The Firehammer Movement

firehammerThe last few days I’ve struggled to find sleep, respite, comfort, laughter. I’ll be talking with my friends and suddenly I’m overwhelmed with a rage that is so primal it’s as if I am not quite myself. Then, I feel agitated like a caged animal just before feeding time, pacing back and forth. I examine my face in the mirror to verify that it’s still me. Overwhelming grief yanks the rug and my emotions are all over the bar. No reason in my personal life. Everything is just peachy where I live.

This sounds like I should be committed or at least be wearing a tin hat with aluminum foil all over the windows, does it not? And although I’m eccentric, I’m not crazy. Other people are feeling the same waves of intense emotions washing over them as well. They’re tuned in to the pulse of the world and the human “web” of emotional energy.

There is a tone of justifiable reason in the madness that our brothers and sisters are feeling. The shackles of oppression are so large that the only way they can be removed, believe me we’re not supposed to be united in this, is if we work together towards changing the system that has betrayed so many of our blood kin.

I am not attempting in any way to minimize any emotion you feel. I do not wish you to believe that I could. I feel your pain. I feel your suffering. I feel your anger. I feel your confusion, your frustration, your grief, your outrage. I feel it. It’s real. It’s now. It’s an every day occurrence for many of us.

But, I need you. I need you to hear this. The world needs you to hear this, believe (trust), understand me right now. With complete love in my heart I’m going to ask you to stop. Just stop.

Okay, I know, keep the straight jacket for a bit longer and hear me.

I need you to do three things with the sole intention of raising the love energy in this country of ours (provided you live in the U.S.A.) and therefore into the world.

One: CHOOSE JOY!

Refocus these Big Fat Feelings.

Choose one person or group of people (friends are good) and focus on their happiness. Sincerely, just call them up or visit them. Put away all electronics and focus solely on them (collectively or individually) in a non-sexual way. Crack funnies with them. Laugh. Have a sandwich with them. Being just kind. One hour (or as much as you can give). Find a way to connect with another human being that gives you the feeling of unity, of knowing someone has your back. For the time you’re with them, each time something negative comes up, say out loud, “I choose joy.” Yes, it will seem weird. It’s intended to because it’s a verbal stop sign that will help aid you in staying focused on the joy you’re building with your chosen person/people.

Two: UNPLUG!

hands-handcuffs_00409569The corporate electronic slave mentality.

No matter what phone you have, when you type or text, look at how your wrists are located. The larger your phone, as a rule, the more money you’ve probably spent on it which implies financial prosperity. The older or smaller your phone is, the closer your wrists are together. These hands are usually balled in fists around our phones and other electronic devices. They aren’t raised in prayer. They aren’t reaching out towards other humans to find true connections. They aren’t allowing us to see our similarities and celebrate our differences with open hearts. We are being divided by the shackles of a different kind of slavery.

The irony of me typing this on a computer does not escape me. But if you knew that just before I wrote this, I spent an hour and a half trying on the hat that you see at the top of this post, laughing hysterically at myself, and filled with such gratitude that the woman who knitted this hat said my joy was payment for the hat. Well then, you’d understand that I DO unplug and PLUG into humanity. I go visit my ailing friends. I take time to hug anyone I meet. I make this effort because I don’t want to forget that to love means to be as one with the Divinity that I see in everyone I meet. Yes, even you.

Three: RAISE THE VOICE OF LOVE!

Right now the world feels oppressive more so than any other time in my personal history of 46 years. I’m not kidding when I say that the emotional angst that our country is struggling with has permeated the energy of the world. Nobody seems to feel like they’re being heard over the voices of the most vocal and violent. It’s as if this has given permission for people to forget that they’re harming others.

I trust you. I feel as if I can share this with you because this is important. Right now it feels to me like the most important words I can share with you. I love you. I don’t have to know you. I don’t have to understand. I just have to love you. You’re a human being like me. You have struggles and victories just like me. You get hurt, your blood is just like mine and flows red from the wound. When something amuses you, you laugh or smile just like me. When you eat too much or not enough you experience the same sensations in your body as I do. We are humans. You are beautiful, compassionate, and your voice needs to be added collectively to this pool. Say it with me, please my sisters and brothers, I LOVE YOU!

Let’s break this cycle of anger. Let’s work together in unity away from the shackles that our “Corporate Masters” have placed into our willing hands. We can do this if we love one another, connect with one another, and choose joy. Wrap one another in the peace you wish existed. Help one another to learn to trust again. If we unite, they will fall from their tower and we, as a free people, will be able to, as the Unitarian Universalists say, LOVE THE HELL OUT OF THIS WORLD!

A quick lesson on feeling good about being you

Lady:   hi there, nice to meet you too, sounds interesting you talk about image

Mare Martell:   I do indeed. I’m very comfortable in my skin and several friends couldn’t figure out why. So I started by talking to them about how I do it. They invited me to talk to one of their groups and I get to talk about once ever 3 months or so. Qualify that. I’m 5’4″, 208lbs

Lady:   So what’s your secret to feeling good about yourself ?

Mare Martell:   Everybody else. I looked around me one day and realized that everybody around me was constantly talking badly of themselves and others. I’m too this or too that. I’m fat, I’m thin. My nose is too big. It bothered me. A Lot. Then I started to reflect on why I felt badly about my fat rolls and my…well mostly weight. No, that’s a lie. I hated my nose. I hated my butt. I hated my knees and I thought my upper arms were disproportionate. But then. I realized maybe it wasn’t the body at all. Maybe…

I started to look outside of myself at the humanity of others. Every person I meet has a dark secret. Every person I meet has had tragedies galore. I dig people from car accidents with bright vivid scars because they wear theirs on the outside. What if…what if those deep dark secrets we keep to ourselves for whatever reason, what if they were as visible as a car wreck scar?

What if we do it to ourselves to keep love from healing those corners that we hide under cobwebs? Just like that. Just seeing humanity in others and realizing they’re dealing with the same stuff in different packages and I was cured.

Lady:   Out in the light?

Mare Martell: Yes. We see through different eyes, but the stars still shines and the moon still wanes I see through my disguise. Naked as the day I was born. Running wild with my spirit streaking out behind me in lovely colors. It’s like…you are me. I am you.

Lady:    why don’t we want love to heal us

Mare Martell:    If you think of your deepest secret, the one you don’t even share with your best friend. If they knew…if they only knew what you did…It’s like the (sorry about this reference) Garden of Eden and feeling shame and wearing the leaf

Lady:   So when the spirit is strong it shines through the physical shell

Mare Martell:    Where else is it going to go?

The more love you give, the more comes. The more you share, the more is given. The more you see the beauty in yourself the more you see the beauty in others. It’s like…Man, I sound like a heavy duty hippy and I don’t even smoke!

But I’ve been trying this particular strain of my hypothesis for over a year and the changes in my life have been…wow

That’s the other cool part. It’s like getting on a train as it pulls out of the

Started out slow and bumpy, picked up and is now cruising. Take care of you. Peace

Discovering Death

NOTE: Some of these details may have become foggy over the years although the feeling of profound has not. If I’ve erred in my memory, it is not meant with any disrespect, but depicted to the best of my personal recollection.

Death is a religion with a universal name. It wears shrouds, platitudes, religion, and tradition to ease the minds of the living. It is a great Truth. It is indiscriminate and unavoidable. We create rituals to bring order to what we have no control or power to stop. Although we have first-hand knowledge of the results of physical death, we are ignorant of what we witness because before the body has even grown cold, something happens that we don’t understand. It’s not a journey any have taken that lived to tell the tale of what happens after we die.

When I was in Junior High at Iroquois Middle School, Aimee Mann, a pretty girl in my math class died from complications of diabetes. I’d experienced death before with goldfish, kittens, and even my Great Grandmother when I was four, but Aimee was the first time I realized there was an absence.

I wasn’t her best friend. I wasn’t a close friend. I just knew her and had spoken to her a couple of times after class about mundane things. I didn’t know she was struggling with a disease. I just thought she was nice. The day after she died, I heard about it all over school like an infection spreading rumors at an epidemic rate. One said that she died because she wasn’t allowed to go to the bathroom. Another said she died because she hit her head. Some were so far-fetched that even in my ignorance I knew they weren’t true.

When I got home from school, I told my mom about Aimee and asked to go to the services. I wanted to see for myself what death looked like up close since I had no point of reference that I remembered solidly. We checked the obituaries, found out when and where, and I dressed to attend the solemn wake.

The funeral home was near where I’d lived as a young girl. It was a plain white and brick single story building with an ample parking lot in the back. There was a lot of people of every age and color lining up to go inside. Their outfits ranged from black and solemn to bright Skittle colored dresses with wild hats. I felt intimidated and awkward in my clothing choice of a plain black skirt and a white blouse. I wasn’t sure what to do. My mom got out of the car and walked with me. I remember dragging my feet. I wasn’t sure how to act. I was even more afraid to discover what death looked like up close.

I entered the vestibule where a nearly full white guest book rested on a podium with a feathered pen locked into the holster with a ball chain. My mom picked up the pen and signed her name. I followed her example and did the same. The hallway smelled like slightly rotting flowers and armpits. It made me wrinkle my nose. My mom put her hand on my shoulder and guided me to the room where my classmate was dead.

The whole room was lined with massive bouquets of flowers. Lilies, roses, carnations, and a variety of flowers filled the room with a strong perfumed scent that, although wasn’t unpleasant, wasn’t exactly a smell I’d like to remember.

Just like in the movies, the crowd parted and I could see the pale tan coffin at the front of the room. Aimee’s mother sat in a chair sobbing while various, I assumed, relatives attempted to console her. My mom guided me with her hand on my shoulder.

“I’m so sorry for your loss. My daughter was her classmate.” My mom offered her words of comfort. I mumbled something and couldn’t meet the grieving mother’s eyes. She thanked us for coming while sniffling back another sob.

My mom guided me to turn to face the coffin.

The pale tan of the outside and the pristine white interior looked odd to me. The inside lid had diamond shapes patterned into the lining. A spray of flowers lay on the top and I could just make out the top of her head from where I stood. My mother guided me closer and whispered to me that we had to pay our respects.

Walking up to the edge of the casket, I peered into the face of death. Only, it didn’t look any different, really, than the girl I talked to. She looked like she was sleeping. Her face and hair were pretty as always and her hands were folded neatly on her chest protecting her heart. I didn’t know what to do. My mom tried to guide me away but I didn’t want to leave. I wanted to understand.

I got the idea of death. I knew that when someone died they no longer got to hang out or talk or any of the things living people do. But there I was, face to face with it and I wanted to wait until it was done. It didn’t seem right. She was my age. She still had things to do. Why was she laying in a box at (I think) 13 years old?

That was the first time I remember realizing the permanence and absence of a person from my life. I knew that she would no longer be in my classes. I knew that after the mourning period was done, her friends would go on to live their lives, grow old or not, have kids or not, go to church or not. They had choices that she’d never have.

I cried. I cried a lot for the girl I barely knew. I cried because I knew that someday I would lose people that I was close to and that scared me. On the way home, I stared out the window at the passing houses. There was probably some classical music playing from WOOD-FM that my mom liked to listen to when my dad wasn’t in the car. There was probably traffic lights, cars, and other such ordinary things. People sitting in their living rooms as I rode past catching a fleeting glimpse at someone reading the newspaper not realizing that my friend was dead. Life went on.

Over the years, many people I’ve loved have passed away. I’ve attended funerals, paid my respects, gone through the many different rituals of their family and my family traditions. I’ve used boxes of tissues mourning their death and my losses.

“There is a wisdom holy that I must pass to you and give

There is truly only one life you have, one life for you to live.

When your eyes drop down with despair, the tears they freely flow

Remember in your heart and soul that you already know

That love is the only answer, that giving is its boon

Gyrate your hips to the music you hear, spiral the cycling moon.

Lift your maudlin mourning eyes for love isn’t found beneath

Don’t believe that you’re not worthy, don’t heed whispers from deceit.”

From the poem, “What You Give Up” by Mare Martell

From death, an ultimate truth, an unavoidable circumstance, comes a valuable lesson to each of us that, if embraced, creates a comfort in its own. For every person that you’ve loved and lost, live your life with your heart wide open, grateful in your spirit, and filled with the knowledge that you’re taking that part of them, that you held so dear, with you for the ride. Make it a great one!

The Learning Curves

I’ve struggled for most of my life with self-destructive behaviors, bad attitudes, and I couldn’t figure out why these things kept happening to me. I estranged myself from my family, I got divorced from bad relationships that I’d picked. I just couldn’t find that peace of mind that everyone else seemed to have. About 15 years ago, I realized it was my own doing. I know, right? Who knew?

I began to seek out a different way of doing things, a different way of thinking because what I was doing and thinking were clearly not working. Using my rather unique experiences as a springboard, I read, talked, shared, took in, observed, and processed how other people lived happy lives. Since I was seeking clarity in my life, this made sense to me. This gave me an understanding of how my life works. But, how does one find clarity in the chaos of difficulties that arise in daily life?

  1. Ask for help: “Refusing to ask for help when you need it is refusing someone the chance to be helpful.” –Ric Ocasek. It is difficult to believe that someone else has dealt with the same or similar issue that you are going through right now. But one of the keys to being human is understanding that you are not alone. Although the problem you’re facing may seem overwhelming, someone, somewhere has gotten through the same thing. Seek their guidance and wisdom by simply asking how they did it. Take what applies from their experience and use that tool to accomplish your own success in handling the issue.
  2. Help Others: “Love one another and help others to rise to the higher levels, simply by pouring out love. Love is infectious and the greatest healing energy.” –Sai Baba. What you give you receive. If you’re helping others to become better in their lives, improve their situation, be more productive and you’re doing it with love in your heart, the love that you gave returns and returns and returns. It can’t help it. When love is present in a giving heart, the return rate to the giver is exponential. It doesn’t just stop at the act of giving, it gets paid forward. It spreads more love and encourages others to give as well.
  3. Meditate: “If you know how to worry, you know how to meditate. It means to think of something over and over.” –Joyce Meyer. This term is used frequently, but how and what do you do? Inside all of us is a place that is silent. A place filled with nothing but your own experiences, thoughts, actions, and yet it’s filled with nothing. It is the place where your inner voice speaks loudest. In order to find that place of peace within yourself, you must first seek it. Sit in a quiet room with soft music playing. New age music helps me. Focus on your breathing. When you breathe in, breathe in peace. When you breathe out, breathe out love. Be patient and wait. Thoughts will spill through your mind with the “Woulda, coulda, shoulda’s” let those pass. Soon and sometimes not, the thoughts will ease and settle and the silent place within allows focus on the issue at hand. You may hear wild voices pushing you to act, but I’ve learned “When in doubt, wait it out.” The silence within will offer your own wisdom and guidance and it’s comforting to hear the voice of reason from within your own mind.
  4. Look for Omens: “It is not in the stars to hold our destiny but in ourselves.” –William Shakespeare. When things feel like they are out of control it is easy to not see the messages the Universe sends. Sometimes it will be a well-placed and very obvious sign that points your way. Sometimes it’s hidden in plain sight but gets overlooked because it couldn’t possibly be that easy. Maybe a friend will call just when you need them to and they have an opportunity you hadn’t considered or you’ll see something that makes you want to act because it strikes deeply within your spirit. If you listen, you will hear and see them. They are everywhere and they wish you nothing but the best.
  5. Adjust your Focus: “Your destiny is to fulfill those things upon which you focus most intently. So choose to keep your focus on that which is truly magnificent, beautiful, uplifting and joyful. Your life is always moving towards something.”-Ralph Marston. Some days are the “bad days.” Maybe the dog woke you up before you wanted to be awake or before your alarm clock went off. Maybe when you do wake up and begin to get dressed you discover your favorite pants or blouse are in disrepair. Maybe your coffee pot decided that you really wanted to go without coffee today when it quit working. Whatever the catastrophe, it’s very easy to be inundated with the “Why me’s?” Shift your focus. Instead of bemoaning the negatives, look for the blessings offered. Waking up earlier than planned allows extra time to spend with your little dog or to go out and get a new coffee pot or a new favorite outfit. Every cloud has a silver lining if you look for it. When you focus on finding that silver lining, attitudes begin to shift. When attitudes begin to shift, the Universe says, “Oh! You want more positive! You could have just said so!” What you spend your time focusing on is what will be attracted to you. “I hate my life,” for example will send the message that you like the situation and the Universe will continue sending it to you. The Universe doesn’t understand hate. “I don’t want this to happen.” The Universe, again, has no knowledge of don’t. It hears “I want this to happen.” It responds to the negative thoughts with what it hears. If you say, for example, “I love my life,” The Universe hears this and responds accordingly.
  6. Be Grateful: “Every blessing ignored becomes a curse.” –Paulo Coelho. Similar to the Universe responding to your positive energy is the act of being grateful. Small things, big things, in-between things, all have reasons to be grateful written in their existence. Grateful hearts attract more things (not necessarily material goods) to be grateful for simply by refocusing from complaining to changing. People who live by the law of gratefulness live a happier life because they’re not seeing only the negative of a situation. They are looking for reasons to be grateful and they will find them.
  7. Be joyful: “There’s no destination. The journey is all there is, and it can be very, very joyful.” –Srikumar Rao. Do things that bring you joy. If you feel happy dancing, dance. If you feel happy writing, write. If you feel happy working numbers in an accounting book, do that. Whatever brings you joy is the path you should be following not because I tell you to, but because it’s where your bliss lay waiting. Go ahead and ask people what they wanted to be when they grew up and the majority will not be anywhere near the field they first imagined as a child. As an adult, it is easy to be sucked into the responsibilities that are necessary for our own survival as well as of those we love. In the meantime, that responsibility, when not balanced with our personal joyfulness, becomes a yoke that can become unbearable. Seek joy and balance in everything you do and that unwanted yoke all but disappears.
  8. Remember to take care of yourself: “Take care to get what you like or you will be forced to like what you get.” -George Bernard Shaw. There is such a thing as being too polite or being a doormat when it comes to dealing with other people. It’s one thing to take into consideration the feelings and opinions of others, but it’s an entirely different beast when what they want goes against what you need for yourself. By allowing someone else’s wants and needs to supersede your own you give away a piece of your personal power. It’s okay to say, “I want…” “I need…” and further, by maintaining those ideas a healthy compromise can be reached. A favorite saying is, “If Mama ain’t happy, ain’t nobody happy.” It’s a favorite because it is a reminder that your opinions, wants, needs, and objectives not only have merit but also have value.

As my behaviors shifted from self-destruction to self-construction, my attitudes have gained a stronger perspective towards positive living. My world has become a more beautiful place to live. The results of taking into daily practice that which I’ve learned has allowed: Reparations with my family, a happy marriage, and a joyful, giving of love and time to others while maintaining balance in nearly every aspect of my life. There are still cobwebs that need to be cleared, but as my vision expands to include wonder, awe, and amazement of the world around me, I can’t help but think just how lucky I really am as well as how much my hard work has paid off.

Blundering Buffoon

I’m not ready to put a stone on the places we’ve been before

But your sanctimonious bullshit is throwing up on my floor

I pride myself on tolerance of those less fortunate than I

But sir, you’re mentally unsound with your barking madness cries

With every judgment you utter, I cringe from every lie

And under your false pretenses, that plank in your eye for an eye

Is pissing me off and removing my guilt and my shame

By pointing three fingers back at you with histrionic blame.

Cut the shit you ridiculous twit and educate yourself

Take your head out of your ass and bear the cross yourself

I’m a human, not a lady

I am not a good girl

I am not a good girl

Why do I need to act like a “lady?” What does that even mean? Be a yes, sir, no ma’am demure wall flower in hopes that I’ll get picked to be the next Cinderella? Does that mean I have to put someone else before me always and pray that my needs get met because I was a good girl and followed the rules?

Why do I need to play like a boy when I can be a woman and ditch cars, ride horses, bake cakes, kick dirt, saw wood, paint wordy pictures, dream just like any other human? Why does that even have to have a gender placed on it? We all know what we can do, why separate the two?

Why do I have to be respectable in public when the public slut shames my gender? Starts war upon my sisters with horrible results and back-alley horrors committed against their beauty out of spite, anger, jealousy? Why do I have to bow down to the “mighty” man of six years old because he was born with a penis and I was not? Fuck that. I’ll be who I am. You adapt to me. I’ll color just enough inside the lines so that you’ll have no choice but to look at my art, but when you start telling me that a sun has to be yellow and not purple, we’re no longer friends and I don’t have to be nice to you any more.

Why can’t I be passionate no matter where I am? No matter where I’m going? No matter what I’m doing? If I feel it, why should I make an excuse for loving my life and everything about it? This seems insulting to the very gifts I’ve been given. This seems selfish of me to hold back the beauty that is everything I am. It’s disgraceful to not be passionate about the life-gift we’ve been given and I don’t think it has anything to do about being a sexual being.

I treat my body like a temple, not a mausoleum. I don’t need quiet pristine walls to know that I’m alive. I need vibrant colors, loud music, laughter and singing, dancing at all hours with colors winging the ceilings and candles and joyous arousal. I need hats and capes, and delicious chocolates dripping with harmony. I’m here to live life not pretend I only want a little bit of a taste. I want the whole damn thing. I want to swallow it whole and chew for hours on ideas and thoughts of what I see; experience on every level.

Why can’t I treat my body like a motel if I want to? Why can’t I take a lover into my arms, no matter the number, no matter the reason? Why should I be held to a different standard than someone who happens to have different genitalia? Why do I need to limit myself to the taste and pleasures of one gender? What if I want to dip fingers into honey as much as I want to lick my lips up the honey dipper? Why can’t I smear sex on my body like peanut butter if I desire it? That’s a horrible double standard and I refuse your rule book, your little black marks, your stigma, and your anger towards my freedom to choose what I do with my body. It’s not some body. It’s MY body. See that? It’s not called YOUR body. It’s MY body. I can have a revolving door if I choose, so don’t dictate my hours or my calling. It’s not your motel to run. I’m sorry you’ve found the Bates Motel more to your liking, lurking with the dead and dispassionate. That’s not me.

I refuse to love unconditionally. If I were to do that, I’d be God or Goddess, or Buddha or Christ and I’m not any of those. I’m a human. I can look at you with disgust if I want to. I can refuse you entry to my chapel of horrors and my circus if I don’t like your act. I don’t owe you anything which, as many misconceive is what love is when it’s unconditional. That, in many people’s minds means without question. I’m not going to love someone who harms children, particularly me. No way. Been there done that and I’ve served my life sentence every day since my birth. No. I will not.

This part I can agree with. I will speak my truth and I will live as honestly as I can. Not for your benefit but because my spirit is peaceful when I know I’ve done my best to follow my own compass without your rules holding me to unrealistic and unreasonable behavioral constructs that do not belong in my body, mind, spirit, or hands. What I will further agree with is that if you trust me with your heart and I trust you with mine which means we vow, with word or not, to never betray that trust intentionally, you will never again have to feel alone.

Ms. Marble

Marbles

Marbles

If I could be a marble in a bag around a child’s waist

propounding challenge to my peers like an alchemist

whose recipe for destruction lay in my bulging satchel

filled with conquests found in the sandpit battlefield

of my childhood playground, dominated by concentrated

versions of precisely aimed shots using one inch of glass

and stick drawn circles of boundaries no other should cross.

If I were a marble in a sack around my childhood waist

I would be a peerie of blue green that made them lose

as they wondered at my ocean colors splashing their spirits free

through the distractions of the wildly colored cat’s eyes

that stared back at them with deadened stares emptied

of life, unlike me, who shined and waved like the open sea

And they would avoid hitting me with their knocker’s sin

because who doesn’t want Mother Ocean to win?