Songs in the Key of Lost

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In one week’s time I have misplaced my keys twice, my cell phone once, and my telephone/DSL signal several times. It’s been weeks since I’ve seen my DOK cross, and that does bother me.

Then the screen of my laptop announced it’s impending death- I can’t buy another now, but I do have the desktop, which is back online. I am grateful.

One of my children lost a cellphone. I haven’t seen my wallet for three weeks. I kinda get the vibe that the thing is in my house. Maybe a stretch here, but when my kitty went missing last fall, I knew, was certain, that she was nearby, and she was. She had slipped into a back garden, and after a long week of worry, I found her. So too does this missing wallet business feel. And, AND, I am pretty sure that my DOK cross is in the wallet.

I am not paying attention.

There are more misplaced belongings, including my mind. I usually find that one after a day or two.

So is there some message about which The Spook seeks my attention? See, this way, God is only indirectly blamed. Spook plays messenger pigeon. On the other hand, if one is hooked on the idea of a triuune order, which I mostly am, I can shake my tight little toddler fists toward all three and whine about the unfairness of bearing too much.

That line about not sweating the small stuff? Pish. It is always about the small stuff. Big Messes take you by the shoulders and force you to focus on the disaster at hand. But those bitty things? They pile up and take you down quickly.

During Advent we say “Wachet Auf!” Look around, something is coming. Lent is also a time to wachet auf. Be watchful. Keep vigilant. Don’t let the annoying crappy things pile up and cloud your vision, lest you miss the big picture.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

The Music of Silence

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Within silence we can find stillness. I am not still. My mood is agitated, often fearful. I know that I need to find a way, the way, to live into a consciousness of the compassionate heart. I have spent many years putting the needs of my family before my own. But we are called during the season of Lent to self-examination. All I see is lack: lack of compassion, lack of patience, lack of speaking kindly when I most need to do so.

Recently I participated in a silent retreat with my DOK sisters. I thought deeply about these things. My journal was busy. Mostly I sat in half-lotus for up to an hour at a time, and focused at the tisra til, the spot between the eyes where there is no thought, only darkness.

I followed a yogic spiritual practice for many years which taught me how to sit in that darkness and stillness. After a time, flashes of light, not unlike the colored lights which decorate a Christmas tree, appear. As one goes even deeper, the sounds of flute-like instruments are heard. This practice is referred to as “dying while living.” It brings one into a closer presence of God, at least that is my experience.

When I get that deeply into meditation, I have no conscious thought. I listen. I absorb the presence of the Holy Spirit. No expectations of clarity or direct answers. But always a certain realization results. That day, it was the compassionate heart.

I am blessed to be surrounded by these extraordinary women. They shore me up. They do not gossip or otherwise share what is spoken amongst the membership. That pastoral seal is foremost.

I came away from the retreat with more questions than answers. More work to do for my Lenten journey.

“Create in me a clean heart, O Lord…”

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009

More Keys. More Stages.

I was taught “The Five Stages of Grief ” in a philosophy class I took back in high school. Apparently, in the intervening years, some clinicians added two more stages. As if those five weren’t daunting enough, we must now swim through ever murkier waters between crisis and resolution. Swell.

Before the old first stage of Denial, we must first confront Shock or Disbelief. This makes sense. Before one can vigorously deny the issue, there has to be an action which precipitates the crisis. Minding the third slot from the old model is Bargaining. This is followed by Guilt, and number five, formerly Acceptance is now in the spleen-venting position of Anger. Number six is Depression. Finally holding forth at number seven is Acceptance & Hope. Such an enormous journey outward from Dante’s misery.

In my experience, each one of these seven stages is interrupted by Anger and Depression at expected intervals. And that adds roughly six more stages which I must slog through. Perhaps my orientation towards processing versus solution is a bit too thorough. At the least, it is inefficient because I fall into the discouraging pattern of one-step-forward-two-steps-back, an adage I find terribly annoying just now.

But this is hard stuff, and I am motivated to slow down the stages to mitigate damages to innocent parties. Mindful, of course, that I need to move forward slowly for my own mental and spiritual health. Just trying to keep moving.

The problem is that my Stages are not really following any predictable path. Five, seven or thirteen- all is a jumble. All is untidy. I can see that any course down this road contains a bit of a bi-polar element. Not pathology really, just a certain unpredictability from day to day of where I’ll find myself. It seems there is a general correspondence to the Stages. Still, something is not working here.

We are given to believe that these stages unfold in a forward path, when in truth, they are traversed over pebbles and gravel, with the occasional unpleasant water feature. On this journey lie confounding trails with intricate mazes, not unlike those found on grand old estates in Britain and elsewhere. Very pretty, but within are dozens of chances to make wrong turns and hit scratchy walls of thorns, or of falling into ditches.

The thorn in my side comes from the person from whom I am trying to unyoke. We are both experiencing these stages, but not at the same rate or time, or place. In addition to being fucking inconvenient, it is damn aggravating. Just when I think I’ve stumbled past Anger, I find myself back in Denial, be it produced by my partner or of my own making. Add to that my experience of observing the other person’s experience. Whoa! Here I’ve managed to navigate past a couple stages down the lane, but my partner is still stuck in wherever I am not…this is a problem.

In any case, I am Bargaining like crazy these days. And bargaining is consumed by Depression, which is motivated by Anger. And round we go in this endless dance.

It is hideous.

Since I tend to view my world through musical language, I’ve noticed that there are corresponding keys to the phases. If you pay any attention in music school, you pick up on the color of keys and harmonics using an incongruous blend of physics and psychology. Were I to rename the “Stages of Grief”, I would subtitle them “A Symphony of Lamentation and Heroic Struggle in C# minor.”

Some other time I might just examine the Circle of Fifths for a comparative study. Presently, it seems, I must attend to Bargaining before I get pissed off again.

(c)GoshGusMusic(ascap)2009