Showing posts with label pain. Show all posts
Showing posts with label pain. Show all posts

Sunday, July 05, 2020

Anniversary of Transcendence

Today is the anniversary of the transcendence into the immortal spiritual realm of my oldest daughter. It was July 5, 1999, when Naomi, then 19, winged her way out of her physical cage. Before she left to soar with utmost freedom and happiness in the heavenly realms, she kissed this life farewell with tenderness and love. One of the last things she said was, “I love my body, it has been so good to me.” 

I knelt by her side as she lay dying, and with tears in my eyes told her I loved her and was proud of her. She managed to turn her head to look at me tenderly and say, “I love you too; times two!”

When we first learned Naomi had a vicious cancer in her hip and had little chance of survival, I began taking notes and writing, thinking her story would be a remarkable miracle of recovery and celebration of faith. She made a recovery of sorts and gave us hope she might survive. But this was only to grant her more time to gain greater powers of soul, for the Hand of the Creator was training her to be one of His great angels. Many pains, hardships, disappointments and cruelties came to her and she met them as obstacles to overcome. In the process I stood by her side in anguish, but also in awe and utmost respect, noting everything. 

Fortunately, Naomi was a keen observer from an early age. She began writing in diaries at the age of nine years old. She continued until her death, and all the books are safely stored away. I used her words often while writing her story, then in 2001, published A Heart Traced In Sand, Reflections on a Daughter’s Struggle for Life. It won two awards and has touched the hearts of many.

Now, 19 years after the print edition, the digital edition is available. (Come to think of it, 19 is  appropriate . . . a sacred number and also marks her duration on earth.) The digital edition, $3.95, is accessible as an EPUB—readable on many devices, and also as a pdf. It includes many links that reveal special pictures and documents that are not included in the print version, $14.95.

EPUB introductory price of 3.95 with 30% going to Miracles From Maggie, a charity for families dealing with childhood cancer.

Go to: A Heart Traced In Sand

Sunday, May 27, 2018

One Teardrop

Last night as I was meditating before bed, something unusual happened.

I am in Denver, Colorado for an art show. My hotel is quite comfortable and a block away from the festival grounds. Sitting on a couch in a dark room, I had been quieting my mind but had been thinking of various situations present in my life. One in particular has occupied my thoughts—the extreme conditions of an Egyptian family I am friends with. (See: Inshallah)

Strangely, as I sat still and upright, a teardrop formed in my right eye. Slowly my eye brimmed and the drop flowed down my cheek. I wondered where it came from.

Retracing my thoughts, I realized I had remembered Amira, the oldest daughter of Hagag. I had worked hard to collect some money for her college, which is an impossible dream for any of the five children. Amira, eighteen, is a pure soul, shy yet intelligent and strong.

The family has many pressing needs. It has been decided to use any money to help her mother with urgent eye surgery. The first installment of funds has been delivered. The family will be relieved that Edleah will have her eyesight protected. But I know too that Amira sleeps on the hard earth at the feet of her brothers and sister every night.

The tear that fell down my face was her tear, the one she would never show her family.

Sunday, March 18, 2018

No Pain, No Gain

"Man's fate is according to his pains." -Robert Herrick, (English, 24 August 1591 – 15 October 1674)

Is fasting like weightlifting? Yes. They both abide by the dictum, “No pain no gain.”
A body builder must push his muscles to greater exertions in order to build them. In the process he feels pain. Microscopic muscle fibers tear, only to be rebuilt stronger with greater mass.

The other day, on the sixteenth day of my nineteen day fast, (see previous post), I was leaving my gallery, riding my bike to the lot where I park my van. I felt lightheaded, and realized hunger and thirst in the background of my activities. Turning a corner, I took hold of the distress. I had the feeling of being able to lift it up like a weightlifter; as if I were exercising spiritual muscles. I felt stronger by stressing my body—same as working out. But inasmuch as this effort is aimed at relying upon the pleasure of God, a much more lasting result is achieved by building spiritual character.

The road to achievement runs through hardship. My daughter Naomi Boone (January 11, 1980 - July 5, 1999)  knew this. She was diagnosed with cancer, which ultimately took her life at the age of nineteen. In the beginning of her ordeal, she wrote in her journal, “Hardship will make us stronger. I think that in every situation, there is good in it.”

Sunday, March 04, 2018


A wounded man lies on a dark battlefield littered with corpses and not a living soul near. His blood drains away, seeping into the silent earth and he thinks, “it will all be over soon and then I will fly to heaven.”

Another person is in a garden of splendor. Roses open themselves to the warm life-giving rays of the sun. He delights in their varied form, color and fragrance and wanders among them, with soft grass underfoot. Birds sing from branches of trees and their songs are sweet. Bees buzz from blossom to blossom busy with the work of collecting pollen to make their honey. The gentle play of air currents across his skin is like a sublime caress from an unseen hand.

One heart is elated, open, enchanted and confirmed. Another is stabbed to the quick.

A caterpillar will someday emerge as something almost entirely different—a butterfly.  First it must die to its old form and be born again. In its cocoon, the caterpillar form disintegrates and from the primal ingredients another, very different creature is born. What a wonder to open its marvelous wings and stretch them out . . . to fly. To go from one that crawls and eats leaves to one that moves freely through the air and feeds on nectar. The butterfly might fly across a dark abyss. But it will not land there. It will find flowers.

Some poems from my past:

Perfumed Dawn

Someone said that
you are easily distracted by
butterfly wings and
the sound of trees.
They said you only speak
in the language of dreams.

I know the picture.
You are intoxicated from the
fragrance of a perfumed dawn.
That morning, the scent of a thousand roses
arose from the mist of your memory.
A sublime light filled
the corners of your mind.
You fell weeping on the floor.

Since then you have not been the same.
You wander streets, staring
into the faces of strangers as
if looking for a long-lost friend.
When a glimmer of recognition
is seen in someones eyes
you cry, and where
your tears fall, birds arise.

It seems there is nothing to do
to solve this madness. Sirens
are calling for you to drown
in a surreal sea.


What world is this,
where I must learn to drown
or else be set on fire.
Those who do not discover the secret
risk going up in smoke.

Throw yourself in—
go to the bottom.
It is better not to resist.
Let water take you;
                   be like a fish

Soon you will feel at home.

Footprints in the Sand 

Beautiful the dawn when you
danced along the shore
wearing pain
like a bracelet of bells.

Birds circled above—made a halo
around your head while waves
caressed your feet.

How many lovers
has the ocean drowned?

Wind and tides quickly
swept away your footprints,

Your hymn is in the hills.

All writing © 2004 -2018 Steven Boone

Sunday, August 06, 2017

Darkness and Light

The ultimate task for me is not an external goal. Rather it is gaining wisdom and inner peace. Sounds simple enough but if we understand that it may take many years to understand just one dream we have had, then we see some of the difficulty.

I had a startling epiphany during a particularly crucial time in my life. During my late teens my mother had just finished reading books by the esteemed psychologist Karen Horney (German/American, 16 September 1885 – 4 December 1952). She had gained insights and lauded them. Two hardbound volumes by Horney were on our bookshelves: Our Inner Conflicts, and The Neurotic Personality Of Our Time. I was a voracious reader and had read classic literature, so read both books—though the language was dense and sometimes almost indecipherable. 

Through reading, I grasped that neurotic people identify themselves with an idealized image and will go to great lengths to maintain an unreal position. Their pain is unconsciously knowing they are not the idealized vision. The gap is unbearable. 
I realized I had been doing the same by blocking out undesirable aspects of my "hidden" self in favor of a superior.

I entered a trial period of just letting thoughts and emotions float to the surface without judgement. Even nasty stuff appeared but I did not bury it. Rather, I accepted and witnessed without judgement. Although difficult, this process lifted me to greater strength. I breathed deeper. 

At that time, I had also delved into religion and enjoyed the ideals in the Baha'i Faith. Furthermore, great emphasis was on unity, freedom from prejudice, purity—away from materialism and towards spirituality.

As I continued my experiment, I remember coming to a crossroads. The difficult emotions and feelings continued arising and I wondered if I could go forward in life feeling such dark forces yet being a person of light. I wondered if I could live with the dichotomy. Should I block the gate and keep the devils locked away, concentrating on adhering to a religious and pure way of being? Or continue withholding nothing and feeling like I was in a Hieronymous Bosch painting of The Last Judgement with depictions of rebellious devils led by Lucifer, or Garden of Earthly Delights.
At this particularly sensitive time in my development, I chose to block the uncomfortable dark feelings and urges. Instead, I would concentrate on immersing myself in religion as a way of evolution and salvation.
I would adopt thinking similar to what Emanuel Swedenborg, (Swedish, 29 January 1688; died 29 March 1772) wrote: The amount of goodness we receive from God can only equal the amount of evil we remove from ourselves as if by our own power, which is done by both working on ourselves and putting faith in the Lord. 
This fateful decision led me into a colossal war of light and dark forces. The more I sought to dispel the anger, frustration, pain and malevolence within me, the more it insisted on knocking at the door of my consciousness. No amount of praying, being with religious people or studying holy texts could slay the monstrous beast terrorizing the kingdom of my being. My light side hated my dark side. I was divided and suffering. 

My family history is an interesting study in light and dark. My mother came from a disturbed upbringing. She lived in foster homes at times. Her mother went from husband to husband; eventually going through ten of them. Mom was beautiful and hardscrabble when she met my father in Chicago. My father grew up the son of doctor and a sensitive Jewish mother, was brilliant and entered the University of Chicago at the age of fifteen. He finished graduate school with a degree in criminology. Human darkness fascinated him and he was a problem solver. He went on to an illustrious career in social engineering, implementing great changes in American society.
Perhaps it was fate that I would be a problem to myself and have to unify my original archetypes.

These days I find myself embracing non-conflict. I have come again to allowing all feelings, memories, thoughts and perceptions. They come and go without a fight. I am a changed person. I continue in my religion and gain great inspiration from it, as well as from other sources of the same Divine light.

A few days ago, I wrote in my journal:
Essentially, I will stay in a state of peace. If my pristine and calm being is tested by unruly ego or illusion of duality, I can override the challenge. It is as if I am at last taking the throne of command to my own kingdom. No longer driven by intractable and wayward passions..
Thank you Lord for giving me what I ask for.

So I embrace all and realize that all is necessary. Nothing drives me but the urge to understand the puzzle of life and be near God.

The darkness and light inform each other. Any great work of art must have them both.