Tuesday, August 31, 2010

transitions as a way of being....

Stop right now and visualize a large train station and watch them arriving and departing...their doors opening to let people in and out. There is a flow of efficiency in the transitions between arrivals and departures.  You see this in airports, with quick turn around flights.  Any form of transportation has that flow.... a bus depot, a cruise ship docking, taxis..... even our own coming and goings in our vehicles...... arrival and departures.

WE are movers.   Oh, the places we go......

Journeying to a destination is a daily activity.  Most of our days have a dozen or so destinations, usually falling into the category of the ordinary.  Still, they are destinations, some of  which are so routine we don't even blink abou them.  And whenever we embark on a new one, we find ourselves in transition. Whether it is the beginning or the end, or somewhere in the middle of the action, we are in transit. 

There are many types and levels of transitions.  They fall into various categories.... physical, emotional, spiritual, cognitive.  What they have in common is making a shift.  Altering our personal awareness, changing our location both internally and externally.  Shifts happen....... sometimes it occurs and its not even recognized until you have a chance to reflect in stillness.  Or you just simply sit down and take stock.

Beginnings and endings....... transition happens throughout.  Tiny steps towards discovery and destinations.  They can be damn frightening especially if it is accompanied by the unknown.  And most of the important transitional times in our lives is jam packed with emotions.  Sorrow and JOY lead the way...... frustration, confusiong, anger as well as anticipation, excitement, and anxiety  all rear their heads.  Tranisitions stir us up........ as the shift happens.  But, that is life isn't it?  Are we not always evolving towards  place of beautiful transformation?  They are our way of being.........Stop transitioning and you stagnate like a pool of unmoving waters.  Keep accepting the inevitable, even if you don't know the end result, and you find yourself walking across a bridge where river water flows in swirling currents and undertows....

Swift movement...........shift movement........ the thrust of life.........

What kinds of transitions are you experiencing this week?  What endings and beginnings are you coping with?? 

Monday, August 30, 2010

half way moon rising......

Tonight, as I stood on my back deck catching up on the phone with my friend Mary who can always be counted on to reaffirm that I truly am not crazy and that I'm just this emotionally charged being doing the best she can to sort through the layers of stuff I seem to accumulate in the course of the day (the same way she does) I caught sight of two shooting stars and watched the half way moon rise up from the river. 

I whispered two wishes to myself as the stars shot across the sky.....wispy heart wishes.  Small significant desires that would mean a lot to me, but not to anyone else. I would like to ask for a wild wondrous wish, but I don't think I'm ready for that yet.  It would only end up feeling burdensome. 

The moon was resplendently dressed in orange as it revealed itself from the calm waters.  A half way wise moon waning to a crescent, waxing poetic knowing because she's been there and done that so many times. Sometimes she gets it right.  Sometimes the beautiful moon just hides behind a knot of clouds to take a breather from always having to be such a strong vibrant presence.  Even if you can't see La Luna in her golden gown aglow, you always feel like you can count on her to be strong. 

People keep telling me I'm strong.... how is this possible when I don't feel that way all the time? I don't feel strong.  But, how is strong supposed to feel?  Is what I project....this scrappy charisma that just seems to emanate from me the reason why people believe this of me?   Is it because even when I'm hiding away behind my knotted clouds, with raindrops dripping from tearducts, people continue to believe I'm capable.... made from soul alloys that will not break?  I don't get it.

When I balk at their comments..... "you're so strong.... you'll be fine....." and say, "no, I'm not as strong as you think I am..."  they don't believe me.  It makes me laugh at these moments when all of a sudden i'm in a debate as to whether I'm strong or not! Maybe because I end up laughing over the silliness of the conversation that it feeds the strength I'm supposed to have the market cornered on. Absurdity energizes. 

I am a strong person.......they are right.  I think. 

Do strong women tear up as much as I do?  Do they melt at first drop of tenderness?  Do they yearn to be cared for and romanced?  Or are they tough broads who need no one to help them.  Distress slips off these women like a negligee on a hot night with purpose.  Can you be strong yet vulnerable at the same time or are they opposites?

I asked the Halfway Moon dipped in orange as she slipped off her negligee into her naked golden light....... and you know what she said? 

"Strength brings on the tears of comfort.  Strength allows you to reveal your vulnerability.  It is why you can be in distress, yearn for romance, know you will find it.  Strength feeds your optimism and points you away from curses, towards the blessings in your life.  Life is all about doing and redoing as a means of learning.  

You are learning... and from that place where the best kind of learning happens.... in a growly unsettled place called discomfort. I see you rise up from the waters like I do, resplendently dressed in emotions of many colours.  You know those deep feelings intimately.  You know the layers accumulated throughout your jam packed somewhat bizarre interactive kind of days will slip off you."

Then, the Moon asked me.........

" Do you know how to settle inside your whole being and pray?"

"Yes," I answered.   "I've done that regularly throughout the summer but it always feels that I end up fractured with a million shooting stars bumping into one another in this cosmic head of mine. Fractured thoughts don't add up to strength.  They  make me feel incompetent, weak and incapable of managing the tasks I'm supposed to be responsible for.  They make me want to run away."

"But you don't, do you?  You don't run away...... the halfway moon pointed out...

"No I don't.  Sometimes I can shine in a confidence I don't even know the source of.  Sometimes I just hide behind my knotted clouds.  Sometimes I'm calm, just calm.  But, I never run away.  Quitting is not an option."

"Well, there you go," said the beautiful moon as she continued her ascent up into the darkened sky.  "You are aware of what you can do.  It may take longer than normal to get your act together to be able to accomplish what you want, but by the time your day is going to sleep and I am waking up in the night sky, you find in your reflections the blessings, not the curses.  I see it when I look down on you.  You find the calm waters....... and see the pool of possibilities.  No need to worry whether you're strong enough to forge ahead, to reach a place where you will be able to find balance again."

"You think so Half Way Moon?"  I ask.... still a little dubious.

"I know so......because you strive to make your gaze beautiful, you're half way there too.....sometimes waxing, sometimes waning..........it doesn't matter.  You're halfway there.  All the wiser.  All the stronger.  You colourful passion suits you. "  

It's a good thing to have a beautiful moon as a therapist.  I think I'm almost ready for the wild wondrous wishes.....  bring on the shooting stars.

Sunday, August 29, 2010

efficiency and time......

 ruminating well

Time becomes a different entity when you're travelling and out of any regular routine.  Add a whole day in the car driving, ending up twisted around backwards in a city that seems to be completely torn up by road construction, with french direction signs missing and the orange pile-ons misplaced.....?  I'm beat.  

Oh, and did I mention that I somehow screwed up and ended up paying through the nose for a "Comfort Inn" Executive Suite (an oxymoron if there ever was one) in Riviere du Loup that only has ONE BED?  There are three of us.  When we finally pulled ourselves out of the car and into the room, it felt like midnight. It was only 8 pm.  The bed seemed big enough.  The shower was inviting and good God, there was a St. Hubert across the street ready to serve us take out chicken dinners.  I ordered two dinners, and then went over to the "Super Soir" and picked up a big cold can of Stella for me.  I sat on the curb by the car sipping Stella and enjoying a cig surrounded by tidal air that smells so maritime.  I love it!
We've been on the go visiting family and friends in Ontario this week and despite this crazy day we just survived (with humour in tact) it has been wonderful success.  Its all so strange trying to attempt things that previously included another member of this little family of mine.  The emotions get charged quickly and are released at unexpected times but that's all a part of adjusting and learning how to cope with our new lives.   Everything took longer, and seemed timeless....

So many firsts.  So many new things.  Like driving the whole trip by myself.  Though I tried not to be too freaked out about being the only licensed driver for the 14 hour trek, I was totally freaked out by it.  But, I did it.  With only a few hours left to get home tomorrow morning, I managed to do it as well as all the other travel responsibilities.......... There's twice as much to do.  Just like at home.  It's daunting and its bloody tiring, especially now when I am now completely focused yet.   Time just doesn't seem the same anymore.

The efficiency I once took for granted has left my body.  I am no longer efficient anymore.  I'm a scattered road map.  Will this always be the case?  Have I lost the ability to be organized and on top of things or will it return?  Do I care? Not really, though the pace is about to be upped a thousand volts in the next week or so when my job kick starts into a new school season and the kids begin again too I better start caring.   

However, I have such a meandering brain and wandering feet that it takes me so much longer to accomplish even the smallest task and all I really want to do is to seek out some fun.   Fun seems to be the priority right now, and lots of it.  methinks my "fun needs" weren't being met for a very long time, so my thirst for it has leaped out into the front of the line. 

I also get lost in a million fractured thoughts and before I know it, a few hours have slipped by as quickly as trying to hold water in your hands.   But, you know what?  That time has been the most productive because it feels so refreshing to simply be still breathing while allowing the thoughts and feelings to wash over me.  I end up feeling lighter than when I started....... with more energy coursing through me....except .... here's the kicker ..... I think the meditation and quiet time is addictive.  I love it and when I'm not able to, I have a tough time paying attention to what I am supposed to be doing.  Do you know how many times I have lost my keys, lost tickets, forgotten to do more than half of the priorities on my list of "must dos?"  I'm a scatter brain ... so much so that I think my kids are getting used to me being an airhead. 

But, I'm the driver..... I need to start paying attention to schedules and time more efficiently.  I'm the adult here, and the Momma to boot.  And you know what?  I got us this far today!!   I think I can get us home again.  And again.  And again.   I may end up taking the wrong turn in Montreal FIVE times  again before I get it right,  but I will get us to our destiinations........ and maybe have a few stories we will share because of my newfound wacky scatterbrain.

you know........... If only I had someone there to unpack, do the chores, make dinner and organize the week?  I think I need a wife who has a watch that works and knows how to tell time.  I think I've traded in my multi tasking sense of time for rambling and ruminations.  Efficiency is over rated these days.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Fellowship and Greenbelt

Fellowship is made from the combined essential oils of our souls.  Its fragrance lingers beyond the time spent together.  On days when our lips are parched, thirsty in need, the quiet eye contact of fellowship gladdens into a renewed smile.  It massages the lost and broken bits; pent up stress from never stopping to take a deep holy breath of belonging and leaves us refreshed in pensive comfort.  During the dark hours of winter light, the late summer fragrant breezes from tall grass, heather and lavender weave golden moments through our ladened tone that beat from our hearts.

A gathering is about to happen in a field across the pond.... a field dressed in Big Top stripes, fluttering wind streamers so colourfully vibrant .... a field nestled in the sleepy hills, surrounded by a rainbow of tents, filled with people eager to reunite in worship, music, dance, laughter.  Arm and arm, toe to rain wellie toe, toasting to life and love through the communion of celebration, they will meet to open their pores .... to soak in the sacred harmony hovering in the air above the Greenbelt Festival.  

May old friendships deepen
May new friendships take seed.
May conversations take you to new frontiers of learning.
May you find a space to let yourself breathe in God's spirit.
May moments happen that take your breath away.... and leave you with twinkling enlightenment.
May burdens lessen even for a short reprieve
May the sentiment of fellowship annoint you with the spritzed essence of soul-full essential oils.

Thinking of my friends who will be attending the Greenbelt Festival, which officially gets underway tomorrow......... but unofficially has begun in a curry restaurant somewhere in Cheltenham tonight.  I may be far far away in body, but in spirit......?  I just have to close my eyes to feel the connections, the colour, the life of a very special place. 

I will be there next year with bells on my toes!

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

First base.

Funny how we tend to think of "firsts" as a youth phenom, but in actuality the sequence of them continue throughout our whole lives.  First time offerings spring forward if we are open to and allow them to take a breath.  I was reading something the other day about how fear is far greater in the suffering of unease as we stew in the choice of taking a step into the unknown...... to try something new. 

This is when we tend to feel the most alone.  But, when we finally make the decision to attempt a new step, to try something for the first time, we find that we are not alone anymore.  There is a sense of encouragement in the air all around.  There is a momentum filled with the dreams of others who have gone ahead and foraged through the unknown already.  Destiny conspires to help us, boosting our energy, shaping our focus, alleviating the fear of traisping through the tall grasses that may lead us to a place of new awareness......... new possibilities. 

It's always so difficult to get started. We waste so much fret time posturing, ruminating, moaning and groaning over our decisions.   Maybe this is what is different between the "firsts" we encountered as young children and now as adults.  As grown ups, we think too much.  We talk ourselves into staying within the bubble of illusions, convincing ourselves that we're fine in this life of contentment.  Better to stay with the realm of what you know than what you don't know...... Our fear driven feelings consume us!

Sometimes, we don't hear the knock of opportunity.   So often they are such faint taps of enlightenment that go unnoticed because we are surrounded by the noisy multi-sensory cacophany of our worlds.  Last night for example, while sitting waiting for the movie to start in the theatre, we were inudated with a barrage of commercials and graphic dimensions on the screen.  The sound was loud.  The atmosphere was so far removed from the calm anticipation which once accompanied "going to the movies..." 

Remember when you would arrive into a dimly lit screening room even before the music was filtered in as the indication that the curtain was about to rise and the event was about to begin?  It was one of those rare opportunities to reflect, to look forward, to be "in the moment" with a friend or a date.  It gave you a chance to "catch up" with a friend, or to sit quietly enjoying the peace.  Why is our whole world conspiring against us to keep us away from those very important moments of silence? 

We allow it to happen.  We flow into the noise instead of walking away from it.  It's an avoidance technique.  Better to stay busy, be in the flurried eye of the multi-sensory flashing light whizz blur of a life than to be alone to experience clarity.   Clarity is SCARY!  Or so we think.  Let me suggest that clarity is the beginning and getting to the beginning of a "new first" is half the battle.  You're over the worst part of the fear!  Have you ever felt that sense of relief once you got started after procrastinating forever over making a decision??

Obviously we need to seek out those moments when opportunity taps quietly.  We need a chance to convince ourselves that it is time to take a step into a foray of a first.  We need the time to contemplate our next move,  a new idea, to weigh the pros and cons of sticking our necks out into a place where we are stretched.  This is renewal.  This is where "firsts" dwell waiting to be plucked and tried.  Beginnings are not empty or isolated. They are covered in sweetgreen aromatic growth, like the softness of new grass underfoot..... that is how a new beginning can feel once you've taken the first step off the concrete sidewalk.

Sure, many "firsts" are foisted upon us when we arent ready.  Forced to reckon with it as a trauma, we find ourselves ill-equipped to handle the change.  They can also derail us away from the clouddreams our Destiny floats upon.  Challenges, obstacles, hurts and heartwounds.......circumstances we have no control over slam us back from the starting line....... sometimes so often we lose sight of our yearnings.  This is when stillness and silence are the most crucial because it allows us the time to breathe, to heal, to learn from the sufferings. This is where we are given a chance to gather strength and determination to grab hold of that new beginning.  The uncontrollable kicks to the gut?  Do you think they can be the very thing we need to recognize the need to take a step out of the cocoon? 

I wonder...........

Epiphanies are a combination of crisis and clarity.  They are little openings between the storm clouds that seem to occur when we are empty inside but our eyes are opened wide.  Maybe our best first steps happen when we are on our knees rather than standing in the ready stance waiting for the race to begin?

Firsts.....steps.  You can't always wait for the "right time" to come around.  You sometimes just have to take that big leap knowing that when you land, you are over the worst of it...... You sometimes have to hold that baseball bat with patience as you wait for the ball to be pitched over home plate.  It may not be the kind of pitch you anticipate nor particularly want.  But, if its a strike, you gotta swing........ and connect with that ball.  Then, you drop that bat and run like a crazy person to first base with everyone cheering you on.  From there?  You're in the game.  The view from first base is always, always hopeful!

May my mind come alive today
To the invisible geography
That invites me to new frontiers,
To break the dead shell of yesterdays,
To risk being disturbed and changed.

May I have the courage today
To live the life that I would love,
To postpone my dream no longer
But do at last what I came here for
And waste my heart on fear no more.

John O'Donohue, A Morning Offering
Bless this Space Between Us.

Tuesday, August 24, 2010

tangles and tangos

In your light
I learn how to love.
In your beauty, how to make poems.
You dance inside my chest,
where no one sees you,
but sometimes I do,
and that sight
becomes this art.

Have you ever experienced the iridescent flow of creativity when the act of expression seems to come from the movement of an internal dance? The feeling is one of an alignment to a fresh air thinness, where freedom captures you in its magic. Sometimes we try too hard to be creative or to stretch our imagination. Sometimes it even feels like mind zapping work because our energy to find that heartdance tangles in the tango of yearning.

There is a cross stitch step we often trip over in our desire to create. The wanting overpowers the action. Personal expectations and self-judgement blur the motion of doing, and of finding His dance of life hidden within us. We want to perform, paint, play out, poetize and as seekers of perfection, we lose sight of His gift of beauty and light where the soft murmuring passion quietly settles.

Perfection is not wanted on the voyage of discovery. Perfection is not found in the beauty of our artistry. When we touch on the blue-glass iridescence of shimmering possibilities, our grip on expectations loosens as the vision for our creations clarifies.

What interests me is the point where the illuminative transitional pull from feeling like the yearning seems to be choking the ability to produce anything of substance moves to a place where one enters the zone where creative flow alights. I believe it can be compared to experiencing early morning dawn after the 4 am dark night. Both are beautiful in their own way. Both are needed in the gestation of creation. Both can be dwellings where we are captured by the internal dance, if we don't find ourselves trapped in encircling yearnings. But, there is an indescrible essence where "aha" happens.....and the heartdance is found.

Tonight, I continue to wait for creative clarity.  Vision remains blurry.  Thoughts remain scattered.  Feelings strum in living notes.  My soul is awash in paint strokes of bleeding colours, like the night scene at an endless summer carnival.  And all around  is a Spirit which assures me with wind whispers and light dances.......

Be patient.
It will untangle
Be patient......
you're learning the steps of a new tango.
Be patient....
You're beautiful dancing just as you are......

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Heart Grenades and the Art of Looking Sideways.

Strange to look at life sideways.  Strange, but oh so imperative.  It stretches the muscles in our eyes in a way that doesn't feel natural.  However, if ever we really want to make changes in this world we live in, and in our own individual lives, we must look off to the side for the options.  Conformity, the lemming kind, is the death knell of our society. The routine of sameness depletes our energy, sending us down a heavy footed path of apathy, dulling our senses.  What always perks up the brain, kisses the heart, zippity dips the pace is a fresh perspective.   Fresh awareness.....

Lemon scented fresh.
First kiss fresh.
After the rain cool breeze fresh. 
Puppies pouncing in the snow fresh.
Pussy willow promise fresh
Blooming pink blossom fresh
New slivery moon fresh
Stepping out of the shower rinsed and naked fresh.

We drop the blinders, take off the armour, stretch out our yawnings, open our minds, and look around?  Suddenly our way of seeing, which became our way of being, alters.  We shift.  In a blink. Aha! 
Here's a NEW way of looking at this issue!
Here's some light seeping through the dark realities of our sufferings
Here's a possibility!

But, am I willing to make the shift? Do I have a choice here?  MAN! What a frightening thought!

Life is easier to stay confined in a pocket of protection, away from new perspectives.  It seems safer, more predictable, more sane.  Yeah, right! What an illusion that is.  Still, we hold on tight to what we consider is the truth. It's what we know.  It's what we built our lives on.... those beliefs that you had some control over the events in your life.  Maybe that's the purpose of those "heart grenades" that often get lofted at us?  To wake us up?  To make us question everything around us??  To shake the inner stuffing loose.  To help us lose our balance in order to feel vulnerable?  When we are shook up enough and the vulnerability is ripe for the weeping, there is no more truth to hold onto.  What is left is an opportunity to look at life from another vantage point. 

God, will you help me do this?  Give me the strength to look at this life sideways...... to stand it on its ear.... to relax enough to let go of the ruminations..... to open the valve and let the possiblities flow upon the shiny rocks which I continue to stub my toes on! 

Shut off the valve of possibility, our whole being dries up. Turn it on full blast and the pools of creativity fill up and up and up with the cleansing spirits to quench the thirst we sometimes didn't even know existed.  At first, when new perspectives arise, we want to gulp it down....God, we're so thirsty for answers, for comfort, for colour!  When we first realize that how we are living, doing, being is not working, we want to change it ASAP!   Because of desperation and the motivation to douse the flames licking at our shame, we shuffle forward without taking the time to learn how to use our refreshed senses properly.  We need time to "retool" as well as to assess whether this new perspective is the right fit.  An oasis of water flowing to a thirsty person wounded by a heart grenade can be just as dangerous as staying in a pocket of protection.....

hmmmmm............maybe we need to look both ways, allowing the green twinkle of our eyes to cast beyond the first glance.....  looking beyond the sideways just at our feet......... over the horizon sideways... leap of faith sideways..... There is an art to it.  But there are no clear cut linear instructions.  You have to figure out your own glancing, looking, observing, assessing, glimpsing, gazing.  Not alone.  You don't have to learn this alone.  There is a Holy Spirit all around us to guide us. 

Sometimes we are the last to know how dehydrated and thirsty we really are.  Until we learn the art of looking sideways.  If we allow it to, it can soothe the wounds left by the blast of a heart grenade.  Late night loneliness does not have to smell like napalm.  It can be soothed by the aroma of perfuming comfort and the essence of insensing courage.......... let me turn my head to the left..... to the right....  Now?  let me look up and out.......... and what do I see?  Delicious possibilities.

Tell me...... What do YOU see when you look sideways?


ps.  This post was inspired by two things. I found myself in the valley of emotions today, so much so that I think I need to get my hormones checked!  The dips are too severe and I'm now thinking that there could be a medical reason feeding this trip I'm on.  Heaven help anyone who goes near a PMS-ing 49 year old in the throes of a divorce. You have no idea how ugly it looks from the inside! But, I'm relieved to report that I'm pulling out of this mass of snottiness and will be myself once again tomorrow.  (thank you Mavis!!)

I am also thinking a great deal about the upcoming Greenbelt Festival which I had the pleasure and the opportunity to attend last year.  In some respects, it was life changing.... many shifts occured and insights were gathered.  Sadly, the one which was so predominantly recharged in my being.... to return home from the festival with a clear desire to work through the issues in my marriage, I wasn't even able to kickstart.  It was over.  I just didn't know it.  

However, on a spiritual level, the depth of my faith and interest in pursuing this path of believing strengthened beyond my expectations.  Consequently, it has provided a foundation I sorely depended on last spring and continue to.  So, I wish I was going again this year....... to Greenbelt.  To refresh, to remind myself, to recharge, to remember, to reflect and to have some really really good fun with a group of people who are a part of my life and my heart.  When I think of them fondly, their beautiful faces and friendliness feed my soul with such delicious soulfood.

The theme for the Greenbelt Festival this year is "The Art of Looking Sideways..."  It's such an inspirational theme.... and fits nicely with how I try my best to look beyond the sides of my life.  The creative side of me, whether it's writing or photography, or even counselling (there is a lot of creativity and openness in the field of counselling) embraces this theme wholeheartedly.  So, I thought I would try to capture my feelings of this day as well as my thoughts on the theme.  I guess you could say, I was a multi-tasking blogger tonight.  And it worked.
My head cleared.  
I looked sideways.  
And you know what I found? 
The little bugger was smirking 
off to the side!

Love to all of you............ xxxx

time under the bridge....

I gave away a lot of time
Productive time
Destructive time
wasted away time
never to be on time.
water under the bridge time
I gave it away.

waiting and waiting....oh, how often I did this....
filling gaps between here and there
urgent energy
anxious persperation 
desperate pleads
hot anger fueling loose lips
breathing deeply......letting go.........

stalled, stood up, stupified, steaming....breathless
trapped by the thief of my time....

please, please....... we're going to be late, I'd say
I bellowed alot .... 
became a banshee.... 
I hated the sound of my voice.
I hated who I had allowed myself to become.  
I'd say.... 
Why couldn't you..........
pick me up when you said you were going to
meet me at the agreed upon time
phone me if you were running late
put me first and not the person who "held" you up once again
be ready..........??

Where was the respect?
I became a temper tantrum ready at my calling...

Today I sat in a reception area waiting......... familiar story.  The "lady in waiting..." I know it off by heart.  It had only been an hour since we had agreed upon a time to meet!!  15 minutes went by, and my mind wandered..... alarmed with worry, wondering if something serious happened and triggered once again by the dance we allowed to continue....me being the worrier of doom and gloom, he being the controller of those precious moments that make up a life.  Mine.   While I was feeling my stomach begin to churn, and the sweat begin to seep out of my angered pores, I realized something.....

I own it.  I gave  my heart  and soul time and it was just stomped on without a spit of gratitude. So now?  It's not up for grabs.  My time is my own.  I am free to use it, share it, apply it, give it with love to someone who will respect it.  I let go of those chains that I allowed to burden me for a long time....... chains of time..... sliding off me.......

Let the clock tick on from here, chiming freedom.  I am learning.  I am no longer the "lady in waiting...." that role has been passed on.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Growth and Elements.

"Let me wave to you,"  she said.

Sunflowers inspire me. Whenever I see a garden clump of them, their heads tilted like posed models, I am struck by how otherworldly they seem.  How can they possibly be from this planet?  From a tiny seed shoved into the dirt comes this majestic open faced beauty standing over 10 feet tall.  In one season. How can that be?  Though they seem still and sturdy, I always figure that if I watch them long enough, I will see them grow.

Sunflowers grow upward on the strength of their stalks until their fancy dress petals unfurl cusping the elegant eye which glows with the contrast of vibrant yellow and earthy shades of brown.  Beautiful. Elegant.

But never perfect..... If you look at them up close, you can see the visible imperfections which always accompany stretching and growth.... Like humans, nature's blooms must struggle at times against the elements thrown at them.  Elements take their toll, while challenging the very idea of perfection. They leave tatooed scrapes, unusual shapes.... beauty marks that tell their unique story. 

Sunflowers........ may we always look to them to learn a few life lessons, to recognize we too have the potential to thrive, not despite the elements we face, but because of them.  As my Emerald friend Pip says,  "Growth does not reside in a place called comfortable...." 

The garden of life, thankfully is not a comfortable place to be living in  most days.  May we have the strength to dwell there until we learn we too are all beautiful in our imperfections and that we thrive because of the elements, not despite them.   My we accept our flaws as what they really are.... beauty marks that tell our unique life stories.

oh, the very thought of it.........

I have had enough surprises to last me a lifetime.  As much as I am a pretty spontaneous person, the very thought of any more surprises in the next 10+ years just makes my skin crawl.   Predictability is a very rare occurance, and most days I seem to bump into something I hadn't expected nor prepared myself for.  For the most part I can laugh at the crazy stuff surprises  because they usually arrive inside a parcel filled with absurdism. Then there are some which are difficult to slough off.  They are the ones that knock me off balance. 

Looking back in reflection, I have also been thrown by gut busting enlightenment particularly about my marriage which in turn has foisted me into this wide eyed realization that how I had looked at an event, a comment, a conversation etc was completely untrue.  Those surprises hurt.  I find them so emotionally charged that I try not to dwell on the inevitable second guessing that happens when one is left in the ditch. 

The kind of bewilderment I'm most fearful of right now is something I am trying to avoid.  Surprises around my birthday.   I have never been one who enjoys surprise parties in my honour.  I appreciated the effort, but I did not like it.  Some people love them and thrive on their night of nights. ME?  No thank you. 

In less than a month, I turn 50 and I know exactly how I want to celebrate. In the afternoon, I want to play a game of baseball at some local field.  Then in the evening  I want a corn roast.  In my backyard.  No gifts.  No surprise guests ..... PLEASE!!!!!  Just music, merriment, and ME hosting.  

I want a campfire.  I want the kids and my friends kids to join us....... and I want to stay busy entertaining people in my home.  This is how I can manage this emotional day.  In an environment which is now safe and welcoming, I want to give back to the group of friends who are in my life day to day who have helped me get back on my feet.   This is how I have envisioned the day unfolding for a few months now.  As much as I have no control over how most of the events in my life unfold,  it is my hope that I will be granted this birthday wish.  Let me serve.  This will make me happy.

No surprises.
No secrets.
No stress.
No "this is your life" moments....
No exceptions.

I've had enough.  I've cried enough too.   I don't want to cry on my birthday and if one surprise comes bounding through the door, I will lose the precarious self control I am holding onto. 

Except Billy Joel.  If he wants to just us for a corn roast, he's welcome.

Saturday, August 14, 2010


I was born to ask why.
big heaping sighing whys
wondrous eye widening whys....
thunderous cloud clapping whys
contemplative reveries
I was born that way.
it's who i am.... don't know why.
I gave birth to two babes who were born to ask why
sky blue toddler whys
childhood crave-seeking whys 
adolescent angst ridden whys
they were born that way....
it's who they are..... don't know why.

open ended seekers we are
my little brood and I.....we're "whys-crackers!"
one more quiet in her asking than the other
he's got brain heated tempered whys....
she's got whispering late night sighs....
and me?
ah, I've been blessed.....
I have whispering heated massive whys
percolating my soul
popping out of my pores
piercing the skies with spirit.
always spirit.....
my whys are my passion....my spirit, my flesh
firefly whys that blink light
like twinkling eyes.

Tonight....just to sample a few.....
why do some songs make me weep?
why do some bring peaceful sleep?
why does it hurt so much to love
why IS their no answer from above?
why do the Blues make my body want to dance?
why do I continue to give love a chance?
why does God leave me unprotected?
why can't my skin be more reflective?

there are no answers to assuage me....
except a bonding faith I cannot see.

I take a chance when I ask my questions.
rarely do answers echo back
its the natural fire deep within me 
to go beyond the "just because..."
just because
just because.....it never could settle me.

when i want to 
i can surrender
letting the whys just slip into mystery
letting go of the entanglement. 
when I want to embrace destiny.

Like my kids, I was born to ask why
big heaping sighing whys
wondrous eye widening whys
thunderous cloud clapping whys. 
I don't know why.  
just because.......
We were just born that way? 

So, tonight, I sit outside in silent darkness
catching breezes as they speak
imagining the voyage of discovery
when an answer lands at my feet.

Now, why would I want that to happen?
How crazy would that be??
Life is so much more enticing
when it's cradled in why-full mystery.

Friday, August 13, 2010

nectar from a scented candle.

This morning, I watched a nervous hummingbird with thrumming wings hover over a group of scented candles sitting on the table beside me.  It dipped and swooped....it's beak ready to sip nectar like it would get from a flower.  Stumped over this dilemma, it lifted its green irridescent body up, zipped it around with its flurry wings only to find a set of windows that reflected the greenery of the tree close by.  

Before it touched the glass in an attempt to fly right into this illusion, the hummingbird realized it was not as it seemed.  So, it returned once again to the candles in one last attempt to seek out the nectar.  Finally, it zippity split in zigzag flight until it was swooped up by the morning breeze in hopes of finding true sweetness.

And all I could think of was how often we humans follow a similar path.  Entranced by the enticing pander of life's nectar, our sensibilities abandoned, we choose to seek out sweetness from an illusion.   From deception to false impressions, sometimes its very difficult to ascertain who and what in our life is the real deal. 

A few minutes later, I heard the familiar call of the Cardinal.  My eyes followed its courting sound until they alighted on this lonely but proud red bird perched on the tiptop branches of a bare tree.  He sang his whistling tweet sending it out to the yard and then would pause in silence hoping for a reply.  After a few rounds of calling out his desires, a female arrived, her feathers dressed in earthy tones.  She replied in her own way, while skipjumping the branches of the same tree, flirting as she went.  The male red lifted up off the top branch to begin his mating pursuit.  And as they flightdance from one branch to another, their songchirps pulled them together until they took flight , off towards the river.  

And all I could think of was how often humans follow a similar path when it comes to courting another.  The c'mon chirps, small talk melodies and a fllirting chase that eventually leads to a meeting up close and flying off together to seek out a place to express their physical and emotional desires to one another..... hoping its the real thing and not an illusion.  

Today, I saw two mourning doves.  In love.  Mated for life.  That is their lot in life.... their commitment wrapped up in nature's rules. I wonder if some of their couplings are not the best.  Do you think mourning doves bicker with one another after a few years of marriage bliss?  Do they wander away from life partners like many humans do or do they remain loyal to their commitment, through sickness and in health, through all the difficult times to reach more joyous times again?  I wonder.

Tonight, I poured myself a glass of wine, put on my nightgown, grabbed a blanket and put on a Mark Knopfler CD.... You might get lucky now and then, You might get luck and then some...... his light touch melody playing in the background.  I went back outside, tucked myself under the blanket.  Music playing, wine to sip on, and darkness all around me.  I wanted no natural light to alter the view of the stars tonight.  They were calling for a meteor shower.  I wanted a front row seat to take in the show..........

As the skies grew darker, deepening in midnight blue, the stars revealed themselves with abundance.  Some were faint glows.  Some formed various astronomical symbols.  Some stood out with their close brightness.  Satellites and planes flickered  through the big dipper as they moved across the night sky.  I waited.......... and waited...... enjoying the moment of being alone at peace, inhaling the cool August air, listening to the stories of Knopfler and the beat of his Celtic ways.  

A shooting star whizzed by in a blink......... its tail lingering longer  like a wisp of knowing.  Another and another made their presence known and then disappeared back into the black sky fold.  

And it made me wonder if shooting stars eventually reincarnate into fireflies.  It made me wonder what I was looking at.  Are the stars an illusion?  Their timeline is very different than ours. What we see from our vantage point are the remants of what a star once was.  We are surrounded by illusionary lights flickering amongst the wandering clouds..... 

It also made me wonder if some humans are like shooting stars.... they have exuded their energy in one big display of beauty and then disappear only to return in a new form of who they are.  Humbled, vulnerable....ready to be real.

  • nectar from scented candles.
  • looking at a window and getting pulled in by the reflection rather than the solidity of reality
  • sending out matng calls and hoping for the best results.  But at least theirs a concerted effort at this point.  For the cardinal couple?  I hope they are nesting somewhere happy, happy.
  • The mourning doves?  May they be in their home settled caring for one another.
  • shooting stars scattering across the night sky.......

As for the stars?   I hung a few wishes on the tails of the shooting stars.  Good yearning wishes.  And I tagged on a few messages to the people out there in other countries, across my country whom I know and love.... 

May the stars not all be illusions.  May some of them reach down into our timeframe to allow us to have our wishes granted and our messages passed on.

ps.  Just so you know that you have received it, My messages to you ? 

I am here. My light is always on.  You are always welcome in my home.  Most importantly, ...... May you always know that you are loved as you are always.   You are a gift from God.  Like the hummingbird.  Like the Cardinals.  Like the Mourning Doves, Like the stars above. 

Loved as we are always.  We all are. THAT for sure is not an illusion. 

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

eye dimples

The other night, a bunch of us were sitting around the dining room table playing a game of Balderdash. One of the "moms" made a comment about having so many wrinkles around her eyes.   She was using it as a metaphor for stress and life's unrelenting complications that tend to leave life acquired scars and wrinkles.  She has them, but it was a metaphor!   My son replied to her......... "They aren't wrinkles.... They are eye dimples."  We laughed. 

Yeah, I used to have these cute dimples in the middle of my cheeks.  Somehow while the rest of me began to sag downward, the dimples tiptoed up to the corners of my green eyes and began smiling from there.  Isn't it funny how we can manage to get our head around the beauty of aging if we just alter our perspective on it?  Dimples are considered youthfully cute.  Wrinkles are considered lines of weary.  Strange how our perceptions shift by using one label over another.

I was asked yesterday by a friend how I felt about being the age I am right now, on the cusp of turning 50.  The vanity coupled with the little fear I have that bites me when I'm all alone at night caught in a flurry of misguided thoughts while laying in bed wide awake doesn't like it one bit.  However, the majority of the time?  I'm liking it all.  This is my prime even if my eyes disappear into a squint when I smile now.  Inside, my youthfulness has discovered the strength and convictions acquired through experience and has blended its own curiosity and flirtations to form me.  The older I get, the more comfortable I am in my own skin.  There's a saying that middle age is when your old enough to know better but young enough to still do it.  With panache!  Love panache!

How about you?  
Are you comfortable in your own skin? 
Do you like who you are, and who you are becoming? 
If not, why not?  How can you become happier with yourself?
If so, why so?  Where did this comfort come from?
Do you see the wrinkles around your eyes as a frightening symbol of aging, or as a smiling set of eye dimples?

Certainly this is a period in my life when I find myself in the midst of transition.  Its a natural place to be.  Spiritually, emotionally, sexually I am in my prime.  Physically, I'm lagging behind along with my saggy-ness...gravity does that.  There are times when I look in the mirror or at a photo of myself and I'm shocked by the reality that my looks are not the same as they were in my mid 20's. 

Where did the time go?  It went into living.  It went into loving, producing, learning, stretching, growing, experiencing, yearning, struggling, connecting, weeping, laughing, caring, giving and receiving, healing, helping.  It went into planting, reaping, settling, mourning, celebrating.  It went into watching, listening, talking, dancing, cooking, travelling, embracing, praying, harvesting, teaching, counseling, mothering, partnering.  It went into living through many seasons.....with as much fullness as I could.

All purposeful.
All meaningful.
All seasonal.
All reasonal.
Even developing eye dimples.  
The better to smile at you with my dear. 

Sunday, August 08, 2010

i thought i was ready..........

Dear God, 
I stopped walking. My journey halted abruptly.
My choice.
I thought I was ready for a rest.
I thought I would be ready to sit still to read, to write,
to focus on the daily tasks inviting me back
I thought I was ready for some lovin' fun.  
God knows I was lacking. 
It seemed like the natural inclination, 
to rest from a deep seated exhaustion
to recharge, rekindle the light of Eros.
Love and belonging.... to fill that cup of love and belonging. 

Instead, the walking continued, 
this time it was in the form of a pace........ 
directionless missteps with too many unneeded ones.
Overwhelming expectations breathed dragon heat on my neck.
not wispy kisses.

Instead, I spun around enough to make me dizzy.  
Spinning never gets you where you want to go.  
It just leaves heat on the soles of your feet....
friction burns from assimilated repetitious actions
and a mixed up brain.

Every now and then, I'd sit with blistered feet
with high hopes of receiving a massaging balm
from strong warm hands. 
Tender touches
How I longed for those hands to hold me.
By then, my thoughts were jumbled,
my breathing was burdened,
my feelings had flown out of me 
like scattered stars in a night sky. 
Desperation only leaks from this chaos. 
Love looks and feels like hungry chaos in the mean hours.
Shadow boxing driven by the ache of loneliness
zapped my energy time and again.
I'd reach up to the heights of joyful anticipation
only to be slapped down 
with the dramatic force of the glove of realization.
Boxing glove brutality. 

I'd seek out illusions in hopes that the oasis welcomed me into its beauty.
I didn't recognize them as illusions.  
No, I saw them as truth.  
It was never solid enough to grasp onto.... 
the oasis was sand spilling out of open hands 
of one dimensional one liners. 
They were the wrong open hands. 
Love amiss. 
Love is not one errant kiss.

Stuck in transit,
I wallowed in lonely unmet needs,
clouding over personal reflections.
I lifted up the mirror. 
No images formed. 
Just faceless silouettes arcing out of silver glass.
The yearnings market crashed all around me,
sending shards of desires through an already splintered heart.
I lost my way. 
I ran the other way.
I went deaf to the calling of my name.
Still,  I spun inside the yearnings of Eros.

I thought I was ready. 
I thought the comfort could be found in strong arms
I saw love as the potion to pull me up out of mired loneliness.
I forgot You.
I forgot how to find You.
You let me feel the rawness of an unprotected heart.
And I cursed every single time I landed on my knees alone.
I forgot the words of prayer.

Wiped out after pacing......
Stripped of all semblance of balance, 
I sought solace under the covers on hot humid days 
with only the fan to keep me cool..... 
white noise to drown out a heavy heart.
 Stillness of an empty bed.

Last night, 
empty and disappointed, 
I remembered a few things. 
Your love is what matters most. 
Your love is what supports me through the spinning chaos of healing
It is Your love that helps me heal the blister burned feet.
God, I reckon this will not the be last time I have to learn this lesson. 
Spinning at first feels like a fun activity, 
though interest grows weak 
repetition sneaks in the pain 
when you're not paying attention. 

At least it emptied me
Emptied me enough to let You in again. 
Just in time.
I will walk again...... 
forward, with two steps back every now and then
You under my feet, as always
You never forget me..... 
sometimes I'm too full that I falter and forget You, God.
Maybe I don't forget.
Maybe I just misplace myself.

Walking in prayer, 
unraveling the confusion.
finding solace

And all around me......... your encouraging echos
I will hear
Love, the unconditional hymn you hum
to lost souls like me
doing the best that I can to find my way back to the fold. 

God, will you hold up that mirror for me?
Let it reflect on the Beauty of this day 
you have given me as a gift
to breathe in Your love? 
Let me hold the Hand I cannot see
and feel the warmth of being held again.
I am ready.  I am ready to pray again.
Will you show me how to again?