Poem/Song: My World Will Be OK


As I step outside

into the warmth and light

out of the dark and hollow

past pain and inner fights

 

From places unfamiliar

where I was forced to stay

moving now towards the future

My world will be OK

 

I’ve cried so many tears

and felt a crush of heartache

the roads have been rough

easy ones I did not take

 

It felt like I was a loner

on dark and private days

Yet I always saw a glimmer

that my world would be OK

 

With my past I drift

and some blinders that darken me

to set sail for a future

where tomorrow is eternity

 

So my world will be OK

I will find my way

pass the past

through today

and maybe someday

it will be OK

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Distraction


Tis the season for jing a ling and tra la la. Lots of shopping and running around. Too much Christmas music, tinsel and glitter or gathering for Hanukkah gelt and food of all kinds. Or whatever your holiday is, this is the time of year for…well, distraction.

Many of us may find much of this holiday season annoying: too much traffic, too many crowds, too much stuff and just plain too much consumerism. The holidays seem to have gotten away (in most cases) from what they were really supposed to mean and what all the symbols are meant to represent. I bet in many cases folks don’t know anymore. It’s just become: buy, buy, buy and rush, rush, rush and what’s on sale. They may know the basics, but unless you are deeply entrenched within your religious community, it’s all just Hallmark nonsense.

It’s exhausting and sad and often stressful.

But this was the first year I had an insight to it all.  Because the world has become such a harsh place and each year it only seems to get worse, maybe we all need this nonsense. Between the natural disasters and man-made horrors of the world, I truly believe we all suffer, on some deep level, from a global/connected/deep-seeded depression. Most of the time when we tune into what ever we tune into (our preferred media source), it’s some new calamity bombarding us. All year-long we must endure hearing about our fellow humans suffer, or our planet dying or animals being exterminated. It’s a wonder any of us get out of bed at all.

And then, along comes the holidays. Time for our own little fantasy world of tinsel and glitter, pretty lights and toys. And even magic and a crazy man, elves and reindeer bringing happiness to the whole world. And even if you don’t celebrate Christmas, you may still have your own holiday celebration within your own religious belief; one that brings your family together, one where you can remember better times and get time off from work.

All these holidays have one thing in common: they help us remember our past, not only our personal one when we were young and things were simpler and maybe happier; but our human past. That’s why they were celebrated in the first place; to acknowledge an important event in history.

And the days when many of us are celebrating our respective holidays on those special days specifically set aside for these historic days from our past, we are not thinking about all the terrible things going on presently that usually occupy our minds. This may be the most important gift of all.

For those precious moments at least, we can let our hearts and souls fill instead with the sounds of our families, children and homes (after the rush and stress have died down). The smells of cooking, the visits from those we haven’t seen, the familiar decorations all give a sense of well-being and safety. These feelings may be rare for us these days. So we lap it up in the swell of the holiday tide. This is the part we take for granted, the feelings, but this is the part of life we are missing every day in this painful world. This is what the holiday season gives us.  Positive feelings.

So, for the first time in many years, I say: go ahead and enjoy. Play the incessant Christmas music. I get all the lights and sparkly stuff.  Sure, I would still rather people not buy so much ‘stuff’ because it’s not good for the world, but I do understand better why they do…it’s for the feelings they produce. But mostly, I just understand the whole ‘thing’ of the holidays more this year: instead of global depression, it’s global jublilation.

Maybe that’s why they call it a magical time of year.

Finding Heroes


beech tree1As I was done with my morning routine today and was leaving my sacred space, I spotted of photo a friend had given me. It was of the two of us someone had taken on a past holiday. The photo made me sad because we don’t talk much any longer as the way of friends–sometimes good friends.

But it gave me pause and made me think about the nature of relationships. How we pick our friends, who or why do we tend to attach to or look up to in a person? Is part of it that they become someone we admire? And do they, in some way, become our heroes?

For me, this is most certainly true, not just with friends, but with people in general I may admire. In my lifetime though, there are some special people who I can think of that are truly heroes in my eyes. And not for the reasons one might think…

While it’s true that I am in the emergency service business, one would most likely think I come across these people every day. But these aren’t really the people I am talking about. Honestly, we are trained to do a job and I personally cannot stand when someone calls me a hero. I am not in that sense of the word to which I am referring.

It’s the everyday person, that has no intention of doing something amazing, good, kind, brave or honest that raises them in my eyes to this special status. The folks that go beyond their limits, or the average person’s limits for someone else or even what they thought they could do.  And it’s not their ‘job’ to be a hero. These are truly the stand-outs.

To name a few:

The friend who extricated herself and her child from an abusive marriage after 10 years of isolation and fear. She did it alone with guts and with no knowledge of what would happen to her and her child, no money–barely any hope. Just a leap of faith and a knowing it was what she needed to do.

A friend who was fired after many years of being the Chief of an ambulance service. A woman who gave her heart and soul to the place, but was turned on by petty politics of small town. She only took one day to cry, then pulled herself together and found another job: as a grunt paramedic–and loved it; continued to serve the public she always had with dignity and professionalism.

My Mom, who after years and years, could finally admit that our relationship was less than it could be and agreed to make it right with me. This is not easy for someone her age and generation.

And my oldest daughter, who had struggled with drug addiction, but has been clean for years. She kicked it on her own and now has graduated with honors from college, has a wonderful job and is doing beautifully. She fought demons and won.

One who had turned her young life of living with alcohol into a healthy life of gardens and good food, and then found herself facing cancer. But she has battled it bravely and honestly, doing it her way despite the paths of others. She now has a new body and continues to come up against new struggles at each corner, but she is undaunted and doesn’t complain, continuing to honor and love life.

Another dear friend who grew up amidst sexual abuse but never gave up her struggle to be whole and free. Always kind and loving, never letting her inner suffering turn outward onto others; instead her love is always felt by those around her and we are always grateful.

Of course, the countless reporters that put themselves at risk doing stories in violent places when they could just as easily could be here at home; or the medical people who go to help in countries where people have diseases like Ebola; or teachers or workers that go to places to help at their own discomfort; or the dreamers, scientists, philosophers, musicians, artists or anyone that steps outside themselves or comfort level for someone else’s benefit. It’s hard to pick them out with the news filled with pain and suffering, but these heroes exist among us!

And finally, this may sound selfish or lame, but slowly I am unearthing the hero buried deep within myself. She has laid dormant but is starting to awaken. She is the person that wants to be on the edge of human need, face her dragons head on banish them, face every day with joy and courage and try to love a part of each human she meets. This may be the true test of a real hero!

birch magic

Cultivating Gratitude


“Cultivate the habit of being grateful for every good thing that comes to you, and to give thanks continuously. And because all things have contributed to your advancement, you should include all things in your gratitude.”
― Ralph Waldo Emerson

So today I woke up a tiny bit crabby and down. Again I was feeling sorry for myself, my situation at work, living in the geographic area where I do and finding myself often not in a community that feels right for me. Yes, I was blue. But as usual I did my jog/walk on the treadmill, followed by my yoga and said ta ta to my dogs and then headed out into the bitter cold. And then flipped on the radio in the car as I headed to another day on the  job.

It was then that I was bombarded with the usual pain and sorrow of the world suffering that goes on around me. The suffering that is both so global and even on personal levels when some lone person hurts another one.

But I got through my day with a couple of nice gals at work (one especially is my great bud); we also some great laughs. On my way home I realized that my neighbor hadn’t answered my texts about the change about feeding and taking out my dogs. My daughter was supposed to do it, but left early instead. So I called my neighbor and she gladly did it for me.

But when I got home, she was still there in the driveway. I was perplexed. So when I got out of my car, she told me she had walked back over to my house to check on my porch lighting because she wants to buy me a motion sensor for my outside. She worries that when I come home, I can’t see and will fall and no-one will find me!

So she went back to her house and asked her husband and he said they had one  and he would install it. It was so thoughtful and kind, it almost brought me to tears! And here I was being ungrateful. Forgetting the good I am surrounded by when there is so much suffering–true suffering–in the world!

Yes, I know, my life isn’t always just what I had hoped or would love it to be all the time. But I will try to do as Emerson says more often: be grateful for every good thing that does come my way and say thank you continuously. Because truly–I have so many things to be thankful for in my life.  And it’s true, even the bad has contributed to my advancement!