life lessons

beneath.

beneath.

http://ididnthavemyglasseson.com/2020/01/24/beneath/
— Read on ididnthavemyglasseson.com/2020/01/24/beneath/

It doesn’t get more gorgeous than this…

friendship, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, Uncategorized

July 4th On The 7th

I know I’m a few days off – we had friends with us over the weekend, and I have yet to figure out how to secret myself away to write, while trying to maximize time with our guests. Sure, I could get up earlier still – but that’s when I catch up on reading your posts!

A weekend of weather so perfect that remaining inside would have been an insult to Mother Nature. The wind whispered its secrets through the trees, the sun stood front and center, daring a cloud to engage in a game of hide-and-seek. The clouds knew better than to try.

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We decided to watch the fireworks from a mountain overlook. Not exactly a novel idea – chairs were set up and ‘reserved’ before 9:00AM. Nonetheless, we had great seats. I brought my new (and first) camera – it’s point and shoot (because that’s pretty much the breadth of my talent). The pictures I took of the fireworks themselves are truly terrible, but I promised someone I would post at least one. Somehow the time between ‘point’ and ‘shoot’ is where I failed miserably.

I know...
I know…

My words won’t do them justice either. Our elevation was such that we were almost eye-to-eye with the fireworks. The whistle, the booms and cracks echoed in the air as thousands of stars exploded, raining down with sizzle and shine. Multi-colored or bright white mattered little; we were sitting in the sky watching magic happen all around us.

And it’s that ‘all around us’ that’s circling my thoughts this morning. To our right a group of young people were drinking a lot and talking too loud about tawdry topics that had Suz and I giggling – a lot. Behind us, people who were definitely AARP members (of greater seniority than yours truly) wore red, white and blue wigs and hats, neon necklaces and delight that a child couldn’t parallel. Children – yes, all over the place. Jumping, yelling, falling over each other and everyone else. Dads and moms, golf scores, shout-outs to kids; lovers young and old. Somehow it felt like we all huddled closer, as the temperature dropped and the winds made their presence felt. People in shorts, wrapped in blankets, waiting for wonder.

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And there was the greater wonder for me. People who didn’t know each other, acting as if they did. Friendship exchanged without names or judgment or pretense. Nothing mattered except being there for a shared purpose and an air of collective anticipation. That’s the 4th of July. The stars on the ground – recognizing that at the end of the day, we can share moments of tremendous delight and pride, decency despite differences that ultimately are not elevated to a level of such importance that they dwarf the heights of people enjoying being a part of something bigger than dissent. Lucky for you, I didn’t even try to take a picture of that.

anxiety, friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

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.

discretion, friendship, inspiration, love, mindfulness, motivation, Uncategorized

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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inspiration, life lessons, love

For Simon

Did you ever hear the one about the parish priest and the Jew?  Gotcha – there’s no punchline..

Simon (simonmarsh.org) is a parish priest in NW England.  I’m – well you know me by now.  We’ve never met, and yet I can assure you he is as much a part of my heart as any beloved friend.  I don’t remember what prompted us to start emailing each other, but shortly after we did, Simon became ill.  His voice was failing him,  a diagnosis proved elusive and his fatigue was almost taunting him.  I fretted – asking all these questions that you would expect – was he able to eat?  Had he tried chicken soup?  Was he getting enough rest?  How was the quality of the medical care?  He would respond when he was able – without complaint.  His tiredness was teaching him patience, he wrote, his hoarseness provided him time to listen to silence.  He was most frustrated that his responsibilities to his parish were being compromised.  And he worried about his wife Jilly.  Simon apologized for not writing more,  reassuring me through this ordeal.  Thanking me for being a worried Jewish mom across the pond (forget that we are close in age, I’ve always had a strong maternal streak).

Simon has improved, his posts are more frequent and I can’t begin to suggest that I understand all that he writes.  What I feel though is palpable – the love of his religion, the celebration of family, the delight in a flower’s budding.  I suppose one can argue that at core, this is what spirituality is predicated upon in its purest sense, and when I read his words from that perspective, I rejoice.

Simon sent an email over the weekend to some of his friends.  It is no exaggeration when I write that I get a visceral reaction whenever I see his name in my inbox.  My friend – he is well, he is in my orbit and I am grateful.  We hope to meet one day – sitting in some coffee shop somewhere.  Perhaps Andy and I will return to England one day; maybe Simon and Jilly will visit the States.  Who knows what fate has in store.  But there was a reason that Simon came into my life – he has taught me that the heart can hold an unimagineable amount of love, that there are people in the world who see us as far, far better than we really are and that perception impels us to try and fit that image.   Simon makes me a better Mimi.  Because he is convinced that I already am.  What do I offer in return?  I have no idea – for whatever it is, it pales in comparison.

Simon and Jilly are off on holiday.  He will likely not even read this anytime soon, but that’s ok.  I wrote this more for me than for him, a meager attempt at acknowledging the power of a friendship that came from the universe and travels with continued enthusiasm across the pond.

Recently Simon posted Mary Oliver‘s “Wild Geese” and though it came from a different place in his thoughts, it is offered here for him.  For Simon, my friend.

You do not have to be good.

You do not have to walk on your knees

for a hundred miles through desert repenting.

You only have to let the soft animal of your body

love what it loves.

Tell me about your despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.

Meanwhile the world goes on.

Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain

are moving across the landscapes,

over the prairies and the deep trees,

the mountains and the rivers.

Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,

are heading home again.

Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,

the world offers  itself to your imagination,

calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –

over and over announcing your place

in the family of things.

Wild_Geese_by_Nigel_Kell

friendship, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, motivation

A Woman

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“A woman should have…

enough money within her control to move out

and rent a place of her own even if she never wants

to or needs to…

A woman should have…

something perfect to wear if the employer or her date of her

dreams wants to see her in an hour…

A woman should have…

a youth she is content to leave behind…

A woman should have…

a past juicy enough that she’s looking forward to

retelling it in her old age…

A woman should have…

a set of screwdrivers, a cordless drill, and a black

lace bra…

A woman should have…

one friend who makes her laugh and one who

lets her cry…

A woman should have…

a good piece of furniture not perviously owned by anyone

else in her family…

A woman should have…

eight matching plates, wine glasses with stems, and a

recipe for a meal that will make her guests feel honored…

A woman should have…

a feeling of control over her destiny

 

Every woman should know…

how to fall in love without losing herself…

Every woman should know…

how to quit a job,

break up with a lover,

and confront a friend without ruining the friendship…

Every woman should know…

when to try harder and when to walk away…

Every woman should know…

that she can’t change the length of her calves,

the width of her hips or the nature of her parents..

Every woman should know…

that her childhood may not have been perfect – but it’s over…

Every woman should know…

what she would and wouldn’t do for love or more…

Every woman should know…

how to live alone – even if she doesn’t like it…

Every woman should know…

whom she can trust,

whom she can’t,

and why she shouldn’t

take it personally…

Every woman should know…

where to go –

be it her best friend‘s kitchen table,

or a charming inn in the woods,

when her soul needs soothing…

Every woman should know..

what she can and can’t accomplish in a day,

a month, and a year.

–Pamela Redmond Satran

anxiety, friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, music, work life

Winding Down The Road

As 2012 begins its inevitable walk to the ‘Exit’ sign, and 2013 lingers outside the Entrance waiting for the bouncers to accept its credentials and admit it into our crazy, rockin’ psyches, I’ve got to grab a moment of retrospection about the road the karma truck has traveled since I first turned the key in the ignition in early January of this passing year.

I had no map – as you now know, it would have proven useless anyway given my challenges with geography.  I was just going to drive with an eye to the sky and an ear to my heart.  Such spontaneous, free-formed initiatives were new to me.  You don’t work within the confines of a white-shoe, professional service firm and ad-lib your actions too much (though I certainly did my share – after all irreverence can be a good and freeing thing).  But again, I digress..

I agonized about hitting ‘publish’ for the first time, returning to my computer obsessively to see if anyone had stopped by.  I learned relatively quickly to leave the ‘stats alone, and to let go of any fantasies of becoming one of those bloggers that arrive at notoriety with equal parts serendipity and timing.  And as with most illusions that are suspended, reality became a far more incredible experience.

David Kanigan (davidkanigan.com)  who writes’Lead.Learn.Live’ (read it read it read it – you will look forward to his posts daily, and feel a bit bereft if for some reason he gives himself a break to take a vacation or something) was my first ‘follower’. Lori, a writer by profession with prodigious creativity and warmth (and a fabulous gift unto herself) posting at donnaanddiablo.wordpress.com, was my second follower.  Andy, my sister Deborah and friend Joanne followed thereafter.  And now a year later with over 600 followers and 31,000 views, I still have no clue where the karma truck is going.  What I do know is that it is traveling with an incredible entourage of people who openly share their thoughts, encourage me to keep the gas tank full and forgive me some of my lamer efforts (like yesterday’s post – a non-existent YouTube video – yes, I need more Apple therapy).

There is no question I would have continued writing, for there is someplace I’m heading with this, and I am hoping that one day you all will help me figure that out with your suggestions and ideas.  But for today, as I look back I can’t ask you for anything more.  I can only thank you for all that you’ve given me.  Friendships that have grown out of invisible threads that somehow connected us – we each picked up an end.  We have shared the stories of life – marriages beginning and ending, lives changing and morphing like shape shifters in a sci-fi novel, hearts exploding with pain and/or exuberance, illness and the new breath that arrives with the spring, questions with no answers and answers that are equivocal.  We have been silly and we have been considered.  These conversations have been some of the most fulfilling and instructive and delightful exchanges I have ever had.  You let me risk tipping a hand that I have held close for a very long time.  And you graced me with showing me yours.

I’m not sure what 2013 holds for the karma truck.  I do know that I am incredibly grateful for the friendships that I have come to cherish, the absolutely crazy-with-talent people who I follow, with perpetual open-mouthed awe and an ability to be as irritating as a relentlessly circling mosquito.  Thank you for your patience and encouragement.

I hope 2013 brings joy and good health, the courage to risk and the freedom to dream, long walks and endless possibilities.  I hope you feel lighter and less inclined to contort yourself into something you are not – for you have shown over and over again how amazing you are without such unnecessary effort.  I hope friendships deepen, love visits us all generously and often, and that we’re smart enough to relish its presence.  And I hope what we put out into this world meets the threshold of kindness and grace that allows for only goodness to be returned.  Here’s to next year.

(ps.  David – if this doesn’t work, don’t tell me..;-)

anxiety, friendship, humor, inspiration, life lessons, mindfulness, motivation

Have I Said Thank You Lately?

I want to thank David @ davidkanigan.com (Lead.Learn.Live), Renee @ positiveboomer.net and Ivon @ ivonprefontaine.wordpress.com (Teacher As Transformer) for according me the Blog of 2012 award.

Blog of the Year Award 6 star jpeg

David wrote me this morning and suggested I read the rules, because I wanted to nominate him.  Apparently I can’t do that.  This is yet another clue to my personality – I live within the spirit and intent of the law, though I can’t confirm that I always follow it to the letter.  Call it petulance, a throwback to my pseudo-hippie years, or just a desire to expand the lovely opportunities in the day as widely as possible.

This is my way of telling you that I am bending the rules slightly, and I hope you’re all cool with that.  In January, I will write a post about how I have been impacted by a year’s worth of experience in this community.  For now though I’d like to just quickly mention that it has given far more to me than I have arguably given.  Were it not for David and Lori (donnaanddiablo@wordpress.com), I would probably have not continued.  I’m not in their league –  I know it and  I’m ok with it too.  I’m not a writer, I will never publish…I’m just a woman trying to figure stuff out.  David and Lori, in their personal and unique ways have somehow managed to keep me going each time I wanted to stop.  I’m not kidding you – each time.  Call it karmic connection, intuitiveness, generosity of spirit – it nonetheless continues to amaze and humble me.  Perhaps we truly are connected by some thin red thread that quivers every time one feels like falling.

To me, this award is for those who have such talent, perspective, humor, aesthetic sensitivity, etc that I return to their blogs with eagerness and curiosity.  What is Anake going to show me today, what pearls will Susan string together while forming her poetic necklace,  has Bonnie been prompted by some life experience that resulted in a posting both thoughtful and intuitive?  How will Misifusa lift me up today?  Will I feel the need to opine about John’s perspective on leadership?  You catch my drift.  There is so much talent out there, I’m still a neophyte.  At best I am a wondering soul with a decent vocabulary.

So without further comment, I nominate the following people for this award.  They inspire, amuse, delight, challenge and do so with such consistency that they truly are the bloggers of 2012.  The bad news, which I am fretting over, is that I’m sure I’m going to miss someone who I admire equally.  I am hopeful you know that this is an error of oversight, not intention.

Cathy @ largeself.wordpress.com

John @ johnrchildress.com

Misifusa@wordpress.com

Paula @ stuffitellmysister.wordpress.com

Kristin @ letlifeinpractices.com

Bonnie @ paperkeeper.wordpress.com

Anake @ anakegoodal.com

Laurie @ passionateperformance.om

Deanna @ deannaohara.com (Redemption’s Heart)

Susan @ susandanielseden.wordpress.com

Elizabeth @ almostspring.com

Russ @ russtowne.com (A Grateful Man)

Bill @ drbillwooten.com

There are more…and this is where I am feeling the most anxiety – for I have been more enriched by this august cyber community than I ever could have imagined.  I promise you this, I will have the opportunity to acknowledge all of you before the karma truck finally parks.

 

 

inspiration, life lessons, love, mindfulness, music

The Perfect October Song

Arguably not the most original of posts this morning, though the morning is clearly exceptional.  It’s our first emphatically chilly morning, the smell of oak trees pervade the air,  Archie is trying in vain to catch every falling leaf only to be confused by their trajectory and the sheer volume of movement around him (the purpose of being outdoors for his morning ‘business’ is completely forgotten).  Teddy is stopping to smell the mums and I am inspired by the sounds and sights of the morning.  It’s a wonderful day to take a slow walk into life..

friendship, humor, life lessons

You’ve Gotta Laugh..

..because otherwise, your facial expression would be far less attractive.

I received an email last week alerting me to the fact that I was going to be “Freshly Pressed”.  It was the ode to the stink bugs that piqued the interest of  the perusers of posts.  I was excited and more than a little surprised – I never expected to be selected and I certainly would never have expected to be selected for a short little ditty about my passionate disdain for this particular insect.

Anyway – it’s up on the Freshly Pressed page now.  And do you know what it’s under?  “More Entomology”.  Not “humor” – which may have something to do with my blog on occasion, not “life” – also not an unreasonable category.  Nope – I am now infamous for “more entomology”.  I’m sure this will drive my readership numbers through the roof and the sheer volume of people trying to read my blog will crash the system temporarily.

Oh well, it’s cool to be Freshly Pressed, I guess – though it’s a bit of a bummer to think that that little square on their page will be of no interest to anyone except those who are blogging about bugs.  The picture below is for all those who find these little guys fascinating.  I must admit, I liked him too.

To everyone else – I’m just going to keep writing about the things I always do.  And thank you for hangin’ out with me – without any reference to entomology.

discretion, friendship, humor, inspiration, love

Acceptance Speeches

When I was a teenager, I fully expected to win a Grammy, Tony, Oscar and an Emmy at some point or another.  I used to practice my acceptance speeches in the shower (typically after singing for the shower tiles, who as I have mentioned in the past, were always so appreciative they would sweat with enthusiasm).  Certainly I would look fabulous (proof enough that this was fantasy) and make sure to gracefully acknowledge everyone who contributed to the moment.  And I’d be witty and brief (further proof that this was self-indulgent make-believe), ensuring that I wouldn’t get cut off by music or a commercial.

And though I still tune in when an award show airs, I now find them to be almost as good as an Ambien.  I fall asleep after the first “Thank you so much!  I can’t believe it!!”  I’m sure some speeches are sincere, others may be funny – most are simply disingenuous.  And most of the recipients can’t move their faces any longer,  which makes it difficult to determine whether or not they are feeling anything at all.

I on the other hand have the joy of accepting awards that are given with far more generosity and sincerity.  This virtual community supports its members with acknowledgements that come from a lovely, honest place and I get pretty ferklempt (look it up in a Yiddish dictionary – ‘very emotional’ is probably close) when I am graced with one and permitted to pay it forward.

Renee@positiveboomer.net was kind enough to nominate me for two awards earlier this week.  I am very appreciative and grateful and a little embarrassed.  The embarrassed part is just me – you can just ignore that – it doesn’t diminish my thank you.  Renee and I share a slower, longer learning curve than most of you when it comes to anything technical.  And we both love Twinkies.  I love the joy in her posts – from the simple advice to the thoughtful expositions, the title of her blog suits her perfectly.

I’ve never been part of a Sisterhood before – though I have been asked to join the Sisterhood at our temple.  I have a sister who just rocks my universe, but in a family of  two sisters, I don’t think we had the numbers to qualify.  And I have a sister-in-law who I love very much..hmm..Anyway, I am now part of a larger Sisterhood and that is very cool.  I do wish though that the name of  this award could be changed so that it included men – for some of my favorite bloggers are men.  “Personhood” doesn’t sound very inviting … Something to think on..

Anyway, I believe the following bloggers are definitely Sisterhood material..

Deanna@deanaohara.com – her blog is titled ‘Redemption’s Heart’…

Paula@paulaacton.wordpress.coom

Laurie@passionateperformance.com

Amber@wordsaresuperfluous.com

Joanna@momentumofjoy.com

Jill@universalmusings.com

Susan@susandanielseden.wordpress.com

Maureen@magnoliabeginnings.org

As for Inspirational?  I don’t see myself that way, and it is incredibly humbling to be so considered.  If something I write gives you a smile, or provokes a thought, a nod – I’m beyond happy.  To me the real inspiration is found in the friendships and conversations that seem to uniquely define the special group of people who I’ve met through this blog.  And I am to list seven…

David@davidkanigan.com – one of these days he is going to acknowledge an award from me.  Well, he may not, but he was the first person I started to follow when I began this little journey, so he’s just going to have to deal with it.

Rhoni@help-me-rhonda.com

Anake@anakegoodal.com

Cathy@largeself.com

Bill@drbillwooten.com

Bonnie@paperkeeper.wordpress.com

Elizabeth@almostspring.com

Simon@simonmarsh.com

Andrea@thehandwrittenlife.com

Please give yourself the treat of reading these wonderful blogs – and then you will know why I can’t seem to step away from my laptop.  I guess I went on longer than the two minutes accorded most acceptance speeches – thanks for not giving me the hook..