Friday, February 14, 2020

Feast on Your Life

Love After Love

The time will come
when, with elation
you will greet yourself arriving
at your own door, in your own mirror
and each will smile at the other's welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.
You will love again the stranger who was your self.
Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart
to itself, to the stranger who has loved you

all your life, whom you ignored
for another, who knows you by heart.
Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,

the photographs, the desperate notes,
peel your own image from the mirror.
Sit. Feast on your life. 

-        Derek Walcott

xo b

Monday, January 27, 2020

De-Activate Shields

January 27. 2020

accept guidance

I'm so quick to offer help to others but to accept help instead of my usual Lone Ranger approach to life, that's been hard. Accepting guidance = life-changing. After a year of struggling with my website, seemingly losing all my previous podcasts from a click of my hand, I found help. In an hour and 1/2, problems were solved and I was able to edit and navigate on my own. Extraneous links and plug-ins were deleted. Podcasts were found. πŸŽ‰(stay tuned) All I had to do was ask + accept. Thanks, Dave.

A dear friend + talented graphic designer is helping me create a simple, beautiful card for my workshops. All I had to do was ask + accept. Thanks, Annie.

In December I sent out a group email (I rarely do that) to my cohort from graduate school to gather ideas and guidance about the writing/publishing world. What's been your experience? Do you have any guidance you can share with me, any direction to point me in? Three minutes after hitting send I heard from a lovely woman I'd not met who thanked me for taking the chance to write and ask. She too felt stymied by the business side of the writing life. I heard from many others too, faculty and fellows a like. Thank you. All I had to do was ask + accept. 

... and my asking opened up a door for someone else to ask and accept too!

What I mean by accepting guidance is that is doesn't require any muscling, planning, controlling. Rather, it's a gentle stance of receiving, accepting, opening oneself, dropping the invisible shields we have put up over years of living.

Forgive me. I saw the final Star Wars movie yesterday.

Activate shields, de-activate shields.

Take a deep breath and relax your face, shoulders, whole body. Soften. Notice/feel any shields you have engaged right now. Maybe you're braced about a work thing, or shielded with your partner or family member. Maybe you employ full shield status before stepping out the door every morning. We have our reasons, some very good (painful) ones. We're not idiots.

and yet, 

Soften some more. Breathe easily. See if you can open the shields, or whatever you want to call them. Dissolve them, simply drop them, lay them down. Whatever you see and feel in your mind's eye, in your body: de-activate shields.

Maybe you're thinking this is nonsense. I don't have shields, what is she talking about!? My mind's eye, whatever that is, sees me napping on the sofa right now, not dissolving anything. I get it. But when I put up a fuss about something, it usually means I'm resisting. Doth thou protest too much? I don't want to participate, find out, discuss, dissolve, know.

But aren't you a little curious what you're carrying around?

Some of my shields = Fear • Perfectionism • Regret • Worry • Thinking I should know it all?

Like a Jedi warrior, (I was never into Star Wars but that Rey, oh my) I will open my shields today. Instead of blocking out perceived dangers, an abundance of guidance and kindness and ease might arrive instead. I am open to accepting guidance, help, a kind word, a hand, love.

May the force be with you, always 🌠

xo b

Monday, January 13, 2020

A Thousand Mountain Streams

"Once I rented the small writer’s cabin in the woods of Massachusetts. I had my mother’s old Volvo. Everything was fine until I drove the car down a short, steep hill to the cabin and couldn’t get back up. A tow truck came and hooked the thick chain to the car. The chain snapped at the first tug and the car came crashing toward the cabin. I tried holding the car back, arms on the trunk, but it was too much. It hit the side of the cabin, a tire blew. I don’t remember anything about the writing that weekend. Alone in a cabin in the woods at night, far away from my family, I wondered what I’d been thinking, trying to keep a car from moving downhill with my bare hands."

from Please No Life Stories

Reading that snippet, I have a physical memory of putting all my body strength into keeping the car from hitting the cabin. As if I could? Lucky I didn't get crushed. It's funny to me now, and yet car-holding woman is still alive and kicking and trying to crush whatever comes her way.

Last week I was back east to see family and friends. I got sick (everyone was sick). I hardly saw a soul. My cousin called to tell me her father, my beloved uncle, had died. Before that, two childhood friends buried their fathers in December. What to do with the news of loss? Of change? We cannot hold it back. We must try arms wide open. At the very least, unclenched. Questions we might ask:

What am I trying to hold back? Why?
Can I let my arms,heart/mind fall open and simply allow? 
Can I go with the river? 
Am I willing to relax and float?

It is winter, post-holidays, January. An in-between time for many of us. Some days it's hard to gauge my feeling-o-meter. 

Am I depressed? Quiet? Tender? Filled with longing? Joyful? Lost? Found?

Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, yes, and yes.

 Rum wrote, Be grateful for whatever comes because each has been sent as a guide from beyond. 

Back in California the lemon tree keeps giving. The sun is a gift.

Elizabeth Lesser writes: We can relax and float in the direction that the water flows, or we can swim hard against it. If we go with the river, the energy of a thousand mountain streams will be with us. 

May the energy of a thousand mountain streams be with you. ☀️

xo b

Thursday, December 19, 2019

in memory of my motherπŸŒ€


         That summer Mom painted the walls in our house like a tropical bird: deep blues with white trim, the dining room a kind of parrot green. Mom said, the house is big enough to hold all this color. Mom said, when I get tired of green, I’ll roll red raspberry over the walls.
         That summer Mom and I danced in our house on the edge of New York City. Records, Hello Dolly, The Fantastiks, flopped like pancakes onto the console. We’d sway, then twirl across the bright navy rug splashed with red and white. Sashaying into the hall, then running leaping laughing, arms flung out like wings. One two three one two three, dipping whirling into the dining room dipping ourselves over chairs dipping our heads down, toes tearing air. We circled back through the kitchen for a swing on the chin-up bar, then up the stairs, up two three, down two three one two three, waltzing our way back, ending in each other’s arms.

         Mom said, in my next lifetime, I’ll come back as a dancer.
                                               Dorothy Southam Jackson
                                          July 7, 1926 - December 19, 2001

                                            Thanks for the dance, Mom. xo