The Beloved in Disguise

There is a weight on every heart. It is borne in many ways, most of them unhealthy. I think it is the inborn sense of guilt, something to do with biting the apple. The fig leaf is the weight we all use to conceal our unnamed guilt.

I write from that weight because it is too heavy to be hidden. It screams out within the walls of our inner asylum. It wants to be set free from the constraints of the mind. It is the mind that invented the fig leaf.

All advertising is aimed at this weight, for we all want a bit of lightness in our lives. It comes in the form of creams or cocaine, gambling or charitable giving (a fig-leaf disguised as something worthy).

The advertisers have their own fig leaves, of course. No one escapes from the weight.

What brought this essay on? A relative I have not kept contact with suddenly lost their autistic child, who was only 18. I went to the funeral home Tribute Page and there I sat mesmerized by the beauty of this boy. It was clear to me that he had been the Beloved in Disguise.

He had been the teacher seen as “different” in order for him to do his work. Now he is gone, leaving light trails everywhere.

Of course my little girl was a teacher, too. The weight on my heart has been written about in countless ways. I am a wounded warrior, but so are we all.

The weight we drag around has nothing to do with this world, although it seemingly does. It really has to do with us not revealing our damage to the world more clearly. The world is rotten to the core. The fig leaf can never solve the problem.

I write this imprisoned by the weight of love. The damage done cannot be undone, so I must sing it until the day I die. There is nothing but love here in these typing fingers, these conveyors of truth.

How do we redeem ourselves? We can’t. It must come from a much higher level that the ego. We must be saved by those that cannot save themselves. A price must be paid.

These beautiful children are way-showers and we must endure their departures from this earth. They have earned their entrance back into The Garden. Now they are seen clearly as they are. As Keats said, “Truth is beauty. Beauty is truth.” That is all we need to know.

Vicki Woodyard

The Skeleton Begins to Dance

“We shouldn’t worry about making plans for they fall through with regularity. You already know that. The only wise plan is to become a better person. And that plan falls through, too. Grace is the plan of plans.”

I wrote that to a friend, thinking she was other than myself! That is one telling of the cosmic joke, isn’t it?

Bare awareness beckons me these days. Crooks its finger at me and whispers, “Come….”

Dare I fall into the arms of this skeleton? This bony scariness that is the remains of what used to be?

All dreams die here. All knowledge turns to dust. And the skeleton begins to dance.

Vicki Woodyard


I should have known better, should have done better. If I had listened to my heart, I would have stayed home and rested on the night I caught a virus. This is one of the final teachings that challenge us as human beings. We know but we hesitate to live our knowing. It feels threatening and unkind to other people.

I was born a knower and a seer. I successfully put myself last in order to be tolerated by people that didn’t even love me. This is the path the world wants us to take. Thank God for people like Leonard Cohen who knew this deeply. Never serve the world. Never try to change it. Just take your piece of the puzzle and mine it for a lifetime.

So I sit here still recuperating from this virus. That one decision to go out cost me a trip to see my sister and my health. I am getting better but have a long way to go. I would like to honor the witness within that watches me doing the wrong thing. Endlessly doing the wrong thing.

I am here to let everything fall away until the ground I stand on falls away as well. Flight is still possible.

Vicki Woodyard

The Masterpiece

This recovery from bronchitis is slow. I woke up this morning and cried. Haven’t done that in such a long time. I am exhausted from coughing all night. But mainly, today is the tribute to Leonard Cohen in Montreal. I listen to this man daily. He informs my heart, reminds it that we are all just the same.

No one deserves ill treatment and yet we insist on giving it to ourselves. I have been pushing this body around for a long time now. I ask it to do things I would not do myself. (Yeah, craziness rocks!)

Rob has offered me his service while I am ill. This is priceless. All the years of failing to understand each other have fallen away. The crop is in the fields and we are harvesting it. All I can do is offer gratitude and put one foot in front of the other.

Being spiritual is not a walk in the park and faking it isn’t either! Shall I go a step further and say that if you think anyone online has answers, you don’t understand the question. The question is who you are at your root.

As I look around my house and see chaos and disorder, there is also a hidden layer of sublimity. Call it what you will. It is smiling through the clouds. Leonard would know how I feel right now. Broken, sloppy, perilously close to reality but not quite close enough yet.

My emotions are salty and bloody. My lungs full of crud. I listen to Leonard and understand that I don’t have to understand. I just have to experience letting go while holding on.

Vicki Woodyard

The Little Things

“Enjoy the little things, for one day you may look back and realize they were the big things.” ~Robert Brault

So this week has lasted at least 4 weeks, or so it seems. I am seeing deeply how inadequate human beings are in this messy game of life. No one has a handle on it. If they do, they will be selling it to you, which means there is some kind of product defect in it. Buyer beware.

Daylight Savings Time puts a kink in everyone’s digital day, doncha know? Too many “fall backs,” so little time. There is at least one digital doohickey I own that refuses to play the game.

Rob has been there for me this week big-time. He took me to a clinic when I told him I had to get some cough medicine that worked. I discovered that the laws are pretty much against the average citizen who actually needs that! The users have blocked sick people from access to any drug that would truly help a bronchial cough. I haven’t slept this week. My house has thrown up on itself in despair. I look around with jaded eye and wander around aimlessly.

Crumpled tissue, drug interaction pamphlets (like you would read the boiler plate), straws, half-drunk cans of cola, notes to myself, yada yada yada.

What was I saying? Oh, yes, Rob has taken my elbow and guided me to the doctor and yesterday to a clinic. He has turned in prescriptions, picked them up, brought in dinner and been a good sport about our trip being called off.

After a life of being a caregiver, it sure is wonderful to know that when I needed a soft place to fall, he would provide it. Having lost my voice, I have let phone messages go unanswered, realized I am always wanting to say something unnecessary and can just shut the heck up.

After turning in my cough medicine script, we went through the Burger King drive through, something neither of us have down in many years. It was sweet, remembering how Bob’s father loved himself a good Whopper. We sat at the kitchen table sharing an Oreo milkshake and fries. It is the little things, indeed, Robert Brault. I count my blessings. And the sprays left in my inhaler and think I may just get by on another week of little sleep.

I ain’t mentioning spirituality here, folks. If you have to mention it, maybe it is worthless. I opened a book I gave Rob for Christmas last year and found an amusing nugget. “God has left the receiver off the hook.” Evidently we got this thing called life, even though we think we don’t.

Vicki Woodyard

A rose in this thorn….

The bronchitis is having its way with me. I haven’t slept for days, since the cough gets unbearable when I lie down. Rob is being wonderful about us having to cancel our visit to visit my sister. He has taken me to the doctor, brought me take-out food, grocery-shopped, etc.

My voice is completely gone at this point. I do emit guttural sounds when I cough, though. Charming, right?

You do know that women of a certain age can’t cough or sneeze without a few pees. Let’s just say I have run the bathroom marathon in spite of feeling like hell warmed over.

I am writing this because I can’t sleep and what else can I do at seven a.m. on a Saturday morning but write. I write myself through virtually everything.

The event where I caught the virus was called Sing for Peace. Ironic, that.

The house looks like a tornado passed through, a tornado that left tissues, cough drops, cans of cola, dirty laundry, dirty dishes and worse.

I would say something optimistic, but I can’t say anything.

I am sure there is a rose in this thorn somewhere. Not that I could smell it….


A Meditation

“This life is designed to overthrow you. Nobody masters it. Nobody masters it.” ~ Leonard Cohen

That sentence carries tremendous weight, as does life. No one gets out alive or intact. No one. What do we do when at last we see that there is nothing that works for very long? We may relax just a little bit. We may become more honest with ourselves. We may understand why we feel such a deep restlessness that cannot be assuaged.

I am the same as you. We are all cut from the same cloth. It may appear different but it is the same. It gets wrinkled and shrinks, unfortunately. Still, we have to wear it as gracefully as we can. As lightly as we can. Not easy, not easy at all.

So Leonard has been laid to rest in a place where we may visit. I don’t plan on making that journey. It would be too much for me. But then, everything is too much for me. That is God’s plan.

Best to lay the plans aside and let God work out his plan on us. The house will fall. The rafters will collapse. This is our salvation.

Vicki Woodyard

An Amazing Insight

I was watching a rerun of Craig Ferguson’s old talk show. Craig was talking about the reason why he was leaving the show. He felt he had done it enough and was ready to move on. So Kimmel says this, or words to this effect. “I was driving to the Playboy Mansion and dreading having to be there. Then I realized that I dread everything.”

The ego dreads everything because it always feels underprepared in one way or another. It actually is, being made up of nothing but doubts and fears it tries to convert into certainty and self-assurance. That self-doubt is what advertising is built on. It sows the same old seeds in our heads—that we are almost okay, but would be helped by trying a little bit harder to gain approval. It never works.

That is the situation, as Vernon Howard would say. Then what is the solution? I am taking a shot in the dark, but I think that seeing the situation clearly is to already be moving out of it. Why keep trying harder for people that are doing the same thing you are doing. They won’t admit it, of course. But you are reading this because you are tired of falling into the same old traps again and again.

Be yourself. You already are. Might as well get some mileage out of it.

Vicki Woodyard

That One Negativity

That One Negativity

I remember Vernon Howard saying that all negative thoughts are connected. That allowing one negative thought opens the door to all of them to rush in and overwhelm us. That is why it is vital to remember this and take the time to get up and close the door.

You will have to work with this on a daily basis, as negativity turns up that often! As the Bible says, “Sufficient unto the day is the evil thereof.” In other words, don’t borrow trouble. Work on the current negativity.

Most of this is an unconscious rumble. A general feeling of disquietude. A wish to batten down the hatches of your sinking state of mind. Trying to make yourself safe does no good because that is coming from your ego. You just have to watch your thoughts as you say “See next thought.”

This is an exercise given by Vernon. “See next thought.” Yes, just watch your mind, alert to the next negativity that will creep in unnoticed. Watch it. Just watch it. Remembering that your job is to witness what has previously been unnoticed. This is your way out, your safe place in the storm.

Vicki Woodyard