Pick A Card, Any Card…

I always wonder how magicians do it.  Being quite naive and slow to track a sleight of hand, I’m one of those excellent candidates that others shake their heads at, wondering how I could have missed it.  I miss it every time.  So when in the audience, I never volunteer.  I’m too easy.  Andy figures out all of these tricks – it’s part of that male mystique of his that requires the provision of an acceptable answer.

Lately I feel like I’m the one trying to figure out the scheme.  And as usual, I’m not exactly blinding anyone with my brilliance.  Rather, I’m letting each moment happen and have surrendered to the limits of my intellect.

In the past few weeks, there has been a health scare with my son (he’s totally fine – but if you think I could string two coherent words together at the time, you’d be giving me way too much credit).  I stayed awake – certain that if my vigilance failed for a moment, something awful might happen.  I’m not sure I was breathing, yet I must have been, ’cause I’m writing to you now.  As soon as I heard he was ok I saw myself as a puddle on the floor.  No longer with any form or substantive thought.  It doesn’t matter whether or not he understood my reaction for it wasn’t/isn’t about me – he’s the child (even though he’s an adult), I’m the mom.

One of my sons completed his MBA.  This is his second Master’s degree – both completed while working full-time at one of the most unforgiving consulting companies when it comes to time and billing (let me take that back – all professional service firms are unforgiving when it comes to time and billing).  Yes, I whooped when they called his name (but at his request, I didn’t yell “Go baby!”).  These men o’ mine are no longer men o’ mine – they are husbands first.  And I wanted my mama lion role back (with no disrespect to either one of my lovely daughters-in-law), mourned the loss of the role I know well.  Chuffing at the opening of my lair…

Andy’s parents are moving to CA to be closer to their daughter and her family.  The weather will be kinder. the opportunities greater for my father-in-law to golf, my mother-in-law to get involved in some activities.  Andy’s up there helping them get organized until he makes it home today.  We’ll go back up together on Wednesday.  I’ve been here before; there’s nothing about it that’s easy.

My cherished friend going through the ebbs and flows of possible transitions – not knowing from one moment to the next whether she’s going-along-to-get-along or passionately caring about the life choices ahead.

So I wake each day with a hint of worry attached to my coffee cup.  My shoulders a bit more bent.  Roles change all the time, relationships morph because that’s what relationships do.  The earth always moving beneath our feet and relying on our sense of balance to remain upright.

And yet…I am acutely aware that everything is ok.  I caught two blue jays yakking it up yesterday afternoon (wow are they loud).  The early morning stars shone with such clarity I wept at their beauty.  I gratefully accept the morning’s invitation.  Somewhere inside I am as full and fortunate as any one person can be.

I am going to take a page from some of my fellow bloggers and take a bit of a hiatus.  It’s not good-bye of course, just some time to fiddle with the idea of blogging, maybe change the paint on the karma truck, rotate the tires, shift gears so to speak.  It’s time – we’ve been on this road together for a long time and rather than lose the company, I’d prefer to pull over and park this baby for awhile.  Get outside, renew, re-think, restore.

And maybe, just maybe when I get back, I’ll be able to tell you just how the magicians do it.  See you soon.  Much love…m

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Living In The Bubble

courtesy of flickr.com

courtesy of flickr.com

I’ve decided to live in my awesome bubble today, so if you feel like fomenting trouble, please move along.  I’m occupied with silliness.

It’s been a long time since I woke up feeling the need to be silly.  It started when I took the pups out and saw that the only thing the moon was revealing was a smile.  Which made me smile too.  Bogey began to chuff at … nothing.  His bravery is impressive when there’s nothing to challenge it.  My hero.  It wasn’t one of those banner sleep nights, so you can toss this up to that slightly frantic goofiness caused by too much caffeine over too short a period of time.  No matter – I’m in the bubble.  At least until I crawl back into bed.

“Be happy for this moment.  This moment is your life” — Omar Khayyam

Smart guy, that Omar.  He got me thinking.  For reasons one could ascribe to astrology, biorhythms, synchronized moments in time, etc – some of my friends are struggling at the moment.  Feeling overwhelmed, too lonely, disappointed, histories that they want to get over yet keep repeating, selective memory retrieval that prohibits touching grace.

Join me in here for a minute.  Seriously.  I am thinking that it’s never too late to create the relationships you always wanted; the ones that hint at why you’re dissatisfied with the ones that you currently have.  What is the unrealized fantasy that pulls on your shirt sleeve as you struggle to move forward?  What does it look like?  Create it.  Live it.  Remember the kid that lives inside us all is waiting for you to rectify history.  Fix it.  Be the parent that you didn’t have.  Speak to yourself as if you were speaking to your most loved friend.  Get silly, get loving, get over these hurdles that others may have put there, but you have allowed to remain.  Risk being happy.  No one will hold you accountable for that state of mind every moment of every day.  The onus isn’t as great as the weight of being an indifferent bystander in your own life.

My intent is not to make any of this sound easy or trite.  My intent is to dilute the ‘buts’ and ‘can’t work’ to a manageable trickle instead of a waterfall.  To engage the muscles that stretch most when moving in joy.  To help you find your ‘tickle’ spot and wake it up.  And if all of this is just too much for a Sunday morning – I hope at least that you smile, that you savor one moment in your morning.  Catch yourself grinning.

I Want To Be A Cowgirl

“I want to be a cowboy, but only long enough to barge into a saloon and bellow ‘Where’s the yellow belly that stole my happy trail?'” — Jared Kintz

courtesy of wikipedia

courtesy of wikipedia

I used to occasionally catch a western with my dad (typically while he was changing channels and got hooked by something John Wayne or Lee Marvin or Clint Eastwood was doing).  My love of horses made it impossible to watch any of the scenes which intimated that they were uncomfortable or angry in anyway.  But galloping through an open field?  I’d watch and put myself in that saddle.  Slamming one’s body into the swinging door of a bar and with one look rendering a crowded room silent?  Oh yeah.   There’s a new sheriff in town and her name is Mimi (ok, I have to change that).

I also wanted to be the next Barbra Streisand, but that’s a story for another day.

And come up with the formula for world peace – I’m still working on that one.

“Where’s the yellow belly who stole my happy trail?”  How awesome it would be if one could point a gloved finger at that varmint.

You know where I’m going with this – who would you point your finger at?  Ain’t no one there, darn it, unless one is looking in the mirror.

We steal our happiness all the time.  That interlude between moments that is so easily sabotaged by our confusion or displeasure, asserting that we are the victims of circumstance, a person, a poor choice.  The thought that I am that yellow belly is anathema to me.  And yet.  Once again the duality of our humanity makes itself known.  We are both fearless and petrified;  hell-bent and heaven seeking.  Bartender, just leave me the bottle.

The older I get, the more I realize that this is the town I rode into.  The trail is far more littered with wildflowers than dead bodies (figuratively speaking – I am a cowboy without a gun).  I have undermined my sense of self-worth far more than anybody else, the amount I have gambled reflects my own fear and ambivalence, my delights have been incredible, my pain has been fierce.  And they’ve all been mine.

Every cowtown I’ve ever lived in has offered food, shelter, employment, sunshine.  So I’ve had the ridiculous luxury of feeling lousy over things that are dreams for many in this world.  So why would I self-sabotage my happy trail?  Because sometimes it’s the easier choice.  Sometimes, it’s far easier to think “yeah, but…”.  The problem of course is that there is no happy ending with that script.  One rides off into a barren field, head down – defeated by one’s self.  And that just isn’t the way any movie should end.

So I get up on my horse, settle my butt into a well-worn saddle and look at the horizon with a delicious sense of the possible.   I nicker to my horse and we ride..while I sing “People”.  Must be the reason why I never made it in show business.

This Is The Only Moment

This morning, Bill @ drbillwooten.com touched off a train of thought with another one of his fantastic quotes – this from Ernest Hemingway – “And if there’s not any such thing as a long time, nor the rest of your life, nor from now on, but there is only now, why then now is the thing to praise and I am very happy with it.”

Assuming that one is living a life of relative physical and emotional comfort, I think being happy takes guts.  It seems to be far easier to ascribe one’s frame of mind to the actions or inactions of others, the elements of living that remain decidedly out of our control and/or historic wrongs that we suffered from which it seems likely we will never recover.  I know you have met people who have affixed a figurative piece of velcro to the back of their hand and permanently placed it against their forehead.  Lots of sighs.  Slews of “if onlys”.  Eeyore on steroids (and I say that with affection, for I am a huge Eeyore fan).

images

There’s a lot of conversational fodder in looking at your life and finding happiness contingent upon something or someone else.  Life as a perpetual “if….then” statement.  The operative word for me is ‘perpetual’, for arguably there are times when we are anticipating, hoping, planning, etc.  But all the time?  Are we always waiting to react?  Are we never responsible for initiating?  If one believes the latter, then what in the world can we claim personal responsibility for?  What do we get to claim as ours?

Happiness is a challenge, for it means you own it.  It’s on you.  No one else.  Your boss can be impossible (I’ve had those), people may not offer what you are hoping for, someone may ride your bumper during an interminable rush hour.  Maybe your kids don’t get you or you don’t get them.  Perhaps the list of irritations far outweigh the list of delights.  I get it.  But I own it.  My lousy moods are mine – rarely do I blame someone else.  My happiness – which can certainly be fostered and enhanced by the phenomenal people around me – is also mine.  Because at the end of the day, I’m the one in this moment.  Our perceptions of the present moment are not the same, even if we’re sitting here having a cup of coffee together.   However I interpret this time is my job.  And I’m ok with that – because I can adjust and recalibrate – I don’t want someone else to do it for me.

When I was a young adult, my mom would repeatedly admonish “You never listen to me.  Well, you listen to me, but you end up doing what you want to do anyway.”  She was right.  I asked her many years later whether she really would have wanted to take responsibility for my actions – a question answered by her silence.  It’s easier to point a finger out, but honestly?  You’re the one who makes your day.

Why do I post this today?  Because I needed the reminder.  Because the morning broke grey and indifferent and I felt my body concede, bending to the power of a day that didn’t give a damn.  Joints in active rebellion.  One look in the mirror and all bets on a good hair day were off.  The Sirs decided to bark passionately at absolutely nothing and my head began to feel like it was in a vice.  The kitchen still looked post-apocalyptic.  This was my moment.  And unless I kicked myself in the butt, the day was going to continue to spiral down with alacrity.  So Bill’s quote brought me back to baseline.  If this is all I’ve got, it’s fine by me.  And though I wish that all your moments are golden, I know that some may not meet that threshold.  So when they don’t, consider that this is all we know for sure.  Right now – and it’s yours.  For that reason alone, it deserves at least a smile, and perhaps a shake of the head.

 

Stuck In The Mud

That feeling of spinning your wheels, your body rocking with the car thinking it’s going to help in your efforts to dislodge it.  Wishing someone would come along to give you a push, yet recognizing that you haven’t seen another car for miles.

The karma truck is stuck in the mud.  I think it’s ok though – either I’m on the verge of getting back on the road or I’m making peace with the fact that sometimes you just have to put the damn thing in park.

Why so stuck?  Who knows really.  A friend of mine was describing this blog to his wife and said I write about ‘all this touchy-feely stuff’.  I explained how my initial motivation was to print out a year’s worth of posts and give them to my sons. Ok – it’s been a year and a half – now what?  My intent is not to hand them a tome.  I will never curate with the best of them, nor will I write with the best of them.  My sister told me that writers have discipline – I’m sure she’s right – she’s a truly outstanding writer.  I don’t think of myself as a writer – I feel like I’m more of a gusher, spewing forth foam and fluff and occasionally a stream of water that catches the light.  So you can see why I’m a little mired.  What is this blog to be now?  I’m trying to figure that out.  Filter out all the nonsense and distill my thoughts down to the most basic.  What do I want this to be?

“I do not know much about God and prayer, but I have come to believe, over the last twenty-five years, that there’s something to be said about keeping prayer simple.  Help.  Thanks.  Wow.” — Anne Lamott. The woman is onto something.  [If you have never treated yourself to a book by Anne Lamott, please give yourself that gift].  Getting to the fundamentals.  Every morning when I’m out with the Sirs, there is a silent exchange between me and the stars.  First I whisper my gratitude, for to neglect to recognize what I have been given is folly and hubris and stupid.  The list is long.  Then I quietly marvel – how can you not marvel at a sky wallpapered with stars?  Or the words “I love you”?  Puppy licks (even from an especially mischievous one).  The intensity of the yellows and the oranges that inform the landscape on the mountain?  And finally, I say “Please”.  And I cry.  Every time I consider the request, I cry.  I feel a little like Holly Hunter‘s character in “Broadcast News“.  My therapeutic cry.

Am I sad?  No.  By the time I get to ‘please’, I’m overwhelmed.

And so we come full circle…I am more than shmaltz and less than Dostoevsky.  I am sitting in ‘park’ despite an urge to rock this baby out of the muck.  I’m old enough to know that we all have moments like these and young enough to feel impatient and itchy.  It feels good to write this to you.  It’s been too long.