THE SIZE OF LIFE

“Start where you are. Use what you have. Do what you can.”
Arthur Ashe

 
starfish

Some days I feel as my life is too small. I do ordinary things in ordinary places. When I left Venezuela I thought it was for good. I sold everything I had to fund the dream of building a life in freedom and possibilities in a country where I could grow and experience the amazing range of knowledge and diversity my heart yearned for. I wanted to belong in a place evolving “at loud” where an honest and committed effort can bloom, at its own pace, but definitely bloom.

Life can turn around in a twist and what was unthinkable becomes real. Heartbroken and defeated, I saw myself jumping on a plane back leaving behind all my possessions and my heart in a box.

Life here seems to be lived in reverse, constantly involving, shirking to a point where you cannot breathe. Life dies hard though, even in hopeless areas and under the shade of large and imposing trees; a seed germinates pushing through rocks and roots fed by a silent promise and the soil and sky’s generosity.

Challenges breed resilience and perseverance when a dream awaits; when there is enough love and trust that Good as the seed, is fighting to grow.

You find yourself in a place you don’t belong, with nothing but “you” and the many experiences stacked in your soul. You came back not because you wanted to, but because there was no choice. Failure is indeed a bitter pill to swallow, one with the power of erasing at a stroke the many heroic moments and accomplishments of a lifetime.

One step at the time you come to realize that a blank slate is a space for ideas to be born, a lab for exercising courage and get to know the person you have become. If we allow life to speak, it will hint us about the actions to take, directing the spotlight on a number of spare parts that somehow need to meet and reveal those ones missing for the picture to be clear.

Projects come and go, intentions dissipate or flourish transformed by the circumstances and “yes and no’s” accumulate as we walk. Everything appears to be random, but it is not. This is the single certainty we might enjoy. If only pieces came in a box with an image at the top!

I have come to work as an “intervention” piano coach. I am being referred students who lack motivation or practice habits and are about to fail or give up. As I see their pain, I remember my own. I wish for them what I wished for myself – belief and support- a hand to hold and accompany me back home, to that place of worthiness and possibility where there is a reason for all and I am truly loved for who I am, no matter what is going on.

As life presents itself, the chain of events ostensibly has a dream of its own. The original dream still beats in the background too weak to dare to impose. I need to trust that something wiser than me is pulling strings and somewhere in time the two shall meet and give birth to my fate, the one it is meant to be and I have both searched for and resisted.

In the meanwhile I sit and think of my small life and the things I have done and wish I could do. I understand how caught I have been in the idea that what you have or you can prove, defines you. Success today dresses in glittering clothes and makes loads of noise. I have no bright clothes and fled to noise. I want to change the world and reach high, but my scope and resources are too small.

Then I reflect about the metaphor of starfishes in the sand and the hand that send them back to the ocean. My life might seem small from the point of view of a simple woman picking up messes and knocking on doors, but when a kid hugs me or I see him smile and shine, or when the adult’s eyes betray their masks and innocence and hopes are reborn; then, just then, my life is a big as my soul and the dreams of a rainmaker are nurturing the soil.

Purpose comes in different sizes, I am not sure if we chose if they are big or small. It might be in other’s hands to determine their scopes. What I can choose is to act or not. The impact I leave in one person might be imperceptible for statistics, the media or the last reality show. It is not for the fabric of the world though…

One person is a world in its own, defining her fate as she touches as well those in her scope. One by one we fulfill our destinies and the chain of people grows,  those who might not see us in the papers or glittering clothes, but will remember our love and be strong and confident to pay it forward making others feel loved.

I thus declare…

There is no such thing as small lives; there is only poverty of dreams. I shall live to remember that when a dream is lost, is not just the dreamer the one affected but the Universe as a whole. I shall keep then, focused on the soul in front of me and enjoy the greatness I might not be able to see but that will have a tiny bit of me.

When “Something” Speaks… Let it BE

As complex and uncertain as a moment in life might be, that is how some things happen to exist. I left my guard down and witnessed within. There is no better way to explain what I saw, than telling the story as it happen to me.
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Loneliness is a strange thing…

It has the power to summon such a wide range of emotions and place them randomly on the canvas of experience. Loneliness dressed for the occasion, and takes the feminine discontent and expectancy lurking from the mirror before an important event.

It might be sweet as nostalgia or really painful as a loss.
It might savor hope and become yearning in the long run.
It might be unbearable as despair, or eternal as the dark nights of the soul.

Loneliness is a friend I have known since long ago, there is no use in running or pretend I must go.
It can come for a visit and hang on with one or the many walking by or just engaged in small talk.
It might post a picture and join the cyber space, circling around words and events wishing to be heard.

Loneliness is a strange thing, I must say once more…
It can stir the invisible substance where things grow and turn into high speed intentions and creative flow.
It might happen to be a serene getaway for the silent longings rising from the beyond, and soaring as flying metaphors of the heart’s call.

Loneliness knocked and I opened the door…
She waited patiently as I sang my song.
Then took the beads and strung them up.
One by one the space filled up,
Reeling words sketching my soul

Loneliness can surprise us too with the colored face of the truth…
There is beauty and magic in the painful hope voicing it sadness openly to the Gods.
A string of consciousness might reveal the treasure hidden in a sudden tear and from the solitude of who we are, offer something to that other who might as well searching is, about why loneliness is such a strange thing.

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LONELINESS’ TRUTH

Today I feel lonely
Lonely as the seed awaiting to become

Loud and messy Life sings
Its song just an echo leaving no print
Bouncing from one gesture to another
In nameless faces and dreams
Vibrant Waves pass by
To dye in routine

Today I feel lonely
Lonely and forgotten as the mist touched by sunlight

Rushing steps and cheerful laughs
Chirping birds and caution warns
A cacophony of vital wise
Running through the veins of ordinary life
A memory blinks of a time in the past
Where I was too a note
In this music blast

Was I really ever one..
A note dancing
In this music staff?

Today I feel lonely
Lonely as the dissonance in a plain ballade

It is not that I’m alone
Noise and sparks
Colors and forms
Move around and call along
So bright and bold
Unchanging and dull
The profane reigns
Claiming to be
The word of the Gods

Today I feel lonely
Lonely as only the heart might know
When dwelling in the void left
By a nostalgic Soul

I look in the mirror of dangled sighs and solitary tears
Farewell petals and secrets hopes
Caressed by invisible frontiers
Unspoken words in aging ink
Remember the future
Of timeless kisses
Unwillingly mourning the past long gone
And surrendered unlived

Today I feel lonely
Lonely as one for whom the other is lost
Or yet to be known
One for whom
Her true reflection is no longer enough

Today I feel lonely
And wish I was not
I seek the promise of the encounter
And search the stars for a response
Twinkle, twinkle
Far beyond
As I wonder if above
Angels keep all dream notes

Today I feel lonely
And nothing but you can fill the void
You dearest, a mirage of joy
Eternal reverie of a solitary soul
Casting silent spells
To place a face to love

 

Mercedes Calcano
July 2015

TIME FOR LOVE

Flying-Puppy“In the flush of love’s light, we dare be brave. And suddenly we see that love costs all we are, and will ever be. Yet it is only love which sets us free.”
Maya Angelou

 

 

How many times we have been told that we choose our thoughts and even how we feel. It has been hard for me to deal with that notion as I tend to be in a “longing” kind of mood as old as me. I wake every morning, having to remind myself to count my blessings – I slept well, I have a bed, birds are singing, it is a rainy day, (I love those). I follow my morning routine, get a coffee and go back to bed to read or write about my impressions and meditate (or at least try!).

The grey clouds in the sky seem the stuffing of an old silver bed cover with glowing patches here and there. As they move slowly, I think to myself – this would past too – What is “this”? That is the question.

When I was a kid, I remember praying for enthusiasm. I was a very responsible and stubborn kid; I spend hours studying, practicing and perfecting whatever is that I was up to. Even then, though, I felt as my inspiration and persistence were fueled by a “heavy” passion, defiance or even a sense of duty. It was hard work and struggle imposed from within, a painful mix of resilience and hope going along with an endless zest to uncover the truth.

The truth here is a very wide concept, made of the many existential questions I have asked myself since childhood. Answers have come and gone, dressed up in experiences, books, therapy, studies, relationships and artistic endeavors. There have been moments of absolute pleasure, infatuation and recognition, as well as despair, sadness and giving in.

I was told once I was an “intense” person. The comment was made in the context of a conflicted relationship and intended to point out the “villain” flaw responsible for the problem. It crushed me… not because I thought it was the root of the problem, but because it was true. I felt that the inner world I had been immersing myself to find answers was being erased at a stroke and I would never be loved…

That inner world was loaded with blurred and strange “things” exerting a strong pull on me. Some were indescribable, others painful and there were those that only could fit into the category of “magic.” I felt busted! The inner attic of my heart and soul could be a mess, but It was a mess I was exploring with the timeless memories of our humanity and the promise of continuity.

Today, I can acknowledge with a smile, that I am indeed intense. Nothing goes in the bucket of indifference to me. I experience every good or bad mood, event, discovery, emotion and wonder in all its beautiful force. Sometimes is damn difficult, too much to bear for a vulnerable and breakable human being! Add to that, my inner critic’ tendency to beat myself out for taking in that much, and the “inadequate-self” who jumps into “fixing mode” right away.

There are those quiet days, when I sit in bed and ask again – it is a new day, shouldn’t my soul be rising as the sun?

I think of enthusiasm then, and face the culprit behind its disappearance; love. The love I have a lifetime craving from the outside because it is so hard to find within.

Circumstances are bad measures for our worth; it is so easy to get caught in others’ definitions of success. It is also common to get trapped in our story and edit those scenes that speak of a different world; a world that asks for self-love and the courage to show up and let myself be seen.

Perhaps enthusiasm is just the result of an unshakable faith and trust in the WHO I really am and my gifts; joined with the willingness to believe that no matter how “out of context” life seems to be, the Universe is plotting to do me good.

I keep going through this process of learning to relax and flow. It is a choice I have to make every day (or even every minute if I can remember to turn the autopilot off).

The sun is rising and my soul is sleepy…
Let compassion and acknowledgement carry her into the world today.
Let a choice define the moment as an adventure,
And walk the path with “How amazing!” lenses in the senses and
A grateful and open mind,
Miracles shall find me…

And you my dear reader, how does enthusiasm reveals to you?

 

Image Credit – http://cutearoo.com/2011/03/10/its-a-bird-no-its-a-plane/

Goodby Soul

“A rebirth out of spiritual adversity causes us to become new creatures”.
James E. Faust

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It has been quite some time since I last visited this page. My life’s journey has thrown me into a spiral of emotions and events that require reflection, experience and change. I am not done yet… I have not even gotten near to an understanding of its impact and the turning point I feel is haunting me.

The only thing certain today is that I need to take one step at the time.

There have been many hardships and doubts in my life; yet I never, not for once; doubted my soul’s guidance before. I had lived with a sense of “Something Bigger” being in charge of the “madness” and the belief in an invisible Force in me worthy of a Sci-fi Trilogy.

I was used to “Dark Nights of the Soul” and to feel mine squirming and jumping as a dog before lying asleep. It could also surprise me with awkward and nonsensical ideas too.  Still,  I trusted fiercely that it would lead me into the light and I would be a better human being afterwards.

Not this time.

This time I felt betrayed and laughed at. I was angry and I have had enough of following blindly a quirky invisible thing that after all this time together, had had the nerve of leaving me hanging in the abyss and in so much pain.

Act One. The Unimaginable

If you are like me, a master in looking for any justifications to explain what is inexplicable or just plain awful, or so caught in your story of unworthiness that you are afraid to say enough is enough;  then you can understand what a huge deal was for me to feel such anger and sack my soul.

Oh, yes, I did, and I am not sure I have rehire it either. This time I am up for a better deal. If I am going to keep being the Ginned Pig, I want sound presence and loud answers.

For once in my life I stopped looking up, or within, with my head down and a begging whisper. I face it straight ahead with everything organic or not shaking and shouted – I am done. Whatever contract I have with you, consider it broken. I quit.

Silence…

Act Two

… A weird standing-in-the-void-kind-of-mourning-experience where I have no idea what to do with myself.

I had not realized that when you fired your soul, you run out of solid excuses for avoiding and resisting the earthy demands that fall into another bag of excuses labelled-“answering to my Grail Quest.”

Perhaps I am, and the darn thing not only hides, but jingles behind me to see how alert I remain.
(It does not feel as cruel as before; nevertheless, I am still angry).

Act Three. Spiritual awakening or breakdown?

No idea. I decided that I would paint butterflies and make origami animals, watch TV series and see if the character’s monsters under the bed are really scary shadows or, we have a comedian-soul-epidemic.

The worst part is that although I fired it, (and I am mad and…) I am speaking about it and even doing things regarding that old saying of mine -“follow your soul” (imagine a deep voice).

What if it does not know what is that is doing? Or if it is has become so “human” that ends like me, going from one “place” to another?

Can a soul lose it’s compass? A soul, you know? Light, divine spark… I am not talking about us, the mortal ones.

I always believed that the soul was in speed dial with the Higher Source. I might not be able to sneak in the conversations or watch through the keyhole or understand what surely  would be communication in code! But again, I trusted…

How could I be so lost and in so much pain? How could I have so uproariously failed following its lead?

Act Four. In the “Realm of Mysteries”!

I pride myself on being good at designing creative and deep learning experiences for my students, to go beyond paradigms into the vast Universal imagination to connect dots, lines, shapes and whatever, to depict the path of “knowledge.” This is ludicrous compared to what the Soul can come up with to bring you a well-designed-tailored-learning-experience!

Yes, I have come to think that this might have underlying currents too deep to be able to follow. In the meanwhile, I dance in the edge between the “old and new” Me. I cannot see before, past, up or down; I can only be here and answer to the impulse to write.

Could this be the lesson? I wonder…

I have no idea how many acts are there in this play; nevertheless, I am determined that the final act will be written  four hands!

Hush…
I have to leave,  I can hear my soul jingling!

 

Image Credit:
http://naomuack.blogspot.com/2010_03_01_archive.html

I Undid the Tie and Lift the Lid… Many Lives are Required to Describe the Gift.

To Ali, Joseph, Teresa, Debora, Patricia, Dave, Gary, Noam and Mick …

Gift Box

 

 

“The language of friendship is not words but meanings”.
Henry David Thoreau

 

 

 

Many deep and beautiful things have been said about friendship; is one of those things that linger across all times touching hearts and transforming them subtly and permanently. Friendship weaves itself without prejudices and enjoys entangling infinite shades of the rainbow colors in a shroud eternally woven and unwoven in infinite patterns of vulnerability, love and courage that infects the Universe with our humanity.

Friendship can pay a visit or stay forever, it can be abated by change, distance, disloyalty and betrayal and take flight in search of new horizons. But the land that guarded the seed and nurtured it shall not forget, and endure the wheel of life, providing support to ancient roots and making room for new seeds to come.

I truly believe that luck has nothing to do with friends, I see it as a sacred ritual in which The Divine shows up taking different forms to aid in the accomplishment of spiritual tasks and in return experiences life in its most primal and raw facets, those of imperfection and impermanence.

In Friendship, the simple and ordinary goes for a ride, unaware of the complex and extraordinary sitting next to it; is such a natural and generous abundant act that is easy to overlook.

Today we celebrate friendship.” Friend” might be a kind of wild card used in many settings as a collection of names, memories and events; a space for lightness and delightful sharing.

Friendship is so much more though. It is a language of the soul, written and read in meanings and actions. It lives in the pleasure of commonplaces and adventures, dreams and unforgettable moments and in the held hands and wiped tears of two souls locked in an embrace that forgoes separateness.

True Friendship does not hide behind excuses, is not threatened by the successes or annoyed by short comings. True friendship shows up, takes all patiently and courageously, speaks boldly when needed while and remains unchangeable. True Friendship is the macrocosms and all its mysteries contained in the microcosms of our hearts.

Friend is a word charged with possibilities, a sacred gift disguised as day-to-day life, bringing the best of us to light while dressing up with smiles, laugh and true caring.

I am then calling up to celebrating an ancient rite imprinted in Heaven and binding us together, today I celebrate an Invisible dwelling in the hearts of mankind, nature and everything in existence.

With deep gratitude I surrender to it…

 

Happy Valentine’s Day to all you my readers and companions, I thank you for bringing the best in me as well…

How to Tame Your Dragons… Or Train Your Adult!

“There are two ways of spreading light: to be the candle or the mirror that reflects it.”
Edith Wharton

Candle light magic by Donal Zolan

There are times when I feel like no matter what I do, I seem to be glued to my circumstances, habits or moods. I am riding this invisible and “unfair” roller coaster with short high peaks and very long and steep descents. Fear is in charge and I cling to excuses to be able to bare my disappointment and guilt.

Guilty as charge! I know what I am doing, somehow the action button has stopped working and my I my inner charger have completely collapsed. My mind runs wild looking where to hide from the critic witnessing my failure and shouting to get over it and move on.

My heart jumps like a ping pong ball into the fired up field of “I “can do it!” and that of “why bother!” Yes, I am in the middle of an inner war, one in which present, past and future become an explosive blend threatening torn me apart.

Emotions are strong and ready to overpower me. I learned that I need to welcome them and let them do their job; still they remind me about where I am at this moment and it is not easy to accept and forgive myself.

A little bit ago a mentor invited me to register my choices and thoughts for a couple of weeks. Because I have a “narrative” soul smitten by metaphors, I decided to call upon my shadows, dragons and daemon to do so.

Long before my task was over I had discovered my tendency, or I should say “addiction,” to lean upon my faults and worse; a weird pleasure to go over every detail and edge of my shortcomings and disowned selves.

Nobody with that long “criminal record” and “monster-like” personality should be allowed to rise above herself, leave the dungeon and join the pleasant and pure environment of the world and the “others!”

While I share this, the wiser part of me smiles in astonishment, the jester makes jokes about the ridiculous thoughts and the critic gloats- “I told you so”. Faraway though, a little girl hides sad and afraid that I betrayed her secret and she will never be loved or forgiven.

This little girl truly believes that somehow she was born cursed and her task is to atone for the amazing baggage she carries. She has no idea how it came to be, only that she is not worthy of love, success, fulfilling her dreams and so much more. Her life space and time has been devoted to do everything in her power to change and learn to be “good” unaware of the high price she is paying for it.

What did I manage to see the little girl cowering in a corner of my soul?

Tracing back my fear of being exposed…
It is not about being ridiculed or criticized; is about finding out that “they” are right. A part of me is terrified of being a “fake” and as such, it prefers to stay invisible.

Why?
Because behind invisibility there is still hope…

How many of us settle for a small life to protect the halo of light still burning in our souls? How fiercely we hold to the idea that it could be irremediably taken from us?
I know I have…

You surely had heard about limiting beliefs and probably as me; have tried many techniques to get rid of them once for all.

How is that working for you?

Here is something I discovered a little while ago…
My limiting beliefs might suck, but many of my virtues and qualities I own to them. In my need to compensate I have develop strengths and tools that serve me well today.

They are part of me and they were born to protect me, to make sense of what I was experiencing at a time where nothing or nobody else stood up for me.

As well as the external influences, these internal ones have help modelling the person I have become in good ways. Thus, I am willing to update and reframe their utility.

This means finding balance between the lessons learned and the possibilities offered by more supporting beliefs and learning when to rely on the old ones to keep me safe and when to lean into the positive ones.

This, though, is adult work and as such it works in a slow and many times messy ways.

How I am training my adult?

The first step is to be aware of the moments where my old beliefs take over and fly to defend me without asking my permission.

In my case, they spill the beans all over the place. I become reactive, feel pain and see myself acting like the “monster” I am so against and afraid to be! Afterward, I get angry at myself, close my heart and go back to that place of hopelessness and dis-empowerment that started the … “thing.”

The second step: name it. Call upon the habit, “strategy”, behavior and allow the feeling behind to be. Then call upon the strength and breathe.

Disgusting I know! I am so proud of being smart and I so hate to prove myself wrong! Plus, I have to deal with the gloating brat telling me – you failed again! I am still looking for the volume switch to turn it off so I can hear my beautiful qualities signing along!

The third: afford yourself the same compassion you will offer others.

Remember, it is a process where many inner selves need to be listened to and comforted. Even if sometimes it feels like a kindergarten out-of-control-conspiracy or a teenage rebellion; they need to know our adult part is in charge and is taking good care of them.

Last but not least, trust that you are not alone and no matter how difficult things might seem, impermanence rules the Universe and the Sun shall rise again…

For a perfectionist like me, self-compassion and trust are quite a challenge, and as you saw above, I am still working on the other 3 too. Good old life school is resisting graduating me!

For a little kid scared of being exposed and rejected, this is a breaking point, one in which her soul whispers – you are not alone…

There more we dare to face our imperfections, the more our little lights come together and the greater the splendor.

Good to be back.

 

 

Special thanks to Noam Kostucki, for always asking for the best in me.

Image Credit: Candle Light Magic by Donald Zolan in http://abstract.desktopnexus.com/wallpaper/563035/

 

Returning to Words

“And now you’ll be telling stories
of my coming back
and they won’t be false, and they won’t be true but they’ll be real”
― Mary Oliver, A Thousand Mornings

Destiny Calls pic 1

Hello dear friends,

It has been a little while and I have missed you…

The New Year presented itself with cross roads, reflections and urges.
I must apologize for abandoning you, while not in my heart, I did so in these pages.

It has been a time to build resilience and courage to face the challenges and stand up to the opportunities ahead.
As the Phoenix, I am born again into a new Reality… Or perhaps, illusion?
We shall see soon enough.

For now it remains a mystery and that… That is part of what must “grow”…

Ready to take off?