Sunday, July 31, 2016

a tiny story

I was going to write about how Donald Trump makes me terribly anxious, or going camping, or being with all of my brothers. I was going to write about how we used to go to the nude beach  at the tip of Martha's Vineyard, make ourselves a shelter with my sarongs and other things...

stones and pieces of wood worked fine. 

We'd curl up in the sarong shade, ocean before us, blue sky, red cliffs ~

such freedom

But this is a tiny story about a girl I saw in a car. I decided to write this tiny story about a girl, maybe she was seven, who reminded me of how simple things can be. I was flying along at sixty-five mph on 287 South in New Jersey after dropping Claire off at my brother's in Connecticut. They were going camping for a week in Montauk. I was going home to an empty house, except for Chewy.


I was passing a car, looked over, there was a girl with blonde hair, round eyeglasses, a purple shirt. I was going fast but this felt like a moment of space. A big yawn of a moment. I looked over, we saw each other, our eyes met - this was a second, right? Then,

she waved at me. 

I love that girl, her small kid hand lifted in gentle salute, how her wave carried me home.

That's the tiny story.

And this is a picture of a big bunch of orange carrots. 

xo b

Tuesday, July 26, 2016

How Exhilarating To Become Aware

July 26. 2016

Today's message from Mom's meditation book resonated deeply so I'm sharing with you.

Take what you need.

The principle of life is that life responds by corresponding; your life becomes the thing you have decided it shall be.

- Raymond Charles Barker 

The attitude that we carry with us into a particular setting will greatly influence our perceptions of any event. Our attitude also influences, positively or negatively, personal interactions, and not just those involving ourselves. The effect of our message is this: our personal power is profound. We have explicit control over our own perceptions. We determine our own attitudes. Every moment of our lives we are deciding what we want to see, to think, to feel. And reflections will inform us that our expectations are firmly fulfilled.

How exhilarating to become aware of our freedom to think and to feel as we wish. However, with this freedom comes responsibility. We're barred from blaming others for our troubles. Each of us is charged with the responsibility for deciding our own fate. How we prepare ourselves for this experience or this day is individually chosen. Every minute we are in control of our perceptions, our attitudes, our responses.

Today is mine to mold. My attitude, my thoughts, and my responses will decide my fate today.

Stay tuned,
xo b

Monday, June 20, 2016

And Not Be Elsewhere

Let us dig our gardens and not be elsewhere;
   Let us take long walks in the open air…
   Let us bathe in the rivers and lakes…
   Let us indulge in games…
   Let us be more simple: simple and true in
our gestures, in our words, and simple and true
in our minds above all. Let us be ourselves.

-Robert Linssen

Hello Lovelies,

I have so much to say, to write about, ideas scribbled on the supermarket receipt, the back of an envelope, in my journal. My mind these days is a river full of birds and branches, red canoes, fat clouds, people on the riverbank getting baptized in white gowns, the solitary heron. But with so much blabbering and horror and more blabbering on the air waves I find myself quieted, listening more, talking less. Sitting on my back steps watching the trees sway in the breeze, everything around me 

green green green

Quieted by the breeze, the lilies, the panting dog, the freshly potted basil, the coming and going of Father's Day and where is my father now that he is gone from this earth? Having a frolic in the spirit world, beyond the thin veil, as close as my breath. Claire was very little when my mother died and my heart was so broken. One day I sobbed, where is my mother and Claire, a three year old said,

She's right here, mama, right next to you.

Those were the days when Claire called me mama and I believed without a doubt that she knew more than me about these things. I still do. Young children are portals to the light, not cramped and shut down like grown ups can be. (more on the joy of hanging with little kids next time...)

On this Summer Solstice day, 

this day of long light

find a scrap of paper, a pretty note card, paper towel, a green leaf, anything to write on. Write yourself a love note, a blessing to yourself and your loved ones. Write a thank-you note to your heart, or this sweet old beautiful earth, put it in the ground. If you live on the 15th floor of an apartment building, put it in one of your house plants. No houseplants? Tuck it in your underwear drawer. 

Make the generous gesture. 

Let us be more simple: simple and true in
our gestures, in our words, and simple and true
in our minds above all. Let us be ourselves.

Let us be ourselves. And not be elsewhere.

xo b

Sunday, May 15, 2016

there's an art to this

When I don't know what else to do with my busy, over-active, monkey-jumping, Dear God please don't let Donald Trump become president mind, I gotta get physical. It's the only way through for me. That or slump in the corner weeping, sipping from my water bottle. One of the best remedies for me is clearing stuff: a closet, the garage, a neglected garden patch, a littered back road.

We loaded the big blue truck with 1 broken lawn mower which has been in the shed for a long time, an old mattress and frame, a cracked plastic bin, other stuff, and took it to our town's annual spring clean-up. After that trip, we took 3 perfectly good office filing cabinets that have been in the garage for years, + 2 bikes that will make some kids happy and donated to our local give and take day. 

This afternoon, while the wind shook trees and the sky went light and dark, Chewy and I walked the yard to see what we could see. I had my winter hat, garden gloves and an awesome pair of clippers. Chewy had his tennis ball. Huge surprise, I know.

It was easy to find clutter in the neglected back garden. I happily hacked at vines taking over the rhododendron and the small path that circles around it. I cut and pulled and cleared. Snapping a branch off a small tree I discovered it was dead. Next thing, I was wrestling with that tree. There's an art to this; walking one way as far as you can go, then back the other way. Sometimes it's a quick release. Other times patience is required. I cannot tell you the pleasure I get from this wrestling. Pulling and tugging, soil eventually loosening. Have you ever pulled a choking vine off a bush and felt the satisfaction of giving breath? Or cleaned out your underwear drawer and felt totally refreshed? Have you ever wrestled a tree? 

What can you untangle, cut, clear, pull loose, wrestle, give breath to today?

Give breath to you.

Drawers, vines, pulling the roots of a dead tree out of the ground - 

Might sound weird but it's a little like labor, as in giving birth.

pant pant, pull (instead of push?) then you see roots...I said it was weird.

I'm easily tangled up in my head. Anxiety grows like a vine when I'm not moving my energy for good. I don't need to wrestle with myself - I can take on an old tree instead. I know full well that getting off my ass and clearing something (garden, garage, underwear drawer) creates a sweet spaciousness inside my head and heart. 

+ I don't need a thing except for ~

big sky
big breath
open heart

and new pens. 

xo b

Sunday, March 20, 2016

Love Many Things

A dear friend's father was under hospice care last week, then charming, handsome Harold slipped away. That's what people do at the end, slip and slide into the tunnel of light. It's a gentle visual I choose to hold. Loss is such a painful thing but this is where lightness and trust come in. Not lightness as in skipping through a meadow (although that sounds kinda fun), but when I think of lightness - in the face of a dying parent, a brother with cancer, a deep missing - any feeling that tends to ball and chain you down - when I think of lightness it feels like allowing, not resisting. 

Think of allowing everything like holding a yellow chick in the palm of your hands, 

in wonder.

During my Dad's dying week, part of me was repulsed at his labored breathing, the utter frailness of his body, the scent of death in the room. There was a crowd of feelings hovering around. But so were the chatty hospice people. Hello Sunny! putting on a clean pair of socks for his cold feet. 

Curiously, the lighter side of me, the one in wonder, sang songs to Dad.

This little light of mine, I'm gonna let it shine, let it shine let it shine let it shine

One night, Dad was sitting awkwardly on the edge of his bed, holding one knee the way he liked to do, eyes closed. Trust me when I say I so wanted to run, but I stayed. I put my arm around him, sang out Michael Row Your Boat Ashore, (a family favorite) tears washing down my face. 

Dad was still dying, my heart was painfully breaking open, and the thing is, I let it.

break open 

Because that's where the lightness comes through. 

Maybe you're thinking, 

Why the hell is this girl writing about her dying Dad on the first day of spring? 

Show us some flowers and be nice about it. Get with the seasonal program!!!

Here's what I'm getting at.

We are in a constant state of experiencing so many things, every day. 

life death loss joy birth ease struggle love

Vincent Van Gogh said, love many things. 

I know this because I have a little notepad that says so. 

Hold your heart like that little yellow chick, gently. no squeezing. 
Make a list (it's so much fun) of all the 

and things 
you love.

(it'll take more than a little notepad)

Add something about yourself too. 

Gosh, I love my quirky little ways...finally

We are here to love. 

Happy Spring, lovelies!

I love you.

xo b

Sunday, March 6, 2016

not those feelings again!

Ever notice, while folding pillow cases, that you're holding tightly to something? not the pillow case...If your body was a fist, it would be a clenched one? Maybe you've been walking around, even sleeping with this body fistun-aware how tense you are over ~

grief over a loss
an argument with your lover
worry about an ill friend
that extra ten lbs
not knowing what the next step is
deep sadness that Donald Trump was born in the United States

Is he? Can someone check that, please?

Once aware, you decide to keep choking this whatever it is right now feelingbelieving sheer force will make it disappear. You squeeze and clench and grit your teeth until whatever is bothering you has passed out. Once that messy feeling biz is over, you'll peacefully run through a meadow of yellow flowers in a pretty form-fitting sundress.

That's how it works, right? 



making a fist with both hands. 
tight tight tight. 
hold your breath too. 
hold hold hold 
clench clench 
hold hold

then open your mouth
let the air rush out
open fingers like tiny wings
float the palms up + out to your sides
breathe so so slowly

You could argue that this little hand/breathing exercise doesn't solve a thing.


But this experienced (exhausted) problem-solver pledges that a simple hands-open practice creates a path for that which cannot be solved to travel. Grief will not be choked away. A hard position never leads to peace. Worry won't cure cancer. Not knowing and uncertainty is the very mystery of life. 

Mystery won't be wrestled to the ground. 

Open your hands, palms up. 
Float them quietly over your heart. 
Breathe like a sleeping baby. 
Wear a half-smile on your face. 


paths appear
answers come 
love arises

xo b

Sunday, February 14, 2016

all we needed to know

           That first Valentine’s Day, I flew to Los Angeles. Michael met me at the airport with a dozen red roses. His apartment full of red balloons; shiny hearts and a giant pair of lips bobbing in the living room. A cocktail party of balloons. In the fridge was a small round cake with I Dig You Baby scrawled on white frosting.
            On Saturday we strolled the sunny streets of Santa Monica. Michael wore a big straw hat. We held hands and wandered in and out of shops. Two people with a camera and microphone stopped to interview us about an upcoming John Gray video they were shooting; John Gray, the author of Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Mars. 


         The question was posed: How do couples stay together? We smiled, arms wrapped tightly around each other, so certain. Talk to each other, we said. Communication is everything.
           Two years later we sat down with Victor. Victor was the minister of the old red brick church where we wanted to be married. Victor with his square glasses and strip of puffy hair wrapped around his head. My father will be marrying us, I said. We were wondering if we could borrow the church. Victor agreed but longed to put his seal on our marriage.
           So, he said, there’s a video I though you might watch. We could discuss it after. It’s called Women Are From Venus, Men Are From Mars. Michael squeezed my hand. The two of us, puffed up with love, laughed gently.
          Oh no, we said, We’re not interested in pre-marital counseling, Victor. Thanks so much, but here’s a funny story, and we launched into our day in Santa Monica; the Valentine’s weekend when the skywriters drew loopy hearts over Santa Monica Pier. We told him about the John Gray people, how we told them we knew all we needed to know about love.

Valentine's Day 1997

Oh my! 
Little did we know how much we had to learn 
+ how lucky we are to have found each other. 
xo b