Poem: Stillness


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In stillness

times when I sat

hushed under ancient pines

back brushed up against wizened skin

small

yet safe

cradled silently

beneath an immobile mammoth

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In stillness

near a whispering brook

whose words spoke sense

when nothing else could

they drifted past

in bubbles of music

floating by

in ripples of spray

to be caught in moments

of calm

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And in stillness

sitting upon the hill

with warmth from above

creatures close by

and sharing the peace

near by voices are small

and my belly is round

while the world is spinning beyond

In stillness

In stillness

It lies

 

 

 

Weary


Some days, try as you might, that old sense of weariness seeps in and takes ahold. Maybe all the fighting to keep the dark at bay and to work really hard at life believing in all that’s possible, can sometimes simply be draining. It feels best to hide away and try not to think too much during  these times. 

Nights are restless and days achy. But still we push our way through routine because it feels normal. And then tuck back to the shelter of a quiet hide away–where no-one can ask too much of us. 

It’s not the goal of life to feel this way. No. Like a pestering family member who keeps visiting without being invited, but an obligation to let them in. They are family after all, kin, and a part of your life.

So you tolerate the annoyance, this mood. It will pass eventually and leave. And hopefully, like the relative, it will leave eventually, and with it a feeling of relief and hopefully a great gaping peace in its wake. 

If People Were More Like Dogs


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They would take the time to play more

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They would spend less time gossiping and more time listening

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When they were afraid, they would just go hide for a bit instead of becoming bullies

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They would take lots of naps so they would always be well rested and not stressed out all the time

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They would love other species like family

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They would smile more

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They’d be OK with their bodies

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They would learn to wait patiently and to trust

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And to forgive and forget

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They would learn to love those different from themselves

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And that love is unconditional

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That you just walk away, rather than fight if you get angry

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And that territories are defined by sniffs and pee not walls or bombs

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That most of us aren’t purebred anyway, but we are just as wonderful

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That everyone just wants a home

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That we should save our voice only for the important things

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If when we were frustrated, we took it out on our own stuff, not other’s….

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That tongues are not for lashing, but for kisses and we are each unique in our own crazy way

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And if our lives were as short and precious as theirs, maybe, just maybe we would live more fully, play harder, rest more deeply, love more expansively, trust more easily, be careful not to destroy stuff and even share all we had…. For they are gone so quickly, but leave with us lessons that we carry forever.

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So they will continue to play

And we will continue to struggle

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But maybe one day we’ll tip our head close enough to theirs so we can really listen to what they’ve been trying to tell us all along.

 

Benches


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As she sat quietly on the bench, she recalled so many times of reflection. Times of stopping, of sitting still to breathe and think of her life. It wasn’t always easy to create these moments, to stop the moving train that was her life, long enough, to simply see what was around her.

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These benches were everywhere. Even if people were around, they could cradle her; let her thoughts roll through her mind, easing the turbulence with the help of the surrounding landscape. They were guardians, givers and saviors.

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Sometimes she would be present, sometimes drift off to another place.  Somehow they were conduits of time travel: as though a space had opened up and she slipped into it and could go forward or back, depending on her mood. Because of this, she walked in places long forgotten, places of lost love or deep pain. The remembering, though, somehow put it in an ethereal plane, so the visitation became moments of healing.

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Some places to sit weren’t really benches at all, but still created for her the right second to watch a sunrise. Just the act of seeing one could erase months of chaos in her soul.

She remembers now these sacred vessels and can recall far into childhood how many she has visited. From cities to the middle of nowhere, the times she took to just stop and sit–to contemplate, meditate and be quiet.

And now she wonders: where are all the benches yet to come?

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Shadow Self


Since it is my preference lately to hang mostly among the shadows, I find the comfort of home is where I can be found. In the quiet, familiar backdrop, my everyday life scrolls forward in an orderly fashion. This too protects me and surrounds me like a warm blanket on a wintery day. It’s safe and holds me in its embrace–my four walls are my fortress keeping my truth free and the mystery of others at bay.

Going out can sometimes be a challenge these days, especially if it’s somewhere new. Uncharted territory on clogged and hostile roadways send my tentative energy levels to a heightened state. Honking horns if I am too slow, lost in the jungle, rattle my senses and the animal part of me takes flight. It’s disturbing, enough where I avoid putting myself in these types of situations as much as possible. 

My guide is technically based, thank goodness, or I would be completely lost and most likely never leave my apartment. I am a person who navigates by landmarks and memory, repetitive action. Once I am familiar, the anxiety goes away. Most likely it’s the OCD part of me that makes me like this–I need to know everything in advance in order to be comfortable. And because I’m simply not grooving with the outside world in general these days, it makes all this quite challenging. 

So, today, the trip to my city library  (after parking on the wrong block at first), proved to be fruitful on many levels. I love to read. And I’m reading lots while I’m unemployed, but buying books just isn’t feasible. I bought a kindle, which I mentioned on my blog. And I discovered my library has Ebooks! After figuring out where the place was, parking in the wrong spot and getting honked at in the parking lot–I am now connected after getting a library card! 

While I do miss holding a book, the trip to and from the library would be too much for me at this point of my weary journey. Maybe instead I can save the trips for some of the events they have there. 

And hopefully someday, when my spirit is stronger, I will venture forth again through the stacks…

Even Better


Sometimes we get tiny moments in time where we get to reinvent ourselves: a new job, meeting a new friend or maybe moving to a fresh neighborhood. We start over so people may not know our old habits, quirks or things about us that maybe we’d like to change. Of course, we probably are essentially the same, but we can hope that our old baggage can be left at the door.

As we get older, for me anyway, the picture of who we are seems to become less complicated. Maybe getting there can still be puzzling, as the world may not always work in the way we want, but if we take enough time to be quiet we can usually figure out what makes us tick and will make us relatively content. We realize too, that utter happiness may be an illusion chased by youth, and that each day presents challenges we must face.

But there are basic things we can each decide if we need or want them: do we need to be rich or have just enough to live and be comfortable; is a relationship important or is our solitude more gratifying; how close to family do we need to be; how much weight do we put on our jobs/careers, or is it simply important that we enjoy them? There are so many questions we can ask ourselves in search of contentment and being the person we want to be.

And when we stand at the threshold of some beginning, hopefully it is one that will bring us fulfillment and we can come to it as the person we want to be. So then at the end of it all, when we have lived as best we can, embracing what we loved about ourselves (even if others didn’t) and adapted to each new situation because it was a chance to become someone even better.

Return To Silence


What’s the old saying: “Pleasure is 9/10 anticipation”.  Ain’t that the truth! Well, in some cases it certainly seems so anyway.

There are times where we can drum ourselves up into thinking that something will be way better than the reality of what actually happens. Then it can be a let down or a disappointment in some way. Or, at the very least, it can give us a new outlook on our lives, the way we do things or what we may have been thinking about our future.

That’s certainly what happened with the recent visit with my friend. Not that I had built it up into some great expectation. I have known this person for many years, and our relationship has gone through many convolutions over the past. So I knew the potential for the visit to be a certain way (boring, not what I might hope etc.) was very real.
But even when one knows ahead of time that things might not be wonderful, it’s still a bit of a downer when those expectations are filled! I guess as a hopeful individual, one can still think that another person might have changed a bit, or grown, or wants different things at this stage of the game.

In the end though, I’ve learned by now, that in order for people to really change in any way (great or small)–it takes very hard work and concentration, which most folks can’t give or don’t have. And most people either don’t realize or believe they need changing. Maybe they don’t either–it’s only according to someone else’s perception.

So where does that leave things? Well, a visit within tight quarters for almost a week can become uncomfortable and tiresome. For me, as someone used to living alone for many years now, I began to ache for my solitude. My patience and sense of being a good hostess begins to wan. All I really wanted was my space back…  It’s not that I disliked the other person, but I began to see all the little things about them that make me realize why I live alone now.

For years I have gone back and forth in my head about living alone. Will I be OK this way for the long haul? Is there something inadequate with me that makes it hard for me to be around others? Am I safe by myself? Am I truly happy this way? But I see others more and more living as I do and I find I am not so unusual. Many of us have come to this place after years of living with other people. And now we live alone by choice.

As we grow older, it is easy to become isolated, but the need for space and solitude also becomes a treasure. The years given in service to others–kids, spouses, pets, jobs, parents, families–can bring you to a point where the peace of one’s home is a blessing.

Having guests over is not a bad thing by any means, especially when they contribute to the well-being of one’s life and soul. But the return to the quiet when they leave is a sound I am also grateful to hear.

Poem: Bull Pine


I sat beneath the bull pine

When all the other kids were off

Its warm rough skin comforting my city kid back

Looking up through the sun slit glinting

We promised to care for each other

The cups of water tenderly carried

Making sure the roots were fed

And my quiet moments in returnr

The yet unknown parts of me

That longed for this peace

Took drinks of solitude

From the cup offered

By the spirit of the tree

 

 

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Hermit


Someone asked me recently if I was happy that I made the move here… It was a complicated question, well, maybe more a complicated answer.

In thinking about it, I realized that I’m in a transitional stage in my life. While I’m surrounded by so many more people living here than I was in my small New England town, I am now much more alone. And in my work place, it’s loud and the energy is intense–yet I feel in this odd impermeable bubble. Or want to be anyway.

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Loving my weekends, by myself either at home or walking outside quietly (avoiding the busy dog parks), it made me realize that this is a hermit stage in my life. At first I thought I might be missing something not gathering lots of new friends around me, but then it suddenly came to me, that there’s something very right and comfortable during these passing moments of gathering solitude.

In my recent past, I’ve been a Mother and care-taker in my job. These both took lots of energy I didn’t mind giving. Now, just rebuilding my own resources and not helping anyone else is a welcome gift. The peace of silence is necessary and rejuvenating.

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This realization came as a surprise, but as I settle within my lone hermit archetype, life feels less stressful and more content. Maybe the next stage will be about community, but for now, in answer to the question if I am happy that I moved here: I’m blessed to have this opportunity to have the time to experience this contemplative phase.

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