Wednesday, August 31, 2011

On Silence


So, I have this theory on silence…
it is vitally important.

Why is it important?
And do any of us really know what true silence is anyway??

For me, I live in Los Angeles. It's not exactly quiet. There's my work. Actually, I work at different things. One of my hats is acting as a composer's assistant/music editor/score production supervisor and everything in between. It's a life of music/film/concerts/meetings/coordinating… and more coordinating… and notes etc. Music is constantly being created, being marked, being organized, researched, learned, taught, being produced and being absorbed. Another hat is administrating a summer program for inner city kids. So, it's developing a summer curriculum, teaching, disciplining, baby-sitting, ministering, and every other little thing that comes with taking care of and guiding kids who many consider to be "disadvantaged". Many of them come from single family homes, or they come from abusive backgrounds. Many have no concept of boundaries, and generally, on some level they're neglected. It can be heart-breaking. Then, there's property management. I manage 2 properties. It's an education in learning the in's and out's of how to be a good steward of real assets. I love learning all there is to know about taking care of properties in the same way I love figuring out how to create a mechanism that'll help kids dream and work towards a better life; the same way I love being a part of a creative project that really seeks to excel artistically and professionally. It all pushes and challenges me, especially considering how somehow, I want to be a good person in the middle of it all and be a real example of what it means to be a godly woman. To show that there's a different way to do everything, and that you don't have to sacrifice quality in the process of attempting to do good. More importantly, to be good. Do I fail at any of the above?? All the time!!! Do I give up?? NO.

So the question is… when there's so much going on and so much noise being generated, how in the world is it possible to experience even an iota of silence?? There is an answer. Many people try to meditate, or do yoga. Me… I go to mass and adoration. If I miss it (like I did today), I feel dissonant.

Something I've learned about silence from mass and adoration… it's that it pervades your system. It quiets down the world and eventually turns it off. I actually FEEL it slow my heart rate down, to the point where I can feel it pound louder in my entire body. Silence feels like this roadway that opens up and gives you a direct channel to God. Then God pours Himself into you like this agent that alters your breathing pattern, crystallizes your thought, re-orients your brain, reroutes your impulses. Without silence, the pathway gets blocked off, and you can't operate at any real level. It's like Kanan Road to the beach during the rainy season and mudslides block off the road so cars can't pass through. Grace is completely cut off.

I feel like I wouldn't be able to do any of the above things I currently do, if I didn't take time out in the beginning of my day… for silence. For this quiet space, in which little to no sound is generated or received. Within it, my entire day is re-oriented, re-priorized, re-rooted and re-defined. It's too easy to get caught up in things, as well as get caught up in yourself to the point where you think it's all you when the truth is… it isn't you. It isn't me. Anything we say, do or feel begins somewhere. And that somewhere is not here. It's not even a place. It's someone.

Silence introduces you to that someone. Silence is this cushion of chamomile scented pillows drenched in sunny sweetness. It's silvery dark night enveloping you in silky comfort like your favorite blanket from childhood. It's warm milk flavored with honey and a dash of cinnamon on a night when you're not feeling well. It's a doorway to the deepest of hugs, and the most intimate of lovers. Love is not an "it". Love is a "who". Silence is… the doorway to Love Himself.

Thank you God for the gift of silence. Please help me to keep it safe and to nurture it everyday. Amen!

"In darkness, and secure,
by the secret ladder, disguised,
- ah, the sheer grace! -
in darkness and concealment,
my house being now all stilled."- St John of the Cross.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

the advent of the "girl" thing


One of those pesky things, that I think is a challenge for all women… is how to deal with the emotional hormone overload that occurs periodically. Ya know… the one that makes you feel fuzzy, confused, intensely emotional, irritated, then the next moment exhilarated over some small detail that you find amazingly beautiful. The one that has you feeling like you're communicating everything, when in truth, you're not communicating anything realistically tangible. It's where the woman feels intensely frustrated, because there's this emotional cauldron that doesn't have any real clear outlet… it actually needs multiple outlets, and if you find yourself in a position where you've been logistically isolated from your girlfriends for weeks at a time… you start feeling a teeny bit desperate.

Yes, I'm guilty of the monthly hormone spazz out… the one where it's more of a trial to be adequately thankful for all the beautiful things that are happening in your life. Where no matter how wonderful your significant other is… you still just need to be committed to:
1) adoration
2) talking to Mary on a regular basis
3) talking to your girlfriends on a regular basis
4) nurturing your creative commitments that much MORE assiduously
5) journaling regularly, because there's just something about getting your thoughts on paper that is satisfying on such a real, visceral level
6) exercising regularly, because when you don't your hormones get more of a handle on your emotions. Keeping the body moving and the fluids running smoothly through that same body keeps things (emotions) from storing and building up unnecessarily
7) Eating and resting on a schedule, because there's just something about your body having a regularity that evens out our internal life, in tandem with prayer… that just can't be gotten around.

The interesting thing about all of the above, is that often before that time of the month rolls around we women find ourselves that much more tempted to throw the schedule out the window. We feel more exhausted. We start feeling like we need to take a "break" and do all the things that we normally don't the rest of the month. We eat the bad foods, we don't want to exercise, we don't want to pray, we don't want to talk to our girlfriends, we want to hide ourselves in a book or a movie or some other thing that turns our brains off. Our vigilance is normally at its' LOWEST!! It's like the perfect set up. The time when we need to be the most scheduled and committed to a balanced life, is usually the time we start forgetting everything we knew the month bfore and feel more exhausted than normal. It's annoying!!

A spirit of gratitude… begins to disappear out the the window.
Being more attentive to all the little and beautiful things that happen around me on a moment to moment basis… this attitude tends to get pushed aside, and the crazy thing is that I tend to let it. It's like that little imp that wrecks havoc with so many relationships… jumps in and starts to mess with both the female AND the male's head. On one level, it's fascinating to dissect what is really going on. On another, it's a PAIN IN THE NECK, to be in the middle of it. I'll be honest. Striving to be holy… is the hardest thing on the face of this planet to achieve. The only way to achieve it, is to be that much more docile, that much more humble, that much more receptive to grace… on a level, that I'll admit is daunting. It's not impossible. But it is WORK. And it's a kind of work, that not easy to even grasp as "work", because in the long run… the ultimate goal is total surrender to Christ. "Work" and "Surrender" should be two completely different concepts, but in a human being… it's synonymous. I think it's because by nature, we're inherently PROUD. So we have to "work" to NOT be proud. We have to ACTIVELY... LET GO of what we THINK we should do, and what we FEEL is too much. Sure, everything I just said is normal human reaction. But, we're not called to stay there. We're called to "grow in trust".

And I have to admit, as a woman, that this time of the month is the HARDEST time to figure out how to do that… because it's not something to figure out. It's only something to do. And to be. It NEEDS to be that simple… or you're done for. And honestly, i don't think I've ever read or heard of a woman who has talked about this subject like this. Why is that?? It's vitally important!! Women need to hear how other women handle this kind of thing. Why aren't we educating each other on this?? I mean, this is the area, where … if the right information isn't given… divorces happen, relationships break up… the works. THANK GOD, I have a super aware and understanding fiance, but that's just a super-duper grace. And Thank God, for helping me to figure out things here and there, or I wouldn't know how to understand a lot of this. It is a grace that I hope I'll make solid use of. But I have to admit… it's HARD!! God, please have mercy on all us women!! And the men in our lives, who struggle to understand… please bless them abundantly!!! Bless, bless, bless them!! AMEN

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Loss of Innocence and then the return of it!


Tonight, after much consideration, I've decided to make an admission that I believe is important. Whether anyone reads this, doesn't read this, find strength from it, doesn't find strength from it... it really doesn't matter. But, I do think I should begin to attempt to put into words something that is VERY prevalent, but not often talked about.

The topic... sexual abuse.
The experience...complicated.
The end result...healing.

Ya know... I can't tell the world adequately enough, what it's really like from the inside. I am however, going to try. It's important. For those who have never been abused, it's easy to distance oneself and look at the situation quantifiably, as opposed to qualitatively. It's all fine and good to say "Oh, we need to do something" and "Those who have molested and abused young kids need to pay." But here's the question or rather questions...

#1- How do you even get someone to admit it? I can speak from experience in telling you that I didn't even remember I had been molested till I was 19. And I remembered all of the details in prayer. It wasn't by going to a counselor, and having them put it into my head that something happened to me. It was me, struggling to understand certain things that were going on, feeling helpless against it and wondering why I couldn't seem to control certain reactions to things. Then I started a timeline, hoping to extract some kind of pattern out of all the hopelessly dislocated strings of my life. In the course of doing that, I remembered... all of it. And I felt nauseous and sick and wanted to hide away from everyone. And I can tell you right now... the last thing you want to do when that type of clarity comes on you... is to tell ANYONE. However, because by some strange strength of will and the grace of God, I felt compelled to go to a priest and ask for help on where to go. They directed me to a counselor... which took me awhile to go towards. THEN, it took me years to even say the person's name out loud to myself. THEN, it took me years to admit it to anyone else. And I started with a sympathetic friend, who had gone through something similar. And even then, I couldn't say much, because I'd start to hyperventilate, faint, etc. in even broaching the subject. THEN, it took me years to even admit it to my family.. .who BY THE WAY were more focused on the loss of reputation, then on what happened to me,... to be of much help to me.

And I wasn't even molested by someone who is well known even in the small community I grew up in. People HATE this subject. In my experience, I'm accustomed to people talking A LOT about doing the right thing, and being "Courageous" enough to step up and name names. Truth is... they don't know jack diddly, and are RARELY willing to actually speak to a REAL victim and listen to what they're going through, how it's truly affected them, etc. etc. etc.

So warning to anyone reading this blog... I am going to tackle this issue. It will be uncomfortable. It will be difficult. It is however essential... if for no other reason, than to shed a bit more REAL light on what occurs to the interior of a person, when this type of crime occurs.

Out of encouragement, there is an upside to all of this. The upside is that healing is possible. Joy, appreciation, and spontaneous playfulness can all be brought back again. Innocence can be restored to a great degree. Reality can be beautiful and good. In fact, with God "all things are possible". And I can say that with full understanding of what this verse really means!! And that in itself is a miracle!! =)

On that note, I will say adieu for now ('cause I need a break). =)

Our Lady of Guadalupe, pray for us.