecting and filleting my everything for public consumption that they don't realize, likely because there's just SO MUCH there, that it's only a part of me. They have some insights into the cracks, nooks and crannies but there are things about me that people who've known me my entire life will never see perhaps because I don't even know it myself. Truthfully, I try to spare them of so much of it because pity parties are exhausting and completely unproductive and when I love someone, it's spirit, mind, heart and soul and that means being unbelievably vulnerable and the very things that you're most vulnerable about, those tender buttons, are the very thing they can and often do use against you when you least expect it or it's most expedient to them and I've had enough of that for several karmic incarnations, thank you. And yet, and yet, I still try. I still want love, to be loved, to give love.

I have a fairly recent interest in the metaphysical properties and energy frequencies in crystals and stones and how they relate to our own energies, auras, chakras and meridians and at the moment, it fascinates me to no end. It's a fairly inexpensive hobby if you don't lose your mind bidding for the rare stuff on Ebay but among the metaphysical community you make friends fast with some great benefits. Their generosity is quite astounding, actually, and some of the best crystals I've ever received were actually surprise gifts with purchase. One stone I had a quick affinity for and attraction to, I actually did purchase, called a Herkimer diamond quartz, the authentic stones only being found in a mine in Herkimer, NY. The high frequency of the stone is such that anyone can feel the 'buzz' and it's quite stimulating. It's fun.

The unusual thing about these stones is that unlike other quartzes, it grows from a type of umbilicus so you have an extremely clear crystal with a more often than not little scar, or belly button at the bottom of the crystal. Termination points (the pointy ends) focus the energy and double termination points (one at each end) makes a relationship of give and take with the energy of the stone to you and back to it or the user if they're using it in energy work, like Reiki. Couples can actually get a pair and program them with spiritual or mental images of their love for each other and the beloved can actually 'feel' that loving energy when they hold the crystal. I love this idea and one day would like to put it to the test. I like my own personal singleton Herkimer diamond quartz and carry it in a little bag with me and play with it like a talisman or worry stone and the more I meditate the more I feel that addictive 'buzz'. I'm told that's because my own frequency or vibration is aligning with the Universe or Source or even the crystals themselves and it's not the crystals that have changed at all but me. Which is cool. These vibrations can be measured, both in the stones, in animate and inanimate objects, including me. It's quantifiable, and scientifically proven which appeals supremely to the geekette in me.

So today was a not so very good horrible bad awful day and on my ride home from a mostly unproductive six hours, I played with my stone and had a good cry in the car. I used to spend a great deal of crying and grieving over the loss of my husband's love, the loss of Spooky Oats' love, the loss of half my family, and for a long time my health and I was fairly tired of all of it and wanted some semblance of a healthy happy life so I decided that the tears had to stop and I had to try something new and I set out on a linear path that ended up being more like a game of Twister, only worse, the sheet was upside down and I had sudden unexplainable color-blindness. In the end (although I don't consider the end 'the end' until I take my last breath) of the beginning of this journey or path, I decided that all of this crap had to stop. I had to patch up the cracks in my heart, my psyche, my body and energy fields, and get ready for a newer better Lainey, a Lainey 2.0, a Super-Lainey but I forgot that all those seemingly negative things are all part of the human condition and there was nothing wrong with the tears, the anger, the loneliness; it was just part of the process of dealing with shit. I had to stop being so hard on myself and accept me for me because I was magnificent even in the depths of my sorrow and that sorrow would end. The well had a bottom, I was in it, the only way out was up and I was climbing, breaking a few nails along the way, cursing up a storm, stopping for a few tears, wiping them away and kept climbing.

I talked to my angels, I talked to my spirit guides, I talked to my spirit animals, I talked to my intuitive friends, I talked to Father God and Jesus and Buddha and Krishna, and Shiva, et al;, Spirit and Universe and the Vortex and everything and as is typical of me since even before I could enunciate the word 'vocabulary' I relaxed and began to recover little by little. There are fits and starts and a great many leaps backwards after a few teensy steps forward but I see progress and I do see that I do indeed like and even love me, the me that is dualistic, and strong and vulnerable and weepy and clingy and aloof and loony and I held this Herkimer diamond in my hand while driving home thinking about all these things and absentmindedly brushed my thumb across the unlovely little bump, the belly button of the crystal that isn't as uniform or smooth as the rest of it, the scar, the evidence of the beginning and the frailty and flailing and I felt a jolt and a stupidly silly epiphany that the truth is not in the superficial, the perfectly formed beauty without flaws. It was the flaws themselves, the very things that make us vulnerable and sad and thoughtful, the cracks, as Leonard Cohen sings in Anthem,

'Ring the bells that still can ring. Forget your perfect offering. There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in. '

That IS how the light gets in. Where is the joy in flawless perfection, where is the relatable truth of our commonality, where is the warmth and comfort of the cold, austere and rare? How much have I or you overlooked because we're looking for perfect and rare and untroubling and easy when the deepest beauty and joy is the brokenness. This is the source of our strength should we recognize and embrace it and realize that, THAT is our beauty and our perfect offering to the world, to Spirit and to ourselves.