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If we could have grace and acceptance of one another what would it be like to live here, in this world, this society, this space? Iíve asked myself questions like this since high school. I vividly remember writing a short article to myself that decried the injustices and seeming atrocities of the day. I was 16. I felt helpless then and writing helped me express what my voice couldnít do. I just turned 60. Iíve undergone transformation through forgiveness and healing; released my fears. I still have the same questions, but I have my voice. Iím returning to my writing.
The journey to the top of the mountain was rugged and dry. The small vehicle jumped about as the driver dodged ruts in the road. The bouncing and jousting about was frankly, hard on the body. But breathtaking samples of the areaís mountainous splendor could be seen along route in glimpses through the trees. Virtually hidden during the ascent, this natural landscape that is the subject of poetry was revealed at last. Arriving on the top, a majestic view of white caps stretched the horizon. The trip seemed a trifle now as the travelers stood silent in reverence and awe.
She was in the military, in basic training and counting the days until graduation. As usual at the end of a meal, she left formation and strode back into the cafeteria to face her drill sergeant. ďAirman Scott reports as orderedĒ she dutifully reported. Sergeant Foster smiles and orders, ďSing ĎJohnny Angelí to Sergeant Adams.Ē Straining to hold her at-ease position and maintain military decorum while her brain tried to discern if this was a legitimate order she replied, ďPardon me, maíam.Ē The order was repeated. With a deep breath she began singing and was grateful she knew the words.
Cleaning is a tedious, recurring task. If it isnít the kitchen, itís the bathroom or the living room that needs my attention. Every day, every day, it rears its faceless self and somehow sneers at me. ďAh-haĒ it screams at me, ďI got you again.Ē Yes, yes, you did. I will do the dishes, empty the trash, wipe the countertops and put my leftovers away, only to do it again tomorrow. And weekly when I get to a place where the whole apartment is spotless I know, I know without a doubt, you are waiting to scream again. Iím coming.
I was cleaning my sink last night. I scrubbed it with cleanser and started to rinse it with hot water. Itís a big sink, I rinsed several times. As I did so it occurred to me that there are people in other countries who donít have this kind of access to a very valuable resource. People who would never repeatedly rinse a sink for goodness sake with a precious commodity that they need to live. I believe in Iraq still doesnít have a working water system. What was I doing? How spoiled are we? I can do more to conserve.
The boyís team was boisterously playing basketball on the high school court. The cheer leaders were practicing cheerleading along the sidelines throwing flirting glances at the athlete of their dreams. The girlís team was boisterously playing basketball on the shrunken elementary school court. When they played real games, the high school court seemed expansive and very different. Yet, they were champions in the league. The unfortunate disparity in practice space is the result of limited funding, hopefully not sexism. It could have been worked out differently, although it wasnít. Times are different now thankfully and all people have equal access.
Time circles about me yet I stagnate where I stand.
I need to have me back again, gain command.
I will stop this circle and walk straight with my destiny.
That was written in March, 1976 when I was a bored airman, tending to Twinkies and candy bars at the coffee shop on the flight line. This old poem is evidence of a cycle I seemed to enjoy, ending up disappointed and unhappy at my workplace. I cycled through it too many times to admit. Iíve broken the cycle and I am happy to say walking straight with my destiny.
Fall falls upon us, time changes, light fades before moving to its winter rest. The eyes discern the fading light, but may not notice the gentle subtleties. Drive I-84 east at 8:00 PM in October to mile marker 200. A glow that looks like a muted night light extends briefly from the horizon. The glow is almost celestial in appearance. It is lights fading breath as it moves toward its winter hibernation. Drive there in January and the darkness envelopes your vehicle in a cloak of blackness. The horizon is a void, your headlights barely carving a path to follow.
I miss having a partner. I miss talking to someone who is my best friend and confident as well as my lover. I donít miss the person, the x if you will; I miss the feeling that comes with having a partner. I miss what is most likely the illusion of it all; the romance that I think is possible off the silver screen. The kiss, the caress, the loving laughter and the love making with wild abandon. Next time I wonít lose myself and forget who I am. Next time I will enjoy these pleasures while remaining in tact.
ďFrankly,Ē he said. He always starts his sentences this way. Iím not sure why, a habit I imagine. A bothersome, most annoying habit he has which I believe demonstrates a lack of vocabulary as well as a lack of passion. Itís getting to the point that I want to jab my finger into his chest and tell him ďif you say that one more time.Ē What, what will be the threat, the consequence, the punishment. Frankly, I donít know because I look into his eyes and I see my reflection; and I know there is a lesson here somewhere Buddha.
First winter living in a new town. Itís cold; unexpectedly so. Frost on the windshield two times this week and itís not even Halloween. This is a far sight from the rainy, chill of Portland. It doesnít permeate your entire system at your first inhale, working from the inside out. This hits the whole body with one slam the moment you open the door. It works from the outside in. Iím surprised and excited at once. The most welcome and wonderful difference is that the sun shines on my cold-slapped face reminding me of the beauty of yin and yang.
Iíve misplaced my pearls and Iím a little wigged out. This is a test for my Buddha training. A short string of pearls on a chain that my parents started for me when I was born, adding an annual birthday pearl. Maybe thirteen pearls, itís beautiful. Where the heck did I put it and what exactly am I feeling, guilt, sadness, itís only stuff, remorse, guilt again, ah the yin and yang of life. I donít know where they are or what I could have possibly done with them. Itís only stuff, full of memories. That mantra is getting easier.
Iím having fun with this daily exercise but I am a little concerned that my writing is lingering around the fourth and fifth grade level. I try to amp it up. I use the reading level feature in ďWordĒ often at work and I find myself always trying to do the reverse, amp it down. Is that even a legitimate phrase? I am aware that technical or long words will automatically raise the level. Perhaps I should start including some amazingly long and mature words. Iím thrilled, progress is being made, and this one is at the sixth grade level.
Mother and daughter are two words that engender the gamut of emotions. I am both, and I have both. I am a proud parent of a wonderfully elegant young woman. I am the daughter of an amazingly gifted mother. I have a mother who let her artistic prowess engage full force in the later years of her life. I have an extraordinarily gifted daughter who timidly displays her power until it is nudged by some display of unfairness. I am delighted to both have and be a mother and daughter in this lifetime and grateful for the experiences of each.
I saw him sitting on the park bench. His blue, double breasted overcoat looked like it was cashmere. Slightly worn at the elbows and collar, it still gave him an air of elegance that attracted my eye. Or perhaps it was his neatly cropped, graying hair, its color matching the scarf wrapped loosely around his neck. He was reading a paper that I expected to be the Wall Street Journal or the Business Daily. As I walked by him, attempting to catch his eye and throw him a fetching glance, I saw it was Rolling Stone. It made perfect picture!
I can look out my living room window as I type these daily musings. A gigantic fuchsia with fine red flowers gently taps on the window, blown by the ever present wind. It graces the entire width of my window front to remind of beauty, of persistence and longevity. As fall withers the flowers and changes the color of the leaves it asks me to remember that winter can be a time for moving vibrancy inward for rest and rejuvenation. The balance of rest and exertion is ever important in nature and nurtures us well if we heed its rhythm.
A cup of java made without the coffee bean still coats the mouth and leaves a bad impression on the taste buds. Brewed in the same fashion as coffee its color belies the contents of the cup and the taste to come. The aroma will arouse the first suspicion of something different. Dandelion poses as the energy liquor, the main replacement for caffeine. Enhanced by almond flavors, chicory, mint or even cocoa the attempt as coffee substitution is remarkably successful. It offers a reasonable facsimile to coffee, collaborates the same way with the flavor of a donut or a cigarette.
I see them moving down the highway; massive metallic forms whose size overwhelms their transporterís. Each time I see them I am as surprised as the last. I canít get used to how huge each piece of their construction puzzle is. I see them gradually pieced together on the horizon where their size is diminished by the vast expanse of Oregonís plains.
These saviors of the local economies, these crushers of oil dependency, are beautiful in symmetry and form. Iíd like to honor each windmill with the name of a soldier that has fallen for us in Iraq.
Art according to Webster has several definitions. It can mean ďbeautiful objects or their creation, the skill to produce visual representations, a creation.Ē Nowhere in the definition is the perspective that it an expression that wells from the deepest depths of the artist. It can be a spiritual or emotional release manifesting itself in the movement of dance or the intricate beat of a drum. If everything has a soul as some believe, it is in most cases the union of the souls of the artist and the medium. It a unique and remarkable worship to engage in on Sunday!
The beat of my heart is like a metronome that I carry in my chest to remind me of the physical properties rhythm. Its drum beat is carried within me each and every day. A drum teacher once told me that because we all have a heart; because we all carry rhythm with everywhere we go, drumming is in each of us. With that simple theory in mind, I gave myself permission to drum. As a result, drumming not only resides in my heart, but in my head, my body and my soul as well. Now I want to dance!!
I went to a raptor recovery facility in my town recently. The facility takes in wounded birds and restores them to health and if they can, releases them back to their natural environment. I went into small aviaries with hawks, owls, magpies and other varieties I canít remember. I watched as a healed hawk was released back to the wild. I sat with a golden eagle. She was perched on a small log, her right leg tethered to the ground. A picture of us together captured us both looking out at the coming sunset in prayer. It is most remarkable.
It sits and hums all day long. A dull monotone that is barely audible. The hum tells me that all is well; information, entertainment, communication and shopping are all available to me at the touch of finger. I hear it here at home and at work. I hear it at motels and in meetings. Sometimes the source of it is turned off. That creates a quiet that is a distracting void; I know something is amiss and canít immediately identify exactly what it is. Iíve grown so used to it I muse about the integration of it into my life.
I have many gifts that have blessed me in my life. My gratitude for them is, perhaps, sufficient. I have set a new intention for myself; to expand my gratitude and feel it with the entirety of my soul, mind and body. I find that I have expectations about what that expansive gratitude will feel like. I contemplate that. Ah, now, letting go of the ego and mindsets that have created those glorious expectations, I am once again humbled by the continuous reminders the universe sets before me. The circle surely is an important life symbol I laugh to myself.
The Phillies are in the World Series. Itís the last game. I donít know when they last won the World Series, but I remember seeing the final play that won the game. It was late at night, I was at work Ė Iíll spare you the details of where Ė and the game just happened to be on and I happened to walk by just as the last pitch was being thrown. WOW, I saw the final play, I watched our beloved Phillies win the World Series. Tonight, 3,000 miles from Philadelphia, I intend to see the winning pitch again. Go Phillies!
Another momentous occasion is upon us in my lifetime and Iím excited about it. An African American statesman is about to be elected President of these United States. When I was 16, Martin Luther King was marching on Washington. I used to marvel at the events and inventions that occurred during my motherís life. I marvel more as I look back on the ones that have occurred so far in mine. It makes me mindful that I am part of history every day in some minuscule way. As fast as life goes, Iím grateful it is fun, full and wonderful.
Whether the weather will change the outcome of this yearís World Series, who knows. Iím disappointed my prediction didnít come to pass. The Universe knows I was just following the advice of ďThe SecretĒ and manifesting my hearts desire. Ha! Rain, rain goes away, please come back another day. I live in Oregon and havenít thought of that song for a long time. Must be a sign of how accustomed we can grow to things. Ah, like how Eliza grew accustomed to the Professorís face. Back to the topic, she sang with such gusto, ďthe rain in SpainĒ, I digress.
Our minds are fantastic. We believe they set us apart from other species and make us special. Among the many achievements or our minds is the creation of computers; machines that think. They can pretty much do it all. Weíve transferred our minds in many ways to the machine. Now that weíve released our minds in many ways, perhaps we can relax, breathe and start living from our souls instead of our minds. Our souls know what we truly want, what makes us feel good and makes life worth living. Our souls know it all. This will be continued tomorrow.
Consider this Ė everything has a soul. You donít have to believe it, just go with it for a paragraph. That being true, the chair you are now sitting on has a soul. Living its soul purpose is to support you, with love. It doesnít care what you do for a living, the color of your skin, how much money your make, if you are single or married or even if you have a job. It loves you, just the way you are. You have a soul. Can you love you just the way you are? This will be continued tomorrow.
Can I let my fabulously developed mind alone when I see, or meet a stranger? Can I not run my automatic scanner; that well developed automatic evaluator that makes judgments, tells me he is dark skinned, he is lower class income, and when he speaks that he is a foreigner? These are all assumptions that will influence how I interact with his person. I have no idea who this person is. Can I be like the chair and support him and love him as a fellow human; do this from my soul? Wow, what a wonderful world it could be.
Sitting by the creek side she thought about her life. Dressed in a cotton flowered dress, a straw hat atop her head, she lingered with her bare feet cooling in the water. She visits this spot often, feeling close to nature and spirit when she is here.
Her arms are behind her. Resting her weight on them, she watches a hawk floating through the sky above. In a different time and place, one might mistake her for a Greek goddess her beauty is so stunning.
Today she is an everyday woman, melding her beauty with natureís on a beautiful day.
He flew into her life with a nod and a smile as she sat in a closet sized restaurant eating breakfast. An exchange of pleasantries about the menu selections caused their eyes to lock, albeit briefly; it was a cosmic moment. The stars aligned for this encounter, commencing a relationship like none other for her.
Dates seem to be followed by trips to the airport; one or the other leaving on a trip. They laugh about their frequent trips to the airport, how separations follow a date. The heart grows fonder, fantasy takes flight and a manifestation of dreams unfolds.
The Tip Jar