2019-an Odd Year with Odd Surprises?

I have to be honest. I love December- the reason we celebrate it, the decorations! I love the lights everywhere! And I do not want to clean it all up and then welcome the new year. I want December to stay one more month! 

But here it is- 2019 is almost upon us. And 2019 just sounds weird coming off my tongue. I mean 2020 rocks! It sounds so futuristic. 2019? Meh! Sounds like an odd year- an awkward collection of numbers. Call me weird, but it feels that way. 

So since I am looking at 2019 as an odd year, perhaps the perspective should be odd surprises are coming! Odd can be really good! I usually lay out intentions for the new year. And one big one usually is around finding that person who I can love for life. 

I have spent the last 9-10 years trying to capture romantic love,  poring over relationship books, identifying my own unhealthy patterns and working with a counselor on bringing my own best self to a relationship. I have longed for companionship, friendship, fun and eventual a long term commitment.  I have been online on dating sites and tried the approach in many different ways. I have met many, many men. 

So during the holidays, I ate too much, had a birthday and solemnly looked at my dating/relationship situation.

Is it too late for me to find love? Am I trying too hard?

Is there something else God wants for my life? Am I just supposed to not engage?

Maybe it’s not about ‘looking’ anymore. Maybe it is about going deeper still into a trust and a belief that what ever each day gives me is a gift. It’s embarrassing to even talk about this with you my readers. But aren’t we all feeling this if we are longing for love?

And then Spotify chose this song for me from Nicole Nordeman- HUSH, HUSH.

it is a powerful song about being at the bottom of the sea, of not having the answers. So many times I have stepped into a relationship that I thought was fantastic, held great promise and potential. Haven’t we all been there?And sometimes at the end of it,  the result is, it feels as if I have been in a storm, tossed back and forth and then thrown on shore to an island of aloneness. 

  And this song took me to the bottom of my efforts. I am not sure what the answer is. I just know that I have to wait and go deep into trusting something outside my efforts. People say when you stop trying it comes to you. I am not of that camp. I say, opportunity walks by and you better grab it. But which is it? I just know that another meeting with another stranger has none of the glimmer or hope or feelings of excitement. I have misjudged, jumped in too soon, not asked enough questions, painted the person as something they are not, and most of all gave up something of myself in the process that took painful steps to regain.

I don’t have the answers and I don’t have to have the answers. At least this song says this and yes, I am beginning to believe this. 

This is where your ship went down
Right there, stern and bow
You took on waves, took on water
You took the blame, even harder
You drug a net across the ocean floor
Beer bottles and a broken oar
You washed on shore beneath the moon

And I'm not sure you want me to
But I'll put you back together
Hush, hush
You don't have to have the answers
Hush, hush

I will gather all the branches
I will light a fire for you
Rest your head 'til you've had rest enough
Hush, now hush
Hush, hush

It's worse in the light of day
It hurts the things they say
You wrote big letters in the sand
You watch the sky and wave your hands
But I love you if they never come
I love you in the scorching sun

One cup of water at a time
'Til you remember you are mine
And I will love you back together
Hush, hush
You don't have to have the answers

Hush, hush
I will gather all the branches
I will light a fire for you
Rest your head 'til you've had rest enough
Hush, now hush
Hush, hush

One cup of water at a time
'Til you remember you are mine
I am the calm, I am the sea
Your rescue and recovery
And I am the storm that swallowed you

I let you bleed, I thought you knew
And I am the bottom, and I am the floor
I am the deep you never knew before
I let you sink and I let you go

But I caught you in the undertow
And I am the shore, and I am the flame

And mercy is My name

Hush, hush

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Christopher Robin and Pooh, Piglet and the 100 Acre Wood

As a child, I had a very distinct abhorrence for Dr. Suess. Who at the age of five has such a strong opinion of someone so famous, so loved? But I did. I thought he was silly and so nonsensical. I did not like him, I did not!

I did not like the cartoons my older brother loved to watch. Roadrunner, Woody the Woodpecker, and yes, even Charlie Brown. I did not like that it was so predictable, so irritatingly formulaic that the coyote would never win, that the woodpecker was so destructive and that Charlie Brown was stupid enough to fall for Lucy always disappointing him.

Christopher Robin and Pooh, Piglet, Tigger, Rabbit, Owl, Kanga and Roo, and Eyore were all wonderfully, adorable. Charming and heartfelt and very imaginative. They spoke to me, deeply, funnily, and profoundly.

Pooh, a bear with very little brain, spoke truth and clarity that I recognized at a very young age. Christopher Robin was their protector, their play pal and their father of sorts.  He loved and accepted them in all their unique personalities. And they were a family in the 100-acre wood.

They accepted and made way for their own personalities and proclivities. There was no one bashing each other over the head, pulling the football out from underneath you. They cared for each other; they stuck together.

And in a very English way, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin were best mates. I’m watching the movie that came out the past year of Christopher Robin becoming an adult and forgetting his friends. He is swept up with work, and play and the act of playing has been stolen from him.

The film brings him back to the 100-acre wood and to his family of beloved animals. It eventually brings him back to his wife and daughter, as he has allowed work to be the end all and steal from his family.

I read all of A.A. Milne book of poems, supposedly written by Robin, and Winnie the Pooh books of the 100 Acre wood, I read them in third grade and voraciously ate them up, relishing the sweet innocence, silliness and deep wonder of life in the 100 Acre Wood. I remember holding the hardback books with awe and excitement, in my small hands as I checked them from the library, thinking how grand it is to have such a book. And when I had read the last book written by A.A.Milne, I was sad, but just picked up the first book and began rereading them again.

And this is where I cut my teeth on poems. It is the first place where I delighted in the patterns and power of words strung into verse. It was magical and mysterious. And I loved every bit of it.

I would venture to say there are more out there like me, but perhaps you have forgotten how profound the experience was. Perhaps, Pooh and all the characters have been reduced to just a menagerie of stuffed silliness. But for me, Winnie the Pooh and Christopher Robin will always hold an honored place in my heart. Thank you, A. A. Milne.

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Where there are no rooms, no dividers

I have come to call it My God Space. This sacred room in my heart. It is the place of stillness, of being, of being with God.

Meditation, prayer, mindfulness, are all words for being in the center of love.  It requires letting go of judgements, of ideas and beliefs. We all cling to beliefs as if they are the life we are. They are not. Most beliefs begin from indoctrination or from an early childhood experience that left a distinct impression on us.

Two nights ago, my son-in-law and I started a discussion about transgender. I have some strong beliefs about this being more of a campaign of sorts than a real need. I feel it represents the confusion of today’s youth not in their sexuality, but in their belonging as a whole person.

But those thoughts did not translate well in the discussion with my son-in-law. Instead they took a wrong turn, a dead-end of sorts where we were mostly talking in heated accusations to each other. Oh how that triggered him and me! And then, later, I realized that we weren’t talking about transgender. We were both wanting to be heard by the other person.

There was a wall that needed taken down, but instead of entering a place of peace, a shared space of listening where these strong opinions could be shared and perhaps brought to a place of understanding, we were busy trying to tear each other’s walls down. Which does not work!

Today in our society, everyone is trying to tear each other’s walls down. It is a forceful act where words are used as jack hammers. Some of these walls need tearing down-abuse by people in power-sexual abuse in particular; women’s inequality in pay; abuse of the poor; especially withdrawing funding from relief work around the world.

America has been called a divisive nation. The President of our United States is leading the way with divisive words tweeted daily. Causes are springing up everywhere to shout out injustice #Metoo, #Blacklivesmatter, to name a few. These are good walls to tear down but let’s all be careful that in the process, we are not building other walls of hate and anger in their place.

And all of this divisiveness feels overwhelming. Perhaps it is showing our own divisiveness with our inner lives. Swirling around us constantly is doing, being busy, creating action steps toward some sort of achievement.  We pack in our days doing and doing so much that we don’t know how to be with stillness, with ourself, and with God.

Our own walls are big. Our own walls of identity, of a broken childhood, of our so-called career, of a marriage gone wrong. And we build these walls faster than the Berlin wall. We build these in our mind, in our hearts. We can’t find the real us amidst all the barriers we build in ourselves.

Barriers can be good. The correct word is  boundaries. Boundaries are there to protect in a practical way. They are constructed with love. We protect our children from being exposed too early to the world. We protect them as much as humanly possible from harm. We also teach them how to set their own boundaries by creating healthy ones for them.  We need boundaries as well. For children who have not been modeled healthy boundaries or given protection and love, these are harder to recognize and create as adults.

So I am finding that going to this place of stillness, of breathing in and out, and doing nothing but finding love so big, so bright, so warm and fulfilling, I don’t want to leave. It is like I am in a large open field, high in the mountains of Colorado; the air is crisp and clean, the sky is blue, and the meadow is brimming with tiny flowers. Large, shading blue spruce trees loom around the edges, standing sentry around me, giving me shade.

And all this goodness, all this beauty, all this lightness and wonder is God. It is me joining Him in this space. I don’t have to do anything; I don’t have to say anything; and I don’t have to be anything. He and I are just together. No walls. No dividers. Love, mighty and clean and powerful draws my heart in, expands it beyond the needs and desires I believe I have or want.

I then bring others in. One by one, I bring a person I care about or perhaps am having challenges with. And that love washes over me and the other person again. No judgements, no barriers, no walls. If I do have any judgements or hurts or wounds with the other person, it is easy to release them, to let go of my wall. That surrender is standing at the ocean’s edge, placing the hurt or wound into the ocean and seeing it wash away from shore, out to the deep ocean.

I’m not always successful with this. I may have to do it again and again. It doesn’t matter. Being in my God space, surrounded by love and light, gives me the ability to let go easier, to  no longer see the so-called issue as a problem. And if it is a particularly big wall, I need help from another in the work of spiritual guidance to see what the wall may be in my mind and body.

I imagine Heaven to be this place where each person comes through a different door of belief, but to everyone’s surprise, they all walk into the same room, a room bright and beautiful bursting with God’s love. When they come through the door all of the old beliefs, wounds, divisions are left behind. Those old things cannot fit through the door of the soul any longer.  They are in the God space now, fully and eternally.

In this human form, I get to choose, what walls I let stand in my own heart and what walls I allow to fall, letting in love instead, simply by being in the one room that matters, my God space.

 

 

 

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Hold My Heart

Hold me; hold my heart.

Hold it like a lover, softly, passionately.

Hold it like a father, protectively, strongly.

Hold it like a brother, laughing with me, playing along.

Hold it like a best friend, secrets we only know, places we only go.

And your heart? It is tucked within mine.

It is held like a lover, sweetly, intimately.

It is held like a mother, safely, acceptingly.

It is held like a sister, adoringly, funnily.

It is held like a best friend, always looking out for you, always having your back.

Need I say more?

 

 

 

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Writing as a writer-why we do it

I am staring a digital blank screen on my WordPress. I am not sure what I want to write about yet; I have some ideas.

WordPress has become wildly popular, mainstream almost. I think of it as a platform that writers now have but fifteen years ago the closest thing you could get to publishing something was a magazine article, a book or a  letter to the editor in your local newspaper!

Writing is something a writer is compelled to do. If it’s in a journal, a white paper for class, an editorial, a novel, or something posted on social media, then the writer is happy…temporarily. Because you may hammer out a blog page or a novel, but the need to write-that thirst-is never quenched.

Everyone likes to express themselves, be heard. Writing online is a huge medium for getting your feelings across or sharing information. But for those of us who love to write, love to find the right word, the right arrangement of words to convey a meaning, a thought, or a feeling, it is immensely satisfying!

I am currently working on my second novel. It is a lot of work arranging the characters, the plot, and the details of a certain time period. It is a project that brings great pleasure. I show up for my characters and they show up for me-ready to play their part as I type madly on the keyboard.

Writing is an art. One to be practiced and practiced. It is like any other discipline. You keep at it, and it becomes better…to a point. Then comes imagination, the playfulness of the writer, the creativity of the mind and soul. Great stories rise up from a place deep inside us. These stories at times feel like they are from another world being spoken to us through our fingers strumming out the letters.

It is magical, like any art. There is a framework, a set of rules that we all adhere to, but just as a musical instrument or a blank canvas is the framework, the instrument, to create, so is the page. Writers are in control of what is being typed. And sometimes we are not. Winding its way forward in some mysterious path through our brain, the words surprise us, delight us, and perhaps, even disturbs us. Words can comfort, can challenge, and can guide.

Writers have to keep writing. It is our obsession. We don’t write one novel, one article and brush the palms of our hands together and proclaim we are done! We are always finding ways to use language to express something.

I once dated a psycho-therapist who had written 29 books. (It was so weird because he would actually introduce himself and say he was an author and then tell the person the number of books he had written!)

He hated writing. He had a formulae of sorts and wrote only to sell his books at his conferences (29 and counting!).

Yet, when he saw me writing and read my writing, he called me a true writer. He recognized that I love writing! He saw how it was my passion, not a way to manipulate words and thoughts for conferences. He was an author but not a writer. I am an author and writer!

To all the writers out there- don’t give up your passion. Make it more than an avocation. You have a gift-USE IT-Everyday!

My best and soulful wishes go out to you! Viva la Words!

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When NO is in your face.

When I grab onto something, an idea or a person I feel is suited for me, it’s hard to know when to let go, even if there is a big NO in my face.

Tenacity, perseverance, faith? Or is it stubbornness, blindness, and idealism?

The more the idea (or shall I say ideal) is in my head and heart, the harder I fall, and fall, and fall. I stubbornly hold onto a relationship. Even if it has become unravelled, I still want to hope it will resurrect itself in the near future.

It’s as if I am incredulously, ridiculously vested in this person. I can’t be wrong about it. It was so good, so wonderful.

Does this resonate with any of you??

Strange thing is, everyone is ready for you to move on. Someone told me that he is like driftwood. What? a solid substance that drifted into my life and now is washed out to sea?

It feels like the hope is gone. It has also washed out to sea. If I had been smarter, wiser, slower, then perhaps I would have seen and turned QUICKLY away so as not to feel, to love, to give. How do you turn from something that is so strong, so amazing?

And we all want a reason for our time, our heart being invested. We don’t want it to feel like a piece of driftwood, So then the platitudes roll in…

You need to take it slower

He was helped by you (He said so!)

He understands more about himself

He thinks you are wonderful- just doesn’t want to be involved 

You learned something from this relationship; it gives you a chance to grow 

Quoting Winnie-The-Pooh, “Oh BOTHER!”

Perhaps it might be easier to say to myself, “THIS IS A NO FOR YOU!”  Because I am so determined to believe I can outlast, out wait the circumstance, carry the person, or even…GASP! change who I am.

By the way, all of those reasons just listed are horrible reasons for me to hang on to someone who has clearly said No to an exquisite opportunity to love and be loved.

And perhaps for a lot of us (most of us?), it is more about the disappointment than it is about the person. I was vulnerable, open, giving and the door was slammed in my face.

So I hang on as a way to say, “No! this must be a bump in the road! I feel betrayed by my own feelings, my own intuition!”

Whether it is time, or enough sage advice from friends and counselors, I finally let go. It would be easy to start making a list of that person’s so called faults or flaws to make me feel justified in not being in relationship with him. But then wouldn’t that make my feelings of love and caring false?

NO! I have to trust God that there is a reason, a protective reason why it didn’t work out.

And this requires me to come back to myself and not ask “What did I do wrong?” but to ask “What did I do right?” And also what did I learn from this relationship that I want to carry over to the next one (and please, God-my last one?!)

The really great thing that I haven’t quite mastered is to flip the whole thing and instead of feeling bereft of love and of this person, I feel it was a great stepping stone to the next great thing! That I am almost home!

But along with disappointment comes the negative feelings of hopelessness. Because I thought he was the perfect companion for me!  This is where a deep faith, a deep trust has to rise up to the closed door, the bruised heart.

I believe in God-supremely and magnificently, He is real. He did make the world, whether slow-cooker evolution or microwave 7-day fast, I don’t care! There is a Divine Trinity. And there is free will. It’s a paradox for sure.

Which means, I  am both guided and I am leading. But trust in myself is like walking on those low balancing ropes. Until you practice a lot on these, you are going to fall more than stay alighted. We fall off the rope of life, relationships in dating, and we can’t give up. There is this line of trust in God’s goodness, in another human being who will be your perfect partner. And though I fall, hurt and bruised, I have such a desire for a passionate, solid, and profound relationship, that I brush myself off, accept the big NO! and get back on.

One of my new favorite verses in the Bible is in Psalm 118:8-9. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in men. It is better to take refuge in the Lord than to trust in princes. 

It’s not saying we cannot trust anyone. It is saying to take refuge in something that is beyond the human, something solid and reliable and most of all the supreme LOVE!

But this is harder than walking that tight-rope! It means trusting in what I cannot see- the future, the person who I may meet next. When can I let go and trust? It’s really about that…trusting. I believe trust goes hand in hand with hope.

I sometimes have to go the distance a bit to see the futility in my false hope in another. Here’s the thing- we cannot make someone love us. We cannot carry them and alleave their fears. We cannot help the blinded heart to see what is in front of them. We just have to continue forward until we find a person who is open, courageous in finding love, and sees me (or you) as the most exquisite gift and he would be a fool not to grab this opportunity!

My new favorite statement is “If it is right, you can’t get it wrong with the person you are meant to be with!”

So, I am dusting off my scraped hands and the kick in the butt, I received from this past relationship. (LM, I truly hope the best for you. I hope you will decide to be courageous, and to not be afraid of love, of an angel appearing in your life.)

My bruised heart is healing.  And I am wiser. No one gets this heart until they have earned the trust.

And now a prayer from Marianne Williamson’s Book Enchanted Love, The Mystical Power of Intimate Relationship:

 

Dear God

I have lost my Love.

I feel as though my heart is broken

and will never repair.

Please help me God

to get over this.

Reveal to me the truth 

and show me a Love 

that never dies. 

AMEN.

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Carry the Load

I had no idea that when I stepped out on my walking trail this morning, I would have such a visceral experience.

It is Sunday morning and being in the Texas heat is something you prepare for. Armed with my phone and a water bottle, I start out on my four mile walk.  What I am not prepared for, what smacks me in the center of my chest is this:

These signs were every few feet on the trail. And they took hold of me in a real way.  As I stop to read each sign and take photos, Memorial Day has taken on true meaning for me. The signs display the age of the person, their hometown, the year they died, and a short blurb on what happened and who this individual was in a personal way.

I keep seeing people walk by, never looking up at these huge posters. I feel like going up to each one of them and saying, “These people matter! They went to battle for you and me! Most of them died young- take a moment and look!”

Perhaps, they have already looked. Perhaps they also have someone they loved and cared about who died in battle. But I’m not sure.

Carry The Load is a non-profit dedicated to providing active, meaningful ways to honor and celebrate the sacrifices made by our nation’s heroes — military, law enforcement, firefighters and first responders.

What started as a mission to restore the true meaning of Memorial Day has broadened to include more than just our military heroes and more than just the one holiday. Carry The Load works to bring all Americans together to participate in honoring our nation’s heroes every day.

It’s most noteworthy and ambitious project lasts a month-long with a 100k relay that begins on the North East Coast and North West Coast of the US. As the relay progresses, it  moves downward and ends in Dallas, Texas on Memorial Day with a big rally in Reverchon Park. Men and women literally carry items-backpacks, armor, fire extinguishers (I met a woman who was wearing this for a firemen she served with) to represent and honor those who have lost their lives in service.

I’ve never heard of this until moving to Dallas, where its headquarters is based. This non-profit has continuum care for those who have been in service. Please watch this video on their website to see how big of an impact this event is.

There is a small path that winds through a grove of trees on the side of Katy Trail. The wooded area had music piped in and a long row of big posters lined along the way. I stop and read and the tears come-for the young lives given in service, for the mothers and fathers and spouses and children left without a son, a daughter, a spouse or a parent.

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Memorial Day means different things to different people: a day off, fireworks and a cookout perhaps. But let’s never forget what the real meaning of it is-to Carry the Load of reverence and remembrance for those who are not here in this physical plane. Let us say a prayer of hope and thankfulness.

Here is my Memorial Day Poem. I lived in Santa Fe, New Mexico and drove by a military cemetery each day:

Prisoners of War

I drive by each day on my way to work,
White marble masts rising up from the green rolling waves.
There is a sea of them rising up the hill, 
spilling over to newly plowed earth.

It is winter.
My heart feels no beat.
Words frozen upon these pale lips,
Frozen as those beneath the snow of winter’s first blush.

Not until I drive upon the winding road, stop
and walk among the rows of faceless names,
my high heels sinking slightly in the moist ground, 
do I feel a tugging in my chest
of what has been done for the name of freedom.

And those names begin to thaw my heart and conscience,
Running into tears for families I do not know.
Mothers losing their sons, 
wives and husbands letting go of their beloved’s hand,
children left with half a home as their legacy.

Today there was another procession honoring the dead,
flags flown half mast, 
taps gently played as the box is cradled into darkness.

I stop my car along the road, watch and weep. 

Victoria Yeary

 

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