Love and Sunsets

You hang in little spaces

like motes on an afternoon shaft of light.

Floating and yet, I cannot catch you

or find a surface big enough

where you will land to examine what or who you are.

A brief brilliance and you appear bigger,

almost solid to my eyes.

But float away you do, and I am left in a new haze.

One that feels strangely familiar and alien.

Can I not see clearly what is in front of me?

Can I not make shapes with meaning?

You are shapeless. You have no meaning, no definition.

For if you did, I would see and believe.

I would gather you up and take you home with me.

Close to my heart, close to my senses.

And yet you float, unattainable, unreachable,

as I gaze at your brilliance,

and wonder why such a thing of beauty is so quickly gone.

sunset-crepuscular-rays-December-2013-Phil-Rettke-Photography-e1417956345300.jpg

Advertisements
Posted in Poems | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Distance and Differences- a Way to Intimacy

Rainer Maria Wilke:    Once the realization is accepted that even between the closest human beings infinite distances continue, a wonderful living side by side can grow, if they succeed in loving the distance between them which makes it possible for each to see the other against the sky.

I’m not sure more can be said than Rainier Wilke’s quote about distance (differences) and love. It is beautiful; it is deep; it is true!

Please read the passage again-carefully. I cannot speak for anyone, but for me, the real relationship of love exists in these infinite distances.

Our most basic human need is to be seen and valued. And it is hard to be valued and seen if we are too busy constructing an imaginary relationship with the person we are either going to meet or are living with.

Why do we create this illusion in the first place? What motivates us to write the long lists of what we want in a partner? And how can this set us up for a major disappointment?

Partly pragmatic and partly ignorance may be the reason. And a lot of fear. We build these ideas and ideals of relationship because we want something good for ourselves. It’s natural and biologically predestined that we seek love and partnership.

I had to get real with myself. I am afraid that the person I want to be in relationship won’t and can’t see me! Your fear may be another variation, but it can be traced back to an event or perception in your own life. A belief you hold about yourself or the world.

Tracing this back and being honest with ourselves and loving ourself is key to loving another. I want someone to value and see me. But if I cannot value and listen to my own voice, I will forever be looking outside myself to find it.  I have to be rooted in a love of my own and for me this love is rooted in God. But even my perception of God can be tainted. And this involves correcting a lot of misperceptions about what LOVE is.

Without getting too heady, I’ll return to Wilke’s quote. The scenario is such that if you as a person can love from within and without, then you begin to understand and exhibit a real love for another. This love can grow strong as you set aside your ideals and projections of what you need and just sit with the person as they are, you then begin real love.

Becoming a parent has a lot of the good juices of real love, but then we can mess it up trying to form our child too much in the way we want them to be. The balance of boundaries and discipline, along with support and a place for a child to mature and bloom is why parenting is a challenge. It challenges our own needs of throwing our needs and desires upon this beautiful child we brought into the world. At some point after parenting, we have to let go and see our children as individuals with distances and differences and honor them, even if it’s not a place we think they should be. We have to love them. Then we can begin to have an adult relationship and see them against the sky.

For romantic love to be real love is not so easy, but it gets easier when you stop putting your idea of what you need and expect that person to provide and give you, and see them! And value who they are in the moment! Then as Wilke says, you can see each other against the sky. The distances (or differences) no longer are fearful or cause you to expect and demand from this other human being. Instead, you love them and in return they have a space to love you-as big as the sky!

Aside | Posted on by | Leave a comment

XOXO Sad Love Songs

How can I be sitting somewhere and listen to a theme song from a movie and just feel the sadness oozing out of it? Is it because I have seen the movie? Is it because I attach the situation immediately to the movie, or is it merely the way a composer has arranged those notes that create a sad song, just like a happy song or a marching song?

There are too many to mention, but here are a few: the Shindler’s Theme Song from Shindler’s List, We Had One Day from One Day (sad movie), Karen’s Theme I & II from Out of Africa, My Heart will Go On from Titanic (Okay, this one actually  causes more a nauseous feeling than a sad one!), and the infamous and long-standing  theme song A Time for Us from Romeo and Juliette.

The music tells the story best. As the notes swoon across the page, the instruments play (usually piano and stringed instruments), and it causes our hearts to feel the sadness. I think it’s such a curious thing. Why? What is happening in my experience and in my mind that is creating in that moment sadness, which in all reality, is not even my sadness?

And why does my heart cling to sadness in my own life? With my own sad love song? Why do I sit in sadness from a loss of love? Let it wash over me continually like a sad love song?

Do I or other’s sit in the experience of loss because we are sad about no longer having the experience with said person or thing, or because we do not believe we will ever experience the good feeling emotion again?

This is a good stopping point for a disclaimer, a worthy note of the type of loss: A loss of a loved one through death (or divorce), be it your beautiful and loyal pet, a sibling or spouse or good friend, is another whole category of loss. I do not, in any way, want to diminish this type of loss.  Those are gut wrenching and take long moments of healing.

Is it the investment I made toward something of great value that has caused my heart to feel sad?

Would I feel the same toward a purchase of failed stock or property? I don’t think so. It might be more toward the emotions of regret, anger or guilt.

Emotions of the heart are so palpable, so tangible in a very intangible place within our psyche. And is the depth of the sadness equal to the time spent in a relationship, in the investment I made? Not necessarily.

I believe it has more to do with the authentic connection. It has happened-something akin to the lock and key analogy. In only a very few instances has it taken moments to make my heart open and feel this loving connection, where the gate was priorly locked.

I remember as a teenager, around 15 years old, meeting a boy older than me while camping in Colorado. It was at the height of James Taylor’s career with Sweet Baby James, and Carol King’s song, You’ve Got a Friend. This boy reminded me of James Taylor (which, as you may have surmised, I had a big celebrity crush on), and he had a guitar and sang James Taylor songs to me around the campfire!

We became pen pals for a while. I imagined we would meet again and be boyfriend and girlfriend. When he stopped writing, I was so sad-for so long. But this is a juvenile, idealized version of sadness. It has no real basis except that he sounded and looked a bit like my celebrity crush.

Now, as a full-grown, adult woman, how much of my perspective of loss to a romantic situation is attached to the idea and how much to the actual person?

We tend to idealize people who we have loved, especially if the person has passed away. It’s as if, all the unhealthy aspects of the relationship have melted away. I’ve seen my aunts and mother do this. The person is a saint! Who cares if the same person was emotionally unhealthy and brought damage to others while in human form?

Do we idealize our losses because we feel, and yes, sometimes know we will not recapture or have the experience of this person in our life again?

Which part of our Achy Breaky Heart is a true representation of the experience, the person? And what part is really a piece of ourselves, of our own psyche working out our inner truth which has nothing to do with an outside dynamic in the form of a relationship?

How do we give ourselves compassion to move on from our loss and sadness? How do learn where I really stand in the truth of the relationship. Was it the person or an idealized version of the person? My idea of romance and relationship?

In other words, what part of my loss toward the real, flesh and blood, beating heart and  soul person I shared time with, is a real loss for him or her? And what portion of this experience with this person is a mirror toward me? Toward my journey to be real and loving with who I am in this time?

That’s a tricky question. I can’t take the love, the loss, the person’s characteristics that I love and dump in a centrifuge, separating out the real and the ideal.

Just like I cannot separate the person, the time, and the loss into definable chunks and release. It may take moments, months or years. I believe honoring the person, the experience and the love is the only way, I can make peace with the sadness and with the loss.

And very important, I have to honor me. I have to love me as much and more as I loved that person and the experience I had with him or her. Because when all is said and done- who we invite into our lives is some aspect of who we are and what journey we are on in this world.

I’m going now, to listen to Dumbledore’s Farewell from Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix!  So sad!

 

 

Posted in Relationships and Love | 2 Comments

 .  Happiness and Joy

Happiness is dependent on circumstances be it a place or person or thing.  

Joy is something you carry within you. It is deep and light. It is personal and it is published. It is still and it is movement.

We can have momentary joy that we lay up as treasure. We can have joy that continues even we are no longer here (parents and grandparents listen in!). Sometimes our joy is a memory, an honor of someone we loved who has passed on.

Joy does not go out unreturned.

Unlike happiness which is fleeting and based on something in time or beyond ourselves, joy remains.

I’m not knocking happiness though. Happiness is a celebration of humanity- a wedding, acceptance into a college of your choice, birth of a baby or winning the competition of an athletic event.  

Happiness is needed. I love the song sung by John Legend- Happiness. I jump up and down in my apartment and a grin spreads wide across my face! It truly makes me happy. And just for the record, we all need more songs that lift us up! No sad love songs  Adele!

Joy is the cake and happiness are the sprinkles in our life. Let’s hold onto both and Celebrate!!

And a special shout out to a couple who know happiness and joy! They are living examples of both- Lou and Fran!!

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Blind Optimism? or Faith?

The subject of blind optimism compared to real faith is one I grapple with a lot.

Blind optimism feels like a form of arrogance and naivete’. Faith is more like grounding oneself in something beyond the present toward the future.  Yet, do we as humans follow blind optimism (or conversely cynical beliefs) more than we follow Faith?

Blind optimism is easier to follow. I had what I felt and experienced  as a beautiful loving relationship come to an abrupt ending a few weeks ago. It truly was heartbreaking. I leaned on good friends as I cried, and in my mind negotiated the situation. I brought blind optimism with me when doubts or fears would rise up. I brought blind optimism with me when I was still negotiating in my mind how we would be together again.  Blind optimism is not faith. It does not give you rest. It only churns and churns within you. It rises and falls according to your emotions and thoughts.

Faith- it is solid. The earth can shake, the waves rise high upon the water, but faith keeps steady. People have faith in many things- a marriage will last through the test of time; friends you love will always be close; and the job you love (or at least feel some sense of contribution) is secure.

And it is jarring, painful and sorrowful when the bottom drops out-your marriage is not sustainable, your friend leaves, and you are laid off after working a lifetime at a place you thought cared about its employees. These are all circumstances. Yes they involve people, connections of some sort. We have on some level invested our time and attention, and even more our heart and faith in these circumstances.

Faith is believing without seeing. It’s how an invention or a business begins. Faith carries you through the set backs, the challenges and the things unseen in the moment.

How do I replace blind optimism with faith? And what is my faith in-truly? Is it in the idea that the right person will come into my life if I just trust they will? Or that this person and I will have a chance later down the road? Or the job I now have, which is disintegrating is opening to another opportunity?

Other people might handle all these circumstances differently. Distraction works well, at least temporally- stay busy, occupy your mind and time with other activities. Or maybe go into deep sorrow and hand-wringing worry over the circumstance. Or a real blind optimism of spouting affirmations that will change the circumstance on the person’s behalf.

Are any of these anchored in Faith? No, I can attest to these methods- I’ve tried them all.

This time I am doing my best to put my desires and human sorrow and disappointment into a faith. This faith is not easy. It requires doing and saying things that feel contrary to my present experience. And it requires me putting my thoughts of successful outcomes-those I think are best for me, aside.  And then what? What does this lead to?

My faith rests in the biggest L word of all, faith beyond myself, Faith in God and in trusting Him. For me- this is the hardest kind of Faith. And many times faith is mistaken for blind optimism.  How do we know? Because Faith is not fighting, struggling or figuring out the reason behind the human plane of disappointment or heartaches.

Faith is resting. Faith is handing over my blind optimism and my doubts. But how do I do this? and what is my motivation, my backup of reason that says I am doing the right thing?

One of my favorite verses has been a tag line for me in my present state. “Be still and know that I am God.”

What does meditation, prayer accomplish? Being still, stilling the mind, stilling the doubts and sorrow. Breathing in, breathing out and being present with myself and allowing Love to enter in. I am too busy wringing my hands, trying to figure out what went wrong or what I did. None of this helps me.

Sitting still and feeling God’s love come in does help. Reading inspirational words or writing also helps. But being still and surrendering to what is, is the best. And I believe faith usually does not come in a big wave and voile’ you have faith. Jesus said, “If you have faith the size of a mustard seed, you can move the mountain.” That’s not a whole lof of faith. And what is the mountain? All those worries, all the sorrow, all the disappointment, and all the doubts.

Faith the size of a seed? Surely I have that much faith. So then, how is it my mountains still stand in front of me? Why has it not been thrown into the sea?  I’m still working on this. But when I see David in the Old Testament running for his life from King Saul and living in caves with his loyal men, I see his faith working.

Faith is not ignoring what is going on around us. Faith is stretching out beyond what is going on. In the Psalms there is a pattern: It begins with recognizing and bringing to the forefront the goodness of God. Call it praise. Something happens when we do the contrary of what we are feeling.  When we believe beyond our sorrow.

The psalms begin with stating the truth-God’s greatness or His protection or His love for me. Then it usually states the problem-the situation of either the problem or more likely the heart in the problem. Blind optimism would gloss over this, would rearrange the truth for deception.

David grapples with his truth, and God’s truth. He grapples with his heartache, his worry and fears. But after the grappling and stating the situation, he comes back to relying on the source of love outside. He becomes still and sits with God. And then he ends in praising, in resting and in Faith, knowing he is being led in the right direction.

Whether I am sitting still on my couch in the early hours of the morning or I am walking at my beautiful park and taking in the gorgeous sunset over the mountains or enjoying the cool breeze and the green of Spring everywhere, I am praising and ‘sitting still.’

You build faith in life not in a vacuum or a place of ease. You build it brick by brick until it becomes a wall of strength and surety.

And as anyone will tell you- sitting still involves letting go. And when we let go, wisdom arrives and gently and compassionately speaks to us. It happened on Wednesday. The day had been awful- all of my hurt and worry and doubts just hit me full force. I cried a lot. But then I went for my walk and all of it was lifted, I breathed in the beauty and listened to my songs of joy. And God whispered to me, “I desire your heart more than you desire XXX’s heart.” And I felt like a child, a lamb. In that moment my heart shifted and the thought of God loving me so much quieted my restlessness, my worry. At least for today.

Posted in Making It Real | Leave a comment

Knuckle Hills In Kenya

The Ngong Hills are peaks in a ridge along the Great Rift Valley, located southwest near Nairobi, in southern Kenya. The word “Ngong” is an Anglicization of a Maasai phrase “enkong’u emuny” meaning rhinoceros spring, and this name derives from a spring located near Ngong Town. [1]  Though I hear the villagers describe it as the seven knuckles. 

The Ngong Hills, from the east side slopes, overlook the Nairobi National Park and, off to the north, the city of Nairobi. The Ngong Hills, from the westside slopes, overlook the Great Rift Valley dropping over 1000 meters (4,000 feet) below, where Maasai villages have been developed.

The peak of the Ngong Hills is at 2460 meters (8070 feet) above sea level. [2]

During the years of British colonial rule, the area around the Ngong Hills was a major settler farming region, and many traditional colonial houses are still seen in the area.

In the 1985 film Out of Africa, the four peaks of the Ngong Hills appear in the background of several scenes near Karen Blixen‘s house. Local residents still reported seeing lions in the Hills during the 1990s.

And here I am with my co-workers last year in May.  May is the rainy season and the coolest part of the year for Kenya. As we began our ascent toward the first hill, and Honey, these aren’t Hill Country, Texas hills! No comparison. Practically no switchbacks  and straight up a ‘hill’ that is mostly grass and moist red dirt that doesn’t provide the best of footing.

But oh, it is worth it! Lush vegetation and continual scenes of houses nestled into the hill on one side, and views toward the Great Rift Valley on the other.

We scaled the hills in the rainy season of Kenya. Mist and fog surrounded us frequently. Clouds moving in and out above us. Scaling the last hill, we came upon the Great Rift Valley- the end of our destination. Only a thick blanket of fog greeted us. My heart sunk a bit. Did I tackle these steep hills not to see the most amazing sight of all?

We stretched our tired bodies on the green slant of the hill and had lunch. Meanwhile our guard talked with another guard, their AK-47’s slung casually over their shoulder’s.

In Kenya, as in many places of risk, you pay for a guard to accompany you. For wild animals? No. For wild people-looters and people who would do serious harm or rob you. Yes, even on this mountain (I am adverse to calling it a hill) surrounded by beauty.

But this is Kenya and you come to accept it.  Patience is required in Kenya. They call it Kenyan time/Africa time. Unlike the good Ol’ USA, people aren’t slaves to their timers and alarms. It is more relaxed.

So we ate our lunch and waited for the clouds to drift and dissipate. And yes,thirty minutes later, the valley revealed itself. It was worth the wait.

I started jumping and asked my work colleagues to do the same. We were on a slope and as we jumped and jumped, laughing all the while, we captured photos of us with the valley behind us.

IMG_6299

Photo opportunities abound-the valleys and the hills, the mountains in the distance, the small grasshoppers with butterfly wings, and the beauty of a tree that looks like it came straight out of a scene of Lord of the Rings movie.

I snapped a photo of all these. And a photo of a tree standing alone, it’s windswept branches reminding me of a girl’s long hair floating behind her.

When I came back home, I wrote a poem in regard to this photo, this tree. I hope you enjoy.

SOLO ON NGONG HILL

Solo on Ngong hill,

No duet, No pas de duex,

as you wave your body gracefully in the wind.

Alone, you have been for some years,

on this tall hill.

Rooted enough to let

the force of time shape,mold your branches

into a banner of beauty.

As I climb the crest of the ridge

I am in awe of your Brise’ Vole,

Your strength in dancing against the elements,

holding your ground  for one more storm.

Oh Dancer, dance with me;

Teach me your moves as

I traverse across your land,

A corps de ballet.

By Victoria Yeary

 

IMG_6360

Posted in Travel | Leave a comment

Letting Go of Home

Source: Letting Go of Home

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment