Gimme Shelter


Yes I am sheltering in place even though Mother Nature is about to unleash her wrath and fury upon the land where I live. I’ve received numerous worried phone calls and texts from friends and love ones of concern at my half-baked plan to stay. Their feelings that I should evacuate, or should have days ago, have been coming across loud and clear.

Agreed, it’s all a bit freaky. The worst hurricane in the Atlantic in history!! Yikes. This doesn’t leave for a good nights sleep mind you. And yet, I plan to stay and wait it out. Am I simply nuts?

Well, no, I don’t think so. Having been an emergency worker for 20 years, I wouldn’t choose to shelter in place without giving it some good hard thought and without reasons. Maybe my reasons are emotional ones: my pets and my mother, but I still feel the gamble is worth it.

Where I live is not in a flood zone and my apartment building is a cement box. I’m on the first floor and have hurricane windows on most of windows and on the ones I don’t, I put up my shutters. I have candles, canned food, batteries and will fill up lots of things with water, including my bath tub. And then I will simply wait.

Sure, we may lose power, but after being without power for 11 days in New England in the middle of winter without a wood stove, I guess I can handle it. I have a small battery charger for my phone, and if my car doesn’t get wrecked, then I can charge my phone in my car to let folks know I’m OK.

As long as my Mom, my pets and I’m OK, I really don’t care if I lose stuff. There is nothing I own that is more important to me than my ‘family’. Things can always be replaced. If it blows away or gets wet… so be it. Maybe I’ll end up in the land of Oz…

And the upside of these disasters is that it always brings out the best in humans. Maybe Mother nature does this to reminds us of our need to care about each other. My neighbors have been great. (Note: my neighbor for Canada flew BACK to be here for his Mom and just stopped by to make sure I was alright and didn’t need any help!)

So, yes, I’m staying and hopefully it won’t be a mistake. If it is, well, it won’t be my first mistake. If it’s the last, well…we all gotta go sometime.

Oh, a storm is threat’ning
My very life today
If I don’t get some shelter
Oh yeah, I’m gonna fade away

The Rolling Stones

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Poem: Strictly Platonic


Slices

through a multi-layered

marbled veined cake

Ribbons of color and texture

lathered with sickly sweet

frosting and fake flowers

dripping down the sides

They all come

to sweeten the palate

and give sugar rushes

in brain bursting fury

Different sized portions

doled out in snippets

or heart attack plate fulls

all sure to crash

sooner or later

 

 

Poem: Lured


The ripped raw slash

of disappointment

cuts me

A wounded animal

once again dragging

my leg pulled from

the trap

It was the sweet smell of bait

luring me to the center

as I sniffed my way

to the heart of doom

Each time coming away

more caked with sap

leaking from torn open

disillusionments

from crawling toward you

even knowing

you would never understand

 

Unintended Consequence


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The law of unintended consequences….

I heard this term used today and it was new to me. It intrigued me. In looking it up, I found that the context that it is often in reference to the human effect on the environment (usually negative). But I wondered about it within my own life. Surely this law has played a role somewhere….

In thinking about it, initially I believed it was my haphazard approach to living that would bring unintended consequences to my life. So many of my previous decisions seemed terribly unplanned; my huge degree of boredom would motivate me into life altering steps with utter abandon. So then, of course, there would always be unintended consequences to these choices. Ones that propelled me forward down a path that allowed no turning back.

Sometimes, others choices set me down these unintended paths–the consequences to be paid then were hefty and to be dragged with me forever. But they defined me too and made me the person I am. Good? Bad? At moments, either/both… The weight of these, had they been changed, could have reset the entire course of my journey. Had they understood the consequences completely, where would I be now? Different consequences I suppose.

But really, even with a direct approach to life, I still face things unintended. Don’t we all? Think about it: what may be the unintended consequence of each action we take? It’s all ripple effect. It can be huge. Or maybe just something simple. The point is that nothing we do is without meaning. We bounce off of something else.

Maybe I am simplifying this concept.

But really, when it comes down to it: many things we do come with great responsibilities.

So now that this is in my head, I will try to be more aware of its presence: in my life and in the greater world. By its very meaning, I won’t be able to change anything I guess, as the outcome will be unintended. But maybe, if on the front end I think more carefully, the consequences can be good.

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Poem: Sweet Lies


How many blown out wishes

just climb onto the curling smoke

and float away

I have breathed hard into my dreams

forced my diaphragm to believe

that blowing would make it true

The melting wax proves my plight

but the cavity left empty by sweet lies

leaves me wondering

if any of them

ever came true


 

Sorry I Just Had To…


I’m not usually very political on my blog, but it’s getting harder and harder not to be these days. I turn on the radio and listen for a few minutes and either get ill or have to turn it off. Every time I hear something to do with our president-elect (sorry but I will not give power to him by mentioning his name), and feelings of such sorrow come over me.

Today I heard a story on NPR where a Gay man was interviewed in Orlando. He is a prominent figure in that town and the reporter was recapping the Orlando massacre, how the city has handled it, how this man feels now in Orlando as a Gay man and as one in general.

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While he felt there has been an outpouring of support in the city, he said his biggest fear is in the future or this country’s attitude because of the election. Since the vote, he has experienced even more hate crimes and said there is more fear in the Gay community. My heart just sank. It doesn’t surprise me though….

The radio is just heavy with the news of death everywhere in the world: major world powers teetering on the edge of hate ready to explode, while others are in the thick of raging wars already. Innocent people trapped between warring extremes desperate to escape somewhere, anywhere safe.

And now so many places, including potentially our country, shutting our doors to these people. It sickens me. Our fellow humans! What is the difference from them and the Jews in Germany? Nothing! Since when have we become so narrow? Why is there so much hate in people’s hearts now? Hate against anyone different… But the sad irony is: we are all the same!!!

Cut us open: we all bleed, break down our cells, we all share the same DNA; hurt us, we all cry; we all have the same bodies, bones, skin, brain. It is crazy to me that some people look at cultural differences, or skin colors, gender orientations and to kill over these things? I mean, seriously: think about this….

When will we all just think about ourselves as HUMANS?

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All the chatter about Christmas…does anyone remember the first five letters in that word? What would He say about this behavior? Hey, I’m not even Christian, and I know!

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Maybe I will be wrong about this all and He-he-who-will-remain-nameless will get his act together and not start another world war. Maybe he will realize you can’t keep opening up your yap all the time and say the first thing that comes out of it just because you feel like it. Maybe congress will actually do something smart for once and realize what a blessed mess we’re in and hopefully not undo so many of the decent things that are in place just to show they can.

Any maybe Santa is real too…

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Being Human


“Being Human is more important than being full in the know.” Pico Iyer

I heard this on a TED talk the other day and thought it very poignant. One can interpret it many different ways I suppose. This gentleman was talking about what we will never know…that the older we get, the less we know.

Most people feel that with age comes wisdom, but maybe Mr. Iyer is correct. Maybe, instead we learn that as humans we really know very little. That with all our technology, science, predictions and machines–there is so much about the world around us, important stuff, that we simply just will never understand.

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We might predict if someone has cardiac disease, but not the exact minute they might have a heart attack, or if they will at all. So in the end, even though I moved here to help my Mother, I was not with her the moment hers came, therefore the incident became bigger.

Humans have never been able to predict love: when love will strike, who will be blessed with its arrow or when it will be wrenched away. For the ages poets, writers, painters and almost all creative people have tackled love within their medium. But none can truly define it. It remains a sacred mystery, one that is cherished, sought after and defined abstractly depending who is creating the script. It just is and anyone who has felt it understands it. It’s part of being human. We ‘get’ it, but a Webster definition…? Good luck.

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Is ignorance bliss? Maybe in many cases this saying is yes. With the onslaught of the internet and the overabundance of information, being in the know can be a dangerous thing. We have stopped being simply human and relying on those skills we once did that provided us the ability to survive. Our ‘gut’ told us what and who was safe or which way to go; we could sense when our body needed something or when something wasn’t right. Those subtle signals that made the hair stand up, or when we just knew someone was nearby even though we couldn’t see them. Now we ignore signals either about these invisible others (or we are overly sensitive about people different from us) and we are completely out of touch with our own bodies.

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How do we begin to detach, then, our ever whirring minds, so filled with all the data, and get back to ‘just being human’? Can we relearn to trust our inner selves again to become at least partially instinctual in our decision-making? It would be hard for many who have become so co-dependent on digital information. They must be ‘in the know’ for everything. Trusting in themselves would be a hard thing. Especially the generation raised on computers–they have been breast-fed on them, so how do they know otherwise?

For me, tuning in more and more–over many years–to my inner voice, the nuances of my physical self and trying to quiet my chattering mind has been a challenge. But it has been one I take on gladly. Because I am human, this is the animal I was born to be, and getting back to the bare bones of this beast is where I belong.

When we truly quiet the mind, turn off the data stream and just be the beast, we become in tune with the Universe and all things sacred.

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Baby Steps


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Maybe today dawns bright and hopeful, whether or not it’s raining where you live. So often our days are filled with news that is brimming with despair and gloom making it hard for any of us to feel there is reason to move towards any kind of joyful tomorrow.

But for me two rather monumental things took place recently. Two things that show maybe, just maybe we have can have a reason for small glimmering hope. It may only be like a thing that is crouched in a small corner, hiding in the darkness, fearful to show itself in the full light. Afraid that if it does, it will be recognized and laughed back into its anonymous place. Yet, it’s there, and it’s creeping out….

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There are those, though, in this world of ours that do great work! Those that fight against the despair. These warriors battle for the future, our future and all the injustices and crimes against the planet so that we may go on.

It’s to those, that I dedicate this blog post. They are our heroes.

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Recently, many nations met at the  2015 United Nations Climate Change Conference. It was an incredible and, in my opinion, unprecedented conference to come up with concrete goals to combat climate change and all the horrors that come with it. Most of the Big Players were there, which is huge! Finally! The world is paying attention to something that can truly end our planet. Read about it here:

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/2015_United_Nations_Climate_Change_Conference

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Another giant step forward for humankind was that this was the first time that Saudi Arabia allowed WOMEN to run for office and vote! Quoting NPR: “Today, the government announced that several of the 979 women who ran had been elected to the council.” Also 130,000 registered (which isn’t a lot, but it’s a start). For a country that has been decidedly sexist against women for decades, this is truly hopeful!

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So, I see this as progress in an otherwise bleak forecast. Baby steps these may be in the vast amount of work there is yet to do in the damage we create and the inequity that exists, but at least it’s forward movement.

With this year rapidly coming to a close, maybe we can each evaluate our own lives and say: how can I take up the battle cry and head to the front line? I know I am going to try.

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I Wish…


Somehow lately I feel like I keep wishing for a lot. Maybe you do all too? Big wishes, little wishes. Personal ones, worldwide ones. If only I was a fairy or had a magical genie to grant my wishes–even just a few. Or maybe once in a while a wish here and there. So maybe if I write some of them down and put them out in the blog-o-sphere, some will float into space and be caught and granted by some gracious entity. Here are some:

1. I wish they would hurry up and find a cure for cancer, so my very dear friend, and all the millions that suffer from this withering disease can live out their lives. It’s such a strange one, grasping onto anyone it can regardless of lifestyle, creed, economic status, gender, age, or anything remotely tangible!

2. I wish there would be a stop to the madness of the seemingly random killing of innocent people every time we turn around. In malls, in schools, in parking lots, at marathons, at churches… Can we figure out a way to have a better healthcare system to help people who need guidance through their difficulties? Must we keep propagating these atrocities on the media for young people to copy cat? Nobody should have to live in fear of gathering.

3. I wish I could make my children happy without having to worry I am perpetuating what appears to be the current model of kids nowadays. This generation of taking everything for granted, of worshiping material things, of feeling constantly entitled. If only they understood simplicity and that joy comes from more than iPads and smartphones. If only they understood it’s about love, family and being in the now.

4. I wish I had more time to do the things I like to do, whatever that might be: hang out with a friend, be outside, or just be quiet. It seems my life is constantly about making enough money to pay the bills. And it is passing by so quickly now! It actually is frightening how the days roll around. If I could slow them down and just enjoy each moment more.

5. I wish I had more to give to others: more money, more time, more love, more patience. Most days I don’t feel I do enough (haven’t done enough) good for this world. My hope is that some day I will have that chance.

6. I wish I could find my birth family. This is a wish I have had my whole life.

7. I wish I could figure out how to love someone else or if I should. This is something that continues to baffle me. It’s an unending question that has haunted me my whole life. And I’m not sure I will ever get this one granted.

8. I wish someday to have a job that I absolutely adore going to every day. One where I am giving back to the world/society in a bigger way. One that fits into my life and lifestyle more than now.

9. I wish for the world to figure out peace. Somehow for people killing people all over the world, and starving people, and making people move out of their own countries…it would all stop. That we could figure out living in harmony on this planet.

10. I wish we would stop destroying our planet: the earth, the animals, the sky, the ocean. That we humans before it’s really, honestly too late, start making real laws, real efforts to understand that it’s a world we leave behind for generations to come.

These are just some wishes. Simplistic I know. And maybe unrealistic. But they plague me. Every day when I hear the news and am bombarded with the stories of the world or our own country! If I had my magic wand, I would do my best to try to change things. I do my best now with some of these things I suppose. But it often feels hopeless. So maybe if we all wish together, like a giant prayer group or massive human consciousness–we can create change. We at least have to try.