Posts Tagged ‘writing’

The presence of self-remembering

November 23, 2014

I sometimes forget that I am an eternal presence. Just over four years ago, I had a small epiphany and made a connection more with what I call my “eternal presence” – the essence of my soul or spirit who came to live in this body and experience this life – who knows that I have always existed and always will and knows that I am a part of the ultimate divine being (God/Spirit) and remain connected. I began this blog then and write about how my eternal presence connects to everydayness of life and how the everydayness of life connects to my eternal presence.

But, I get waylaid by life, distracted by other paths of existence and forget to stop and come back here to connect . . . to write about the outside. Writing about the outside brings it inside where I – the “I” who is eternal — can connect and process and reflect and give back to me who is thinking, sensing, and feeling her way through this life.

Events, people, writings, readings, animals, objects, thoughts, tasks – in other words: life – comes into my awareness to remind me of what I already know: I am an eternal presence existing in this mortal body, resting behind this thinking sensing feeling experience. Life is poking at me. God is poking at me. I make all of these invitations to the universe to show me how to bring my true self to life, yet unless those invitations show up in the way I imagine they should, I completely miss them.

Until I choose self-remembering . . . and suddenly I recognize them as singular messengers responding to my requests. A phone call from my daughter reminds me that my morning candlelight vigil for her is being heard. The balance in my bank account more than sufficient to meet my obligations. The person who comes upon my path with a word that leads me to a hidden wisdom.

It is the everydayness that makes the eternal interesting.

©2014 by Barbara L. Kass


The presence of experience

October 9, 2013

You cannot create experience. You must undergo it. Albert Camus

Before humans could write and read we learned through witnessing and listening. As witnesses, we saw what others experienced, and (hopefully) we learned vicariously. When we witnessed someone become ill from eating the strange red berries, we were not likely to eat those berries. We listened (again hopefully) when our parents and elders passed along knowledge and wisdom with the spoken word: don’t poke the sleeping tiger.

The written word expands our worlds. All the red berries have warning labels and the sleeping tigers have awakened. If we want to know about Subject X, the most expedient method is to look it up on the Internet. Sometimes, we can watch a film or talk to a subject expert, but the cheapest and quickest way to learn anything is to read. The written word saved my sanity as a child. Books were my lifeline to the world beyond the one I was confined to then, and I wanted to experience all of it.

The short 90 or so years that I will be on this planet will not satisfy my desire for discovery, and I am nearly two-thirds of the way to my expiration date. As I weed my way through what I am willing to experience, death has become my azimuth. Years ago, some therapists told me that this was a problem so I “worked” on it, but now, I find that it has served me well. Keeping my eye on death causes me to embrace my eternal presence – the part of me that will continue when my body no longer exists. Who I become now I take with me into eternity. What I experience helps me evolve into who I become.

Countless words exist of people’s tales detailing their journeys of how they became who they are. There are hundreds of methods and paths to self-discovery. I’ve read the books and blogs of people who appear to have blazed the trails to enlightenment and ultimate universal connection. I’ve prayed their prayers. I’ve practiced their meditations. I’ve repeated their mantras.

Yes, I’ve grown. I’ve become. I’ve discovered. I’ve experienced. But, I’ve not achieved the measure of conscious embodiment their words have described. I’ve failed to mirror their success and wonder why.

In my efforts to master the experience of Centering Prayer, I read Thomas Keating’s book Manifesting God. If you read his book, you can’t but help but hear Keating’s voice and feel his experience with God. In a moment of clarity, some small still voice inside me said: “these words describe how it is for him, but not necessarily how it is for you.” Keating can only describe his process, not mine. He cannot live my experience any more than I can live his.

Words and books cannot create my experience. Living creates experience.

The experience I seek is to be fully alive as my true self in this life.

Only my presence can create that experience.

©2013 by Barbara L. Kass

Blog Baking 101

February 8, 2012

I’ve been gone from my blog for a very long time which translates to “I’ve decided to spend my presence elsewhere.” I miss these excursions – this little walk down the pathways of me and my life . . . the occasional venture into the lives of others. My blogs are short. One might think that it takes little time or effort to come up with 500 words, and they would be right. I can throw a thousand words on a page in no time, but what matters to me is reproducing my journeys and discoveries in a way that unfolds me while taking the reader to their own journeys and discoveries.

Blogging requires planning, cooking, chewing, and digestion time. There is the thinking of the thing to write. Then, there is the drafting of the thing to write, followed by the finalizing of the thing to write. And, there is the delivery of the thing to write. I am my own worst enemy as I am in constant search of the right ingredients, and then the right combination and measure of those ingredients along with the correct temperature and time to bake my blogs. It might take me a week or so to examine and revise whatever current recipe is making my life.

Writing gifts me in the form of a present presence. I cannot be anywhere but here while writing. I cannot pay attention to anyone or anything else while writing. It is the perfect present.

The problem is that I have arranged my life so that there is always something else to pay attention to besides the present moment. People and tasks crowd around me each demanding their due. All the while I am writing, these various voices in my head command me to be here . . . or to be there . . . or to get ready for this . . . or to go take care of that. The next thing to do constantly calls to me. It follows me around like a dark billowing cloud who rumbles “Fix me! Take care of me! Resolve me!” My writer’s block always comes in the form of paying attention to anything but writing.

I have a thousand things to write! I know what I want to be when I grow up! I love what I write when I write it! My discovery of selfish truths and hidden agendas nearly always comes through words, either spoken or written. My truth lies in words and I have sought them out ever since I discovered their existence. My creativity is literally fermenting inside the spaces I opened up long ago. I have no fewer than 42 rough drafts. The words are yelling “Hey! Give us some air already!”

The art of being with my words is in need of tending in my life. The time slots on my calendar appointments are triple-stacked. If I want clean laundry and groceries, I have to put them on the schedule. All of the spaces in my life are filled largely by choice. I’ve made these decisions and chosen these activities because they are meaningful and supportive to me in some way.

Creativity requires that I conjure up an open empty space where I can visit with my life, select the cake I want to bake, find the words and add them in the right combination, mix and revise, taste-test the batter, and then nibble at the crumbs.


©2012 by Barbara L. Kass

The presence of transformation

November 22, 2010

Lately, most everything I have been reading sounds like I have read it before . . . much of it numerous times. The subjects are the same. The writers are rehashing old materials, adding a new twisty phrase or a personal glimpse. That might make the piece more interesting, but it is still the same story. I know that many of us need to hear the same message over and over and over in their endless variations before we finally hear the message and then hear it some more before we finally apply the message to our lives. What I want to know is: where are the new messages?

I’ve heard it said that every thought that could possibly be had has already been thought of before and now all we are doing is thinking the same thoughts over and over again but just saying them in different ways. I am not quite sure I believe this because I doubt that anyone would have thought to “Google” something or perform a face transplant before the year 2000.

Except . . . they would have used their own time’s equivalent of search and repair or transformation.

We are telling the same stories over and over, with the same themes and having the same results. What we need are transformational stories . . . the kind with messages that make us think of a different way of being in the world. These stories have to come from our eternal presence, the one who is practiced in the ways of transformation – the one who transformed from pure energy into the spirit within us.

I am seeking to write about ideas, concepts, realities, and fantasies that no one ever has before. I want to take my concepts of existence beyond what I know and realize in this moment and spill their guts out onto my computer screen. Some days my writing comes fast and easy and knobby startling little phrases drop out of my head and into my fingers effortlessly.

Other days, I have a head of concrete with all sorts of disorganized ideas stuck in slow motion. How do I jackhammer this cement to free those ideas so they can co-mingle and become one coherent bolus of information and inspiration? Do I have to wait for the weather of time to wear it down slowly with its scorching suns, freezer-burn cold, and hurricane winds?

There must be a kinder, gentler way to free these thoughts stuck in the concrete of my brain’s neurons and synapses. Waiting for transformation is like waiting for inspiration – an exercise of the desperately lazy.

Transformation is not looking for a place to happen, but the story is waiting to be written. It is in the writing of the story that transformation occurs.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

the presence of resistance

August 3, 2010

Resistance is a powerful tool. It can stop any process or force. It can create its own force and defeat the efforts of nature, interrogation, desire, and microbes (note: with microbes your body mounts a defense and sends raiders to kill the invading microbe, so technically not resistance because a carefully designed counterattack is taking place; however, this is my blog and because that action takes place totally outside of our decision-making process, I am calling it resistance).

Resistance can be our friend – just ask any recovering alcoholic or ex-smoker.

I am strongly resistant. I conquered addiction to nicotine. I have resisted temptation hundreds of thousands of times in my life. For example, if someone cuts me off when I am driving, I resist the temptation to run them off the road and verbally* teach them a lesson in polite driving. The only lesson they might learn from that is to sell their car and buy a Behemothmobile. At those times, my resistance is connected to my inner wisdom. If someone is willing to risk hurting me and themselves just to get a space in traffic, what’s to stop them from hurting me as I prevent them from reaching their destination?

*screaming incoherently

Other times, my resistance gets in my way.

I am even resistant to writing about resistance. Resistance appears as a physical stiffness in my breastbone and a total lack of coherent sentences in my brain. I find myself immersed in distraction rather than production. I make a decision to surrender to my reluctance. I could make the decision to meet my resistance and negotiate. Like this morning. I would rather go read other people’s blogs but I am working a deal with my resistance to write about it.

I am resistant to writing about anything. I start a little interrogation with myself about what to write about, what I think about the subject, how do I feel, and then I check with my creativity to get some advice as to how I want to say it, and up pops my resistance. Behind that resistance are some whopper stories. I type in some words and immediately think to myself “But that’s not brilliant!” I want to see the mastery in each sentence before I proceed to the next. It does not matter that I know writing is rewriting, that I have the option of coming back to revise and craft the sentences until they reflect exactly what I want to say.

Sometimes the writing flows even through resistance, like water finding invisible cracks in a concrete dam. Here’s a revelation: even when my writing is flowing, not every sentence I write is brilliant. In fact, some of them . . . okay, MOST of them are downright remedial.

I consider all of my writing as works in progress. At some point, I will revisit this post and play with it some more. I am in hot pursuit of being a qualified writer who says things that other people find useful at some level.

I resist giving up.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass

the presence of focus

July 3, 2010

Whatever we focus on will grow. If I focus my time and attention on any particular area of my life, it will grow and evolve, and sometimes come to completion and be finished. When I focus on completing written works, page after page filled with words appear on my computer screen, and eventually, on tidy white pieces of paper.

Whether those words say what I want them to say in the way I want them to say it is an entirely different manner and requires a different sort of focus. That is called “rewriting focus” and even right now, I want to go back and rewrite the phrase “entirely different manner” because it is a cliché and I don’t want to write with clichés. But, clichés are a way of getting an idea down on paper quickly before the other ideas that are pushing to be heard and written get lost in the thousand others bumping up against each other. Eventually, I fear my ideas will give up trying to escape my weeny brain and retreat back to my subconscious. By the way, “weeny” is not a real word. It is the second half of another cliché “teeny weeny” which all of us have heard. “Teeny weeny” refers to something smaller than small . . . like miniscule. I do not have a “teeny” miniscule brain but sometimes there are so many ideas clamoring crashing the exits, that my brain often feels “weeny”- incapable of containing all those ideas at one time.

Enough of that already. The paragraph above represents what I have been allowing myself to do for the past couple of weeks: allowing life to distract me from myself. Even in writing, I digress and go off on tangents that have nothing to do with my original thought when I sat down. I sat down to write about focus and end up defining slang.

Rewriting a piece often requires that I walk away from it for a couple of hours and occupy myself with something else while I digest the words at some unnamed internal place. The idea is out there captured inside my computer. It went from intangible to digital and will be tangible when I print it out on paper.

What is important to rewriting is the empty space inside me reserved for that particular piece of writing. If I focus on that empty space, more of that idea will grow there. The writing becomes more of itself. To get to the empty space, I must sit down at regular intervals and visit with my words outside of myself . . . whether I “want” to or not regardless of whether now is a “good” time or not.

If I wait for the right mood to strike to write, I will be waiting forever. And all those ideas will go off to find someone else who will write about them.

©2010 by Barbara L. Kass