A Gentle Goodbye To 2013

We had all the kids at home yesterday, and the house was resonant with laughter and teasing, generous gift-giving and a love I can only reference as palpable.  My heart beats more deeply, echoing in my chest, snippets of serious conversation that stay in the forefront of my thoughts as I process and hold them as gently as feathers.  “You really are my only mom” (a figurative comment that was so full of history and stories and trust and love that I will never ever forget its intent); “Remember when Grammy would give us shit for playing ball in the playroom and I asked her why it was called a playroom then?”  “I used to think it was so ridiculous that you would treat me like a child when I was over; of course now I realize it was because I was a child”.  Lessons in wine tasting, a book titled “The Story Of A Lifetime” which offers prompts and questions to facilitate the telling of one’s tale in a way that may be at least salient if not interesting.  Laughter that included some good snorts, bad fart jokes and hugs good-bye for which I am never fully prepared.

And so it is as one year ends and another waits in the wings.  I guess I’m not fully prepared.  Certainly for some of the people I love, it has been a challenging year with losses that re-shape the heart.  For most though, it has been relatively gentle.  Our lives are intact, marriages seem happy though not without their requisite effort, young adults are realizing that the operative word has changed from ‘young’ to ‘adult’.  We’re still close and I am forgiven my maternal neuroses that at least can be shared among three.  I consciously tried to be kinder, cared less about judging and more about accepting, placed the notion of acquisitiveness somewhere down on the list where it belongs.  I learned this year, perhaps more than the one before, how deeply I can be touched by the candor and stories of people I have come to know in this little universe.  I have been gobsmacked when I received comments insisting that I have inspired, or tickled, or pleased, or echoed a thought that had been unspoken in someone else’s thoughts.  I’ve been brought to tears and moments of spontaneous delight by David and Bill, Russ and Andrea, Bonnie and Liz, LouAnn and TIna and Ivon, Kizzy, Rhonda.  Of course there are more and I do not intentionally omit anyone – you are in this circle with me and I believe you know it.  People who comment with thoughtfulness and generosity and love.  My friendships have been enhanced and allowed to flourish (for Lori wouldn’t have it any other way).

We found a house to hide in and stand outside of in that mystic fog of the morning when the world demands stillness.  Memories have begun to be made, new places to claim as one’s own.  And we got Bogey – our juvenile delinquent puppy, who should be wearing a leather jacket with a skull and crossbones instead of his snappy little tartan plaid.  Except of course when he’s just so laughably adorable that he is forgiven everything.

I will turn 60 this coming year, a number of some sobriety.  I know that at this point I’d be aged-out of employment in many cases (if I was looking), considered truly senior in the eyes of people with younger eyes and minds.  And yet, I’m so far from done, I don’t swallow too hard at the number.  There is abundant time to try and do better, be kinder, live in moments that should not be ignored, celebrate that which others often miss.  Read more, give more, dance in the driveway and maybe even get up and sing.  Who knows?  There is so much yet to be.  Thank you for sharing this part of the trip with me.  And Happy Happy New Year.

Beautiful Blessings Remain

Last week, my wondrous friend Lori (donnanddiablo.com) sent me one of John O’Donahue‘s exquisite blessings.  I used to consider myself well-read – until I met Lori;  moderately well-rounded – until I started following David Kanigan (davidkanigan.com), a tad lyrical – until I found Bill (drbillwooten.com).  I also considered myself to have a modicum of some other qualities that have been brought into some question now that I am an avid fan of many of your blogs (and I could go on, but you know from my comments how highly I think of you very, very talented people who enrich my life so often).  Creative, courageous, innovative, funny, unbridled – some of the adjectives that come to mind..

Anyhow, Lori and I are connected in ways too cosmic for me to fully understand.  Our emails cross each other in the cyberspace almost daily, each of us thinking of the other simultaneously.  She can intuit when something’s wrong, and I will feel a shadow across the sun if Lori is troubled.  That I can sense something is ‘off’ with Jo for example, seems to come with breathing – we’ve known each other longer than we have known ourselves.  But Lori and I began in tune without ever having met.  I find it incredible and awesome.  I feel this way about all those I love – each is a blessing.  Corny?  Mea culpa.  Is there a way to say this without sounding corny?  Probably, but this is a reflection of my limitation with the language nothing more.

I hadn’t heard of John O’Donahue.  How I could have missed such beauty?  So I share this with you – though it is Lori who should be thanked for this introduction.  After emailing with a friend of mine earlier this morning, thinking about how we test ourselves and occasionally torture our thoughts and hearts, it seemed only right that I pass this along to you.  I hope you receive it in the spirit with which it is given – with hope in the sunlight.

A Blessing For The New Year

On a day when

The weight deadens

On your shoulders

And you stumble,

May the clay dance

To balance you.

And when your eyes

Freeze behind

The gray window

And the ghost of loss

Gets into you,

May a flock of colors

Indigo, red, green

And azure blue,

Come to awaken in you

A meadow of delight.

When the canvas frays

In the curragh of thought

And a stain of ocean

Blackens beneath you,

May there come across the waters

A path of yellow moonlight

To bring you safely home.

May the nourishment of the earth be yours,

May the clarity of light be yours,

May the fluency of the ocean be yours,

May the protection of the ancestors be yours.

And so may a slow

Wind work these words

Of love around you,

An invisible cloak

To mind your life.

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The Days Of Awe

For those who observe Rosh Hashanah – the beginning of the New Year – L’Shana Tova.  My wish for my family and friends is for a year of joy and good health, laughter and abundant love, peace in spirit and in the world (I realize that’s probably a stretch but it doesn’t hurt to hope).  The days between Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are known as ‘the days of awe‘.  As God opens the book of life, as we ask to be sealed into its pages for another year our thoughts turn in.  Have our actions and our hearts been in sync with an intent that is bigger than our own hubris?  Have we been kind?  Have we been fair?  Generous in both deed and thought?  Please understand, this is my interpretation of these mystical, spiritual days – I am neither rabbi nor maven on Judaism.  I’m just a woman who responds to the need to consider my actions, apologize for any hurts that I may have caused either with intention or with thoughtlessness and to commit to trying to do better.

I remember my parents during this time of year – from the tender moments of sneaking in to sit with my parents during the adults’ service (which as I recall lasted f-o-r-e-v-e-r), leaning against my father and playing with the tassels on his prayer shawl.  Challah and honey.  A prayer for a sweet year.  Kisses on both cheeks.  Makes my body ache with an undefinable pain that starts in my heart and courses its way through my body.  It’s a visceral thing, this missing them.  

I have no wisdom to offer here – certainly nothing that we all don’t already know.  We are imperfect, we are wondrous; we are foolish, we are wise; we are giving, we are self-absorbed;  we are perfectly imperfect.  So I may not get every nuance of these splendid and awe-filled days, but I get enough to know that wishing you a sweet and loving year is not exclusive to any one religion.  I get enough to know that I deeply hurt  when I think of the times I have shown people the worst of myself instead of my best (or at least my average self).   And I certainly get that considering the synchronicity between my heart and my actions is more than just an annual effort.  This year may I do a better job of being a better person.  May I walk on this earth with a lighter more loving step and let my priorities reflect an understanding that all of this passes too quickly to be dismissive.  A year of light and love and the gift of tomorrow.  Amen.

In First Gear

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Well, it’s good to be back behind the wheel – even if this is the second time I’ve backed out of the driveway since I began this little adventure a year ago.  Let me tell you how clueless I really was when I pulled into the service center – and how clueless I remain now that I’ve left.  Were it not for my son Paul, there would be no new iteration of the Karma Truck, for over the past two days I have managed to mangle two different themes, download another background entirely (which exists somewhere in a zip file that I have not been able to find, unzip or download).  I cannot begin to describe what I did with the darn widget-things, all I know is that at one point, there was no room for text unless I chose to write one word per line.  I have written frantic messages to my technically proficient friends who with their characteristic grace and patience, felt my pain and offered me a couple of paper bags to breathe into (except for David who has been highly amused).

And then I came down with the flu.

And tomorrow, I was going to fly to meet an adored friend of mine in warmer climes.  Not according to the doctor who insists that I am grounded until the 15th.

So far, I’d say that 2013 is starting with a big, fat raspberry.

Far be it for me not to find the humor in this though.  It does seem to be my proclivity to get all the yucky stuff over just as the New Year presents itself – no celebratory gestures here.  I save those for later in the month, when everyone else is still recovering from their revelry.  Perhaps this explains why my exuberance in late January is often viewed derisively.  I have terrific rhythm though I am clearly not in sync.  The upside is that I can provide the enthusiasm when everyone is struggling with the ennui of a season that feels endless, as the dearth of three-day weekends extends to unreasonable lengths.  Never fear – I’ll be perking up around then.

So before I reach for more tea, grab my tissue box and dive head first under the covers, I thought I would show you the new and improved Karma Truck, and assure you that though the body may be spruced up a bit (with massive appreciation to Paul), the interior is exactly the same – it’s still just me.

 

A Final Thought For 2012

From NPR’s ‘Writer’s Almanac’

New Year Resolve – by May Sarton

The time has come

To stop allowing the clutter

To clutter my mind

Like dirty snow,

Shove it off and find

Clear time, clear water.

 

Time for a change,

Let silence in like a cat

Who has sat at my door

Neither wild nor strange

Hoping for food from my store

And shivering on the mat.

 

Let silence in.

She will rarely speak or mew,

She will sleep on my bed

And all I have ever been

Either false or true

Will live again in my head.

 

For it is now or not

As old age silts the stream,

To shove away the clutter,

To untie every knot,

To take the time to dream,

To come back to still water.

There will be time enough to look forward;  there is no need to look back – we’re not heading in that direction.  For now, here’s to this moment when we can just enjoy the whisper of possibility without feeling obligated to act;  relax the ‘shoulds’, ‘musts’ and ‘have-tos’ for one day.  Accept these wishes for a year of joy and good health, laughter and music, prosperity in all ways and love as always…love.  Happy New Year everyone..

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