Painting the sky with stars…

I recently walked out of a cinema (named The Labia – possibly because you’re reborn by the time you walk out?) and sat down to have coffee with someone. A very heated discussion followed.

This particular discussion was about my life because the person wanted to share their opinions on it, which were somewhat different from mine. In the middle of this discussion  we somehow ended up discussing the movie too. We had somewhat different opinions on that as well.

I thought the movie was about two people who set each other free – they saw each other’s hearts and by doing so they created a space for each other where they could live their dreams.

To the person I was with, the movie was about something else, just as my life was about something else. Which goes to show that a lot of things are figments of our own imagination, including how we see the people in our life.

What I thought so special about the movie was the wonder of the people who really see us and our world; people whom we can truly share a moment with, because we’re actually experiencing the same moment. The kind of people who understand what it is that makes us come alive and not only allow us to do it, but share it with us because it gives them joy too.

I think those are the people who set us free because they want us to be who we are. They see us for who we are and talk to the real us. If we step away from our truth, they challenge us.

We can learn from a lot of different people – every day is a chance to learn something new if you just observe – but I believe the people who see our heart and share our world with us are the kind of people who make us paint the sky with stars. Our own stars. The stars we long to create. It’s the sensation of complete freedom as you’re you and they are they and it just is. And I believe that makes you sparkle; it makes your heart come alive because it’s free to just be and when our heart is alive, we sparkle.

I think there are places like that too. I remember walking around Paris the first time I was there, thinking it was nothing special. Because Paris was like me. And that made Paris one of the most special places I’ve ever been, but it didn’t give me a big high, it just made me feel free. It made me feel like me. Had I not stayed on, I might never have discovered that though, because it really did not strike me at first that the simplicity and freedom I felt was special. It just was. But just being is a gift of the gods and eventually we catch onto how it makes us sparkle.

It’s the same way I feel about filmmaking and two quotes from my favorite movie might just sum it up too!

So often in my life I’ve been with people and shared beautiful moments like travelling or staying up all night and watching the sunrise, and I knew it was a special moment, but something was always wrong. I wished I’d been with someone else. I knew that what I was feeling – exactly what was so important to me – they didn’t understand.

I believe if there’s any kind of God it wouldn’t be in any of us, not you or me but just this little space in between. If there’s any kind of magic in this world it must be in the attempt of understanding someone sharing something. I know, it’s almost impossible to succeed but who cares really? The answer must be in the attempt.

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…and the below is not really what this post is about, but you know it’s from the same movie and I think it’s one of the most epic scenes of all time…because, well, it’s true. We need to get off trains more often. The problem is, usually we don’t even realize there’s a train to get off. We’re too busy doing something else, or too caught up in fear, or “logical” thinking patterns, to even realize our own heart’s calling. 

Jesse: Alright, I have an admittedly insane idea, but if I don’t ask you this it’s just, uh, you know, it’s gonna haunt me the rest of my life

Celine: What?

Jesse: Um… I want to keep talking to you, y’know. I have no idea what your situation is, but, uh, but I feel like we have some kind of, uh, connection. Right?

Celine: Yeah, me too.

Jesse: Yeah, right, well, great. So listen, so here’s the deal. This is what we should do. You should get off the train with me here in Vienna, and come check out the capital.

Celine: What?

Jesse: Come on. It’ll be fun. Come on.

Celine: What would we do?

Jesse: Umm, I don’t know. All I know is I have to catch an Austrian Airlines flight tomorrow morning at 9:30 and I don’t really have enough money for a hotel, so I was just going to walk around, and it would be a lot more fun if you came with me. And if I turn out to be some kind of psycho, you know, you just get on the next train.

Jesse: Alright, alright. Think of it like this: jump ahead, ten, twenty years, okay, and you’re married. Only your marriage doesn’t have that same energy that it used to have, y’know. You start to blame your husband. You start to think about all those guys you’ve met in your life and what might have happened if you’d picked up with one of them, right? Well, I’m one of those guys. That’s me y’know, so think of this as time travel, from then, to now, to find out what you’re missing out on. See, what this really could be is a gigantic favor to both you and your future husband to find out that you’re not missing out on anything. I’m just as big a loser as he is, totally unmotivated, totally boring, and, uh, you made the right choice, and you’re really happy.

Celine: Let me get my bag.

(And yes, that’s from Before Sunrise by Richard Linklater.)

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Wander-lust…

Wander-lust

Part i – the song of adventure

The minarets call

And I’m reminded of the beauty of it all

The desire to seek enlightenment

In faraway countries, away from cement

Venturing out into what’s so different from ‘here’

Going out to find what’s out there

The magic and the mystery

The entangled history

Of various continents

Like the flavors of condiments

All unique metaphors

Of the common core

They call it wanderlust

Swept away by a gust

Of wind so filled with allure

It makes you forget what you’ll have to endure

Along the road of life

As you seek answers that are rife

With an inexplicable beauty

A beauty you will turn into your duty

To explore

Forever more

Part ii – discontent

And now it’s been banned

By a common man who’s ideas are worth a rand

Of hypocrisy

It makes me dizzy

To think of manmade borders

And all those hoarders

Of discontent

The people who never left their home

Are blaming the folks in Rome

For making poor pasta

And they never even saw a rasta

Such  shame

Stuck in an ignorant game

Soon they’ll build a wall

Who knows when it will fall?

The irony is they invaded the one place

Where they said you can’t own the Earth; it’s not your space

And robbed those people of the land they never claimed to own

What a ghastly way to have your wild oats sown

They invade everywhere

Then tell the people not to come near

They’ll send them home

To the places they bomb

African Heat 

African beats

heat

Up my sheets

Relentless sun

Moon’s got a gun

Never safe

You feel it chafe

Like a curse

Attached to your purse

Everywhere you go

Unstable winds blow

Mandela we cry

But Mandela did die

Now we’re stuck with the man in the moon

And his gunslinger crooks – what a tune

We wish to say goodbye

To yesterday’s sad high

The sun is shining

But there we stand whining

About yesterday’s foul ghost

And we raise a toast

And another

Why bother?

To change the future

We could just apply a suture

Tik, coke and crack

You gotta give us some slack

So we have enough time to miss our chance

And blame it on your faulty dance

By Yours Truly a.k.a. Maria Montgomery 

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The most beautiful story of all…

I don’t feel much like writing at all tonight. Unfortunately (fortunately that is) I follow my intuition as experience tells me that to doubt it is foolish. Hence, I’m writing.

Do you have a story that you come back to? A story that is your heart song? It’s not your life, it’s a metaphor for your life. It’s the life in you. This is my story. It’s called The Jester. You can read the other two chapters I’ve previously posted here. And here’s the next one…

The Jester…chapter unknown…

Rough winds were playing outside. She’d say they were cheeky winds. Playful with a bit of an edge – an edge strong enough to shake the house from time to time.

As usual remnants of her own life started to dance within her as the wind played. Old memories stirred, like leaves in the wind.

Today she was reminded of a man. He’d walked into her shop one day. He’d had a confident aura with a little bit of heartbreak shadowing its edges. Gray hair. Twinkling blue eyes. The lines in his face made him look weather worn in the right kind of way. He was the kind of man women would stop to look twice at, but he didn’t look back.

He was a wise man. He was a man who had seen and done what few ever would. He’d sinned in ways most would never imagine sinning and healed in ways most would never imagine healing. He was the kind of man who’d been through the sort of living hell that either make you die, or fight to reach a spiritual plane where life is no longer about pain.

Having the knowledge he had, he was also the kind of man who looked you in the eye and spoke the truth. Unfortunately the truth isn’t always pretty. Nor is it helpful if you don’t know what to do with it.

As a kid she’d been a bit like that man – she’d tell people the truth. Usually the truth she thought they most needed to hear; the truth about their wounds. As she grew older she learned that unless she offered a loving hand of help, the truth rarely set people free – instead it haunted them. They were as imprisoned by their fears and wounds as before she’d mentioned them. Just because someone else could see them and by seeing them make them tangible, it didn’t mean the person would do something about them. Instead the wounds started to bleed.

So she’d taken over her grandmother’s bakery and she now dished out the truth with a loving pat on the back and a suitable cake to go with it. People were charmed and charmed people are a lot more likely to go about making the changes you suggest they make.

In short, showing someone their wound without offering a way of healing it, is rather cruel unless the person is a healer in themselves. And even when you offer a way of healing a wound, it does the patient good to receive a dose of love too. After all, wounds are painful and love takes the edge of pain. And love, in one form or another, is usually the medicine needed to heal the wound.

The charismatic man who had stepped into her shop was prone to heal people with his wisdom, but he was no soothsayer. He did not wrap his truths up in nice little packages to diffuse the pain and he did not offer any love to go with his words. Instead he smirked and said the enlightened knew life is filled with pain and the only way to transcend it is to walk straight through it. Because that was his path, but it isn’t everyone’s path. Not everyone does well with bleeding wounds. In fact, quite a few of them faint and thereby render themselves useless.

The warmth of her shop had impressed him. He had liked what she’d done. How she camouflaged the truth in pretty little metaphors. He’d liked the cleverness of it all. He was wise enough to see that his way wasn’t everyone’s way. Of course he’d told her the truth though. He’d prodded and pushed till she bled.

At that stage she had thought she needed him. That she had needed his truth. She’d run after him like a lost puppy looking for advice. Her gran had just left the earthly realms. She was alone. She hadn’t found her feet yet. He wasn’t interested in friendship. He was a loner. And she wasn’t a chosen disciple.

The wind stirred up some sand that hit her windows as she stirred her tea. Sweet licorice and soft vanilla mingled with fruity notes of rooibos. Her tea gave her a level of comfort that man never could have. He only gave her a little piece of truth she was then left to battle herself. Ultimately those kind of pieces can set you free, but it’s often a long and harsh path. She knew because she’d taken it.

What struck her the most though as she remembered the man, was her need for friendship, for warmth, and his refusal to give it. For all his hearty laughs, heated spiritual discussions and twinkling blue eyes, he was always detached. Aloof. All he’d needed was his lover, his spirituality and his smoke. Everything else was earthly madness in his books. Yet, he was part of that madness because he was attached to the three things that diffused his pain. And he found it easier to say everyone had their path than taking responsibility for how he affected their path.

She wondered why she’d tried so hard to befriend him? Acceptance? Winning a true friend? She wasn’t sure, but she thought it had been to calm her own nerves. She wasn’t used to walking alone and believing her own truth. She wanted reassurance. He didn’t have the warmth of her gran, but he’d been wise and she’d wanted him to tell her that she was alright. That she could handle life on her own.

The wind did another little dance and she looked up and smiled at her dark window panes. She was certain that something fun filled and cheeky would happen soon. She could feel it in the air. Someone out there was stirring things up. She had the impression of two brothers playing, twirling around each other and laughing at the things they did as they flew by. Like scaring an old lady by pushing her door open and dancing through her living room. Or taking all the leaves old Monsieur Bardin had neatly raked into a heap and making them spin around him in a circle of unhindered delight. She liked this wind.

Her thoughts returned to the wise man. She’d sought confirmation from him; confirmation that she was wise. In the end she’d had to find that for herself though. It was funny and sad to see all the people looking for these kinds of things in the wrong places. Through the years she’d had women and men come into her shop crying over unrequited love. They’d been begging for crumbles from people who refused to give more. They could go elsewhere and be served cake, but for them crumbles were all they’d ever had. They didn’t expect more and held onto what little was given.

Others were merely confused by love. They felt attraction, on some level or other, and decided it was love.

Desire, she thought was a delirious thing. It would draw you to the mirror images of your soul and the best parts of you, but also the mirror images of your greatest wounds. Like the people searching for crumbles, because that’s what they were used to. Nursing those souls back to life was a particular pleasure of hers.

Other souls had been through too much pain. Like slaves they’d walk along with anyone who would ease it. Some chose the bottle, some chose pleasures of the flesh, others chose to devote themselves to a person, or to a spiritual path of no attachment.

To look beyond desire and at the same time enjoy the right kind of desire, so aptly provided by the world, was an art few mastered. She didn’t. Not yet. She looked beyond other people’s desires, but not her own. Not always. At least she provided the right kind of desire through her gifts; through her shop of delights. Healthy desire. Desire to stir the soul and enjoy the pleasures of the earth.

She thought about the man’s twinkling blue eyes. The gray streaks in his hair. How he’d laughed about life’s absurdities. And how those absurdities had caused the pain he’d so tried to overcome in his little spiritual bubble. Wise, yet foolish, but who was she to judge? He didn’t want friends, she wanted as many as possible. In the end one of his three desires had caused him pain – the desire for his lover. After that he’d left town and she’d never seen him again.

She sighed.

It was time to blow out her candle. The wind was still playing. She longed for bed and a night filled with dreams. In the morning she was fairly certain mischief would come knocking. With winds like these, it was bound to happen. And with that thought she blew out her candle, a smile playing on her lips.

By Yours Truly, a.k.a. Maria Montgomery. You can read the other two chapters I’ve previously posted here.

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Love and pigeons…

The Dance of Love

I want to tear the confines of my soul open

Dance across the shattered pieces of barb wired fences

Stand naked in the glory of the unknown

I want to sip the dew at dawn

Without consideration that this might be the last

Or the first

Of Everything

I want to sit surrounded by love

Knowing that the false pretense

Is all gone

I want to experience

Every nook and cranny of my soul

I want to dance

On the thorns of my past

And see myself melt into the nothingness

Which is Everything

I want to be free

Yet I scratch my back at the barb wired fence that I built round my soul

I tear at it

I scream in pain

And as blood rushes over me

I yell at others to make them open it

To set me free

I push them, hoping they’ll get so angry

They’ll tear me to pieces

So I can open

So I can be free

So I can love

I’m holding onto my fence

I tear at it

It hurts

I wonder why I can’t make it open?

Why it can’t go away?

Then I let go

I lick my bleeding hands

I take a step

Then another

I dance

I feel my body turned onto the steps

I awaken

I breathe

There’s freedom within my movement

There’s life in my steps

I love to dance

And love, love changes everything.

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Pigeon Thoughts 

The pigeon is looking at me

Impressions in ink

Thoughts sliding across the mountain

Like tiny dots of fluffy white

Waves crashing against the shore

Reminders of the wild

And the untamed

My Africa

Adventure pulls at my soul

My heartbeat quickens

A smile twinkles in the corner of my lips

I stand

I go to cook dinner

Maybe tomorrow.

We Are

We are all the ripple effects of each others’ consciousnesses

As we laugh

As we cry

As we reach for another cigarette

Or whatever our kind of poison

We touch a soul

Somewhere in the distant skies

So maybe

If I smile, just a little

I’ll tickle your soul

With a feather of delight.

old_9554Ralph Gibson; Leda

The Battle

Opportunities palpable

Breathing; whispering in the distance

Chances pulsating through the night

Giggles rising as your dreams chase them

You wake

Thoughts overpowering

Logic so illogical

Debates inside your mind

Pros and cons

Predicting the future with your head

Round and round

So many thoughts

So many roads to get there

So many things you could do to manipulate fate

Instead you slumber

You listen to your heart

It asks you to set it free

To let it roam

And trust that one day the thoughts will be silent

And your path revealed.

The Confines of Your Mind

I dance

Outside the confines of my mind

A choreography of lunacy

Illuminated by moonlit spells

Truth emerges

Until the confines no longer confine me.

Lovers

I’ll be Rimbaud, you’ll be Verlaine

I’ll be Kahlo, you’ll be Trotsky

You’ll be Byron, I’ll be Lamb

You’ll be Shakespeare, I’ll have black wires on my head

You’ll be Da Vinci, we’ll be arrested for sodomy

The path of true love

Never did run smooth

And we’ll go down in history

Because lord what fools these mortals be.

Ludicrous Enlightenment

Between Jungian metaphors

And split consciousnesses

You’ll dance

I’ll play the fiddle

Dreams in waking hours

Sleep deprived nights of lucid moments

Echoes of truth

Amidst foolish thoughts

A wolf tooth for wild adventures

A dolphin’s call to play

Idiotic synchronicity

As the stars chase your name

And I knit the fabric of my soul.

By Yours Truly, a.k.a. Maria Montgomery 

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A Tale of Love – How Mama Africa Opened My Heart…

I’m looking out at my panoramic view of darkness intersected with shining little lights, as strong winds are shaking my windows. There was a time when I thought strong winds meant big change. It always made me feel refreshed. Open. As if opportunity could come knocking any moment. Something new. Something different. Made me feel alive, as if looking upon the world with the eyes of a child. Exploring instead of passing by.
In Cape Town strong winds blow often, so often I’ve almost given up on the idea of change. Then again, my life has never changed as much as it has here.
Tonight, as I’m looking out, waiting to see if my windows are indeed about to break, I see one particular apartment building with different shades of light in almost all the windows. It looks so cozy, so warm. I know though. I know that within those walls many difficult things have happened and more are about to happen. It’s in the township – a township which tales I’m writing a book about. They’re often grim.
My mind flutters on. Thinking about a dance movie I’ve wanted to make here and a scene you can shoot with silhouettes dancing in a window. Beauty.
When I came here all I had was a dream of working in Africa. I walked straight into the township and got my hands dirty. It was quite the thrill. It still is. And the children here healed me, because they loved me in a way I’d never loved myself.
Yet, you can’t expect to get your hands dirty without feeling the ripple effects of being soiled. My own life has taken one hit after the other due to my involvement with people here. The more I love, the more I get hurt. Without that love I’d be nothing though. That love gives me my life.
For a while it affected me really badly all the same. I had a hard time letting go of the helplessness and fear about things I could not change. Things that affected me through the kids I am raising. In part, that turned into self-hatred for not being able to do more.
Then, little by little, I picked up the pieces of my heart. I found poetry again. I started to draw again. I worked on my business. I let go of the pain as best as I could. I allowed myself to enjoy beauty again. I allowed myself to look into a window and see a story almost without feeling guilty about the pain inside that window.
That beauty that always used to sustain me came back to me. It was always my passion. My joy. And I found my road back to it.
We’re all scared of love, because we don’t trust it. When I came here I walked into a place that had been destroyed by people’s hatred. By apartheid. I didn’t understand why they were all so suspicious of me and it hurt. Sometimes it still does.
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This child has taught me more about love than I thought possible when I first arrived, simply by loving me with an intense fierceness – I didn’t choose to mentor her, she chose me.
During my years here I’ve had to learn what it’s like to be accused of the weirdest of things. Everyone and their dingbat crazy aunt have come up with ideas about my very unflattering motives for being here. But if you stay and you serve, most people eventually see the real you. The one their twisted beliefs at first had a hard time distinguishing.
The aftershock of apartheid has taught me many things. Not least about my own wounds. Because we’ve all been wounded. Not by love, but the lack thereof.
I watched my gran die a slow death to dementia. I watched my biggest source of unconditional love slip away. I helped her use the bathroom. And I sat with her as she recounted tales that had never happened.
To me that’s love. Love isn’t pretty. Love is a sense of commitment to serve. And through that serving of someone’s soul we receive joy.
The wind is really having a ball tonight and I’m sure it’s bringing with it tales from many places. Whispers. Remnants of stories and scents. Feelings tinkling away in the night, disturbing our sleep. Knocking on our windows and making our doors squeak. This is my tale for tonight. My tale of love. And as it leaves my hands and flies away, it will knock on windows and make doors squeak, because wind or no wind, that’s what tales do – they enter in the most unexpected of places and awaken souls with their words. Be the words grand, or very small; significant or pointless rambles.
Stories, like winds, are opportunities wandering in the night, opening doors to new realms. If you only care to see them.
I work with Little Angels in Cape Town www.littleangelsincapetown.wordpress.com

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Blonde and blonder…

I don’t have much time to write anymore, so I don’t. But as time ticks away something begs me to pick up a pen. Usually a heartfelt moment, or one that made me giggle. When I’m in a good mood a lot of things make me giggle. Not least because I rewrite half of them into movie scenes in my mind. Today, the below made me giggle.

Lawyer: I’m in a seminar till Wednesday, can you do Monday?
Me: Yes, what time Monday?
Lawyer: I’m in a seminar till Wednesday, can you do Thursday 10:30?
Me: Yes. Phone, or at your offices?
Lawyer: Perfect.
So I guess I’ll show up at her offices with my phone… I think this brunette is actually blonder than me – she always replies to emails straight away, but she never manages to reply to a whole email in one go. Then again when I took off my shoes the other day I realized I’d left home AFTER removing my nail polish, but BEFORE putting on new nail polish. At least I hadn’t painted just one foot… #BlondeAndBlonder
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How to annoy a politician in an enlightened manner…

Have you ever wondered why most stories are about killing the enemy instead of converting the enemy? Is “killing the problem” really the best way forward at all times? Or is it just the “easy” way forward? Then again, is it easy? Or does it continue to breed hatred if you kill your enemy? Isn’t winning about creating a place where people get along and act with integrity?

I think it’s a valid point when it comes to the US elections too. How many people have you seen on your Facebook feed arguing about the different candidates? People who I would like to believe support democracy suddenly start de-friending people of the opposing party and not because they go on really crazy rants (then it’s understandable), but because they express their views. On the one hand I can understand it – Facebook is a personal space and if you believe your friends’ values oppose your own, then maybe you shouldn’t be friends. I guess that’s OK. Sort of. But what’s next? Will you stop talking to them at the store too? Will you remove your kids from the classes they’re teaching at school? Will you refuse shopping at their shops?

I understand people are angry – I get angry too. When politicians, even though they have some very valid points, also decide to blame minorities for the problems in their country, want to tear up trade agreements with other countries, building an imaginary “wall,” and rally angry men, you might have a flashback to a certain leader that set off a world war. And that’s scary. That’s scary as hell.

If you truly want to make a change though, do you act as the person/people you are opposing, or do you act differently? Is it a good idea to “ban” the opposing party from your circle of friends? Will that help them see your point of view? Will mocking them help them see your point of view? Or are you acting just as they are when it comes to certain political questions? And are you maybe making them even more steadfast in their beliefs by alienating them? Are you maybe creating the division some politicians thrive on?

On the other hand, if you try to understand them and respect them, wouldn’t that make them feel heard? Understood? And make you a better person? Wouldn’t it also give you a chance to make them see your point of view and actually have them listen to you? And wouldn’t that really annoy people seeking division? (Maybe annoying people isn’t enlightened, but hey, we all slip sometimes… Oups.)

This morning my sister greeted me with the words that I probably wouldn’t want to get out of bed. She was talking about something which sounded like “a tornado.” Only it was Trump she was talking about, not a tornado.

I disagree. Today it is a very good idea to get out of bed and start fighting for what you believe in. Today it is a very good idea to start understanding the real needs of the people around you. Today it is a very good idea to hug your neighbor and get acquainted with “neighbors” in other countries. Today it is a very good idea to create art, stories and movies that show solutions, instead of slamming people over the head. Today it is a very good idea to set up businesses and schools that open the door to possibilities. Today it is a very good idea to show respect for the voice of millions of Americans and come up with a plan for a future with less hatred and better solutions, no matter what end of the political spectrum you belong to. Segregation and division will not create solutions. Compassion and education, on the other hand, most likely will.

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