The Best of You

IMG_3619+
You tried so hard and
stayed so true and
yet it got the best of you.

Yes, the best of me is what
it had, so there’s no need
to be so sad.

The world has turned me
downside up and made me
drink the bitter cup.

And when the dregs had
done their thing, I sat
right down to cry, then sing.

Vicki Woodyard

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Choose to love yourself….

morgue
There is a difference in writing here on my blog and on Facebook. It flows easier on Facebook. I think that is because I get instant feedback. Here, I just get read at leisure.

What can I tell you? I just ate bacon, egg and toast? That the sink is now full of greasy dishes?

That I wonder what it’s all about, ultimately.

That no one knows; one can only surmise. Can only go by “feel.”

Last night our next-door neighbors to the left stopped by to say goodbye. They are moving into a condo closer to their daughter’s school. Even though I seldom saw them, I will miss them. There is little neighborhood interaction in America. And much loneliness.

Holidays are always lonely for me. I don’t understand why they take so long!

I went to the library yesterday and came home with 8 books. Wow. But most of them I won’t read. I will just stick with the ones that I find interesting.

Life is like that. There is never enough time and at the same time, far too much of it.

Once you learn to live in paradox, perhaps that is as close to paradise as we get here on earth.

I write because I don’t know what else to do at the moment. That is reason enough and no reason at all.

But love is always unreasonable, so let us pray that we shall each discover it when the time is right and the time is always right.

If no one else loves you, love yourself and see if that makes a difference.

Vicki Woodyard

Posted in Uncategorized | 1 Comment

Happy First of July Eve

6172015prettycherries
Happy First of July Eve. Never mind the 4th; it is not my favorite holiday by a long shot. All I can say is that I eat too much and can’t wait for it to be over. Such is the life of the American Introvert, otherwise known as the seldom seen” Hide-Out-a-Cuss Odd Ducka-Cuss.” When we see people, we cuss!

Yes, we Scorpio natives are often loners. All of my planets are below the line on my astrology chart. My mother, God rest her soul, solemnly told me, with a pained look on her face, that I would probably have a difficult life. I can, with certainty, say that she was right. And yet I write humor on occasion. Usually wrong ones.

I am already learning that Facebook is not the end-all and be-all of my life. It is just the most addictive part of it. And I shall more than likely return sooner than I think. I have already left and returned more times than the Staten Island Ferry with its daily boatloads of people. I just happen to be ferrying boatloads of words. I am a wordsmith if nothing else. An introverted wordsmith who happens to be on the spiritual path. But enough with descriptors. I simply am.

Down to brass tacks. I write about my inner life almost exclusively. My outer life is way too boring for you to be at all interested in. Since I got a hug from Ammachi,the hugging saint, two days ago, I have been besieged with awful dreams. Methinks she stirs the pot so that you have to let go of all kinds of subconscious trauma. At least I hope so. I don’t need to hang onto feelings of abandonment, etc. Or keep being unable to find a phone or remember whose number I was dialing, as usually happens in my dreams.

I am rereading Daughter of Fire by Irina Tweedie, a massive diary about her awakening courtesy of her master, Bhai Sahib. Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee was a student of hers and now he has gone and been on Oprah’s “Super Soul Sunday.” He probably gets demerits for that, as his presence is way too magnificent for even a big-screen TV.

My teacher, Vernon Howard, would not have been asked to appear on Oprah. He was decidedly contrary and way too fond of upsetting apple carts. As he told me in a dream, “Don’t be so accommodating. Act a little tough!”

So in my writing I don’t spare the rod, either. Bigger Than The Sky went almost a month without selling a paperback on amazon. Gadzooks, people. Some of you need to order it if you want to learn about an extraordinary man who woke up only to find out that he never needed anything but a series of strokes to do the trick for him. I am not sure he was grateful for the strokes, but he loved life in spite of them. And I try to love life in spite of losing child and mate to cancer. Because of loss, I learned to write honestly. Without it, I might have been just another Pollyanna of the Keyboard and we have enough of those and to spare.

So come back or not. It’s up to you. I will be here, at least temporarily.

Posted in Uncategorized | 4 Comments

Moving Day

file0001207444674
The last day of June and my next-door neighbors are moving. I always get quite weepy when people move. There is a large yellow van parked in front of their house, just waiting to begin loading the furniture.

I thought about moving myself, but discovered that something in me was more resistant to the thought that I had imagined. It began with me getting rid of some things, thinking that would be the first stages in moving. But as I cleaned out clutter, I started to feel quite anxious about it. Since I had no location clearly in mind, I decided to stay put for a while longer.

This is the journey of the soul. To be or not to be, to do or not to do. And the whole time, we are being swept across the sky, as an old native American prophecy goes. No free will; we just think there is.

Last night brought bad dreams about my late husband. The family was young and he had left me, not died. And so there was arguing about a lot of things and I woke up in the night overwrought. I felt that to be abandoned would be worse than his death. The subconscious can be nasty business.

So I got up, had a bowl of cereal and tea and went back to bed. This time I had left our young children alone and gone to visit my mother. I couldn’t remember my phone number to let them know I would be home soon. And I had left them alone. Wow. Two bad dreams in a row.

This is what leaving Facebook does. Shows you how dependent one can be on a program designed to put people in touch with one another. I come and go from there and will probably return when the time is right. But right now I am looking at the state of mind I am in when I have more time not so plugged in.

The desire to write never goes away; it is my landmark, my place of comfort and security. Perhaps I will take a look at beginning the next book. Who knows? And if you are reading here, bookmark it, so you can find your way back. I don’t have a yellow moving van, but I am here instead of there, for now. Who knows where I will be tomorrow?

Posted in Uncategorized | 11 Comments

The Lane of Love Is Narrow

file00054633107
I am trying to get used to not being on Facebook. A pretty daunting proposition for a writer. I just have to hope that people will find my writing appealing enough to bookmark my website. I am essentially saying only one thing but in many different ways. And that is how it should be. My teacher, Vernon Howard, told his secretary that he said only one thing, but he tried to say it in as many different ways as he could. If you are wondering what that one thing is, never fear. It will be repeated. (Smiling)

My son and I went to get hugged by Amma yesterday. It was her first visit to Atlanta. I don’t know what I expected, and I won’t say much about it, except that Amma only talks about the one thing herself. The food I had there was so good. I took home an espresso brownie and a piece of carrot cake.

As I sat in line waiting for Amma’s darshan, a young Indian man sat beside me. He told me, in a confidential tone, that his greatest temptation was food. And he was quite slender. “If you eat nothing after 7 P.M.,” he said, “the body is healthier.” His little three-year old was barefoot and happily dancing from one chair seat to another, looking at his parents in great delight. Once home, I made myself a mug of warm milk and had part of the brownie, forgetting that it was probably not the healthiest thing for my body. But it sure was good.

As the Fourth of July weekend looms ahead, I know I will spend it alone. Only watching it on TV. Probably straightening up the house and being relieved when the 3 day-weekend is over. Such is the life of an introvert on the path. The one thing should take precedence, whether with or without the company of another human being.

Having gone beyond the mental state of awakening, the awareness thirsts for pure self-awareness, the one without a second. Even second helpings….

Vicki Woodyard

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

All God Asks

Xmas13-0251
“I found if I don’t make certain efforts in my life, I go under. I find I’m operating on my knees. The level of suffering gets so high you can’t enjoy even the simplest things. Then it’s time to clean your house. And the way I do it is tighten my religious practices. I recognize myself as weak, and I need the help of a tradition. I need the information the tradition imparts to its observers.” ~Leonard Cohen

The above quote is sort of where I live most of the time. If I am not making a fairly consistent effort to wake up, I am sliding into sleep. Sound familiar? Of course it does. Everything has its price and the price of surrendering to God is your pseudo-life. Since it is false, you would think we could walk away easily. Nothing is further from the truth.

To speak personally, I am addicted to my particular form of suffering. It is my life story. To drop it, to even move an inch away from it, provides a certain amount of relief. And yet the sleeping self loves to suffer. The Work says it is like we are hooked up to a giant pain machine and refuse to unhook it and walk away.

So Tobias tells me to leave Facebook because it is separating me from the love of God. He is right. And to have a friend on your side is a valuable thing in the inner life. I hope you consider me one. I have been beaten to the ground enough times that I deeply understand how hard it is to actually sit and love oneself unconditionally. Yet this is all God asks of us!

So make yourself at home here on these pages. Roam around and read the older essays. Ask me a question or throw something out yourself that you find helpful.

Love,
Vicki

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Cohencentric

Cohencentric.com

Cohencentric is the website of Allan Showalter. It has given me countless hours of pleasure; to wit, following the life and times of Leonard Cohen. Allan is willing to be ridiculous in the name of love. He has no shame whatsoever when it comes to embarrassing himself by punning, rhyming, whatever it takes to keep us delighted in Leonard Cohen.

Many of you who read me are also Cohen fans. Leonard is a man that instructs instinctively by his demeanor and his output of work. Allan is willing to trudge endlessly through the mass of Cohencentric information to keep us informed of him.

There is no difference in Leonard and his work. When love operates one’s life, the lies are seen through and the merchants banished from the temple. All that remains is love.

So I am grateful to Leonard Cohen and to Allan for keeping us in good supply of what we need to know about our man.

Bookmark his site or follow him on Twitter. Cohen sightings are sure to turn up there.

Love,
Vicki

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

The Lane of Love

shells and seaweed MGD©
My New Address

For the time being, I am not living on Facebook Lane, where most of you are used to finding me. I have moved, with great reluctance, because a dear friend suggested to me that I needed to love and tend to myself, rather than continue to give myself away on Facebook. He was not saying there is anything wrong with Facebook. Only that I needed to focus on self-love. Since I trust him, I am opening up a new street in Blog Land. I shall simply call it The Lane of Love. As Kabir said “the lane of love is narrow.”

I haven’t decorated it yet; there is just the bare minimum of a bed and table.

Here I shall come to terms with what I am leaving, and that is the sense that I belong to the world in any way, shape or form. My body came forth from the world, but not my essence. And I am essentially myself.

Here I can write poems and prose and reflect on what really matters.

Here are a few lines etched into nothing.

The June air is a solitary confinement for the lungs.
Inside the air conditioner runs.
I, no stranger to the heat,
have come to love the coldness of being indoors.

There is no consolation prize for moving
into a solitary place with a single mirror.
No pay-off for being myself.
No comments to collect and paste into a scrapbook.

I am real and unreal at the same time.
It hurts and it doesn’t hurt.
God is real and unreal.
So we orbit around each other endlessly
with dogs and cats in close pursuit.

I feed scraps of love to myself
as if orphaned from the flock
and its flack.
Weary and original,
I sit here in a burst of bewilderment.

Vicki Woodyard

Posted in Uncategorized | 2 Comments

Hawk Medicine

feather02
I come to the blank page with a deep desire to entertain as much as anything. Instinctively, I want to be simple, direct and honest. If I accomplish that in a few paragraphs, I have done my job. I let inspiration guide my fingers and if I feel the urge to write, out the words come. I never have any idea of what the final sentence will be. If I am lucky, it will be just right.

I open up my body, cutting it right down the middle so that the wordsmith can walk away from the persona and reveal who she is. The strings are cut and the heart is free to speak. Today it is about hawk medicine. This is the third year that the hawks have nested in our backyard. Last year and this year they used the same nest. And last year I was privileged to see them mate right outside of my great room window.

I must be activating my ancestral spirits since the hawks are allowing me to see them raise their young. It is hard to get pictures of them; they are so high up. But we have evidence that they have used the back deck as a dining table. I see that by the droppings and the remnants of their dinner. Bits of bone left for me to get rid of with a large stick. I dare not touch them.

And when the babies fledged, they would use our chimney cap for their TV dinners, so to speak. Mom and Dad must have been close by or perhaps it was them eating the dinners. I have no idea. About a week ago I looked over the deck and found a magnificent specimen of a hawk feather lying right there waiting to be picked up. And now it is on my kitchen hutch.

I don’t know what hawk is here to share with me, although I keep looking up things about hawk medicine. I trust my writing is sharp and to the point. I dislike fuzzy writing or confusing phrases. I want to tell it like it is.

Everything is sacrificed to something else. That is the way of Great Nature. I sacrifice my time and energy to discover what it is I have come to the page to say. Be bold. Be brave. And get off the stage. Let your audience feel you and each will have their own experience of the performance. Writing is not a performance but it is a revealing look into the heart of the writer.

My heart is both cowardly and brave, both private and impersonal, both skillful and awkward. Everything is a mixed bag but the overall effect should be worth your time to read. Something yet has not been said and I am getting to the end of this essay. None of us will ever have enough time to perfect our performances on the stage of life. So it is not perfection we seek. It is heart, first, last and always. The hawk feather may be like the feather in Dumbo’s hat. It may be there to encourage me to fly. I have been holding back long enough. But if the winds favor me, now is the time and this is the place. Amen.

Vicki Woodyard
Author, Bigger Than The Sky

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Writing Bigger Than The Sky

It takes an awful lot of work to produce a good book. And I will speak personally. The first thing I did about two years ago was have a feeling that it was time to write a third book. So I went through my files and pulled together my first attempt at a manuscript. I asked my friend Hilary Starke to take a look at it.

Her opinion was that I had the beginnings of a book. After some discussion, she commented that my writing came alive when I wrote about my friend Peter. So I went through the material that I had written on Peter and wove them in with his emails to me over a period of five or six years. I had suffered a computer crash and lost a good many of them, so each email was precious.

She liked what I did, so I begin to take a look at it more carefully. I asked myself, “What are your best contributions to this book?” And of course, answers don’t come right away. In fact, the more you work on a book, the worse it gets. As someone said, “At some point in writing a book, the wheels come off.” Indeed, they do.

I got in touch with Catherine Noyce at Non-Duality Press and asked if she would take a look at what I had written so far. Wonderfully, she didn’t delay too long before replying that both she and her husband Julian (they are the co-owners of the company), liked it very much.

So now I went to work on an even deeper level. I had worked on it in the beginning stages with Hilary and now I would work with Catherine on the next part of the editing. She had her own vision and questions for me.

It would be over a year before Bigger Than The Sky came out in paperback and as an ebook. A cover photo had to be chosen and that takes time. I had to ask a few fellow authors if they would take the time to read it and write a review or blurb for me. And in between, I read it and read it and read it and read it. I am quite happy with how it turned out. There may be one or two errors, but I challenge you to find them they are so small.

If you haven’t ordered a copy, please consider doing so. Every order puts me closer to being able to begin a fourth book. You see, writers don’t make money on books. They make money on seminars and things like that. And I don’t do seminars. I am pretty much living a quiet life, much of it in silence. My passion at this point in my life is to continue to write as well as I can about my favorite subject in the world. In a word, that would be awakening. Peter turned the key for me to a new way of life. He will for you, too.

Vicki Woodyard

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment