So this is how it is….

So this is how it is. I have been writing online since the early 2000s. That’s when it all came apart for me, for the second time. All of you know my story, more than likely. At this point I could write in my sleep. Last night Bob was in the dream. We were out in the British countryside somewhere and were with our children. Water was running everywhere, over paths as well as in the streams. It was beautiful. Only the children were strangers to me. That is how my life often feels, and so does yours. Like at night you became a different person altogether.

Usually in dreams I am trying to get home or I have just lost my purse. I am trying to call home but the phone doesn’t work or I can’t see the numbers or people won’t let me borrow theirs. I wake up realizing it was just a garden variety “lost in life” dream.

And on rare occasions, the spirit speaks to me. But it hasn’t in a very long time because I find myself in a rut. Not an inner one but an outer one. Not my essence but my personality. I should sell the house and find a more sociable place to live. Suburbia is isolating for a widow. But this is our home and once it is gone, I can’t get it back.

Things like that roam across the sub-flooring of my mind like they do in everyone’s. There is no rest for the weary. There is distraction but no true rest. And yet a part of me is frolicking in unknown realms where clear water is running abundantly. And I wake up thirsty for what used to be.

God help me, but I still miss being married; I always will. And yet I have done remarkably well. I see myself getting fuzzier around the edges, as if a stronger lens would help my mind’s eye. Sometimes I think I am still young (my house is dark). At other times I fear my life is being measured out in doses that may run out.

When I found out that Jeff Belyea had died suddenly, I was wracked with real grief. He was such a good friend to so many. All of us are hanging by a thread and yet we are running eternally through clear water. This is our human situation and a Friday night finds me growing nostalgic.

So much for the marriage vows,
till death do us part.
Death could no more part us
than it could part God and His Son.

That body of yours lay in the casket
your hands with the hairs still so
alive I could see them growing.
And yet this cord around my heart
is binding me tighter and tighter.

Writing the words is not singing
the music and the angels are
waiting for me to not only sing
but get up and dance.

The night is long and the musician
has only begun to run the scales.
Now the clear water is running
everywhere and no one is
afraid in this dream of forever.
Now it is time to wake up
from the dream so the angels
can take some time off.

Vicki Woodyard

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Slumgullion Friday

“I had a missed call. It’s probably the all you can eat buffet calling to say, “Come back! We know you can eat just a little bit more.”
Jarod Kintz,

As I get older, I find that great gulps of life do me no good. Those days, hopefully, are behind me. When I go through the buffet line and everything looks appealing. So I sit down with my tray laden with strange gelatin salads, pale rolls, fish and chicken, a few vegetables to salve my conscience and then a large and luscious dessert. The latter always looks better than it tastes.

The gelatin salads are sort of like the “you are supposed to know a little bit about everything” reading that you do early on. From Confucius to confusion, on you go. There are colorful shreds of cabbage-like teachings that catch in your throat. A bit of Blavatsky, perhaps.

The pale rolls are the Sunday-School-like offerings from well-meaning but misguided teachers. You find their work in dusty used book shops, more than likely. You gamely choke them down because they were a bargain. And at this point, enlightenment is the goal.

The fish and chicken offer more substance, but often there is a dismal gravy on top that you have to push aside to get to the meat. These are getting closer to the truth but are still not something designed especially for your palate.

You look around the cafeteria. Everyone is just like you. A little disappointed that what they selected promised more than it delivered. But cafeteria eaters never return dishes to the kitchen. They understand that this is a generic offering they have purchased.

The dessert is often banana pudding with huge amounts of goo on top. You have already gotten full on the other courses, so you bravely eat a bite or two and then push back from the table.

Sometimes there may be a server with a hairnet and a ladle and a twinkle in her eye. She may tip you off to something. “The food you have in your own pantry probably tastes better than this.” Occasionally, this server takes the trouble to come to you in a dream. You wake up realizing that food for the soul has been offered.

This happened to me. I dreamt of going to the desert to find my food. It was served by a man who yelled at his eaters to be more discriminating about what they ate. He was there to fire the present staff and bring in a whole new crew. We were to eat what was put before us. We were told to line up and go quickly, taking what looked good and paying for the modest meal. Afterwards, we were told we had to wash dishes and do the shopping for the next meal. No one liked that idea.

Something else incredible happened. We found that we had been eating wax food; it wasn’t even real. Once we got rid of that, everything was delicious. Our pale faces got ruddier and our backs got stronger. This was a strange chef with a very strange staff.

I will stop here before you start asking questions and the chef discouraged that. He thought if you tasted the food, really tasted it, it would change your life.

Vicki Woodyard
Author, Bigger Than The Sky: A Radical Awakening

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Slow Sips

Slow sips from
expectant lips
foaming with
the tide’s demise.

Curvy dips
on the rose’s hips
are saying it will die.

Patience is the
curbing of the fire
to bank it with
severe desire.

A prayer of sorts
arises here
before it all
will disappear.

Vicki Woodyard

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October 23, 2014

A curtain fell between us.
Maya wove her spell.
I felt the chasm open
as I fell into hell.

Sorrow fell like feathers
into my lonely head.
And I approached the
shuttle to weave the words
I said.

Nothing stands between us
but the river and its flow.
The strands of time are woven
as above and so below.

Green waters move along
as threads that weave
a love so fine
Afloat in love each hour
brings one note and it
is Thine.

I am at a crossroads. Bigger Than The Sky is out and seemingly, the future ahead is simply more of the same. A quiet life, the occasional kirtan, weekly Tai Chi and entirely too much time on my hands. Yet time is merely a measurement and one you will never be able to hold in your hands or put in your pocket for a rainy day. When I was writing oneliners, here is one I liked. “The plane was so crowded that every time we hit an air pocket, I put something in it.”

I just like the act of writing. It comes so easily to me. As I lay in bed this morning lazily, I pondered the fact that essence never changes. I am who I was as a child; so is everyone else. The persona is built up but persona never touches essence. It is our essence that is bigger than the sky. It is essence that carried my friend Peter through his accident and illness. It is essence that enables me to type these words fresh off the fingers, as it were.

Pondering is part of my essence. I have never understood the enthusiasm people have for engaging in activities. I don’t decorate for holidays or enjoy doing anything with my hands except strike the keys. I do admit to having a need for order in my world. Otherwise, I feel threatened by the chaos. I have Virgo rising, which makes me a neat freak. I would say it is impossible for me to appear messy. People would remark on it when I was small. Virgo explains it.

Dutiful is a word that might describe me as a personality, too. I dislike being late or running out of things in the pantry. This is personality forcing me into a certain mold. Joan Rivers: “My body is falling so fast, I sleep in a Jello mold.” (I didn’t write that; it just popped into my head.)

This quality made me a great caregiver, for I had no trouble covering all of the bases. But I also knew that it was a useless endeavor, for my essence knew the future. I had a dream right before Bob was diagnosed with his cancer. It showed us on different sides of a river. I was walking along picking up shells, quite happily doing my thing. Interpretation: I would have many years without him.

Nevertheless, it has been only recently that the grief has abated to any great extent. It happened when a shaman gave me a healing. After spending an hour with him, my deep grief had lifted suddenly to an amazing degree. He gave me a word of guidance: Be grateful. And I am. And I keep on writing like there is no tomorrow. If there was, I would have put it in my pocket.

Vicki Woodyard

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And the silence carries me home….

I can honestly say that the further one goes, the less one knows. That is a blessing, for sure. The certainty of youth is so often misguided and cruel. The judgements fly, relationships are chaotic and the donkey is lured on by the carrot of society.

In that environment nothing can happen but more of the same. For years I was, as the old expression goes, “of two minds.” I was one thing at home and another when out in the world. We think no one will notice. Ha ha ha. Everyone notices and no one says anything because they are the same.

Had it not been for my teacher, Vernon Howard, this behavior would have gone unchanged. But to meet him was to meet one’s conscience. He was the Jiminy Cricket of the inner world. He had the innate capacity to hold up a mirror to every student who sought him out. I had to see myself as I actually was. Not the prettiest apple in the barrel, but one with a worm called Ego.

This worm was keeping me from seeing the light I carried. It’s only job was to mimic the light. And if you watch TV, especially Entertainment Tonight, you will see this is the job of show business. As Vernon told us, the showcase personality must be abandoned.

What happened was that I begin to study my fear up close and personal. I saw how terrified I was of people. I saw the deep fear of displeasing people. I saw how I behaved like every other animal in the human zoo. I was a predator disguised as a pleasant little puppy.

It was not easy being a student of such a teacher. But now, these many years later, his books remain the ones that unlock the door to freedom for me. Most readers are turned off by what he says. Only the few can hear the truth and understand its healing medicine.

Sometimes I forget it for months. I really do. I think I have made some improvements and can now deal with life better. No. I am life itself. There is no one there to deal with it. I am, essentially, the light. The same as everyone else. This is a sobering fact, one best faced in the company of likeminded people. They can help each other stay awake.

I am no longer in a community except for the one I have found recently. That is the kirtan community. Here, one transcends the ego by celebrating the Word within us all. It is an effortless entry into love. I used to be in the Work, as taught by Vernon Howard, Gurdjieff and Ouspensky. I still am. One cannot leave what one is. But now I am also in a bhakti community, which dovetails with what I used to study with my head. Now it is heart-centered and serene. I need people in my life. I need association with lovers of the Word. I need to hear the drums and the chanting.

Usually after a kirtan, I sleep like a baby. I wake in silence and that silence carries me back to the womb of the Word.


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Notes from the Newborn

I’ve had a nasty virus for the last week, but I am feeling much better now. Just don’t want to push myself this week, so didn’t go to Tai Chi. It’s a beautiful day, though, and I am just taking it in. The bird poop on my rearview mirror, the dust on the rear window, you know, the usual “joys” of everyday life.

The relief of getting to and from Tuesday Morning safely. (I had to go get a tub of salt water taffy.) Now I am home again. I plan to make new chili recipe this afternoon and then take a walk.

So what else is new? Me? I am newborn every moment. You can’t beat that. I find myself to be endearingly and frustratingly innocent. I am not sure how I feel about anything anymore. I page through the morning paper increasingly bored with it. Like a toddler wanting out of the playpen. I whine about the ever-reducing quality of the printed word.

Aging is not something undertaken easily. The joints seize up and the thoughts vanish like smoke. It’s adorable, really. No?

You see, Ram Dass is on the cutting age of “senior cute.” No one can touch him in that category. So I am gonna invent a new one just for myself. “Senior something or other.” No more typecasting for me. The legs are the last thing to go and that is true in my case. Everything else can be permanently covered.

I no longer have to talk to people I don’t like. I don’t have to show up any where there is no food. I am rather like a pet in that respect.

I hope you are giggling by now. If not, I will pee on your new mattress when you leave the house.

Oh, yeah, please order Bigger Than The Sky. It will reduce you to tears and I offer no apology for that. If you don’t order it, I will be the one reduced to tears and I may have to start giving satsang for sissies. (That’s where you don’t have to be nobody if you don’t want to. You can remain somebody and I may even offer a discount for that because, well, it’s so REFRESHING.


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Angels are waiting for you….

Sometimes you wake up
and it is still night
in your heart even though
the day has broken,
so has your ambition
to overcome the world.

A dull thud of failure
like yesterday’s paper
lands on the doorstep
of your life.

You have no appetite
for gloom and doom
in the outer world.
It is already within
the habitation of the heart.

What to do?
There are always coupons
to clip and reasons to scurry
through the mall with a bag
of bargains but let us leave
that for another life.

Rumi comes to mind and
kissing is not an
acceptable coupon at the
Clinique Counter.
Go up another level where
angels are waiting for you.
Within you never go without.

Vicki Woodyard

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No Residue

08-17-14 Meadow Vetchling Lathyrus pratensis (7)
Some of you are reading or have read Bigger Than The Sky. I wish I could say I didn’t care if it sold or not, but I do. I wish I could say I know as much as Peter did, but I don’t. Simple truth is vastly more difficult than it looks!

But I am honored to have been able to collect his words and make them into a book. I have but one image of Peter and I cherish it. It used to be on my hard drive but now it is just a piece of paper with a image of him in black and white. He is wearing a baseball cap and is in profile. And yes, he was a “handsome man, a man’s man.”

Is there sorrow as I type these words? Yes. Do I think I should be over it? Sometimes. But the friendship was perfect just as it was.

His words leave no residue. How perfect is that?

An image arises
as clear as can be.
That I am as Peter
and he is as me.
I cherish his friendship
and think not to know
why I had to stay and
he had to go.

Questions are answers
when love is the case
as no one can gaze
upon his own face.

Vicki Woodyard

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Everything will be all right….

Oct. 13, 14

So here it is,
this sheaf of words.
Rolled up and smoked,
inhaled and gone.
Exhaled, stale air
and rich full heart.
At least this is a
simple start.

Or here we go
like we are known
and like children
we have grown
together and apart
like rice.
Each grain a simple
white device.

A word, a grain, a darkling
start, a mystery to this
aching heart that has been
shredded, torn apart
and fused again from
end to end.

Oh, darling darkness,
we will bare this
emptiness of bound despair,
and drinking, lift it up to light
and everything will be all right.

Vicki Woodyard

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Books have their own peculiar destinies….

“As with men, it has always seemed to me that books have their own peculiar destinies. They go towards the people who are waiting for them, and reach them at the right moment. They are made of living material and continue to cast light through the darkness long after the death of their authors.” ~ Miguel Serrano in C. G. Jung and Herman Hesse

It is my hope that Bigger Than The Sky will find enough people at the right time. Some evidence of that has already happened.

People find a real aliveness in what Peter has to say.

Sharing from essence simply happens, like light spilling onto anything it touches.

So Peter lives on in myriad ways and hearts.

The diamond of his destiny was polished to perfection and I was privileged to put it between the pages of Bigger Than The Sky.

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