Sunday, July 30, 2017

Excerpt from "Lenore"

Over the last few years I gave bern working on a novel if sorts.
This part of the story is about a yong Shaman on ger first vision quest. Tbe setting is the Ozark mountains in Northwest Arkansas.
There will be more later. The tittle is "Lenore" 
  Tinka walked through the woods picking small flowers preparing herself  and chanting. The spring sun felt good on her face. There was a nip in the air. She began to feel uneasy. It was a quiet morning. It was too quiet.
There was no birds chirping, or deer running in the distance, not even a beetle or cricket could be heard. She shivered.
Tinka crouched down under a tree. She felt the cool ground under her fingers. It began to tremble. She quickly withdrew her hand. Then there was a sound, it started like a low rumble in the distance. “Big wind is coming” she thought. “I must warn the village”. She stood and started to run.  The sound grew louder and louder. It was going to over take her, the sound was roaring in her head, but she stopped running. There was no breeze.
Other sounds came. First there was the sound of hoof beats clackity, clack, clackity clack. Like that of many heard of ponies, but not hoof beats.  What was it? Then she heard the whistle. It was like Red Hawks whistle only louder and higher pitched. The roar went right through her. She fell to the ground hoping it would blow over her.
She looked up to see the brightest light, so bright as the sun in the darkness. She drew herself up, and started running. The sound roared around her.
She turned to see what was so loud. She saw the big black face of the demon. It had on big bright eye with that was as bright as the sun. It bellowed black thick smoke from the top of its head, and it was bearing its teeth, large black and grinning an evil grin. She started running again. It made a shrill cry, louder than any whistle or flute.  She felt like she couldn’t breathe.

When she caught her breathe she  ran hard. Just before she made it to the clearing where the village was, she saw smoke through the trees. She ran harder. She felt that her heart would pound from her chest. When she got to the edge of the clearing, she saw it. Her village, she dropped to her knees. It was gone.
Burned. Nothing left. No people, no dogs nothing but rained ash. She opened her mouth to scream but nothing came. She was in shock. Uncontrollable sobbing came over her. She lay on the ground trembling.
She covered her head. Then it was gone. She lay on the ground trembling. What was that she thought? She heard the birds, then the crickets. She heard the crunch of leaves in the distance. She felt the warm spring sun on her body. She slowly opened her eyes. She was fine.
She laughed to herself. What did she expect? She was the daughter of a medicine man on a vision quest. “What a strange and awful vision”. She thought. After vision quest, she was going to lead a moon lodge.

She wandered into the stream, splashed some water on her face. The water was cold. She shivered. A squirrel yelled at her and ran up a tree.
She started laughing to herself. Did she really expect to go on a vision quest and not have a vision? But really” she thought “what was that? Great spirit, why?”
“Oh Great Spirit!” she cried out, “Why have you shown me this horrible thing?” She did not know quite how to tell her father the medicine man what she’d seen.
It was three day before she was to lead her first moon lodge.  She went back to her shelter to pray. How would she explain the vision?
The next day it rained. Rained hard. It rained sideways at times. Through the rain and mist she could see people, but not normal people...  They had limbs missing or strange holes in their bodies and were caked in dried blood.  Some were caring funny sticks, and dressed in blue, with strange head dresses.
She felt feverish; she didn’t come out of her shelter all day.  He had come here to have visions, but this was hard to see.
The next day she returned to the village.  She saw they were cleaning up sticks and tree limbs and other debris.  The storm had done some damage to the village.

She found her way to her father’s hut. When she greeted him he took one look at her and wrapped her in deer skin. She lay down in the corner by the fire. She was still shivering from the fever.  Her father began to chant as he mixed some herbs and hot water together.
“Oh, my little Squirrel” she began to chant.  “Oh my little Squirrel. You are so brave. Take this and you will sleep”.  He continued chanting as she drank the dark green tincture. It made her gag a little it was so bitter.  He lifted the cover and rubbed her feet.
Then he covered her and stepped outside. He sat right in the door way. An old woman came scurrying over.   He stopped her from entering. “She came home. She is with vision”. The old woman nodded and sat next to him...
The herbs were heavy and think in the cup. The mixture looked and smelled like swamp water. She downed it all. She trusted her father and is wisdom. It tasted like swamp water too. She almost gagged.

Her head was still spinning her head was hot and heavy, like a sweat lodge stone in the fire. Suddenly images of woman flashed before her in rapid succession. They were tall, short,  different skin tones. , dressed in strange costume, hair in different colors and forms.  She had never seen before any of these women before.. She was very confused in her fevered brain.

She had to settle down, she took a deep breath and decided in order to get through this and understand the meaning of what Great Spirit was trying to tell her, she picked on of the images to concentrate on. “yes” she thought, “that one” she started to concentrate hard on the last image. The woman had short bobbed hair the color of chestnuts, and her grin was  slightly mischievous. She was wearing oddly pointed shoes that lifted her heels on thin spikes, and a tunic that only came to her knees. It had strange folds like a fan.
“yes, yes that one...”

More images raced into mind. The lady grew older and older. Now she had short gray hair and glasses, Wearing a  short tunic with spots. She was doting of a curly haired girl.  Then she was older laying on some kind of  platform, covered in blankets and surrounded by other women. They were crying. This must be her funeral ceremony.

She floated herself over the old woman She gurgled and took her last breath. She turned in the air hovered another minute and settled into the body of the old woman. She could hear the other woman talking and sobbing.

The older woman of the three attending women was saying “I love you, we love you. It’s Ok Mamma. You can go.” Tinka herself started to cry with them.  Remarkably, in this moment she understood there strange words. She could feel their grief.   

She was starting to feel comfortable in this new-old body. She could feel fingers, toes; this really surprised her. It was like she wearing her own skin. She had never done anything like this before. She thought, “Is this what it feels like to die?”  Then all was quiet.

More images blazed into her head-- trees, flowers, familiar places, children playing, a laughing baby. She giggled for a  moment.. The connection was glorious  

She could hear birds singing and the sound of rushing water. The sun began to shine on her face. Tinka felt so free so alive. Her body tingled like it never had before. She turned to see the woman picking flowers. She could her hear humming to herself. She looks so peaceful and happy. She d. She was home, the rolling hills, the maple and the oak, the elm, the rich  blood red earth  She her head to the sky and howled! 

She leaned against a knotted old oak tree. A small creek rushed nearby.  Being with this woman she felt like a part of soul had been healed.  She looked back at the tree;  there were strange carvings in it she didn’t understand, and astonishingly her mark was also carved into the tree higher up!  Tinka walked down to the creek. If she was right she knew the water would be cold and slightly sweet to the taste. The other woman was there too picking the greens out of the middle of the creek. She was humming and munching on the sweet cress. 

Sunday, July 2, 2017

The Ferryman

A while back I saw a flash
fiction contest that I wanted to enter. Unfortunately, I missed the deadline to enter, but I wrote the story anyway.
The story is about an undertaker at sunrise. I call it "The Ferryman". Here goes.

A gray figure trying to blend into the darkness walked along the city street. the pre dawn air was cool. he walked quickly hoping not to be noticed by anyone, this was his time.
he was distraught. he couldn't stop thinking of the twins.Girls, they had just turned ten.  he couldn't shake the look of their swollen bruised little bodies. the car crash had taken its toll.
In the ER their mother was sobbing, inconsolable. their father sat like a bump on a log in the waiting room in waiting. his injuries were minor, but they say that is that happens when one has been drinking.
He and his father had been there, and his brother Norm. The had taken possession of the girls bodies,  and promised the most delicate of care. They were the undertakers.
He had known the father from college, what a pompous ass, Neil Feldman, but that those memories had been tucked away. He hadn't thought about Neil since he left school.

Seeing Neil brought him back to his college days How Neil had tortured him, teased him about studying to be an undertaker. How morbid how sick, Neil and his friends would scoff. Everyone else in his biology was was studying to be something else, doctors, pharmacists, nurses. he had just ignored them, even though it did hurt. he couldn't help it if they couldn't figure him out.  he was a bit of a  dark soul, but he was no ghoul. he liked having an air of mystery.

yes He was studying to be and undertaker, like his brother before him, and his father and grandfather  before him. When the students went into the biology lab to work with, and practice on the  cadavers, they teased him called him a ghoul and even a vampire a vampire? that reference he didn't understand.

He guessed this is what he would always do. He would sneak into the embalming room as a child and watch as his father would prepare the dead for viewing.  In the office were replicas of some canopic jars, a copy of "Grays Anatomy" and a small statue of Kali. He presumed his family were the caretakers of the dead. After all it had been the family business for generations. In school he had felt a connection to Charon, the ferryman that ferried souls across the Styx.

Bodies didn't bother him, the embalming process, and the rebuilding, sculpting and painting of the  body to make it presentable viewing didn't bother him, just the opposite. after twelve years he still found his work fascinating. this time however was different. Maybe because they were so young? He usually prepared them when they were older, nat the end of many long years, not near the beginning. He wept.
no, Neil might have been an ass, maybe even the cause of his daughters deaths, but that was not his concern now. He stood shivering in the morning air. There was a cold wind coming off the water when he walked into the park, Hw wrapped tighter in his coat.

The sky was starting to lighten, it was now pearl and soft pink. He sat there on his favorite bench trying to think and clear his head.  He was a dark figure, quiet, dark tall and thin, Norm was the outgoing one, he was the one one who would meet with the grieved. norm always knew what to say, and how to handle the living. he was the artist below stairs. the lab was his.

He and Norm had worked long and hard though the night to prepare the girls for tomorrows funeral. there was lot to do, embalm them, wash and dress them, and paint their faces so that they didn't look broken and bruised. They added bits to make their faces not look so broken. they were like fragile china dolls. but still just girls never knowing more of this world. maybe that was what bothered him. the loss of innocence. the brutal and violent way they died.
The light was changing again, more pinks, and a blush of salmon, the air was getting a little warmer.
He had put Neil and his cohorts away years ago. he hadn't thought about them since college, yet, there he was, and his grieving wife. He guessed she was pretty despite her tears and her swollen face. Neil smirked when their eyes met, "figures we would meet here" he said, as he sighed then signed  release for the funeral home. Norm raised an eye brow but said nothing.
He looked out the water of the river was blushing to match the sky. he took a deep breath, letting the damp air fill his lungs, sometimes the the lab where he worked was too cold and bright. He loved walking here after he had finished preparing a body.
The job was hard when the deceased were children. Norm would be home by now having a drink and getting ready for bed.
but he thought honestly he did like what he did. And he would put his feelings aside when he was working. he watched the sky turn red crimson and orange then lighter and lighter.
He watched as  the sun  looking like a large red ball had peered above the horizon,It was light now, he turned and started his stroll home, The day had broken wide open, and so had he.
Neil would probably be facing charges for vehicular homicide or DUI or something and his wife, who knows if she would recover from her loss, but that wasn't his. He had done his job, he prepare the girls, dressed them combed their hair, painted  their lips like china dolls  and placed tokens in their mouths for their lonely ride across the river Styx.

Tuesday, October 20, 2015

Using Happy Memories to Get Through Tough Times.

I place great significance on happy memories. They keep me pushing through difficult times even when I feel like giving up. Recollections of wonderful moments remind me that they are possible despite my challenges.

When a loved one moves away, their absence makes me feel sad. But cherished memories of our good times together help me to feel closer to them. I avoid being distracted by the fact that they are far away.

It is easy to give into feelings of self-doubt during challenging times. But I think back to all the times when I was successful. I use those positive memories to drive my self-confidence. I become motivated by past successes.

Filling my mind with happy memories allows me to maintain a positive outlook. That outlook results in positive actions and an approachable demeanor.

By keeping myself upbeat, I am able to treat others with respect and consideration. Even when someone challenges my peace of mind, I use my mindset to respond constructively. The outcome is much better for everyone that way.

Today, I treasure those memories that take me back to a positive place. I commit to using them as motivation to reach for greater things. I avoid dwelling in a doubtful mindset because I know I have a good track record of succeeding amidst challenges.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1.    What can I do to turn challenging situations into positive experiences?
2.    What strategies can I use to get myself out of a self-doubting phase?
3.    How can I engage my loved ones who live far away so we continue to make good memories?

Friday, September 25, 2015

Learn to Forgive

Forgiveness is my sanctuary.

Forgiveness makes my world a safer place. Letting go of resentments protects my physical and mental health.

Pardoning others helps me to overcome self-pity. I learn to view myself as a survivor. I handle disappointments and carry on with my responsibilities.

Resolving conflicts brings me peace. When my mind is at ease, I have more energy to devote to the activities that are meaningful to me.

Practicing forgiveness strengthens my relationships. My friendships become more durable. I am able to interact effectively with a broader range of co-workers and neighbors. This gives me more support and opportunities to grow.

I know that forgiveness is a process. Sometimes it is easy. Sometimes I work hard at it.

When I find myself unwilling to forgive, I pray and meditate. I think about the benefits of opening my heart.

In challenging situations, I approach forgiveness gradually. I put myself in the other individual’s position to try to understand their actions. I wish them well even if I continue to disagree with their decision.

I distinguish between pardoning others and being a doormat. When I forgive someone for any trouble they may have caused me, I enable myself to transform our relationship. We may grow closer or we may move on to new situations that are better for both of us.

Today, I discover safety and freedom through forgiving myself and others.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1.    Who is one role model who shows me the power of forgiveness?
2.    What is one example of how I enhanced my own well being by forgiving someone?
3.    What does myl faith teach me about showing mercy?

Thursday, September 24, 2015

I Find Beauty in all Circumstances

My life is filled with positive and beautiful experiences. I attract opulence with my mind. Beauty is part of my daily life.  

Beauty surrounds me while I enjoy nature. The animals, rivers, fields, and flowers are part of a gorgeous network of life. I take pleasure in seeing these places and animals. I attract the best parts of the world.

My home is my castle. I attract beautiful furniture, linens, and tableware, so my house is a stunning model of design. I fill my house with artwork from talented people who inspire me on a daily basis. I am aware of my surroundings and appreciate the details.

I find beauty in all circumstances. My drive to work is a good experience because I can see the beauty around me.

I attract loveliness while running errands. Each task is filled with beautiful people and buildings. My surroundings are lavish and grand. I notice the small touches others contribute to make the places more pleasing.

I notice beauty in my dreams. Even my unconscious mind produces splendid images for me to enjoy each night. I remember my dreams in the morning and appreciate them.

Today, I remind myself that I have the power to attract beauty. I enjoy finding magnificent people and places in my world. I am a part of an exquisite universe filled with incredible beings.

Self-Reflection Questions:

1. How do I plan to attract beauty at work?
2. How can I ensure I notice every beautiful detail of the world around me?
3. How can I help others see the beauty around them?

Sunday, August 30, 2015


I teach myself to be fearless.

Being fearless liberates me from the restrictions I place upon myself. My opportunities expand. My mind becomes peaceful. I accomplish more. Rather than wanting shelter from difficulties, I want the capacity to rise to any challenge.

I know that I create my own fears. That means I also have the power to extinguish them.
Greater understanding makes life less scary. I teach myself to let go of whatever is causing my distress. 

When I feel afraid, I bring my fears out into the open. Focusing on my breathing dispels my anxieties. My muscles relax and my thoughts are purified. 

I live in the moment and avoid anticipating everything that could go wrong. It is prudent to make plans for typical challenges, like traffic delays and bad weather. But it is also essential to realize that many events are beyond my control. 

I trust myself to handle whatever comes my way. Looking back on past adversities teaches me that I can triumph over challenging circumstances. I may find a better job after I get laid off from one position. I may learn to manage a chronic medical condition through simple lifestyle changes.
I face hardships head on. Taking prompt action teaches me that I am resilient. Finding solutions becomes my focus.

I acknowledge my feelings. I am gentle with myself when I feel uneasy. At the same time, I decide to move ahead anyway and fear shifts to the background.

Today, I show great courage. I confront my fears and watch them go away.

Self-Reflection Questions:

What do my greatest fears reveal about me?
How can I overcome habits that reinforce my fears?
How would being fearless change my life?

Monday, February 23, 2015

How to end a meditation

Are You Ever Confused About How To End Your Meditation Sessions?

Now that you’ve started meditating, you may be wondering how to end your sessions. The way you use those final moments can make your practice more beneficial.

Headaches are a common symptom for beginners who jump off the cushion to check their phones or watch TV. Moving slower and shifting your attention gradually will be less jarring. Experiment with these steps for your body and mind so you can develop a routine that works for you.

Steps to Take with Your Body:

Scan all over. Review your body from head to toe. Notice any spots where you might feel sore or stiff. Give your neck a gentle massage or relax your brow.
Adjust your clothing. The room may have grown warmer or cooler while you were absorbed in your thoughts. Add a layer or take one off as needed.
Move in increments. Start out by wiggling your fingers and toes and then circle your wrists and ankles. Stand up slowly. Walk around the room for a few minutes. This will give you a chance to warm up and raise your metabolism rate back up.
Stretch gently. Perform easy stretches. Bending forward at the waist helps to balance prolonged sitting. Rotate your neck from side to side. Extend one arm at a time across your body to stretch your shoulders.
Practice breathing. On days when you have a little extra time, you can remain seated a few moments longer for breathing exercises. Try easing anxiety with a few long exhalations that are about twice as long your inhalations.
Eat and drink. On a practical level, you may need water and food because it’s usually preferable to meditate on an empty stomach. Go whip up a smoothie or a vegetable frittata.
Steps to Take with Your Mind:

Give yourself notice. Silently tell yourself when you’re ready to wrap things up. Spend a few minutes reviewing your thoughts, connecting with your feelings, and taking note of any topics you want to explore another time.
Work on your timing. How do you know when your meditation time is over? You can decide in advance how long your session will be. On the other hand, you may want to continue meditating for as long as you can maintain your concentration. Start out with about 5 minutes and work your way up.
Express thanks. Appreciate all that your body and mind do for you. Let them know that you’re grateful for the opportunity to meditate so that you can work on your personal growth.
Say a prayer. If meditating is part of your faith tradition, you probably have closing prayers you use regularly. You can also repeat any word or phrase that you find inspirational.
Assign homework. Use your meditation sessions to develop a specific plan of action. If you meditate about putting forth more effort, resolve to clean the garage or go jogging each morning. Make your goals challenging, but feasible.
Dedicate your efforts. Think of how authors dedicate their books. Devote the progress you make each session to your children or to increasing your patience.
Prioritize your activities. Apply the insights you develop during meditation to the rest of your life. Limit distractions and fill your hours with activities that are meaningful for you.
Making a smooth transition out of meditation and back to your daily routine will help you to realize the full benefits of your sessions. You’ll deepen your awareness and enjoy greater peace of mind.

Saturday, February 7, 2015


A journal can serve as a wonderful tool for not only recording your life, but also for helping to find solutions to life’s challenges.

Many people view a journal as the same thing as a diary, but there is a fundamental difference. A diary is used to record external events in your life, but a journal is to record your thoughts, feelings, and ideas. The difference can be profound.

Consider these benefits of keeping a journal:

1.      A journal creates focus. Few of us really take the time to examine our lives. We commonly feel that we either don’t have the time, it won’t be beneficial, or it’s simply too uncomfortable. By regularly making an appointment with yourself to work with your journal, you can create the necessary focus to make positive changes in your life.

2.      A journal forces you to see the truth. We’re all amazing at fooling and distracting ourselves, but when the truth is right before our eyes in black and white, there’s no place to hide.

3.      A journal releases stress. There’s something cathartic about getting your thoughts on paper. Reducing your stress also creates a more effective state of mind for solving challenges.

4.      A journal provides a means of measuring progress and growth. Have you ever seen a friend’s child and noticed how much they’ve grown? You wouldn’t notice the growth if you saw that child every day. Our own personal growth is similar.

·        Small changes aren’t noticed when you’re exposed to them daily. A journal provides a way of looking back and seeing just how far you’ve come.

Use your journal to solve challenges:

1.      Record your thoughts about the challenges you’re facing. Find a quiet place. What is the fundamental issue? How does it make you feel? How would your life improve if you were able to get this challenge fully under control?

2.      Keep a list of possible solutions. Over the course of several days, your mind can provide dozens of possible solutions. Record them for future reference. Avoid being judgmental. Simply record the ideas that pop into your head.

3.      Develop an action plan. Eventually, one idea will stand above the rest. If you find yourself torn between multiple options, do whatever it takes to make a decision. Even flipping a coin is better than remaining indecisive.

·        Start your action plan with small steps that are simple and easy to accomplish. A little momentum can be invaluable.

4.      Record your progress. Record the actions that you took each day to overcome the obstacle in your life. Also record your thoughts and feelings about your progress. If you can make yourself feel good about the process, success is much more likely.

·        Acknowledge improvement, no matter how small.

5.      Look for dissonance. Everyone is self-sabotaging to varying degrees. Record your thoughts and behaviors that are creating resistance to your progress. For example, if you need to lose 25 pounds but you’re eating ice cream every day, that’s a behavior that’s not supporting your goal.

·        Create a list of solutions for dealing with your counterproductive habits.

6.      Make journaling a daily habit. It’s easy to let things slip through the cracks and create even bigger challenges if you don’t write in your journal each day. Take advantage of this easy way to keep your life moving forward in a way that pleases you.

A journal can be an effective way to create positive change in your life. Even if you’re skeptical, give journaling a try for a few months and measure the improvement in your life. With regular effort, you’re certain to reap many positive rewards.