Poem: I Am Flowers


wpid-img_20150816_194741.jpg

I am Snap Dragon

with fire fingers

which have lost their click

 

I am Rose

that has learned to kneel

to hide my height

 

I am Queen Anne’s Lace

now a pauper

begging for freedom

 

I am Bird Of Paradise

wings clipped

roaming the sands

 

I am Tulip

mouth quiet

because no-one will listen

 

I am Bleeding Heart

ever battling

slowly dying

 

I am Iris

forever watching

but never seen

 

I am Freesia

saving your soul

while lost in the night

 

I am Marigold

filled with riches

only a few can see

 

And I Crocus

much as I speak

I’m heard as a toad

 

We are Pink

We are Hellebore

We are Mugwort

And Phlox

 

Touch-Me-Not

for I can never be

reached

wpid-img_20150816_194459.jpg

 

 

 

 

 

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.

wpid-20150113_075440.jpg

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.

earlier 2

 

Poem: Stillness


wpid-20140819_195025.jpg

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

wpid-0525141811a.jpg

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

wpid-0816130628.jpg

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


wpid-0723131844a.jpg

They would take the time to play more

wp-image-185143424jpg.jpg

They would spend less time gossiping and more time listening

img_20160616_194548.jpg

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

20160408_173445.jpg

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

img_20160424_142756.jpg

They would love other species like family

wp-image-1598421302jpg.jpg

They would smile more

wp-1456791697463.jpg

They’d be OK with their bodies

wpid-20150916_113904.jpg

They would learn to wait patiently and to trust

wpid-0401140715a.jpg

And to forgive and forget

wpid-20150216_083215.jpg

They would learn to love those different from themselves

wpid-0526141116.jpg

And that love is unconditional

wpid-0315141421b.jpg

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

wpid-0816140954b.jpg

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

wpid-IMG_20130319_174308.jpg

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

wpid-20140930_183820.jpg

That everyone just wants a home

wpid-0718140536.jpg

 

That we should save our voice only for the important things

wpid-20141023_052232.jpg

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

ernie

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

wpid-0918131826.jpg

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.

snow 3

So they will continue to play

And we will continue to struggle

wpid-camera.jpg

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


wpid-IMG_20130319_084503.jpg

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.

wpid-0922131505a.jpg

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.

picnic table 2

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.

wpid-20150102_080104.jpg

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?

snow 5

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.