THE MUSE

“In folkloric terms, animal horns on a female figure indicate healing and shamanic powers, as well as the ability to cross boundaries – between the human world to the Wilderness World (as the Yaqui call the spirit realm), between male and female, between animal and human. If a painter or writer is to be guided by her Muse, then she must be able to negotiate boundary crossings.

“The figure is wounded, as many of my figures are, to acknowledge the difficult passages of life rather than to fear, repress or ignore them; to celebrate the strength and wisdom that comes from hard experience. Clothes half-on, half-off her body indicate a state of transformation – she is either shedding her human consciousness or returning to it from a primal animal state.”

The Muse

painting by Terri Windling

 

 

 

Shalom

i wonder what my heart looks like
after the washing away of all
the filings, the shavings
replete with scents of
graphite and wood
and scryed metal
filigreed and

final?
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i wonder
if it’s beautiful,
if it’s a testimony
to something?  To someone?
In the midst of loss and abandonment
of everything by everyone I love and held
close and dear, I wonder if God abandons me, here?
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The loneliness of exile echoes
the darkness of captivity
and always the marking,
the marking of the prisoner
and the marking by a prisoner

and the markings
Of a God who cannot forget
and cannot be forgotten.
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God carves with the sword of sorrows
baptised in great inkwells of Shalom
and my heart Their Ready Slate

God mixes beauty and ashes and oil
and Shalom is Their medium and message

(my heart torn and bloody)

and gift of peace, God’s offering
of well-being, God’s great good news
and saving salutation…
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and I never need to hold it
because God writes it into me
to make it me, and make me it,
to hold it, smell it and to taste it,
to be gathered in forever
and delivered from all grieving…

I wonder what it looks like
my heart within my soul?
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Nepenthe

here in the neck,
in the in-between
the glass on top
and the globe
on the bottom
amidst the slide
of sand but where
it bottlenecks up
in the illusion
of steady and still
blissfully pretending
that it is not
trickling

grain
by
grain
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I try to figure out
what’s going on
out there beyond,
on the other side
of the impassable wall.

Here among the ruins
of ancient times and places
I pick the flowers that grow
merry and brief and oblivious
to the faded splendour hinted
in the wreckage of time’s passing

grain
by
grain
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are the flowers
the same as the sands
(I wonder this),
do they know they will also
become ruins?

Or do they know some
secret, have they some
nepenthe,
some salve,
some balmy medicine
for sorrow to aid in forgetting
pain and suffering?
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i pick flowers
among the ruins
and long grief
is an altar hungry
for expiations that
are never enough
and yet still offered

grain
by
grain
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If You Are New Here…

…Welcome!  🙂

“Constance” refers to “Constant Reader.”

Do not take a post or two as emblematic of the entire blog…I post what is in my heart and on my mind, so to get a good understanding you will need to browse around…utilize the calendar feature at the bottom of the page and you can jump back and bounce around.

BLESSINGS!!!
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Higher Than Hollywood

it is high above the smoke, the noxious fumes,
stench belched from bulls and bullies, flesh and steel
above the ego faces that still shield
the hearts and empty hovels lurking there

you know, that land of dreams that nightmare breeds
to stalk the streets where zombies walk in peace
that feeding ground of brains not being used
that parched and soulless place of no relief

lead me higher, sit me in the dirt
at least I feel vibrations of real life
in every grain of sand and pebble hard
and hold me, till I know that I’m alright

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Powerful…I cannot BUT reblog

Speaking Voiceless

I wore a sparkly skirt today.
A female colleague says she likes it,
says, “that’s how you get guys
because they notice your butt.”
I am silent.

Let me paint a scene:
a lecture hall, packed
with my department, 100 people,
and two legends in our field about to speak.
I wore a sparkly skirt today.
A female colleague likes it,
says, “that’s how you get guys
because they notice your butt.”
I am silent.
I am silent.

Poem by Annie Jadin, speakingvoiceless.wordpress.com.

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Some Internal Rhyme for You Heathens by Writer Spileki

Siggghhhhh….

I really love this poet. She makes longer poems that give my spirit room to roam, to ramble, to buck and thrash and pronk like a beastie antelope under endless starry skies…

Here is a small excerpt that rings in my soul!

“…It is easy to see,
here in the dark, how explorers of old could
convince themselves of destiny, cousin to destination,
of a magnet star calling to the magnet in the breast.
Quest is kin to conquest. Scaling these leaves, helmed
ghosts cry out in seven romance languages, Devil
take the hindmost! and flail their way into the surf
of sinuous vines. Like them, I navigate by clutching.”
By Susan Spileki

Enjoy, friends…enjoy

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Don’t take it personally, Gentle Readers. A good friend of mine refers to both her two large cats and her college students as the “little beasts.” It’s a term of endearment. Enjoy the poem.

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Nightview from the Beanstalk, with Moon

I.

Up here, night clouds move like an ocean breaking

against the beanstalk, rolling into charcoal

horizonless shore as if racing to discover new worlds,

ferocious and green. But there are no new worlds

left to discover. There is no green; only heavy midnight

blue indistinguishable from eternity. Without moonlight,

this foliage is primal, reaching out. Jack says,

Navigate by touch as salmon do, heaving themselves straight

upriver, up waterfalls, up to invisible sky. It is easy to see,

here in the dark, how explorers of old could

convince themselves of destiny, cousin to destination,

of a magnet star calling to the magnet in the breast.

Quest is kin to…

View original post 819 more words

A Whole Bucket Of Water (Dedicated to Allyson Katsufrakis)

 

three women
are left widows

Ruth
Naomi

Orpah
(hers a different story)
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one left (missing tooth in the wind’s mouth)
one bereft (missing river in the bank) and
one rooted in the cleft (present)

Naomi without water
on fire with despair
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Ruth without a plan
on fire in the air
choosing simply never leaving
just simply remaining…

there
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no matter what the cost
allegiance to the weakest
boasting in the vulnerable
feeding the dessicated
and comforting the desperate
and calming those who rave

when women stand together
for the sake of one
no matter what the cost
they stand, they hold…they save
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it reminds me of the marvel
the wonder and the mystery
of Jesus in humanity
at home in shared adversity…

we all of us “Naomis”
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As Jesus walked among us
“the very least of these”
and chose to share our horror
and chose to face our death
and bears now on His body
the marks of His great love

He shows God’s solidarity
He is our loving Ruth
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The Difference Between

the difference between living and dying
can be found in the difference between
the Grand Canyon and the Milky Way
Another way to say it is

mutual dependence
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Living               Mutual Dependence               Dying

We need the solidarity of the reaching skies
in swathes of silk and shades of grey
to close that gap completely
all the way
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Solidarity…
Mutual Dependence…

trump cards over torture and unbridled ego…
habits that engulf so many with such ease and lack of effort

Adversity sometimes coaxes out
the best and the most beautiful
in human beings but only if
the sky can partner them
thru the gap
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between

that unrelieved thirst
that threatens to engulf

and the utter madness
of misdirected sanity.

Ah…and the skies like banners unfurl
The Difference Between
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A Train In Winter

The route left the Côte d’Azur
at the golden height of Autumn
in the silver splendor sun
on the silky stretch of sand

Parallel lines
stretching out

Jews                 Christians
wealthy            workers
old                    young
Oppression     Resistance
never meeting until
the chain connects
in commitment,
in the blood of
one another
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The tracks are different than normal tracks
Those will never meet, but these meet
in the meat and the smoke and the ash heaps

Of Auschwitz
In Dachau
Thru Treblinka
To Birkenau

A Train that left in Autumn arrived in Hell
A Train in Winter fueled with horror.
A Train Running Silent, Death Shark
along those metal tracks, sparks flying
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whistle silent
and my trauma rides there too
cold in the shiver-cold cars packed
with the bodies and the empty eyes
and the ever playing rape and violation

as I follow my own tracks to my own connections
to face down dead flat eyes and masquerade eye lashes
that blink furiously to bat the truth away
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Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms & Definitions

I am posting this because words are important and mean things…and this article provides that meaning.

****************************************************************************

New paradigms often require a bit of new language. This is certainly the case with the neurodiversity paradigm – even the word neurodiversity itself is still relatively new, dating back only to the late 1990s. I see many people – scholars, journalists,

Source: Neurodiversity: Some Basic Terms & Definitions

Your Silence

The tiny echoes of your
small silence are dwarfed
by the elephant in the room
hiding under the lampshade
of your indifference.

I said it, yes
I said it.

You don’t say anything
even though I wait
every night and endure
every desert day hiding
under the hot sun
of my charade.
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It’s time for bed
and I lay down
and still you don’t break
but instead you take
your silence-cuffs
and chain me
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the nightlight goes out
so you turn on the light
overhead and it bears down
bright
relentless
and sterile

just
like
your
silence.
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On Living The Gospel

It is not so much our slogans and statements, our creeds and commitments as it is the way we walk them out with our flesh and blood.  Documents are empty hulls of potential…and every single day that we truly live those commitments we give them flesh from our flesh and blood from our blood.
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The challenge posed by staunch commitment to broken people is that you then will have dealings with broken people.
This can be troublesome if you unconsciously expect that broken people will live and act unbroken. If you dribbled a crystal globe, and it shattered, and then when you touched a piece and it cut you or poked you, the challenge you would be facing would be full blown in how you reacted to being cut.
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That is where the reality of creeds, statements and slogans truly emerges…the ones who react in shock or outrage or horror are the ones who thought that globe was a basketball. The ones who recoil in horror or anger or disgust are the ones who believed it was a soccer ball.
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That is the distilled essence of walking out the Gospel: realizing that it is a message that attracts the hungry, the lost, the broken and it is not the creed which transforms but the living Presence of Christ IN that creed that does the work of healing and restoration.
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Which means to live the Gospel is to be inconvenienced, to be confronted with wounds that stink and are infected, to change the emotionally and spiritually incontinent…and to do it in patient joyful tenderness.

Someone can make their point with stern words and terse actions…it is not hard whatsoever to understand a point that has been made…and someone else can walk their love with gentle hands and consistent presence, and then ask for whatever they want as the broken heal, and slings are discarded and casts are cut off and the lame begin to walk.
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And then…deeper…closer…at the pulsing core…the revelation that is couched in those words from the cross “Forgive them Father…they do not know what they are doing.”

Those words have such compassion and understanding in them…they assume that most people would do good things if they REALLY KNEW the impact their troubling actions are having.

It’s such a good thing that we are coming to the place where we can even see that our statements and commitments and creeds have a unique calling to be expressed in our current climate…

it’s an even better thing when we count the cost…

it’s the best thing of all when we keep going and the word(s) become flesh.
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Currents & Tides

there is a tide, red and rough, a red tide
there is a sea current deep and dark blue
they twist together on Time’s spinning loom
or are they the needles that Fate clacks together
to spin out, to weave our quick times?
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deep in my blood flows a tide and a current
twining in red and in blue and the echos
and rumours of beauty are driftwood in me
remnants from dream islands not yet discovered
but whispering of That Place where All Is Well
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and the ancient and old, the fearful and bold
walk the earth in my blood or sail in the blue currents
to woodlands and hills and to mystery legends
returned in the Hope and the Promise of paradise
tidal and twining insistent in me
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Dancing Double-Time

the glacier moving blue
and stolid crushing step
inevitableness
occasionally makes noise
as it crushes rock
and crumbles it to dust
it listens to the waterfall
cascading off of granite cliffs
and hurling thru exultant air
and roaring in its falling flight

and does not understand
the tumult ringing loud
and shout of exultation
its liquid sister sings
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and so in all its stolidness
the icy glacier murmurs
that waterfall should fly
but quiet in the night
and careful in the day

and keep her singing heart
concealed within her breast
and hidden in the light
and tumbling down…
sssssllllloooooowwwww…
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as if a waterfall
could not sing, ever sing
in joyous flying freedom
and just gallumph along
like glaciers, crawling over
whatever may be there

glaciers grind all things to dust
but waterfalls can fly
and waterfalls can shine
and waterfalls can sing
and wash the stones so clean
and leave them shining there…
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glaciers…wearing vests
waterfalls…loud, blessed
and dancing double time
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One Week Of Hell

I am astounded at the absurdity and the letdown of the last 7 days.

I have learned that I am cursed with the notion that words mean things…specific and precise things, and some words can morph, can shape-shift depending on the wind or the light…or the scents in the air…

and so I have collected them…words. I use them like a carpenter uses finish tools, like a furniture maker wields her instruments of creation.
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But I have also learned that others do not…

…others do not know that words mean things (they ass-u-me)
…others do not CARE that words mean things
…others use words carelessly
…others use words lazily
…others use words clumsily
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So the next thing I learned is that other people freak out when I ask what they mean…they get upset, or angry, or worst of all puzzled, as if I speak in a foreign language, as if I am an animal that suddenly went Narnia and began to utter intelligible sounds…but since I am just an animal they need not be considered seriously, it is just a lucky co-incidence.

This freaks me out greatly when this happens…being a sufferer of brain trauma, this ambiguity and denial of meaning is like throwing gasoline on a fire and expecting it to go out like water has been applied to those unwanted and despised flames.

So I devised a coping strategy…I decided to ask for clarification.
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“I don’t understand, would you please clarify?
“I am uncertain as to what you mean, would you please explain?”
“I am anxious and scared because the ramifications of what you said shout and gibber at me and I have no hiding place…will you please give me definition and reassurance, or if not then out with the guillotine and lop off my head?”

Sometimes, when I ask this, people deny there is anything to define…the inference is that I am crazy, reading too much into the words, finding things that are not there, and that I just need to mellow out.
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“Take things for face value” they say.

I tried that. It led to betrayal and violation and deeper/horrific trauma and a conflagration that nearly was my end…thank God for God and for Phoenixes.

So that didn’t work so well…or rather, it utterly broke and stained for good that place inside which could (a little) stay still and let go and take something on its face…this is utterly absurd anyway, given the combination of words that are so carelessly used and the mutual exclusivity of those combinations…to take most statements at face value is to accept meaningless absurdity and to bathe in the vile flow emanating forever from the ruins of the tower of Babel.

This led to a different strategy…that of survival.
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Maslow wrote about the hierarchy of needs, ranging from survival to self-actualization, and emphasized that when survival was in question self-actualization was a pipe dream if it was even present in the threatened consciousness.

I learned that words cannot be trusted when they are loose and running wild in packs like rabid dogs. I learned that other people do not want or will not choose to place them on leashes and seek to master them and use them for life rather than death.
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(“The power of life and death is in the tongue” says the sage)

As I survive, I discover people and places where there are indications and implications that I might find sanctuary. I begin to trust, begin to hope…and then comes the dilemma…undefined words, confusing communication contradictory and capricious…

What do I do? Whenever I ask for clarity, that ask is offensive, shocking, puzzling, incomprehensible? But if I don’t ask, then I am doomed by this:

In the lack of clarity, I am compelled (powerless in this, actually) to find the worst possibility and the shade of meaning that places me in the worst place…and that becomes my truth.

Which of course leads others to heap on even more incredulity, and they say to me THEIR truth of me…

…as if I am an idiot for thinking what I think in the face of ambiguity…

which actually drives me deeper into the fires.
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In these last 7 days this has happened to me…and I have happened to it as well, for I sought clarification…in open words, in more words than others consider decorous (because I want to be as sure as I can that I am clear in what I am saying)…in plain pleading plaintive words…begging words with empty cup extended in front of my dirty street urchin face…

and the bottom of lower than the worst has been the result…

The very worst thing, the ultimate blow that anyone can give to me in this place…

…………… is silence……………
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no response
no reply
no nuffin

That silence has a voice. Did you know that? Silence speaks?

In knives
In slashes
In crushing fog weighty and inexorable
Silence gibbers sinister
Silence threatens with burbly graveyard chuckles
Silence goose-steps over my grave in shivery stampings

Silence screams that I am nothing
Silence screams that I am soon going to be eaten
(but only after I have been torn apart)
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Torn apart by words…for it is on the other side of silence that others finally speak words…imprecise, wielded clumsy and ham handed, lacking nuance and deftness…and me, Andromeda without a Perseus caught there by my wrist, chained while the imprecision feeds on my liver in gnawing knife pecking beaks and ripping tearing talon claws…

It is in these moments that I wish it would just stop.

Just.
Stop.
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I have recognized this is also mostly the result of trauma in my life, and of that I have recently written…no, you cannot just “mellow out”, just “relax”, just “let it go and choose different”…thank you very much for your insensitive and ignorant admonitions…give me some credit, and imagine that a being as complex as myself might have tried that a time or trillion…no.

Trauma is with you like your skin, but it is a skin inside your skull and made solely of cockleburrs and foxtails.
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And that is where this poem comes in…”Nothing Rhymes Orange

It is short, considerably shorter than the ravings of this post (now you see why I love to speak in poem and nuance and layers)

Words
Uncertainty
Anxiety
Fear
Ask for clarity
Silence

That is the road for Charissa that leads to hell.
5 days of hell, and me still here and no one understanding the fortitude or fierce fight that I have been in simply to be here prattling on and on and on and on…

Silence says to me “Just shut up and go away”

Silence is the siren call crooning and never have those sharp rocks looked so inviting, so final, so untroubling in their destructive shadow.

But I? Well, I guess that I am even worse than bad…because in the face of repudiation and rejection shouted so eloquently in that Silence slouching towards this Bethlehem, I don’t even have the good sense to go…the courage to go? The integrity to go? Is that it? Prolly that is it since my integrity is called into question in the imprecision and indefinite miasma that masquerades as communication…

Is it that I am stubborn? Is it that I am curious and want to see how it ends without me breaking character and stepping off the stage in Act 3 of 5?

I dunno…I will just go with the end of “Papillon” (those curious can search my blog for that, those not curious, well why are you even still reading…did I not lose you in the Labyrinth of my words?? ‘Ware the Minotaur, sojourner!!).tumblr_nz5hbkmuDM1qahpcmo1_500
I WILL NOT BE SILENT, even though so many will…

but I won’t lie either. These last 5 days have been a living hell inside my skull, and it hurts so bad.

More Hills

Everybody
wants to be king
of a hill
and that hill
just a pile
of dust
hot and red
and dry
or a dungheap
so silent
and stinking
with malice.
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And yet
with more kings
than hills
and more dirt
than heart
and more dung
than wisdom
we just
collect hurt
and more hurt
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from wounds
and from cuts
and from boots
on small faces
from despairing cries
and from silence
and malice

we just build more hills.
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Poem Of Horror

I wonder in stars
inverse black against
skies of light why
I wasn’t worth
the fight.

empty my skull
with a spoon thru my eyes
scrape the bone clean
and give me the peace
of an empty mind

worthless
no value
no beauty
just me
in my
traumatized
brain

screaming always
and keening
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The Cruelty Of The Ordinary

I am at an end of some kind
an end of expecting pink
when the sun arrives and departs
an end of hoping someone
somewhere would get it.
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I am at an end of expecting anyone to
actually understand shooting stars
streaking thru the night and
my words piercing pulsing
pricks of light thru dull
dark and choking
indifference…
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or any yearning
to pay attention
to urgent and plaintive
cries.

I who am
healed in words
am at last wounded
by words and endless
accusations and slander
and the opaque screens of untruth

I have been broken
I have been violated
I shall never
be clean again
I don’t think I will
ever be whole again
or fit for any service
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the light thru the window merely
heightens that separation and
the scraggly fingers waiting
to claw my heart to ribbons
and lick the talons clean

in the moments between
sunrise and sunset
in the cruelty
of the ordinary
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I Am Double

I am double
I am here and somewhere else
I am in caves of coming futures
staring out at fires casting shadows
of the past that flicker, flounder
and then disappear.
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I am winter and I’m summer
I am autumn with some spring
thrown into my yellow gold veins
surging and pulsing with everlife
straining to throw off apples and pears
and some of that fruit

without a proper name.
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I am true blue trueheart covered in shit-words
I am singing never silent song chained by silence.
you can call me whatever you want to call me
it doesn’t change who I am.
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I am double.
I am here and somewhere else.

The Resurrection of Autumn-Trees

it was autumn and me bound
tight with scratchy ropes and lies
that could not be easy-parted
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your stricken look
of compassion golden-sharp,
like lightening stooping down
you set me free, and started

a fire in that late autumn land,
so cold, so sluggish in the tepid sun
and languishing towards winter
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given up to
given over to
inevitability
and sliding
down

that
gentle
poison
slope
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my arms free,
my legs burning,
those ropes away
did fall from me
and your eyes,
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heaven’s lightening strike
strike my heart in fire
and my skin burning hot,
glowing passion

radiating out
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and the creeping cold
fleeing backward and the sap
running back up from the earth
and into trees thru the branches
and leaves falling up
and then connecting
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and autumn’s
peacock splendour
blooms from
mono-drabness

and all around us
earth sings in our breath

synchronized together
and your hands
on my skin
like irons in
the fire
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and your eyes
glitter brown and soft
and all at once
my sun and moon

as trees wave
and breathe
and summer rises
from the grave and spring
Sings into the air
in playful winds
and carefree winds
and ceaseless winds
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and we come
and we go
without a
trace
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and after,
you…me…us
laying there
and autumn
sighs and bows
and thankful for
another moment
present and it slides
away, gives up its ghost
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and winter comes, quietly
comes to claim her prey
with tender frosty kiss so cold
concealing unrelenting blade
so unforgiving, bloodless,
without pity and me?
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I, so young then,
and now so old
remembering the resurrection
of the autumn trees so glad
as the flakes
of snow float down
like tears of joy
come to an end
and become still
symphony of sorrow
and now I leave
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forever
on the wind
and free

on the carefree wind
and in the cooling dirt.
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Pain-t-pot

Terse words…Words muddy
and swirling and steaming
like cream in cold-coffee
like death in soft-nectar
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words lumbering lead-footed
fat flat and hard hulking
fear-shadows are lurking
in other death-words
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words rain down like brain bombs
explode in uncertainty
pregnant with confusion
communion of judas-kiss
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they use words like bullets
to shatter my skull
and blast my brain bloody
and turn my head into
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an urn full of red
a paint-pot of death
that they can drink deep of
and spit on their canvases
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in words and in brush strokes
dipped into the paint-pot
that my brain has become
from traumatic words
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the top of my skull
ripped open by shrapnel
and now just a pain-t-pot
now just a pain-t-pot
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Footnote Poem

I sooo goddam love this poem

Deepest thanks to the writer for this wonder

buildingapoem

Texas Falls

Thirty years ago, right around now, when the spring had announced itself in birdsong and melted snow, my friend C. and I jumped into his red* convertible and headed for the mountains. Damp air enhances scents, like the fertile musky smell of cowshit** that tells you that now, now, finally, winter is over. The pale grey road wound uphill. The trees were in bud, all the pale greens stepping out to wave hello to us, and goodbye. We drove onward, with neither map*** nor plan, but only a sense that spring requires a journey and a breeze ruffling your hair. On the edge of the road, a brown sign proclaimed “Texas Falls” even though we were deep in Vermont. We left the car, strolled among the trees, every footstep sending up a waft of dead pine needles. Our feet made no sound**** so the waterfall never…

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24 Questions You Should Ask Your Parents, While You Can | Amy Gibson

I am posting this here for the future…hoping against all hope that someday my children will want to know what life was like for me after they left.

I don’t expect that they will ever see this, let alone ask me these questions, for they have gone out of their way to tell me all about their own answers to these questions that they have put in my mouth for me.

They have no idea what growing up was like for me…because until recently I had no memory of my childhood other than performances and achievements.  They cannot even begin to grasp the grief, the regret and the rage at what was taken from me before it was even given to me…and they don’t have a clue about the war that I fought to even survive.

But all that can only be revealed by God on Judgement Day, and by then, well who will even care about those horrors?

It is too late for me…but perhaps it is not too late for you who read this blog. Maybe you can find it in your heart to deign ask those who gave their lives for you to live what it was like for them…it is a mere 24 questions.  Perhaps that is the least you could do.

As weeks, months and years fly by, we are all missing opportunities to talk about real things — important things — with our parents. There are things that only they can answer or explain. Sadly, the reality is that when they pass, many of those answers, explanations and stories will go with them. So why are we wasting time? Why don’t we ask them the questions that would explain events that shaped them, decisions they made and important lessons they learned? Questions that would yield new insights, understanding and compassion… for people we think we know so well?

Source: 24 Questions You Should Ask Your Parents, While You Can | Amy Gibson

Sorrow Is

sorrow
is the
most sensitive
of all created
things

(aye the
question lingers,
hangs, remains…
who created
sorrow?)
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Sorrow has taught me much
of Holy Ground and tears
and coming times when
people realize that we
know nothing about
life until we know
sorrow and
sanctified
ruddy
dirt.
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Sorrow
is such holy
ground and those
who do not learn to
walk there know nothing
of what living truly means
and that Life’s sacred truths
most precious are drained from
sorrow’s silver cup and learned in sorrow’s
frozen icy grip, so stark, lacey, frosty filigreed
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Sorrow is a
wound that bleeds when
any hand but that of love
touches it and even then
must bleed again,
though not in pain
but finally in
tenderness
and healing
evermore
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A Handful of Memory

it was a village
no longer existing
it was a laugh
that echoed that village
and hung in the air
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like smoke from a fire
extinguished in nightfall
and drifting in winds
and lonely midst stars
while crickets and frogs

lament as it faded
and pebbles and diamonds
all heaped up at random
and sticks and steel swords
all jumbled together
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useless in the corner
to argue, debate
about fighting or walking
together, together
to some better future…

my hair is a crown
that glows with the past
and shines in the night
as I take my courage
and face what may come.
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a handful of memory
a bucket of love
a torch lit in faith
and standing on hope
my face set like flint

my heart is a mountain
adorned with the night
a beacon, a presence
I swell from the earth
and kiss the soft skies
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ever Spring, ever Autumn

it looks the same to you
whether you stand
in winter or summer

…the gate of my heart…

stark and golden and hot
against that steely variegated sky,
all clouds and light run thru God’s Grater
and piled up in slivers and shavings
of glory and stellar glimmers

of more…
The Great Gate

I stand in spring and autumn
my feet in water and my face in fire,
my roots ever fed with freedom
and my branches ever shedding
the ends of growth and fruitful life
blossoming, falling, spilling to earth
in cascades of truth and fevered dreams.
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my angles and lines seem stark to you
and you miss my curves and swaying
limber-love and hurly-heart throbbing
with the promise of harvests coming
and heavy with the presence of harvests here.

walk thru and look…
if you see me you will know
and if you do not see me
step away and scratch your head
with lightening bolts that shimmer
and strike the earth and the sky
and the glittering diamond waves
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and wander,
wander
as you ponder
how I look
the same from
all sides

(to your blind eyes unimaginative)
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or walk in awe
with leaping eyes
and hungry heart
marvelling how vast
is the territory and
how beautiful the land

Beyond the beyond

that you
just entered
into like
a child

with
eyes
opened
wide in
wonder
wriggles
harriet tubman

enters
into this
vast untrammeled life
and running from nothing
to the endless Something
of that great
ever Spring,
ever Autumn.
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Brain Trauma

Wow…so little known about it, such a huge and impactful issue.

I have brain trauma…and likely have had (very mild) Reactive Attachment Disorder since my inception.  That is not an official diagnosis, for Reactive Attachment Disorder is something very severe…certainly I have Early Trauma.

That makes me something called

“non neurotypical”.
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A neuro-typical person has a brain more like a Four-Square Ball…slap it around and it dohing dohing dohing bouncy bouncy back up to the next player no problem.

A non neuro-typical person has a brain that is like a finely fashioned delicate blown-glass globe. It is scary beautiful, capable of much…except that since most people’s brains resemble said Four-Square Ball, they take the delicate glass globe, call out SERVICE and slap it down to the ground…

…and when it doesn’t just bounce back up?

They get angry and blame the non neuro-typical person.

Whose brain is splattered/shattered on the cement and needs time and space and something…SOMETHING…to reset it, and that thing is never the same and often times never comes and the storm just has to be ridden out…the raging river rapids ridden, bashed from rock to rock and battered until it spits you out at the other side…
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It is awful…because as a non neurotypical I always feel so guilty…and I always feel like no one else receives the reality that I am trapped in. It feels like they think I am copping out and giving an excuse, having a built in alibi and justification…

…when the truth is during those times my brain aches and throbs and hurts and my mind feels like molasses-soaked cotton…and I have to work about a million times harder to just to be in my expected place.

When I was little, I used to walk around the house crying for no apparent reason, and according to the stories when I was asked what was wrong, I would wail “It’s the end of the world”…
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…that is how it feels.

Typical reaction of others is either some form of shaming that I am not “bucking up and coping” and that is accompanied with boasts of how that person bucks up and deals with it, and concluding with castigation to quit feeling sorry for myself and just move on.

just move on. wow. if only.

if only…moving on sounds wonderful.

There is another reaction that follows often as well…someone will get close, someone will feel some twinge of sympathy or compassion and choose to come close, seeing ONLY the outlands of this territory of hellish trauma…and they will say things that lead me to believe they will be present in the nightmare.

Until they get a few leagues into it…and realize this land is like the Marshes of the Dead that abutted Mordor.
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And WHOOSH…they disappear and brush out their tracks fast as they go…and I am accustomed to that and know how to cope with that. Cultivation of hobbies that can be done alone are therapeutic.

The last group though…they are the most onerous and dangerous. They are the ones who will not hear me when I ask them to please stop…please stop pushing me, please stop trying to help me in ways that are not helpful but are actually just all about them and their power-play (that they are totally unaware they are engaging in, as they see themselves as the great educator of the poor benighted and incapable person)…to them, they imagine I will fall to my knees sooo grateful that they deign to give me the off-scourings of their greatness.
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That group is the worst, because I know what happens to me…and I beg them to please stop because they push me too far and I snap inside my mind and all my abilities and all my capacities go into defending me from harm…and I am intellectually capable of abstract thought and I am quick to sense and perceive what others are trying to do and I can out-think them and out-argue them.

I go into defense mode, and I cannot stop. Not “I won’t stop”.

I cannot.
Scary thoughts_web
I will observe every contradiction and throw it in their face. I will sense every inconsistency and challenge them about why they are trying to hold me to some things but not hold themselves to the same standard.

And those people? They leave finally, and usually bruised and hateful towards me because I hurt them…

…and I am the bad person, the unpredictable person, the inconsistent person, the unreliable person.

When in reality, my brain lies shattered on the playground pavement.

And then, the easy peasy low hanging fruit begins to beckon and croon…and the gender issue raises, and the tranny-freak thing sneaks in…their minds, my mind…it doesn’t really matter which by this point.

Sometimes I want to take spoons and go in thru my eyes and scoop my brain cavity clean and start fresh.

That, my friends, is what brain trauma does.  And by the way?  It can be traumatized by just about anything, really…the obvious culprit of war or tragedy…but it can be from bullying, it can be from the way our brain chemistry is, it can be from dysphoria…it can be from childhood events that were done without any bad intent but still resulted in trauma…

…and some brains can skate right thru things that traumatize other brains.Residues 2013_ADF
There is nothing to boast of if you are neurotypical…and there is no shame if you are not.

In the meantime, if you have a loved one who has trauma, be aware that PTSD is a real thing…

…for the traumatized person, from a neurological point of view, it is not just a memory.  The traumatized person experiences the events of the moment, but their brain is present in the midst of the actual trauma!

The brain that is traumatized is functioning in the midst of trauma even though the events in that moment may not actually be traumatizing…but soon do become so due to the brain functioning in trauma.  It adds itself to the pot of trauma, to the witches’ brew of horrors.

So that is the story of brain trauma.  For more information, google it.
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For more information about this, check out this link:

chrome-extension://oemmndcbldboiebfnladdacbdfmadadm/http://attachmentnewengland.com/documents/educators.pdf

The Pain And The Poetry

If your pain sounds pretty,
it doesn’t seem so bad.
If you use beautiful words
to describe your sadness,
people may line up
around the block to read it.
See it. Hear it. Fall in love with it.
If people don’t know better,
they might think they want it.”

saintly-sinner

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Pressed Hard On The Edge

the fragrance of a thousand years
the sound of silent flying souls
my heart pressed hard against the edge
the thick and soft edge breathing hard
while loves sings always like the wren
and stars sing always overhead
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I have places that I live
other places that I dwell
and silence rings in golden throng
words idle cannot do their wrong
and I take up your judgment eyes
and try to ride the dashing waves
until I fly, leave earth and try
to nestle soft and comforted
between wings of the butterfly
pearls beautiful drop from my heart
delicate, riding, perfumed red
or is it white, or golden black
and glowing lustre carmel clean?
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but you…still…
heavy with your ego looks
and thick with all your privilege books
and me?  Just ghosting in your world
a banner on the wind unfurled
my body pressed hard on the edge

On Ghomeshi, Memory and Trauma

I simply have to press this…I am the victim of stories that intimate people tell about me that are lies.

Flat out.  They lie, because of many reasons, and I think all of the reasons are understandable:  my transition, their own cognitive dissonance, it’s easier to scapegoat me than accept that their life is the way it is as a consequence of their choices…it doesn’t matter why they lie.

I still love them, because I cannot do otherwise.  I am incapable of not loving them.  But the consequences of that lie are stunningly strong and toxic.

My only hope is that they come to their senses in a way similar to what happened here in this article.

************************************************************************************

Have you ever had a moment when you suddenly realize that your memory of an event is not actually what happened? A few years ago I was talking to someone about a pretty life-altering event that happened…

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Source: On Ghomeshi, Memory and Trauma

A Winter Field

there is a field, a winter field
surrounded by the pawns of spring
who jump up swift and quick laughing
but turn away at the first sight
of frigid dull brown slanted light

refracted from that frosty grass
and bifurcated by those blades
as sharp as ice cold edges grey
in stalemate stand off with the sky
the crushing pink-stained falling sky
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inevitable in its swift
descent unto the frigid earth
so stark, so separate from all
the rest of the land, trees, the wind
that dances on the distant peaks

but the field, the winter field
holds itself high and falters not
beneath the fuzzy falling skies
within the breathy blasts of wind
and in full view of vernal sun

that field remains that winter field
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The 15 Diseases of Leadership, According to Pope Francis

I am pasting this entire article here, because the way it appears in the link leads me to believe that it could end up inaccessible without paying money…and I think it is important enough to read that I want it available.

If you are in any sort of a leadership role, you do not belong to yourself anymore…and you need to understand that.  If you don’t, you will end up eating those you lead, and then dying of the fatal disease of self.

Woe to you leaders who have lived off the fat of the lambs you have been called to serve with leadership.  Their blood is on your heads, and you will be required to answer for your choices.

Everyone else?  You should STILL read this article, because it is good counsel.

https://hbr.org/2015/04/the-15-diseases-of-leadership-according-to-pope-francis?utm_campaign=HBR&utm_source=facebook&utm_medium=social

LEADERSHIP
Gary Hamel
APRIL 14, 2015

Pope Francis has made no secret of his intention to radically reform the administrative structures of the Catholic church, which he regards as insular, imperious, and bureaucratic. He understands that in a hyper-kinetic world, inward-looking and self-obsessed leaders are a liability.

Last year, just before Christmas, the Pope addressed the leaders of the Roman Curia — the Cardinals and other officials who are charged with running the church’s byzantine network of administrative bodies. The Pope’s message to his colleagues was blunt. Leaders are susceptible to an array of debilitating maladies, including arrogance, intolerance, myopia, and pettiness. When those diseases go untreated, the organization itself is enfeebled. To have a healthy church, we need healthy leaders.

Through the years, I’ve heard dozens of management experts enumerate the qualities of great leaders. Seldom, though, do they speak plainly about the “diseases” of leadership. The Pope is more forthright. He understands that as human beings we have certain proclivities — not all of them noble. Nevertheless, leaders should be held to a high standard, since their scope of influence makes their ailments particularly infectious.

The Catholic Church is a bureaucracy: a hierarchy populated by good-hearted, but less-than-perfect souls. In that sense, it’s not much different than your organization. That’s why the Pope’s counsel is relevant to leaders everywhere.

With that in mind, I spent a couple of hours translating the Pope’s address into something a little closer to corporate-speak. (I don’t know if there’s a prohibition on paraphrasing Papal pronouncements, but since I’m not Catholic, I’m willing to take the risk.)

Herewith, then, the Pope (more or less):

____________________

The leadership team is called constantly to improve and to grow in rapport and wisdom, in order to carry out fully its mission. And yet, like any body, like any human body, it is also exposed to diseases, malfunctioning, infirmity. Here I would like to mention some of these “[leadership] diseases.” They are diseases and temptations which can dangerously weaken the effectiveness of any organization.

The disease of thinking we are immortal, immune, or downright indispensable, [and therefore] neglecting the need for regular check-ups.

A leadership team which is not self-critical, which does not keep up with things, which does not seek to be more fit, is a sick body. A simple visit to the cemetery might help us see the names of many people who thought they were immortal, immune, and indispensable! It is the disease of those who turn into lords and masters, who think of themselves as above others and not at their service. It is the pathology of power and comes from a superiority complex, from a narcissism which passionately gazes at its own image and does not see the face of others, especially the weakest and those most in need. The antidote to this plague is humility; to say heartily, “I am merely a servant. I have only done what was my duty.”

Another disease is excessive busyness.

It is found in those who immerse themselves in work and inevitably neglect to “rest a while.” Neglecting needed rest leads to stress and agitation. A time of rest, for those who have completed their work, is necessary, obligatory and should be taken seriously: by spending time with one’s family and respecting holidays as moments for recharging.

Then there is the disease of mental and [emotional] “petrification.”

It is found in leaders who have a heart of stone, the “stiff-necked;” in those who in the course of time lose their interior serenity, alertness and daring, and hide under a pile of papers, turning into paper pushers and not men and women of compassion. It is dangerous to lose the human sensitivity that enables us to weep with those who weep and to rejoice with those who rejoice! Because as time goes on, our hearts grow hard and become incapable of loving all those around us. Being a humane leader means having the sentiments of humility and unselfishness, of detachment and generosity.

The disease of excessive planning and of functionalism.

When a leader plans everything down to the last detail and believes that with perfect planning things will fall into place, he or she becomes an accountant or an office manager. Things need to be prepared well, but without ever falling into the temptation of trying to eliminate spontaneity and serendipity, which is always more flexible than any human planning. We contract this disease because it is easy and comfortable to settle in our own sedentary and unchanging ways.

The disease of poor coordination.

Once leaders lose a sense of community among themselves, the body loses its harmonious functioning and its equilibrium; it then becomes an orchestra that produces noise: its members do not work together and lose the spirit of camaraderie and teamwork. When the foot says to the arm: ‘I don’t need you,’ or the hand says to the head, ‘I’m in charge,’ they create discomfort and parochialism.

There is also a sort of “leadership Alzheimer’s disease.”

It consists in losing the memory of those who nurtured, mentored and supported us in our own journeys. We see this in those who have lost the memory of their encounters with the great leaders who inspired them; in those who are completely caught up in the present moment, in their passions, whims and obsessions; in those who build walls and routines around themselves, and thus become more and more the slaves of idols carved by their own hands.

The disease of rivalry and vainglory.

When appearances, our perks, and our titles become the primary object in life, we forget our fundamental duty as leaders—to “do nothing from selfishness or conceit but in humility count others better than ourselves.” [As leaders, we must] look not only to [our] own interests, but also to the interests of others.

The disease of existential schizophrenia.

This is the disease of those who live a double life, the fruit of that hypocrisy typical of the mediocre and of a progressive emotional emptiness which no [accomplishment or] title can fill. It is a disease which often strikes those who are no longer directly in touch with customers and “ordinary” employees, and restrict themselves to bureaucratic matters, thus losing contact with reality, with concrete people.

The disease of gossiping, grumbling, and back-biting.

This is a grave illness which begins simply, perhaps even in small talk, and takes over a person, making him become a “sower of weeds” and in many cases, a cold-blooded killer of the good name of colleagues. It is the disease of cowardly persons who lack the courage to speak out directly, but instead speak behind other people’s backs. Let us be on our guard against the terrorism of gossip!

The disease of idolizing superiors.

This is the disease of those who court their superiors in the hope of gaining their favor. They are victims of careerism and opportunism; they honor persons [rather than the larger mission of the organization]. They think only of what they can get and not of what they should give; small-minded persons, unhappy and inspired only by their own lethal selfishness. Superiors themselves can be affected by this disease, when they try to obtain the submission, loyalty and psychological dependency of their subordinates, but the end result is unhealthy complicity.

The disease of indifference to others.

This is where each leader thinks only of himself or herself, and loses the sincerity and warmth of [genuine] human relationships. This can happen in many ways: When the most knowledgeable person does not put that knowledge at the service of less knowledgeable colleagues, when you learn something and then keep it to yourself rather than sharing it in a helpful way with others; when out of jealousy or deceit you take joy in seeing others fall instead of helping them up and encouraging them.

The disease of a downcast face.

You see this disease in those glum and dour persons who think that to be serious you have to put on a face of melancholy and severity, and treat others—especially those we consider our inferiors—with rigor, brusqueness and arrogance. In fact, a show of severity and sterile pessimism are frequently symptoms of fear and insecurity. A leader must make an effort to be courteous, serene, enthusiastic and joyful, a person who transmits joy everywhere he goes. A happy heart radiates an infectious joy: it is immediately evident! So a leader should never lose that joyful, humorous and even self-deprecating spirit which makes people amiable even in difficult situations. How beneficial is a good dose of humor! …

The disease of hoarding.

This occurs when a leader tries to fill an existential void in his or her heart by accumulating material goods, not out of need but only in order to feel secure. The fact is that we are not able to bring material goods with us when we leave this life, since “the winding sheet does not have pockets” and all our treasures will never be able to fill that void; instead, they will only make it deeper and more demanding. Accumulating goods only burdens and inexorably slows down the journey!

The disease of closed circles, where belonging to a clique becomes more powerful than our shared identity.

This disease too always begins with good intentions, but with the passing of time it enslaves its members and becomes a cancer which threatens the harmony of the organization and causes immense evil, especially to those we treat as outsiders. “Friendly fire” from our fellow soldiers, is the most insidious danger. It is the evil which strikes from within. As it says in the bible, “Every kingdom divided against itself is laid waste.”

Lastly: the disease of extravagance and self-exhibition.

This happens when a leader turns his or her service into power, and uses that power for material gain, or to acquire even greater power. This is the disease of persons who insatiably try to accumulate power and to this end are ready to slander, defame and discredit others; who put themselves on display to show that they are more capable than others. This disease does great harm because it leads people to justify the use of any means whatsoever to attain their goal, often in the name of justice and transparency! Here I remember a leader who used to call journalists to tell and invent private and confidential matters involving his colleagues. The only thing he was concerned about was being able to see himself on the front page, since this made him feel powerful and glamorous, while causing great harm to others and to the organization.

Friends, these diseases are a danger for every leader and every organization, and they can strike at the individual and the community levels.

____________________
So, are you a healthy leader? Use the Pope’s inventory of leadership maladies to find out. Ask yourself, on a scale of 1 to 5, to what extent do I . . .

Feel superior to those who work for me?
Demonstrate an imbalance between work and other areas of life?
Substitute formality for true human intimacy?
Rely too much on plans and not enough on intuition and improvisation?
Spend too little time breaking silos and building bridges?
Fail to regularly acknowledge the debt I owe to my mentors and to others?
Take too much satisfaction in my perks and privileges?
Isolate myself from customers and first-level employees?
Denigrate the motives and accomplishments of others?
Exhibit or encourage undue deference and servility?
Put my own success ahead of the success of others?
Fail to cultivate a fun and joy-filled work environment?
Exhibit selfishness when it comes to sharing rewards and praise?
Encourage parochialism rather than community?
Behave in ways that seem egocentric to those around me?
As in all health matters, it’s good to get a second or third opinion. Ask your colleagues to score you on the same fifteen items. Don’t be surprised if they say, “Gee boss, you’re not looking too good today.” Like a battery of medical tests, these questions can help you zero in on opportunities to prevent disease and improve your health. A Papal leadership assessment may seem like a bit of a stretch. But remember: the responsibilities you hold as a leader, and the influence you have over others’ lives, can be profound. Why not turn to the Pope — a spiritual leader of leaders — for wisdom and advice?
Gary Hamel is visiting professor at London Business School and cofounder of The Management Innovation Exchange. His latest book is “What Matters Now.”