Friday, February 22, 2013

The One Line

On Monday we went to visit Dad in Mrs. Bush's Personal Care Home where he lives. Most of the time, I feel initially anxious going because I just do. But once I see Dad, it melts away.

He was in the big room for the morning stretch class when I walked in. A Big Grin lit up his face when he realized it was me coming across the room, Big Grin too, arms wide open.

It's nice that your very presence can light up another person in that really lit up thing kind of way because most of the time, it's not quite like that, unless it's your toddler. 

Toddlers bring out 

That really lit up thing.

and lately I've been pulling out pictures of my girls when they were toddlers because of that very feeling, but you can't go back and that's been making me a little sad. But I'm wandering.

Claire and Michael said hello, then decided to go sit in the sun room. I stayed for the class, my chair next to Dad's.

Ruth was there.
Rose was there.
Jenny was there.
Jenny whispered that Dad was taking her for a walk after lunch. 

But this blog is already too long. The plan was to keep it short, not wander. I wanted to share the one line that Ashley, the young instructor encouraged us to do after she said,

tilt the chin down
lift the chin up
lift our right arm
lift our left arm
clasp hands and raise both arms up
tap the toes
tap the heels

You'd think a class in a home for the elderly as Dad laughingly calls it, would be boring. Au contraire.

It was a moving meditation of the body,

all while sitting in a chair. Some people with their walkers parked next to them. One woman, who reminded me of a sweet potato, had a strap around her waist for the aides to help keep her steady on her pins when she walked. Yes, there was the lady in the back of the room who consistently shouted out,

I can't hear a word you're saying!!!

Even after another woman said, "Then move up to the front, for God's sake!" 

after the third outburst of 

I can't hear a word you're saying!!! 

young Ashley smiled and spoke a bit louder and then said the line I've been getting to all along

take the weight off your shoulders.

xo b

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Lions, Tigers, Wild Strawberries

Last Friday I had a reunion with a friend who shared a lot of stories and tales and general good-ness which was really really good, since I'd been feeling overly agitated about a work-situation. 

I'd been trying to let go but really sucking at it. 

There's a saying: 

Letting Go doesn't need to be practiced, 

it just needs to be done. 

Right. really sucking at it

John was telling me a story about tigers and lions on each side of a person, while said person,who happens to be hanging from a cliff, enjoys the juice and sweetness of a wild strawberry. 

Lions, tiger, cliff hanging, wild strawberry. 

Our visit was all of an hour and then John left. I don't know when I'll see him again. The last time was at least twenty years ago. 

But here's the thing/And this is not new stuff.

In each moment we making offerings to all we meet: 
dear friend
the cashier
a student
a co-worker
mail carrier
a neighbor 
the one you find so damn difficult 

not you, of course.

What we offer sticks, one way or the other.
What we offer, however brief the exchange, matters.

Not in a life-shattering way, although it could be, I suppose. You could, by accident? burst out at your lover or child something so awful, create such a disturbance, they will never forget it. 

Or you. 

John said, "Let go. More."

Then he laughed. John = grin-master and Boddhisattva.

I felt a wave of peace float through me, or more true, 

I was the wave of peace. for about ten seconds.

I've written it down so I can breathe let go more while at work or home, or when that familiar agitation begins to arise, 

remember those darling worries? 

fear doubt judgement freak-out agitation


For today: be your own wave of peace

namaste ~

Thursday, February 14, 2013

But She Wants The Groom

It was brief and to the point:



Were you planning on getting something for Elizabeth for Valentine's Day?


Well, if you really want to make her day, she's been saving up for a Bridegroom Ken.

Saving up? For a Bridegroom Ken?

That's what she wants. She's been saving up.

Okay, Bridegroom Ken. I'll get her that.

Later via text

What about Beach Ken? He's much more laid back, there's no marriage involved, and he's been price-cut? How about him?

Sorry, Mom, but she wants the groom.

So, I got the kid the groom. She's six. What does she know between beach guy and groom guy. What does anybody know. Looks can be deceiving. Maybe Beach Ken has addiction issues, or hates his mother. Or maybe he's a flipping billionaire who spends his day surfing and working with former gang members. Maybe Bridegroom Ken has a great sense of humor and never smoked, ever. Or maybe he's a crack head. You don't know until you get up close and personal. And even then, it's an ever-changing tide.

waves of love flow in and out and in and out and in 

Oh Valentine's Day!

be gentle with yourself,
and those you love.
and go for what you want.

even if his hair looks like a rug. 

sorry Ken but it's true. you've always had bad hair.

xo b

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Ethel's Rich Plan

I'm lifting words straight from today's meditation in a book called, The Language of Letting Go. They landed right where I needed them to land, ka-ching, right in the solar plexus, as I was doing my early morning pondering of the big words, the big things:

work life

All before 8:00 am? too early for such thinking.

So I walked the dog which is always a very good thing to do, in spite of my occasional resistance. When in doubt, take a walk.

Here's the passage; take what you need, leave the rest.

February 13

Trusting Ourselves  

What a gift we've been given - ourselves. To listen to ourselves, to trust instinct and intuition, is to pay tribute to that gift. What a disservice not to heed the leadings and leanings that so naturally arise within. When will we learn that these leadings and leanings draw us into *God's rich plan for us?

We will learn. We will learn by listening, trusting, following through. What is it time to do?...What do I need to do to take care of myself?...What am I being led to do?...What do I know?...

Listen, and we will know. Listen to the voice within.

* or if you prefer, Ethel...

as in, Ethel's rich plan for us.

xo b

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Like A Sitting Duck

Dad calls to say,

Do you have a minute?

I say,


He says,

I want to sing you a song. 


My room-mate, Kemmie 100 yrs. old 

doesn't seem to be doing too well, 

nurses keep coming in and out, 

He's like a sitting duck, 


So, I thought I'd sing you a song, it's a happy one!

Happy's good

And Dad sings 
a song about 
Salome a girl in a bar?
and Sunday school 
while I lean 
on my red snow shovel
cold, blue air
tall pines

a song in my ear.

Monday, February 4, 2013

My Darling Worries

I was dripping from a shower when Fred, Program Director for the Pan-European MFA Creative Writing program@ Cedar Crest College, called to give me the good news. 

It was a Sunday. 
December 2nd. 
11:30 in the morning. 
The sun was out.
I remember this very clearly.

"Would you like to hear what we wrote?" Fred asked. 

So Fred read, 
I stood in towel with wet hair,
listening to what any writer who's honest 
really, truly wants to hear about their work.

This is wonderful non-fiction. We could read this writer all day long, pages and pages of engaging ruminations. The epistolary form of "Tiny Lovely Moments" provides a picket around which the narrator's thoughts can range (this is in reference to Annie Dillard's intro to Modern American Memoirs, in which she says that the memoirist can plant a picket anywhere in time and range around it). Similarly, "Why I Write" uses that phrase as a unifying refrain. These unifying formal means allow the pieces to move expansively and surprisingly. We also appreciate the tension in the narrator not wanting to write, not wanting to address certain subjects, and doing it anyway - her resistance and candor are winning. Ultimately, we appreciate the intelligence and elegance of the writing. A definite admit.

be still my heart.\\

my point?

To shout out to me ? as I begin this mid-life journey as a fresh-faced MFA student in Creative Writing. Shout out because CJ's mom always said, if you don't toot your own horn, nobody will. 

Shout out to my daughter, Jesse who was the one trolling the web for her mom, looking for something that would light my fire. It's lit. 

i love you to the moon and back, jess

She called and said, "Mom, do this. Apply." 

She wasn't interested in hearing excuses, period. 

but but but, I don't know, I don't think I can, maybe another day, I'm too old, it's too late, how will I pay for it, am I good enough, it may rain later,I'm scared, I'm too happy

Yes, honey.
Do this.

Belief in ourselves precedes achievement. Our successes are always within our power if we understand our responsibility for them. We are self-talking every moment; the words we use are our personal choice. 
- Mom's Meditation Book

I said yes
I said I think I can 
more like, I know I can  

My mentor is a gifted writer who lives in Wales/ Gwyneth Lewis. 
Gwyneth is reading my work. 
We are working together. 
I have a mentor after years of solo writing-hood.
We'll "meet" on Friday, via Skype, UK time.

Gwyneth wrote: 

 this is to say: hello and welcome. Dont' worry about anything, this is a good way to get a lot of writing done in an encouraging atmosphere.

What a welcome. 
This writer's dream. 
I'm so happy and still sometimes wake in the night pulling in my usual worries, like favorite stuffed animals, what about Claire, what about Dad, what about work, what about money, what about... love? writing? love + writing

I'm just loving them now: my darling worries.

They've been with me for so long why would I try to push them out of bed. I just don't have to cuddle so close anymore. I can cuddle with the wow, yes, I'm doing this, they like me (god bless you, Sally Fields, Oscar night circa ????) I can cuddle with the intelligence and elegance and candor of my writing. 

I can cuddle with resistance too.

I can cuddle with a definite admit.

what are you cuddling with today?

or who?