Every April for the past 3-4 years I devote my dreams, deep thoughts, and some creative work to Mother Earth - for Earth Day, Earth Month - which I feel should be honored all the time and not just in passing...
The other great thing about my new love for the garden and putting my hands into the earth...is the reminder, that she is our Mother. And working with her, knowing her rhythms, her responses, her preferences...is life-changing. How? Well, in honoring and showing reverence for Mother Earth, we are reminded about the feminine side of divine energy. And what came to me...out there in the soil...is how important that is. A mother nurtures, provides, loves, sustains, teaches, and heals us. And in return, she should be respected, cared for, tended to, valued, and appreciated. Do you see where I'm going with this? What does that say for how we treat our planet? Are we respecting our Mother, who has always sustained, fed, and nurtured us? And in the microcosm, are we respecting our women? Are we valuing, protecting, and caring for our women? And women...are we valuing and loving ourselves, setting healthy standards, are we celebrating our gifts, or hiding them? Are we respecting the feminine energy within all of us -- to nourish, nurture, emote, lift up, heal, inspire, and love each other?
"Let us dedicate this new era to mothers around the world, and also to the mother of all mothers -- Mother Earth. It is up to us to keep building bridges to bring the world closer together, and not destroy them to divide us further apart." - Suzy Kassem
This is why it always starts within. If we know who we are and value and cherish ourselves, as we are, and we are open, caring, generous, and nurturing with ourselves; we can then send that love out. To heal. Heal each other, lift each other up, empower each other, walk with each other...and maybe our dear old Mother Earth will get a spa day and some needed love.
The hard truth is...she will be fine. Our planet will do what it needs to do to heal, with or without us. But we need her: We must bring back the balance. Let's create a beautiful, nourished Earth. Where food is grown -- naturally, beautifully. Where each species, including humans, can co-exist in harmony. Where the power of God and Love is revered and honored, but religion doesn't divide and destroy us. Where the circle of life, the balance of all things, is respected, honored, and practiced. Not perfection, not utopia...but a healthy, sustainable balance. That's the best that any of us can ask for, and work toward. For ourselves, for our home. For tomorrow.
And oh... do I know the world is grappling with this virus, at present. It overshadows everything. And I feel all of it, but I let it through, it doesn't stay.
But I'm a writer. An observer. A pattern-noticer. A perspective person, a future thinker, a deep-feeler. Sensitive. I notice things, I pay attention to things. Subtle shifts, changes, details. Minutiae, to some. The pulse of Life on Earth, to me.
And when industry stops and the skies clear and the natural world breathes in a deep fresh breath, without pollutants... it's awe-inspiring to me. It's a gift. A sacred perspective, a flashback, to how it always, always ought to be. And the contrast that rises up...when we see what we've done.
In the micro - it's in our behavior when fear hits - national toilet paper shortage. <--- this is insanity. But really, it's greed, brought on by unchecked fear. Personal fear - will I get stuck in a quarantine? I'll need toilet paper. Big fear - can I trust that I'll get the information about this? I'm all alone on this, it's conspiracy, better prepare for doomsday. Or worse, simple greed - buy it all up and try to flip it. Let others suffer, so I can be rich.
And that's it. That's the worst of humanity, in a nutshell. It's all for me, and none for you, unless you buy it..from me. Even if you need it more than me; I bought it first, pay me. Greed. Personal gain, up and down and sideways. I'd want to be out of the way of that karma-boomerang.
But not all. No, also, is humanity rising up into its finest, most generous, most breathtaking magic. Giving, sharing, singing, loving, shining, caring deeply for others, for the greater good, for those who can't do for themselves. People..are mostly kind and compassionate. If we encourage it.
But zooming out, as I do...
The virus is real, down here on the ground, close-up. In our lives and homes and psyches. It's debilitating, it's scary, it's sad and mournful, it's tragic.
Perhaps, it's a physical, tangible manifestation of what we refuse to see and act upon, collectively. Our climate crisis is the wider and more pressing reality - and it's just as real and just as terrifying, and it's been swept under the rug like it doesn't matter, by too many influential people. For far too long.
I started writing in earnest about Gaia/Mother Earth years ago, after I woke up in cold, shivering sweat one night - absolutely nauseous, trembling, my heart palpitating, my mouth parched and dry, my lungs burning with dry heat... I woke from a dream - I stumbled on dry dirt, all desert, in a barren landscape, with no vegetation left, and very little clean water. No wildlife; maybe insects were left. The air was so toxic and hot that it hurt me, physically. And it felt like a warning of what was to come if we didn't get out of our own way. An image that's hasn't left me, since. (I'm in a serious mood, today.)
And I've been in Her service, ever since. Craziness? Maybe. I'm okay with that, it gives my life meaning and purpose and helps me do good and eat the right things (most of the time.) I'm in it for my son - for a clean, healthy, vibrant Earth for our children and their children's children.
We've known for decades that we over consume and over pollute and that we have to change. And we do nothing. Over and over and over again. We remain stagnant, like...a virus. And Nature protects itself, just as we do.
I just don't know what we're waiting for anymore. It's nonsensical, at this point. The technology is there, the science is there. It's nearly suicide, now - if we know that we'll lose our breathable air and drinkable water to our waste and pollution... and do nothing to change... well... it's a sad state of affairs. It's like injecting yourself with a vicious virus and waiting for the worst.
But is it hopeless?
We have guidelines, we have science, we have tests, we have precautions and safeguards. To stay home, to create distance, to rest, to take care of ourselves, to stay healthy. We can prepare for and try to manage our exposure. And our planet, our environment - we can plan, prepare, use guidelines, safeguards, and science... keep her healthy, let her rest, take care of her.
It seems like a no-brainer to me. Yet, we resist. Perhaps, when we fully learn to care for ourselves - stay out of harm's way, follow guidelines that protect us, trust science and data and facts - maybe we'll be ready to extend it to our world, as well.
This is a great training ground, a long game, and it looks like, here? In the states? We're running out of quarters. Fast. And it has to change. I think we've been dreaming the wrong dream for too long, and I think we should wake up now, and get on the ground, and do the right thing. With this virus and how it relates to our public health...and with our planet, which also concerns our public health.
“We have become great because of the lavish use of our resources. But the time has come to inquire seriously what will happen when our forests are gone, when the coal, the iron, the oil, and the gas are exhausted, when the soils have still further impoverished and washed into the streams, polluting the rivers, denuding the fields and obstructing navigation.”
“Defenders of the short-sighted men who in their greed and selfishness will, if permitted, rob our country of half its charm by their reckless extermination of all useful and beautiful wild things ... sometimes seek to champion them by saying the ‘the game belongs to the people.’ So it does; and not merely to the people now alive, but to the unborn people.
The ‘greatest good for the greatest number’ applies to the number within the womb of time, compared to which those now alive form but an insignificant fraction. Our duty to the whole, including the unborn generations, bids us restrain an unprincipled present-day minority from wasting the heritage of these unborn generations. The movement for the conservation of wild life and the larger movement for the conservation of all our natural resources are essentially democratic in spirit, purpose, and method.”
- Theodore Roosevelt
He knew then; it's been over 100 years.
And I'm mad, a little. About these patterns. About how selfish we can get in a crisis - protecting narrow, personal greed and convenience over the greater good and our collective health:
Can you see how this health crisis is showing us to ourselves, in black and white?
As above, so below. As within, so without.
I worry about it. A lot. We've got to take better care of each other, still.
On the flip-side, we gather with new technology, alone-together... singing, performing, speaking, giving sermons, offering prayer services, entertaining each other, lifting up spirits, creating hope and beauty and joy and lightness...even as we suffer and struggle. And I know we are also benevolent and kind and compassionate and loving creatures. We are lights...in darkness. We are rainbows in storms and fresh blooms in abandoned concrete.
We're all of it, at once, somehow. But we're going to need a bit more light than dark, going forward. A bit more kindness, than greed. A lot more Love than Fear.
And if energy is contagious, then let us Love...even more. And I just hope that we - that so many of us - notice, too. What our world feels like... when it's clean and healthy.
How interconnected it all is... you and me and everything else... from the noetic and arcane to the commonplace and basic.
But it begs the question....humans...
Who are we? What do we want? And what the hell are we waiting for?
I've learned to complete a number of tasks at home, for my job. Online ordering, social media communication, staying in contact with our public, stocking digital materials, watching some webinars to stay current, all sorts of things. We do our best.
I'm learning to stretch meals and not waste food and be very aware of what we're doing, eating, how we're staying hygienic, and all the rest. I get to stay at home, and stay safe, and avoid shopping centers - and order things online for home delivery.
We're adjusting well, all considered.
Some days are great, some days are beyond challenging, and I begin to doubt myself as a parent, I'll be honest. Today, he sat for an hour, writing as slowly as possible, writing his letters backwards, on purpose. Easily distracted, giggling, scribbling out his math problems. My patience gets thin, he picks it up and gets irritable, and it snowballs from there.
"I can't, I'm too tired..." he said. "This isn't how we do it in school..." Our kids are smart and they're sensitive and they pick up on the changes. On all the grown-up talk. On the anxiety in the air - they feel it too.
This isn't easy, and he's napping in a cool room now, as I type.
"Okay, you're allowed to be tired. But no toys or games or YouTube shows if you're tired, right? Just sleep..."
"Yes, I really am tired," he said.
So, he's napping. And he really was tired. Or at least overwhelmed and distracted and not-himself. And sometimes, I have to pull back from the frantic round of activity around here... to notice. To tune-in. If he's not seated and breezing along like usual, there's a reason. He's a great reader, ahead of the curve. He's a STEM kid, he loves science, he's a brain. He loves work, he often requests extra work.
I don't know how much he slept, really. But for a good fifteen minutes, he laid there, quietly, in the dark. He whispered to himself, he tossed and turned. He bundled up in the covers. And he reset himself.
I did the same, as I wrote out this little blog about our afternoon.
Most days, for the first two weeks, we followed a structure:
9 - 10 am (roughly) - Breakfast, potty break, wash hands, brush teeth
10 am - schoolwork assignments
11 am - snack break, dance party
11:30 am - reading
NOON - lunch and playing outside or a game inside, if it's yucky out (sometimes we even play in rain)
1 pm - schoolwork assignments or interactive science activity/cooking/gardening, etc...
2 pm - school's out, go play
5 pm - dinner
7 pm - bath, books, games
8 pm - bedtime
Now, this worked well at first, it was a dream, I felt like Supermom. And this week, it's become a fantasy. He doesn't want to go to sleep at night, he stays up, he knows that he's not going anywhere the next day. A lot of things contribute to it. It's not easy. And some days, it's easier to not do schoolwork, and just do other fun things. I let him watch educational videos, so Mommy can get some work done. Some days, I have to. And it's all okay. It's become more and more challenging for my son to focus independently, and that's okay, for now.
But I'm looking at why. What's different now, then in Weeks 1 and 2?
More tension, more changes, more pressures, more anxiety. All around. In the house, on the news. In all of us, mostly. Unease. And I forget how sensitive we all are: how we respond to energy and how contagious it all is. Yesterday, he had a virtual play-date and it was like a miracle how he lit up. CONNECTION. Friendship. Joy and laughter! Essential in turbulent times. Not only allowed, but highly encouraged. Just as we need to reach out and keep in touch with our friends and simpatico folks... so do our kids. My son was missing his very best friend so much - and was different after little Facetime session. We plan to do it more.
So, steady as she goes.
We're trying to re-focus and get back into a loose - but structured - routine. We work best when we feel good and rested and loved. So, each morning now...we have together-time. Just me and him. After breakfast, we snuggle up and talk - any fears, worries, questions? How did we sleep? Do you miss anyone, who should we call? We get all the niggling yucky stuff out...so it doesn't fester. We meditate (he learned this in school, from his first daycare and up...) steady easy breathing, in and out. We say the Pledge of Allegiance, just like in school. He does guide meditations with me, he's getting to be like a guru. (See Cosmic Kids yoga on YouTube, for an example. Simple kids yoga, imagery, imagination, relaxation. It's wonderful.) We...reset. Calm, focused, loved. Ready to do our best (we hope.)
I finish up this post, he emerges from his nap, plays in solitude for a bit...and we have lunch.
And he's alert and open and ready-ish to do his schoolwork - kind, warm, more receptive, and listening... for now.
So. Good luck out there. None of it is easy. But just a reminder that our littles need mental health breaks, too. And nothing is perfect. And no one knows what they're doing, we just do our best. We work hard, we take breaks, we love love love each other through it.
And love and acceptance are paramount - for kids of all ages.
Take care of yourselves. (And each other.)
As I hear from friends and loved ones who are struggling with unknowns and not able to pay bills and they worry about their mortgages or rent or losing clients... I can't help but flash back to my twenties.
Granted, it was different. The world was open for business; I was just broke and irresponsible. A huge difference, there. But maybe the experiences and the lessons can be of use...here and now. Circumstances change - reasons and causes differ - but broke and uncertain is broke and uncertain. It's scary for anyone.
I've always worked. We were one of those families that lived on a posh street, in a middle-upper class neighborhood, and went to great public school - and also, went to St Pat's in Glen Cove for trash bags full of used clothing (you could fill a bag for $5.00.) My father, a Vietnam Vet, worked hard, assimilating back into life as best he could, my mother took care of the kids and the house, and they stretched the cash as far as they could. We even roasted our own Cheerios in a skillet and would smuggle them into the movies for snacks - instead of buying overpriced popcorn. When you don't have a lot, you live within your means. You scrap, you get creative, you make it work. They did what they had to and i couldn't wait to earn my own money, I won't lie. I wanted to work. And to be sure, my childhood sounds like a dream compared to some others. I wasn't born to drug addicts or left homeless or in an impoverished country with no resources to help me, or anything else that would be more dire. I was just... hustling with less, somewhere in NY. We were okay.
I babysat, early on. Back then, I made about $3/hour. I stashed it away for a year and bought a pair of Guess jeans. I was hot stuff in those jeans, make no mistake. I earned them. I loved those jeans.
In high school, I tried all sorts of things. I did cold-calls for a chiropractor once - it lasted a day. I hated myself doing this work, I got stomach sick. Not for me. I was a terrible conniver. Next, I worked in a boat shop, boxing up parts to ship out to people with boats, I imagine. Great people, basic work. I broke the vacuum, I think. I made a couple of bucks for a while and was glad for the experience.
Later, after graduation, I made the move to Glen Cove, and stayed with the Italian side of the family. Glen Cove is Little Calabria, if you didn't know. At least it used to be. My mother grew up there, and I moved in with her and the man who would become my stepfather. He's the one who found me work down the block, at Blockbuster Video. He just walked in..."hey, hey. My daughter needs a job." (He's Sicilian, so...there you go. )
I loved the job. I loved the movies. I started by running a cash register and putting VHS tapes on the shelves. Late nights, overnight inventory shifts, lots of labor, low wages with no benefits - but I made lasting friendships and had such good times. Memories for life. Friends for life. Diners became a mainstay. When you get out of work at 2am, what else is open?
I stopped going to school for a while. I just wanted to work, I was having fun and making money. My grades were terrible, I wasn't showing up to classes, I was still a school screw-up. I enjoyed working. I loved saving money and watching it grow. So, I un-enrolled for a while.
In summers, I would hop on the truck with my stepfather. He had his CDL and worked for nurseries and oil companies and would drive these enormous rigs all over the coast, delivering goods. And I would ride with him, in my ball cap and jeans and t-shirt and a 19-year-old puss on my face, and earn my way through the summer. We stopped at the deli, super-early, before sunrise, and got our signature bacon-egg-and-cheese-on-a-roll...and I'd get a large iced coffee. For the road. I threw bags of Speedy Dry on my shoulder, I carried potted plants, bottles of motor oil, all kinds of things. Labor, real physical labor. For about $20/day. I was glad to get it.
Old men would tip me, $.50, $1.00, "go get a cup of coffee..." they'd say. I'd roll my eyes. And my stepfather would say, "be nice, say thank you. He doesn't owe you anything." So, I did. I learned to be gracious. He was right, that's $1.00 I didn't have before. Every bit counts. I scrapped back then, for everything that I had. I bought my first car, a beat up old Chevy, a red Chevy Cavalier, with the roof-fabric falling down, for $500, matched by $500 by my folks, I think. Used, from a dealer somewhere on Hempstead Turnpike. I loved that car. I took good care of it. I learned about dipsticks and checking oil and idiot lights and gauges and spark plugs. Maintenance. I learned about taking care of things that you value. At this point, I worked to pay for my own car insurance, my own :coughs: beeper/pager and early model cell phone (it was the size of a shoe, with a carrot for an antenna, for Pete's sake.) But I earned them and paid for them, they were mine. I ate simply, and not very well. I stretched my money.
Later, I moved to Boston with some girlfriends - amazing women that I'm still in touch with, today. We got transfers to a Blockbuster on Mass Ave, close to the hospital. Great view of the Pru Center. Assistant Managers, all of us. I loved the town. I loved the vibe. Our apartment housed a soccer team of Irish boys... one of them got drunk and urinated on my bedroom window, from a floor up. (We were out in Allston, on a bar brawl. It was never, ever quiet - except maybe at 3 - 4 am.) So many stories...many not worth repeating. I lived on Ramen (I'd buy cases in bulk, they'd be $.25/cup.) Grilled cheese sandwiches. Instant coffee. Tap water. Candy bars. Cheap booze. I lived very, very simply and was very unhealthy. Going to the doctor for anything would cost me a fortune. I'd have to borrow money. So, I just didn't do anything dangerous. I didn't ski or run or play sports, for fear of getting hurt and not being able to pay the bill. It's a terrifying thing to know that medical care isn't available for you, if you don't have the right job or the right insurance. That getting sick could bankrupt you. I lasted four months in Boston, I was home by Christmas. I knew nothing about managing money, sound decision making, how important nutrition and exercise were for my health... I thought it was all genetic and that what I ate was irrelevant. One of many lies I'd believed throughout my life.
Christmas, 1999, I was back home. I was in a deep, dark hole. I had left school. I left my job. I sold all my belongings, including my guitar and my car to get to Boston, to follow my dream... and I was home again, with nothing. Starting over. Humbled, lonely, a bit broken and desperate. The world as I knew it...had stopped. I was stuck at home, with nothing but family and my senses. More sandwiches. More sacrificing and simple living. I did odd jobs for money. I regrouped. I stayed with family as long as possible, and counted myself lucky to have tried and true blood family that got me though anything. They always have. I decided, at this low-point, that shift work in retail wasn't going to cut it, long-term. I was made for more. And I soon began designing my life, intentionally. Consciously. Reading, absorbing, learning, and gaining insight. Empowering myself, from virtually nothing. Thank God for family.
That's when I went back to school - on purpose. I had done the blue collar thing. I hustled, I got my hands dirty, I earned my keep, I did the blood, sweat, tears thing. I knew I was tough. I knew I had grit. I knew I could survive on very little and take hand-me-downs and borrow and pay back and make ends meet. But I was smart, if unfocused. So, I went back to school. My Pops let me borrow his car, a powder blue, gigantic old T-Bird with rear-wheel drive. It was terrible in snow, and I got stuck a few times. But I got through it all. Somehow.
In-between classes, somewhere in those years, I worked to help set up the Kohl's in Westbury, on 25A for a while. I had never "set up" a brand new department store - I was fascinated. I was in college then, at NCC (Nassau Community College.) AAS in Marketing & Advertising, minoring in English. I got to see everything I was learning in action: merchandising, product placement, suggestive selling, all of it. I think I left before the store opened... I went on a date with a team leader and it got weird. (Don't mix business and pleasure, it never works.) I don't remember much about him... but that he borrowed a super-clean car with "new car" scent sprayed everywhere, wore one of those corny horn necklaces, and that he loved Depeche Mode. Nice guy, but no fireworks.
I switched to Liberal Arts, because I fell more smitten with English, with each course. I was writing and journaling and reading, voraciously. I soon finished my degree, moved onto to a SUNY school, and finished the last two years in American Studies and Women's Studies. I won honors, I shocked absolutely everyone - because it was the right time for me. That's all. I wanted to be there. I was committed. I was doing it for the right reasons, I had a future in mind. I was looking forward... not spinning my wheels going nowhere fast.
The course load at SUNY was a lot, and I stopped working. I became a full time student, and did chores for money, again. I did laundry for money so I could go out once a week and shoot pool. I took better care of my body, I learned about wellness and nutrition and yoga. I was on the path toward self-care.
Fast-forward to the present - I'm nearly 15 years into a career as a Public Reference Librarian. I love what I do. I help people get what they need, I form relationships with folks in my community. I'm healthy. I have medical insurance through the state. I've discovered that I have hypothyroidism, and need to follow certain protocols to feel good. I discovered that I have an anxiety condition, and needed to learn certain tools and meditation techniques and mental health practices to function at my best. All of these things that I didn't know about... were there, percolating, keeping me from a well-lived life as I scrambled and reacted my way through those years. I'm glad I took the time to unravel and understand myself. I'm glad for those years that led to it.
And now, I get to inspire people, connect people, share information, maintain collections that nurture the dreams or livelihoods of others. I get to connect with kids struggling in school who saw the world how I did once... and steer them toward an education or a trade or a creative dream... something to believe in. It's gratifying, it's meaningful, it's rewarding, to me. It's good money and paid medical, and I worked the first half of my life without those things, in the dirt, so believe me when I say... I cherish it and all the work I put in toward getting here.
And I only say all of this, I only share these bits of my past, my work-history, my lean, sandwich years, to suggest that... if you're in the dark right now - and so many people are - it could be a blessing in disguise. To look deeply into who you are, what your life looks like. The choices you've made, until now. What you truly envision for yourself, and do you... have a vision? Or do you just show up in your life, day after day, reacting blindly, without asking questions? Is it easier to curse the "system..." rather than asking questions about yourself and your life and your choices? Of course, it's easier to blame. But the deep-dark can be a place to start anew. To allow reinvention, to become a greater version of who you are, to pull out your best, when you're at your worst. If you have that foundation, if you're lucky enough to have support behind you. If you can get out and past it, every brick you lay down becomes a piece of empowerment, in your own story. A story to share back, later.
Every step, a journey toward who you get to be. And on and on.
Realistically, you're not going to enroll in expensive classes if you can't pay rent right now. That's real and I get that. But you've got the world wide web at your fingertips, maybe. You've got free tutorials and classes everywhere right now, as companies and schools open their learning modules up for all to use and learn from - FREE - many of them. Right now; but not forever. Delayed tuitions. Deep discounts. Opportunities.
You can use your library resources to learn a new skill, to get proficient on computers and comfortable with technology. You can find ways to sell or generate content online, you can earn CEUs for free, through classes and webinars, you can find companies that are hiring people to work from home. You can skill-up, in this time, if you believe that you can. You can empower yourself to grow grit through it all, to level up in some way. You can focus your energy on learning and improving, not just trolling and worrying. It's a choice, though it's hard sometimes. And we all cope in different ways. It's scary and hard and challenging and the usual opportunities aren't there - because we're on lockdown. It's not easy, at all. I know that.
But it's possible, with the right mindset.
"Do what you can, with what you have, from where you are." - Theodore Roosevelt
And there are free ways, right now, to get the mental health counseling that you might need, to help you through. There are so many ways to go about getting help and motivation and direction, right now, if you're willing to learn or adapt and put the shield down. That doesn't make it fair or right or easy. All of this is uncertain and difficult. There's no question. But we can stay in the mud and dwell upon it, or start building a way out, regardless of circumstance. There's always a choice - to be resourceful and scrappy and positive about it - or not. We could sit in the mess and wait for it to rain miracles. (Pssst... it usually doesn't happen that way. Give the miracle a head-start, and get involved.)
You can live on less, you can borrow, you can reach out to friends and family, you can practice simple things to get you through, one day at a time. You can practice self-care. You can try to sell off things on eBay that you don't need anymore. None of it is easy - to be considering financial health, on top of everything else. But that doesn't mean that you can't dig out. And it doesn't mean that you have to give in to misery. We've all had sandwich years, most of us. It's where we learn resilience.
I've personally never been more grateful to be in a position where I can work from home, maintain my life and expenses, and to keep finding ways to be of service. And service can get repetitious sometimes. It's not that glamorous, it's not going to make me wealthy, it won't get me a Lamborghini or a mansion in the Hamptons, it won't make me famous. But it gets me peace of mind. It serves my soul. It teaches me leadership and community and patience and compassion.
And in times of crisis, I'm exactly where I'm supposed to be, and every turn in my life, every year of eating sandwiches and turning in coins for bills, and collecting soda bottles and riding big rigs in summer when my friends were at Jones Beach... they inform my present, and my perspective. And I hope to pass all of this onto my son through these days. That we don't waste things. That we're grateful for what we have and we take care of it. We learn to garden and grow things, from scratch. We learn to cook and prepare food, simply, with what we have. We share when we have extra, because people shared with us... when we had nothing. It goes on and on, it's the way of things.
"Tutte le strade portano a Roma," - or "All roads lead to Rome."
We're all walking through this life together, whether we choose to accept it or not. We are all part of the same system - one world - hyperconnected and inseparable. And we ought to take care of each other, because we're all in it together. And we'll be alright.
The Simple Dollar
You Tube Tutorial
Dream Grow - Social Media Marketing
https://www.creativelive.com (deep discounts at present!)
There are tons and tons more out there worth finding... give yourself a boost. Get tech-savvy.
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
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.
I had an up and down day, today.
I was feeling pretty darn good when I woke up, I got a quick workout in, drove out to a workshop on raising quail from eggs to release in areas of Long Island to minimize the tick population... (they eat them. Who knew?) It was actually fun and strange and very informative and important. Eric made it easy, breezy, and fun.
It was a rainy, gray day, I had lunch on the road (a protein box from Starbucks) and great music in the car, as I ran errands on my lunch break. I managed to squeeze in a few moments parked at the beach as I nibbled my cheese and fruit and things, and sipped my gigantic coffee.
A few minutes. That's all it takes, now, and I'm grateful for that. Waves. Wind. Seagulls and being transported into their world, watching them dive for clams in the choppy water and fly way up high and drop them with a crash on the pavement. Brutal. Lunch is served...
Perspective. It's a miraculous thing.
And those moments, where I get to slow it all down and become the scene I'm in, they're magic. There's a kind of ease and calmness in reflection, for me. Where was I then, and where am I now?
I've been zooming along for a number of years now, with little down time. It started with my first blog, as I wrote Ana J Awakens. Everything was a journey. Every day, all the time. There was magic everywhere, inspiration in absolutely everything, the world came alive for me in ways that I hadn't seen since early childhood - when my dreaming was strong. Then, the book came out and I found myself pulling women together, at different times, for meet-ups. I formed new friendships and expanded my networks. I began testing the words out on my tongue, "I wrote a book." "I am a writer." "Yes, it's finished, you can buy it here..." The first time around, telling people about it was beyond nerve-wracking. It felt so different, so strange and alien to me. But it stuck, the more I said it and the more I wrote and kept creating new things. Always, I'd wanted to share something of value. To help move the world forward, toward connection. Community. Peace. Harmony. In small ways. Big ways. Any way that I could and I think I'll just always be trying.
Afterwards, there was a lull in creativity. I thought I was blocked. Stuck. Frozen. I'd written my one book, now I'd just crawl back into my cave and go about my business. But, then I started dealing with some real-life struggles, new anxieties, my first-ever panic attack, and all the rest. I began bleeding into poetry and songwriting and journaling, in notebooks. So many notebooks. Surrounded by words.
I soon started writing Wild Horses and Mistakes.
Travel. Oh, how I loved the travel. New people, new places and experiences. The deep and ominous Pacific, and what secrets I left there, with her, washed out in the undertow for safe-keeping. Deep and life-affirming conversations with strangers at airports. The rumble in my belly, as I crossed a new threshold. Alone. In another state. With no idea of how anything would play out... just going for it, and expecting the best, and seeing that when I went forward with the idea that I was a kind, open, loving person, that life usually met me there. When I went forward riddled with fear, paranoia, distrust, or a chip on my shoulder, life met me there as well. And how sensitive it all is. All of life, always, speaking to us and showing us to ourselves. How our perspectives determine and design our realities. And how easy it is to forget and to slip back into old ideas and shadows of pain and ideas that we're less-than.
We are not our stories. We are not those fleeting moments that pull us down or limit us or demean us in some way. We are what we bring, fully, to each moment. We are how we rise above those moments. We are energetic creatures and we are always, always creating.
Writing Wild Horses healed me. Changed me. Brought me to the other side of so many things, and I'll always be grateful for the serendipitous ways that I was led and nudged and whispered to and guided, at those moments when I felt most alone. And that's the beauty of an intentional journey like that, you can see how not alone we really are. Wild Horses restored my faith in something I'd always believed in and had lost - temporarily. That God is Love, and that I was a believer, and life had shown me how true this was. Fear creates distance and doubt. Love heals and connects and creates harmony. And so, courage, really, is being the first to drop the armor, and Love.
After I'd done the primary writing for Wild Horses, I'd been teased with the idea of podcasting. I took the bait. I jumped onto some new, free software online, bought a snowball mic at the music store, and I sat there. Staring into space, at first, laughing at myself. Then, it all started flowing out. I called it The Jelly. I was amazed at how much I had learned and integrated into my psyche, over those few years. I recorded a handful of episodes and then became preoccupied with getting Wild Horses out to print, finally. I was absolutely terrified to put it out there. It's the most honest and vulnerable thing I've done, so far. I second-guessed in profusion. Of course, now, I'm glad that I finished. Hearing women who connect to it come tell me, face-to-face, how they enjoyed it or found meaning in it, makes it worth it. These days, it is a big, big deal to expect someone to sit down and read a book and critique it. And I'm blown away at the ones who do, it's an honor to be read in any capacity. Truly. Attention is indeed, gold. If you read anything I write, I am grateful. Humbled. It's a gift to be able to connect and share thoughts in such a way. This is my way. I have many creative outputs, but free writing is always where I go home. The words wait for me, on the screen, in the pen, swirling in my head, to gather together and make manifest my inner ramblings and emotions and inclinations, that they might reach through space-time and connect. A bridge, from my mind to yours. There is a great intimacy in writing. Welcome, but please wipe your feet on the mat.
And now, as the days blend and bleed together and tiptoe ahead, I am popping up at events here and there, with two books in my traveling bag. And all I ever wanted to do was write a novel, just one book, and I never thought I actually would. It was...impossible. And I look back and see how many goals I had set, since, and how I'm on the other side of them. Smarter. A bit wiser. A bit tougher. Expanded.
So, whenever I get frustrated or feel like I'm standing still, I gaze back. I always feel like life is one big trail. And we're all here walking, together. Some ahead, some behind, all different kinds of people. But we're all just here, walking, figuring it out. Trying to get it right. Trying not to be assholes. Trying not to make a mess. Wanting to stay inspired and joyful, wanting to know that it all means something, wanting to know that we leave a good mark, as we go. Wanting it to be fun, yet somehow important. Hoping we don't trip and get injured. Wanting to stay so very much ourselves, and yet wanting so much to connect with others and share the experience. To marvel at the beauty, along the way. To huddle together when storms hit. And hoping to leave it all just a tiny bit better than we found it.
And I feel like, it's all right on time, you know? We start off on a path, and there are so many detours and side-trails, and deeper explorations, and pits to fall into, and cliffs to climb, up or down. And yet, somehow, we keep going. We just keep moving. In life and in art. We are all writing stories, with every choice that we make. And we make funny choices sometimes, and linger off down a strange path, into a weird cave filled with bats or something, and scoot back up to where we were going. A mistake to laugh off. And other times, we walk down some country road through wildflower meadows and stay there for a while, and maybe the path changes as we do. But I do believe that we make the path, as we walk.
And I think that there's so much more up ahead, than what we leave behind. Life: Expect obstacles. Pack a good bag. Stay kind. Know your strength. And just... keep going. Right?
Right. There's a beautiful sunrise ahead. There's a nice fire going, the rain has stopped the wind has died down...so, I'm going to get some rest, here, and just listen to the night sing.
The Jelly: creative hustle for anxious minds.
Mother. Librarian. Storyteller.