Reflections

hello friends! those of you who visit lordflea might wonder “what the heck happened to lordflea?” Well, life happened, that’s what. I’ve been immersed in many more duties away from the computer than usual, and today i’m making it my first priority to write about what’s happening. First Things First for me, today, is to share the waves of life that have come in duos, trios, quads too! and yet—no, I don’t feel overwhelmed.

contemplating the never-ending mystery of LIFE

contemplating the never-ending mystery of LIFE

Most importantly, my 91 year-old mom had another stroke, not too bad so don’t worry about her imminent demise and no, she’s not sitting like a lump slobbering on her front. I was up on my sailing trip a few weeks ago, sitting at anchor off the coast of Provincetown, Mass. when I got a phone call that what we thought was the flu, or food poisoning, when Mom was throwing up just as I left Florida, was actually one of the symptons of her having a mild stroke.

So here it is—daze later—i jumped ship and cut my sail short and flew home just as mom was being discharged. The only side effect of the stroke, it appears, is a small loss of vision in one eye, in one tiny spot of her peripheral vision. BUT a crucial place for driving, so mom is now in need of a chauffear and you-know-who has been filling that bill. Many doctors’ visits, acupuncture and reflexology sessions later, not to mention grocery shopping—thank heavens she’s not into hairdos or silly manicures—i must say it’s a pleasure to be here to serve my mom. That’s the feeling i have, through it all. What a gift that, after a life so wildly lived as I have (soon to be published in the book I’m showing agents and editors at present) I am grateful to have this quiet time to—okay, i’ll say the word—make “amends” to my mom for having been such a worry to her.

The Family Puzzle

The Family Puzzle

And…true to her fisherwoman form (she was up on the fishing pier of St. Augustine when she had this last “attack” that eventually was diagnosed as a slight occipital infarction)…the FIRST thing mom wanted done after getting out of the hospital was to go out and throw the castnet to catch small mullets that she uses for bait throughout her winter fishing. Which, by the way, is her way of meditating and a good one at that. So that’s exactly what we did. And let me say right here, I’m a pretty lousy castnet-thrower, so you can imagine how funny that must have looked, lordflea throwing net after net into a phalanx of swarming fish that came in sweeps thick as biblical locusts, and…coming up with one lousy mullet in my half-opened net. Praise the angels watching over me because I was standing right next to Bob the Fisherman out on Velano Beach, with huge tarpon flopping in the air eating all that mullet, and an occasional dolphin showing off their spins and whistles, as they tend to do on Porpoise Point.

travels in the abyss

like-minded friends cruising nearby

 Ol’ Bob saw my misguided attempts at throwing, and probably figured mom was a little wobbly when she neatly threw her perfectly opened net once (and got 12 mullet right off!). So…all it took was Bob’s golden retriever, named Cash (yes, for Cash Money) to stick his head in our bait bucket and come out with a seven inch mullet happily chewed in his mouth, its tail hanging out of his slobbering jaws, smile on Cash Money’s canine face, and for me to say, “Hey that’s pretty cool—a protein-eating lab lovin’ raw fish!” for Bob to come sauntering right over, grateful to meet another dog lover, and offered to help fill mom’s bucket. In no time at all, we had the damn thing filled with perhaps 200 mullet and mom was pleased as punch.

sometimes ya just wanna jump out of da window...and into some FUN

sometimes ya just wanna jump out of da window...and into some FUN

We’ve just come back from ANOTHER trip to Boston, this one for one reason only—to honor the wedding of our two gay friends, Gene and Nat, which i hope i can get someone to send some photos about, because in my glee and joyous celebration, and sacred relief over this most special event, i forgot to snap the two happy dudes. Duh….. and the camera was right there with me. Ah well, we can’t get ’em all. So here’s another vision of miraculous wonder, in place of my two gay friend’s wedding shot—soon to come on lordflea, i promise.

goddess Nut...signifying eternal life...the path of the sun from one horizon to the other in a day's trip

goddess Nut...signifying eternal life...the path of the sun from one horizon to the other in a day's trip

Back home today in St. Augustine, the weather feels good on my skin, moist yet cool, fertile yet hushed, waiting for the winter that soon will descend upon this side of the globe.

A sad thing happened this morning, that i’ll end with. My iPhone rang by my bedside where it was charging. It was only 7 a.m. and we hadn’t gotten back from Boston till after midnight, so i wasn’t about to answer. Yet I checked to see who it was. I recognized the name, Annie: a woman I’d not heard from for several years. In one brief flash of life’s happening-right-before-my-eyes, I KNEW why she’d called. It was that simple. There could be no other eason for her calling, like THAT, so early, so out of the blue.

Annie and I have a mutual friend named Michelle. About two months ago was the last time i spoke with Michelle, who is a British woman that somehow ended up in the most incongruous lackluster town in Central Florida you can ever imagine. Why? Because she has an alcohol and drug problem, and “life” took her there. She’d been trying to get sober, for years. That’s how I met her, because I’m active in AA, and I take on those that others too often give up on. She asked me to sponser her which i gladly did, as i do anyone who asks, in the best way i can. But after a couple years of working with Michelle i moved to St. Augustine, and her phone calls came less and less. She had a toddler to take care of, she had college courses that ran her ragged, she had a job about which she prided herself on how efficiently she managed those properties: she had this, she had that …. she had a life!

Well, no more.

Yesterday Michelle, either intentionally or accidentally, died of an overdose—alcohol with pills on top, a lethal cocktail.

I dedicate this post today to my friend Michelle, who couldn’t make the journey: learning to live in the Light. It’s a very sad thing, losing someone who struggled so hard with addictions. For any of you struggling with life-threatening traits, please read the “page” on the right hand side of my blog: look for “Letter to a Friend who Still Suffers”…..and maybe you’ll find some solace, or a bit of inspiration.

For me, I’ve picked out a crystal that I shall call “Michelle.” It’s very small, a hazy amethyst color with obfuscations, yet it has clearly delineated facets. Kind of like my friend Michelle, who was sharp and smart in so many ways, yet cloudy about her ability, or her “right,” or her “need” to embrace the Light in order to combat the darkness that haunted her. Instead of polishing her rough spots, and accepting that she wasn’t perfect (who is?) she….couldn’t bear it.

She was actively “trying” but….trying isn’t enough! In order to survive addiction, in order to immerse ourselves in the concept of “living in the Light” we must just THROW ourselves into the LIGHT, and live according to the rule that: for every action there’s a reaction. It’s that simple. But Michelle, God Bless Her, just didn’t believe it, couldn’t “get” it….and we’ll never know why. She was going to meetings. She even was sponsoring someone. She had the “Talk”….but talk is cheap. She just couldn’t jive her walk with her talk, and couldn’t be honest—not with those who tried to help her—not with her own self either. Inside her heart, I know, Michelle never stopped racing around, trying to succeed, be the best mom, be the smartest college student, and think it out, feel it out, sit with life long enough to really, honestly, truly believe she was capable of living in the Light. In Spirit. She allowed the dark to overcome her, because she couldn’t trust her higher nature. The same nature we all share, as spiritual beings living a human life. I mourn for Michelle’s weakness. But her tragic end is a warning to all of us who don’t believe how very important it is to live the Highest that we can—and work for whatever happiness or spiritual fulfillment we desire. It’s ALL possible, if we want it.

My mother, at 91, is alive, and will continue expertly throwing her castnet even with her newly blinded vision. Michelle—barely 40, with a four-year-old toddler wondering how the world will ever be safe again—took herself out, unable to bear the pain of her humanness.

I will cherish this crystal that I hold in my hand. It is symbolic of Michelle’s soul. I feel how that part of her being is now merging back into the Source from which she, and you, and I—and All come from. And then, after a few days of infusing this crystal with my thoughts, my prayers, my intentions, I will walk to the ocean’s edge and toss it as far as I can into the waves of the Atlantic as they burst upon the shores of this glorious earth we live upon.

the continuation of life....the aurobouris

the continuation of life....the ouroboros

And this, is life.

in the Light, lordflea, singing the song of Oneness, and I hope you’re joining me wherever you are. Take a moment and breathe in the Light….and exhale, and join your breath with all. We Are One.

Oneness Messenger

Oneness Messenger

following your passion … whichever way the wind blows ya

hello friend,

i’ve been sailing and motoring the inways, byways and channels around st. augustine this week!  in between nursing others in my family, and attending to bizness as usual, i had to do something to blow out the steam, and … sailing, being on the water, is one of my passions, as well as laughing, dancing, being with great groovy people, traveling, learning new things, writing stories and making art. whew! so many passions.

st. augustine lighthouse seen from the Ace Lady, a friend's sailboat

st. augustine lighthouse seen from sailboat Ace Lady

my passions are many.  some have more.  some…only politics, it seems these days.  whatever yours are, i hope you enjoy pursuing them.  and if you haven’t, or haven’t made time to pursue them, i urge you to do that … like now!

take the owner of Ace Lady, for instance:

Captain Priscilla of Ace Lady at the helm

Captain Priscilla of Ace Lady at the helm

Priscilla is a single woman, an expert solo sailor, self confident and extremely capable, who is following her dream.  priscilla puts everything she has into making sure that dream of hers comes true: owning and operating a sturdy, ocean-going sailboat.  it’s not easy, what priscilla is doing, because the maintenance alone (not to mention the sailing) of such a vessel is … well, beyond comprehension to most landlubbers, such as we.  but priscilla finds the time (in between a successful massage therapy business) to maintain her boat, sail it near and far, chartering it out as much as possible (see www.aceladysails.com for more info).  i greatly admire people like priscilla.  they defy the odds, and make sure their dreams become reality.  bravo priscilla!!

this anchored boat, with its mast under repair, represents another sailor’s passion: as demonstrated by the bedazzling woodworking you see everywhere onboard, representing hundreds of hours of labor-intensive savvy!

every scrap of wood is passionately cared for

every scrap of wood is passionately cared for

even this boat owner’s dingys are exquisitely varnished.  he was down below, no doubt, sanding or applying his loving craft to another woody surface, whistling, happy.  following his passion.

and you?  what’s your passion?  are you at least thinking of how you’ll be able to honor that passion today?  even if, like myself, some days you just can’t.  but no matter how stresed or strained we are, at least we can plan on how our passions will evolve some other day, if we’re busy with other things.  because, as we all know, the unfolding of our realities all start with the thoughts we hold continuously in our minds.

as for my passions:  this week i’ve had to put my love (honestly, it’s an out-and-out obsession) of writing and arting to one side to make space to care-take my mom (still recovering from her T.I.A.), and also husband Carter, who didn’t do what i did when i felt “the bug” invade my body last week (we both got it).  i rested, he didn’t.  i’m not as sick, he’s dog-dead-in-the-ditch sick.  i chose to not do as much and he’s paying the price, poor baby (guys! what is it about guys?!).  for a few days i had to put my passions on hold, to heal myself.  and here i am now, nurse lordflea, nursing others, making sure mom takes her meds; making chamomile tea with honey and lemon in the middle of the night for carter, and yesterday,  a big pot of chicken soup bubbling on the stove, with lots of homeopathic remedies at the bedside of the sick co-captain of our ship, called relation.  for the moment at least, my passion for arting (which most definitely includes writing) is put aside for the good of the bigger picture.

but…my passion of being one with the Divine…is never put on hold.  THAT i can do, whether i’m busy, sick, traveling, or involved with others’ passions, projects, or peculiar personalities:

Sufi Bird...flying as high as he can, as i try

Sufi Bird...flying as high as he can, as i try

here’s another shot of the gorgeous st. augustine lighthouse, which has always been one of my passions in life, and also, in my art:

the lighthouse, in reality

the lighthouse, in reality

and here you can see how my passion evokes another way of “seeing” st. augustine’s lighthouse:

Buddha's Foot; from the lighthouse series

Buddha's Foot, from the lighthouse series

in this series, i take the st. augustine lighthouse, which has always been a personal icon of mine, representing a tower of strength and courage, and use it here to remind me to follow my passion, to do whatever i have to do to take my journey of searching for Truth to the next level.  i use the lighthouse along with other universal, recognizable archetypes (painted in the small squares, surrounded by the matrix of space, time, and matter) as focus.  these paintins are reminders, meant to evoke humankind’s aspiring to a greater good (this is MY political activism, folks!).  just as we awake from a profound, prescient dream and only remember an image, a fragment of it here and there throughout the day, i attempt to portray in this series the remnants of a very real, very tangible inner remembrace: the images hint of who we really are, and where our spiritual journey (of the entire human race, mean) is taking us.  we run into these reminders, always, but do we stop to notice them?  bits and pieces of startling landscape, a word from a stranger, an angelic message on a bus ad, a glistening majestic river, a long road beckoning us to follow.  this series is about our path.  other places, other states of being-ness yet to explore.  here’s another of my lighthouse series, this one depicting an altogether different landscape. 

Moon Beach

Moon Beach

for years i used to run along st. augustine beach, and watch the lighthouse as it grew steadily more prominent.  i was always eager to see it rising over the sandy, sea oats-strewn dunes.  the closer i came to the lighthouse, the more excited i got.  my body would shiver, my breath felt sharper.  i was sure i felt the same as, and fully understood the significance of being “guided” that desperate sailors out at sea must have felt, whenever they sighted a lighthouse with the surrounding seas rough, the night dark, and the way, treacherous.  that’s my inspiration behind making this series.  i chose the lighthouse as my main motif, along with more recognizable totems of great impact, both spiritual and cultural, to convey a strong a message of hope to others.  this particular lighthouse, the one at st. augustine, has always been a beacon of inner strength in my own life.  here’s another of the series.

Shiva's Dance

Shiva's Dance

today, on blog lordflea, it seems to be: honor the Light Within Day!!  yes, that’s a passion of mine!  maybe you’ll feel the excitement i carry in my heart for the unseen Light we all carry within, by gazing at my lighthouse series.  i hope you enjoy them.  here’s the final in the series, as i wish you adieu, a very groovy day, enjoying whatever passion you happen to be engaged in at this very moment!

love from your pal, lord flea

Ghost Tree

Ghost Tree

sacrifice…the true happiness

hi friend,

i’ve been told by my teachers, and now have found it to be true–the only true happiness in life is when you serve others.  i’ve found this by…you got it!…being in a position to serve, or else!

lord flea serving the garden

lord flea serving the garden

my mom, who just turned 90 and for whom we just threw a grand, well-attended (over 70 people from all walks of life, all ages) surprise party, has been found to have a “leaky valve” in her ticker. 

mom at her party with her mike, her dentist and gloria, her fishing pal

mom at her party with mike, her dentist and gloria, her fishing pal

i’ve been lord flea’s jitney for her, going back and forth for the last 3 days to mayo clinic, an hour’s drive one way. many tests.  moniters. consultations, all a result of the very first sign of some physical challenge, new to eve, who’s always been healthy, always enjoying a med-free life for her 90 years.  up to now. 

serving mom as jitney, as companion, as selfless daughter and yes, friend, too, is indeed my pleasure, my honor, my delight.

it hasn’t always been like that though. 

our relationship has not been what i’d call a happy or very fulfilling one for either of us–until very recently.  not through any fault of hers.  i take total responsibility for our relationship having been so strained since i left home and became the adventuring gypsy i chose to be.  the onus of a good mother-daughter rapport has been totally mine.  truth is, i couldn’t be with her without crumpling in a heap of self-pity, anger, and horrible, crippling unresolved angst.  through working on myself, i got over this hurtful stage of “blame and shame.” 

first i had to get over my addictions, then i began to forgive mySelf, then finally i ended up doing “rapid eye movement therapy,” quite the buster of the deeply rooted neurotic triggers i had going with my mom all my adult life.

for years i had to stay away from all my family.  i simply was too angry to be any good to anyone, including mySelf.  when i was with her, we fought. i couldn’t get beyond the bad feelings that overwhelmed me by her habitual criticisms.  her well-intentioned comments triggered a certain madness within me, and i’d go berserk with anger, or insecurity–or both.  for literally decades i had bad times with her, or none at all. 

why?  i simply wasn’t ready, in those days, to let go of my resentments over the stupid silly childhood issues of mine, that I hadn’t yet figured how to resolve.  yipes!  how long do we have to work before we let go of things that hold us back?  for me it seemed ages before i stopped being pissed off!

the angelic Self within us all

always looking UP to getting beyond any drawbacks: the angelic Self within us all

but finally the day came when i said “i’m ready!  i surrender.” 

what did i surrender to?  i’m so glad you asked.  first i had to surrender to the addiction of putting mySelf down.  i had to learn to Love mySelf.  because LOVE is the only thing worth surrendering to.  Self love first, and then, afterwards, love for all others.  “see God in each other,” that’s my motto.  and now i know, by experiencing it, by continually practicing it (through positive thought, meditation, chanting, and other yogic practices) that by surrendering, i am truly victorious over any obstruction in my path, that i too, am perfectly worthy of experiencing happiness. 

now i’m no longer a slave to my anger, resentment–or (hardly) any of my old negative addictions, chemical or emotional.  i am glad to report that i am freed of the stupid silly, crippling feeling of separation, of being different that Love itSelf.  now, finally, my heart has melted entirely: i have learned to forgive mySelf for my shortcomings, and I have learned (and worked hard at) to forgive my mother for her shortcomings, too.

she only did what she knew best…and who am i to fault anyone, especially my own family, for not having done what i, little me, perceive to be best for me, for anyone?

maybe what was best for me, in the long run, was to have all the hardships, the alcoholic father, the trying-to-survive-alcoholism, critical mother; all the confusion, judgement, the crushing feelings of not being supported or acknowledged for who i felt i was–because what has resulted in this life of mine, from having experienced all these challenges (common to many), was to push myself to become the very best, the most true, most loving spiritual warrior that i can possibly become.

thus, i am yours truly, lord flea, writing this to you.  in hopes that it will touch you, and help you.

and for this, i am smiling-heart, soulfully grateful to my mother, and my departed dear father, but especially my sweet, sincere, and now scared of not being as healthy as she’d like to be, and used-to-be, ever-strong, ever-robust mother, eve.

in sacrificing my time, my energy, and my strength to uphold my mother during her personal crisis now, during this challenging time of hers, i add so much to my own emotional and spiritual stature.  i feel myself grow from giving.  i can feel the goodness of sacrificing my wishes, for hers, flow into my veins like an invigorating transfusion of oxygen into stale blood.

it’s one thing to say “i love you” to someone–to a mom, to a lover, to a friend.  but it’s entirely another thing, a more real, more magnificently human thing to actually “act out” the love by sacrificing, by sublimating our wishes to fulfill someone else’s needs. to make I Love You an active state of Being, a gesture of sacrifice, instead of merely a cliche, a trite, overused statement.

to give of our time, our funds, our life’s strength–for and to our love.

ahhhhh, it makes us so much more whole to give to others.  we become so much more human.  in doing so we also become so much more attuned to our highest potential.  truly, this is what all great scriptures from time immemorial, talk about when they mention how the state of “being human” is the closest to touching, to “being” and “actualizing” the state of the Divine. 

God dwells within all of us.  We are One.  we are all tiny cells within God’s universal body.

we are all cellular units within God's body...the Universe

we are all cellular units within God's body, the Universe

with great love, great respect, and great sacrifice–for each and every one of you, (my sharing is my sacrifice, in case you’re wondering what could she mean…sacrifice…what??? for me??)

your pal, lord flea

ps. next post i’ll talk about my time in savannah at the jazz festival, which i attended last weekend.  since then–i’ve been helping dear mom.