Saturday, September 12, 2020

A Taste of Autumn 2020


Poem © 2020 by Joyce Mason

 



Choking on the smoke of environmental backlash,

I smell autumn beyond the notes of ash and human misery.

A nascent fall breeze sneaks into late summer to say hello.

 

My toes curl at the prospect of clean air blowing dried leaves

in eye-candy colors.

My heart skips a beat as childhood adages ride the wind.

“All good things come to an end.”

All bad things, too.

 

We sit on Libra’s Scales of Balance savoring a tiny appetizer of tomorrow.

Autumn, the Season of Fruition lets go everywhere in Technicolor and Panavision as we must for new winters, springs and summers to recur; their lessons from both beauty and tragedy to revive and rebuild us once more for another thrilling ride on the Roller Coaster known as the Wheel of Life.

 

~~~

Photo Credits:  Autumn Wheel © Kaedeenari | Dreamstime.com; Libra Scales © Tatianakost | Dreamstime.com.

Tuesday, June 16, 2020

Saved by the Sun





















A Summer Solstice Poem
Poem © 2020 by Joyce Mason

Sun:
The original god
proves his power
to his worshippers.
Every summer he boils us in our own oils
add a little Coppertone.
At the Equinox he merges
with the Moon’s natural sign Cancer
at the light fest Summer Solstice.

This turning point:
A time for merging Light and Dark
within our split selves knowing
we just can’t live without each other.
We have to own it
stop throwing our shadows at others
like a Molotov Cocktail.
not even a refreshing drink
in this heat.

Hot Summer Sun:
A cosmic floodlight and spyglass
to all our secrets.
burns away all the things we hide
saves us from ourselves
with the strength of acceptance
and love of our Selves--
the best summer romance ever.

~~~

Photo Credit:  © Svetlana Orlova | Dreamstime.com


.

Monday, March 9, 2020

Spring Chickens: A Vernal Equinox Poem






Poem © 2020 by Joyce Mason

Deep inside me
seeds are desperate to crack open
as the Sun warms the earth a bit longer
every day
inching to the Equinox.

The seedlings are chicks pecking at eggshells
from the inside out.
New hopes, dreams, goals, changes:
Resolutions to revolutions.

No one knows what work it takes
to mount or withstand this energetic build-up.
It’s dark, jabbing into the unknown.
It is disconnection and disorientation at their cruelest.

Yet one day like the Tortoise and the Hare,
the slow chicklets of resurrection 
crack the shell as we do the crust of our winter malaise.

Like the slow results of escape with inadequate tools,
We make our jailbreak.
All heaven breaks loose.
Holy Aries!

~~~

Photo Credit:© 1evgeniya1 | Dreamstime.com

Wednesday, February 12, 2020

Uranian Intimacy






A Valentine for People with Planets in Aquarius or Aspects to Uranus

© 2019 by Joyce Mason

Welcome, fellow weirdos! We know who we are and why we can’t give up who we are, even for our sweet dream of belonging. We are the people with planets in Aquarius or close aspects with Uranus. We are ahead of our time, hear a different drummer—or as my late husband used to say in extreme cases; some people hear a whole different orchestra. (Uranians could use some new metaphors. These are getting old, and you know how we hate that.)

Like most people who are on a different wavelength from the general public, I have spent my life trying to figure out how to fit in while retaining my own unique identity. Sound familiar? Recently I had the pleasure of traveling home to Chicago and spending time with many friends and family that still live where I grew up. I had been unable to travel for years due to my husband’s care needs. As Tim got close to passing last year, I began getting strong feelings about spending more time in my original home sweet homeland. In fact the sensation was so strong; I wondered if I was getting a cosmic nudge to move back after 46 years in Sacramento.

Two weeks in the cold climate and I was over any ideas of moving, but I discovered many interesting things about intimacy on this trip. First, being adopted, I was reminded that all my formative relationships were based on heart and mind connections. There were no biological likenesses to feed my sense of belonging. But I have to say, I never even recognized that I was different in some essential ways from my relatives until I was in my twenties. To their credit, my family never made any distinctions about me based on adoption. I was one of them. In fact, I was in utter shock and disbelief when, at 8 years old, I learned that my parents weren’t my biological mom and dad.


My family was as loving as I could possibly imagine. Then why did I still feel somewhat like a misfit? One thing is clear. It wasn’t them; it was me.


We all have needs on a continuum of independence to interdependence. On top of that, sometimes those needs shift at different times in our lives. Like many things in my life and chart loaded with Libra planets,  I am generally split almost down the middle on that scale—until something of substance comes up and I have to tell my truth or suffer severe cognitive dissonance, a great discomfort, when what I believe and do are not in harmony. Integrity might as well be my middle name. I cannot abide doing anything but “what’s right” according to my own inner compass. In those times when my truth is tested, I’d say go from 51% indie and 49% inter to 75/25, high on the side of independence.

Why are we so scared of being ourselves, especially when we’re a bit unusual or on the far ends of the bell curve? Rejection, of course, made more obvious by certain early life experiences like the sense of abandonment that comes naturally with adoption. I feel like a bell weather on this issue. Will they still love me if they know the “real me?” Worse yet, will they love me and leave me?

The truth is, it is impossible for anyone to really love you unless or until they know the real you. Warts and all. After seven decades of living, I have discovered that most truths are conundrums. They are paradoxical. Acceptance is one of the biggest paradoxes of all.
Second point of vacation learning: We saw the Disney animated version of The Adams Family. Expecting something a little scary (is this OK for my five-year-old great grandniece?), all of us were pleasantly surprised at how sweet it was and what a powerful statement it made about belonging and accepting differences.

To blurb the plot without giving away too much (it’s a must-see), there’s a real estate agent bent on creating a homogenous community full of Stepford- like compliance, using all kinds of questionable methods to ensure conformity. Enter the oddball Adams Family who takes over the deserted insane asylum on the hill. Through a series of interactions and exposure to one another, the paradoxical truth is revealed. Conformity doesn’t lead to great community. Each person being who they are, with acceptance by others, does that. To get acceptance, you’ve got to give it.

Think of every small town you see on your favorite TV shows. (Examples of mine are Stars Hallow in Gilmore Girls, Cabot Cove on Murder She Wrote, and Cicely on Northern Exposure.) The characters are quirky, some of them truly annoying, and all of them in their way pretty lovable once you get to know them. This ideal is presented to us in show after show. It is achievable. We just have to quit being scared of people who are different from us. Do we really want Stepford lives—or the adventure of discovering all kinds of interesting people and ideas?

Besides our concerns about being rejected, what other fears drive leaving others out? Many people do a lot of work to form their lives around a certain worldview. People whose very being challenges some of our foundational beliefs feel threatening. (What if I’ve got it wrong? What would be the domino effect on reorganizing my life?) Yet how else do we learn about our options? As a bumper sticker popular with Unitarians at the church I used to attend states, “To question is the answer.” The quote “Religion is the opioid of the masses” does not refer to all people who have religion. It refers to those who buy religion hook, line and sinker, without using the blessing of their brains to examine what parts of the chapter and verse are truths for them personally and what parts they can leave alone. Nothing is one size fits all. No religion. No philosophy. Are the hardliners lazy and change-o-phobes? Maybe. But you can choose not to be one.

My Catholic background is the foundation of all the spirituality that has enriched my life, even though I am not religious. Jesus hung out with lepers, whores, the dirt poor and treated everyone with love and respect. (And to those you may encounter with anti-Semitic leanings, a reminder that he was a practicing Jew who did not invent Christianity. People after him did that. And did I mention his dark skin?) WWJD (What Would Jesus Do) is still a pretty good thing to ask yourself regardless of your beliefs. The story may be ancient, but his message was for the future—a vision of the people we could be if we open our hearts, mind and ears.


The biggest challenge for intimacy for Uranians is to become so comfortable with yourself; you just go into situations without hesitation and carry on. You don’t have to put your differences in anyone’s face to prove something. You just have to love yourself first and others will follow.


But what if they don’t? I am not so na├»ve or airy-fairy to believe that we can love ‘n’ light everyone into seeing how much more alike we are than different. Some relationships demand to be let go—the toxic ones, the draining ones, the ones that diminish us. There is nothing sadder than an adult who is still broken-hearted that the fairy tale family is not theirs. This is a hard disappointment to overcome. When we do, we create our own family of friends. I am living proof that you don’t have to be related by biology to be family.

Finally, one more truth, another conundrum. To get along with others, you have to get along with all the different parts of yourself. This takes work—getting over perfectionism, talking yourself out of putting yourself down, even in the middle of what the world defines as a major failure.

Uranians are supposed to be afraid of intimacy. There is nothing more intimate than forgiving yourself your trespasses and oddities. Maybe the sometimes “distant” behavior of Uranians and Aquarians is just a council meeting of their complex parts. They have a lot of segments of themselves to check in with, and while they’re at it, maybe one of those bolts of insight they are also famous for may come out of their “parts exchange” at the summit.

And, besides, ever wonder why Valentine’s Day occurs when the Sun is in Aquarius? Everyone has something to learn about love from those Uranian inner summit meetings. It’s called integration, respect and equality for every aspect of yourself. A really great foundation for being able to do that for all the parts of another person.

~~~

Photo Credit: © Sergey Krotov | Dreamstime.com






Sunday, December 15, 2019

Incubation



A Winter Solstice Poem
© 2019 by Joyce Mason




I have felt you
Deep in the dark
Seeds gather energy in tiny spaces,

Incognito ‘til spring
The pressure intensifying bit by bit
Bursting like fireworks through soil
at the Vernal Equinox.
But you’d never know ‘til then.
The action is invisible above ground.

We are babes in the womb this time of year.
Our winter seeds are review and renewal,
Rest and letting go--
Quiet “just being.”

Seedlings are whole-y,
Inching their way in the dark
To completion.
We need full gestation at its own pace
To have all our fingers, toes and wits about us.
If we don’t incubate bread, it’s half-baked.
If we don’t incubate spiritual renewal
We are simply in the dark, parts of ourselves undeveloped,
Not prepared for the Natural New Year as Pisces turns Aries.

Hug the dark and wear winter like a warm coat.
Protect your growth
and your soul’s full flower.
You’re worth the wait.

~~~


Photo Credit: © VeronV | Dreamstime.com




Friday, August 9, 2019

Completion


Love and Life Cycles




©2019 by Joyce Mason



The zodiac, with its predictable cycles, teaches us the power of completion, as does life itself. When it comes to relationships, there is one rule for fulfillment. Let it go its course and grow into what it is or isn’t. Anything less haunts us.
- Joyce Mason

My husband died on June 15, 2019.  Radical Readers during my days of frequent posts know that I was Tim’s primary caregiver since early 2015 when he lost his mobility due to his muscular dystrophy.  From then on, I was taxed beyond anything I could have ever imagined—physically, emotionally—but at least not spiritually. We were utterly devoted to one another, and I could not have loved, or been loved, better. While I miss his physical presence terribly, by the end, death came as a blessing. Tim was miserable as his lungs shut down after two rounds of pneumonia close together. I always knew how our story would end; it was just a matter of how long I’d be lucky to have him (22 years). I married Tim knowing his diagnosis because we were reunited childhood sweethearts. Soulmates. The chance to complete this relationship—to let it become all it was supposed to be—was the second chance of a lifetime.

Joyce and Tim at her 8th grade graduation party.
We were denied continuation of our first chance when his mother forced him to break up with me after two years, a month before we both turned 14. She worried we were too serious and too young. My own parents were 19 and 20 when they eloped, and Tim’s mom saw the writing on the wall. She was also worried about pregnancy. And for her information in the Great Beyond, I didn’t lose my virginity until I was almost 19. Although, I suspect it would have been a lot more difficult to keep my knees together, as I was taught in Catholic school, for many years longer, especially with the guy I loved so deeply. And in equal fairness to Tim’s mom, her concerns sprang from promising Tim’s father, on his deathbed, that Tim would go to college. She saw me as the obstacle to keeping that promise.

We were reunited at age 49 and married at 50 (Chiron Return). Born only 10
1997: 1st Valentine's Day back together.
days apart, Tim and I led parallel lives in the same incarnation. No stranger to reconnection for completion, I had previously found my birth families, another man that followed Tim in my life who left a path of devastating and destructive “loose ends,” in his own words. I found a dear friend, my first pen pal. Then I was sitting at my computer on Thanksgiving weekend in 1996, feeling a divine pull toward finding someone again. I raised my eyes to Heaven and asked, “Who on Earth do you want me to find now?” Not hearing an immediate answer, I rolled it around in my mind and asked myself who I always wondered about. The answer was Tim. I had no news of him beyond high school, which worried me for many years that he might have died in action in Viet Nam. (Turns out he was never even in the military.)

Once I knew who, I remembered a really startling dream I had about Tim the previous March that I had written down in detail because it was so powerful. I called it Finding Tim. (I learned in a dream workshop that titling dreams helps unlock the meaning.) Here’s a shortened version.

The Dream. I am at a social event.  Feels like a singles get-together. The name Tim Schoos comes up out of nowhere about a book he has written on relationships. I am anxious to find a copy to see if he mentions me, since it’s all about his love life and what he has learned from it. 

I finally get to see a paper copy—a beautiful, hardbound book.  I never figured Tim for a writer. It is done up beautifully by a reputable, big publishing firm.  He honors me in the sweetest way through the book.  He has coined “Joycisms” into his language and relationship terms, from things I did or said that he found endearing, like “Just Joyce it.”  (It meant do it in your own unique way.) It’s obvious that Tim loves women in the best possible way. It’s not clear whether or not he has ever been married.He shows up for a book signing.

He looks wonderful.  Reminds me of the actor, Tim Robbins.  And he is very glad to see me.  It’s a little awkward because he’s the center of attention, but we exchange hugs and quick life updates, and phone numbers for later. 
I walk away from the encounter glowing with hope of spend time together.  Who knows?  Maybe we can rekindle the romance if we still click in present day.

Of course, there are more details and a lot of code in this dream that only I would understand. Example: Tim looked like Tim Robbins, reflecting my feelings of “Tim robbin’,” being robbed of my relationship with him. In waking reality, I wasn’t sure if this was destined to be a romance or friendship. I missed his friendship most of all. I was open to either (and got both). The message to reconnect with him was obvious. Thus began our new cycle together that we would finally be able to complete.

Astro-Thoughts.  This type of completion typically reflects a milestone within a cycle in our natal charts or relationship charts. Tim passed 60 years (second Saturn Return) from the time we first met at in 1959 at age 12. Saturn was in Capricorn once more. In my chart when he crossed over, T-Saturn and Pluto were in Capricorn in the 9th House. T-Saturn was quincunx my natal Saturn in Leo to the exact degree in the 4th. I have found myself publishing/being very public about my experience on Facebook of losing my closest family during 2018-19, including my Uncle Mike and two brothers-in-law. T-Chiron opposed my Venus, and as such a Chironic person this is not surprising. (Tim was Chiron in my life.)

The Path Forward. Tim very much wanted me to get back to writing once he was gone. He felt terrible that his care and support meant big delays to my new career in fiction, almost as soon as I launched my first novel, The Crystal Ball. There were times when I wondered if my creative juices could ever be pumped up to that level of outflow again, but I doubt it less every day. I wrote his obituary, which isn’t an easy thing for a wife to do, but it certainly helped that I’m a “wordmonger,” the front-end of one of my email addresses. I have gotten a lot of positive feedback on it, which reminded me how expressing emotions in writing comes easy for me. It also affirmed how memoir seems to be my best medium.

The medium is the message in this case. I am being called to re-do my long finished memoir with a different focus than the original draft, in a way that focuses on how important it is to bring relationships full-circle. The new title is My Life in the Lost & Found: The Power of Completion.

It will be an expansion of the stories about finding my lost loves summarized in this post, including how intuition, dreams, inklings, “signs” and synchronicity guided me all the way to the finish line. There will be many more details of what I have learned on this amazing odyssey. The “coincidences” alone still leave me breathless.

If you want to know more, watch this space. I don’t know how long it will take to get to publication, given all I have to do and digest in the early days of widowhood and my many responsibilities. But I do know that My Cosmic Tractor Beam is pulling me strongly to share my story with a larger audience. I am told often, both on and off Facebook, how much Tim’s and my love inspires my friends—and how I have modeled acceptance in my response to his passing. Although I live to inspire (and to entertain whenever possible in the process), the main reason I have been unable to launch a memoir up to now is my discomfort with the level of public exposure required. It seems I didn’t even realize I was practicing with my FB friends for opening my life to even more readers.  And the cosmic hints to write this memoir border on nagging.

And if you have any feedback, suggestions or comments for me about where I’m headed, including specific things you hope I’ll cover in this book, I would love to hear from you.

~~~

Opening photo: I call this “Tim’s Heaven,” as it shows him completing a run in his young, athletic body. You’re free, honey! 

Saturday, March 9, 2019

Pisces into Aries: A Spring Equinox Poem


Poem © 2019 by Joyce Mason


The winter knot in my stomach:
A tight bulb
putting out shoots as the rains come.
The weather is seductive,
flaunting bursts of sun and shirtsleeves.
Spring is alluring in the final days
of the Dark of Winter.
A tease.

I begin to see green things in my dreams
sprouting from my eyes, ears and other openings.
Sometimes they dare to bud and laugh at me.
I hide under my down comforter in a flash frozen moment,
teeth chattering in tempo with the gauzy sights and maniacal sounds.

As Pisces peaks
I crave music and meditation
but like Aries itself, I cannot muster patience
even from Bliss.
Want. Spring. Now.

And while I’m distracted
trying to figure out my overactive night movies,
Spring dashes in from behind,
nearly Equi-obnoxious,
soon racing far out front.
I am left in a wake of stardust,
post-morning coffee eyes
and Get Up and Go.

Now that’s awakening.

~~~

Photo Credit: © Nadiaforkosh | Dreamstime.com