vulnerability

Great Beast
art | authors | freedom | hard work | healing | hope | kindness | language | love | special | vulnerability | wholeness | writing

Great Beast

It’s that fanged, clawed thing, back to taunt me and play with me and befuddle me. Creativity, of course. The way in and the way out, both at once, and neither; a thing unto itself.

So here am I, staring into its liquid eyes that are one moment golden and another indigo. It leaves stripes of blood on my arms and torso but I don’t dare gaze away. We are in a contest, me and it, me and me.

Its tail flicks back and forth. It is stalking me. I pursue it. It changes shape in my arms, then it vanishes.

Moments like these I take to Rumi, who is a kind of solace for those who are word-drunk, like me. I think Rumi would sneer at me and I hate myself for it, for the insecurity and the terror, as much as for the inadequacy.

I know better than to take too much wine, though the temptation is there. That way lies a folie a deux, a sharing of madness.

There are more constructive ways to offer up.

I stand outside with my arms lifted toward the sun and pretend that I am a crocus. The hard earth has asked for the freeze to release it, and purple blossoms are the first hint of hope. I am still saturated.

I am evanescent. The moment will pass. The welts will reveal themselves as mirages. There are paw prints in the loam, and I am left with longing, the old longing, the one that never goes away.

creativity within Traci Slatton

Sociopaths
anarchy | criminal behavior | evil | psychosis | special | vulnerability

Sociopaths

A man I know got involved with a sociopath, woke up to it, and is finally divesting himself of this person. It’s not easy, of course. Those people don’t want to be divested.

By ‘sociopath’ I mean an empty shell of a person who uses flattery, cajoling promises, manipulation, deceit, backstabbing, and slimy, underhanded maneuvering to insinuate themselves into other people’s lives, all while accomplishing absolutely NOTHING and giving NOTHING back. This person is an energy vampire, the kind of bloodsucker who leaves other people feeling exhausted and debilitated.

This person stayed in our home and I was horrified at how this person sucked my energy.

This person’s entire game is to talk, talk, talk while NOT moving ahead. The image is of a car stuck in the mud. This person is standing by the car, watching the wheels spin uselessly–and then acting like a spider with a sticky web to catch people so they are forced to watch the tires spin, too.

It was debilitating to be in this person’s presence. Even when the flattery for me was spun, I was put off. I didn’t fall for it for one second. It was all I could do to keep a straight face–this person was a guest in my home, I was NOT going to be confrontational.

Months ago I said, “Don’t you see, this person uses flattery to get in and makes promises that fall flat? It’s all talk. It’s all bullshit. It’s all empty dreamy spin doctoring. Nothing is ever accomplished. Nothing ever comes through. It’s all failure draped in sweet dreamy words.”

I had my own experience with a borderline personality disorder/sociopath last spring so I was extra sensitive to the behavior. Unfortunately, the man used that experience to dismiss my concerns.

But I wasn’t the only concerned individual. A person who knew the sociopath personally and lives in the same community called the man. This person said, “Look, there’s stuff going on that makes me uncomfortable. I think you should be aware. I think this person is insinuating themselves into your business in unwholesome ways. I think this person wants to control your business. Be aware.”

Other people commented, noting the oddities and inconsistencies in the sociopath’s rendering of things. This person was clearly distorting conversations that pertained to the man, and was clearly using the man’s work as a means to ingratiate themselves into the good graces of well-known people.

It was obvious. And slimy.

But the man didn’t want to see it. Perhaps he couldn’t. One of this man’s best qualities is that he is a straight arrow: No games ever. No mental manipulation. No bullshit. What this man says he will do, he does–no more, no less. He is absolutely straightforward that way. There are no hidden agendas. What you see is what you get with him. He says what he means and he means what he says. There’s no guessing involved.

It was a great relief to me to deal with someone so straightforward after being married to a major game player. Life is too short for power hungry game playing that insecure people engage in as a means of pumping up their self image.

But this man’s kind of honesty has its pitfalls, too. Namely, not seeing when other people aren’t as honorable, aren’t as straightforward. A kind of childish naiveté that insists on believing that everyone else is as straightforward and decent as he is.

But then it became so egregious that even this man had to see what other people and I had been trying to tell him.

Unfortunately, the situation is ever more complicated. The sociopath is involved with a person who is making introductions for the man–and who obviously has romantic feelings for the (married) sociopath.

Life is complex. Dealing with these untrustworthy, underhanded persons isn’t easy.

Sociopaths

 

Days of Inspiration
friends | gratitude | happiness | hard work | healing | hope | love | missing people | real friends | redemption | special | spiritual teachings | vulnerability | wholeness | writing

Days of Inspiration

Yesterday started out as a really hard day for me. When I woke up, the things that are wrong with my life weighed heavily on my heart, mesmerizing me to the point of destabilizing me.

I’ve endured these debilitating days periodically throughout my life. My usual strength seems like a sham, my resilience is a distant, invisible shore, and my many blessings have no more substance than twisting shadows. Even when I try to enumerate the specific graces of my life–because gratitude is one of my go-to tactics for self repair–they vanish before I can grip and savor them.

Then I saw some excellent tweets. Yes, of all things, the mercurial Deva of Twitter stepped in to succor me.  A blogger had mentioned my name in her “Top ten authors of 2014” list.  A Spanish man had glowingly tweeted his enjoyment of my novel “En Inmortal.”

I called my friend Jan and she patiently and lovingly talked me through my conundrums. She herself has experienced similar challenges, so she had insight to offer. She’s one of those brilliant souls with deep wisdom gleaned from living with presence and authenticity. She also has, oh, a million talents. I pay attention when she talks. Jan understands about pain and love and life and longing.

Gently, at one point in our conversation, Jan said, “You see things so clearly, Traci. That’s your sin.” Then she explained her meaning, and I gained new clarity.

My lovely friend Lori emailed me “So much love” and invited me to email back. I poured my heart out to her, and she emailed back with such fierceness on my behalf. Her empathy is amazing. It moved me and humbled me. And I got another dose of it today on Skype, and today we could laugh together, too. Just seeing her bright face lightened everything.

Beautiful Michelle Skyped in today, uplifting my day with her piquant presence and all the glamorous goings on of her life. She’s a canny, perceptive soul and she listened closely when I explained what bothered me. She had practical advice that was specially tailored for Traci, and no, it wasn’t drinking red wine, though we giggled most rambunctiously about that.

Aren’t giggles just the best medicine?

So from an inauspicious morning flowed two days of kindness from people I love who love me. That’s been the biggest learning of these middle years: to fill my life with people who love me and support me, people I can trust. I wish I’d known long ago to do so. Maybe I felt I didn’t deserve them.

There was affirmation, too, in the form of the “Best of authors” Blog list and the Spanish gentleman’s tweet–and that always helps.

For anyone who reads this post, I wish that you may experience the same kindness and love and affirmation, when your heart trembles.

For a pix to accompany this blog: FiberOptic Fairy II, our tree topper.  Because she’s whimsical and unintentionally funny, and earnest and sweet, and full of holiday spirit. And I’m grateful to her, the way I’m grateful to my friends, that she holds her place so gracefully.

Days of Inspiration

 

 

Birthday Wishes for a Beloved Soul
birthdays | freedom | friends | gratitude | healing | kindness | love | special | vulnerability | wholeness

Birthday Wishes for a Beloved Soul

Dear One
I wish for you discernment
that you may see who truly is your friend
and who isn’t
who truly wishes you well
and who doesn’t.
I wish you freedom
from your entitlement, your addictions, and your demandingness
so that you may enter into the clear
sweet peace of humility
that has everything to do with your soft open
heart’s kindness and love
for your core Self
and nothing to do with the curdled ego’s insistence
on gratification.
I wish for you that you seek wisdom
alongside knowledge,
words of gratitude
rather than proof,
and opportunities to give
in the very moments that you are tempted
to take.
I send you my love and my light
in the fullness of this day, your birthday,
as I do every moment of every day
and I wish for you that you feel my love
in every angstrom of your being
and that you learn to hold love in the reverence
it deserves
instead of seeing it as an agent to serve your bidding.
May you push you away the voices of false friends
who whisper in your ear of aggrandizement,
realizing that respectfulness
and honesty
and personal responsibility
is the better path.
May all your decisions be for the highest, best good
of yourself and all living beings,
And may your Higher Self bring you to conscious awareness in this lifetime.

by Traci L. Slatton
Birthday Wishes Birthday Wishes Birthday Wishes

Citizenfour: The Most Important Movie You Will Ever See
anarchy | criminal behavior | dystopian | evil | freedom | horror | movies | politics | psychosis | review | special | terrorism | vulnerability

Citizenfour: The Most Important Movie You Will Ever See

I recently finished a WWII novel, and I’m still researching the era for another, very different novel set during the same time period. Since one of my closest friends is a Bavarian woman whom I know to be a person of integrity, heart, courage, compassion, and grace, I was curious: how did the NSDAP come to control Germany so completely that its citizens would commit atrocities? So that atrocities would be legalized?

Part of the answer lies in the fact that the NSDAP under Adolf Hitler legalized the illegal. They made laws to force their citizens to participate in the killing of Jews, Poles, the Romany, Socialists, Communists, and anyone who disagreed with the Nazi party. They made laws to enforce the killing and sterilization of children and adults with physical “imperfections” such as mental retardation.

So the Nazi party in Germany created a legal system based on hatred and killing. To enforce this legal system, they instituted a series of Party overseers, one in every community, to make sure that people remained “Loyal” to the party. This was the state police, the Gestapo. The Gestapo surveilled every German citizen, collecting vast files of information about German individuals. There was no “privacy” because the German State was everything.

Every dictatorship surveilles its population as a method of controlling its subjects. This is pointed out in CITIZENFOUR, Laura Poitras’ film about Ed Snowden.

Admittedly, from the beginning, I have considered Snowden a hero. There is no justification for the massive, George-Orwell-1984-Big-Brother spying on citizens in which the United States intelligence services participate. It is an outright breach and invasion of privacy, ethics, and all things good and true.

Our government, the United States government under Barack Obama, is participating in–perhaps perfecting–the exact same tactics employed by Hitler and the Nazi party: Watch every citizen. Scrutinize every private individual. Know what every single person in the State is thinking, saying, and doing. It’s all about information linking, you see.

I know this because I have been researching the Gestapo.

I happened to be at a showing of Citizenfour at Lincoln Plaza after which Poitras appeared for a Q & A. No, she doesn’t know if she’s been followed, but she expects that the US Government would use skilled personnel to follow her. She has been told that all her electronic communication “lights up like a Christmas tree” in the offices where electronic communication is collected and followed.

Poitras was composed, articulate, and expressive. She said that Snowden was exactly as portrayed in the movie: articulate and collected, trying to teach her, Glenn, and Ewan what was most important in the information he gave them.

Some people consider Snowden a traitor. Consider the White Rose in Germany, which consisted of students at the University of Munich and their professor. They had an anonymous leaflet and graffiti campaign to inform the German public of what was actually being done to Jews and to call the Nazi government to question.

Here is what Wikipedia says of them:

White Rose survivor Jürgen Wittenstein described what it was like to live in Hitler’s Germany: “The government – or rather, the party – controlled everything: the news media, arms, police, the armed forces, the judiciary system, communications, travel, all levels of education from kindergarten to universities, all cultural and religious institutions. Political indoctrination started at a very early age, and continued by means of the Hitler Youth with the ultimate goal of complete mind control. Children were exhorted in school to denounce even their own parents for derogatory remarks about Hitler or Nazi ideology.”

The White Rose was considered traitorous, too. So they were executed.

And “Ultimate goal of mind control” can only be the reason for the NSA’s total surveillance of the American population, including hundreds of millions of completely loyal American citizens.

How long before the US government insists on the same kind of control? All in the name of “protecting” American citizens from terrorists?

Just as the Gestapo was protecting German citizens from Judeo-Bolshevik enemies.

The most important concept in the movie was one that Snowden articulated: that the NSA’s actions change the balance of power so that it’s not elected-officials and electorate, it’s now rulers and those who are ruled.

See the movie. Think about the United States government, which is acting like a bully and a dictatorship.

Citizenfour

 

 

Yoga With Dogs
friends | gratitude | happiness | kindness | love | pets | real friends | vulnerability | yoga

Yoga With Dogs

Gabriel is my boy. He is telepathically attuned to me, so he always knows what I am feeling. I can’t count the number of times over the last six years that he’s come to cuddle me at just the right moment, just when I most needed the creature comfort of his warm yellow fur, damp nose, soulful dark eyes, and eternally wagging tail.

Molly joined us three years ago. She’s a powerfully intelligent girl, a chocolate lab, a little reserved but deeply affectionate when it suits her.

About a year ago, Molly discovered that she could have some fun with me while I was doing yoga. When I do downward facing dog, she lies down beneath me, directly under the V of my body. When I do upward facing dog, she crawls over on top of me. When I’m doing jnana shirsasana, she puts a paw or her nose over my leg.

When she hears the “Om” chiming the start of my daily Yogaglo video, she trots in, and the game is on. It continues all the way through savasana, during which she stands over me and whines for me to KEEP MOVING.

So Molly and Gabriel must have talked, because now Gabriel wants in on the fun. Yesterday I tried to take some selfies. You can’t really tell but I’m in gomukasana and a reclined twist during most of the pix.

Yoga With Dogs Yoga With Dogs Yoga With Dogs Yoga With DogsYoga With Dogs