Saturday, December 31, 2011

Turds

Forgive them, and release them with love, she said.
I imagine setting them adrift at sea, like a rudderless
boat, or...
turds.

Everyone deserves love, all of us. Be happy
for those who find it. Wish them well, wish them joy,
wish them...
turds.

All people have good in them. We can't know their
whole story. They too have their troubles, their woes.
Forgive them...
turds.

My mind goes places I don't want it to.
It brings up memories, faces, words.
So when my mind betrays me, I imagine
nice, round, warm...
turds, drifting away on an endless sea.

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Wish List

I had a conversation with two friends the other day. It was about love. One friend said she loved everyone. I said I didn't think that was possible. She said sure it is...you don't have to like them, you don't have to be around them, but you can love them. I asked how she defined that kind of love. She said well, if they were hurting or in need, you'd help them, right? I said yes, of course...that's just who I am. I do reach out, even when I've been hurt or judged by someone.

So, you know what I want for Christmas? I want people to get past their petty BS and be nice to each other. I want people to give others the benefit of the doubt, rather than assuming the worst about each other. I want people to realize that, while they are holding onto grudges and misconceptions and judgements, someone's best friend, college roommate, spouse, brother, neighbor, co-worker (the list goes on...) has been diagnosed with, is fighting, or has just died from cancer or (fill in the blank).

I want people to understand that each of us is struggling with our own doubts, worries, insecurities, and fears, and we should make an extra effort to be kind to each person we meet, rather than dismiss them as crazy, or whacked, or whatever definition allows us to separate ourselves from 'them'. I want people do understand that how someone behaves has less to do with them and more to do with the individual...that the individual handles their feelings and emotions the best way they know how, with the intention of feeling better. Nothing more. It is not that individual's responsibility to make those around them feel better. It is not their job to make others understand how they feel. Our feelings often come unbidden, we can't always explain them ourselves. How we process those feelings is very much a personal journey, and we should not be subject to judgement or expectations by others. There's no 'should' about it. It just is.

So that is my wish...that we all have the capacity to love each other. Including me...I need to love me and everyone else. And part of that love is offering help when it's needed. And giving myself the love and help I need during difficult and painful times is absolutely necessary, if I'm going to offer that to others.

There it is, what I want, and what i want to offer: Love. I love you all. Unconditionally. If you need me, I'm there. I have compassion and empathy for you and what you experience. I choose to ignore any judgement or hurtful thing you've said about me. I forgive you and choose to move into the new year with a clear conscience and an open heart.

May you enjoy the best the season has to offer, and may those feelings of peace and love and compassion carry through into the new year and beyond.

Tuesday, November 29, 2011

Memory Lane

Rebecca and I took a road trip for Thanksgiving this year. We drove to Schenectady, NY, to visit my childhood friend and explore the area that I spent years 6-9. Rebecca is a terrific travel companion, and was very tolerant (even supportive) of my need to visit the old neighborhood, elementary school, motel we lived in for a short time, and the park where my family used to picnic.

We arrived on Wednesday after a ten hour drive. Exhausted but happy to arrive, we enjoyed a pot roast dinner with Rani, her youngest daughter, and her boyfriend and son. Then Rani and I sat up and talked for a while, comparing memories and trying to figure out how it is we have remained friends all these years, when we knew each other such a short time (neighbors for two years, no classes together, don't even remember riding the bus together!) and looking at photos of the other people we both knew in the neighborhood and in school.

The next day, Rani cooked a turkey breast and I went out for wine (since I left the three bottles I'd purchased for the dinner at home). Then, we loaded up the turkey, pumpkin pie, and ourselves and drove to Rani's cousin's for the family dinner. This included her cousin and her husband and two grown sons and three Labradors, Rani's three daughters, and two grandsons. It was a full house! I had the dubious honor of carving the 20+ pound turkey and the turkey breast, and we commenced to eating...a delicious meal punctuated by the juggling of babies, shooing the dogs out of the kitchen, and random conversations.

The next day Rani had to work, so Rebecca and I set out exploring. First we stopped by the country store that has been in business since 1908, and where my family used to get pumpkins, apples, and who knows what else. We picked up several gifts and souvenirs and had fun looking at the nostalgic merchandise. Next, we set out to find the house where we lived on S. Country Club Drive. A cute middle class neighborhood that has changed very little in 40 plus years, it is situated next to the Mohawk Golf Club, where in the winter we kids would ice skate and where my brother and his friends would collect golf balls. I took photos of the house at 1186, as well as Rani's next door (now a beautiful red!)


I trespassed long enough to see the back yard, noting the door where our dog Nemui used to go under the house, the garage where my mom used to grow flowers (and a garden of some sort still exists),
the remnants of the willow tree I loved, and the absence of the brick outdoor grill that my father had built. The feeling of nostalgia that I felt is almost beyond description. Rebecca patiently walked around with me, and seemed fairly amused at my constant exclamations of how little things had changed.

Upon leaving the neighborhood, I pointed out where I would catch the school bus, and then drove almost automatically to the elementary school I had attended, looking the same but refreshed.

Next we drove into 'old town' Schenectady, actually called Upper Union Street. We walked the streets, had lunch at Gershon's, a Schenectady landmark (delicious Reuben!), and visited several shops, including Divinitea and Musler's. Then we got in the car and explored further into town, driving by Union College, The Stockade, train station, and more. Finally we headed back to the house, where we rested up before heading out to an amazing Italian meal at Augie's with Rani and her boyfriend. The portions at this place are unbelievable! We ordered two entrees and still came back with enough food for another meal for four.

On Saturday my goal was to find the motel where we had lived for a short time (it stands out in my mind, partly because it was right near a cemetery and we were there during Halloween, and partly because I was sick for part of the time, and have distinct memories of watching Mayberry RFD while my mom 'kept house' in our little room.)


Then it was off to John Boyd Thacher Park, or just Thacher Park, as I remember it. What a beautiful drive through rural upstate New York! My memory of the park, however, wasn't very accurate. I pictured a picnic area and a stream. What we found were incredible overlooks of the Hudson-Mohawk Valleys and the Adirondack and Green Mountains, innumerable picnic areas, and several hiking trails. We had heard about the Indian Ladder Trail, but it is normally closed by Thanksgiving. We were thrilled to find the trail open and, once we got past Rebecca's initial nervousness on the wrought iron stairs, "the trail follows the base of the escarpment passing under the Minelot Falls and by the stream exiting from a small cave in the base of the rocks. This water is actually from Thompson Lake, some two miles away, which makes its way through the porous limestone until it exits here. At the end of the trail, a second set of metal staircases take the visitor back to the top of the escarpment. The trail then continues back to the parking lot, offering excellent panoramas."


Finally we made our way back to the car and began the drive back to Rani's. As we drove along a country road, I saw a sign that read "Pottery For Sale". Since local art is one of the things I love to pick up on any visit to a new place, I decided to turn back. What I found was this:


After looking at the pottery and a few small paintings, I chose a small oil of some trees as my take-away local art, put my $5 in the jar, and we headed out.

We finished out our visit that evening with a family gathering for Rani's youngest daughter's 20th birthday, during which I was able to get some quality baby time in.

The next day we drove the ten hours home. I was feeling drained...exhausted and fulfilled, overwhelmed with memories and the poignancy of time marching on and those memories revisited. There was a sense of loss...but at the same time a sense of continuity. So many feelings that I'm still processing. What a wonderful trip. What a great experience for Rebecca and me.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Cool to be Kind

For some reason, I've had this phrase in my head lately. I know cool people. And often, they can be cruel. Kindness isn't their initial goal, coolness is.

I never felt completely comfortable with the cool folks I've known over time. It didn't feel right, and I often found myself feeling on the fringe of things said and done. And, I was often the target of teasing or admonitions that left me feeling cold. In short, I was where I didn't need to be.

I am so grateful for where I am now. I'm pursuing the things I really care about (volunteering, discussion groups, reading, and getting out of town to visit places and friends), spending quality time with my daughter, and could give a rat's ass about whether what I'm doing, listening to, reading, or planning is considered cool or not. I'm a bit embarrassed to admit that it did matter to me just a short time ago, but grateful for the lesson.

Another reason this has been on my mind, and one that is much more serious and important, is the recent FB posts from friends about bullying and teasing. One mentions how important it is "to teach children how to treat others with respect and compassion at a young age and to continue to teach it as they grow. So many precious children's self esteem is ruined by this deficiency in our society." and is followed by the posting of this article, and the other mentions the suicide of a 10 y.o. girl, allegedly as a result of bullying.

I believe it is often the case that we all, at one time or another, have said or done things around or to others in an attempt to show off or be 'cool'. And for many, teasing others is an attempt at humor and fitting in. I know I've been guilty of doing it. Or we find something unrelateable and are dismissive of someone's feelings as a result. And this doesn't stop in the schools. It goes on throughout adulthood.

So my take-away is simply, it is cool to be kind. And I've been making a very conscious attempt at kindness, on a daily basis. I hope to be more sensitive in my words and actions towards others.

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Taking In, Letting Go

"To “let go” means not to worry about the future, but look forward to what might happen."

I've been considering why it is that often we hold onto stress, when we know very well what we can do to let it go (yoga, meditation, exercise). Sometimes I think it's because the stress keeps us keyed up, raising our level of anxiety which in turn keeps us moving forward, propelling us to keep hacking away at whatever it is we're trying to achieve or accomplish. In essence, we're holding our breath.

We've all heard it. When we're feeling stressed, overwhelmed, angry, whatever the emotion, the advice is: "Breathe." So simple. And yet so easy to forget, to really take in and let go. And our response is usually, "I don't have time." But we do. And we must. Our health demands it. And really, we're not serving anyone else...our families, our clients, our employers, our co-workers...if we're not breathing.

I've been working on release...of stress, of worry, of anxiety...and am taking more time to breathe...it's amazing what we can take in, and what we let go of.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Thanks, Andy

Two of my idols, Katherine Hepburn and Andy Rooney, have been so because of one simple fact: they spoke their minds and cared not if their opinions didn't sit well with others. Andy Rooney died yesterday at 92. He lived a good life, and as he said, got paid to give his opinions on television...it doesn't get much better than that (paraphrasing).

My previous blog post laments the fact that some folks in this town have chosen to 'unfriend' me (both literally, on FB, and actually, in person...socially). I can safely say that in each case, those people have made that choice based on the fact that I have expressed my opinions and those opinions did not sit well with them. Whether it was an opinion on a (public) blog post, an opinion about an action involving me, or an opinion about how someone 'treated me', in each case friendships cooled as a result of those expressed opinions.

So, in honor of my two idols, I will strive to come to terms with the fact that I will continue to express my opinions and those opinions will not always be received well. And that is okay. Because suppressing my opinions is suppressing my personality, and that wouldn't be healthy. Expressing my opinion doesn't mean that I'm right, and it doesn't mean I'm wrong. It means I'm processing a situation or event or an observance, and putting my thoughts 'out there'. I welcome discussion, disagreement, and discourse. Yes, I've had to learn (and am still learning) to phrase my opinion in a way that doesn't offend. But in many cases, opinions are taken more personally than is necessary, and that is something I and others need to be better at: hearing an opinion without getting so wrapped up in it that we get our feelings hurt and miss the lesson that can often be there. Yes, I'm on both sides of this and have a lot to learn from the opinions of others...and take the lesson away without taking it any more personally than the lesson requires.

(This blog post brought to you by my cup-of-coffee-induced stream of conscious thoughts...)

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Don't like me?

This is a familiar theme for me, so bear with me. But I had another couple of 'social hell' evenings recently, and I have just really grown weary of the juvenile behavior of those in this town who have decided (for whatever reason they conjured up) that I'm not worthy of their friendship any longer. And honestly, I don't need to be their friends. But civility and kindness have also gone by the wayside, and that is what I'm weary of. I have become invisible to these people (few that they are...) Seriously, they will stop in front of me to hug people on my right and/or my left, and barely nod at me. Or look right through me as though I've donned the cloak of invisibility. And yes, it shouldn't matter. But it is still hurtful. These same people refuse to have a face-to-face or one-on-one conversation to resolve any perceived wrongs or misunderstandings (I've long given up trying...) It's sad that they want to hold onto whatever it is.


Meh. As a good friend said, "Lori, you have lots of friends." Very true. Good and dear and loving friends who support me and accept me for who I am. I just wish the social interactions weren't so awkward and obviously exclusive. Sigh. I try not to care, I really do. That's why I love this cartoon.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Don't Wait to Start Living

The message from the universe lately is very clear: life is short. So cliche' and glib and obvious. This morning it came in the form of an email from my step-sister, letting me know that one of our childhood friends' brother (also a friend, and married to another friend...) has recently been diagnosed with cancer. Specifically, "...small cell lung cancer

that has spread to his liver, kidneys, bone, and possibly the brain. They scanned his head yesterday and I haven't heard that news yet. He starts chemo today...doesn't look good at all."

I've known these people most of my life...forty plus years. We've all been through a lot together, and have never lost touch over the years. This guy stuffed me head-first into a trash can once; I called him a 'queer' (as in jerk) and was promptly kicked out of the yard by his Marine father, who probably thought I was calling his son that other kind of queer (and who just recently died). We all experienced many rites of passage together, including smoking (all sorts), drinking, boyfriends, girlfriends, arguments, divorces (our parents'), marriages and children (our own). In short, they're family.

So now a member of that family is struggling with a deadly disease that seems to have taken over a majority of his important organs, and his wife and son are dealing with the prospect of seeing him through an illness that could very well take his life sooner than any of them expected.

This is another in a queue of people I know dealing with cancer: a neighbor, a co-worker's spouse, co-workers, church members, and now a friend. None of this is happening to me and yet I recognize that a message is there for me. I'm grateful for the message. I'm filled with concern and love for my friends. I'm at a loss, and yet I know that love is the best thing I can offer from afar.

Friday, October 21, 2011

Natural Therapy


Heading to the mountains this weekend. Specifically, to Mountain Lake Biological Station. It's the SUUSI Nature Group twice annual checkout trip, where we meet up to discuss the previous year at SUUSI and what worked or didn't work, and to begin planning for next year. We'll meet, we'll hike, we'll plan. But it's also a mini-reunion, so we'll eat, and drink, and laugh, and even cry. These weekends have become so very important to me. I look forward to absorbing the energy and love that each individual brings to this place over this weekend. It renews my soul. I'm blessed and grateful.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Owl Wisdom

Heard an owl the other night, as I was reading (okay, checking Facebook...) before I went to sleep. I called to Rebecca, "Owl." She replied, "I heard it."

I wonder why the call of an owl matters to me? It hits deep, touches something I can't identify. It's more than nature. It's history. It's prehistoric. It's a statement. I'm still here, he seems to say. It's not loud. In fact, if you're not listening...really listening...you won't hear him. And maybe that's the point. It's there for you, if you pay attention. And that is true about so many things in our lives, isn't it?

This is an important thing for me to remember right now, as I search/listen/wait for what is next in my life. Because something is definitely coming. I feel it. I'm open to it. And I can wait. It's a feeling of quiet anticipation. The same feeling that the call of the owl stirs up in me.

Speaking of owls, have you seen this? Amazing. And like the changes coming for me, slowly coming into view. Sweet.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Turn, turn, turn...

Yesterday I made three pans of lasagna: one I made for friends who recently welcomed their second child into the family and the world; the second I made for a friend whose mother passed after 96 years on this earth; the third I made for us, because practically speaking, it just made sense to make our dinner too.

Rather symbolic, those three pans of lasagna: life, death, and living. It's all so very normal, and yet each unique and equally important stages of our existence.

Turn, turn turn...

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Monarch Autumn

When we lived in Pacific Grove, CA, I got homesick for fall. And when the Monarch butterflies would come through and fill the air with their gorgeous Autumn-ness, I often thought in poetic terms of how they reminded me of falling leaves (although I never wrote the poem...)



Now, as fall descends upon us here in Virginia, I find myself getting nostalgic over that time in California and the beautiful 'fall color' of the Monarchs' migration through the Monterey Peninsula.

Life is funny, isn't it?

Monday, October 3, 2011

The "C" Word

It seems like not a week goes by that I'm hearing about someone who has just been diagnosed with, is currently fighting, is a survivor of, or has recently died from cancer. I suppose it's being middle-aged. But whatever the reason, it's very unsettling. And not because I'm faced with my own mortality. Because I don't take it personally; I don't take the information and think, "Am I next?" No. It's unsettling because I realize I am not emotionally equipped to know how to react or how to help. Even though my uncle and my cousin both died from cancer, and I know so many people who (thankfully) are survivors of different forms of cancer, and I know folks currently under treatment for cancer, I still feel completely inadequate when it comes to being a supportive friend.

I've been blessed with excellent health to date. Sure, I've had some high cholesterol and should lose another 20 pounds, but all in all everything is in good order. And as I've said many times before, every day I live past 51 (the age my father died of a massive heart attack) is a blessing. But good health puts me at a disadvantage in that I don't have any frame of reference when it comes to cancer. Obviously, that's a good thing. But at the same time, I feel at a complete loss when it comes to offering support.

And now a co-worker and his family have been blind-sided with what appears to be cancer. This just after another co-worker died after his battle. And I'm feeling more at a loss than ever. I can only offer practical support, as it relates to work, and spiritual support, in the form of healing thoughts and prayers. And wonder if it's enough.

Any thoughts or insight from your own experiences are appreciated.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Remembering

Remembering a film I watched on the one year anniversary and reading excerpts from that film on this link, the story of Brian and Stanley struck me as particularly poignant. What is the line between who survives and who perishes? What twist of fate or stroke of luck makes that difference? All the questions…too many to consider or answer. But many stories such as this one can and should come out of the horrible events of 9/11. That is what I choose to focus on for this tenth anniversary.

The 82nd Floor (Stanley and Brian)

Death is behind him, a wall in front.
In the roar of flame and destruction,
A white noise as never heard before,
As if his fate has already been sealed.

Is that a pounding? Wait…
Yes. Someone is behind that wall.
Waiting. But no, he can’t wait,
The stairs are full of the fleeing.

That feeling, the one when
Dark is behind you, that spurs
You to speed and strength
Like you’ve never known.

Definitely, pounding. Someone
Is there, trying to get out.
Of course he waits. How
Could he not? Waiting…

Pounding, pounding,
Striking with all the fear
And panic that has come up
In his throat.

There! A hand…he
Reaches in, grabs something…
A collar, a sleeve? It
Doesn’t matter…just pull!

Yes! A hand grabs him, the
Hole grows larger. How
Could one wall be the
Difference between life and death?

They collapse on the floor, strangers
in a puddle of fear mixed with relief.
And in the midst of the terror, Stanley
and Brian, now friends for life.

Friday, July 15, 2011

Sum-sum-summertime!

Whoa, there I am! Been busy, busy, busy. And that's a good thing. Although the sick part wasn't good, but it's ending. Just in time for our annual trek to Radford and SUUSI.

Summer has been great, although it does seem to be going too fast. But that's how it works. Good times make the time fly by, and bad times seem to make it drag. Ah, life.

I spent five days and four nights with six other glorious women in Wild, Wonderful West By-god Virginia. What a blessing they are, and what a balm that time is each year. I am truly grateful. We ate wonderful food, we drank (whenever we felt like it, thank you very much), we talked, we read, we laughed, we did puzzles, played games, watched (and made fun of) Star Trek episodes, and we explored the areas of Canaan Valley that were within a 30 minute drive.



We spent time in the hot tub, au naturale. When the weather wasn't absolutely perfect, it was perfectly rainy, 'forcing' a day of rest. Sitting in the hot tub, under the protection of the porch roof, while watching, listening to, and smelling the rain was absolute bliss for me. The entire jaunt was book-ended by lunches in Harrisonburg, the first at the Little Grill Collective, and the other at Clementine. Each offers its own unique atmosphere and wonderful food. This is becoming a tradition, and one I thoroughly enjoy.

I hope everyone's summer is equally enjoyable, with healthy doses of fun, relaxation, good friends, fabulous food, and new (or renewed) experiences.

Life is good! Grab it!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Discerning v. Cynical?

Where do you fall? What are your thoughts? Based on these descriptors below, I choose to strive towards discerning. The cynics in my life over time have been damning, mocking and, frankly, boring. I used to think it was me...feeling uncomfortable, uncool, like I didn't quite fit. I realize now I was responding to the mockery, the condescension, and the disrespect. It's good to be rid of that negative energy.

discerning: raises her eyebrows...to let in more information and light.
cynical: squints.

discerning: seeks.
cynical: hunts.

discerning: loves the thrill of making up his/her own mind.
cynical: has already made up his/her mind.

discerning: delineates.
cynical: damns.

discerning: wants to know better so she can do better.
cynical: wants to feel better, even if it makes him/her feel worse.

discerning: leaves space for your thing, my thing, and their thing.
cynical: acts like you're entitled to like your thing, but secretly feels that your thing is inferior to his thing.

discerning: takes a stand for what's personally true.
cynical: defaults to mockery.

discerning: can opt for dignity, good manners, and cordiality, but will blow the roof off the muthah, if need be.
cynical: likes to break things for the sake of it.

discerning: accommodates possibilities, and sometimes, the benefit of the doubt; but does not bend over. are we clear?
cynical: gets boring, real fast.

Friday, April 29, 2011

Rest in the Knowing

"Blame is protection. It's easy to protect yourself by blaming others. It allows one to maintain an illusion of themselves. If 'it' is someone else's fault you don't have to look at yourself closely." (someone anonymous but very wise)

This was in a message during an email exchange with a good friend. We were discussing how things are going in our lives. We didn't get into specifics, but rather the experience of the experiences and what we hoped to get out of those experiences (really, it does make sense, if you think about it...and I do a lot of that...thinking.) Anyhow, this was the last of several back and forths, and it really spoke to me.

Blame has been a big topic in my experiences over the past year or so. I've been exploring the concept from both sides, and I am oh so grateful for what I've learned. Because it really is true: in the long run, there is no blame to be laid. Other people do not have the power to influence our thoughts, opinions, actions. We have that power. We have the power to choose how we react to what we hear, see, feel, and experience. The most important thing we can do in any given situation that causes pause is to directly and respectfully go to the source. Not the subsource, or the best friend that will surely see things our way and bolster our self-righteous indignation.

The difficulty comes when that source, for whatever reason, will not allow the conversation/confrontation/discussion to happen. Then we are faced with the real possibility that the blame-game will continue. Or, the conversation happens and the blame is still laid at your feet. Either way, it is up to us to do the deep work, and realize that the burden of the situation is no longer ours. To say we don't care is probably not true. On some level, if we tried to have the conversation, we care. It might be for selfish reasons (no one likes to be disliked or judged unfairly), or it might be that we truly care and want to salvage a friendship. Either way, we need to know that there is a time when it's best to pick up our toys and go home.

I do know what it's like to have friends think the worst of me. I know what it's like to have those friends accuse me of things that I know in my heart are not true. I've struggled with this on many levels. The bottom line is: I know. If you are honest with yourself, and you've been honest with those around you, then just rest in the knowing. There is really nothing else to be done.

Monday, April 25, 2011

Clarity

There is a point in any given day,
that point when it's all clear.
Clear as a crisp fall day,
or a cold mountain stream.
That clarity is uncomfortable, isn't it?
It's so much easier when it's dark.
When it's foggy.
When it's murky.
When it's distant.
Way out there, removed from you.
It's easier to hide, blinders on,
head in the sand, avoiding the light.
Pretend it's not you, it's out there,
apart from you. But you know.
The clarity creeps in now and then,
and you know.
I know you know.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Vox Poetica

I've been cyber-published. :) Thanks to a friend, I found Vox Poetica and submitted a few poems. They were deemed worthy of featuring on their site. They chose And so it goes... and Helpless. I've since submitted four poems to another site; we'll see how they do. One result of this is I'm being encouraged by many folks to continue writing. So I'm going to make a more concerted effort to do just that. In fact, I've been invited by a friend to join she and another writer-friend on a writing retreat. I'm really looking forward to it, although I don't force-write very easily. We'll see what percolates. Meanwhile, I'm grateful for the encouragement and support from friends who have read and commented on what I've written so far.

I don't think I'll ever be a full-blown writer, but it's comforting to know that I am, after all, creative. I was asked once by a friend who paints, "What do you create?" And I answered, "Nothing." Now I realize, that's not true. There are many in this town who paint, or sculpt, or play music, or sing. I write. Not for recognition or for money or for art's sake, but for me. It's my cathartic exercise for my brain. It needs the release, especially when I'm overwhelmed with conflicting emotions or by events in the world that are out of my control and yet affect me deeply.

So, I'll keep writing. Hopefully more often. Thanks for reading.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Water


Water.
Put out the fire.
Run for the hills.
Purify it.
Honor it.
Curse it.
Wish it would start.
Wish it would stop.
The river runs with it.
It runs the river over.
Fill the cup.
The cup runneth over.
Not enough here. Too much there.
Heaving. Dripping. Freezing. Melting.
Eight in 24.
2/3 of our whole.
Spring. Bottled. Plastic or metal?
No choice, just bring it.
Bring it from the well.
The well's run dry.
On demand. In demand.
On the brain. On my mind.
It is us. We are it.
Water.

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

Gratitude List

Things I'm grateful for today:

Grateful that the fire in my neighborhood last night didn't spread, and no one was hurt.

Grateful that my heat pump, covered under the Dominion Heating and Cooling Repair Program, was fixed in a short amount of time and for only $50.

Grateful for my dear daughter, who has gracefully and beautifully entered into her 17th year, and continues to make me proud with her caring, sensitivity, and unique outlook on life.

Grateful for a light workweek, which allowed me to take the time yesterday to take care of said heater *and* enjoy my daughter's birthday with her.

Grateful for friends who understand that life pulls you in different directions, and for the opportunity to catch up with those friends when time allows.

Grateful for the coming of spring, despite a relatively easy winter. Love this time of transition, with buds on trees and plants pushing out a little more with each sunny day.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Worthiness

Related to the previous post; Brene' Brown's words are really helpful for me:

“Our lives are a collection of stories – truths about who we are, what we believe, what we come from, how we struggle, and how we are strong. When we can let go of what people think, and own our story, we gain access to our worthiness – the feeling that we are enough just as we are, and that we are worthy of love and belonging.

If we spend a lifetime trying to distance ourselves from the parts of our lives that don’t fit with who we think we’re supposed to be, we stand outside of our story and have to hustle for our worthiness by constantly performing, perfecting, pleasing, and proving. Our sense of worthiness lives inside of our story. It’s time to walk into our experiences and to start living and loving with our whole hearts.”

Sunday, February 6, 2011

You CAN go home...

...and I did it again this weekend. Quick trip to Norfolk to catch up with some childhood and high school friends, and also make some new ones. Going home is always a bittersweet experience. It reconnects me with the places, people,and experiences that are a big part of who I am...very grounding. In that reconnecting, memories are conjured up that aren't always pleasant...sadness over how many have passed, accidents, illnesses. And current trials in life...several in the room had just lost mothers in the past six months. Others are currently going through marital problems. One had just lost his wife to cancer. And yet, looking around the room, I saw smiles, nods, heads thrown back in laughter, faces deep in concentration as they listened to stories, hugs everywhere, exclamations of surprise. It was truly a joyous experience to be in that room.

One of the things I love most about this reconnection is the realization that these people really 'get' me. They know where I came from, they know just how much history we all have together, and they realize the importance of staying connected, of community, of letting go of trivial misunderstandings and differences that once seemed so important. They get that we all have quirks, but they also embrace us despite those quirks, oftentimes because they know what we've been through, how we grew up, what we've had to deal with in life, and that they too are loved and accepted for who they are by the rest of us. In that room that night were differences on many levels, and yet the focus was on the things that have been a part of us for 35 or more years, and that is the good stuff, the stuff that sustains us, and the stuff that makes it so good to go home again.

In the past ten years since I've been in the area I now call home, I've made some wonderful new friends, and I cherish them. But making new friends in mid-life can be a challenge. We often don't give each other the benefit of the doubt, and allow for some wiggle room when our friends make mistakes or don't meet our expectations. They don't really 'know' us or 'get' us in the same way that those who've known us since grade school do. And I think it's a shame that we don't see each other for the complex beings that we are. It's almost like we should all come with a table of contents, with each chapter titled according to the ups and downs of our lives. Rather than assume the worst about each other, we should be assuming the best...assume that we've had influences that shape our very core. We should be listening to each others' stories, not judging the foibles. Cliche' as it is, life is just too effing short to be cutting people out of our lives or holding grudges over petty differences. It makes me sad to watch others do so, but I won't dwell on it. My life is rich in friendships, and so many true blessings, I've determined to focus on those friendships and blessings and continue to move forward, with my feet firmly grounded in the knowledge of who I am, embracing it fully.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Letting Go

Awareness is an amazing thing. If I really, really pay attention to where my thoughts go, I'm so very grateful no one can read them. A real lesson in readjusting my thinking. And part of that process has come from watching others and how they react to negative situations around them. It's true what they say, often when you dislike a quality or characteristic in someone else, it may be that you recognize that very same thing in yourself. The trick is letting yourself acknowledge that, own it, and (if you really don't like it) turn it around. Fascinating. Not easy, but so much more freeing than holding onto resentment, criticism, competitiveness, and negative thinking. Letting go can be so liberating. May it be so!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Look...but don't touch!

Today I'm grateful for our monthly division meeting, which took place at Belmont/Gari Melchers Home and Studio, this morning. We had refreshments (which was awesome, since I missed breakfast this morning...), a talk from Director David Berreth, and a tour of the current exhibit: The New Reality: The Frontier of Realism in the 21st Century.

Wow. Truly stunning. We are so very, very fortunate to have this historical and cultural gem in our area.



It was all I could do not to touch these paintings, the realism unlike anything I've ever seen before. Head on over there. This weekend. You won't regret it.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Amen

We must develop and maintain the capacity to forgive. He who is devoid of the power to forgive is devoid of the power to love. There is some good in the worst of us and some evil in the best of us. When we discover this, we are less prone to hate our enemies. ~ Martin Luther King, Jr.





The man was too good for this world, apparently. Thank god his words live on to this day, inspiring people to love, forgive, promote peace, and respect their fellow man.

Friday, January 14, 2011

The more things change...

...the more they stay the same. Rereading some old posts, trying to find a particular one to share with mom and sis, found this one from a while back. Interesting and maybe a little disturbing, the same patterns seem to repeat. I like to think I have a better perspective (e.g., if someone has an issue with me, it's theirs, not mine; have a conversation with me...otherwise, it's none of my business...or whatever.) I like having these posts to go back and reflect on.

An Extraordinary Day

That's what today is. Extraordinary. Nothing today will be quite like any other day. Today we're given a fresh canvas. Some of the elements are the same, but the entire day stretches before us and gives us the chance to be a better us. Right now, we can move forward and be a positive force in someone's life. Right now, we can look around us and say, "How very fortunate I am to have been given another day. I'm thankful." Right now, we can give a smile, pat a shoulder, lend an ear, look someone in the eye, and really connect. Right now, we can forgive ourselves for the mistakes we made yesterday, and look at today with the eyes of a child:



see the sunrise as though it was our first, hear the birdsong and recognize the timelessness of the sound, feel the crisp cold air and recognize the thousands and thousands of winter days gone and to come; smell the freshness in that cold air, and breathe in a new day of life. All these sensory experiences allow us to recognize both our insignificance and our good fortune in this great big world. It's a brand new day...make it a good one.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Thankful for...

For bright blue skies on a cold winter day
For my daughter's cheerful morning voice
For comfortable work clothes
For a window overlooking my little world
For the bluebirds in our backyard on a cold winter morning
For filled dates on my calendar
For open spaces of time on that same calendar
For a to-do list at work, which helps to pass the time
For aloe, eucalyptus, rosemary and lavender scented chest rub...

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

It just bears repeating...

...I need to see this more than just once a year:

Health:
1. Drink plenty of water.
2. Eat breakfast like a king, lunch like a prince and dinner like a beggar.
3. Eat more foods that grow on trees and plants and eat less food that is manufactured in plants..
4. Live with the 3 E's -- Energy, Enthusiasm and Empathy
5. Make time to pray.
6. Play more games
7. Read more books than you did in 2010.
8. Sit in silence for at least 10 minutes each day.
9. Sleep for 7 hours.
10. Take a 10-30 minutes walk daily. And while you walk, smile.

Personality:
11. Don't compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.
12. Don't have negative thoughts over things you cannot control. Instead invest your energy in the positive present moment.
13. Don't over do. Keep your limits.
14. Don't take yourself so seriously. No one else does.
15. Don't waste your precious energy on gossip.
16. Dream more while you are awake
17. Envy is a waste of time. You already have all you need..
18. Forget issues of the past. Don't remind your partner with his/her mistakes of the past. That will ruin your present happiness.
19. Life is too short to waste time hating anyone. Don't hate others.
20. Make peace with your past so it won't spoil the present.
21. No one is in charge of your happiness except you.
22. Realize that life is a school and you are here to learn. Problems are simply part of the curriculum that appear and fade away like algebra class but the lessons you learn will last a lifetime.
23. Smile and laugh more.
24. You don't have to win every argument. Agree to disagree...

Society:
25. Call your family often.
26. Each day give something good to others.
27. Forgive everyone for everything..
28. Spend time w/ people over the age of 70 and under the age of 6.
29. Try to make at least three people smile each day.
30. What other people think of you is none of your business.
31. Your job won't take care of you when you are sick. Your friends will. Stay in touch.

Life:
32. Do the right thing.
33. Get rid of anything that isn't useful, beautiful, or joyful.
34. Time heals.
35. However good or bad a situation is, it will change..
36. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up, and show up..
37. The best is yet to come..
38. When you awake alive in the morning, be thankful.
39. Your Innermost is always happy. So, be happy.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

There were five in the bed...

My off weekend, R. is with her dad. Stayed home last night, although I considered going out for music about 15 times. Just couldn't muster up the energy. Good thing, since as it was I slept until 10 a.m. and woke up feeling as though I'm fighting something off. But I woke up with four cats on the bed, all snoozing right along with me, not one single 'meow' about getting fed. Always feel better after a shower and moving around some, but this is definitely something I need to fight off. Even though I know I missed some great music, I'm glad I opted for home.

In any case, a day of straightening and organizing a bit, then up to MD for a house concert/overnight at Susie's House Concerts. Always enjoy the house concert venue for music, and especially one 'away' where I can meet new folks.

It's 11:19. Better start the day!

Friday, January 7, 2011

6 a.m.




Having a tough time with the 6 a.m. wake up this week. But then, driving into work and listening to the news on NPR, we were reminded once again of how very fortunate we are...so many privileges and services that we take for granted, while elsewhere folks are woken up by bombs, or news of loved ones killed by bombs. And we're reminded of the devoted folks in the military who sleep on the cold ground if they sleep at all. And the news guy that gave the report this morning, embedded with the troops and reporting on those killed, perhaps because he believes it is so important that people know what's happening 'over there' and that we remember, and maybe we'll stop and appreciate what we have, maybe even give a little prayer of thanks and safekeeping.

Sure, I would've loved a snow delay this morning. But then, I'm just grateful I have a job, and my daughter has the privilege of going to school every day, and we wake up in a warm house, with four loving (er, hungry...) cats, and we put on clean clothes and eat our breakfast and drive our car to said job and school, and this weekend I'll have the opportunity to spend time with family or friends, enjoying food, art, wine, and music.

Yeah, I guess getting up at 6 a.m. is a very, very small price to pay.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Turn Right at the Light...and Just Keep Going


First post of the new year. 2011. Holy shit. And I'm inspired by the blog, Lemonade, to take a different approach to my writings here. After all, it is the little things in life that can make all the difference. And it is looking at the positive/humorous side of things that allows us to get through the mucky parts of life.

One of the common themes in my recent posts has been my discouragement over being disliked or misunderstood by people who I consider(ed) friends. Well, I'm done with that. Hamster's jumpin' off of that wheel. As of right now. Finis. There are too many folks out there that 'get' me and love me and accept me for who I am. Those are the relationships I need to nurture and cultivate. It's time to feed my soul. No antagonism towards others, just acceptance that all relationships are different and some just work (and some don't.)

So, thanks AB, for the inspiration. I'm gonna turn right (towards the positive) at the light and keep moving forward. With a little help from my friends, I'll make it a good year!