It's only been twelve days, since the schools closed. And then the libraries, then the businesses, and everything else began to close their doors, too. Most of them, anyway. Twelve days, and it feels like a different reality, in so many ways.
We had some collective denial, at first. We joked and made fun:
"...hey...don't forget to wash yer hands, haha..." But, uncertainty lingered beneath.
A few more days went by, and we stopped laughing, but still didn't really take it too seriously.
"It's not all that bad... we're not Italy... most people are fine... it's just like the flu..."
And so many continued to gather, to crowd, to assemble...despite dire warnings against it. Officials at all places of government were putting out mixed messages at different times, in different communities, in different states.
A few more days went by, and the local cases doubled, quickly. Tripled, maybe.
Each day, the mystique around the virus grew more ominous than the next. The fear grew. That's it, really. The fear really took hold of our psyche. Every story we heard about the illness. Every cough, a cause for concern. Every sniffle; every symptom.
It reminded me a bit of trying to conceive (which took us, my ex-husband and I, about a year.) And each month, I'd play this game: every symptom was scrutinized and obsessed over. I have a pimple, could that mean...?!? I got dizzy today, maybe this is it? It feels like that now, in ways, except that the pending diagnosis is not a joyful one, but a frightening one. Could it just be a sinus infection, a stomach bug, the regular flu, allergies... there is so much in the air, as it is. Or could it be..."covid?"
And we're on alert...shoulders in our ears, some of us. Oblivious, some of us. Calm inside the storm, some of us. But the fear...when not properly managed and confronted... fear can turn the human being into an ugly creature: anger, jealousy, greed, cruelty, depression, and despair can all grow outward, from fear.
And we must meet it, head on. So, what does it stem from?
And so it goes.
There is a lot of fear and some days it hangs heavier in the air than the contagion, itself.
And it's real. And it's okay to be scared and afraid or downhearted and sad or lonely. Feelings are natural and normal. They're human. And I think to by-pass them completely is detrimental, overall. When heavy emotion gets stuck inside, it wreaks havoc upon us - in our minds, in our hearts, in our bodies, in our ability to trust, in our overall outlook and perspective. It's okay to feel it, but we shouldn't stay there.
It's easy to shrug and pretend it's not happening, if you're far from the effects of this virus. I admit, I walked that line for a few days. But day by day, I let the world in. Slowly. The reality. The grief. The collective pain. And I think an evolving people on an evolving planet ought to feel things with each other. As one. We ought to process, together, as much as we can. We need to face the shadows and walk through them, graciously, with kindness and altruism and a good work ethic and a bit of faith. Faith in something...whatever you prefer. There's no wrong answer when it comes to faith, as long as you don't cause another person intentional harm in your practice. What matters most is how we act, I think. How we behave toward one another in these times.
But to push right past it all, I think, helps no one. There is great meaning and medicine to found in these times. The trick though, is to be aware and alert to what is going on, yet also to stay calm and present to your life. To each moment, as it arises. To look around your life and find the good - and elevate it, even as we all go through this crisis, together. And beauty looks different on different days to different people.
Always, in life, there will be fear and terrible things to focus on, if we so choose. Always, in life, there will be beautiful and sacred things to notice and celebrate, as well. And we have these moments, to choose our experiences, if we can just get out of the way of our incessant thoughts and reactions.
We've got these magical moments to slow down into, to feel into, to connect to, deeply. To ask questions, to consider what we might learn, to reflect on the human story, so far... and when have we been here, before? And what did we do, then, and did it work? Why and why not? And how might we grow and become better and not repeat past mistakes? How could we honor our history - good, bad, and ugly - and take its lessons in stride, to become a healthier, kinder, more efficient, more devoted people? Devoted to each other, to our resources, to all the other beings on this planet? How do we get through this moment in the story... with Grace, with resilience, and in such a way that generations later the text books will remember us with gratitude, for having done the right things for our/their futures?
Big questions, certainly. And we have big opportunities to study them. And I think we ought to. We ought to learn and course-correct as we go. We are conscious and creative human beings with wildly beating hearts and intelligent and powerful minds and we can do incredible things together. We're all lit from the same spark of life, initially. And when we remember that, oh...what we're capable of.
Uncertain times, for sure...but I have great hope for what lies on the other side of all of this.
And on a lighter note...
Today, we played in the yard. A soccer ball and a net, lots of green grass, a fresh Spring breeze, the sounds of children playing in their yards throughout the neighborhood - it was exquisite. And it's not lost on me, how lucky we are to live in such a place: a warm house in the suburbs, with a big yard, and trees, and sky, and toys to play with. Our own private oasis in the storm. And when we came back inside, as we washed up and I began to get things together to make some dinner (which I LOVE, I never have the time to do this... it's usually take-out or grill-it and chill) - I began to think about my grandmothers.
On my father's side (British-Celtic-Canadian-Nordic) - my grandma hustled Avon, when I knew her. She schlepped me around, on calls, sometimes, and was the epitome of a shark. She'd literally open the catalog to the lipsticks in someone's living room, while I waited on a chair, and say something like, "by some of these, I can earn something extra...no, these, here..." and they'd just do it, they didn't know how to say no. She was tough, so tough. She had a grit about her. But she earned it. When my father was a kid, both she and my grandpa worked at the local airplane manufacturers. They took the bus - one worked the day shift, one the night shift. They went into Republic, or Grumman, and worked the line making airplane parts for the war effort. Everyone worked for the war effort, it seemed.
We rallied, we came together, we fought the foe, together. The United States of America. United. Individual, but empowered, together, toward a common good, and it was not easily won - a nation of the people, by the people, for the people (Gettysburg Address, November 19, 1863). And in crisis - states band together, and countries band with allies and wars are won - together.
Grandma was a working wife and mother with four boys to feed and lived through the Depression. She told stories of going to the butcher and asking for the scrap-cuts, the chewy cuts, the cheapest pieces...and she'd stretch it and make it work. Fishing in the bay for dinner - snappers. Growing gardens for fresh vegetables and berries. Canning and preserving in the off-seasons, using every bit of everything because it was hard to come by. The humility, the gratitude, for the simplest things... it wasn't lost on me. She was resourceful, because she had to be, and it lasted the rest of her life.
On my mother's side (Italian-French-Greek): Mimi grew up in an Italian Catholic household with four sisters. All she ever wanted was to go to college, to learn, to absorb the world, but she couldn't. In her family, women were raised to become wives - they learned to cook, to clean, to take care of a husband. And she married, and spent many years in a life that wasn't really her own. She'd been poor, she'd struggled, she'd held her tongue. But later, she found freedom. With four children at home, she started working in the city. My own mother became a caretaker for her siblings. They all sacrificed. And when times were hard, they did the same sorts of things: they went to the markets and got the cheapest cuts, some beans, whatever they could afford.
And through both of these women, both gone now, their stories get to live on in my memory. They struggled, early on. They went without. They ate to live, and not vice-versa.
Grandma knew that a big ol' pat of butter on the vegetables meant that we'd get more nutrition from them. I never knew if that was true, but I trusted it. Later, as an adult, I looked it up. She was right. Many nutrients in our foods are fat-soluble and can't be absorbed without fats. Like butter. Thanks, Grandma. Mimi would demolish chicken bones... she'd eat the wing or drumstick, clean - to the bone, then suck the marrow out of the ends and even crunch the cartilage. We shudder at the thought, right? But she was getting nutrients from it. Waste nothing.
Living through World War II taught them great lessons about portions, health, needs vs wants, planning and preserving, the value of hard work, humility, the magic of random generosity and the kindness of strangers.
And maybe...here, now... we can pay attention. We can learn. We can't go to the store and get everything that we're used to getting right now. Not right away. We're unaccustomed. We're used to instant access. Now, now, now. But we can evaluate our true needs. We can focus on essentials: food, health, shelter. And PS, many people live like this everyday...
But there are rich lessons from our past that we can tap into - to get through these days.
And that might be the most important lesson of all, right now...
How many times in your life have you wished for things to slow down? What you would do? Something around the house, or would you write something, learn a new skill, take a course? Or maybe you're like me and simply wanted a break...to catch your breath and relax and rest and simply enjoy your life with your kids more?
Well, if not now...when?
Stay kind out there... stay healthy. Stay home. xo :cheers:
I've been thinking...about this country...
Thoughts after morning meditation:
We're going through a great deal of change, right now. There is a lot of fear, a lot of concern - rightfully...
- financially - unemployment is beginning to soar, businesses lay people off, stocks plummet...the floor is unsteady...
- education - families scramble to keep up with their children's lessons and learning, while dealing with the outside world, the state of their jobs, household management, how important are lesson books, what else could they be learning...etc...
- health - who will get sick, when, how long will it last, are we prepared?
- entrepreneurs- using different ways to make an impact, to promote their businesses, to gain clients in new ways, to think outside the box, to stay relevant, it can be new and stressful
- people who are techno-phobic are being forced to embrace a new medium, and there can be a learning curve
- being separated from friends, co-workers and our normal routines can be stressful
There is immediate fear - (will I or someone I know, get sick and die from this? Will we weather this financial crisis?) All legitimate. But when this subsides, and it will...at some point... we will have some collateral effects to wrangle as we go on. And we will go on.
There are so many things to be concerned with. So many pieces to this puzzle...
And when I rest and zoom out, above the surface scramble.... I see so much opportunity. Everywhere. Hope, change, transformation, growth. Opportunity.
And I'm sure I'm not the only one...I know that I'm not. I can feel it.
Cleaner industry -
We can see how the air clears, when we remove our industrial pollutants. How our home, how Earth, breathes and self-heals when we stop adding toxic fumes into the air. Much like the human body - when we stop adding pollutants and harmful substances, the body usually heals itself. Quit smoking soon enough; the lungs will regenerate. When the air is cleaner, more humans can go outdoors and enjoy their birthright - breathing clean air, visiting natural spaces, which promotes their own wellness and health. Healthy air, healthy humans, healthy humans, better work output, better work, better world function, overall. How can we produce our goods, all these things that we, as buyers, consume... with less toxic exhaust? Can we change how our motors are powered? Switch to cleaner energy, maybe. Utilize all the systems that we have in place, the science is already there. Solar, wind, hydro, etc... can we finally, maybe, get off oil? It's a house of cards, anyway, it has been for a while. There's not time like the present. Perhaps, we're testing ourselves... can we survive the inconvenience of change for a greater good?
Green Jobs -
Employ all these folks who've been let go so quickly, without a hope, by scrambling businesses afraid of losing money... in rebuilding our infrastructure - intelligently. Forward-thinking, worldview. Install wind-farms. wide-scale solar projects. Hydropower. Use Nature's gifts to generate power, to employ the unemployed, and to restore public health, worldwide. Dirt, clouds, humans, wildlife. It's all connected, and all interdependent, and it's out of balance. A simple fix. Not easy, but simple. Let the needs of our world create new jobs, that will create solutions. Green infrastructure, green jobs. Makes sense.
Adjust and Support Education and Community Institutions -
Develop better learning models, that ensure life-skills and basic intelligence and compassion and clear communication and creative talents. We have an opportunity to change the way we do life. We can start with schools, in training the newer generations differently. It's all there, in pieces, but we can raise the bar and let the tired, old, standardized curriculums fade. We can make and implement new ones, envisioned by teachers who teach, not board-rooms of individuals who are too far from the students, and don't work closely enough in the field, to even see what matters. We can develop better models of learning, that cater to creativity and not to generic memorization. Creative and healthy minds make creative and healthy worlds. Conscious parenting, conscious teaching = conscious children > conscious future leaders. The coming world will need them. We can start now.
Public Health -
We can put more attention and focus on collective health, knowing how integral we all are in the fight against disease and threats to homeostasis on Earth. It's all connected, and it all matters. Everything affects our health and we all affect each other and our world. We are all in the snow globe together - people, animals, sky, sun, water, trees, technology, dirt, disease. We can train medical professionals in holistic ways, understanding how interconnected we all are with everything else. New opportunities for specialization, deeper infectious disease studies to match a changing world. More emphasis in popular medicine on nutrition, permaculture, horticulture, caring for livestock in humane and non-toxic ways...how interconnected it is. The field of health can morph to adapt all of this, and it can start in childhood education. It all starts with our youth and how we educate.
Arts and Libraries and Museums -
Encourage and foster the arts, young, because art saves our souls and helps us to tell our story. The arts connect us to each other. Art helps us to understand ourselves and to live in healthier ways. Music is great for the brain and for the heart. Artistic expression is a boon to mental health, and a populace that struggles with mental health becomes dependent on too many other things, in efforts to correct that imbalance. Freedom of expression - to sing, to dance, to pontificate spiritually, to paint, to sculpt... creates a healthier and more inspired human being. Invest in libraries and museums, because they are a hub of information, connection, artistic expression, and acceptance, and offer community support and education and shelter during natural disasters.
A human being needs more than money to thrive. We need culture, connection, understanding, compassion, certain freedoms, creativity, healthy air and water, a healthy and sustainable food supply, and solid infrastructure and leadership that supports the evolving human being in and of an evolving world. Why not begin creative tracks earlier? If a student shows promise in the arts, why not mentor that? Why not create apprenticeships, early? Allow deeper focus for those with creative talents? In all public schools? More fine-tuned and specialized teaching jobs, greater freedom and focus for emerging artists and how to utilize their special skills in the world that they'll grow into. We've seen how very integral and important teachers are in the lives of our beloved children. Education is paramount, and often gets a backseat. This is ludicrous. It's where everything starts.
So many opportunities, here. There's so much, if you're paying attention.
Why wait until college to offer electives? And why let a bunch of folks in a board room decide how each child across the United States ought to be educated and tested? Children are different, with different skills and attention spans and talents, and we'll need all of them. Why not grow expert musicians, and creative therapists, and deeply attuned and empathetic psychologists and healers and leaders, and master artists to capture and echo the story of life on Earth, as it changes? These children are growing up differently, in a different world, and we need different curriculums.
We are on the cusp of a new Renaissance. If we allow it.
It's scary right know... in the darkness of this, as we walk through the shadow.
But, zooming out, forward into a vision of a healed Earth, all I see are opportunities to grow, evolve, and make better decisions... it's just a no brainer to me. Switch to green energy, educate and employ people to install it. In business, in homes, in libraries, all over the world, but why not in the US. Why not push forward, the time is now? More employed people mean more spending, and the economy rebounds. More green practices and healthier standards for businesses mean a healthier planet. A heather planet means we get to stay here at the party longer. I like it here. I don't want to live in space on a metal ship, and I don't think my son or his kids do, either. We love parks and beaches and farms and birdsong.
This is all nothing new. It's really not. It's not controversial, these ideas have been around for decades.
And yet, when I begin these conversations, today, in this reality, with so many folks... it's as though I'm speaking in hieroglyphs. It's as though we've been brainwashed, somehow, so many of us, and our minds have turned to input only, and our critical minds - the parts of us that thinks and decipher and mitigate and create change - have been asleep.
So much opportunity, so much joy and progress to imagine. And these ideas are just the tip of the iceberg... there's so much. And long-view, I'm excited. I'm hopeful.
There's a lot of tension right now. A lot of fear. But if you can anchor in, root down, and feel past it... knowing that we'll get past it. Consider where we might go. Consider this moment in time...this pregnant pause... with so much possibility to rewrite the story.
Maybe. What do i know, though? I'm just a librarian. Stuck at home. Trying to be useful, trying to be of service.
Stay kind out there. Stay in Love. It's what we got. it's everything, right now. xoxo
Corona. COVID 19. The Virus.
Schools are closed, libraries are closed, businesses keep closing, as the world scurries to catch up to this new menace brought to us by Nature itself. And it's worrisome, to be sure, all the unknowns. But I'm encouraged, at how swiftly humanity came together: science, faith, academics, business leaders, philanthropists, the medical community, political leaders, and consumers, alike. As one.
We found a quick-moving threat to our way of life, to our people. We acted, and we learn as we go, and then we share information. And that's what I love so much about the scientific community - the sharing. The information. The mutual learning. The respect of data and facts in decision-making and leadership. The rising of art and community and kindness and giving and teaching and caregiving, in the wake of crisis, to offer a respite from fear. To stay the course, with a sense of calm.
Social distancing. Family time or isolation. Adjusting. Watching. Waiting. Adapting. Staying kind.
And the quiet. The downtime. In the peaceful spaces when I tear myself away from the news cycle and the feeds and the worry and the work - in the quiet, meditative spaces, I come home. I breathe.
The Sun has been out, the skies bluer than blue, the birds are singing their Springtime songs - yes, we've been out in the garden. It's only been a few days of trying to work a bit from home, to make sure my child gets in some reading, some exercise, some healthy food, and good rest. To make sure we all do. To be...home. To have what we need and to surrender some wants, for a time.
And out back, in the yard, with a pitchfork in my hands and the Sun on my back... there was peace. Stillness. An inner joy, a deeper connection, and believe it or not, a sort of gratitude, despite the chaos and confusion and worry that so many of us feel. I wouldn't wish for a plague to come upon us - but in the mess, I've seen the skies clear. Skies in parts of the world that were previously choking with fumes, with air so unhealthy that the people in these countries couldn't even venture outside on certain days.
Unable to breathe air.
To be able to visit with Nature on any given day is a human right. The Earth, air, wind, sun, water... are free to all lifeforms, here. And yet, somehow, we lose that balance, over and over, in the pursuit of industry and ease and progress and material wealth. And not all progress is bad, to be sure. Industry and technology bring us life changing things. We need all of it, in the right ways.
And I sat out there, today. In the dirt. Earthworms wriggling around in the freshly turned earth - new tunnels to make, new pockets to aerate.
"Look, Mommy! It's so wiggly and slimy!" My son ran to me with a new friend in his palm. I remembered doing the same when I was a child. Each generation, in this family, there is at least one who has a connection to the Earth and its sweet, simple magic. Her stories and wisdom. Her healing properties.
"Oooooh, that's a good one... let's get him back in so he can keep digging, right! He's doing his job for us..."
A new family of Blue Jays fluttered from treetop to treetop. There was a scuffle of Cardinals, and that neighborhood cat strolled by, and then a pile of red and gray feathers fell to the ground as the female escaped, quickly. A few squirrels danced through the branches, like cartoon characters, out-racing and out-maneuvering each other, knocking pinecones down as they ran. No bunnies, not yet.
And I remembered, when I first started this garden, about 5 years ago, how I would dream about giving Mother Earth a spa day. A break; some time off. "All she does is give..." I'd say. I've been a sad case, overly concerned about this planet, since childhood. It's where most of my anxiety comes from. Caring too deeply about this Earth-home that I call my Mother. Even before I learned about Pocahontas. I was just born this way - a nature girl. And I can't help but notice... how our Mama Earth is responding, as we stay home and stop producing so wildly, for a bit.
Sure, it's a mess for the economy, and that's real. We'll have to dig out, there's no question. It's scary, health-wise, and we may lose folks to this disease as we do to flu and cancer and so many other things. And it's hard to escape the updates, they're everywhere. But we'll get a handle on it. I do believe that. It'll take as long as it takes, I imagine. We don't know enough about this virus, which is why it's scary. We can't estimate its behavior, really. We're blind, until science gathers more data. And measurable data takes time to collect and gather. But we have the best and brightest working on it, as we lay low. And wait it out. And do our best to protect our healthcare workers.
But out there, in the garden, with all the gadgets turned off... it feels as though Mother Earth is breathing deeply. Her lungs are healing. Our air is clearing. Gaia sighs, and maybe, even smiles, for a while.
So, in the midst of the mess, there is a small miracle taking place. There is a silver lining, in all of this. And I do pray that we can continue forward, with all this simple wisdom in our pockets. Being able to respond and manage any new viruses that may come. And seeing how much harm we cause, unintentionally, in how we run our lives so busily. In how we do business. In how we consume. As far as lessons for the future go, for building communities and sustaining long-term, for urban and rural planning, we've got gold to learn from, right now. If we pay attention.
How our school systems work, how our business models work, how our communications work, how caring human beings really are for each other, what our vital needs and operations truly are, what our energy needs are and how better to achieve them, how quickly we can respond, collectively, in crisis. It's an incredible opportunity to study how we behave, and how to improve. Should we choose to. And we ought to.
It's not a far stretch...from PUBLIC HEALTH to the health of the planet. Our air, our waters, our forests, our outdoor spaces.... are all matters of public health. It's all connected, it's all the same. And I'm excited about how we're learning, and navigating these times, together. I'm glad to be here, to be awake to it, to watch it all unfold. We can't see it now... but we are in a very special moment in our story. How we write it from here on out, is up to us.
And I'll do my part...and stay home, for now, but oh...does it fire my creativity and world-view thinking.
Sending so much Love and patience... we're all in this together. xo
A few long days off of social media did me (and my mind and anxieties) so much good. I highly recommend periodic breaks, to rest and reset your mind.
I'm definitely no guru, and I might not know what I'm talking about as I stumble through my little place on this rock and how to be here, fully, but I will tell you this:
- it's way too easy to lose yourself (oneself, ourselves, myself, whichever floats your boat) in the tide of information, today. It's absolutely everywhere, from your morning scroll through the feeds to the phones and the news-screens at the gas pumps and in taxi-cabs and on the billboards and the papers in your kids' backpacks and the junk-mail and the signs everywhere and the TV at the end of the night, and back to the feeds before bed. (This seems to be the norm for too many of us, especially the younger generations.) Not to mention the opinions and thoughts and needs of other human beings, and pets, and causes, and so on. Our attention is spread thin.
And knowing your priorities, knowing your own mind, and your own wishes - sturdy in the middle of the storm of words and sounds and beeps and the meme-culture and the slurry of outside suggestions all around you - and acting on them, can be a wonderful, but challenging journey toward your own inner peace and happiness. Your own sweet company, unencumbered by others. You're the only one that knows what your happiness looks like and feels like, and when you find it, it should be cherished.
I've found that it's really hard to generate true ideas and genuine thoughts and a sense of inner-peace when we're constantly ingesting the thoughts and ideas of others. And it's quite a challenge to create anything new or unique from a cluttered and busy mind, and I feel that our world today... needs creative ideas and art and wonder - as well as - critical thinking and tangible solutions toward the future that so many of us dream about.
But that's our culture today. Busy. Every moment of every day a distracted mind is open to influence. It's quite right and normal to find something bigger to believe in and join with and to have that higher purpose sort of hold you and guide you forward. This is why we have religion and civic groups and lodges and sisterhoods and brotherhoods and yoga classes and these days, even fitness classes are embracing a whole-self approach. Because it's all connected and we all seek something to belong to and to help structure our days, toward something of value, something that will serve humanity in some way, as well as help us to enjoy ourselves while we're here. We all want to be okay and we want others to be okay, too. Mostly.
I don't have a problem with technology, per se. It can be very helpful and useful, and I think we need it for the issues that face us, in a real way. The Sun and the Wind are free, but we need technology to harness them for energy. In a modern world, we need tools to interact with the energy around us. And we need to connect with each other, as we use these tools. I think our inventions and devices should enhance current relationships and create new ones, for sure, but not stifle and replace them, entirely. And I think that's where technology and social media are at a tipping point. Our gadgets are becoming stand-ins for friendships and loved ones. I've seen in real-time a human being choose the words of a random meme on their Facebook page over an honest conversation. Because vulnerability feels weird, these days, I guess.
I'm an information-nerd, a philosopher by nature, a deep-thinker, and I tuck that part away often, in order to fit in, it seems. And while I am also quite social and work in public service, and am surrounded by books and information, I've always been an observer and a sharer, be design - watching how we behave and interact and shrink or grow. I think as a species, we are fascinating creatures. We search so much, so far, for so long. Such an ache, a deep desire for connection, comfort, and understanding. And seldom slow down enough to connect, organically, and allow those things.
There are about 40 million of us on the planet with anxiety conditions and/or depression. Teens are committing suicide over social media bullying and harassment. And I wonder if so much virtual connectivity, so fast, is a good thing for us, or not. We are, no doubt, in the Information Age. And as information and technology continue to explode outward, our mission remains to continue inward. To understand ourselves, fully, in order to interact more genuinely with our world. Know yourself, know the world. It starts within. These are the times we are living in, and if we want to thrive through them, we need to carve out those moments for ourselves. We need to create sanctuaries of peace, within, as they become harder and harder to find, without.
Since the dawn of human thought, it seems that there have been two interpretations that drive human behavior:
- we have enough
- we don't have enough
And we see these themes regurgitated everywhere. In spirituality and religious texts, in business models, in marketing and advertising, in life-coaching and therapy. In arts, in science. They've always been distinct and separate forces. Black or white, one or off, yes or no, with me or against me. (But take heart, these old extremes are fading, generation by generation...)
Gratitude and blind faith for our resources (there is enough, let's take care of each other and not seek for more)
Practical knowledge and planning/control of resources (There is not enough, let's control the supply and choose who gets what.)
Have / Have Not. Love vs Fear. Good vs Bad. Light and Dark. Science vs Faith. Nature vs Nurture. Masculine/Feminine. Aristocrats vs Peasants, Artisans vs Corporations, and on and on. Etc, etc, etc...
And I get it, in every way that I can and ought to, I do get it. And honestly, some days I miss undergrad, when I used to be able to pontificate and debate about such ideas. Ideas and hope and conversations and collaborations about big things, a worldview, and what we could do... WHAT WE COULD DO if we did it together... oh... I do miss it, sometimes.
But I think, or so I've reasoned, in my way, that a well-lived and rounded life finds the middle. It ought to. And going forward, it simply must. And this is always where I will land, pulling from both. Seeking some sort of peace or equanimity. A balance between the two extremes. Our culture almost encourages extreme behavior, just to get noticed. Celebrated. To find a piece of fame. To make lots of money, to stand out, to shake the cages, whether it's legal or not, violent or not, cruel or not, fair or not, kind or not, intelligent or not, sustainable or not.
But the most impactful, successful, and inspiring people and organizations that I've seen... blend both.
A well-thought-out, grounded, structure and plan, and a reasonable expectation of behavior toward a greater good - guided by creative insight, altruism, soulful abundance, and gratitude.
Exciting times, scary times, nerve-wracking times, inspired times, changing times. And as ever, I'm glad I get to play, in my small and simple ways.
New Moon Intentions... a deeper focus and commitment to healthy choices...
My 2020 Priorities:
- Unbridled Creativity
- Nourished Relationships
It's taken a while to find that all of these, when honored consistently in each area of life (and it's an ongoing practice, I'm always working at it,) keep me in a beautiful balance of passion and peace, grounded and flying in the clouds, self-care and serving a greater good. Authentic grounded presence and still, hope for a bright future.
Everyday life with its ups and downs and obligations and responsibilities, as well as moments of high magic and connection and inspired movement with a creative flow. Both.
I feel like when I give to give, consistently, without self-care or structure... I burn out and resentment toward others builds. I shut down.
When I tend to myself and put my own needs first, consistently, without concern for my impact on others, I choke on my own greed and resentment toward myself builds. I shut down.
When I nourish myself, and give when I'm full, and then restore my energy, consistently, when I weave both together... I can give for longer, in a more sustained and healthy way.
Cheers to balanced, intentional living. And thanks for listening, universe. My friends and co-workers roll their eyes when I ramble about such things... so, I'm glad you're here to witness my words, readers.
Writing something new, and it's not what I thought it was... but I'm glad to be writing it. xo
love, love, love
Once upon a time, not that long ago... there was a girl who was, among other things, a storyteller. Every day, all the time, life was an adventure full of meaning and magic and characters and unseen miracles.
That girl faced adolescence and it was hard - because the real and gritty world of school curriculums and expectations and long days at hard metal desks and tired, overworked parents began to suffocate her free-spirit. Life was not an enchanted forest, after all, it would seem. There was pain and deceit and betrayals and crime to reckon with.
That girl adapted, though she always longed for her secret garden. She dug into life and figured out the methods to their madness - these very much the same kind of people.
Keep your truth inside, memorize things, repeat them, and be polite. Do as you’re told.
That girl became a young woman and broke free, for a time. She adventured and experimented and tried things and laughed and lived hard and broke hearts and walked early morning hallways and nursed hangovers and sang her heart out, or so she tried. For a good long while.
That young woman was sick and tired of being broke and desperate and she changed. Intentionally.
She read. She moved back home. She put herself through college, on her own dime. She worked retail, thanklessly, for years. She excelled in school, because she wanted to be there, because she had earned a truer voice, because she had some things to say about life. And being here. Because she had been to the bottom and Knew that the climb was worth it. She’d seen both.
So got a 4.0 and writing awards, despite doubt all around her. She went further. She earned a Master’s Degree in Information Sciences and Archives/Records Mgmt. She ate Wonderbread sandwiches, did laundry for money, ate her share of ramen, and shot cheap pool on the weekends... earning a chance to qualify at regionals for 9 ball. She never went. She chose studying and caution and keeping on task. But it was nice to be recognized for her skill.
Soon, she finally found work in her field: at a local historic site. Not long after she found herself at home in her career: full-time, full benefits, easy commute, fulfilling work - helping people to make the world a better place. Surrounded by stories, every day.
Not long after, she felt the call of the creative bubbling up, again. By now, she was settled deeply into work life, favorite TV shows, Take-out food, motherhood... and she reached out, one lonely 3 am, on Twitter.
Claire Cook, who wrote one of her favorite books, Must Love Dogs, had kids. And she wrote books, too.
“How do you you do it?” The woman asked, with sour breast milk staining her shirt, cracked and bleeding nipples, a snoring as-of-then-husband, her eyes now dry from crying frustrations out, a baby finally sleeping, and a chest full of journals - a past life, now so far away - filled with magic and wonder and stories and songs. Wondering if she’d ever feel free again, yet knowing she had dreamt of being a mother for her entire life, and wept at the gratitude that she was finally there.
And Claire Cook said, “I write when they’re at swimming lessons. Sports. Anytime I’m in the car, waiting...I write. It’s possible. You can do it!”
And somewhere in the suburbs of Long Island, at 3 am, a woman sighed. And began to believe. in more, again.
And so, that girl was me. And there’s so much more to this story. So much more beneath, that hasn’t been shared yet. I’ve written two books, and I’ve barely begun.
And I type out this update, on my iPhone, as my head bobs up and down, watching my incredible kid doing the backstroke...at his swimming lesson.
He’s six now. More independent now. He likes his time to play and imagine, and guess what? So do I. And it’s good for both of us.
I spew this all out for the tired mothers: who know that they are more than bleeding nipples and stretch marks and delirious feedings and working half-asleep and feeling unsexy and exhausted and numb from being milked and poked and worked and judged and snickered at and condescended to... for simply knowing that there is more.
Motherhood is a blessing, a gift, and our children teach us beautiful and life-changing things. Like sacrifice. Devotion. Unconditional love. Awareness. Time management. Budgeting. Survival instincts. The importance of health and wellness. The importance of compassion and humility.
When you become a mother, you become a world - for a tiny human being that is completely dependent on you to survive. And it rocks your world, it turns you upside-down, it changes everything. It should, it’s supposed to.
But the baby years aren’t forever. And you’ll get yourself back again. I promise you will. Let the baby years have you, and put everything else into Next. It all comes back around.
I breathe in the chlorinated water and roll my shoulders back. I watch how far my boy has come in his skill, his practice. And I know that he is a person, with his own story, and his own lessons to learn. And I can be here. Listen, intensely. Love him, profusely. Comfort him when it’s scary and encourage him when he’s shaky. And I can marvel at his life - his choices and how life will teach him and hurt him and help him and show him how things are. And I can’t prevent or control all of that, but I can be his home. And I can give him the space and time to explore his emotional experience, his creative output, however he wants to. He has a beautiful lens, and it’s a bit different than mine. He’s a science kid.
And I love that. I just can’t wait to see what he does. And I also know I’m not going anywhere. I’m here for all of it, even as I make room - for those deeper parts of me to keep coming up for air - to see the light. Again.
Today in the car, my son said that, “if Earth was any closer to the Sun, we’d burn up. Any farther, and we’d freeze! But we’re right here at the perfect place!”
We sure are, babe. We sure are. What a ride so far.
Life, I’m in. Just happy to be here. ❤️
It was a fun afternoon, watching my son’s name lit up on the leaderboard - in his first-ever Pinewood Derby. He had fun, and got a taste of competition and sportsmanship.
And he went back to his Dad’s place, and I came back to this large house, with the idea that I would write.
First off, I’m super grateful for the cool place to stay, as I house/dog sit. Amazing accommodations. And I’ve had so much downtime to veg out and relax. However...I found the remote.
Loafing on a sofa with a dog that loves company - and binging shows on Netflix - is not natural for me. Not anymore. But I got hooked.
I’m someone who seldom watches TV. I write, I go to concerts or live music venues, I dine, I hike, I walk beaches, I walk the city, I drive, I roadtrip, I make acquaintances, I hang with friends, I mingle, I chat. I move around, and I love that.
And I’m damn near getting bedsores. I’m a busybody and laying around should be a relief, a rest. Peaceful, and it has been. But I feel stir-crazy.
Thank goodness there was someone else here today, to have some long chats with. Some new perspectives. New insights, new takes on old issues. And in between Moments of interaction, I dive into my phone and get sucked into the void. Scroll, scroll, wait, read, tap, scroll. More TV. More scroll. Repeat. And I start to feel like a zombie in a way that I haven’t in quite a while...
And I feel a bit desperate, trapped, wanting to run outside and look at the sky. Breathe deeply. Expand my awareness, once again, out of this box - of constant entertainments and illusions and advertisements. To breathe cool night air and feel the wind bite my skin and the cold grass tickle my ankles. Alive, my heart beating, and a part of it all. I long for the outdoors.
And it blows my mind how much of my days used to look like this: constant numbing and distracting. Hours of TV a night, endless eating, computers all day, and scrolling in-between. Few sincere exchanges or conversations. Always plugged in, all the time. Numb.
And how much more alive, present, aware, interactive, alert, energetic, and engaged I’ve become in my life. Little by little, over time, as I began to challenge my habits, one at a time. And I’m grateful for those changes.
It’s so easy to see how deeply we can fall into digital media, when we aren’t actively engaged, otherwise. It’s a window - outside of ourselves and our environments. A peek. A glimpse into other lives, other moments, that seem more interesting, perhaps.
Years back, I decided to make my own life more interesting, instead of gazing outward. That’s how Wild Horses and Mistakes was written. By throwing myself into raw experiences, places I’ve never been before. To feel things I hadn’t felt in a long time. To join with Life, to become it, to love it, to LIVE it. To experience it all, unfettered, with my senses and my notebooks to jot it down.
And to be submerged, again, as it were... into wormholes of content and media and aimless ingesting and absorbing and auto-play for so much time... really provides a great contrast for me.
It’s such a subtle thing; a change in energy. Absorbing information, instead of sharing it out. Consuming, instead of creating.
And it makes a world of difference in the psyche, even if only for a weekend.
It’s good to be reminded. To remember.
How precious and raw and real our lives can be, when we have the audacity to live them fully. I appreciate rest and contemplation as much as the next person, but creativity begs for connection, immersion, and inspiration. And a numb mind takes us further and further from those things.
Around and around we go... 💫
So. 30 days without: dairy, processed foods, wheat/gluten or any grain, really... beans/ legumes, added sugars, alcohol...
This was my 2nd attempt. The first time, I couldn't stand the emotional upheavals of sugar withdrawal. (It's that addictive, yeah.) I bailed after 2 weeks, telling myself some story... that I was choosing a "Whole 15" and that for me, that was enough.
That was the first of many lies I had told myself about this program. The truth was, I didn't want to get too uncomfortable, I think. I didn't think I could do it.
So, to catch you up: I work full time as a reference librarian. I write books on the side. I'm a single Mom (co-parenting - I do get days to myself.) And I am a recovering productivity junkie. I realized this as I geared up for this program, around holiday time in December... I looked back on my life, on the last 4+ years, and saw that my health goals had stalled completely, as I wrote through things, over and over.
I soul-searched and journeyed and meditated and connected and found my beautiful glittering soul and loved her and pressed her into me, blissfully. I mantra'd. I ohm'd. I shavasana'd. And then I traveled and I rocked out and got doe-eyed and swoony and re-found pieces of myself that I thought were long dead. Nope, not quite. All the while, I was feeding my passions, my joy-meter, my ease, and my mental wellness. No one dared tell me no, to anything. I was on a mission.
Well, a few years out, book two is finished and making its way out into the world, and I chose, purposely, to NOT dive deeply into another project. I would dive deeper into me. I would wrangle my own health, I would master my day-to-day life and priorities, I would organize the place, redecorate some things, reinvent some things. It was all physical. And I tried to do it all for a while... day job, motherhood, organization, novel notes and writing for future projects, a meditation practice, meal planning and fitness and well, I got burnt out again.
So, when an old school friend announced her Whole 30 Challenge on Facebook, it was kismet. I pushed everything off my plate that wasn't home, motherhood, work, and wellness. And I went hard for it.
I kept a journal, but otherwise... no looming writing projects. My free time was spent searching up recipes, cooking, meal-prepping, setting exercise routines - and sticking to them. My own wellness became the obsession. All my lights had been turned inward, right back onto me, and it felt strange at first. Really strange. "But, so and so needs this," and "this one should have that," and I "should do this for that one..." But, I let it all go. It was me-time. I was being selfish. But it wasn't really, not in a bad way.
Because the Why was still there - "build a better world for my son, and for all of our kids." How? Educate, inspire, connect. With What?
So. Whole 30. I committed to a modified version... I knew my allergies well, I just wanted a firm and consistent reset.
What did I eat?
Breakfast: Bulletproof Coffee - fresh espresso, blended with tbsp Kerrygold Butter, 1 tsp MCT oil, 2 scoops collagen protein (I did better with some steady protein in mine, and it took a while to sort this out), and I "cheated" and threw in a Splenda sometimes.
Lunch: big-ass salad... e.g. a few handfuls of greens, 1/2 a cucumber, steamed asparagus, 1/2 sweet potato, cherry tomatoes, sauerkraut, olives, 1/2 an avocado, oil and vinegar, leftover protein (usually chicken breast or hard boiled egg. Sometimes beef. Sometimes no-sugar bacon.) No croutons, no bread, nada. Just the veg.
Snack: If I needed it... a Lara Bar or a Quest Bar. Lots of water. Green tea, maybe. At peak sugar-craving times, I made modified "sweets," like keto brownies or almond flour donuts, with Swerve and but flours and other approved keto-style ingredients. I fed the indulgence, but staying on track with my goals. Win-win. And it was only for that 2nd week, really. The cravings passed.
Dinner: protein, veggies, 1/2 avocado. Berries on the side, sometimes with coconut cream. (OH MY GOD, COCONUT CREAM.)
That's about it, for 30 days. Samesies, every day. The result? Food became a fuel, and not a pleasure fix or a thing to do or a mindless diversion. I ate what was best for me, intentionally... I have iron-anemia and hypothyroidism. And after over 10 years of experimenting, I now know for sure that I do best on a higher fat, low-carb diet with animal proteins and very low amounts of grain. Most of my carbohydrates come from plants.
I returned to lifting weights... just a few times per week, and lots of cardio: aerobic dance, walking, and just maximizing ways to stay active throughout the day. Every day. I moved every single day, somehow.
SO the results?
So, it was absolutely worth it, all around. I may allow some cheeses in here and there, some whole grains, maybe, like quinoa or oats... but for the most part, this is how I'll be eating. And it's probably how I always should have been eating. It just makes sense - it's so simple and natural.
Am I at my goal? No, not yet. But I'm damn proud of my success after just a month. It feels really, really good to take care of yourself and insist on that time: to run, to workout, to go to a yoga class, to cook a slow meal. It feels really good. And too many of us don't fight for it. It's hard, to let go of the rest and focus on yourself. It's really hard, you fear missing out on things, losing things, but really... you're not. And the more you focus on your own well-being, the more you realize that YOU are what you've been missing out on, while you put everyone else first, for so long.
I've decided to never take myself for granted again, if I can help it.
It's gray and damp and rainy in New York, today.
Often, in winter, I visit one of the local arboretums...to get a taste of the tropics in the cold. It's an instant boost and a mood lifter. Warm, humid air, fresh and bright florals and fragrance, it just fills my soul up. It feeds my dopamine, if you prefer. It provides a dose of bliss and simple pleasure in an otherwise monotonous and dreary day. And it's great for creativity.
My feeds and the TV and the papers all shout the same things at me... impeachment, the environment, oil and climate and the hungry and the division and destruction and on and on until I could easily fall into a depression, trying to come to terms with all of it at once.
But I breathe into presence. And Grace. And the petals of a flower and how Nature could come up with this... this intricately designed, exquisite, simple yet complex, beautiful and little delicate thing that wants only to be colorful and pleasing and produce its nectar. It is because it is and I allow myself to marvel at it. And the world slows down, within, and then without, once again. I can focus my energy, as the world spins, onto this steady and simple piece of living poetry and I fall into it, easily.
Notes from a garden meditation:
And aren't we all Nature. Of it and in it, all at once, and here is the paradox. A system, at once, set on both self-destruction and self-preservation. As is the human body. Red cells; white cells. Lovers and fighters. And to keep that balance is always the order of the day. Are the good things being fed, are the bad ones being starved? So it is with our thoughts, as well, if we can gain distance from them. For a few moments, at least.
And I hover and float as I sink into meditation some more. Surface thoughts dissipate and float off. Grand ideas and solutions and wonderment and simplicity return.
And if we could only hold all that Light in a shaker bottle, far above the Earth... and dispense it like we do pro-biotics into our own bodies. Add more good, to gain a bit more beneficial flora, to outweigh the bad. And if only we could sprinkle some life-sized pro-biotics onto our planet. Good to outnumber the bad. Or beneficial to outnumber the depleting, but who gets to say? Who chooses, is there still a right and a wrong or is rational thought gone? Do facts matter or does majority rule reign?
Lighter and lighter still, as I float.
And there we all are... specks on this rock. A number of us arguing and scuffling about matters of great weight, or so they seem. A number of us fighting for what is right, or so we insist. A number of us building new things, destroying old things, moving things, preserving things. A number of us jumping, dancing, singing, laughing, playing, searching, running. A number of us crying, rocking, swaying, isolating, caught up in fear and defensiveness. But from up there, we're just the gummy and moving film that coats the big rock, like an algae, really, and what a ruckus we think we make. What a ruckus we try to make.
"See me, hear me, feel me..." The Who
And I consider how long we are here, how long we get to be here, as a moving part of this cosmic film, these tiny moving pieces that are part of a much bigger universal puzzle. And how do I want to spend that time? Scurrying? Arguing, judging, fighting? Destroying or healing? Creating or condemning?
Fearing or loving.
And if Love is the magic elixir in the cosmic goo that makes us shine and bond together like so many molecules that mesh together toward some greater thing, then let us Love. Let us give off luminescent Light, from within the mess. Let us be catalysts, one by one by one by one until we're two by two by two...creating a chain reaction, and on and on.
What if we, human beings, capable of such wide and vast and unlimited intellectual perspectives, and also of such narrow and limited, earthy ideas, what if we were said pro-biotics. Walking manifestations of bacteria and molecules and energy and light that are capable of great change, should we put our minds to it. But we often seem to be too busy numbing or entertaining or distracting our minds... to properly use them. Because it's exhausting, really. But what an amazing machine is the human mind, when properly lit up and utilized and plugged into its source.
And if all minds, lit up and turned on could work toward a greater good, simultaneously. Wow. What couldn't we do? Oh, but we differ, individually, don't we? And will we ever agree enough to move any given thing forward, or will we constantly disagree and battle our extremes against each other - in the grand coliseum - for sport?
Rome still stands, it often seems. Great battles keep us entertained and engaged on things other than ourselves and our potential. Still.
But to choose silence. Peace. To seek within. To seek out one's own mind and its limitless capabilities. To connect from within, from that place of effortless and underlying connection, like the roots of a tree far beneath the dirt, like synapses in the brain firing up with light when new connections are made. And what if all minds, all consciousness, was this way? Connections awaiting spark; separate fires in the dark?
What if the world was filled with these separate camps, small blazes, tribes huddled together, at different times, but each thought their own camp was the only one with light? They might give up after a while, their burning into the dark night, searching for life. But if each camp knew it wasn't alone and that their lights were brighter together, from a distance... they might coordinate for a larger purpose.
Which is why individual and inner work can be so vital, in these times.
“There are two basic motivating forces: fear and love. When we are afraid, we pull back from life. When we are in love, we open to all that life has to offer with passion, excitement, and acceptance. We need to learn to love ourselves first, in all our glory and our imperfections. If we cannot love ourselves, we cannot fully open to our ability to love others or our potential to create. Evolution and all hopes for a better world rest in the fearlessness and open-hearted vision of people who embrace life. “ - John Lennon
When we love ourselves fearlessly, we learn to care for ourselves, deeply. And this love, this inner-radiance, this universal and powerful life-force, spreads to others and to all life-forms around us and within us.
Energy is contagious, whether it is positive or negative.
And yes, all this from a simple flower.
Take from it what you will; be it artistic or esoteric.
Silence, presence, and inward journeys are gold for creativity - new ideas, perspectives, understandings, and appreciations. And you do with it what you will, it's our choice, individually, but to get there - to that place - of hearing yourself, and not just the numb of the outside world, is where the goodies are.
Then, I ate a sandwich (lettuce wrap). Because - grounding.
Oh, and I loved my sandwich, too.
Only Ever Love
Something funny happened last night. My little one was with his Dad, doing fun stuff with cousins, I presume. I had every opportunity to go out and be reckless, or even just...cozy and lush and jazzy with bourbon in hand. To go a-drinkin. Hangin' out. To mix and meet and mingle in loud and numbing, pulsating rooms. I could’ve. I had places in mind. Venues. Some money in the bank. I’ve done it so much, so many times. Free! And I’m not one of those who are introverted and shy about strolling into a restaurant, club, bar, venue alone and chatting up who’s there. I used to joke that: “after two drinks, we’re all best friends anyway!” Ay... :cheers:
And I do still enjoy a nice bourbon cocktail, or a glass of wine, or a cold beer, here and there, every few months or so with family and close friends. I'm not a big drinker by any means, it's never been a drink-to-get-drunk thing for me. And no judgment, always do you.
But I just hadn’t the desire last night. I wanted peace. I wanted easy and lazy and yoga pants. I had nothing to prove and had no interest in pretense or small talk or overpriced plates. And I wanted to wake up rested and ready and feeling good for another day off. So, I watched Gone with the Wind, had veggies and yogurt ranch dip, a few chocolate covered strawberries, one indulgent piece of tiramisu (so worth it), and later on did some blissful rocking-chanting-sageburning-beadholding-mantra singing-soulpartying for all the Peace and Love on Earth.
It’s been a while. I've had a lot going on.
I’d forgotten how good it felt to just connect, vibe, appreciate, hold space, stretch, lay flat in shavasana, and celebrate the very notion that we’re here. Now. On this beautiful rock, together, lighting it up with love, all over the world, as millions gathered and celebrated and chanted and rocked out and danced hard and held great hope for things to come. A consumer extravaganza? No question, but still.
Optimism can be a drug, too, and a healthy one. It just feels good to feel good, doesn't it? And how much more kind, open, and trusting are we... when we feel good? When we're gathering, when we're at ease?
If you’re sensitive to group meditations and infectious energy and how it all resonates and ripples outward and connects us all, you know NYE is very special in that regard. So many cities, in succession, around the world, celebrating life and opportunity. Together. Regardless of any other beliefs. And yes, there is sadness, loneliness, hardship all around as well. But also, so much hope, joy, wonder, gratitude, and peace. Unity. Uh, I live for it, when we all just vibe and get along. BLISSSSSS...
Oh, I do run on. I know.
This morning I slept in, woke up refreshed and rested. No hangovers or drama. Just pop out of bed and go. How nice? So, I went for a quick chilly hike, I felt great and wanted to move around. I drove up the Hudson and stopped at a favorite riverside park and walked around. I stopped at a local coffee spot there and got a mocha-something, guilt-free. Delish. And I drove home, my mind free to release things and consider things and let go of things and make room for more things. Creative ideas. Dinner ideas. Big, beautiful future ideas.
I got home, made a bite, and took out the vacuum and started cleaning up. And mid-vacuum, I had the best cry. Out of nowhere, like it finally had the room to pour out. You know when it just won't stay in anymore? Days and days of pent-up who knows what that didn't really bother you at the time, and it just picks these weird moments to squeeze out of you. And I forgot how great it feels to allow that. Those cleansing moments, letting it all go. The release. Life is full of moments that stress us, upset us, confuse us, gut-punch us, snicker at us. No big deal, but sometimes it lingers, festers. And hormones are a joy, too. And that release is so important. Stagnant emotions cause health problems, something I'd learned all too well.
And I only mention it to stress that... emotion is human. And healthy. And right. And so many of us stifle and silence our emotions in the pursuit of appearing perfect or all-together. Sometimes it's taught to us, from young. Suck it up, stop crying, get a hold of yourself. You're so dramatic. Oh my God, but you're SO normal though, really. You're supposed to feel. Feel all the things, feel them! And also, a reminder that emotions are full of charge and information...they teach us things. To feel so strongly and powerfully about something, or a circumstance, or a someone, is an indiction that they are important. Emotions move us closer, deeper, into ourselves and away from what isn't for us. Toward what's really true and really worthwhile. Emotions show us what we really care about. They have so much to say and they can help us create beautiful art, as well.
In the digital age of instant gratification and "don't catch feelings," and "stay up," and all the rest... I'm here to remind you that it's all so very okay and human to feel and have joy and sadness and long stretches of awkward reality to deal with. It's life. The clouds are lovely, but we've got to walk through the dirt, sometimes, too.
Always listen, when your heart starts to speak. In cries or screams or contented sighs or sweet, singing, intoxicated bliss. Listen in. To all of it. It all matters. The emotion exposes the true desire, the root, and then a plan becomes the solution, the map, to fulfilling that desire. And then, an action starts the journey toward it. The emotional outburst is the clue, the whisper, the inner-inclination that you've been ignoring for too long. So it got louder. That's what I think, anyway.
It's all on time. So, don't fear the feels, my friends. Observe them. They carry wisdom, from you...to you. You truest strength, and greatest contributions are built from your own inner wisdom. Even when it's just normal passing ups and downs, it doesn't have to be deep grief and soul-healing to be lesson-worthy.
Oh, and that peaceful moment when the stress leaves the body and you know... you've answered your own questions. You just had to give the space. All that's left... are the next steps. One foot, then another, then another, then another...
Happy New Year <3
Throwback Thursday... I found this old Word doc that never seemed to make it to my old blog. And I cozied up, reading it through, and it reminded me about why I first fell in love with books, with ephemera, with history and information, in general... I thought I'd share it with you.
"As a librarian, I am constantly surrounded by books. And I love that – the feel of them, the smell of the crisp pages on a brand new book. We recently got something new on physics and quarks, and I’m not even exaggerating when I say that the pages smell like grapefruit. A lovely blend of citrus and something pulpy…like cardboard or wet oak. These pages are delicious. The words aren’t bad either. But I digress.
I met a wonderful gentleman who has been bringing us boxes of precious books from his father’s house: he had quite a well-kept library of his own, was a war veteran, and has donated many World War II titles to us. We are always grateful for donations, but I appreciate them so much more when I learn about the people and stories behind them. When someone hands me a box of books and their eyes fill, and they say: “He loved these books, he loved to read, and he’d want them to be read again…” Well, I fill up as well. The books become humanized, they come alive with stories and a feeling of their own. I believe a memory, an essence of the reader, imprints upon the books.
In the second delivery we received from this man, I found something unique: “Letters in a Box.” I looked it up in the county-wide catalog and then, the worldwide catalog – no one else had it. Odd, I thought. And then…I got excited. Something rare, something special. I did a little Internet searching and made a discovery: the book was compiled of handwritten letters by Robert L. Stone, who was not only a First Lieutenant in the South Pacific during World War II, but also led as an accomplished executive in corporations such as: Hertz, Colombia Pictures, and a few well-known television companies. Quite a resume. And an inspiring human being with a wonderful story to tell.
What really struck me – the magic here, as I see it – is that only six-hundred copies of this book were printed. They were given out to family and friends; shipped from a small school, with the help of students and the local Post Office in Williamstown, Massachusetts. Six-hundred copies – printed nearly two-hundred miles away. And here it is; in my hands. I am grateful to become acquainted with it. Its pages smell a bit like gasoline, metal, and wood pulp, but in a good way – as if it had been read in the garage while re-fabricating an old ’57 Chevy, in the summertime, while nursing an ice cold beer – a fresh pile of sawdust on the cement floor from an earlier project.
Olfactory pleasures aside, this volume is an absolute treasure trove of scanned postcards, handwritten letters, memories, photographs and newspaper clippings. Primary, first-hand, WWII source material, folks, the kind that we are losing access to more quickly than I would care to admit. Now, I am not one to run up and down the streets praising the idea of war, but men in my family have served and I love and appreciate them. And I respect and appreciate the history of the aircraft, the roles the bombardiers played, the stories and emotion and struggle that these people went through – so far from home. Many of them not even coming home. This book is a moving tribute, put together by a very dedicated and caring family; honoring the life and legacy of their fascinating, hardworking, and memorable father. I am smitten with it. And while I do want to squirrel it away for myself, I feel that it needs to be read and shared. It will be added to the collection and I’m happy to give it a home, where it will be read by many.
At the end of the book, tucked in the back pages inconspicuously… was a bookmark made in Topeka, Kansas. Wounded Warrior Project. This is an amazing project and they have a great approach to long-term post-war recovery. I had heard the name before, but it slipped my mind and never came up again. Until now. An important reminder to not just study and learn from the past, but to take care of our veterans in the present.
Veterans of war, here and abroad, past and present… thank you for your service. You are not forgotten."
I later recorded an episode of The Jelly that discussed veterans of wartime; it's always been a paradox of a subject for me, since childhood.
I hope you all enjoyed the holidays, and if not... hang in there! The madness is almost over!
It's almost January. I had a wonderful Christmas, spent cherished time with family, and ate too many sweets. :facepalm: So good though.
I am on Day One of a refreshing cleanse, and boy, do I need it. Reset. All I want is lettuce, I'm not kidding. I'm turning into a cookie. It's like that old episode of the Cosby show where Bill lets Theo drink as much as he wants...and he gets so sick of it, he just has no interest in drinking, ever again. It's like that, but sugar.
Anyway. Take care of yourselves. Read books. Stay kind.
Mother. Librarian. Storyteller.