Friday, January 30, 2009

I'm Such a Geek!

Jumped out of bed, all excited, no I didn't win the lottery last night, but I was nominated for four different Bloggie 0scars tonite! Now that, to someone who loves to write, is top honors! (Most Inspiring Blog Post, Best Yuwie blog, Best Creative Writing Blog, and Best Original Work)

Keeping this short, you can check out all the cool details at: 2ND ANNUAL BLOGGIE 0SCARS

Yes, it's a global social networking site that pays its users to submit content and interact with each other. Will anyone get rich there? Probably not. I personally have made about 30 bucks in the past six months just by chit chatting with people. Admittedly, I'm addicted to the connections I've build with friends all over the world and go there to at least check in daily. If you want to take a look and give it a whirl yourself here's a link: ONE OF MY HANGOUTS

Wish me luck and have a super day all. Hugs :o)
OH, and here's your own invitation to the event:

Wednesday, January 28, 2009


I awoke this morning.
No, not in the sense of my eyes opened to a new day making its presence known with the scent of warm coffee on the air. But in a much deeper, more soul-oriented sense. A moment of total clarity, vision and understanding.
Ok, perhaps it wasn't a total awakening where all things make sense, but it was enough of a revelation for me to find peace and enarmor myself in fearlessness because there was a sense that no matter what direction I plant my feet, everything is going to be as it is meant to be...and yes, my inward prophecy to this realization sure looks joyful.
It's no secret I've struggled with intimate relationships- whether in love, family or friendship. In fact, for many years I ran from the closeness most people search for in their lives. Didn't want to hurt or be hurt anymore. An inward struggle to remain stoic and without vulnerabilities.
I could always find a reason, justified by narrowmindedness, to thwart contact with someone. Anyone. Perhaps it was religion...or race...or as trivial as hair color or the way they held their silverware...whatever fit the situation. And if there seemed to be no justification, I'd either label them less important than they were to me or run like hell with no explanations.
But sometimes, when we are immersed in hiding from ourselves, there's a stronger force at work behind the scenes. A power so great it plays our life cards well enough to guide us where we are supposed to be regardless of how much we struggle, kick, scream and resist.
Yes, I do believe everything happens for a reason and if I was meant to be in Chicago at four o'clock today to meet Joe Cool, circumstances would have unfolded in such a way as to find me there. Instead I am snowbound in New England with yet another fierce storm over my head, but that is a separate blog! I am here because this is where I am supposed to be at this time. Just as you are reading this because you were meant to hear these words for whatever reason applies to your situation. I believe that.
This idea doesn't just apply to you and me, but to everyone around us as well. Those in our inner circle were placed there for a reason significant to their lives and to our own. The magic happens when we learn to stop struggling and let things just be as they inner acceptance that in the grand scheme of things we really don't have control. We are merely pawns on a chess board, if you will. No, that doesn't mean to forget your rent or mortgage this month! But it does mean to stop shutting out Tom, Sue or even Lassie because you're fighting the inevitable contact. They are present because they are meant to be...there's a purpose.
We don't always know how someone is supposed to "fit" into our lives, but if we allow them to "show up" with us, somewhere down the path the importance of their presence hits us like a brick to the face. Problem is, too often we allow society or our own prejudices to complicate what should have been an easy exchange of ideas and emotions. We're blind to their significance in our lives or we, like I used to do, label them less important to us than they are. We tend to prolong our own suffering. That's right, we rob ourselves of goodness everyday we allow ourselves to be ruled by narrowmindedness....or fear.
In my quiet awakening this morning, a thought materialized: God doesn't care who we love but He does care that we learn to love. For isn't love, of the unconditional kind, what truly makes us joyful and validated? And if God created everyone, isn't everyone equally important? Who cares what race, religion, sex, height, weight, or nationality someone is...within each person lies a true nature that is free of all those labels. Love doesn't know boundaries so what makes us wiser than it? Wiser than God who gave us the capacity to love?
If someone makes your world spin happily solely by their presence or you get a lump in your throat at the thought of their absence, then throw away the labels and immerse yourself in that love. Everything else will eventually work itself out. Whether for the next ten years or the next fifty years, it is meant to be. There's a purpose- even if it is only the chance to truly experience the beauty of love with no preconceived ideas and conditions.
Living with faith in the world around you and being open to all its possibilities may just throw you a few surprises. Possibly what you've searched for has been in front of your eyes all along.
In closing, today I wish for you the end of narrowmindedness and the possibility of something beautiful happening as you throw out your own personal agenda in favor of floating towards what is meant to be.
.....hugs :o)

Monday, January 26, 2009

More Than a Meal

Amazingly, after postponing Friday, lunch ran smoothly today.
I awoke this morning all comfy cozy in my bed and dawdled with the idea of rolling over and catching some extra zzz's when the thought,"Today's the day." hit me like a boulder to the chest. Adrenelin rushing, I jumped from the covers to face the day.
Of course my brain was spitting questions like a semi-automatic pistol: "What if she doesn't show? What if she does? What if she ridicules my life? What if she wants more than I'm willing to give? What if she's really changed? What if- blah blah blah."
We'd changed the restaurant location three times and I had no idea where I was headed, but I was willing to bet it was probably right outside her doorstep. (Later I would be proven wrong. Yes, it ended up being closer to her house but still a bit of a drive away.)
She arrived shortly after I walked into the restaurant and secured a table. Carrying in a scrapbook, my tree she made, and a few other items she juggled nervously, it was time for us to talk after so many years. The scrapbook was definitely a Godsent and a perfect icebreaker.
To keep a ramble down to size, we'll say lunch was full of small talk, good food, and an added surprise. She gave me a necklace she bought a long time ago for me...just after we stopped talking. It went well enough, I even drove down the road to her house and stayed a bit.
There were glimpses of the vain, self-centered woman she used to be, but I had to chalk up that chatter to her nervousness. Overall, she made herself available and willing to listen. Accepting even...of my life and of me. And I no longer saw her as the person who had me, left me, and owed me something. Today- after many years- I allowed her to be human in my eyes...human with feelings.
No, I am far from ready to tear down my safety nets, but I am willing to float along this journey and see where it leads.
I found it rather ironic that she made me a tree center piece. A tree!
Back when I began my last series of counseling sessions, my therapist told me a story about trees: They are not confused. When the sun rises each morning, they know their purpose and are accepting of that just be a tree. They see a cat and don't want to be a cat...a tree is what they are and it is good enough. No confusion. On that note, she's my mother...she's human...she has feelings...and yes, today that too is good enough.

Thursday, January 22, 2009

I Ask You- What if...

There's too much hate in the world.
What if...tomorrow we awakened and the labels society gives us were meaningless...non-existent words no longer living on anyone's breath?
What if...when a baby was born, genetics didn't define his/her skin, hair, or eye color... size, shape or stature...predispositions to disease or intelligence...all were left up to fate?
What if...there were no more organized religions ...Protestants, Jews, Catholics, Buddhists, etc all walked the earth with no label, no separation? After all, isn't the bottom line to walk together as equals and love all living beings as much as we love ourselves?
What if...when we looked at each other, all we could see is a color, no sexual orientation, no height nor weight...just a soul equal to our own eternal life force?
What if...we learned to love from our spirit and to connect to and love another's true nature?
What if...everyone lived expectantly- jumping out of bed each morning just happy to be breathing... believing and knowing something amazing would happen before day's awe of this life we so take for granted?
What if...we all learned to breathe from within, deep within our spirit, mindful of only this very moment and the goodness it has to offer?
What if there was truth in what ifs?

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Pickled beets and Pork Chops

Friday. Lunch. Nothing very unusual to find on someone's schedule. That is, unless you're me. And unless it's with my mother.

Yes, after 12 years of no contact, we've decided to meet in the middle and do lunch this week. To say things have changed would be an understatement. There was a time when she wouldn't meet me next door much less twenty miles down the road.

I've spoken with Mom (gosh, I used to choke on that name) four times. Each conversation was absent of the blame game and full of past apologies and future hopes. There's an underlying "I'm here now Honey and it's okay" in her tone. Her voice is soft, calm and inviting to my inner child who has missed her so much. To the adult I've become, she's accepting and only asks for my time...and a chance to make things right.

Yesterday I thought the world was opening up and swallowing me in as I heard the words,"I've always loved you Honey, you're my baby and I've missed you so much." I could feel the lava of the planet's inner core begin to burn my feet as she continued to unveil little things I'd given her that she'd kept all these years. Would've placed my life savings on the planet blowing up before she ever said,"Honey, I'm proud of you." But I'd be dead ass broke now cause she said it last night....but more importantly, I could tell by her near whisper, she meant it.

Yes, the woman who has been the catalyst for much of my disappointments, hurts and resentments has now appeared as the person I'd always hoped she could be. Well, toss my salad and call me's a whole new world. I almost don't know whether to raise a flag or bake a cake. For now I'll do's too soon....I need time.

I find myself squirming inside. I so want to believe this woman has changed but I find myself doubting, questioning and looking for the 'old' mother to appear and snatch away the goodness as quickly as it appeared. I guess reasonable boundaries are okay but I am mindfully trying to remain optimistic, open, and compassionate.

The simplest of words blow me away. Do you know she remembers my favorite color? She even remembers what foods I liked when I was a baby. Information I'd thought she'd long forgotten as she'd never told me before.

Heck, I never knew what her favorite anything was...but I'm beginning to learn now. She likes black and red. Pork chops over steak and yes, beets but they must be pickled. She loves country and western music and dance. Even loves the ocean as much as I do. Perhaps this sounds trivial to some, but imagine not knowing for 40 plus years and then one day being allowed close enough to gather the information. Mind-blowing really.

I only spent the first 2 1/2 years of my life with her...then at 17, I spent about ten years knocking heads with her, just trying to make us fit into each other's lives....or more accurately, into each other's expectations of who we should be. It didn't work. If anything, it only accentuated the pain we both (yes today I can say 'both') felt. Then it was only a quick hello and expected check-in holiday visits once every four or five years...until I totally gave up in March of 1997.

Suffice it to say, I am both excited and scared to death. I've placed up boundaries as protection but I'm remaining open to tearing them down. After all, there's a little kid inside of me who is so afraid of being crushed again...but she too is breathing life into the possibilities of a brighter future. One conversation at a time.

My mother is gifted when it comes to crafts. I'd always wanted her to make me, get this, she did! She made me a decorative tree- not a Christmas tree- but a table top center peice with lights and decorations. She's bringing it to lunch so I can take it home with me. Can't wait to see it. Between you and me, she could have drawn the smallest of things...let's say a mouse...on a scrap piece of paper, handed it to me, and I'd treasure it because for that second or two she was thinking enough of me to create the drawing. Instead, she took an hour or two and made something really nice. I'm touched.

In closing, I don't know where I'm headed with this journey of rediscovery, but for now it's pork chops and pickled beets....and maybe a mindful hug or two.

Here's wishing you all a day of restoration...where something hurtful can be resolved and healed. Have a happy today!

hugs :o)

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Theme of The Year

Tonight I sit here at the keyboard, my thoughts warming -awaiting a 'pop' to signal an idea is ready, like raisin toast on a cold morning.

-----snap, crackle, you got it- pop! -----

Every year seems to have a theme. Three years ago was a year of loss with the passing of my father and other significant people in my life. Followed by a year of transition as I journeyed through some intensive therapy, placing my feet back on the ground. Then last year, the year of awareness, at last finding myself and the flow of what is- wuwei. Having found a comfortable space in my world, the year ended quite happily.
Mind you, usually I can't see what the theme has been until about mid December, when I sit reflecting over the previous months and the events they've held.
This year is different. What strikes me is how quickly the theme has developed. This year will be the year of emotions and change. Sure, I've experienced a whole lot of emotions in my lifetime, but how many have I actually taken the time to actually feel their intensity? It was normal for me to always be three steps ahead of every conversation (and event), in my safe zone, awaiting someone's arrival on the other side. Definitely not in the moment. After all, if I've already passed by the moment no one can touch my vulnerability. Racing ahead was a defense mechanism. My, how things have changed.
Today I practice mindfulness in all things...I'm right here- right now. For I've come to learn, this now is all we ever truly own. All I have to do is "show up." A hundred percent present. Living through all my senses. Even now as I type, I can feel the softness of the keys under my fingers, hear the music on the radio, smell the floral scent of dryer sheets drifting in from the laundry room, taste the cherry gatorade I'm sipping, and of course, see the words I'm typing.
Of course, moment to moment my senses find something new to experience. Perhaps the sound of an adult child on the phone, or a cool graphic someone sent me in email, or even a hug. Yeah, what about a hug?
Here's something for you to try. Lots of people hold their breath when they hug someone. It's true. I didn't believe it when my counselor first told me that fact- until I found myself actually doing it! Anyway, go grab someone and hug him/ other words, be conscious of your breath....hug him/her and BREATHE....mind you, I didn't say PANT! lol...just breathe...from your stomach...where we were meant to breathe....long, slow, and deep...then relax into that hug...actually feel the other person's arms around you...the warmth, the softness, the safe security this embrace rewards you with, his/her breathe on your neck, his/her scent...feel the beating of his/her heart against your body-rhythmic and strong...lastly, feel the love. Don't allow your mind to wander to the clothes waiting to be folded or how many emails are needing answers... stay in the hug....fully and completely....then release... Now that's a hug...and you're feeling pretty good, aren't you?
Hugs are supposed to feel good...they are medicinal- when enacted correctly, they release chemicals in our brains that make us feel better. Now that I've taken you through a mindful, fearless hug, imagine living every second of every day from this space...mindfully showing up....better still, forget imagining - just attempt to do it...and watch how beautiful life can become. After all, there's no anxiety here- you are not worrying about what is coming next...and there's no depression because you are not looking back at past are here and now...where in this now everything is okay.
Yes, it takes practice. I've gotten a whole lot better at this feat after two years of consciously working on it. Sure, it makes me much more vulnerable...but I'm finding a whole lot of beautiful moments too. And as I find safety in mindfulness, I'm building up fearlessness....courage to experience new be loving, more compassionate. Breathing life into love and love into life...that's become my own personal quote...where I live from everyday.
Back to this year's theme- emotions and change. I'm learning not to run from the intensity of my emotions. Today I allow love to breathe. I know what it is and I'm not afraid of where it leads me in my relationships. After all, I only have to 'show up-' one moment at a time...fearlessly. I've learned to trust this life we breathe in...everything will end up where it is meant to be...all I need to do is float. This fearlessness has rewarded me with many wondrous surprises. Many of which were right in front of my eyes all the time I was running away. So glad I stopped and caught my breath!
In my journey of mindfulness, I've claimed joy, understanding, laughter, compassion, awareness, and yes, love- the greatest of all emotions. Not only have I claimed them, but I've felt them in their highest intensity. In retrospect, it's amazing how many wonderful mindful moments I've collected already this year...with eleven months to go!
Sure, I have plans, goals and dreams...and when the moment is right, I'll experience their realities. For this moment will lead me moment at a time. I already see them materializing.
On that note, I wish you the joy that only true mindfulness and vulnerability of spirit will bring, go grab a hug.

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Okay, so I'm not a rocket scientist!

I'm by no means a novice but I sure have not scored very high tonite on the "customize your blog" report card.
For three hours I have taken out code and replaced code to get what I have. And my header/background is awesome--thanks to the super work of "LEE" (go see her, she's wonderful)....but now I cannot seem to get my widgets back! My blogroll has gone followers are non-existent....poll was wiped name it, it's vanished.
....what to do, what to I really have to use one of blogger's routine layouts to use the widgets? Ugh!

now it's thursday morning and still my page is not cooperating....gee, no wonder i have no comments- my blog isn't even showing! anything past "I created this" is absent from my page...........I guess I have no choice but to redo my page...or stare at the page and try to mind manipulate all my widgets and new blog to appear....

I have acquired a Motrin resistant headache, but I now have a blog. Lee, if you are reading this, please know I so loved your work and thank you so much. It's just a sign of all my wasted educational dollars. I really should have taken at least one computer class! As soon as I find someone to help me get my page rocking, I'll put it back up, but I'm still linking to you so others can see your wonderful work.

Ok, I am off to unfold slowly into my morning...who am I kidding? I'm going for coffee! lol

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

I created THIS?! lol

An all star athlete. Co-captain to three teams. Honor Society Member. A loyal employee of five years at the local Bestbuy. My wonderful son.
Enter three years of college, supporting an apartment on his own, homework, bills, practice, homework, laundry, making meals, homework, long hours at work, athletic meets, did I say homework? (Don't forget to subtract Mom's every available dollar!) Still my son.
Add a near tragic car accident. An attack by a neighbor's dog. Panic attacks. Forty six stitches because a glass door smashed nearby. And the question of the 2008 year: "Mom, can I come home and get on my feet?"
Add all that together and what do you get?
A crowded house with gym shoes magically appearing at every corner. Milk left out on the counter ("Sorry Mom, I forgot.") Laundry piled to the rafters - 90 percent still smelling of dryer sheets! ("Well, I put it on, then I changed again." translated to- it touched my body for two seconds)Oh, don't forget the endless questions- none of which are seeking advice, but instead want to know WHY I drive down Maple Street when it's so much easier to take Oak St...and various other examples of mom's 'shortcomings.' If that isn't enough, you may filter in the big german shepherd/rottie who leaves mud, hair and various other bodily fluids all over the what was new carpet. ("Mom, it's not my fault! Prince was playing in the mud." My question-who owns this dog?)
Someone said my little boy is a man now....hmmm...if that be true, just WHO IS this creature who resides in the room down the hall?!

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Luck and Justice

Some people seem to have all the luck. They step in yards of animal feces and walk out smelling of lilacs in springtime.
Take my son for example. Last year he was driving home from work around midnight. His car shaking from the music ricocheting off its walls. Its roar pleading for a new muffler. Three houses before home, blue lights. A state trooper pulled him over. "License and registration."
Now I know what you are thinking. How is this scenario lucky? Well, check it out:
Months before he'd gotten a speeding ticket. We sent in a money order and paid the fine. Well, as the officer was running his name and social security number, the ticket comes up unpaid ...and his license? Suspended. As the officer was relaying his findings to my son, I was on the other end of his cell phone listening. My mouth hit the floor and I struggled off the couch to find my car keys anticipating the 83 mile to my son's rescue. I mean, there was enough duct tape, super glue and coat hangers holding his exhaust system together to keep a grade school art class busy for a month...not to mention the blaring rap music that had become synonymous with the act of driving, no matter what time of day (or night in this case) it was.
What came next was typical for my son: "I can tell you're a good kid. Going to school...working...and I believe you did pay your ticket. Young man, take your car home, park it and square away your ticket. Get that muffler fixed too before you drive this car a mechanic. It would do you well to keep your music turned down too. Understand?"
"Yes, sir."
"Okay, have a good night."
Now do you see what I mean?! Of course I don't wish my son any harm...but why, after stepping in poop, coming out smelling like a floral bouquet, do I have to hear: "Why does everything happen to me?" ....
What in criminey happened to him?! He got to drive his car home, pay day was the next day, his car got fixed and life went on...oh yeah, they also corrected the books about his ticket with no problem the very next day.....
If that had been me...the next words from the officer's mouth would have been: "Ma'am, please get out and step to the back of the car." followed by a *snap* as the metal restraining bracelets were fit tight enough to cut off circulation. A trip to jail, a bail posted, a court date appearance the next morning, an impound fee, and a tow truck bill to bring my car home would have been the beginning of a very long dilemma. Heck, even after they discovered my ticket had been paid, I bet the judge would have issued a fine for faulty equipment and disturbing the peace. Then, if I made the mistake of asking, "Why does everything happen to me?" within ten feet of my son's hearing range...he'd look at me and laugh!
Where's the justice?! lol
Oh wait, let me answer that! One day my son will have children of his'll be his turn to step in poop, ask "Why does everything happen to me?" in front of Junior, only to be answered with, you got it, laughter!
Yeah, now there's justice!

On a separate note, my son did have a car accident last week. He hit some black ice, lost control, drove up a four/five foot snowbank, airborne he took out a fire hydrant when the car landed. He's okay- granted, that morning very shaken up, but thankfully, nothing more. His car? Well, the last estimate was almost 2000 dollars to fix....and all he can say is....."Why does everything happen to me?" .........go figure!

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

I'm a Glass!

Alone. Fragile. Vulnerable. Standing on the brink of my demise, questions bubble up within my emptiness. Will I rest in junkyard dirt- eternally comfortable? Or *gulp* must I return to the depths of fiery hell in Richmond's Recycling plant? I don't like heat!

I've heard that the souls of a million Budweiser bottles pour long into the night- searching for new pieces of glass to infiltrate and make them whole. And let me just add here, I'm not your ordinary piece of glass! Behind my shapely, crystal exterior, I have feelings.

What really frosts my stem is how you used me and then disappeared into another room. I was good enough to cradle your $3 bottle of Boone's Farm...I nearly gagged as you happily threw back the toast to your new baby. But because I love you, I didn't crack...not even a chip!

I've celebrated with you since your high society mother-in-law found you deserving of my $36 price tag. I willingly lowered my standards to accommodate your tastes: Narragansett Super Bowls....Tap water hangovers...Schlitz barbecues.All the while just happy to be caressed by your lips. A few brief moments when time stood still and I tingled from rim to base. Those sensations are a mere memory now. I feel so used!

Will you miss me when I shatter against your beer stained linoleum? Will tears sprinkle upon my dust as you sweep away my jagged fragments? I'll take your finger prints with me for all eternity- what will you hold onto?

I never demanded much. A bath now and then. Set the heat dry to keep me shiny and spotless. Jet dry costs less than some of the chablis you brought home for birthdays. Yes, I was a low maintenance friend. Perhaps, too low.

Now, here I stand, used and abandoned, my pride diminished to that of a mere Dixie cup. Little fingers are exploring my rim. Unnoticed by you, they continue to roam. My stem slips and I am forced to go with the flow.

Help! I am tumbling in the air!

"Angie! Look out!"

I can see you running to save me. I know your rescue will be too late, but your effort answers what I've wondered all along-- You really do love me. *SMASH !!*

My Journey to Okay

And so began this day, much like any other ordinary day. It was winter in New England, windows were painted in frosty designs, shaking with each gust of wind against the house. Me, blurry-eyed and shuffling across the cold linoleum tiles, awaiting the caffeine-laden elixir which would, almost miraculously, bring me to full consciousness.

Lady, the queen beagle of the house, lay sleeping in front of the television. Her snores seemed to accentuate each headline of the morning news. Undaunted by the sound of sleet against the window, she shifted her position long enough to peek directly at my shadow. Satisfied, knowing it was me, she slid back into her canine fantasies.

I opened my laptop, typed in a familiar address, hit 'enter' and awaited the sign-in screen. My day had normal fashion. Nothing spectacular- nothing horrible. Little did I realize, this day would hold a special surprise. One whose magnitude would set off a chain of illuminating light bulb moments. For a time, I would walk on clouds of normalcy. In retrospect, I like that phrase- clouds of normalcy.

The skies cleared, I decided to venture out with my sister- and the canine princess accompanied us too. We trudged through the maze of snow banks, laughing at the effects of time on our worldly bodies. It sure was easier to worm through the snow drifts as a child, but still just as exhilarating-some thirty years later. Especially rewarding today, as it was my sister's first walk since spending time in the hospital. To say I was grateful for her company, would be an understatement.

As we rounded the corner to cut through a parking lot to our street and the safety of home, I had a mental chiropractic shift--something 'clicked'...this is what "okay" is....I wasn't racing home to thwart a panic attack nor was I over-analyzing everything that had just transpired....I was enjoying this excursion as it unfolded-one minute at a time...I had finally found "okay"--I had touched it- felt it- heard it-and it was just that, okay. Nothing more - nothing less....nor did it need to be. Its presence was enough-just the way it was, at that very moment. My only thought, "This is what okay is!" and the phrase continually echoed throughout my being.

Now I know many of you are thinking I have lost my marbles...or at least dropped a few. But let me take a couple minutes to explain. Life for me has always been a series of highs and lows. No middle ground. That was normal to me. I was conditioned to either be racing to the next thing or analyzing the last thing. Only last year, did I learn about mindfulness and how important- and how less stressful- it is to be 'here'-in this moment...where only this moment exists. But my struggle had been to make this moment 'okay' --to know and feel safe -comfortable- in all that is right here and right now. And on this particular winter day, I found 'okay'...and I rejoiced with my newly found treasure.

Then what to my amazement happened? I found 'okay' the smell of coffee in the morning, in the 'crunch' of snow under my feet, in the softness of my sister's voice, yes, even in the crispness of the winter air. Have you ever danced inside in total jubilation? I did. Not from winning a mega lottery, or getting a pay raise, no, my insides danced to the tune of a thousand songs in one...and all at the same time. Uninhibited joy...I began to relax into this new sense of well being...and life not only became "okay.", but I touched the enormity of such a simple little word.

Monday, January 5, 2009

More than a Cutting Board

A cutting board. Two inches thick, forty plus years old, and still holding up to
serve its purpose. Beyond the pie crusts rolled out on its top or the turkeys carved for a holiday, it represents so much more.
Christmas last year my man-child stood eyeing the ham I was carefully slicing for dinner. "Hey Mom, I like this board. Where'd you get it?" No, he wasn't buffalo-ing anyone, I knew he was trying to distract me long enough to grab a piece of meat and quickly leave the kitchen, but I played along.
"Actually it was your great-grandmother's. In fact, it was the first one I ever used when I was learning to bake. From grandma it went to your grandfather then to me. It's been around every holiday since I can remember."
Still waiting for his chance to capture a prize piece, my son answered with a short, "Cool." But before I could continue to relay the materializing memories, he sighed and left the room, giving up on his attempt to pre-taste dinner's main course.

In seconds, I was five again, covered in flour and helping my grandmother to roll out dough. The Pillsbury Dough-boy would have been envious of my whiteness- flour from head to toe but smiling a toothy grin just the same. The rolling pin had been smooth in my little hands. It sure seemed hard to roll the dough just right. Too thick. Too thin. Too small. Then way to large to fit the pie pan. Determined, I finally got it right.
A little over an hour later, which of course, seemed like forever and a week, the smell of a freshly baked apple pie traveled from the kitchen counter, down the hall, into the bathroom, landing directly under my nose as I sat in a tub of bubbles. Mm was that ever a wonderful scent. Hard work on top of a cutting board had been rewarded with a delicious dessert that evening.

Halfway done cutting the ham and loading the platter with even slices, I smiled to myself as I remembered the same anticipatory feeling my son had had moments before.

Don't think a holiday had passed when I didn't try to "help" my father carve the turkey or ham just so I could steal a piece before dinner. Breakfast had always been before daybreak so by afternoon I couldn't wait to stifle my growling stomach with any small scrap I could put my hands on.
My father was a professional cook and it had been fun to watch him breeze through the motions of carving and serving. Except on the few occasions when he'd try to rush and the knife would slip, nicking his calloused hands. Usually by that time, he'd had a couple of Budweisers so his language would become angry and very colorful. As long as I continued to hold the platter still, not laugh at his dilemma, and instruct the nearest relative toward the band aids, I'd be rewarded with not just a scrap, but a whole slice of whatever meat he was slicing.
He never was one for family gatherings so it'd be him and me serving our guests, then after the meal, clearing and cleaning the mess. Yes, it was a lot of work at times, but our afternoons by that cutting board had been some of the best bonding times we ever had. Perhaps that is why I loved the holidays so much.

At last I had the ham sliced and ready to serve only to realize there were still other veggies to tend to before calling everyone to dinner. I heard my son's voice behind me and in the spirit of a tradition he knows nothing about, I picked up a slice of ham and handed it to him. My offering was met with a wide hungry grin.
After dinner as I washed the cutting board and ran my fingers over the many digs within its wood, I thought how amazing it was that an inanimate object could hold so many memories...and so much love.

Here's hoping this blog reminded you of some of your own special moments. Hugs, Lisa :o)

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Quiet Jubilation

How about a day of jubilation...not a loud one- but a soft, quiet, peaceful day within ourselves where everything is okay just the way it is...not complicate the day with our own agendas but let the day unfold as it is meant to be...and better still, be okay with it - just the way it is.
The other day, I climbed some trails in the woods and found a clearing where you could see for miles- trees, mountains, lakes...the view was indescribable really. As I stood there awestruck, I realized there was not a sound on this cliff- no planes, no birds, no frogs, no crickets, not even a breeze...just total peace....and silence. The world seemed to stand totally still and for those few minutes in time, my humanness didn't the grand scheme of things, my bills, responsibilities, and desires don't dictate who I am....that is solely dependent on how I choose to interact with my world (*operative word: choose!*)....can I live, love and laugh enough to make a difference? can I breathe joy into another's eyes? can I touch someone so deeply they never forget the feeling of safety and compassion? yes, can I be the change the world so desperately needs? Can I learn to just 'be' and be content in my existence- just as it 'is' the rocks on the cliff, the trees in the forest, and the clouds overhead....can I be peaceful within knowing everything unfolds as it is meant to be- all I have to do is 'show up' each day? Live expectantly, love unconditionally, and laugh wholeheartedly....

For a minute, picture yourself 200 feet up...your shoes firmly on the ground...the warmth of the sun caressing your face...see the world before you...trees- green, orange, red, and yellow....lakes- blue with white ripples....the sky- blue with big puffy white and grayish clouds...and feel the silence- peaceful, calming, and present....for these small seconds, watch as it begins to move slowly around you...then just as you think you've had enough- stop thinking! and reach within yourself ...deep down inside where your heart beat meets your, breathe from there, observe from there, be present from there....feels pretty great doesn't it? stay as long as you'd like- this place inside you is always there!! Even when Sally has painted the puppy a beautiful shade of lilac using your new nail polish...or Johnny is tearing at your coat tails to use the computer and take you away from your work....the key is to find this place of total equanimity and know you can always return to its comfort- no matter what!
When we can learn to live from this quiet space within ourselves and allow life to unfold as it is meant to be, we can find peace- comfortably floating and not struggling with agendas. Takes some practice, but it is there for the learning. Imagine a world full of people living and breathing that awesome feeling up on the cliff- open minded, accepting, clear headed, peaceful and yes, compassionate... sounds like heaven on earth to me...
Today that is what I wish for each of you... moments of clarity and a peaceful spirit.