Monday, August 12, 2019

Elizabeth Taylor Was Really Nice 🌞




August 12. 2019

I woke at four this morning, read, then willed myself back to sleep. Then I had a dream with my mother-in-law (this was a visitation as she's been gone for almost 3 years now), Elizabeth Taylor, and Claire's 12th grade lab partner, Leon.

I was traveling in Southern California with my mother-in-law, visiting her old home? while Leon, the lab partner, was a waiter, or something like that, who kindly ran off to get me a glass of water. Elizabeth Taylor, looking at the top of her game, was standing above me on the stairs assuring me with a smile that she'd have a look in her closet because she had just the right thing for me to wear.

I was barefoot, but Elizabeth didn't mention anything about shoes.

Years ago I took a dream workshop with four other participants. The deal was this: when responding to someone's dream, you were supposed to keep it focused on yourself.

Such as, If that were my dream ___________ and then you could ramble on about whatever.

It was one of those wonderful dreams where you wake up and want to go back

It was a calm friendly sweet place to be. And Elizabeth Taylor was really nice 🌠

Feel free to add any interpretation in the comments below.

______________________________________________________

So there's calm and friendly, and incredibly sweet, like a smiling baby, but there's also mass shootings. These things dwell in the same universe. Everything does. This messes with my head and heart. Mass shootings last week, not one but two, and all the ones that came before, are lodged in my body. There are the families whose lives are radically altered in an instant and how life still goes on after these horrific things. People march and pray and go food shopping and take out the garbage and vow to make changes while the NRA blames people with mental illness + there's photos of Crazy giving a thumbs up while blink twice Melania, holds an orphaned infant in El Paso.

I'm the baby bird on the ledge. Fly? Hunker down? Get back to the nest?





I invite you to:

Pick one person and send them a note, preferably snail mail, but if you can't get that far, write a peace email, text, leave a peace voice mail. My brother, Rob, is one of the last humans who regularly sends notes through the mail. The one above was a simple note, three words. As soon as I opened it, I felt washed in love and peace. Thank you, Bertie.

Today I am Sending You Peace xo b

pass it on 🌻




      Love, Bennett 

Monday, June 17, 2019

Dad Liked To Say 🌀





















June 17. 2019

Yesterday I woke lighthearted, even though it was Father's Day and I've been missing my Dad more poignantly lately. Seems the longer he's been gone, the more deep the loss feels. Still, I wasn't sad. Claire and Michael had gone off snorkeling on a Father's Day adventure and I was home alone with Chewy, the big-eared dog. It was a dog-walking, reading, call best friend, make a nice meal day.














This morning I woke to a low spirit, worry mind, some sadness. This isn't the most unusual thing but I've been feeling better lately, paying attention to the worry mice and mood dips that move in without invitation. Some days, they swoop in like the noisy, slightly aggressive, Northern Mockingbirds that have claimed our little yard. Lately, they've been sitting in the trees squawking and flicking their tail feathers, dive bombing squirrels and Chewy too.

My initial response to lowness is do something, get moving, get going, anything to shoo the squawkers out of the head, to feel happy, lighter, at least not so low. But I imagined my Dad was here, sitting in the green chair next to me, sipping a cup of tea with a fat dollop of honey - he had a sweet tooth, he'd say, This happens. Watch it all, like clouds. Laugh at yourself.

It doesn't matter how old I get, there's a deep longing to hear the loving advice of a parent. The miracle is, I can still conjure his voice, his ever warm kindness towards me. 

All the ways he lifted me up, comforted. 

Dad liked to say, gentle on the mental. 
Dad liked to say,  Go easy, hon. 
Dad liked to say, 




















xo b

Monday, June 10, 2019

Mrs. Aiosa 🌀




















June 10. 2019

From P. 6 of my little book on writing:

Begin a piece with "I'll start here."

I'll start here with my fourth grade teacher, Mrs. Aiosa, and the way her glossy black hair curled over the tops of her shoulders. The way the snowy white flakes of dandruff stuck to her dark clothes. I want to write about her smile, the gap between her two front teeth, the way she taught us French, writing out long white sentences in elegant cursive on the blackboard. 
____________________________________________________________

Mrs. Aiosa is one of the reasons I'm a writer...so many book reports, stories, poems, and projects I happily did in her classroom at PS. 98 in Douglaston, New York. Fourth grade. Those were the days. I'm no Mrs. Aiosa, but I have a way of helping the shyest writer come out to play, relax, write.

I'm coming east this summer, kicking off July with a mini-writing retreat. Come play in PA!

xo b



Scratching on Paper: A (Lovely) Writing Workshop
                    w/ Betsy Jackson

All you need is a desire to spend time with yourself + a notebook and pen.

Join Betsy Jackson, writing whisperer, beloved teacher for this creative, heart-opening mini-retreat: tranquil setting, wine, cheese, a sunset, other nice people. Together we will write, share (only if you want), and listen. Get curious about (+ free) the voice(s) inside you longing to be heard. Here’s the thing: Writing inspires, heals, relieves nuttiness, makes your chakras spin in the right direction – all that - so gift yourself (and a friend). Lighten your spirit. 🌀 No experience necessary. No kidding.

• When: Monday, July 1. 2019
• Time:  6:00 – 8:00 pm
• Place:  Delaware Water Gap, PA
• Cost:  $45 (pre-register by June 29. 2019)


For registration info + directions:
contact Betsy @ betsjackson9@gmail.com

Find more about Betsy @ www.betsyjacksonwriter.com



Monday, June 3, 2019

Like a Dump Truck 🌀















June 3. 2019

The tale goes like this: Seeking person is visiting a Wise One. The cups and teapot are brought out. Seeking person is talking, asking questions, while the Wise One pours tea from the pot. Seeking person watches as the beautiful golden tea flows into the cup. Seeking person feels good. They will have tea and find the answers. But the Wise One keeps pouring. Seeking person wonders what the heck is going on. The cup is full, overflowing onto the table, then the floor.

Seeking person says, Um, WTF, what are you doing, Wise One?

Wise One says, Your mind is overflowing, too full of ideas and worries. Empty yourself.













I'd written a whole other section here about clearing my head of self-help books and podcasts and even taking a break from therapy - how much can you talk about stuff, really? And how all that becomes even more stuff we've got in our heads, always seeking to figure out. It read okay but lacked clarity so I went to Ralph's, the local market. We needed lemons and pecans (and red wine). Clarity comes when you stop seeking it, grasshopper. I got my head emptied like a dump truck right there in the check-out line thanks to my cashier.

My cashier said, They call me Hostage, in an Indian accent maybe? Robert Hostage.
James, the bagger, asked, "What time is it?" and Hostage said, "It's a very good time, James."
Hostage looked at me and said, "Keep smiling, this is a beautiful world, keep smiling," which I hadn't considered after seeking a parking spot ten minutes before. Parking is like bumper cars at Ralph's. I think I have a worried look on my face a lot and don't realize it. 😳

All this to say, 

Wherever you are today, while I sit in my little house in Los Angeles - I'm wishing you well. I'm wishing you ease. Actually, I'm wishing you an ordinary day, without too much seeking and fixing, and spilling all over the place. Without sounding too self-helpy, cause I know I can be that way, I'm reminding you that it's a very good time, right now. 















xo b


Monday, May 27, 2019

The Best of Them
















May 27. 2019

I meet with a small group on Tuesday mornings. Last week, in leading up to Memorial Day, the conversation cast a wider net of remembering and shared stories of loved ones who have died.

Sarah said, " I cook some of my Mom's favorite foods."

Adrian said, " My Dad never made a big deal about anything, especially if something got broken, even if someone put a dent in his car. He was like, no big deal. So, I'm like my Dad that way."

I said,"My Mom was a gardener, a letter writer. I like to write people snail mail, even if it's a simple postcard. My Dad liked to hike and he always chatted it up with strangers. He would say, tell me about your life? I like doing all those things too."

Gina said, " Being the best of them in my life now is how I honor and remember."













This Memorial Day, and every day, we honor and remember the fallen who bravely served and protected our country, as well as those who continue to do so, every day. Thank you.

For those we love and miss, let's keep them close by being the best of them.

Namaste,
b 🌀




Monday, May 20, 2019

Turtle Medicine 🐢


May 20. 2019

Here is a message from Turtle, of hidden strengths and talents, patience and support from both the Universe and Mother Gaia herself. Turtle is here to tell us that no matter how large an obstacle seems, with perseverance and faith, it will be overcome...

Yet Turtle is not in a rush. There is no stress, no overwhelm, just graceful, consistent, steady progressions. Work with Turtle Medicine and patience, calm, balance, and grace is yours. Slow down and experience the world around you in detail. Connect to Mother Earth and all her wonders. Nurture and protect your creative projects in your heart.

- Jamie Sans (Medicine Cards)


Thanks to my dear brother, Rob, for sending this tiny movie of Turtle. With the full moon and all the swirling energies of these times we live in, this is a beautiful and timely message:

• slow down 
• practice infinite patience with oneself (and others)
• tune into the wonders everywhere
• trust in the creative process inherent in everything

... lay your eggs and see what happens 

xo b


Monday, May 13, 2019

Best Thing I Ever Did 🌀













May 13. 2019

I always wanted to be a Mom.

I didn't necessarily want to be a wife. I mean, that wasn't my driving longing in life. 

But holding my own baby, yes. Watching Mr. Roger's Neighborhood and eating peanut butter and jelly sandwiches in the middle of the day, yes. Because my daughters are eighteen years apart, I was blessed to have two rounds of Fred Rogers and Bert and Ernie. Some days I needed those shows more than my kids.

I had two rounds of running around in rainstorms, telling stories while they soaked in the tub while I sat on the floor drinking wine, trips to the supermarket in butterfly wings, maybe no panties - if you can't beat them, join them? I always wanted my own pair of sparkly wings.

Conversely, I learned that wearing underwear in layers is an option, that all you need is a wagon and an umbrella and maybe some goldfish (the kind you eat) + you've got yourself a home close enough so Mom can see you through the window while you're parked in the driveway. I learned never go anywhere without a Go Bag: a book, snacks, a drink, change of clothes.

Oh, Moms can tell many happy, funny tales. We never tire.

I know too:

Not everyone has kids.
Some people have Moms who die too young.
Some people have Moms who are kind of crazy and not that fun to hang with.
Mothering can be lots of things that have nothing to do with kids.

This whole thing is a wild, wonderful, sometimes really weird crapshoot.

I'm feeling lucky:
My own mother was the sun to our family solar system. ☀️
My daughters are smart, lovely, funny, strong, kind people. Did I say funny?
Jesse + Claire - dearest and most cherished people.














I celebrate my good fortune, every day.

Hands down, best thing I ever did.

xo b



Monday, May 6, 2019

damn the doubts 🌀




















May 6. 2019

Our doubts are traitors,
And make us lose the good we oft might win
By fearing its attempt.

- William Shakespeare

This gem from Willy S. + the tiny card collection sent by my friend, Pearly, feel good enough to set our sails for the week.

(I wrote a whole other thing but deleted it. The message = simplify.)

What little (or big) thing are you going to attempt this week?

Do it. ☀️

I'm not saying it's easy, but hell-

Damn the doubts.
Don't lose the good.
__________________________________________________________

xo  b




Monday, April 29, 2019

I'm a Volcano

























April 29. 2019

My moods have been like swinging monkeys the past few days. Or maybe they're always like this. Like the weather, even in Los Angeles. Today the sky is dark, brooding, but later the sun might come out and hit the last of the lemons on the tree in our little back yard.

Last night I listed the monkey moods + states I'd been swinging in:

calm, peaceful, sobbing on the green chair for five minutes, then walking the dog, inspired, missing people, out of sorts, enjoying the red geraniums, terrible self-doubt, listening to a meditation, grasping for certainty, making a delicious quiche, enjoying a conversation, thinking about a creative project, joy over my younger brother coming to work here for two weeks...

You get it.

My neighbor invited me to cut bouquets from her exploding white rose bushes so I got my kitchen scissors and had at it. While snipping, her three year old daughter ran up to me and said,

I'm a volcano and skipped away.

(You know after the last couple of posts I really just want to be three, five, six again.)

I listened to a podcast where an actor said, "I'm here to share my messes."

The monkeys stopped jumping and chattering for a full minute when I heard that.











I'm a volcano. And so are you. We're a lot of things, all the time, all day long.

I sob, walk the dog, chat with my neighbor, cook a quiche, smell the roses.

Sink. 
Swim. 
Float.

I went to a beloved therapist years ago because I was convinced I was going crazy. I had left a bat-shit marriage at the time and thought for sure it had to be my mind that was cracking. My therapist, who lovingly called me Blanche ( I don't know why but found it endearing) said,

Blanche, you're one of the sanest people I know. 🌀

Monkey-naming, mess-sharing - it's how I stay sane, relatively speaking.

So, get out a notebook.
Sit down with a friend.
Name your monkeys.
Share your messes.

Find your inner volcano, then skip skip skip to my Lou.

xo b



Monday, April 15, 2019

Wherever I Go 🌞




















April 15. 2019

Last week a friend shared this snippet of a story about her six year old grandson.

It went like this:

Steven said, "There's one thing you don't know about me."
My friend said, "Oh, what's that?"
Steven said, " I have fun wherever I go."

Whoa! Play around with that this week.

xo b

Monday, April 8, 2019

Maybe That's What Happened 💡
















April 8. 2019

Ollie drew this picture with a weird invisible marker.
I said, "What is it?"
Ollie said, "It's a bag with a light bulb inside."

Later that day, we drove by the lake near Ollie's house (and my beloved old home). The lake was covered with large clumps of bright green algae floating near the shore.

"Wow," I said, "I wonder what's going on with the lake."
Ollie said, "Maybe a swamp tornado. Maybe that's what happened."















xo b






Monday, April 1, 2019

DREAM something 🌀




















April 1, 2019


“Until one is committed, there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation), there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would never otherwise have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one's favour all manner of unforeseen incidents and meetings and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way. I have learned a deep respect for one of Goethe's couplets:

Whatever you can do, or dream you can, begin it.
Boldness has genius, power, and magic in it!”


 W. H. Murray

I'm blissfully back east visiting family and friends. 




And stillit's Monday and one of my commitments is to show up on Mondays and offer thoughts, a nudge, an idea, a good quote, photographs, a little inspiration.

🌀The moment one definitely commits oneself, then Providence moves too. 

So, 
Read the beautiful quote, slowly. 
Dream something. It can be teeny tiny, people.
Commit (to) yourself.
Let Providence move.















xo b



Young Man With A Dream by Michael Collins

Monday, March 25, 2019

We All Know That



March 25, 2019

After attending a lovely wedding on Saturday, I know that dancing for three hours straight is better than any anti-depressant/anxiety medication I could pop.  I've popped a few. 

The sea levels in my body rose. 

Dancing + laughing + more than one trip to the photo booth = silly good. 


I can be so damn serious and overly concerned about everyone and everything. The part of me who watches and keeps track of details has her place. She's practical and gets things done. But she's kind of exhausting too. 

Why does she get more time in my day than Dance girl? 

Dance girl brings

joy
less worry
more joy   

The opening line to the classic book, The Road Less Traveled, is "Life is difficult." 

We all know that. 

But there's the other too. 

There's joy, ease, lightness of being. 

We may not shake it at weddings every weekend but can we do the things that need doing and lighten up? Be practical and smile till it hurts? I'm no party animal but for the record, I had 1.5 beers. It was delicious but definitely not the cause of my sea change. It was the dancing. 

So, why aren't we dancing more? 


xo b

Thanks to Kaila and Chris Thatcher for a beautiful day. Blessings! ☀️


Monday, March 18, 2019

Your Personal Roadrunner




















March 18, 2019

This morning I'm remembering watching cartoons with my little brother, Peter. Sun streaming in the windows, leafy trees, the sound of Mom in the next room and Wile. E Coyote getting crushed (yet again) while Roadrunner zooms past through the canyons in a flurry of dust? 


It didn't dawn on me until a friend pointed it out that it was Wile E. Coyote himself, who set the traps that got him, again and again. Stars and moons swirling around his head. His obsessive attempts to catch the elusive Road Runner always kicked his ass. In every episode he ended up slamming himself with fast-moving trains, fat boulders 

+ an anchor falling from the sky into the cactus-filled desert?  

Wile E. believed if he got the Road Runner his appetite would be satisfied. Then he'd relax. But I don't think so. I'm thinking he'd still be his anxiety-riddled, contraption-building-self, sweating it out to catch something else. 
Because there's always something else.

Blow a kiss to whatever you're chasing, whatever you keep crushing yourself with.

Wish your personal Roadrunner well, beep beep. 

What do you really want/need today? 

Do that thing.






















xo b