This is love

2015-05-26 22.50.11There is something about staring into the eyes of a little one. Those deep pools of wide-eyed contemplation…able to stare right back with unabashed curiosity. It is a silent mutual acknowledgment between two bits of humanity… knowing that we will somehow change each other’s life in some measurable way.

There is something about receiving a smile from the lips of a little one. The grin that grows from their toes and makes one feel hope, optimism, and excitement for the future. How could life not be so is whispered in my ear from somewhere in my heart.

There is something about seeing your child within the spirit of a little one. That child that you cradled so many years ago during the midnight hours while others slept. That child who came to you with boo boos to be kissed, hands to be held, and homework to be discussed. That child who you watched grow before your eyes into an adult…and now looking back with those deep pools, I am reminded that this is the past, present and future before me… This is love.

Answering The Door

How do I move along in life when the wind of time breathes heavily at my back? It pushes my journey down an unexplored dirt road…waiting for my footprints to mark upon the untouched ground before me. I walk this road with a full pack upon my back that carries the treasure of yesterday within its zippered pockets. Once more I yearn to look back on before, filled with the good, the bad and the amazing…memories that flash as quickly as the blink of my eye. I try to grab ahold of them and a few slip into view and make me smile. That bittersweet smile of knowing that yesterday will always be with me but spent like the end of the day- with a beautiful sunset. Something I will always reflect upon.

Yesterday, a time when I looked ahead toward tomorrow with a desire to reach there before today arrives. Yesterday, a time when I thought this chance at change would ever reach my door. But now I hear it knocking… and as I consider answering…I wait.

It is difficult to step into the unknown…exciting yes, but difficult to leave that which is known and familiar. I wish to celebrate this time in my life and I will do so with a cup of sweet, fruity wine and my heart full of times that I will forever cherish. I believe our life journey makes us who we are and who we will be. My sincerest wish is that my past footprints leave something for others to follow upon. I hope those to be made are created with a dance of gratitude. So now I will answer that door… well hello retirement.thN2HJYWXC (2)

An Attitude Adjustment

 

intolerance photo (2)

 

 

 

It becomes part of our being, hugging us like skin. Not something that you can slip off at night and toss on the floor with the clothing of the day. No, attitude is much deeper and harder to change. Attitude begins to grow within us as babies when we are introduced to the world around us. We learn to love, we learn to hate, we learn to discern as bad and good. Yet somewhere along the journey of life, some of us may find ourselves consumed with the negative…like straining to see in the dark of the night…only making out the bad things around us.

Many times a parent declares, “I don’t like your attitude” or “you need to change your attitude” without understanding how difficult this process of change can be… We are asking one to quickly morph into another… or face our consequences. Yet we as parents have helped define their attitudes.  Combine that with the world we currently live in…wow it is a ticking time bomb. Take a moment and consider that children are living in a very complex world today. You and I may have walked a mile to school  (I confess I did not) but we never dealt with the intensity and gravity of cyber bullying. We may have had to eat what was on our plate or go hungry ( I hated roast beef) yet we never felt the aggression and severe emotional pressure many kids of today experience. Today for fun, our children occupy their time with a never-ending visual stimulation of violence through our media and high def gaming videos. They kill with a deft handling the game  a skill once acquired by playing jacks or marbles. They watch live social media capturing death, destruction, mayhem and violence. Some kids have had siblings, friends, parents die on the streets.  Today doomsday preppers are glamorized on tv as they are proudly hording guns and ammunition…life and death, killing and survival concepts discussed as matter of fact like cooking shows and recipes. It has become a harsh world. Attitudes become armor to protect from that which is so difficult to deal with in life. And we are partially responsible as parents. As adults we become blind to the attitudes we carry as we strive to make the dollar, pay the bills and seek our own escape from the craziness. But we all travel with deep feelings and beliefs that keep us separated from each other.  And we teach our children to do the same. Attitudes, they are so hard to change…

So what happens to tomorrow if there is not a positive shift in attitude? What happens if the adults do not begin to see that their bigotry, intolerance and closed minds are imprinted upon their children?  I do not want to go there. Attitude…while deeply ingrained does carry ability to change. We see an epiphany realized by the family who adamantly declares strong anti-gay attitudes…until a loved one comes out. We see the ability to empathize during a natural catastrophe…as strangers extend a hand or even risk their life for another. Why is it only then that we are willing to see beyond the dark…why is it only then that we feel we are all a part of a larger whole?  Those beautiful moments when a connection of respect for life of another is made with no thought of what is to be gained in return- action without attitude.

I often wonder why we wait until desperate times to rise above our attitudes. Why do we join the cause only after we feel personally affected by the war.  Cancer, poverty, unemployment, inequality, gun violence, bullying, racism, sexual abuse, domestic violence, addiction…on and on they march in front of us. Our attitudes block us from the fight unless life has chosen to throw us through the ropes. Only then do many of us awaken and see that the fight is worthy.  We take up our sword and add cause to our existence. But I ask, why wait?

My Resolutions…2013

526772_532712873423076_748988913_n      New Year’s Resolutions….too often equated with a silly annual attempt to make some drastic life change. Why does this have to be a half-hearted thought complete with a nod and wink to defeat. I vow that this year…it will be different for me. Oh I may try to eat healthier…sleep more…and cut out some of the wine (maybe). But these are not resolutions about my life, they are mere attempts I will make now and again to get my body back on track. My resolutions- declarations as they are- will encompass my life as a human being and not what society determines through mass commercials of dream diets and exotic exercise equipment.

     As you sit and ponder your New Year’s Resolutions…I ask you to consider this to be the year of your personal declaration of who you are and strive to be each day. There will be moments of regression (much like eating cake on a diet) but overall…the awareness and focus of being a better person within our souls regardless of our body shapes and sizes.

So here I write my life resolutions….

I resolve to be a better listener to others- for when one speaks they do so with the desire to be heard. One of the greatest gifts we can give another is letting their voice speak their thoughts. Wars have been fought over the right to be heard and many have died trying. It is a basic human right to have a voice, to be seen and noted. Yet, this is difficult…very difficult especially when the words do not connect with my own. I realize this and desire to make a better effort to open my ears and close my mouth more.

I resolve to be a better steward to the planet earth. I am concerned about the future of the earth and our impact upon what life holds for our children and grandchildren. Nature’s beauty and our wonderful planet has been taken for granted way too long and I must do my part to respect this world that I live upon. I have so long been a taker and cluttered the world with my garbage. I hope to explore ways to change, be kinder in my consumption.

I resolve to live more in the present. It is truly a gift from the universe and one I never fully unwrap as I throw back the covers and begin my day. I have lists of things to do, lists of things undone and lists of things yet to be completed. Lists upon lists filling up my tomorrows before I ever get there. I am clearing them from my head and paper. Today I will do what seems to fit into my day and no more or less. I will find contentment in this day and when it is done…be grateful for it. I will enjoy each season as it comes – unique that it is and full of the unexpected. I will breathe deep the crisp, cool winter air and amaze myself with the world outside as it rests in wait of spring. I will marvel at the new spring buds and blossoms as they unabashedly abound with a desire to survive. I will warm my bones and my soul in the summer sunshine and welcome the sweat of the summer heat. I will watch the beauty of fall, walking in the woods and sitting by a fire as the world gets painted in warmth of reds, oranges and yellows. Knowing that soon winter will be back and change will circle around again.

I resolve to spread kindness…pay it forward if you will. It can be free to give and anyone who receives unfettered compassion from another will tell you- it is priceless. To keep myself mindful of this, I will each month have at least one anonymous act of unexpected kindness completed…maybe more. Each day is filled with possibilities…and honestly should result in at least one simple act of kindness on a daily basis. If you have never done this before, try it. The unexpected thoughtfulness may really make an impression on someone who needs to again believe in this world. Unfortunately, we see mainly that which is dark, depressing and violent in our world as we watch the news. It makes us scared, defensive and builds walls of insecurity that separates us from each other.  I do not want to live in such a world that fills me with fear and the utter belief that I have no control.  Actually, I refuse to believe it.  So I will take control of my world, resolve to live in the present, effectively listen to others, be kinder to my planet and sprinkle a bit of kindness, compassion with others and see what grows. I invite you to join me and see what we can do over the next year. We can make change and it is time to do so. I resolve to try.

My Anxiety Ritual

taken from ...Tao and Zen

taken from …Tao and Zen

It is the feeling of being alone when I am in a crowded room of friends. It takes control of my emotions and leads me away into a grey filled nether place. Seeing it approach me, I summon it to leave me alone. I am fine and do not welcome its attention. I do not want it to pretend to befriend me again. I know it is really not my ally as it fills my head with an uneasiness quite unlike any other. This annoying caller always visits me after the holidays, sometimes impatient enough to tiptoe into my world in the midst of the celebration…waiting for the moment to tap me on the shoulder and remind me that it is waiting…to carry on our ongoing discussion of life.

I have seen a lot of depressing things in my time. I have been “awakened” in a sense, to the world around me, finding it much more complicated than a Rubik’s Cube…but none the less a pattern presented to ponder upon. I think some people believe it is this awareness that causes my anxiety ritual but it is not. I suffered from it way before I saw the ugly in the world. This false cohort sought me out in childhood as well. No, I think it is a product of my soul-searching to bear witness to the grace and charm of life. I have always sought to be surrounded in family tradition as it glued my world together past and present. I hold many shared moments in reverence …vacations with my parents and children/ card games at the kitchen table with my grandmother/
my years of taxi mom to school functions/ my children stepping out on their own/ my wonderful husband and our conversations that only soul mates can carry. All of these fill my heart and head…beautiful experiences and I know that looking back I will always see them as such. However, as I revel in these times I also worry that they would someday end…and thus my anxiety takes over.

I also love the beauty of life…simple beauty of the sunrise and sunset, snow glistening on the hillside as well as the beauty of hope and compassion and love. I tend to try to drown myself with just my head above -not totally lost within…and as I do, I remind myself that all of life is fragile…the sunset will soon be gone, the sunrise as well and there will be days of hardly a hope and little compassion to be had out there. This is life I remind myself. No one said living would be easy…but the world reminds us that real living is full of the beauty and charm, love and laughter- as well as the deep emotions that make the heart heavy.

Oh my anxiety softly sings the song of never know what tomorrow will bring…and I have my quiet reflection on the hard truths of life that I have seen over the past years.. But I tell myself that pure love never leaves…it can’t be taken away as love is a forever bond. Even with the death of a loved one, the love remains within me. And the love of my family and friends..their love will remain forever within me too. Ah! I tell my little transient banshee as we stand face to face, I know this to be true as it quiets his ramblings in my head… and this knowledge keeps me one step ahead of my unwelcome visitor.

I take a deep breath…it is my saving grace in times like these. I remind myself that the beauty of life is still here…yet to be found another day in some new and provocative way. I pull my memories of family and friends to help me see what a treasure I have already collected. I again awaken to see the beauty of hope for tomorrow more clearly, new experiences to be had and memories to be made. The pattern begins to be seen and the joy of my journey with it.

My Regrets

Cattails 

     Regret…a rather heavy word that weighs one down like extra clothing. Making it uncomfortable to move freely in life, always reminding of its presence. I try not to accommodate regret as I intentionally move it to the farthest corner of my thoughts. It is hard not to soak oneself in such misgivings yet the damp chill is unhealthy for hopes and dreams of the future. We all have had times when we made choices we did not like. Life is full of choices. Our day starts with a choice- when to get up and ends with one- when to go to bed. Every twist and turn in existence is a choice. Every breath followed by action derived …by choice. Some of them seem to dance in the sun, some seem to give us sorrow and …regret. But how sweet would the dance be without the sorrow. I can take the sorrow. It melts with time like the winter snow. It is regret that one must be wary of as it stings as long as one holds it close.

     I don’t carry regrets long in my life. I have had struggles and learned lessons but I refuse to lament my decisions. I think that looking too long at the past can cause one to stumble as they walk towards the future. Validate it…accept it….let it go. Sometimes this is hard and the shoulda and coulda find their way out. They stir the pot and place regret on the table. I smile, breathe a very deep and slow breath and I say “not today thank you.” I would rather eat alone with my thoughts and me. No regrets… I find them just too hard to swallow.