Make Acceptance Your Friend. There Will Be Violets.

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I See No Gate…Until I Do  ©2015 Bo Mackison

Stop fixing, stop pushing, stop forcing my will.
All that fixing and pushing and forcing…
none of it makes any difference.

The advice is solid and intellectually
I agree. Of course I see the folly
of relentless effort with no results.

The billy-goat butts a fence and never sees the gate a step away,
I’m fenced in, too, the opening’s within my glance.
Yet with eyes fixed on the ground, I walk in circles.

A gate? I see no gate…until I do.

The whisper of acceptance slips through the gate.
Such a tiny breath it takes as it draws near.

I ignore the whisper. (I’m stubborn that way.)

I hide under blankets where no breeze refreshes.
That doesn’t stop acceptance from nuzzling my ear,
whisper-singing lullabies of ease and calm.

No promises does acceptance offer,
but its ever quiet manner calls attention
to the wisdom of letting go.

My grandfather, he would say
“tell it like it is, then be done.”
He was quiet man, my grandfather, and he was wise.

And I say, I am not sorry.
About the fight. This fight
I swore I’d never quit.

I fought hard in the midst of the whole miserable affair.
Depression as my foe; my best friend, too.
My bed partner and life partner. My lover and destroyer.

I cried the battle cries, bled from nearly fatal wounds.
And now I see, acceptance is the harder battle.

I’m calling it quits. And shaking hands with acceptance.
No more cowering when fear overwhelms,
no smashing glass walls in anger.

All the messes in my life, I’d like to call them friends,
say I’ve learned from those experiences.
Some day I’ll speak those words. With courage.

For the record, it’s been one crap shoot
after another, unpredictable. Risky.
And still, here I stand and say.

This life. It’s a good one.
Violets blossom in the grass, my shoes well soaked with dew.

Flower Mandala – Queen Anne’s Lace

Queen Anne's Lace © 2015 Bo Mackison

Queen Anne’s Lace © 2015 Bo Mackison

 

My Life Manifesto (For Today)

Rainbow

Rainbow in Stormy Sky © 2015 Bo Mackison

This I believe. I am alive.

Fully, completely, eyes-wide-open alive.

There were a hundred times when I could have given up,
said “no more” or made a different choice —
not an easier choice,  just a different choice.

And still, I am alive.

I celebrate the perfect alignment of the stars,
the constant roll of the waves, the greening of spring once more,
and the miracle of my patchwork life.

There are times when I search for my life’s work,
question what I have done of worth, what good am I doing now.

And then, this realization. Stunning.

Thus far, my work has been to survive.
Survival is my life work.
It is good work, worthy work, honest work, hard work.

This. This I need to remember.

When I ask countless questions that have no answers,
when I wonder why; when I tremble with fear
and anxiety; when I grieve; when I despair or doubt.

There is always this.

I am doing my work. That is enough.

Through the Shadows, the Light Shines

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“…we all go through our own experiences. If we do not push ourselves enough, we do not grow, but if we push ourselves too much, we regress. What is enough will change, depending on where we are and what we are doing. In that sense, the present moment is always some kind of beginning.” ~ Sakuong Mipham

There are times when I feel a bit (or more) broken. I know better. But still, the feeling pops up occasionally. These are old feelings, old habits from long ago when it was the identity I knew and understood best.

I had not yet learned the freeing concept of “I am enough.”

Years ago I became interested in photography. At the time, it was an effort to instill a daily routine in my life, a ritual, to focus on at least one thing each day and look at the world, to deeply look at the mystery in the world in my world.

For the last few months I have been caught in a lingering depression, an illness that dims the beauty of life until everything feels murky and dark. Anxiety turns that murkiness into a roiling monster, a scary space indeed. For me, photography is usually my potent weapon against depression and anxiety, but this time even my camera could not pique my interest.

In the last few weeks the sun has brightened the sky as spring arrives, and hopefully the increasing sunlight will have a positive effect on my mood. And it is also my hope that photography will again provide me with a tangible way to engage in life and add meaning to each day.

“Life is not a maze where you have your eyes on the gaps, life is a beautiful journey, stop looking for the gaps.” ~ Malti Bhojwani

I think of photography as a gift.  When I become engrossed in my photography, it lights my soul and my spirit. I think it not coincidental that the word photography consists of two Greek words. “Photo,”derived from “phos” means “light.” “Graphy,” derived from “graphi” means to write or draw.

Photography – to write or draw ( to create) using light.

When I create, I shine light into my darkness. Murkiness gradually takes on brighter colors. The emotional monster quiets, and I again breathe deeply. I look anew at my surroundings and see beauty everywhere — in the colors of the emerging spring flowers, in the majesty of a century old oak tree weathered and pock-marked,  in the grain of polished wood, even in the angularity of shadow alternating with light.

Sometimes it is the little things that make life so lovely. It is acceptance of oneself that makes life shimmer. It is knowing that one is not broken, that one does not need to be fixed. That one is “enough.” A worthy lesson.

May it be so.

 

Loosening the Barriers Within – Postscript to “The Barrier Series”

Beach Boardwalk

Passageway through the Barriers © 2015 Bo Mackison

This is the twelfth post–a sort of post-script–in The Barrier Series, a series of posts which chronicle my healing journey. I wrote the initial series in 2013 and updated several posts in the fall of 2014.

I wasn’t sure if/when there would be a twelfth post. I felt I was in-the-midst after I published the eleventh post, that there was more to write. Yet as much as I worked on the twelfth post I was unable to find the right words. A wise friend suggested I wait, and if it was to be, eventually I would find the right words. This post is the result of that wait.

I continue to walk on the journey of healing, the road remains, both the same and different. I gratefully share with you Loosening the Barriers Within, The Postscript.

Perhaps the passage of time is a kind of healing, or a kind of salvation granted equally to all people.”
~ Mizuki Nomura

Loosening the Barriers, Within

Yes, surely there is passage through the barriers

First, a primitive observation,
in the reflection of light a glimpse,
then, a gradual realization
that the grip of self-hatred which dimmed my heart,
insistent and unrelenting, no longer served.
No matter the lesson, how old or well learned
no longer a truth, the acceptance of unworthiness,
no longer the me I had always known – living on the razor’s edge.

A loosening of the grip, so gradual
for a time I stand unsteady and perplexed,
it takes time to trust in reality,
the realization that I am no longer the person I believed I was.
I am not the lies spoken; I am my truth heard.

I sit with unaccustomed contentment
and consider the old me, discordant
with the me uncovered, re-discovered.

In a period of dark, a depression with such depth
I lost hope of returning to the surface.
and drifted in a turbid soup colliding with
gripping emotions, unspeakable memories, unclear thoughts.

A gift perhaps, this dark unpredictable void,
time expanded and contracted, unaware of clock or calendar.

Through the murk, I glimpsed a life delicious with discovery
a life of depth, both reassuring and of concern,
the path uncertain and unknown, of course.
At last I looked through a lens, finally in focus, and recognized
the place I am, must be, need be.

Endless possibility sustains the strength to see anew, to redefine beliefs
and cast away the useless, a pure and nascent purge.
Sparked by sacred conversation, seeking the Divine,
my awareness stood on trembling, newly awakened ground.

I’m uncertain how the circumstances inter-played
but truth spoke out, in a ferocious din:

The less space I allow in my heart, mind and spirit
for thoughts of unworthiness and self-contempt,
for the holding of others’ blame and shame accepting them as mine,
for the belief that I did not deserve life itself,
when those thoughts compressed, new spaces opened.

Infinite space for my truths,
for worthiness, self-love,
for the honoring of my path, my story.
Infinite space for the Divine, the holy, the mystical that
exists in me, in every person, in the whole of humankind.

And my work and mine alone? First, responsibility for myself,
the work resplendent — self-care, self-love, self-respect.
Work that acknowledges my desires, worthwhile and deserved.

How much easier to welcome and acknowledge the Divine in me
when I shove the shit out and make room.

There is a deep connectedness to each of us in our solitude,
connection that offers life, not simply to survive but to flourish
in the experiences of both the
everyday and the glorious — the two, indistinguishable.