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The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man George Grey Barnard (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York)

The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man
George Grey Barnard (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The Struggle of the Two Natures in Man

George Grey Barnard (American, Bellefonte, Pennsylvania 1863–1938 New York)

We all face this struggle of good and evil within ourselves whether we acknowledge it or not. Refusal does not mean it ceases to exist rather it hides like a caged angry animal ready to leap out and cause destruction at the least provocation.  The dual natures is an ever present battleground existing within our various selves.  We are in one body a mixture of the sacred and the profane. We seek sanctuary from the island of lost souls populated but shades, ghosts of formerly flesh, blood and bone humans.  We bear the stigmata and battle scars of imploding internal battlefields.  Redemption and refuge will only be found by acknowledging our weakest points, applying salve and seeking greener pathways. Lest we fall into the rabbit hole. Drowning in quicksands of pride and stubbornness.  Our decisions. Our choices.  Help is available if we clasp the outstretched hand.

As the Apostle Paul states in “Romans 7:15-20

New International Version (NIV)

15 I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do. 16 And if I do what I do not want to do, I agree that the law is good. 17 As it is, it is no longer I myself who do it, but it is sin living in me. 18 For I know that good itself does not dwell in me, that is, in my sinful nature.[a] For I have the desire to do what is good, but I cannot carry it out. 19 For I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing. 20 Now if I do what I do not want to do, it is no longer I who do it, but it is sin living in me that does it.”

 

I’ll Cry Tomorrow

 

Self-Trust, Inner Guide, the Knowing Voice Within, Strong Internal Core, Ignoring the Experts; These appear to be the latest Buzzwords in the ever present Self-Help craze that has been going on since the 1970s.

Well I beg to differ.  I know I’m about to stir up a Hornet’s Nest but that’s what writers do, create controversy, ignite debate and hopefully make readers think.  Much to the consternation of the New Age Gurus yes there are wrong choices and bad decisions.

I’ve learned to run major  decisions by  trusted friends and professionals.  Got tired of making bad decisions which  backfired on me.  You need a few good friends as sounding boards because most of us cannot be objective regarding our problems, thus wrong choices.  You need someone or several somebodies to hold you accountable, slap you upside the head and say, “Get with the Program before you Kill Yourself!!”

Friends, ministers, pastors, some co-workers and close family can give objective advice.  Sometimes we are way too caught up in our emotions to make correct  or wise choices.  That guy may be so in love with yet who is violent and abusive is the wrong man.  Time to  take off the Romantic Blinders and see him as others view him. A violent, abusive, evil tempered jerk.  Poor financial choices.  Buying a home, car or some other big ticket item could be a very bad choice if you don’t have enough income to cover the outgo.

People have lost homes, jobs, their families and even their lives behind bad choices.  The lesson is learned too late for correction.  It’s like being a little bit pregnant.  No such thing.  As humans we are influenced by our fickle emotions, family backgrounds, how we were raised, and society’s expectations.  We can’t see the forest for the trees.

For years I was a prescription drug addict.  Though the doctors who liberally dispersed the pills are somewhat to blame the lion’s share of the blame is on me because I made the choice  to  keep taking them nearly to the point of death.  Now that I’m in my mid-50s  and living a cleaner life, yes my “Internal Core” has improved but it is still not as strong as it should be.  Also I still must live with the consequences of  previous dumb stupid decisions.   Yes I’ve lived through being evicted from my apartment in Queens, been in and out of various   hospital emergency  rooms, I have a terrible credit rating, plus certain health issues that I’ll be battling the rest of my life.  My Inner Guide was a damn fool and an idiot.  No I should have gotten professional help.  I put my trust in people who I thought loved me and who I assumed would help me.  I made choices out of fear and poor health and an addled mind.  Finally after seven years of struggle I’m beginning to see daylight.  I know my limitations.

I also know that at any point I could backslide but I believe I’ve finally reached the point where I no longer want to live in the Valley.  I want a Mountaintop experience.   Trust me when I say this wisdom  and insight I now possess has only come with fighting depression, fear, panic attacks, and anxieties.  Once you hit bottom and you’re tired of living there you’ll find a way to go up.  I learned to stop make excuses for my bad behavior, stand up for my rights as a middle-aged Black Woman living in a racist, sexist, ageist society, stopped dating men who don’t respect me, my dreams or goals and who really mean me no good, junked all the pills except for my high blood pressure medication, eat right, exercise and renew my faith.  I’m now an active member of the New York Shinnyo-en Buddhist community.  Through Buddhism I’ve become a stronger Christian.  Truly I’ve begun to understand what it means to work out your Soul’s Salvation.  The means of escape you seek is only a delusion. Life is meant to be faced head on.  This life is only yours to live.  No one can live it for you.  Now I’m on a better pathway because I have a clearer more focused mind.  I still have some setbacks but my life has improved 95% in the last two years.   

Moving Forward.

Please check out the link for a Bio on the actress Susan Hayward star of the movie I’ll Cry Tomorrow.  Susan Hayward a BadAss Brooklyn Beauty who even with her cracks, fissures and faults didn’t take shit from anybody.  Susan Hayward’s story resonates with me.  We are both Fiery, Hotheaded Strong Willed Redheads.   Hers was natural.  Mine is from a bottle.  I Love actresses from the 30s, 40s, and 50s because they overcame so much and were some of the best actresses ever to grace the stage and films.  Exotic Beauty, Fame and fortune do not always bring happiness, sometimes just a new set of demons to conquer.  Ms. Hayward’s pain made her a better actress because she approached each role from her gut.  My pain has made me a better writer.  Like her there were times when I did not want to live.  I wanted to leave this earth because the pain was too great to bear, yet God sent someone my way to save me and make me realize the foolishness of my actions.

I suffer no fools and I pull no punches.  Shipwrecked. Lost.  Perhaps. But learning to rely on G.P.S. ~ God’s Positioning System. Shattered Portraits, we picked up the shards, put them in the kiln  to create an entire new piece of pottery changed but not consumed by fire.

Like her I struggled with substance abuse.  Mine was prescription meds, hers alcohol.  Like her I’ve had many failed romances.  But through it all we Strong No Nonsense Women prevail, persevere and triumph over defeat.    As the title of Susan Hayward’s movie states, “I’ll Cry Tomorrow.”

Ready for my Second Act.

 

  http://youtu.be/jh_Q9BOVUyo

 


A Building at Rest

The museum Thanksgiving Day 2012 -
the museum is populated by a wonderful yet mysterious quiet & peace undisturbed by the frenetic masses. Silences punctuated only by flowing water, the endless hum and shifting of building machinery.

Even normal noises can be unsettling. Especially those associated with people. The building has become a living breathing organism Uttering creaks moans sighs groans from over 140 years of footfalls, voices, radios, songs, cantatas, the chiming of clocks, exclamations of awe & wonder. Whispers from a Victorian century long past to digital diversity.

Oh what secrets lie transfixed within these silent walls yearning for release.

The immortality of brick, mortar & steel record the march of ethnicities & nations who roam free these hallowed halls.

Sometimes the sudden interruption of footfalls becomes ominous, invading the sanctity of the Holy Sanctuary. Even the sound of my own steps is somewhat menacing. What spirits accompany me on perambulations among the saints and sinners?

The feeble burbling of the fountain stream’s half-hearted attempts to empty its essence, struggling to pollinate magnificent coins.

The day is at end, the light has faded. Now the night crew enters to continue the evening melody.

Hotel California

Hotel California

 

Reflections Goth Holiday 2013

Cadaver Mind A.D.D.

Heaving sighs and moans.  Creaks, chrupping of brick, mortar, steel and glass pane windows. Blood oozes and drips from open wounds in Lehman’s red brick walls. Elevator doors open and a thousand wailing, howling, grieving souls swoop through the air and into the Medieval Court crying for revenge. Flight of the Valkyries. The Martyrs avenge their unjust and untimely deaths. Swirling and whirling like profane dervishes from netherworld’s portal of the undead.

Angels Falling

Angels Falling

Hail Mary Echoes from thousands of Knights, monks, Nuns, bishops, and church saints racing through Byzantium corridors. Spirits of Reliquaries issue forth warnings and admonishments to modern day savages. Reliquary Fingers of Blessing Inflict Pain Yanking Opening Death’s Door breaking off bits and pieces of flesh, bone, teeth and hair for deposit into ossuary banks.

Slats opening and closing mindfully as though giving some secret Morse Code. Dioramas of Death act out murderous suicidal dramas. Eagle slays Dragon plucking out blinded eyes from empty orbs.

Medieval castle built long ago by invaders long forgotten. A grand foyer flanked by two long hallways of Byzantine art leading into Medieval Sculpture Hall filled with statues of Madonnas, Saints, Mystics, Relics, and tombs from Egypt, Europe, Greece, Cyprus and South America. Kali goddess of the sarcophagus raises her many arms in Victory. Subterranean pipes hissing steam clanking unrest.

Island of the Damned -- Bocklin

Island of the Damned by Bocklin

Secret panels opening up to Mausoleum subterranean chambers containing overturned ossuaries, bones bleached white scattered throughout the tombs.

Abruptly Angels on the Christmas tree come to life and like ravenous vampire bats attack unsuspecting visitors. Reanimated Reliquary Arms reach out to throttle throats of fleeing patrons. Fang toothed Egyptian mummies arise and break through display cases to satiate their ancient eon hunger upon frenzied victims. Their desert saliva spreading infection causing festering vile pus filled carbuncles to captive prey.

Emptiness and Futility of Life

Life’s ignoble Ending

Desire run rampant as sacrilegious effigies coupled and reached radiant necrophilia orgasm stone bodies now made supple. Mystics and Monks glowered lecherously all the while reciting Gregorian chants, dirges and cries for absolution filling the room with the intensity of their mating.

Gargoyles descended from illicit trysts with human females and warlock man beasts gave into the licentious behaviors’ anointing themselves and fleeing clienteles with seminal fluid oily slick.

Orgasm became an exceptional obsession.

Viscous gleaming blood, shimmering with glided preternatural flakes of light. Black Iris her breasts like soft fragrant pillows.


Fort Tipii

Tepee-Hut

Tepee-Hut

I couldn’t build a proper tree house.  Too high up and anyway I’m afraid of heights, so instead I built this little fort of sorts as a place to gather my thoughts after a hectic day.  Made my best efforts with whatever materials the forest floor offered up as building materials.  There were enough twigs and branches to construct more ground level tree houses or make my current enclosure larger but I chose to save some for kindling for warmth against the chill night air and the rest I kept stacked as a type of cord-wood in a womb like nook Mother Nature had carved into a tree that had been struck by lightening. Eventually I decided to construct another Tipii twig abode to store my few belongings I had gradually began to sneak away from The Family Residence.

These Tree/Tepee/Tipii/Twig aka T3 structures became my holy sanctuaries and safe havens I return to again and again to re-connect with Mother Earth and nature. Too small to stand upright clicking my heels together three times was not an option so I was forced to remain seated. With some degree of discomfort I could lay down in a fetal position while I imagined myself re-entering an alternate womb to be reborn into better circumstances. Mine were a tepee shelters without the buffalo skin covering all exposed bones and framework.

Tipii Stick Hut

Tipii-Hut

Sometimes I’d hug my knees and rhythmically rock back and forth while repeating what I thought were calming mantras, occasionally wishing that the earth would open up and swallow me whole transporting me some place free from pain, misery and cruelty. Like a shaman I chanted using my homemade rituals attempting to silence the drumbeat of voices incessantly chattering inside my head versus the declarations of the Family.  They created a dissonance tear in the time frame continuum of my thoughts.

You see our house, The Family Home if you could call it that is a ramshackle structure; a hodgepodge mixture of stone, wood and stucco additions and afterthoughts as different parts of the building were constructed at different times upon the whims the directors and caretakers.

I was forced to share this mishmash cottage with twelve other inmates, bordered on this expanse of woods providing me a refuge from leaky roofs, busted walls, peeling wallpaper, lukewarm baths, moldy musty scented showers, not to mention all the yelling, screaming, arguments, fights, thefts of food and personal belongings and constant disagreements of a house too small to accommodate the number of people residing within its creaky ramparts.  The Family nicknamed it the Hotel California. You know the place where you check in but never check out. The nails across chalkboard voices of The Family were constant knife thrusts to my brain making daily life a constant battle that did not end even has the diurnal gave up residence to the nocturnal for they all snored, wheezed and gasped through the night abyss.  The utter desolation of the place crept into your bones and took root nourished by hopelessness.

The Family’s house sits on an oddly place piece of land, our house gives way to forest which in turn after several miles gives way to craggy, rocky shores of a steep cliff, where if one sits perfectly still you can hear the violent waves crashing against rough jagged rock formations that looked as though they were designed by the devil himself. It is said that in olden times there used to be many shipwrecks where sailors were either impaled on the razor sharp Stalagmites. Sometimes you can even hear the shrieks, moans, cries and groans of the unfortunate wretches mixed in with the howling winds. The few who weren’t dashed to pieces by the razor sharp jagged rock formations tried to climb up to safety but were thwarted by the steep incline.

Forest Hiding Place

Forest Hiding Place

So I periodically retreated to my exoskeleton asylums as a sentry medium between earth and sky. I can never turn my mind off completely but within my secret hiding place the voices were kept to a low roar and bid to change direction and pace.

The last straw that broke the camels back came when my moronic addled brained cell-mate Pearl kept throwing her nasty, dirty towels, underwear and flip-flops over to my side of the room. When I returned from the canteen or our common dining area there were moldy wet towels plastered to the floor like throw rugs that accosted the dividing line between our two living areas.  Pearl was known as the filthiest female in our wing tossing food and drink to and fro fully expecting that a squad of personal maids and sweepers were following in her wake. One night after I returned from my many woodland sojourns I decided that I had, had enough and soaked all her grimy towels in gasoline and lighter fluid obtained from an unlocked supply closet near the motor pool.  Pearl had a tendency to drink like sailor on shore leave and sleep just as soundly so she never had an inkling as I piled the towels around her bed, built a kindling fort for good measure and added effect, led a fuse from a doorway to an open window, climbed out and lit said fuse.

The Kindling delivered me from The Family’s vocalizations. I tried to warn them before. I tried to silence the voices through escape, but it was not working so I had to try another plan. The crackles and pops of my campfire seem to be in sync with the screams and cries for rescue from the patients locked inside their rooms but eventually those voices will die out also, and then sleep.  Blessed sleep.

Love,

Cassandra Verity


My Secret Hiding Place

 

The Hiding Place

The Hiding Place

 

I couldn’t build a tree house.  Too high up and anyway I’m afraid of heights, so instead I built this little fort of sorts as a place to gather my thoughts after a hectic day.  Made my best efforts with whatever materials the forest floor offered up as building materials.  There were enough twigs and branches to construct more ground level tree houses or make my current enclosure larger but I chose to save some for kindling for warmth against the chill night air and the rest I kept stacked as a type of cord-wood not too far away.

It has become my sanctuary and safe haven I return to again and again to re-connect with Mother Earth and nature. Too small to stand upright clicking my heels together three times was not an option so I was forced to remain seated. With some degree of discomfort I could lay down in a fetal position while I imagined myself re-entering an alternate womb to be reborn into better circumstances. Mine was a tepee without the buffalo skin covering all bones and framework.

Sometimes I’d hug my knees and rhythmically rock back and forth while repeating what I thought were calming mantras, occasionally wishing that the earth would open up and swallow me whole transporting me some place free from pain, misery and cruelty. Like a shaman I chanted using my homemade rituals attempting to silence the drumbeat of squatter voices incessantly chattering inside my head versus the declarations of the Family.  They created a dissonance within the time frame continuum of my thoughts.

You see our house, if you could call that ramshackle structure; a hodgepodge mixture of stone, wood and stucco addendum and afterthoughts as different parts of the building were constructed at different times upon the whims the directors and caretakers.

I was forced to share this mishmash cottage with twelve other inmates, bordered on this expanse of woods providing me a refuge from leaky roofs, busted walls, peeling wallpaper, lukewarm baths, moldy musty scented showers, not to mention all the yelling, screaming, arguments, fights and constant disagreements of a house too small to accommodate the number of people residing within its creaky ramparts.  The Family nicknamed it the Hotel California. You know the place where you check in but never check out. The nails across chalkboard voices of The Family were constant knife thrusts to my brain making daily life a constant battle that did not end even has the diurnal gave up residence to the nocturnal for they all snored, wheezed and gasped through the night abyss. The Family’s house sits on an oddly place piece of land, our house gives way to forest which in turn after several miles gives way to craggy, rocky shores of a steep cliff, where if one sits perfectly still you can hear the violent waves crashing against rough jagged rock formations that looked as though they were designed by the devil himself. It is said that in olden times there used to be many shipwrecks where sailors were either impaled on the razor sharp Stalagmites. Sometimes you can even hear the shrieks, moans, cries and groans of the unfortunate wretches mixed in with the howling winds.

So I periodically retreated to my exoskeleton asylum as a sentry medium between earth and sky. I can never turn my mind off completely but within my secret hiding place the voices were kept to a low roar and bid to change direction and pace.

The Kindling delivered me from The Family’s vocalizations. I tried to warn them before. I tried to silence the voices through escape, but it was not working so I had to try another plan. The crackles and pops of my campfire seem to be in sync with the screams and cries for rescue from the patients locked inside their rooms but eventually those voices will die out also, and then sleep.  Blessed sleep.

Love,

Cassandra


Woodland Green ~ Equine Redeemers

 

IMG_20130930_073903

 

While walking the Woodland Green I paused to admire a luminescent mossy patch upon the ground when a preternatural calm descended upon the forest glen. Caught in a vortex the earth began to spin.

IMG_20130930_073806

Then came a vast rustling of leaves and branches so strong that I thought the mighty Looming verdant giants would come crashing down. Whilst caught mid-spin I kept my eye on light shone down from the jagged Oculus mid the canopy of trees. Forms free-falling started to take shape. A veritable multitude of amalgam multifeatured animals like none seen in God’s Natural Kingdom.

20130930_074110

Seemingly Middle Earth had exploded skyward hurtling forth a cornucopia of imps, fairies, hobgoblins, and satyrs, gremlins with their symphony of resounding bleats, howls, and shrieks. As they struck twig strewn ground at once began leaping, frolicking and gamboling in a macabre dance, a bier simultaneously appearing in forest clearing. Such a cacophony of squeaks, squawks, hisses and moans that assailed my senses that I shut up my ears attempting to block the imprisoning noises.

Foggy Misty morn over Central Park in the ball field

Foggy Misty morn over Central Park in the ball field

The Bier seeming to be the only source of calm called me forth from this forest den of iniquity bidding me peace, calm and tranquility from the storm.  I answered Bier’s call to lie upon its violet flowered shroud surrendering to dreams eternal of the Babes in the Wood.

Before Hypnos rendered his potion and twin Thanatos grasped my hand in final repose, I heard on nigh the beating winged hooves, snorting of frenzied galloping hooves. Redemption, Salvation and Deliverance arrived in the equine forms of Royal Unicorn and Winged Pegasus. Equestrian gods breathed life upon whisking me away to Utopian shores.

20130930_074041

 

 

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