Poem: Momentarily


Wind touches my face

Sun gently pushes my back

Sadness seeps away

 

Note: To rid ourselves of today’s sadness we must seek a moment here and there: in nature, with family and friends, with animals, within transcendence, inside ourselves, creating, in silence…however. Blessed be.

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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

Poem: The Conversation


I speak to my cat

smelling of sweat

sitting crossed legged

in front of visiting deities

Their far-fetched faiths

diverge and dance before me

(or so I believe)

My cat talks back

In perfect speak

her travels shared

details flicked and flashing to and fro

and finer points dug home

I listen

in trance-like meditation

swooning to the tinkling tales

spun secretly

this tittering yarn

As I begin to follow

down cobble stone alleys

on padded paws

my tentative whiskers gracing my face

as we stalk our prey

Upon our return

My cat reassures me

our jaunt was judicious

So with a swish of her tail

and squint of her eyes

She turns

marching softly away

Leaving me

dismissed

Giants


Giants in my life. And only some of the few who share my private space, seem to get my moods and don’t weigh me down with unnecessary baggage of their own.

They have been my compadres for longer than many I’ve known. They are getting older, but have always seemed wiser than most I meet– at least when it comes to napping.

In retrospect, hiding under the bed when most people were around was probably what I should have done also; they know the ones that are safe. And the truth is, they get a bad rap about being stuck up or snobby. A person can hardly sit down without one demanding affection.

No, it’s love, not just the catnip or canned food. Because why are they throwing themselves under hands or rubbing against parts of the body, especially when I’m trying to do something important. Love. It’s definitely love.

And with the endless purr, a thank you for the partnership. It’s not always easy with the clawed couches and smelly litter, but, in the end there is love back.

Not only that, but also napping buddies.

Gloom


Is there light ahead? It’s been raining non-stop for days here with no end in sight. This doesn’t help if ones interior landscape already feels a bit gloomy. The wet, dreary weather only serves to solidify any creeping negativity. 

Even my furry friend feels unlike himself and ignores a game of ball. He’s too busy hiding from the thunder. 

Here’s wishing for sunshine and brighter days ahead. 

Tomorrow???


In a dream last night it seems maybe I have seen ahead to something that I am doing tomorrow. It has been something I’ve been working on and putting effort into…

If it pans out, I know it’s something my dog would be proud about. And he and many before him have prepared me for it.

If it happens, I will share the details with you all. Until then, my dog and I will just see what the universe has in store. 

Joy Through Sacrifice


Watching an interesting TED talk today about a young Arctic surfer (yes, you heard me right, that was Arctic surfer), he said something that really struck me–not about surfing, but about sacrifice. As you can imagine, someone who surfs in frigid waters does a fair amount of sacrificing.  He does it in part to get away from the normal tropic crowds, but also to take these amazing photographs. To paraphrase very loosely he said something like: most things worth any kind of real joy usually involve some kind of sacrifice.

That gave me pause.

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I began thinking about some of the things that take sacrifice but bring joy:

  • 9 months of carrying a baby: the worrying, the weight gain, the hormone shifts, the vomiting, the swelling, the potential dangers involved…
  • being in a relationship: any kind really. It’s constant ups and downs, bargaining (with the kids, partners, co-workers, family members), tears, give/take, compromises, giving away parts of yourself at times
  • having a dream or goal: these can take huge amounts of time, money, changes in lifestyle and re-evaluating ourselves for the final outcome
  • moving somewhere new: leaving friends and family behind; leaving a career or job, doing something scary, taking a leap of faith
  • starting over (with a job/a person/or alone: leaving your comfort zone, stretching parts of yourself you may not know you had, or totally remaking yourself
  • helping others or someone else: living with less than normal, learning about other cultures (which maybe is uncomfortable), focusing less on “me”
  • giving up something completely: getting used to life “without”, feeling what it’s like when others perceive because we are now “different”
  • changing our point of view for the greater good: getting into arguments (political/family?), battling within ourselves over the old point of view, reconciling what’s right/wrong
  • coming out: about our sexual orientation, addictions, mental health, illness, abuse, political view or anything else we’ve been keeping inside for fear of judgement, shame or condemnation
  • sharing our home with animals: limiting our work day, getting up in the middle of the night, cleaning up hair, poop and vomit off the floor
  • Waiting: for anything you want, it can be excruciating at times because we are a culture of wanting everything now, having patience is like hot iron swirling in our bellies…the loss of precious time while we wait
  • standing up for what you believe when others around you don’t agree: this can be going to rallies or being a vegan, it can bring agitation or arguments from others, confrontations or simply tiresome questions
  • sharing our home with children: never having peace and quiet (or rarely); suddenly realizing you have to sacrifice so much and become a very good teacher when you hardly know yourself (or much else for that matter…)

There are so many more things…what can you add to the list? And it all comes down to mindset like anything else really. We give to get. Nothing comes easily really.  It seems like many things feel like work these days, and trying to pick out the little pieces of joy can be tough. But when you think about the sacrifices we make all adding up to something beautiful–that it’s the wrapping surrounding the gift inside, then it doesn’t feel quite so much like drudgery. 

So when you are climbing that next mountain and it feels like hell: the boots are giving you blisters, the sweating like a banshee and the mosquitoes buzzing around your head: remember that when you get to the top you will see this incredible view of the world below. Every step you took to get there was worth what lies before you as you look out. See it as you breathe the joy and try to remember that you couldn’t have experienced the splendor without a bit of pain.

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