For Philip Seymour Hoffman – in memory & in gratitude

For sharing his amazing talent and beauty with us all … for daring to always push the envelop as an actor … and for being an inspiration to the world of story – THANK YOU.philip seymour hoffman 3 - Copy

This poem comes to mind – for his family, for his friends, and for those of us who never knew him personally but somehow feel the loss …

It is by Mary E Faye and it is called:     I DID NOT DIE

Do not stand at my grave and forever weep.

I am not there; I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow.

I am the diamond glints on snow.

I am the sunlight on ripened grain.

I am the gentle autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning’s hush

I am the swift uplifting rush

Of quiet birds in circled flight.

I am the soft stars that shine at night.

Do not stand at my grave and forever cry.

I am not there. I did not die.

Bless your heart, Philip Seymour Hoffman. We are richer because you were here.

Raining Sapphires …

I wrote most of this a couple of years ago. Suddenly woke up yesterday knowing I had to dust it off, edit & update it a bit, and share with you. I hope that in some small way it touches a positive chord in your heart.      Blessings to you, Aliana

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RAINING SAPPHIRES            (c) 2014 Aliana Alani

It was raining sapphires along the sands and beaches of my heart. The sky kissed the air with perfumed stardust and the earth trembled, shivering like a fragile expectant lover. It beckoned as lovers often do in a strange hypnotic fashion, its rhythm enticing and provocative, its inner smile illusive and tempting. Yet somehow I could not follow, not fully, not yet. Perhaps it was the dust that clouded my vision. Perhaps it was fear, of the known and the not. Perhaps it was the one thing I frequently chose to ignore, to dance around, to two-step, to tango, to fox-trot, from there to here and fro; the one thing I knew would eventually happen, and yet … Perhaps it was all of these, and more.

This was, after all, my story, hence my world.

The picture comes in fragments. It is unstable and will not hold. That is its illusion, and to some, its reality. It appears increasingly bleak and fond of monochromes, especially shades of grey and black, as though its creator had decided to cast it all in shards of steel and bones of white ash, with a dash of startling midnight blue. Its waters pound against timid shores. Its winds blow like hurricanes of ancient memory. It does not speak of tomorrows, only what was, what might have been, therefore by lineage and association what could be, today. It tantalizes through threads of adrenaline pumped with escalating chords of anxiety. Its song is of flight and fright, of dread and fear. Its clothes are many layered, yet its costume remains the same. If it has its way, soon wherever we turn, this will be all we see. It will be all we feel. It will be all we think we know. We will be wrong but…

For this is a road of dissolution and dismembering that ultimately can know no air.

Within the fragments reside people, lands, countries, and stories. Within the fragments are hearts capable of soaring yet feeling broken, their worlds crumbling around them – security, sustenance, love – all seem to vanish within one large long cosmic breath. The classic, Poof, and there is no more. The cause varies but the result appears the same. The world watches in horror, its compassion tinged with a hidden worry that any minute the breath will turn in their direction. What then? What happens after that? So we begin to speak in apocalyptic terms, with words and gestures both large and expressive. We speak, often forgetting the power of thought, the energy generated by sound and intent. Forgetting what many of our ancestors knew; that by doing so, we may indeed be calling our own little apocalypse into being. We may be helping to magnify its possibility.

For it too travels a road that ultimately can know no air.

Like the many sides of a fine diamond or those sapphires on the beaches of my heart, inside each facet of the stories that make up our lives, no matter what appears to be happening in the moment, no matter whether we love it or hate it, lives an inner jewel that hovers like a secret key waiting to be discovered, a key that can unlock untold mysteries and bring with it endless peace and happiness. A key that is ours to have and use; that has always been there and always will be. The key may appear unique, perhaps even exotic, yet one thing that it carries is a link to beauty for beauty is a corridor to the heart, and the heart is one giant door to love. Love, as many have waxed poetic, is all there really is. In case you have forgotten, as many of us do.

Beauty is often said to be in the eye of the beholder. Where one person sees devastation, another observes within its skeletal midst an awe-inspiring splendor. Where another perceives garbage, someone else sees a dance of wonder hovering midst an air-floating plastic bag. And where some envision approaching death with fear and horror, others see within the light of life waiting to be reborn.

If you track this thought with me, you will perhaps find that hidden key. That lingering midst despair and devastation, no matter how impossible or painful it may seem (and it often seems totally impossible and incredibly painful) is an opportunity to view hence feel the beauty of existence, even if it is only for a moment, a seed of possibility blowing in a wind of turmoil. That in so doing, you may find yourself bringing that solitary seed of beauty to the fore more and more each day until one day, amazingly, within you only it will exist, having now blossomed, as seeds are apt to do, into a magnificent abundant garden of life, your life, and death, whatever form it had been taking, will have vanished mysteriously into the endless unknown.

Every moment is an opportunity, especially for love.

              With that those sapphires sparkle and glitter, tossing their brilliance into the centre, into the heart finally, sprinkling their ethereal wisdom like starlight upon the ocean of my soul. A door within blasts open.

              And I am home.

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All is Lost – the movie

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I just saw the movie, All is Lost, with Robert Redford. If you haven’t seen it already, find a way. It is an amazing tour de force and a film you may not see the likes of again.

Set in the middle of the ocean with one actor and almost no dialogue, it is a refreshing return to the power film can hold when conveying a story through simplicity and poignancy.

Kudos to all involved, especially Robert Redford.

Redford’s acting has been called by some a stellar performance. In many ways it goes beyond that. Few actors could hold a screen and an audience for that long during such physicality and absence of dialogue and do so with such strength and subtlety. Bravo, Mr. Redford!

Personally I feel that if the Academy does not give this coming year’s Oscar for Best Actor to Robert Redford then I think the Academy has lost it way on its journey to celebrating true excellence.

A huge thank you goes to Robert Redford for the opportunity of watching brilliance at work.

And to the Academy – here’s your chance to do the right thing!

Me & the writing of BETWEEN WORLDS …

Glendalough-08-1Awhile ago in what is beginning to feel like another life, I wrote a book called, BETWEEN WORLDS. Sculpted from within the mist and memory of Ireland, it tells a tale of a man many later came to call a saint, and a woman remembered, if she was remembered at all, as a sinner. It is an archetypal story. It is also true.

Like many stories locked within the mists of time, it comes laden with baggage and hidden agendas. Agendas, as other writers might tell you, have a nasty habit of not liking their stories to be told. That is, quite obviously, why they have been plopped usually unceremoniously into the depths of that deep dark place sometimes called (at least in Ireland) – the bog.

It is from the bog that they must be retrieved and that, as you may have guessed, is the beginning of what Joseph Campbell would lovingly call – the hero’s journey.

Thus began my quest.

Did I want it? Not consciously. Did I ask for it? Again, not to my immediate awareness. Did I take it on? You betcha.

You see, there was this woman, like an often fleeting apparition, walking around Glendalough – that’s in County Wicklow – think old monastic city, ancient times, power, and yes sometimes light. She was hard to ignore. As was the energy of the place and the sense of whispers and messages slipping forth from the very fabric of the land – the ‘tell the tale – you must you must’ kind. Perhaps you could have walked away from that. Clearly I didn’t.

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I’m mentioning it now because, though I have shared the how-I-got-to-it story to friends, I have very seldom spoken of it to others. The book is not yet well known. It’s self-published, it’s in eBook, it’s on the blog, you have to find it.

I could quite simply let it stay that way. It did after all take many years of my life and I could be forgiven for being tired. But it is a story that begged to be told, and told for a reason most honourable, and I, the storyteller, would be remiss if I didn’t give you a glimpse of why.

 

… stay tuned please

– book cover by Tannice Goddard           – Glendalough photo by Kevin O’Kelly (Ireland)