Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Milton: Sonnet on his blindness

When I consider how my light is spent,
Ere half my days, in this dark world and wide,
And that one talent which is death to hide,
Lodged with me useless, though my soul more bent
To serve therewith my maker, and present
My true account, lest he returning chide,
Doth God exact day-labour, light denied?
I fondly ask; but Patience to prevent
That murmur, soon replies, God doth not need
Either man's work or his own gifts, who best
Bear his mild yoke, they serve him best, his state
Is kingly. Thousands at his bidding speed
And post o'er land and ocean without rest:
They also serve who only stand and wait.

Crazy for You

We are all in this together. What I am experiencing, on some level, you are also experiencing. Any separation is an illusion. Even so, given the endless facets of experience, each person's perception of reality can take on a completely different appearance. I am speaking of the core beneath these seeming differences.

Monday, December 22, 2008

What I'm Not Thankful For, What I Didn't Do, and What Did Not Happen

I read another blogger's lists of what they accomplished, what they are grateful for and what happened in 2008.
I felt at once admiration, and consternation at the thought of creating my own list. It doesn't help that I have not been in a particularly positive mood lately. So I have decided to make lists of what I didn't do, what I am not grateful for, and what did not happen in 2008. Here goes:
WHAT I DIDN'T DO:
Go back to school
Volunteer my time more
Sustain my weight loss
Cut expenses more
Recycle everything possible
Make a commitment to much of anything
Work for pay
Cry enough
Finish NaNoWriMo (I got to about 30,000 words)
Spread the love enough

WHAT I AM NOT GRATEFUL FOR:
Okay this is not going to work, because I can't think of one thing that I am "not grateful" for that I cannot also see some sort of silver lining or positive aspect in. I guess I really am an incurable optimist.

WHAT DID NOT HAPPEN:
I was not able to sustain a contrarian attitude for an entire post. Go figure.

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Trust

It is not always easy to trust in the process. At times, it may seem as though life is stalled, or that the place you are in is not all where you want to be. I wager that it is at those precise moments that you must trust that you are exactly where you need to be. Life lessons are most often learned at the most uncomfortable times. Whether that is pre-ordained is open to debate, but perhaps it is merely that we are more apt to pay attention then. There is a certain solace, in some sense, in knowing that we are in the right place at the right time. Creating the optimum conditions for learning does not mean we have to suffer. It only means we have to be aware.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Suffering

We human beings are attracted to pain and suffering. We believe that suffering must be part of the human condition. Some of us dwell in pain, others may derive pleasure from pain, a few even go through pain into peace.
We imagine that pain is necessary, that suffering is inevitable. Pain can be seductive when it appears as something else, like self-denial or sacrifice or cowardice or guilt. We may think we reject pain in these guises, but we always find pain to be a part of our lives in some form. Most of us think of pain as a purifier, something to be respected. We even use pain and suffering to justify the one thing that should bring only joy: love.
Can you imagine what it is to live without suffering?

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

14 Things I Love

(This post is inspired by the YouTube offering by Amy Krouse Rosenthal - link to it by clicking on the title)
1) the view from my kitchen window, ever changing, yet always beautiful
2) a cup of herb tea in the middle of the afternoon
3) my collection of blue glass
4) walking through leaves in the autumn
5) hearing my kids make each other laugh
6)falling asleep
7) waking up
8) singing in the shower
9) painting of a fjord scene, from my grandmother
10) sunflowers
11) a walk on the beach
12) my husband's earlobes
13) having an epiphany
14) putting a smile on someone else's face

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Listmania

I'm not sure, but I think there was something I was meaning to do, but I can't remember what it is. Let's see, did I make a list? Maybe it's on the list. I wonder where that list is, anyway. It seems like I must have left it on the counter in the kitchen. Isn't that where I usually leave a list I have made? Or, I suppose, it could be in my purse. That's another place that I tend to put lists that I have made. They make their way there once I am ready to go out and actually do some or all of the things on the list, or lists, as the case may be. Sometimes the things are mixed, that is, some things are meant to be done at home, and some are meant to be done while out. In which case, the list could be anywhere, really. If only there were some rhyme or reason to the whole thing. It seems as though this would be one area that I could control the outcome. I mean, it is my very own list, after all. It is I that decides what to put on the list, how to prioritize the things on the list, and even whether to do the things on it all, if ever. By definition, though, they were important enough to be placed there, so they must be important enough to do. Even so, if enough time goes by, it is possible for the to-do item to be rendered obsolete. If I could think of an example here, I would put it, but I can't, so I won't. It is still true, by the way, that I am thinking there was something I had to do, and I did assume that I had it on some sort of list, even though I am not sure such a list exists. But if the list did exist, and I have reason to think it does, chances are the to-do item is on that list. Or should be. So, proceeding on the assumption that both the list and the to-do item exist, I can only guess as to the whereabouts and whatabouts of each. Is whatabouts even a word? I don't think so, but it sure sounds like it should be a word. Maybe I just coined it! As a matter of fact, while we are on the subject of coining words, that is something that has always been a dream of mine. So, now I can cross that off my list! If I could find the list. Oy vey.

Monday, November 10, 2008

I Made My Bed!

It was a joke! I was kidding! I was making fun of myself, as a matter of fact. By that I don't mean that I don't really do all that to make my bed. I do, in fact, do all that to make my bed. It just struck me as funny,one day as I was making my bed, that I have this specific little routine for it.
As with many daily tasks, I use the time spent making my bed as a mindfulness exercise. While I am completing the job, I think about what I am doing, and try to think only of what I am doing. It is a little bubble of time, where the mundane and the rote become sort of a haven for the mind to dwell in. I find it rather soothing, actually. It also relieves the sheer boredom, say, of washing the dishes yet again for the kajillionth time.

Thursday, November 6, 2008

How I Make My Bed

I smooth out the bottom sheet, pulling it back onto the mattress if needed. Then, I pull up the top sheet and the blanket until they come all the way to the head of the bed. As I adjust them to the head of the bed, there is a little pocket of air that has to settle down before I can continue. Once that is gone, I can tidy up the top of the sheet/blanket combination. It is preferred that they come all the way to to the top, but if they don't that is okay, as long as they are neat. I used to fold them both down a little bit, but I stopped doing that, and I have no idea why.
Next I pull the sides down as far as they go, and straighten them if necessary. I put my favorite pillow, the memory foam one, propped up against the headboard with the opening of the pillowcase facing towards the center of the bed (after smoothing out the case, of course).Next comes the king size pillow, which is mainly used when I am sitting up in bed, but also comes in handy as a sound barrier, placed between us like a wall, when John is snoring. The pillowcase, again, has its opening facing the middle of the bed.
At this point, it is imperative to skedaddle on over to the other side of the bed to repeat all of the above. That side is John's side, and needless to say it comes with its own set of issues vis a vis wrinkles, sheets coming undone from the mattress, and so on. These are attended to in short order. Now the bed is ready for the duvet. This often has to be replumped and reshaped. It comes with the territory, and is totally worth it due to its warmth. The duvet makes the bed somewhat lumpy and disheveled looking. I'm not thrilled with that, but the lovely cover does make up for it to a certain degree.
The duvet is pulled up level with and at times may even be under the pillows, but just a bit. It's important that the duvet and pillows coexist in a pleasant way, and that the entire arrangement is pleasing to the eye. Also important is that no sheets appear untucked when you look at the bed from across the room. As long as the duvet is covering it, it is alright.
Finally, the pillow shams are placed in front of the other pillows. These can be placed in either direction because their openings are not evident. However, I do prefer that the opening is outward facing, to be honest. But I don't sweat it either way.
By now, I am pretty much done, except that since there is a chaise at the end of the bed, I sometimes have to move the chaise a bit away from the bed, give the duvet a nice little tug to put it in place, and then return the chaise to its proper position.
I DO THIS EVERY MORNING AS SOON AS I GET UP. sheesh.

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

Instructions to the child I once was

1) Don't worry so much. Almost everything you worry about never comes to pass.
2) Believe in yourself more. You have a lot to offer the world. Stop thinking that you don't.
3) You do not have to be perfect. Striving to be perfect is one pointless endeavor.
4) Follow your dreams. Have big dreams.
5) Travel. Then travel some more.
6) Live in the big city.
7) Find fun things to do for free or low cost.
8) Stay single until you are 30 (at least.)
9) Do not be afraid to speak your mind, especially in your love relationships.
10) Love yourself above all else.

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Fly Away

"Write of where you would fly if you could." There is a place I would go to, although I am not sure if it truly does exist outside my own imagination. It is a beach, of course, with white sand and clear blue water. Set back from the beach is a beautiful, lush garden, with a path leading to a lovely little cottage nestled among a stand of trees. There are no other houses nearby. The whole place seems quiet, safe and serene. It is, indeed, my "safe" place. It is the spot I go to when I meditate, when I want to de-stress, or when I just want a quiet moment. I've come to associate this place I have created in my mind with the peacefulness that is my goal.
Does this place really exist in the "real" world? If I could fly anywhere, it would be to this place. I hope, with a passion unmatched by anything else in my heart and mind, that it does. I yearn for it, and yet it is already in me and cannot ever be taken from me. How curious!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

NaNoWriMo

For the third year, I am participating in NaNoWriMo - that's National Novel Writing Month. Last year, over 100,000 people did it! I am not sure how many of us there are this year.
Basically, the idea is that you have a go at banging out 50,000 words. Winners get - nothing. You just get to say you won. Each year I have made it a little further. Maybe this is the year I will make it all the way! Wish me luck!
It is amazing how much trash you can write if you let yourself. Who knows, maybe I will not be blogging as much this month, because I am too busy writing my novel. Then again, maybe I will post more, as I do everything I can to procrastinate and avoid the inevitable! Time will tell!

Thursday, October 30, 2008

What's in a name?

"Our name is our virtue" is a line from a song I like ("I'm Yours" - Jason Mraz...link to it on the sidebar).
It got me to thinking about names. We humans have a proclivity to naming....everything! That includes ourselves and each other, of course. It is a way of defining that which separates us from the rest of the world. Our names come to have meaning and connotation as well. It is an important rite to name the child when it is born. Most parents, I dare to say, give it a good deal of thought, not only for how the name sounds but also for what the name means. As we grow into adulthood, our names become inextricably entwined with our identity.
Do I like my name? What does my name mean to me? How does it sound? Does my name define me to others?
I confess, I do not completely like my name. I accept it, but I don't exactly love it. It's sound of the "dith" part I am not fond of. I like the "Me" and the "red" and even the "Mer" and, yes, I suppose, the "Mere." I just can't get over the "dith " and the "edith." I also don't like that people frequently misspell it, and sometimes mispronounce it (hint: there are THREE syllables, not two! It's MEHR - eh - dith, not MARE-dith!)
My name in general has been unusual. One doesn't hear it as often as more popular names. It always gives me a little thrill to hear someone say my name in public, for that very reason. I swivel around, to have a look at the other Meredith. I wonder, is she like me? How does she like her name?
"Our name is our virtue." Our name is our virtue? Anyone have a clue what that means? Do my best qualities dwell in my name? Is all my untapped potential hidden there? What is in a name?

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Happy Anniversary, Baby

For better.
For worse.
For richer.
For poorer.
In sickness.
In health.
To love.
To cherish.
From now until the end of time.
This is my solemn vow.
Amen.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

One Word Answer Quiz

1. Where is your cell phone? pocket
2. Where is your significant other? work
3. Your hair color? brownish
4. Your mother? cupcake
5. Your father? heavenly
6. Your favorite thing? family
7. Your dream last night? dreamy
8. Your dream/goal? peace
9. The room you're in? yellow
10. Your hobby? puzzles
11. Your fear? heights
12. Where do you want to be in 6 years? curious
13. Where were you last night? bed
14. What you're not? ambitious
15. One of your wish list items? longevity
16. Where you grew up? Connecticut
17. The last thing you did? bus
18. What are you wearing? sweater
19. Your TV? off
20. Your pet? nada
21. Your computer? humming
22. Your mood? restless
23. Missing someone? YES
24. Your car? dirty
25. Something you're not wearing? jodhpurs
26. Favorite Store? Target
27. Your summer? lovely
28. Love someone? everyone
29. Your favorite color? blue
30. When is the last time you laughed? today
31. Last time you cried? unsure

Sunday, October 19, 2008

T.G.I.S.

My favorite day of the week is Sunday. It is usually the one day I can sleep late - not that I do, but knowing that I could somehow makes it feel different. Certainly, I can laze about for a bit, and not pop up and out of bed almost as soon as the alarm goes off (or sooner!). Again, not that I always laze, but knowing that I could is the important thing.
I could like Sunday because of the Sunday New York Times with all its juicy Sunday sections. But the fact is, we get most of those ahead of time, on Saturday. If I'm lucky, I have already read most of the good Sunday stuff, unless I purposefully save some, which I do sometimes.
Then, there is always the making of the Sunday breakfast. But, alas I make breakfast for those critters every morning, so there is nothing really special to like about Sunday breakfasts.
A lot of times, we do something together as a family, like take a hike or maybe once in a while go to a movie or out to lunch. That is certainly a highlight.
There are a lot of nice things about Sunday. But my favorite part is something that is missing. What's missing is the dread I used to feel, back when I worked outside the home. The dread had to do with Monday morning. It was a physical feeling, almost a sadness. In point of fact, the actual experience of Monday was not nearly as gruesome as the anticipation of it. Which is funny, when you think about it.
So now, I can love Sunday for what it is, a nice and usually relaxing day. I am thankful for that.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Two Pages

All these writing exercises come from a book "Thinking of Memoir" by Abigail Thomas. They each begin with "Write two pages of..."
I was going through them in order, but I have changed my mind, and am now going to pick "at random."
"Write two pages of lies." Oh, by the way, the reason I didn't put the "two pages" in before is that I didn't want to feel obligated to write two whole pages. Anyway, what does that mean - two pages? How big are the pages? How big is the writing? I just found the "two pages" dictum constricting. Nobody likes a constricting dictum, eh? Probably, "dictum" is not the right word to use, but I just like the alliterative sound to the whole thing, so I'm going with it.
ANYway, so, the REAL reason I am going to start putting the "Write two pages of..." is that many of these dicta (!) make more sense when they are begun with those words. I am not sure but I think it is the "of" that does it. Further study is needed.
OK, back to the lies. Perhaps I have been reluctant to get on with the lies. The whole concept of honesty , in general, has a bit of a hot button-ness to it. Is that a word - button-ness? See how I am procrastinating? It is not as easy as it looks - to be open about lying! Think about it!
It just may be that I am not in the mood to lie today. Does one even need to be in a particular mood, in order to lie? Well, now, see I have learned something about myself right there. Apparently I correlate some kind of mood with the ability or the desire to engage in deceit. Which is strange in itself, because in point of fact, I happen to be in somewhat of a upbeat and energetic mood, bordering even on joviality. To me this would almost seem to predispose me to, at the very least, a bit of mischievousness. And that is certainly one road to deception. So, all of this is becoming a little confusing to me. That brings me to the conclusion that this whole post is nonsense, and you could certainly classify nonsense as a bunch of lies, loosely speaking. I guess I accomplished the task after all. On to bigger and better lies, darling.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Blog Action Day - 2008

October 15th is Blog Action Day. This year's theme is poverty.
This may be a lone cry in the darkness, but isn't focusing on something prone to giving it more reality? This is a very dangerous area to be treading in.
I am not, repeat not, denying that there are millions living in poverty.
Wouldn't we (those of us who are too far away to help directly in a physical sense)be better serving them by thinking in terms of ABUNDANCE FOR ALL?
I advocate this mindset: there is enough here for all of us.
I pledge to help those in need.
I pledge to pray and act on behalf of those who
who are living in scarcity.
I pledge to remember to share.
I know my place in the world. I know that I am one of the "lucky" ones.
It's easier for me to say all this.
THAT'S WHY I AM SAYING IT.

(Click on the link above if you do want to learn more about Blog Action Day)

Prosperity

It is better.
It is getting better.
It is all right.
It is going to be, even more, all right.
No one else but me will get what is my fair share.
I need not worry.
What is there for me, will continue to be there for me.
All I have to do now is: relax and get to work.

(with thanks to Abraham)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Hi There!

Today

Today I awaken and meet the day.
I choose to feel peace today.
As I go about my day's activities, I look for and find moments of peace and joy.
No matter the challenges and obstacles, I choose to see everything as a learning opportunity.

Monday, October 13, 2008

Unfinished Post

Anything going on in my physical world is directly related to my interior landscape. Reacting blindly to events in my life can prolong the chain of negativity in my own experience. Yet practicing mindfulness in my response to what is happening around me can help me see when a learning opportunity is before me.

Sunday, October 5, 2008

Times of Trouble

"Write about when you knew you were in trouble."
Any time that I have THOUGHT I was in trouble, it invariably transpired that the trouble was largely in my own mind. Specifically, I have been fortunate in my life in that I have evaded almost all physical peril, and been spared a great deal of life's troubles in general. Those times that one might think of as trouble have been brief and fleeting. Again, the perception of trouble was the biggest major factor in all of these circumstances. In retrospect, I was never in as much trouble as I thought I was when in the thick of it. Always, always there was the Unseen Hand that was carrying me through the difficult times. Another hard fact: out of EVERY TROUBLE came some good. Always. Always. Always. For this reason alone, I love trouble!

Monday, September 29, 2008

I'm thinking, I'm thinking

"Write about what you have too much of."
Thoughts. That is what I have too much of. If only I could think of a way to have fewer thoughts.

Tuesday, September 23, 2008

Two for the Price of One

"Write of humiliating exposure." and "Write about a time you felt compassion unexpectedly."
I am combining these two, because they both remind me of a specific time in my life.
I won't go in to the details, but it was a dark time, and you either know what I am talking about or you don't. I felt humiliated and betrayed. I felt vulnerable to the wagging tongues of a small town. I felt exposed and pitiable.
The surprise came when I felt compassion for a person who was involved in the betrayal and humiliation. I felt a lot of other things too, of course. But I even amazed myself when I was able to understand and forgive. Some people have told me that they would not have been able to do what I did in that circumstance. To that I would reply: you really can get to know yourself in times of adversity, if you are open to it. What I found out about myself is that I held it to be more important to hold fast to my ideals than to avenge a wrong or hold on to resentment. I thought long and hard about it, but that was only in order to convince myself that what I knew in my heart to be true (forgiveness is the way) was, in fact, the best route for me to a better place. So, the compassion I felt for another was really the same as the compassion I felt for myself.

Saturday, September 20, 2008

View from my kitchen today

Click on the image to enlarge it....

One Moment, Please

"Write about what you had to have."
We all have those moments - when the present is distilled into a crystal clear memory. Time seems to stop, and every sensation and every thought seems to be etched in an instant onto our consciousness. These may not always be pleasant moments - but when they are, and the moment is sweet and precious, it is truly a gift. It is a gift that we can keep opening simply by thinking of it, and savoring once again its qualities. There may be times when these moments carry us through more difficult passages. There may be times when we dwell too long in these moments. I believe these moments are meant to be revisited only as a passing thought and not lingered in. Otherwise we can get too caught up in the illusion of loss; and if we are reliving a moment, we are not currently experiencing our own present being. But for the comfort, and the pleasure, and the loving peacefulness they provide, I am truly thankful for my moments. Could I live without them? I suppose so, but I sure am glad they are in my repertoire. I might even go so far as to say: I had to have them. They sustain me. They delight me. They inform me. They remind me. They love me. And I love them back.

Friday, September 19, 2008

The Beckoning of Lovely

This is a video that is worth taking 7 minutes to watch! Either click on the title of this post, or go to my "Links to Inspiration" area on the left below.

Make 'em laugh.
Make a difference.
Make sense.
Make me.
Make a joyful noise.
Make a bundle.
Make love, not war.
Make a pie.
Make someone happy.
Make a fuss.
Make a decision.
Make dinner.
Make sure.
Make merry.
Make off.
Make as if.

What do you make of it?

Wednesday, September 17, 2008

Baby's got blue eyes

"Write about a physical characteristic you are proud to have inherited or passed along."
Hands down easy, it is the blue eyes. I love blue eyes. I just plain love eyes, actually.
They are the windows into the soul, after all. Maybe it's because I have blue eyes, but I prefer blue ones. The most amazing eyes I have ever seen belonged to a friend I had in high school - they were violet. Brown eyes are lovely and velvety and warm. Hazel eyes, uh-oh, watch out for those hazel eyes! You never know what color they will be! That is pretty cool. But blue eyes....ooh, I just can't help myself. I go all mushy over blue eyes.
I don't particularly go in for pride, or at least I don't think I do, especially when it comes to my physical characteristics. I don't tend to think of myself as good-looking, even though plenty of people have said so. Eh, I think to myself, what do they know? But I am a total sucker for compliments about my eyes! Luckily for me, they will still be beautiful even when I am old and wrinkled and stuff!! I picture myself, face wizened and body bent by age, but still with a bright blue twinkle in the optical orbs.
P.S. Click on the title to go to Elton John singing "Blue Eyes"
P.P.S. This song is also one of my favorites, because once my big brother Warren was singing it; so it always reminds me of him.

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Sorry, that's all she wrote

Today's topic: write an apology for something that you didn't do.
What is the purpose of an apology, after all? Does it help the apologizer as much as, or even more than, the intended receiver of the apology? Does a sincere apology serve to heal the world in general?
Dictionary time!
Apology: A statement of acknowledgment expressing regret or asking pardon.
Apology: A statement that justifies or defends something, such as a past action or policy.
Hmm....those are two slightly different things. One expresses regret, one defends something, with no connotation of regret.
Have you ever apologized for something that you really didn't feel sorry about? Did you use the words "I apologize" instead of "I'm sorry," when you knew an apology was in order, but you really didn't feel the regret? Here's a clue about me: if I say "I apologize" about something, then I am not really sorry at that moment!
This is my apology for something I didn't do: I am sorry I didn't say I was sorry when I was apologizing to you. Got that? I meant it!

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

20 years ago....

I saw this on my niece's blog, and she tagged me, so now it's my turn!
....20 years ago....
1) I was married to my first husband, Neil.
2) I was working as an Accounts Payable Supervisor at US Surgical.
3) We were planning our trip to wine country in California.
....10 years ago.....
1) I was married to my last husband, John!
2) We had a one year old son, our pride and joy, Window Boy!
3) We were living in Fairfield CT,and I was working as a payroll manager at USS.
....5 years ago...
1) Husband and I were talking divorce. That SO did not happen, thank you!
2) It was, needless to say, a true low point in my life.
3) Had just been on a great but HOT trip to Disneyworld with Allison, Daniel and Julia. (Seems like longer ago!)
....3 years ago...
1) We were living in Lighthouse Point, Florida.
2) We were not loving those hurricanes! This was the year of Katrina, Rita and most of all, Wilma, which is the one that convinced me to get the heck out of Florida ASAP.
3) John was working up North and racking up the frequent flier miles (which enabled us to have a free trip to Cleveland this summer!).
....1 year ago....
1) We had just moved to beautiful Northwest Jersey!
2) The kids were starting their new schools.
3) John and I got to go away to Cape Cod for the weekend.
....This year so far....
1) The kids and I visited our family and old haunts in Florida in April.
2) We all went on a great but HOT vacation to Williamsburg and DC.
3) We are feeling more settled and happy in our new life here.
....Yesterday.....
1) It was raining cats and dogs, and I stepped in a poodle.
2) I had a facial at the spa.
3) I started reading a book for the neighborhood book club I am joining.
....Today.....
1) It is a beautiful sunny day.
2) I had coffee with my neighbor this morning.
3) I am going to tackle my extensive chore list after this.
....Tomorrow....
1) I am meeting with Julia's teacher.
2) No doubt I will be doing more chores.
3) I am going to watch my neighbor's kids while she goes to Back to School night.
(and she will do the same for me next week)
....Next year.....
1) We are probably going to have a "staycation" and paint the deck.
2)We will be getting a new car.
3) I will be even happier and more active than I am now.

Now I tag YOU!

Tuesday, September 2, 2008

Miss Understanding

This is the third in a series of writing exercises that I came upon and assigned to myself. This latest has had me a bit stymied. "Write about something you wrote or did that you no longer understand." What? I used to understand, and now I don't? That concept is foreign to me. Maybe that is because I consider myself to be understanding to a fault. At one point in my life, I was known in a certain circle as "Miss Understanding." (Admittedly, this was a small circle, but I have owned the appellation ever since. I covet a reputation - more on that another time.)
.....Okay, I have let several days pass, while I thought about something - anything - that I have written or done that I no longer understand. At first, I thought of something I wrote in my journal during college - "Desire cannot replace fortitude." But frankly, I am not sure I even understood that when I wrote it! Or more accurately, my level of understanding has not changed since then.
.....Now I have let even more time pass. Still, I cannot conjure up a thing that I have done or written that I no longer understand. Unless it is the case that the level of my lack of understanding is so low that I don't even KNOW that I no longer understand, then I guess I am good to go on this one. I need to move past this once and for all!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

What Got Left Behind

I have left behind many people, places and things over the course of my life. Some were meant to be left, as I had outgrown them, or they had outlived their usefulness. Some I regret leaving behind, as I loved them more and perhaps was not ready to let them go.
From a young age, I learned to let go of things, and people, I loved. It readily appeared as a life lesson, and was presented to me over and over again. It still pops up in my life to this day. As a matter of fact, I count this life lesson as one of my favorites, for it gives much delight and satisfaction to practice it. By that I don't mean that I relish leaving things, places and people behind. But in some way, I am able to appreciate all of it in a much deeper way, when given enough time and distance. The letting go enables the perspective.
Certainly, there is also a cleansing aspect to "leaving behind" as well. I recently read a piece on the way that memory can obscure identity. Our minds become clouded by our memories, and we experience the present through the lens of our past experiences. This is the human condition, one could argue. To transcend this, we can reach towards the divine already within us. The divine within is a agent of renewal. So, to "let go" is to "let God" in a very real sense. When I let go of a place, person or thing that I am leaving behind, I am letting God cleanse my memory and restore me to my true identity.
Here is a picture of something that got left behind. It is a pair of painter's pants, which were popular when I was a teenager. I loved those pants...they were comfortable and they fit well. When I became ill during my sophomore year of college, we moved to California. Somehow, in the rush and confusion of that period, the painter's pants got left behind. All I have left now is a few photos of me wearing them, down at the beach near Jimmy's at Savin Rock in West Haven, Connecticut. I was seventeen, and in the full flower of my youth. Looking at the pants in the photo, I can recall the memory of who I was at that time. Life folds over, and for a brief instant, my identity is one with the person in the photo.
The pants were left behind, but I wasn't. I am here now, with my memories filtering my experience, while I endeavor to be mindful of their true purpose. It's an ongoing project.

Monday, August 18, 2008

Swimming in the Sea - A Reverie

I am swimming in a cool, clear, calm blue sea. It is early morning, and the light of the sun is just bright enough at the horizon to create a rosy glow about me. The sky appears to be endless. It contains lovely colors, and is dotted by a few wispy clouds. The air is warm and the breeze is light, with just the scent of the salt water. Far in the distance, a few birds practice their climbs and dives. They call out to one another. Aside from that, all I hear is the water lapping gently around me. My swimming is effortless, and I know that I can stop and rest at anytime, because here the water is not deep. If I stand up, the sand beneath my feet is soft and smooth. Yet I keep on swimming, because I am enjoying it so much. My body feels strong and healthy and alive. I am so happy to be here now!

Monday, August 4, 2008

Aging

I can't deny that I am getting older. After all, I get older every day no matter what. We all do! As soon as we are born, we start to age. There are peaks and valleys, spurts and lulls, in our aging process. There are "phases" and "plateaus" and "milestones."
Today is my birthday, so it is a milestone of sorts. Not a major one, but there is a major one coming up next year, so my mind does reach towards it.
I can't deny that I am getting older. My body feels older. My face looks older, especially (to me) in the last year or so. I am not really sure why the aging suddenly kicked in, or caught up with me like that! Maybe because of the weight I lost? Maybe the stress of the last five years? Whatever the cause, I see my aging before me when I look in the mirror. In any case, if I don't look, I don't really have to acknowledge it. But I can't deny it: I am getting older.
And yet: I am all the ages I have ever been. I am lucky that my best feature (in my opinion) is my lovely blue eyes, and they don't age, or haven't yet! I still have the radiance that has always been part of me. I can't imagine ever losing that!
I can't deny I am getting older. I think I am becoming wiser as well. That is truly the gift of age that I treasure the most. Aging does perhaps bring the necessity to slow down, to pace yourself, to make allowances for the human body. Aging also brings experience, of course. And as the mind processes more experiences, the learning opportunities do not end. Whence comes wisdom (I hope).

Thursday, July 24, 2008

Trees

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth's flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.


By Joyce Kilmer.

_______________________________

Friday, July 18, 2008

This morning

"Every day is golden. Every moment is sweet and precious and meant to be lived." These are words my grandmother repeated again and again in her last years. I often had the feeling, when I heard her say them, that she was trying to instill this message in us. I know she was also saying it for herself. I always would smile and nod and agree, but a part of me wanted to take her by the shoulders and look her in the eyes, and say, " I get it, Grandma!" But I didn't say it, of course. Because she had a need to relate the message. It comforted her to relate the message.
So, having taken a two week break from my blog, I was thinking about a message to relate today. That is what got me thinking about the comfort found in relating a message, and about the need to relate a message. We all tell our stories to others as we are living them, whether consciously or not. Sometimes it is necessary to explain or divulge details. Other times it is quite enough to live one's life and let that living be the message.
This is my message to you: Don't worry about a thing. Every little thing is going to be alright.
(A little birdie told me so.)

Saturday, July 5, 2008

Bear in the backyard

This bear wandered through behind our house yesterday evening, while we were about to enjoy dinner with friends:

video

Wednesday, July 2, 2008

Carbon Footprint

I used this site: http://www.earthlab.com/carbonprofile/LiveEarth.htm?ver=14 to calculate my family's carbon footprint. I'm looking at ways we can do our part to help save the Earth. I got this site from a book I am reading: Go Green, Live Rich. It has some great ideas for both newbies and those who want to delve deeper into all the ways we can save the Earth.
Although our carbon footprint isn't the worst, it could be better!! Mostly because we are a two car family, and I don't see that changing any time soon, given our circumstances. Guess we'll have to wait until the next time we buy a car to go hybrid. DH is intent on driving the current ones until they die. I am not of that mind. And so it goes.
Another thing we do too much of is travel by air. But now that prices are shooting up, we will be doing less of that, I imagine. Maybe once a year instead of two or three times.
(I am well aware that these are high-class problems, by the way.)
In the meantime, I will work on all the other ways we can reduce our footprint.

Monday, June 30, 2008

On friends

"A friend is someone who knows all about you, and loves you just the same" reads an embroidered sampler in my home, made for me by and old and dear friend. I treasure it not only because she made it for me, but also because of what it says. I wrote about it once, but I have been thinking about friendship lately, so I felt like writing about it again.
"A friend knows all about you"....this part takes both of you to accomplish. You have to be honest and open, as well as trusting and respectful of your friend. Your friend has to be a good listener, trustworthy and nonjudgmental. Taken together, these are all qualities to look for both in a true friend and in yourself.
"And loves you just the same".....speaks of unconditional Love. To love without condition....means Here and Now no matter what they do or say, or don't do or say. And that includes yourself, too. Loving yourself unconditionally is practically a prerequisite for loving another unconditionally.
So, a true friend knows you and loves you, and knowing more about you, still loves you.
It is wonderful when that knowing and loving goes both ways. I count that happening a few times in my life. I have always been more about quality than quantity when it comes to friends. I would rather have one true friend than a dozen acquaintances. Most of all, I aspire to be a true friend.

Monday, June 23, 2008

You're Welcome, My Love

"A friend is one to whom you can pour out the contents of your heart, chaff and grain alike.
Knowing that the gentlest of hands will take and sift it, keep what is worth keeping and with a breath of kindness, blow the rest away."

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Song of Wandering Aengus

I went out to the hazel wood,

Because a fire was in my head,

And cut and peeled a hazel wand,

And hooked a berry to a thread;

And when white moths were on the wing,

And moth-like stars were flickering out,

I dropped the berry in a stream

And caught a little silver trout.

When I had laid it on the floor

I went to blow the fire aflame,

But something rustled on the floor,

And some one called me by my name:

It had become a glimmering girl

With apple blossom in her hair

Who called me by my name and ran

And faded through the brightening air.

Though I am old with wandering

Through hollow lands and hilly lands,

I will find out where she has gone,

And kiss her lips and take her hands;

And walk among long dappled grass,

And pluck till time and times are done

The silver apples of the moon,

The golden apples of the sun.

William Butler Yeats

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Bye Bye Birdie

Last night the birds were in the nest, but today the birds are gone.
Only one egg had hatched, and the little birdie was so cute! I guess
it flew away with its mama, since it is nowhere to be seen.
I feel happy and sad at the same time. I'll miss them.
The other eggs are still in the nest. I suppose they've been abandoned.
I'll wait a day or two before I take the wreath down, just to be sure!

Monday, June 16, 2008

Problem? Schmoblem!

Growing up, I heard "there are no problems, only solutions." As an adult, I have told myself and taught my children, "We are solution-oriented in this family." Today I read (not for the first time):
"Every problem has in it the seeds of its own solution. If you don't have any problems, you don't get any seeds." (Norman Vincent Peale)

For me, to say I am solution-oriented means that I seek to perceive the spiritual roots of the problems that crop up in my life. When I choose to see any difficulty or hardship or obstacle (i.e. whatever shape the problem takes), as an opportunity (for learning, for growth, for giving love, for forgiving!), then I am pointing myself in the direction of the "solution." As always, the outcome is assured, though it may not always be what I think it will be.
In my experience, a problem always has a solution that comes with it. It is my task to focus on that. Often that simple act is enough to clear the weeds: the "why me" and the "why now" and the "what, again?"
If every problem comes with the seeds of its own solution, then I can find the seeds and plant them and water them, step aside and let the sun shine on them.

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

You say tomato, I say tomato

The latest food-borne disease scare was announced the other day. What the industry calls "tomatoes" have been linked to salmonella outbreaks in some states. As of now, the cause is unknown.
May I venture an opinion here? Those things they are calling tomatoes are not tomatoes!! They are some sort of food product engineered to look and (not very much) taste like a tomato. I found it amusing that the officials are actually announcing that it is safe to eat homegrown tomatoes. Are we so paranoid or stupid that we need to be told this?
It has long been difficult for me to buy one of those reddish orbs that they sell in the supermarket. At best, I will opt for an incredibly expensive tomato on the vine, or treat myself to some grape tomatoes or cherry tomatoes. At least these have some tomato taste. Lo, and behold, these are also the tomatoes that are now the only ones considered safe to eat! Coincidence? Hmmm......

Monday, June 9, 2008

Bird Update

One of the eggs hatched last night. The little one has its open mouth turned upward, waiting for its mama to bring some food. Now she's flown back, and I can see her feeding it. I can't get too close, or else she flies away. Then she waits in a small tree not far away, keeping her eye on the nest all the while.
Here is a silhouette of the mama, through the window in the door:

Friday, June 6, 2008

Change takes place at the level of your oughts

For some, the phrase "change takes place at the level of your thoughts" has a lot of resonance and meaning. I took it a little further by declaring that it takes place at the level of your "oughts." How many of us tell ourselves "I shoulda...I woulda...I coulda" without assessing what that means? Well, I do it, and it's my blog, so I'm talking about it.
Shoulds and woulds and coulds are all very slippery slopes. Partway down the slope is self-judgment, and a little further down is self-blame. At the bottom: self-condemnation. All three are not conducive to true change. So, when we aspire to be conscious of our "Should, would, could" thoughts, we can move in the direction of the summit. From there we can see clearly what change will best serve us in any given situation.
After all, it's all about change.
I would have written more, but I decided I shouldn't. That oughta do it.

Saturday, May 31, 2008

Bird's Nest on My Door


There is a wreath on my front door, made of various leaves and twigs and dried flowers and herbs.
I noticed a few weeks ago that it is looking a bit tired after a few seasons of facing the elements, even though it is partially protected by the overhang. I also noticed that some birds were stealing from it - I figured they liked the bits for making their nests. So I decided to leave it up for a while longer.
Today I realized that I was catching those birds almost every time I opened the door. They would immediately flit away, of course. It dawned on me, and I confirmed, that they have built a nest right in the wreath! Sure enough, there is a nest that fits perfectly in the middle of the wreath, and it is very well camouflaged, too. Peering inside, I see 6 beautiful, tiny eggs in various shades of blue!
Isn't that great?
There is a window in the door, through which you can see outside, right through the middle of the wreath. From inside, you can see the silhouette of the bird as it tends to its eggs. Truly magical.
When the eggs hatch, I will have a musical door!

Wednesday, May 28, 2008

Peace

I know peace. Peace is familiar to me. Peace is in me. Peace begins with me. Peace and me? We're likethis.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Blanket Wars

Every morning, my kids engage in a skirmish over the sofas and the blankets. Each one wants the big fluffy blanket. The next best blanket is a soft, warm blanket also, but apparently it is not quite as good as the big fluffy one. Usually, Julia wakes up first and stakes her claim to the big sofa and the big fluffy blanket. When Daniel arrives, he immediately exclaims that she must give up one or the other. Either he gets the big couch or the big blanket, or else it's unfair. Now, up until this moment I have usually been having a pleasant and peaceful morning, as is my wont. Here begins the blanket wars. I try to let them duke it out, and, for the most part, they do manage to work it out with only a smattering of tears and/or screaming. If that goes on too long, I start to protest, as it shatters my calm to hear it. Eventually, something like "each one gets a turn with the blanket" takes hold. And they settle in to wait for Mom to call them to breakfast. What a life.
So, in the case that I should die or otherwise be absent from this crucial transaction, I am setting forth the exact permissible variations on the blanket/sofa/pillow placement.
1) Julia has the big sofa, and the (second best) microfleece blanket, and Daniel has the loveseat and the big, fluffy down blanket
2) vice versa
Heaven forbid that John left his memory foam pillow on the sofa (sometimes he falls asleep there, and invariably does not return said pillow to its home on the bed). Then all bets are off. Because, of course, they each want the memory foam pillow, too. Then the acceptable configuration is:
1) Julia has the loveseat, the big, fluffy down blanket and the memory foam pillow, and Daniel has the big sofa and the microfleece blanket. This is okay, because lo! Daniel has a memory foam pillow too! Only it's upstairs! And Daniel will gladly accept the lesser blanket, if Julia will go upstairs and get his pillow!
Phew.
Here is photographic evidence of their latest state of detente:

Friday, May 9, 2008

Audacious Happiness

It seems as though, these days, there is a lot to be unhappy about. Rising prises, war, the economy, etc. etc. I think it takes a certain amount of courage to be happy in the midst of all that is happening now. Maybe even a bit of craziness!
This is what is true for me now: I want to be happy. There are plenty of reasons to be unhappy, both from a personal and a global perspective. But whom does it serve to harbor this unhappiness? Is it not better to simply be happy? I am not talking about denying reality or not being compassionate and caring of others. All I am saying is, Dare to Be Happy. It is audacious to be happy. It takes courage to be happy. I'm doing it.

Sunday, May 4, 2008

Foggy Mountain

This is my view from the kitchen table this morning. I never tire of looking out at "my" backyard. It has been very foggy on the mountain these past few days. In another month, we will have come full circle with the seasons here. It's been an interesting year, at times a joy, at times a nightmare. But when I look outside at this, I feel nothing but peace and contentment. With some fog mixed in. My head is in the clouds!

Friday, May 2, 2008

Chicken-Mushroom Ragout

This is a recipe I adapted from one I found on recipezaar.com....it is simple and delicious!

Chicken-Mushroom Ragout
SERVES 3-4
Ingredients
1 1/2 cups chicken broth
1 tablespoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon pepper
2 sprigs fresh thyme, crushed or 1/2 teaspoon dried thyme, crushed
4 boneless skinless chicken thigh, cut into bite-size pieces (12 ounces total)
8 ounces fresh mushrooms, halved
1 cup sliced carrots
1 cup chopped onion or leeks
1 cup water or chicken broth
2 tablespoons cornstarch

Directions

In a large saucepan or Dutch oven combine chicken broth, mustard, thyme, and pepper. Stir in chicken, mushrooms, carrots, and leeks. Bring to boiling.

Reduce heat; cover and simmer 15 minutes. Remove thyme sprigs, if using.

Combine water and cornstarch (use your judgment as to how much, depending on how much liquid is already in the pot.) Stir into chicken mixture.

Cook and stir till thickened and bubbly. Cook and stir for 2 minutes more.

Serve in bowls. Great with a crusty bread!

Monday, April 21, 2008

Journey of a Thousand Miles

Tomorrow, I am taking a journey of a thousand miles. Actually, it is more than a thousand miles. Probably 1100 or 1200, I would guess. Plus I have to drive north from here about 70 miles to the airport!
But what counts is the first step. My first step is to recognize and pay attention to the journey itself. The destination will take care of itself.

Thursday, April 17, 2008

I can see clearly now

This just might be my most favorite song ever.
Please play it for my funeral (some day)!
It was a hit back when I was 13. I learned to dance
the cha cha to it.
You can listen to it by clicking on the link
down there on the right, under the Random Classic Art, in the list
"Songs I would want if stranded on a desert island"

Here are the lyrics:

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

I think I can make it now, the pain is gone
All of the bad feelings have disappeared
Here is the rainbow I’ve been prayin' for
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

Look all around, there’s nothin?but blue skies
Look straight ahead, nothin?but blue skies

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It’s gonna be a bright (bright), bright (bright)
Sun-Shiny day.

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Where it stops, nobody knows

I'm more of a merry-go-round gal than a roller coaster gal, first of all. So when life becomes a roller coaster (emotionally speaking), I am not exactly in my element. I prefer the steady bobbing up and down, with a bit of change in scenery and a bit of repetition (familiarity breeds contentment). Throw a bit of music in, and I am a happy camper.
But, alas, life is not always thus. OTHER people, who may be ROLLER COASTER people, are there in my midst, having to be dealt with and perhaps supported or challenged or leaned on or whatever.
So, roller coasters have some things in common with merry-go-rounds, but ONE thing different is the highs and lows, and the twists and curves (okay, that's two things). Before I get too lost in this metaphor, let me be clear, I am pro-"feeling what you feel."
I guess it does come down to how you view the world. You decide what kind of ride you like best. Just excuse me, if I don't feel like taking the same ride as you do. I may stay on the side and watch you, and then go on my own ride when it's my turn.

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

Flow

It's funny how Life hands you exactly what you need at the moment. The learning opportunities abound, and when one comes along, you have the choice to take it or not. Letting go of the notion of control means learning to go with the flow. Going with the flow is not a passive state; it is a healthy acceptance of What Is.
When you struggle against the flow of Life (e.g. change), you can lose the opportunity for learning and growth. Still, it's inevitably a temporary loss, because Life doesn't give up that easily. Life wants you to get It.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

This comfort

I've written about 10 posts since the last one; trouble is, they've all been in my head, while I was driving or otherwise away from the computer! Too bad I don't have a personal assistant to take dictation at my whim. I wonder what that would be like!
The other problem is that I have so much going on in my mind, that it is hard to focus it. I wish I could distill my thoughts, and somehow writing them down does soothe the thought beast for a while.
I just finished a book, the title of which I don't exactly recall, but it was a collection of essays compiled by Charles Grodin. All sorts of famous and semi-famous people wrote about their biggest mistake and what they learned from it. By and large, the major themes involved making sure your loved ones know that you love them, being true to yourself, and knowing that in fact there are no mistakes (in the sense that everything can be a learning experience and everything contributes to your growth, if you allow it). Perhaps my favorite essay was the last one in the book. Paul Newman writes that he is still making the same mistakes he made 50 years ago, which means he is not surprised when he does it again, but strangely comforted. Made me think about how we might draw a perverse comfort from making the same mistakes over and over.

Thursday, March 27, 2008

Thoughtful thoughts

The world is changed one thought at a time.
I'd like to get this idea once and for all.
Still, it seems I need continual reminding.
Think again! (so goes my thought)
What was I thinking? (I think)
One nice thought came to me recently, around the time I was agonizing over the thought that, really nothing I ever think is original or unique to me (although why that should be bothersome I still have not fathomed). It (the nice thought, in case you had lost track) is this: since we are all connected, and separation is an illusion, then any thought that you have likewise I have as well. This can also be said as: great minds think alike. So do less than great ones, but that's off-topic. So, instead of berating myself for not really having any original thoughts, I can now congratulate myself on being connected to all the great thoughts that exist! Simply by thinking them myself, I can be part of that greatness too! Isn't that fabulous? I am not really sure what this has to do with my first thought at the beginning of this post. It doesn't really matter, I suppose, since no one ever reads this blog anyway. Or if they do, they don't admit to it. That's okay. It's an easy way to keep a diary. And it keeps me honest. Because maybe someday someone will see this, and now they will know I am writing down exactly what I am thinking, without bothering with a minor detail of whether it is truly an original thought! Oh who am I kidding? I long to be creative. There it is. But then, that is like saying, I long to be human. Well, here I am.

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

To-Do: Change the World

"You are a child of the universe
no less than the trees and the stars;
you have a right to be here.
And whether or not it is clear to you,
no doubt the universe is unfolding as it should."

from Desiderata, by Max Ehrmann


It is all too easy to get caught up in the hype surrounding us, about how the world is in crisis, in so many ways. This is not to say there are no problems. But the hype is sometimes part of the problem!
We must be vigilant in separating the wheat from the chaff. Awareness is key. When we become aware of the problem, it is imperative to think immediately in terms of its solution. As I always tell my children, "we are solution-oriented in this family."
The universe is unfolding as it should. Take comfort in knowing that we are here, now, for a purpose. We can be part of the solution.
We can be part of the change. The evolution of consciousness is calling us.

Thursday, March 20, 2008

A little birdie told me....

Today is the first day of Spring. Hallelujah!
Of course, Spring officially arrived for me two days ago,
when I saw about 50 robins on my lawn. The robins are
back! The robins are back!
When I lived in Florida, the robins came by in
January...the first time it happened, I was thrilled
to see them, but the timing felt funny.
That was one of my first inklings that, although I lived
in the south, my heart belonged to the north.
And now my favorite season has arrived, at long last!

Monday, March 17, 2008

Whole Food

"I'd rather be whole than good."
Exploring the darker sides of ourselves is a formidable undertaking.
We think the road to enlightenment should somehow skirt the dark areas.
But the way we are, as humans, requires that we travel through
these dark areas.
If we can learn to see the dark (negative) aspects of ourselves
for the gifts they can actually give us, we can steer safely through.
Take a look at something you don't like about yourself, and see
if you can see the gift that it has to offer you.

Thursday, March 13, 2008

Busy as a bee

I just read that a bee has to visit over 2 million flowers to produce a pound of honey! No wonder the expression "busy as a bee" came to be.
Further research into the origins of the expression led me to learn that the term was coined by Chaucer in "The Canterbury Tales."
Is it possible to relate everything in life back to one poem or another? Or is this just happening because I have been focusing on poetry lately? Either way, I think it's lovely. Plus the whole thing kept me busy for five minutes.
But not as busy as a bee.

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Plums

Two poems about plums, by William Carlos Williams

This Is Just To Say
I have eaten
the plums
that were in
the icebox

and which
you were probably
saving
for breakfast.

Forgive me
they were delicious
so sweet
and so cold.


To a Poor Old Woman


munching a plum on

the street a paper bag

of them in her hand



They taste good to her

They taste good

to her. They taste

good to her



You can see it by

the way she gives herself

to the one half

sucked out in her hand



Comforted

a solace of ripe plums

seeming to fill the air

They taste good to her


Tuesday, March 11, 2008

Grains of Sand

If you ever wonder about your purpose in life, and whether your life is important, consider for a moment a long stretch of sand, glistening in the sun. Each and every grain of sand that makes up that expanse is a part of the whole. Without a single grain of sand, there would be no expanse at all. Every grain of sand is needed. Your importance is not related to the size of your role in life, either. Every single person who is alive now is needed to be a part of the whole. We are all grains of sand, and we are all shining in the sun. Together we create a marvelous expanse, don't you think?

Speaking of grains of sand, here is one of my all-time favorite poems, by Edgar Allan Poe, which I am fond of reciting by the fireside:

A Dream Within A Dream
Take this kiss upon the brow!
And, in parting from you now,
Thus much let me avow
You are not wrong, who deem
That my days have been a dream;
Yet if hope has flown away
In a night, or in a day,
In a vision, or in none,
Is it therefore the less gone?
All that we see or seem
Is but a dream within a dream.

I stand amid the roar
Of a surf-tormented shore,
And I hold within my hand
Grains of the golden sand
How few! yet how they creep
Through my fingers to the deep,
While I weep - while I weep!
O God! can I not grasp
Them with a tighter clasp?
O God! can I not save
One from the pitiless wave?
Is all that we see or seem
But a dream within a dream?

Friday, March 7, 2008

What Are Days For?

I came across this poem by Philip Larkin this morning:

What are days for?
Days are where we live.
They come, they wake us
Time and time over.
They are to be happy in:
Where can we live but days?

Ah, solving that question
Brings the priest and the doctor
In their long coats
Running over the fields.

So, he says, it is simple: why are we here? To be, and to be happy. Instead of accepting that, we tend to complicate it, and then we need to fix it, and explain it. But it all comes back to the simple (not easy) truth: Be. Be happy. Be happy today. This day is where we live. There is nowhere else. If, at times it seems that there is, call the priest, call the doctor, call the pizza place, and then sit back and remember: I. Am. Here. Now.

Thursday, March 6, 2008

Role-in on the River

I have taken on many roles throughout my life. Some roles I have played and re-played. But I am not my roles. Or, perhaps, I am greater than my roles. When I get caught up in my roles, it is good to take a metaphorical step back, and try to take in the bigger picture. When I see the ROLE that my ROLES play, then I am on a ROLL.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Un-kvetch!

It is unlikely that you live at the level of your Higher Self at all times. Yet when you place your intention in that realm, you find yourself there more often. The greater the frequency with which you direct your egoic thoughts towards the realm of the Higher Self, the more you are able to let go of your complaints and resentments.
This is not to say you will be free of them. But in time they will become less important to you. You will find that you are able to release them more quickly and more easily. Simply kiss them goodbye, and shoo them gently away. They had their chance at reality, and they blew it. They don't give you what you truly want. Complaints and resentments do not lead the way to peace.

Tuesday, March 4, 2008

Inspire Someone Today

I saw this on someone else's blog, so I thought I'd pass it along.

Wednesday, February 27, 2008

Je te adore!

We often like to keep our options open, at least in our own minds. Making decisions, choosing among alternatives, necessitates the paring down of options. To simplify, we must close some of the doors. When we close a door, it makes room for a new opportunity. It's important, once the door is shut, to turn our focus to the open doors that remain.
All this metaphor is just trying to say that commitment involves choice.

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Thoughts on a(nother) gloomy day

Cold drops of rain fall
from the edge of my hat
onto my neck
and trickle
slowly
down.

Twenty-three days until the first day of spring.
It has been a long, cold, lonely winter (little darling)....
I am not sure if this winter is what I expected it to be.
Then again, I am not sure if my life is what I expected it to be!

I guess that's why they say that life is what happens when you are busy making other plans. ( I can't wait to see them again. They are so wise. Wisdom loves company!)

Good Lord, I crave sunshine, and warmth.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Snippet

It can be a pretty intense experience to search one's soul, but the rewards are commensurate with the amount of effort we are willing to give.
Maybe even greater. Maybe exponentially greater.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

Synchronicity and Serendipity

The greatest thing about synchronicity is that it seems to happen more when you are looking for it. It has a self-fulfilling prophecy component to it.
Synchronicity is a term coined by Carl Jung, to explain "meaningful coincidences." Synchronicity is "an acausal principle that links events having a similar meaning by their coincidence in time rather than sequentially."
Serendipity is the aptitude for making desirable discoveries by accident. Most people think of serendipity as being synonymous with good fortune. It was derived in the 1800's, from an old Persian fairy tale, by an English author named Horace Walpole.
So, synchronicity and serendipity are similar in some respects (note to self: repeat this sentence under your breath at least ten times today!). You might say that serendipity could be a result of synchronicity. Yet, synchronicity differs from serendipity in that, at least in my experience, it happens more when you are expecting it; whereas serendipity, by its very definition, happens when you are not expecting it!
I think this one will require some more field research. As a matter of fact, that has already begun, since my adoring fan base called to sniff out a post while I was writing this!

Monday, February 18, 2008

The Other Shoes

Ever since I saw a shoe on the side of the road in late December, and then wrote about it here, I have been seeing shoes by the side of the road! Not a week goes by that I don't see one. That is vastly amusing to me, and it also speaks to the power of focus. Likely the shoes were always there, but I didn't take note of them before. Although I am in the habit of looking for beauty everywhere, and, amazingly, I do find it!
Something to dwell on, during this gloomy late winter day......

Saturday, February 16, 2008

Why Do We Play?

Why do we play?
We play in order to feel good.
We play in order to smile and laugh.
We play in order to connect with others.
We play in order to have fun.
It's simple, and it's easy, and it's free.
I would write more, but I am going to go play.

Friday, February 15, 2008

Quote for the day

I have been through some terrible things in my life, some of which actually happened. --Mark Twain

A poem by Julia

Good Dreams by Julia, Age 7

Good dreams believe in your heart
ohh....you're so lovely
so lovely....
that you can wake up....
....in your good dreams, so...
Just believe in your heart to the good dreams.
Just wake, wake up in the good dreams.
Don't wake up in the bad dreams.
To be yourself, just love others
And believe in your heart.
So, just be honest to be true.
To love one other than you.
For always to be stars above
To truly be a love.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Where this blog's name comes from....

"The Gateway" by Alec Derwent Hope

Now the heart sings with all its thousand voices
To hear this city of cells, my body, sing.
The tree through the stiff clay at long last forces
Its thin strong roots and taps the secret spring.

And the sweet waters without intermission
Climb to the tips of its green tenement;
The breasts have borne the grace of their possession,
The lips have felt the pressure of content.

Here I come home: in this expected country
They know my name and speak it with delight.
I am the dream and you my gates of entry,
The means by which I waken into light.

Wednesday, February 13, 2008

Love, Love, Love

Your essential self is love. All the rest that is layered upon that is window dressing. They are simply the tools at your disposal for creating your life and living in it.
To return to that essential self is your ultimate goal. Therein lies the peace and love of God. At the center of your being, at the heart of you, is Love/Peace/God. These are simply words to describe something that is indescribable.
I think it's good, on Valentine's Eve, to keep this perspective. Valentine's Day is a great day for celebrating love, notwithstanding its being co-opted by the romantic version of itself.
Love is a verb. Love makes the world go around. Love is the only thing that is real. All you need is love.
All I am saying, is give love a chance. Love is a miracle, present every moment in our lives. It asks only that you open to it.

Monday, February 11, 2008

O Say, You Silly Savage

It's a good time for poetry about love. Here is one of my all-time favorites:
Shakespeare's Sonnet 116
Let me not to the marriage of true minds
Admit impediments. Love is not love
Which alters when it alteration finds,
Or bends with the remover to remove:
O no! it is an ever-fixed mark
That looks on tempests and is never shaken;
It is the star to every wandering bark,
Whose worth's unknown, although his height be taken.
Love's not Time's fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle's compass come:
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.
If this be error and upon me proved,
I never writ, nor no man ever loved.





Sunday, February 10, 2008

Wild Is The Wind

Having had plenty of drama in my life, it is a revelation
to me, now that my life is quiet, that I so often mistook
drama for passion. Or maybe, I made do with drama,
when what I really wanted was passion. So, life as
it is drawn now, is relatively predictable, and therefore
not dominated by drama.
Now I can aim for the real thing. Now I can set my sights on
what is true. Now I get the idea. Now I know what I want.
PASSION.
I aspire to passion unfettered by worry.
To be wild like the wind.

Friday, February 8, 2008

Why can't I have more days like this??

I admit, I have been experiencing writer's block, so I am recounting a
vision I had several years ago.
There is a door, made of heavy old wood, set into a lush green hedge. The door opens,
and a being beckons me inside. I feel welcomed, and I see that I am entering a maze.
I am told I can go through the maze; to just follow it around every corner,
and I will come to a beautiful garden.
The being then hands me a book. I am told it is a book of
knowledge, and I can open the book anytime I need help.
Next I am handed a bowl, and told that I can put all my fears in the bowl,
and they will be washed away.
Finally, I am given a feather, and told that this symbolizes flight.
My Higher Self is now here. As always (s)he is full of Peace and Happiness.
We acknowledge each other, and promise to stay in better touch with each other.
Why can't I have more days like this? Don't answer, I already know.

Tuesday, February 5, 2008

The World Without Us

"The World Without Us" is a fascinating treatise on the ways the earth would take itself back, were humans to simply disappear in an instant. Also, it goes into some detail about how we humans have affected the earth over the course of time.
If you have the time and any interest in anthropology and/or the environment, I highly recommend it! (Actually, I borrowed the book on CD from the library, so I had it read to me, which was even better).
If you don't plan to read it, here is a nutshell summary:
1) The world, without us, will change, for the better, eventually.
2) We have done an incredible amount of mucking up the earth.
If you want to know just a tiny bit about the world without us, here is a link to one page of the author's website: http://www.worldwithoutus.com/did_you_know.html

Sunday, February 3, 2008

Write Now?

I finally had the courage to read the novel I began to write in November. I decided it is awful, and not at all what I want to write. There are some good bits, but I don't think the plot is original enough. Certainly the writing borders on hackneyed, at least in my opinion.
Of course, we are our own worst critics. Still, I am going back to the drawing board with this one. I still think I want to write on the theme of memory, but I have to go in a different direction. This time, I will write an outline first. So:
#1) Establish a goal, e.g. a basic premise of the story: Foundation
#2) Draw up an outline of the major events of the story: Framework
#3) Add deliciously descriptive prose and interesting characters: Foof!
Yes, okay, I can do this.

Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Home is Where I Want to Be

Living in Florida the last few years, I felt separated from the turning of the seasons as I had known it. I think I was needing that break, and then when it happened, I realized I really did miss the cycle of nature that occurs in the Northern climate.
Now I am back in it, and I both recall what I loved and what I disliked about this part of it. I am talking about winter, of course. It's cold, and cold, and cold. It makes me want to stay home. I feel inexplicably homesick, even when I am at home. It's all part of the process. It's what's got me pondering lately. Winter holds me in its thrall. It keeps me home and makes me homesick. >sigh<

Monday, January 28, 2008

A smile relieves a heart that grieves

At the deepest level, we all know the secrets of the Universe. No matter how far we stray from this fact, it is comforting to know, that it always waits for our return. It waits with unending patience. And we always do return.
Even when it looks like we are far away from the Source, we are really not. That's an illusion.
We are a part of the eternal cycle of creation, so we can never be a-part from it. The illusion serves a purpose. That is the question, then: what is the purpose of the illusion?
P.S. The title of this post comes from the Stones song, "Waiting on a Friend" which came to mind as I was writing this. I feel like I am waiting on a friend.

Saturday, January 26, 2008

Now Here: Being

To "be here now" is such a simple concept, but quite a challenge to practice! We receive this message all the time: the secret to peace and happiness is to practice this simple act every day.
If we continually bring ourselves back to the present moment, from wherever we have strayed, we can become better at it. Who doesn't remember the past, or think about the future? Most of us do this most of the time, without even realizing it. It is human nature to do that. Is it, then, against human nature to do otherwise? Not really, I think, it is just unfamiliar, and it feels almost self-indulgent at times. But to truly be in the moment is to connect with the divine within ourselves.

Tuesday, January 22, 2008

A little protein, please

Things are beginning to quiet down now. Last week began with my
birth father dying, progressed to my daughter becoming ill,
and ended with her in the hospital. This meant I could not
attend the funeral, and I missed seeing some dear relatives
as they gathered for it in a nearby state.
I am so grateful my daughter is healing; she is not all the way
there yet, but I have faith that she will be up and running in a few days.
So, the grieving process took an unexpected turn. I found that I
had to focus on my child instead of my parent. Life sure is
funny and mysterious sometimes.
It may be a few more days until I get back to my usual
philosophical musings here. My husband is on a business trip
to Florida, so at least I may be able to get some good sleep!!
I have a lot on my mind, but it doesn't seem to be coming out in words yet.
For now, this nugget:
the wisdom of the body.

Thursday, January 17, 2008

Angels are Singing

Angels, do you have a message for me?
Meredith, precious child of God, we sing now.
We sing praises and we sing of joy in heaven.
Please know we are with you always.
We sing in times of joy and we sing in times of sadness.
We are really into the singing thing!
It is our way of communicating the inexpressible.

Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Early morning at Water's Edge



This is the view down our street, this morning as we waited for the school bus to come.
The picture doesn't begin to capture the beauty...everything is coated in white. Amazing.

Dewitt Keen

It seems important to acknowledge that my father died yesterday. I had anticipated it to some degree, because his health had been failing for some time. But the finality of it is still a shock.
It is hard to describe how I am feeling about it. I am not even sure I know how I feel about it.
This I do know:
*He taught me something about love, though he may not have known it. He spent our entire lives loving my brothers, my sister and me. He did not get very much back from us, to be sure. The reasons for that are many and varied. He loved us without asking for anything in return.
*There is a church in Connecticut that will no longer have flowers on its altar dedicated to us on each of our birthdays.
*When I spoke to him on Christmas Day, I could not bring myself to tell him I love him. The words could not come out of my mouth, even though a part of me knew this would be the last time we spoke.
*I am relieved, for his sake, that he is no longer suffering.
*I can hear his voice now, quietly speaking in his courtly way, with a slightly Southern accent. He had an eloquent way about him, always.
*Even though we did not have a close relationship here on earth, he is shining down on me from heaven now.
Dewitt Keen: a true gentleman, a good man with a lot of love in his heart..........

Monday, January 14, 2008

Turn, Turn, Turn

For everything there is a season,
And a time for every matter under heaven:
A time to be born, and a time to die;
A time to plant, and a time to pluck up what is planted;
A time to kill, and a time to heal;
A time to break down, and a time to build up;
A time to weep, and a time to laugh;
A time to mourn, and a time to dance;
A time to throw away stones, and a time to gather stones together;
A time to embrace, And a time to refrain from embracing;
A time to seek, and a time to lose;
A time to keep, and a time to throw away;
A time to tear, and a time to sew;
A time to keep silence, and a time to speak;
A time to love, and a time to hate,
A time for war, and a time for peace.

Ecclesiastes 3:1-8

How to Do Nothing Without Even Trying, in 4 Simple Steps

1) Allow beliefs and prior experiences to color perception of the present.
2) Substitute a reference to another experience for the actual, direct experience.
3) Use metaphor and symbolism to construct a framework for understanding and action.
4) Refer to Step 1.

{Insert examples here}

Thursday, January 10, 2008

Dear Universe

Dear Universe:

I am writing to you today to let you know that I am ready for a change. I declare to you here and now that I need assistance with shifting my circumstances in the direction that I wish to go. I ask for your help and guidance.
Please refer to the piece of paper I have left under my pillow, for the specifics of the changes that I am ready for. I have written down fifteen changes that I am ready for. They are in no particular order; they are all important to me.
Universe, I know that you appreciate clarity. I am confident that you will respond at the right time.
Thank you, Universe.

Love always,
Meredith

Tuesday, January 8, 2008

Nice to Know

Unconditional love knows no limits.
This is the meaning of eternity.
Unending joy and love await you.

Monday, January 7, 2008

I'm thinking....

Let's see, that's four decades, going on five, of dealing with the notion of perfection. Do I detect a pattern here? Perhaps it is more accurately a theme. Or, for heaven's sake, A LIFE LESSON.
There's something here, about joy and love dwelling in my heart, and their journey to and from my head. This is an unfinished contemplation, as semantics construct boundaries, for now.
PUBLISH OR PERISH!!!

Friday, January 4, 2008

Blog Rules

It has come to my attention that I have been breaking most, if not all, of the major rules of blogging. If you know blogs, then you know instinctively what these rules are, so I don't think I need to enumerate my transgressions. On the other hand, if you don't know blogs, and you just happen to read mine, and you get the feeling that something is missing, you are right! Aren't you happy about this? No? Oh, okay. Well, now that I have satisfied your craving for my daily post, I can go back to living my rich, passionate, transparent, authentic life of integrity and engagement.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Hard Done by ME??

"Seek first to understand, then to be understood."

I have spent most of my life, it seems, living by this principle.
I normally do not feel understood by most people, and I have
an insatiable desire to understand everything around me.

Along with my quest for understanding, a habit I took up early
in life is to try and put myself in another person's shoes.
I aspire always to see the other person's perspective.
I don't talk about it much with anyone;
it is simply a mental habit of mine.

It is always a delicate balance, when one is routinely
misunderstood, between the urge to compel understanding
within another person, and the acceptance of that person's
right to their own point of view.

I rarely, if ever, intend harm or insult to another. But if my words
or actions are interpreted that way, what then?
Do I search my soul for some unacknowledged malice?
Do I try to see the situation from that person's point of view?
Do I apologize for something I am accused of, even though I
don't feel I did anything wrong?

I think I am done saying I am sorry.

Tuesday, January 1, 2008

Credo

I can climb a mountain with one step.
I can swim across an ocean with two strokes.
I can fly to a star in a quick moment, and return in a flash.
I can dance with the angels on the head of a pin.
I can dive into a cell and play cards with the mitochondria.
I can sing a song so beautiful that it brings tears to your eyes.
I can make you smile just by looking at you.
I can do anything!
I am limitless!