Monday, May 4, 2020

Brenda Littleton - Writing in the Time of Covid


A Day’s Journey  March 10, 2020

Sailing Dodds
I feel a strong deja vu, as if I've stepped into the waters of a moving stream from the 1200's.

Living my own version of "Love in the Time of Covid," I've named this space the Dark Ages 2.0.

Cloistered in our monkish ways, I have Hildegard of Bingen playing, I wash myself in rose water and thieves oil, I write letters with sealing wax, and threads of silk hang from my braided hair. I realize it has always been like this . . . moments can make such a difference in reality. Nothing has ever been secure, permanent, dependable. 

Believing in things to work, in systems to protect, in values to rely upon, are constructs to dress the Ego in protection. The profession, the education, the stock portfolio, the health plan, the home (s), the steps of consumption, the political leanings, the lists of what is unacceptable, the behaviors of bias and PC prejudices, all fixings of placating too much open space of making the unknown, doable. 

Adapting to social conventions and working within cultural norms will work, until it doesn't. When Ego falls short, when the belly of fear knows it can't go the distance, it can't fight or flee away back into balance, a reckoning release waits for the invitation of Soul to now show the way back to home, back to Self. There is an opening here for true change.

Finding security from watching oneself show up and do the best possible, regardless of the outcome, is a currency of experience required to purchase the next round of reality.

Being who we are, without the dressings of who we thought we were, allows for a creation of a new body of work to balance a deeply taxed Ego.

Become comfortable with the uncomfortable. The renaissance is waiting. 
B. Littleton, Dark Ages 2.0. 


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A Day’s Journey March 29, 2020

Lincoln Beach
The experience of watching ourselves respond to other peoples’ energetic choices is part of our covid lessons. I am amazed at how inappropriate people can be in the face of rules and norms. It seems as if acting out from defiance is what’s left of their personal power. All they have left available to them is acting out, misbehaving, retaliating, similar to when they were in first grade, where the skill of self-regulation hasn’t yet soaked in. 

There is a big blue house on my corner that is always a place for old, dismantled cars, several motorhomes, crumpled, rusty storage containers, dirt bikes and multiple families who arrive one weekend, and stay for several months. Yesterday, they were giving rides on a quad-like cart up and down the road in front of my house . . . for several hours. Whining-gear-shifting-bubbling exhaust-dirt-flying layered clouds of echo-y distant-rapidly approaching-roar of grinds grate my ears, my home space behind doors, and ratchet up stress interference like a whip lightning rod tossing all it has within my little pocket of place in this world. 

Right when I think the ascot race has ended, they circle back for another lap. Without even thinking, I snap. I grabbed my phone, turned on the video and started to film them, as I stood in the middle of the road. When they came close, I stopped them and heard myself pontificating about how they are treating the neighborhood roads as if it was a go-cart track. The young woman driving spoke English, but the other passengers looked away, seemingly as if they wanted to be invisible. I talked about their loud cart, and how they obviously were not aware of how their choices to use the road as entertainment, created dirt, dust, and abnormal noise for the neighbors. I went on and on. 

I reined myself in when I realized I was using this experience as a projection for all of the abuse going on from the place of fear. I was angry, but mostly I had a tone of incredulousness, of why are you treating this peaceful place like it’s a dirt track? Yet, this neighbor hadn’t a clue why her actions were unbearable for me. I felt entitled to bitch to her, and I felt classist in that I knew I held a subtle power: if I went to the authorities in any way, a house of undocumented Mexicans would be investigated. She promised she would not drive down this section of road with her quad-cart. 

Yet, less than an hour later, the vehicle was once again racing in front of my house. I was out with the horses, so I couldn’t see who was driving, but again, my elitist self knew some male pumped up with territorial testosterone was behind the wheel, doing what he could do: lash out in defiance, punish me the only way he could, and retaliate in this feeble, and predictable way. Her male protector was doing what he could to reclaim her honor. I felt sad. I knew I had frightened the young woman, and this is not who I wanted to be. 

Last night, I pondered my level of self-regulation, my sense of lashing out, my limits of agency, my own need to punish. I even wondered if I was in some way jealous that my neighbors were playing in the street, and I hadn’t been invited into the inner circle. But, no, I don’t want to play with them. I do realize I want them to live like me: respectful of noise boundaries, respectful of how my actions affect people, animals, and plants around me; and be courteous to not contributing to higher levels of stress and anxiety. 

I would be happier if we shared similar values in use of space. Yet, my sense of rightness did exactly unto my neighbor what I felt was being dumped onto me. In Jungian practice, one goal is to reach the understanding of where rests the balance, whether the balance is in conflict or in equanimity. In other words, the level of hurt felt by one part of the relationship equals to an exact level of hurt in the opposite partner. The terms can be substituted: hurt for hurt; entitlement for entitlement; assumption for assumption; fear for fear. 

It’s a new day, and it has been a quiet morning. The cactus wren is harping for a mate. A raven croaks to my coyote-dog; horses out in the field eat spring shoots. I watch news clips from New York City hospitals, and read emails saturated with recipes for healing frequencies, prayers, and safety protocols. Carolyn Myss’s words from last night’s webinar hang in my head: it’s time to break through, do not break down. 

These covid lessons are showing me how my rules and norms in the face of current times are my version of self-regulation. May I break on through to the other side with new ways of my own first grade self to play nice: ways of compassion and patience, understanding and tolerance. 

Time to play Jim Morrison . . . Loudly. I wonder if my blue house neighbors will hear me. 

Love to you in this time of Covid!

Brenda Littleton Dark Ages 2.0


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The artwork, Sailing Dodds and Lincoln Beach are original pieces by Brenda LittletonWriter, poet, professor, literacy of place, Jungian archetypal psychology, equine psychology, alchemy, dream-tending, community, meaning-making, working with gold, silver threads and silk. Born the backside of Vancouver Island; renewed on the black beach of Santorni; risen from ashes in Aguanga; tenderly unfolded in Topanga, busting wide high with inner sky in Joshua Tree.

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