Tag Archives: love

Chasing Bliss

"Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option." -Maya Angelou

“Never make someone a priority when all you are to them is an option.”
-Maya Angelou

She’d been in the back of the truck outside the bar for hours. He would come out at some point, drunk. It smelled like snow was on the way, and Dahlia was cold. She had always waited in the truck; her job was to guard the truck.

It was not a loving relationship with her master. He loved his truck and beer, not her–she could be any dog.

Dahlia felt uncertain about her future as she stood in the bed of the truck, shivering. She was getting older; the situation was very predictable and never going to get better. She could have felt hopeless and full of despair, but Dahlia’s imagination was her best friend. Suddenly she was gripped by an unexpected urge that excited her so much, she almost couldn’t contain herself. So she didn’t. Dahlia looked around. The path was clear. She jumped out of the truck and ran. Dahlia felt there was a better life waiting for her, somewhere.

When her master had brought her home after picking her from the litter seven years earlier, she felt so special. She got bored when he was at work and began to chew on some things to pass the time. He was angry when he got home and found the dissected TV remote control. Then he saw the barely recognizable cowboy boot in the middle of the living room rug. He yelled at her and kicked her until she yelped in pain, before throwing her outside, forever. He didn’t understand her new teeth hurt and she was bored. Dahlia never saw the inside of the house again. He was always mean to her, even though her chewing days were long gone. He paid no attention to her other than giving her some dry food and water. He considered “play” to be taking her with him to watch the truck while he drank with his buddies. She wasn’t going to wait for him to be happy with her.

Being outside had its benefits. She heard all the dog gossip in the neighborhood. She got to chatting with the other neighborhood dogs while he was at work. Everyone had a story to tell. Walks, road trips, naps on the couch, toys and table scraps—especially the food the kids didn’t like. She discovered she had not lucked out in the lifestyle lottery. She had grown to enjoy the outdoors but would have liked to have a choice to go inside when the weather was bad. She was happy for the others—it gave her hope. She wanted to feel loved and appreciated for who she was too. She had a lot of love to offer in return.

After traveling for hours, she was thirsty, hungry, cold and exhausted. Even a bit afraid. It was getting dark. Dahlia found a nice soft place to sleep under a large bush that barely sheltered her from the chilly wind. Before she closed her eyes, she looked up at the moon. She asked that she be shown the way to a joyful life—one meant just for her.

Dahlia awoke to a light dusting of snow surrounding her. It was beautiful and very cold. Her immediate goals were water and something to eat. She walked until she reached a bay where the calm water had frozen over. She ventured out onto the smooth surface and licked the ice. She surveyed the scene, still full of exhilaration over the adventure that awaited her, but worried about food.

A small black thing bouncing through the ice distracted her. What was that little thing? She watched it bounce up, each time a cracking sound. Then, down it went. It moved rhythmically up and down through the ice again, now several yards away. She wanted to chase it, catch it and perhaps eat it! Chasing it was great fun! She never knew where it would pop up, and she became happily lost in the challenge of it all. She did not remember when she felt so blissful.

At the edge of the bay she was confused as the little black thing sped out to deeper water. She was mesmerized as it rose up, exploding out of the water in a spectacular display of power and grace. A whale! She had been chasing a whale! It crashed down into the choppy water and swam back to where she was pacing excitedly on the frozen bay. A gigantic head poked through the water.
“Hey, that was a lot of fun. I bet you weren’t expecting that! What’s your name?”
“Dahlia. I was having so much fun I lost all track of time chasing you! I even forgot how hungry I was,” she said, a little dismayed he was not food.
The whale blinked his enormous eye at Dahlia.
“Wait here,” he said.

The big head was gone. Ripples of icy water sloshed at her paws as she stood on the edge of the frozen bay. She watched the spot where he’d disappeared, having no idea what she was waiting for. Up he came with a burst, spewing a mountain of wiggling fish onto the ice for her to feast on! And feast she did, until she could hold no more. She burped.

“I’m so sorry; you have been so thoughtful and kind! Thank you for the fish. I don’t even know your name.” Dahlia hung her head in embarrassment.
“Tahi. The pleasure has all been mine. I hope we can play again soon!”

With that, he turned and disappeared under the water. Dahlia smiled as she wandered off with her bulging belly. What a difference a simple act of kindness made, she thought as she felt her spirits buoyed. Now she needed to find better shelter than the bush she’d slept under.
She spotted a grouping of rocks a short distance away and walked with new energy to investigate. As she walked around the huge, grey boulders she saw nothing that could be considered shelter. She spied a small opening near the bottom of one of the rocks. It looked barely big enough to fit her and her full tummy. She squeezed herself under it, burying her claws into the ground to pull herself inside. Dahlia was amazed to see that once inside the rocks, there was a cavern. A perfectly sheltered, hollow area where she could stand up easily and walk around. An ideal new home. She promptly turned three times, laid down and took a long nap.

Tahi and Dahlia grew very close over the months; they were inseparable. Tahi would take Dahlia for exciting rides on his back and bring her bounty from the sea. Dahlia would lick his salty face with loving kisses of gratitude. She’d run in circles on the beach, barking while he frolicked in the waves, putting on a show for her.

One night, nestled in her cavern, she was struck with how easily things started to go right, months ago. It was only when she decided she deserved better that she found better. When she followed her happiness, it grew into something unimaginable. Her happiness was her guide; it pointed where she needed to go next. All of her needs that she had worried over had been fulfilled in the most remarkable ways. She’d put forth effort, but it was enjoyable. She couldn’t explain it. She laid her head down to sleep as Tahi wished her a soulful good night off in the distance.

Respond to every call that excites your spirit.

-Rumi

The Forest Cats

"When the solution is simple, God is answering." -Albert Einstein

“When the solution is simple, God is answering.”
-Albert Einstein

As Lulu stared into the stars, she knew her life would never be the same.

The day started out with the other forest cats in Lulu’s tribe arguing amongst themselves.
Who was the best looking? Who had the best lair? Who had the best stash of dead mice and birds for the coming winter?

In truth, they were all fearful of sickness or a storm that could destroy it all. Lulu quickly tired of the bickering and boasting. She wondered why she could not muster the interest to join in. They always had more than enough to feast on every winter. Everyone was unique-looking, as was their skill set at hunting and lair building. It was quite pointless. Why was the tribe always trying to be separate from each other? They were never satisfied. Their strength was in working together, using all their different talents.

“Is there more to existence than this?” Lulu asked.
Nobody heard her. She felt she was having something akin to a dark night of the soul.

Lulu became restless and started to wander off for some solitude. A pale blue flash caught her eye. It looked like a rabbit. It ran like a rabbit. It stopped and watched her with the most unusual and penetrating sapphire blue eyes. Unlike any rabbit she’d ever seen. She took off after it. The rabbit hop-skipped a narrow rutted path ahead of her. Every so often he would stop and turn back to look at her, teasing, to make sure she was following. She was, and felt a little silly with her head low, crouching, moving slowly and deliberately. He was in charge, not her. He wanted her to follow him. Lulu had every intention of doing just that.

As he ran into the nearby open field he took off at an unworldly pace. Effortlessly, he floated through the field. She tried her best to keep up, with the tall, dry field grass whipping her face. She never took her eyes off him. Then he suddenly stopped. He turned back to look at her with those magnetic eyes. She stopped in her tracks as she watched him become a tiny tornado of swirling blue light. Moments later, he dissolved from the bottom up.

She rushed to the spot only to find a typical rabbit hole. She wasn’t sure what just happened, but she was sure it happened.

She moved closer to the hole and cautiously peeked down into it. She felt a vastness drift through her—as though she were pure energy, her body gone. She stared in amazement as the entire universe stared back, drawing her further into its eternity.

“Everything is upside down.”

Words tumbled into her consciousness, as if they were not her own—but yet they were. Lulu listened, purring with excitement and anticipation. It was as if some other consciousness was downloading information into her mind, yet it was familiar.

“The others are living from the outside in. Perceiving they never have enough. Looking for happiness in more of the same, which keeps them in a state of lack. Their egos are never satisfied. There is never, ever, going to be enough to fill the emptiness inside. The only thing that fills the emptiness is my love. Through my love, you learn to love yourself—your uniqueness and the uniqueness of everyone around you. Look inside—not outside—for a love like no other. No matter how many mice and birds you have, no matter what you look like, or where you live…I will always love you.”

Silence.

As Lulu stepped back from the hole, she was purring at a deafening volume. She was suddenly aware of her surroundings, the soft dirt under her paws. She inhaled the gentle breeze, gazing up at the beautiful white clouds drifting overhead. She felt awash with a sense of comfort, a joy on a level she had never experienced. She could not wait to get back to the tribe to tell them of her adventure and bring them all to see and experience the hole!

“Come quick, everyone!” Lulu shouted as she got within earshot, closing in on the still bickering tribe. “I have to show you, everything is going to be okay, I can’t even explain it, but it will change everything!”

All being curious, they jumped up and followed her out to the field. She stood over the hole and said, “Go ahead; you have to look inside.” She waited for someone to step forward. Nobody seemed to want to look inside.

One by one the forest cats started laughing. Pretty soon they were all joined in laughing and rolling on the ground. “Look inside!” someone would shout and they’d all laugh again hysterically. Lulu didn’t understand they couldn’t see the hole.

They all wandered back to camp, enjoying the joke. Lulu tagged behind while they chanted “Look inside, look inside,” laughing anew, and never tiring of the ridicule. Finally one forest cat turned to her and said, “You’ve gone mad. I sincerely hope you do not become a burden and drain our resources.”

Lulu felt an unwavering security within herself that whatever happened, she would be fine. She didn’t understand the reaction of the tribe at all; she thought they’d be excited.

Bebe was a quiet forest cat, older—and mostly she kept to herself. Even during the recent commotion she steered clear. Lulu watched as Bebe sauntered up to her.
“I was wondering when someone else would discover the hole,” she said purring loudly and smiling at Lulu. “The others can’t see it Lulu. I’m sorry.”
“Why?” Lulu asked. The thought never occurred to her.

“Because they purr at such a low vibration, always living from the outside in. They don’t want change—even though they are never satisfied, they believe it’s as good as it gets. What you are seeing in the hole is the universe inside yourself. When I look in the hole, I see the universe inside myself. The point being, we are seeing the same universe because we are both a part of it. As are the others. We are all One. All connected by a knowingness inside. The others strive because they resist the knowingness, but it will be there if they ask. You must have asked if there was more to life. It always answers. Eventually. If you remain open for the answer.”

Lulu thought about how this changed everything for her. She couldn’t condemn the other forest cats for something they couldn’t see. She felt compassion for the others but knew she could never go back to life before following the strange rabbit to the hole.

Winter came in like a bull. The storm destroyed everything in its path. All the lairs and food supplies were gone. The forest cats were getting sick and weak, losing patches of fur and feeling very scared. Lulu marveled at the strength of the storm and what it had done. She couldn’t help thinking some good would come from it all. Even though the suffering of the tribe was terrible and she was feeling very weak herself.

She and Bebe decided to go to the hole to meditate, without telling the others. Relieved it was still there, unchanged by the storm, they both peeked inside at the glorious universe. Then they sat back, closed their eyes and synchronized their purring. They desperately needed guidance.
Bebe whispered, “What now?”

It wasn’t long before the words flowed to them: “The storm was isolated. About 200 yards north from your camp it is untouched by the storm. It is near a stream loaded with fish for food and surrounded by a bank of trees that will provide shelter. Move the tribe there now.”

Bebe and Lulu rushed back to the camp and told everyone to follow them. The forest cats were too tired to argue or make fun of following crazy Lulu anywhere. The new camp was just as expected—only better. Fish jumped from the stream as the forest cats caught them in their paws. It was better than anything they had ever imagined. The shelter provided by the trees was natural, providing strength by having grown through many storms. The cats surrounded Bebe and Lulu, dancing in a circle and celebrating their genius.

“How did you know this was here Lulu?” asked one scraggly forest cat.
“A blue rabbit told me it would be purrrrrrfect for us.” She winked at Bebe. Confused, he walked away saying, “Lulu, you’re as crazy as you ever were.”

“As the saying goes,” said Bebe, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear.” She and Lulu lay down, stretching out in the sun.

“To understand the true nature of the Universe,

one must think in terms of energy, frequency and vibration.”

-Nikola Tesla

Some Love Stinks

"You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I'll rise!" -Maya Angelou

“You may shoot me with your words, you may cut me with your eyes, you may kill me with your hatefulness, but still, like air, I’ll rise!”
-Maya Angelou

His odor was unbearable. His wretched bird-breath was just another indication of how rotten to the core he was. As they neared the hole, she felt her grip loosening, on purpose…

Ginger let go. She gave a small twirl of celebration as she did a free fall into the hole. She descended into darkness. Her constant fear of him was replaced with a fear of what might await her at the bottom.

Her thoughts were moving slowly, struggling for clarity in a surreal fog. The air was damp, kissing her cheeks with salty lips.

He’d come into her life so quickly, he seemed to eclipse her very existence. He took charge, and he made assumptions that were not accurate. Had she been more secure, she bravely would have disagreed. But he was an overwhelming and powerful presence, so sure of himself, as if he were a gift. Ginger blamed herself for being too cautious—there was no stopping him—still something made her feel uneasy. He seemed so interested in her. She was swept away, literally felt like she was floating. They were “dizzy in love,” he’d said.

He quickly professed his love for her and gave her a nickname, Toad. He told her Ginger was just too long to say all the time, so he would be calling her Toad. She thought the name was degrading but was sure he didn’t mean anything by it. Perhaps it was just as he had said, and she should look at it as a term of endearment. She didn’t want to hurt his feelings or spoil the mood.

He called to her constantly—wherever she was, he seemed to be hovering nearby. She was flattered but had an underlying feeling of being prey to his predator. Never had anyone cared so much where she was and what she did. She lost count of how many times a day he told her he loved her. “I love you, Toad. Do you love me?”
“Yes, I love you too,” she always responded, as if under a spell.

It was not long before they were nesting together. Soon he told her she was his perfect soul mate. She thought he really didn’t know much about her—he never asked or seemed to care. She decided it didn’t matter—he could make her laugh with his quick wit, usually at another’s expense. He seemed to be more important than her, to have everything she thought she lacked. Assertive, brutally honest about what mattered to him, intolerant of other beliefs, bold—even brazen and insulting in his speech—somewhat intimidating. He constantly bragged about his accomplishments. She had to admit, the list was impressive. How lucky she was he loved her. He was actually impossibly accomplished. Although…she saw no evidence of his past accomplishments anywhere. At times she felt more like an assistant to his life and his grandiose plans for them. She learned all she could about things he cared about, even if it didn’t interest her much. He didn’t know her interests—she was just Toad.

It was all moving so quickly. Soon they had their first fight. She was tidying up the nest, as she often did. He demanded it be neat for someone of his stature. That day, he escalated a benign conversation into a needless battle, accusing her of horrible thoughts and intentions. She was shocked at the shear velocity of anger being leveled at her! The accusations and insults came at her, rapidly firing with what seemed to be a studied precision. Each one a direct hit on her heart. She watched him rant, deciding there would be no defense. To engage him would just enrage him more. She didn’t have to win every battle. She had only known him a short time. She never could have imagined he was capable of so much anger at her. She thought she had only tried to please him.

Then she smelled it. It permeated her nostrils as she witnessed him vent. She could still hear him, but the smell was overpowering. His voice became chatter in the background of his horrible stench. She silently fielded accusations as they sailed at her. They didn’t even sound like anything she’d done, all twisted as they were with his malice. She had abandoned him when she was talking to the neighbor; she should never leave him alone. She was selfish, uncaring, ungrateful, and didn’t really love him. His face was filled with contempt as he went on to tell her she was just like all the rest. He told her she was lucky he loved her because she had all kinds of things wrong with her. Her face was not quite pretty. He’d had much prettier share a nest with him. She never said the right things. She didn’t do a good job on the nest—as a matter of fact, she was a pig! Her clothes were wrong, and she was fat. Until, finally, he explained he was only trying to help her because he was so much smarter.

He stopped as abruptly as he’d begun. A look of smug satisfaction broke out as he saw her fear, the tears rolling down her cheeks. She was crying because along with being awful, he smelled so freaking awful. Skunk, onions and old tobacco. He acted sweet again, as if nothing had happened. But her emotions—and his smell—remained raw, keeping her steadfastly in the fear zone. Why had she never smelled him before? Perhaps she didn’t want to. She wanted to believe the illusion he’d created for her, a brainwashing of sorts. All she saw now was a very bad situation.

He interrupted her thoughts calmly now, but with a threatening undertone: “Toad, I want to go out, and I want you to come with me.”
She was afraid not to agree, so they took off.
He always had her hang on to his talons. He told her she needed to “hang on,” while he reserved his strength to concentrate on navigating and flying. Also, that she should not bother him during flight. She was not sure what she was supposed to do if she ever got tired. He had become so cold, so fast. It seemed more natural for him, being mean.

She welcomed the wind rushing her face. She had noticed the hole on previous trips, but this time it really got her attention. She didn’t know where it went, but it didn’t matter as long as it went away from him. She no longer felt she lacked what he had—she didn’t want it. She just wanted to be Ginger again.

As she fell, suspended in darkness, emotions arose and dissipated like waves. She felt strong by choosing to save herself. Her fear quieted down. She decided calling fear love, as he did, didn’t make it love. A different kind of love filled her as his spell was broken. She felt connected again to who she was—not Toad. She was overwhelmed by her feeling of wholeness. She had learned her lesson. The feeling of love swept through her in a safe, warm vibration. She would be fine. She loved herself enough at that moment to know that she only needed to stand up for herself. That she lacked nothing. She felt perfectly unique—exactly as planned.

The entire experience seemed part of a larger picture of her life, somehow intentional. She was good enough to do and be whatever she decided. Nobody could take this feeling away from her without her giving it away. It felt like such an indestructible strength, a super power! She didn’t need approval or anyone to tell her how to live.

She was almost blinded by the bright light as she was gently deposited on a shoreline. Colorful shells glistened in the sunlight. The smell was gone. Ginger was Ginger again, only better.

Jens has perfect music to go with this story, lots of wisdom on her blog if you have not visited yet!https://3wwwblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/30/for-christina/

The Forever Coma Bomb

“We can no longer believe the media’s message of fear. Fear is an unconscious response that creates more negativity. Challenges and difficulties are a natural part of life, but when we meet challenges with negativity, we create more suffering for ourselves.”
-Eckart Tolle

Taffy was addicted. A 24/7 news cycle kept her informed of all the horrors of daily life. She thought being informed and ready—just in case disaster struck close to home—was the way to go. She always got a kick out of the college students who couldn’t identify a photo of the Vice President. She didn’t want to be ignorant like them. She knew every candidate who would, could, or might run for President. She knew every political gaffe and every conspiracy theory. She thought it gave her the ability to hold intelligent conversations with her friends. Even though they found the news depressing. Sometimes they disagreed and got into a fight.

Then there was the barrage of pharmaceutical commercials. While disturbing and often unclear as to what the ailment was, she was so grateful to be informed. She had a whole list of things wrong with her. She didn’t even realize it until she saw the commercial for the cure. She had to ask her doctor, to see if the drugs “were right for her,” as the commercials advised. Taffy was actually afraid to find out.

She had mountains of survival food that wouldn’t spoil for 30 years. She had triple padlocked doors and bars on her windows. She lived in a state of fear for all that had not happened, but might…

One morning she sat down with her morning coffee and punched the remote for the news. Nothing happened. The screen was blank, except for a faint, bluish light. It illuminated the ghostly logo of the news channel burned into the screen. Nada. Zip. She was sure it was a terrorist attack. She sat—feeling she had prepared for this moment—yet she had no idea what to do.

As she sipped her coffee in silence, she listened for explosions or the sound of choppers flying overhead. She knew some indication of mayhem would soon reveal itself. Crickets. The silence was eerie in what it didn’t say. She could hear the power was still on; that was good. She wouldn’t have to figure out how to use the generator she’d bought for just such an occasion. She wanted to know what was going on, but she was afraid to leave home. Marauding bands of intruders might try to steal her provisions.

The not knowing and silence became unbearable. Did the world end? Did some terrorist organization commandeer a fleet of drones? Maybe they dropped a hi-tech “Forever Coma Bomb” on every major city in the world? Was the world gone? Taffy started to cry at the horror of it all. Thoughts rushed through her mind, each more terrifying than the previous one. The world has ended.

The sound of the children’s laughter derailed her train of thought. Taffy listened in indignant amazement. A dog barked playfully. The rumble and squeak of child-sized vehicles filled the silence as they drove up and down her driveway. All the sounds competing. Barking, laughter, rumble and squeak. Totally inappropriate sounds. Taffy was in shock. How can they play when the world has ended? Suddenly, nothing made sense.

The television sparked to life, and Taffy’s attention was drawn to the image of a beautiful blonde woman. Somehow she managed to smile while talking in a hushed voice of phony concern. A flood had swept away 28 very expensive homes in another state. The good news was that there were no fatalities. Then she introduced an expert to discuss what it would be like to suffer death by flood. Such a myriad of ways it could happen, all dreadful.

Taffy wasn’t interested. She wanted to understand what had just happened to her. Nothing, she concluded had just happened. She could not stop a flood or a Forever Coma Bomb dropped by a drone. A website for donating to the flood victims popped up on the screen. She wrote it down to send a donation and turned off the TV.

Taffy sat in her epiphany. She saw with crystal clarity how she had been sucked into the misery of events she had no control over. The fear of what might happen, but usually doesn’t. Every day, 24/7. As each fear gets old, it’s replaced by a new one. It had made her feel a part of something bigger than herself, and at the same time…isolated. The Pleasure Police were always on duty. And all to sell anti-depressants. It had robbed her of her love for life. Her life—and she wanted it back. One day they might get it right…but in all the years she’d watched, they hadn’t yet.

Sounds of pure glee penetrated her walls. She wanted to feel the children’s innocence and imagination—their love for life. That love of life was all that mattered. Love. She didn’t have to prepare for love. It required no special shoes. It was always there—she just needed to be open to it. She pondered how she had gotten to this point. She had been blinded by fear. A fear that was never finished scaring her. It was all an illusion that had no benefit other than to make money for the news channels. Ads for products to help with the cure of ailments. Ailments mostly brought on by being consumed with fear.

So there she sat. Everything was exactly as it had been when she got up that morning. Nothing had changed, except that her coffee was now cold. Yet her entire world had changed. She heard the birds outside for the first time. She felt compassion for what she had gotten herself into. So subliminally being lulled into thinking she was doing the right thing. How many others like her were there? As the feeling spread through her, she felt a rightness—a truth in her realization. She thought, What if everyone could feel this way, all the time? What if we could love life—and ourselves—as is, instead of lopsided with fear? We’d have compassion and love for one another, finding joy in our differences. Together we’d make the game of life a fearless playground! There would be no need for 24/7 news. There would be so little anyone wanted to buy.

Ha! Fat chance. A wholly, unrealistic thought. So instead she decided she would just practice it in her world. She’d continue to have compassion for all the nasty things that happen. That is the duality of life. But she’d also see the gifts, beauty and magnificence that can come of all that happens. She would love life like never before. Maybe just watch the news once every two weeks, for an hour? She dumped out the rest of her coffee and headed for the beach.

Castle Of Love

“I love to see a young girl go out and grab life by the lapels. Life’s a bitch. You’ve got to go out and kick ass.”
-Maya Angelou

Sophia watched as he kicked over the spire she had just carefully crafted for her sand castle of love. Bradley was getting her back for telling him he wasn’t doing it the way she wanted it to be done. He’d asked if she would teach him to build by letting him help her. Then, as soon as he got a shovel in his hand, he was directing the whole project without a clue on how to do it.
“I wish I could push you off a cliff!” Bradley said. He folded his arms and stuck out his bottom lip.
“I’m firing you from my Castle of Love Club,” Sophia said glumly. She watched as Bradley threw down his shovel and trundled down the beach, his pants full of sand and falling down. She found the whole thing ironic.

Sophia resolved to build her castle of love by herself to herself. Dressed in her pink party dress now wet and covered with sand, she got to work. She worked tirelessly, hoping to finish it before the tide came in. As she went for more water to fill her bucket she began to worry that the tide would wash it away before she could finish. If only she hadn’t wasted so much time trying to train Bradley…but everything happens for a reason, she supposed. Poor Bradley, she thought. He just didn’t get it. Maybe someday he will build his own castle of love.

As the water inched up the beach, she found herself deeper and deeper. At first she didn’t believe she saw what she saw. She dismissed it as a sort of choppy water shadow. But then there was no mistaking it. It was a big, slick bald head, with whiskers and dark soulful eyes, looking right at her. Sophia’s first reaction was to scream.
“Please, don’t be frightened! I’m so sorry; there is no other way to come up for air other than to just pop up!”
Sophia shook her head in agreement, not taking her eyes off the seal.
“Hey, nice castle. My name is Lilo. Yours?”
“Thanks Lilo. I’m Sophia. I’m sorry for screaming.”
“Can I help you finish this before the tide comes in? You will need to train me, but I’m a good student.”
Sophia took a few minutes to show Lilo what he needed to do, and placed Bradley’s little blue shovel in his mouth. He proved to be invaluable and had such a supportive attitude. He worked fast and was able to pat down the sand quickly with his strong foreflippers. They had built a magnificent castle of love—it was even more beautiful than she’d imagined it.

Lilo was so excited to be involved in the project that he wanted to do it again. They agreed to meet again, and again, and again. Within a short time, they were a team. Hotels advertised them as a “must see” attraction. Soon beach walkers came from all around to see the amazing castles built by Sophia and Lilo. They threw money in their little red bucket which she’d then split, buying fish for Lilo with his half.

The two built castles daily for the tourists to enjoy, and they grew very close. Each inspired the other to try new and more imaginative challenges. Sophia felt her life was very full, and she cherished her friendship with Lilo. Lilo was very protective of Sophia and once chased Bradley down the beach. Bradley discovered them one day building the most ambitious castle yet. It had motes and a drawbridge, and was very, very tall. Bradley told them the castle was ugly and they would die dumb from building dumb, ugly castles. That was enough for Lilo, who barked while chasing after Bradley as he cried in fear, running down the beach, and peeing his pants.

Sophia lay in an almost overflowing bath of bubbles. It had been a particularly profitable day. She thought about how determined she had been to build her castle of love, by herself. Not until then did she attract others who were supportive and wanted to help.

So, for now, young Sophia found it was easier to train a seal to help build her castle of love, than it was to train a boy.

Synco-Pal

“All discarded lovers should be given a second chance, but with somebody else.”
-Mae West

“Everyone has guides,” the old man told Phoebe. “I see three standing behind you; a man and two women. Can you tell me the man’s name?”

Phoebe was not sure why she always attracted these types. Perhaps she had a face that begged to be talked to, if you were living on the ragged edge of reality. She tried to ignore him as she waited for her pizza. He had to be in his eighties, with dyed black hair and food stains on his shirt.
“The name?” he persisted.
“Bart,” she blurted out, recalling the famous phrase, “I’m Bart Simpson, who the Hell are you?”
Maybe that would satisfy him. She turned slightly away from him. She hoped he could read body language as well as he did the ethers. He shook his inky hair.
“Nope. It’s longer than that.”
Where is my pizza? she thought.
“Bartholomew,” she said in exasperation.
“Yes! That’s it! You must Google him.”

With that, he turned and walked out the door—no pizza, no food, nothing.
Phoebe arrived home with her pizza and set it on the counter. She no longer felt like eating. The fluttering in her stomach had become a regular thing since turning in her last robot, Troy. It was her third. She’d hoped that Troy would be “The One.”

The government, in all their wisdom, had decided there were too many single women. And they were not good for the economy—they didn’t spend enough money. Two years had passed since the deadline for all women over the age of 28 to be paired with a mate. If they were not in a committed relationship they would be required to enroll in the Synco-Pal program, or pay a penalty.

Trillions of tax dollars were used to develop the perfect male companion robot for single women. Over the probationary four months he would learn and synchronize with all her likes and dislikes. Together, as a couple “in love,” they would spend more and help the economy. Since the Synco-Pals had no visible means of support, the women had to support them. One of the Synco-Pal’s key features was that he demanded expensive gifts to promote “happiness.” If gift demands were ignored, a report would be transmitted via the Synco-Pal to the agency overseeing the Synco-Pal program. The woman would be fined in the amount of the gift not purchased.

Phoebe’s Synco-Pals kept malfunctioning. They were fun and complimentary, attentive and sweet…up until they moved in with her. Quickly, they would become critical, intimidating, messy, demanding and argumentative. He would start to devalue her with insults about her physical appearance, intelligence and capabilities. His demand for expensive gifts would go well beyond extravagant. Once the gift was purchased and given, he would quickly become dissatisfied with it, thereby requiring a new gift. After six months all traces of love, compassion and empathy had vanished. They became just plain mean and sullen. All three had been exactly the same; Troy was the last. She had nicknamed him Syco-Pal.

Having lost faith, she opted to take advantage of the grace period of two months after a “Turn In.” Phoebe decided she was going to do some research. Certainly she couldn’t be the only one experiencing devastating software glitches.

Phoebe interviewed other women, including one who actually worked for Synco-Pal. Her findings were disturbing. One in twenty five Synco-Pals had the all-encompassing software glitch she had experienced. It was a factory defect, with no upgrade. One in five had a glitch that made them difficult and annoying to be around, also no upgrade. There were millions of them out there. She was emotionally exhausted, financially devastated, and felt she had tried to be “a patriot.”

She found the odds as bad as the human relationships. They ended in divorce 50% of the time. Was being “in love”—and fitting into what society and the economy marketed to—worth it?
She felt manipulated. Why wasn’t her contribution to the economy and society good enough? Perhaps the government spent too much? They certainly had on Synco-Pal. If they didn’t waste so much, they would not need so much from her.

With two weeks of grace left, Phoebe was surfing the web, continuing her research. She remembered the old man from the pizza place and decided to Google “Bartholomew, guide.” She had no idea what a guide was—some woo-woo thing most certainly. A woman in New Mexico claimed to channel this Bartholomew character. Phoebe was entering the twilight zone. She ordered the book. She read the book only to discover it was full of thoughts and concepts familiar to her on some level. Yet she had never seen or heard them anywhere in her life. There was a shift in her consciousness as the information made complete sense to her. There was love, and there was love.

The “love” that society embraced, encouraged, and marketed to was actually nothing more than attraction. It was conditional—not all abiding. Behave a certain way, and you will be loved. Quit, and you will no longer be loved. Attraction/repulsion. Like magnets. The thoughts are not always loving. Phoebe was quite familiar with that emotional roller coaster. It comes with lessons to learn. About love. What you believe you lack, you find in the other person. You are attracted, fall “in love” with what you believe you lack—and what you believe will make you whole. Then you act certain ways, hoping to prevent a loss of that “love” or that sense of wholeness. It was that whole, “You complete me” thing. Phoebe thought many would deny this is true, protesting theirs is “true love.” But there are always conditions to being with another person.

Hmm…That’s a lot of power and responsibility I give to someone, Phoebe thought. So if I look to them for my happiness, and they are not happy…I will have to wait for them to be happy before I can be happy. Well, that’s messed up.

The other “love” was all-abiding. Unconditional. All your “good” traits and all your “undesirable” traits would be loved equally, as what makes you whole. They complete you. A perfect specimen of humanity. And here’s the kicker: this love is attained by you loving and accepting yourself, exactly as you are. No conditions. Ever. You just agree to love yourself, always, as a part of everything and everyone. As a result, you feel love and compassion for everyone else. Love yourself for wanting to change and grow—all the time, with no restrictions. It never goes stale.

The fluttering in Phoebe’s stomach stirred as she realized she’d been sold a bill of goods about life that was not in her best interest for a long and happy life. She also noticed Syco-Pals were not included in this ticket to nirvana—it was an inside job. They function by sucking stimuli from the outside world; they’re empty inside. If everything and everyone has a purpose, why Synco-Pals? She concluded that who better to force you to love yourself than someone who makes you feel bad and inferior about being you? Someone who fills your life with chaos and stress, lies, fear and manipulation? Yes, that must be their purpose. That said, they’re mean and she was through.

As she sorted her thoughts, her stomach fluttered something fierce. She mentally surveyed her life like a hawk flying over her personal landscape. Life was pretty much the same as it had always been. But she had changed, seeing it all from a different perspective.

Phoebe grabbed her car keys, hoping some fresh air would settle the now unbearable fluttering. After driving for a while, she pulled into a parking garage. She got out to stretch her legs and climbed up on the ledge, breathing in deeply. Little by little, all the seeds of change she had planted was each in itself a metamorphosis. Each growing stronger on its own, watered with her commitment and love. As the cocoons were shed, she burst forth in flight.

Phoebe flew away to a beautiful new life. She decided paying the “single woman penalty” was a better deal.

Hey everyone, go to Dan’s site and play “Add a line.”  Hurry, I have a feeling it’s going to get way out of hand…

I added: As Gina’s anxiety and fear mounted withing her chest, everything in her told her to get as far away as she can, and NOW!  She turned and ran for the stairs, but they were nowhere to be found…

Your turn!

http://danalatorre.com/2015/10/30/3158/comment-page-1/#comment-3065

"Technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological criminal." -Albert Einstein

“Technological progress is like an ax in the hands of a pathological criminal.”
-Albert Einstein

Celeste did it to make a point. She actually wondered if anyone would notice.

She had entered her favorite restaurant wearing her favorite boots and carrying her current favorite book. She was greeted and seated at her favorite table on the patio.

Even though the sky looked a bit threatening, she had insisted. She loved the fresh air and natural surroundings.

The place was packed, and she enjoyed all the activity. After receiving her wine, she surveyed the patrons to see if there was anyone she knew. She could not escape the realization that nobody was talking to each other. Heads down, texting, watching movies, playing games, checking emails, and snapping selfies while holding up various fancy drinks. Chunky children sat, mimicking their parents, staring at their video games while their parents stared at their phones. A voice shouted to no one, “I have 52 likes!” Another exclaimed, “I have 2,000 friends now!”

Before Celeste discovered the joys of dining alone with her thoughts, she dined with her friend, Theo. They always had the most interesting conversations about life. But that was before his untimely demise. She was sad that the other diners were not loving and enjoying one another’s company. She thought it would be better to dine alone than to rudely ignore each other, not caring about each other’s lives.

She seemed to be the only one bothered. No wonder there is so much loneliness in the midst of all this connectivity, she thought. She wondered how many “likes” and how many “friends” were enough? What number would make them put down their phones and appreciate the friends and family sitting in front of them? Was it the insatiable ego driving all this madness? She missed the laughter and conversations with her friend. She wondered how many would miss the disembodied online world of friends if it was suddenly gone. What memories would be cherished?

She was curious if they even noticed anything around them. Perhaps they all were stuck in a cyber, self-important, fantasy world. The social deterioration was making her angry. Her anger quickly ignited uncontrollably within her like a volcano. This was not the experience she wanted to have when she went out to eat!

Using the candle at the table, she set the empty chair at her table on fire. She then flung it onto the nearby rocks. She perched herself on the edge of her table to watch. The smell of smoke made a few diners look up. Some turned their backs to her and snapped selfies. Photos of themselves with Celeste posed on the edge of her table, wine in hand, and the chair burning in the background. Someone was making a video of the scene, “Oh baby, this is gonna go viral!”

Pretty soon everyone was talking to each other about the lunatic who burned the chair. Parents were balancing kids on their shoulders so they could see over the commotion. The burning chair turned into a party! There was laughter as they all shared the experience, high-fived each other, and toasted to the burning chair! What a wonderful time everyone was having together!

“That’s better!” Celeste said smiling, as she sat down, opened her book and took a sip of wine.