Day of the Winged Lioness

Trudi Lee Richards

A podcast on rebelling against Death.

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Gratitude is the Attitude
Oct 4 2021
4 mins
Gratitude is the AttitudeThe Protector of LifeGuide to the Inner RoadReport from the Place Where We Do Not DieA Crazy Possibility"Blessings"How to Keep Smiling in Times Like TheseA Conversation between Aspiring Immortals
What happens when two quite mortal humans launch themselves out into the void to talk about Life and her Special Child, our good friend Death? To find out, tune into this bouncy conversation between myself and the beautiful and exuberant young writer, artist and youtube creator Zulema Fernandez. Also, meet Jose, author of Hacedor de sentido – Maker of Meaning* – and his growing online community, Comunidad Hacedor de Sentido, who say this about themselves: “We welcome individuals from around the world who wish to help each other become better people, free human beings working together to transform ourselves and our environment. By contacting the Force within us and deepening our experience of the Transcedent, we aspire to contribute to a qualitative leap by our species.”** It was through that online community that Jose met Zulema. She was such an enthusiastic and articulate participant that when I asked Jose if any of his community members might like to speak with me on this podcast, he immediately put me in touch with her. That was how Zulema and I ended up meeting on Zoom at the end of May for a delightful half-hour conversation in which we barely scraped the tip of death rebellion iceberg. Here are a few teasers: Why talk about death? Because it makes us more aware of life…. Maybe what dies is just our character, but not the consciousness that lives through that character… …I suddenly felt like I was one with all the people surrounding me, like it was completely impossible to cut that connection. And I felt so much love and peace, I only could cry of happiness… The strange thing is, I wasn’t looking for that experience. It just occurred, like a flower blooms! We are surrounded by this idea, that there is nothing more. That when we die, we die. But if there is nothing more, why are we constantly feeling that there is not enough, with ourselves, with our lives? Observe how you ARE the other. The other human being, the other flower, the other mountain… We ended our interchange with an eerily beautiful musical performance by Zulema, followed by some of my favorite words from “The Path” in Silo’s Message: Do not imagine that you are alone in your village, in your city, on the earth, or among the infinite worlds. Do not imagine that you are enchained to this time and this space. Do not imagine that upon your death, lonliness will become eternal. Our conversation left both of us touched and inspired, and we agreed that we would love to meet again, and invited any interested listeners to join us for an (unrecorded) zoom session. *The novel Hacedor de Sentido/Maker of Meaning is currently being translated into English – contact Trudi for more information. **Meetings of Comunidad Hacedor de Sentido are in Spanish only
Jul 3 2021
33 mins
Pretending: An Essential Death Rebel Skill
http://wingedlionpress.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/DWLlogocolor-1024x1024.png Show Notes – Episode #2: On Pretending – plus a bit more on Rebelling Against Death…Pretending… any serious actor will agree that it’s a fine art. Yet hardly anyone but little children takes it seriously. For most of us, our imagination begins to atrophy from neglect after we pass the age of seven, and we never experience the power of pretending intentionally, with all our heart and soul. That’s what this episode is about. Before getting into that, however, I had to respond to a complaint from the first episode. One of our listeners reached out to explain they liked my poems and stories very much, but what exactly did I mean by “rebelling against death”? That knocked me for a loop. After all, what I meant was perfectly clear to me! But once again I had to remember what I so often forget: that not everyone is just like me, and sees things the same way I do. So in this, our second episode, I attempt to clarify what I meant. I talk about how in our culture death is taboo. But even though we don’t talk about it, and try not to think about it, the fear of it dogs our footsteps. We have a million ways to run away from it – but no matter what we do, how we distract ourselves, when we turn around, it’s still there: the mother of all fears, lurking just out of sight but never completely out of mind… So most of us just keep running, trying to ignore it, until it’s on top of us. But there’s another option, something anyone with a little gumption can do: we can rebel against death. By rebelling against death, I simply mean being fully alive, alive in every moment. This time I give a number of suggestions for how to do that, and tell the story of a good friend’s mother, my inspirational Death Rebel poster child, who lived happily to be over 100 and when asked her secret, said simply, “I always love what I do.” We switch gears with a little song about an octopus in the closet, and then move on to the piece de resistance: the fine art of pretending. Pretending is one of the most powerful tools in any death rebel’s tool chest. And like rebelling against death, it has both life-giving and life-dulling uses. We all know about the life-dulling uses – all the different forms of escape that the imagination can indulge in… The life-giving uses, though less well-known, are just as available to all of us and just as doable. I talk about a few of the legion ways we can use pretending and the imagination to enliven us, to give us the strength and courage to battle even death itself. As testimony, I tell my own story of how pretending saved me from obsessive anxiety by putting me in touch with a deep inner peace. Because it’s not true that we can only be happy in happy circumstances. With a little intentionality and heartfelt pretending, anyone can be happy even in a world like today’s, where violence erupts at the drop of a hat and fear and doubt loom everywhere… We end this episode with a reading of my mid-pandemic epic poem: The Great 21st Century Poemic, and an invitation to drop in for one of our “play dates” in the Community of Silo’s Message… The Great 21st Century PoemicIt struck one day out of the blue, cropping up all at once in random spots all across the planet The first known cases were a small boy in Lincoln, Nebraska, whom his mother found one morning reciting strange and beautiful words a small smile on his small face and a grandmother in Melbourne, Australia, who was caught that very same day wandering the aisles of a department store reciting verses from the Tang Dynasty After that the Poemic spread lickety split leaping like lightning across whole continents and oceans In London a mother of six woke up spouting Tennyson and in no time her entire family was babbling in iambic pentameter In Buenos Aires a family was stricken with the odes of Pindar in the original ancient Greek In Beijing a whole neighborhood was infested with Billy Collins And so it went. How the Poemic was able to spread itself so far and wide so fast no one knew At first it was thought to be passed simply through the spoken word but soon infectious particles were discovered hitching rides on sound waves, in rays of sunlight and even nestled in random thoughts Scientists also knew that however it flew it was always spewing out more and more spores that would land take hold and grow anywhere It was only a matter of time before the entire economy of the world had settled into a deathly peaceful lull. In the factories no one stood on the assembly lines In the banks no one begged for loans and no one doled them out In the schools no one taught the state curriculum and no one was bored Day after day everyone everywhere simply dreamt the time away to the murmured declamation of immortal poetry both ancient and new Everyone assumed that soon the infection would burn itself out and things would go back to normal But instead the Poemic only settled in with a happy gurgle sinking its teeth deep into the tender underbelly of the human genome And so it went for days and weeks and months and years… Suffice it to say that to this day no known victim has ever recovered This is perhaps a loss for History but all things considered no one seems to be complaining Because after the first onslaught things began to change in quite unobjectionable ways People began to go about their days speaking in poetry and fixing things and before long no one was going hungry no one was left out in the cold no one sick was left uncared for no one old was forgotten no one sad was ignored and no one anywhere was afraid of dying lonely and alone Instead people sang while they made soup and someone was always baking cookies Farmers smiled at their cows and hummed while they fertilized their fields Scientists stopped scorning testimonies of life after death Physicians healed by laying on of hands Chemists formulated harmless potions that dissolved pain Teachers led children into the fields to study bugs and flowers and wade in streams and catch pollywogs Young people studied what they loved and got paid in poems That was how it happened that people stopped hurting each other and simply did what needed to be done, and when the time came for rest they sat together on porches and admired the way the dust motes danced in rays of the sun And little by little in every place every last member of the human race began to wake up each day with a smile on their face for no rational reason at all. happy and peaceful in every way for no rational reason at all. Music:Intro and outro: “Follow Me”  Octopus interlude: “Little struggles”  Both tunes by IRCarus Ensemble, Portland, Oregon, 2021
Jun 7 2021
33 mins
A Back Door to Transcendence
http://wingedlionpress.org/wp-content/uploads/2021/04/DWLlogocolor-768x768.jpg with Trudi Lee Richards  Show Notes – Episode #1:A Back Door to Transcendence  How I got myself into this…I’ve always been a ham, always loved to read my poems and stories aloud to as many spellbound listeners as possible – but aside from the occasional poetry reading, it’s never been that easy to find an audience. It got worse when I started singing – by then I was already an old person in a youth culture, and who was going to listen? I had pretty much resigned myself to singing and otherwise spouting off in the shower when I discovered that my grown kids and their friends – currently my prime preaching target – all love podcasts. So it was a no-brainer…  What do I have to say that’s worth listening to?Here’s my message: We Do Not Die. And yes, I’m serious. No matter what you believe, I’ll wager you are at least secretly fascinated with death and the possibility of transcendence, especially these days… We all know we’re going to die and we have no idea what that means, so most of us are afraid of death. And that fear is not just personal – it’s social and cultural, and has been with us since long before the current health and climate crises we’re facing. At least in the west, our culture has been staunchly in denial of death for centuries, even millennia. Maybe that’s why many if not most of our institutions are designed to turn our attention anywhere but towards our unthinkable end. Look how much time we spend glued to our screens in the grip of shopping, gambling, gaming, overworking, thrill-seeking, finding our soul mate… Whatever else we are doing with those pastimes, they work like a charm to distract us from whatever we don’t want to think about – namely death and everything else that makes us think of our ultimate doom. Even so, having such an enormous elephant in the room has got to make us all uncomfortable, at least on some level. So I say let’s bring death out in the open, let’s talk about it. And if we’d really rather not die at all, let’s rebel against death!  Rebelling against death – the practical approach to livingI’m not just talking about feeling better. Rebelling against death turns out to be the best, most practical tool for living effectively. Death and everything that reminds me of death and loss (eg the pandemic, climate change, getting too fat, my children’s troubles, etc. etc.) scares me, and my fear is paralyzing. Fear saps me of energy, makes me want to do nothing but hide in a dark corner and huddle in front of the TV with a carton of chocolate ice cream. The only way I can un-paralyze myself is to say screw that, I’m going to live the way I want to live, death or no death! Then I very irrationally but very intentionally look at the future as though it were endless and full of promise – and suddenly I’m full of energy and courage to fight the good fight.  “There is no meaning in life if everything ends with death.”Those are the words of South American sage Silo, who also says “Death is the biggest illusion there is.” OK – maybe death is an illusion – but it’s one we all believe in as fervently as we used to believe in the monster under the bed. And with good reason, because it’s obvious we’re going to die. So what’s the way out? Clearly, reason isn’t going to cut it. Instead, in this podcast we’re taking our cue from the happiest and most “well-adjusted” people we know, those irrational optimists who dare to live as if they were never going to die. Because that’s the only thing that works with death – if you face him head on, he’ll whack your head off. But he won’t even notice you if you slip in the back way, through the door of the heart, to meet the Winged Lioness and her holy arsenal – meditation, prayer, poetry, storytelling, music…   — Readings:Me and Mr. BachI was twelve years old, a curious, lonely, enraptured child, full of forebodings about the mysterious future. One evening when my parents and my little brother and sisters were all busy with their various pursuits, I felt like listening to music by myself. Retreating to my mother’s music room, I put on a recording of J.S. Bach’s Musical Offering and lay down on the cool wood floor to listen. My mother was a music teacher, and was always blasting classical music through the house, so I’d heard this piece before – but I’d never really listened. That evening, lying there in solitude, gazing up into the dark, I did listen. Abandoning myself to the music, I let the pristine, untrammeled construction of melody and rhythm fill me and carry me upward, upward and upward, suffusing me with bliss… Until at the peak of this rapture, recognition filled me, and I knew through and through, deep in my bones and to the ends of the earth, that All Is Well. Without the slightest doubt, and with utter relief, I knew that Life is Sublime, and that there was nothing to fear, because Life held me close, and would always guide me. Hushed in the Sublime, I rode that clear, sweet tidal wave until it spread out in silent ripples, a sea of peace washing clean all Time. The music ended, and I lay there a long time, tears streaming down my face… And so the music of Bach became my refuge. After that, even though I was still a lonely misfit, I was never alone. Writing or drawing or cooking or dreaming at home I would listen to Bach, and when I went out, I carried Bach’s music in my heart. Soon after that first meeting with Bach, I began to see the People Singing. In my mind I would imagine the joyous masses flooding the streets all around the world, all humanity lifting their voices together singing Bach, joy surging in their veins, all guilt and grief and fear assuaged. This vision comforted me deeply – I was sure that if the people could sing Bach, the world would be transformed. The slow years of my youth passed, and finally I was no longer a child, and the world called. Shy as a whisper, terrified yet needing life and love with a clamorous, bleak longing, I ventured out on my own, carrying Bach in my heart. I wandered far and wide in those days, a flower child wearing nothing but an orange parachute for a dress, looking and looking for love. In all my longing and all my lonely searching, Bach was with me, guiding me. Only once did he fail me – and that was not his fault. It happened one day when I swallowed a blue pill that instead of bringing me love and light, hurled me into a solipsistic hell in which life was nothing but a cruel and meaningless joke. Emerging at last from that drugged defeat, sweating and sick, I put on my Bach – and heard nothing but empty banging. My world collapsed. For months after that, I was in despair. Through all that, even though I did not know it, Bach stayed with me, silent but true. A dear friend came to my rescue, and little by little my heart rebuilt itself, and Bach sang forth again, and life grew full, and love spread its wings in my heart. It was only much later that I understood what had flung me into that hell. I had tried to use my rational mind to wrestle the heavens from their heights, and the beautiful tool of reason had turned on me and left me nothing but a hollow, whimpering husk… But that was nothing that Bach and the joy of life were not equal to. Contrary to my horrified belief during that nightmare, even my trip to hell had a meaning. That was what drove me to look, avidly, single mindedly and without ceasing, for meaning in life – something that without looking, no one ever finds… That was many, many years ago. Since then I have lived with Bach never too far away, and have taken refuge in him over and over. The music of Bach spans everything, from the Abyss to the heights; it transforms everything, makes everything sacred, touches the Being of my being. Sometimes I neglect Bach for a while – and when I once again let him wash over me, I blush with joy, and can only prostrate myself before the glory of Life – or, as Bach himself would probably say, the Glory of God – a terminology I am fine with, because even though I belong to no church and no religion, I think I know – or at least I have an inkling of – what he means by “God.” I also know one more thing: I know that the day of the People Singing is near, that it is coming fast and furious. On that day all human hearts will open, and the friendly multitudes will fill the streets with joy, and trusting and loving each other we will banish all doubt and all fear. And then we will be ready for the Eternal Beginning of all things.   — Tiny poem in response to a cremation mailerWhen I contemplate my death: moldering coffin, or flames? the Guide says bow down Now before every moment.   — Death Comes Like a DancerDeath comes like a dancer Dark and exultant Striding and turning with great gestures Gathering all Terrifying and beautiful Fierce and impersonal He comes whirling from the side When you least expect him Young and proud he comes Power streaming from him Announcing The New   — The Free CountryYou can’t live there while you’re still here – not this kind of living,  breathing this air, this blood ringing in your ears, tasting this spittle. But you can visit. And afterwards if you peer carefully into the dusty periscope of memory  you can spy the gleaming reflection of where you know you’ve been. Once, by a lucky accident, I woke up there and spent a long, timeless time there – immersed and vastly relieved – for many reasons that I’ve forgotten. But I remember the wide-open meadowland, lit by a million suns and stars, a bounteous new adventure speaking to me, warm and tickly, within. And when I returned here from my secret escapade, one thing I knew, clear and fresh as morning: When the truth penetrates this ancient cocoon the Death-lie will crumble and explode into nothingness, like the thinnest film of moisture on a summer morning. See also: The Confessions of Olivia Report from the Place Where We Do Not Die  – (originally published on youtube.com)   — In the River HouseOh, my dearest love Was it a trick of my mind that you died and left me, escaping into realms I could not penetrate? For here you are beside me alive in this very moment in this yellow kitchen at this long table with friends in the house that goes down to the river. Here you are with me alive and smiling sad that I left but glad to the brim without a trace of rancor that I am back again. Now memory clarifies me and relief floods me like the rising Day: For it is clearer than the song of life that here with you and nowhere else is where I belong! Can it be true that it was I who left you, and not the other way around? That some requirement of destiny trapped me, some theater I had to play out alone? And you, kind soul, bowed to your role while I fled weeping away? For I have believed in death, and mourned and wept and learned the ropes of living just on my own. But now that I have seen you held you and kissed you so sweetly once again I do remember: Nothing is so real as our love. How I have longed not knowing the depth of my longing to be at your side all these years. And now I know you keep a place for me here in this river house by the deep, sweet waters where children and friends and a feast await. Love let me dream you beside me until we next awake.   For more about Jorge Espinet, check out two books based on his life and the author’s: Soft Brushes With Death, and the Confessions of Olivia.               — Community of Silo’s Message:For information about virtual and in-person meetings email wingedlion@gmail.com.   — Music from Episode #1:Opening, midway, and closing tracks: “Ice Voice” by Sergi Boal (segments only, with fade-out). ice voice by Sergi Boal is licensed under a Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives (aka Music Sharing) 3.0 International License. https://freemusicarchive.org/music/Sergi_Boal/Nylon_Turtle/01_ice_voice Other public domain music used in this episode courtesy of Musopen.org: J.S Bach – Das Musikalische Opfer – BWV 1079, European Archive J.S. Bach, Christmas Oratorio, BWV 248, European Archive – courtesy of Musopen.org   This work is licensed under Creative Commons Click here
May 3 2021
36 mins