Sunday, January 31, 2010
My name is Deb Holmes and I, like all of you here, love to write. One of my dreams is to be a published author of children's books. Having worked as a teacher for 9 of the last 11 years, I found that the time and head space needed to develop this dream were sorely lacking. However, last year I started blogging. It, too, was something I was going to "put off" until I had more time but I bit the bullet and have embraced the blogging world with open arms. I feel I am still finding my feet in a way but I do really love it and I find that blogging is a good way to express myself as well as improve my craft. There is also a hope that my writing will encourage or inspire my readers. Perhaps something I say will strike a chord or resonate with what someone may be facing at a given point in time. I don't believe we are put on this earth to be solo flyers... I believe that we should encourage and build one another up with our words, actions (and text!).
My husband and I have just relocated to a new state and I have finished up teaching. This new season of my life (and having more time) will hopefully be the catalyst for a number of new and exciting things in my life, not the least of which is writing. Watch this space!
Some other things you should know about me... I am a very passionate person and don't like to do things in halves. I am a committed Christian. I have been married for almost 7 years and love my husband to bits... he is my best friend and I love sharing life with him. I am a dog-lover and have 2 adorable pooches of my own that are currently all I have in the way of children. :)
I think I'll keep it pretty short for now... If you want to find out more, you can check out my blog 'write minded...'
See you soon...
Dawn is the wedding march played with gusto in the sanctuary of the sky to announce the bride’s, the sun’s, arrival. The bride’s blushing sweeps across the sky in hues of reds, purples and orange. The sun’s train sweeps slowly across the sky revealing the new day, the blue sky and clouds. A new day has dawned. I have seen dawns, the wedding march, for 365 days times fifty six years and yet I say each day that a new day has dawned. I welcome each dawn as if none other existed. And when the march has ended and the sun stands firm in the sky I join the vows of love for the earth, her creatures and her children young and old.
A new day is dawning and its magic inspires and beckons the poet and artist. So what the heck happens when I open the garage door and head off to work? If only I could catch it in a jar like fireflies, when I was a child, and let its magic paint my day. Why do I let go of the hand that greets me each day, pulling me up from my bed and calling me to come and play? Why would I be content to sleep through the day and awake only for the dawn? The dawn announces a new day, hours of life, opportunity, hope and growth yet itself has only a life span of minutes. Hours or minutes-is there really a choice? I who use coupons when I shop, to save a few cents, why would I choose to pay such a price? A new day is dawning. The emphasis is on the day not the dawn. Ah, maybe, at last, it has finally dawned on me.
Good day all! For whatever reason, I have been nudged to dust off this post I had placed a while back on my blog. Since I did know many of you then, I hope you will not find offense in my re-posting it again here. It is a soft reflective piece that after re-editing, I am appreciative that this gift of insight was bestowed to me. Since it is a nice Sunday here in the Midwest USA, I felt like sharing some of the sun via text. Enjoy!
I wonder how things may be or could have been; maybe to experience life in someone else's shoes to experience a different perspective. Maybe there is something I am missing. Sometimes I get to thinking about stuff that I know probably is unhealthy, but sometimes it feels good. It is like retrieving my blanket from childhood that is tattered and forbidden to someone of my age. Sometimes I don’t care; I simply want to think about stuff. Stuff that makes me better understand not only me but others. I find that by thinking about these things, perhaps traveling in lands that may be scary, dark, and threatening, I emerge on the other side with a wisdom achieved only by overcoming pain, or comfortably sitting in the warm spot left behind by others who have gone before me.
Sometimes I wish I was blind. I often wonder if it would keep me from seeing the color of skin, the color of a flag, the size of a house, or the dilapidated car a person has to drive. I am by no means prejudiced or am I at all one to judge a person's life path or disposition. I find I am the first to dive in the fire to stand up for one who may endure the judgment of others because of an external appearance. I just wonder if being blind I would only listen to the music of one's voice. I wonder if I would only hear the symphony of what is going on around me to where most miss the subtle nuances that create the ambient accompaniment of our day to day lives. Would I no longer have to see ones' skin color, hair length, clothing labels, addresses, swagger, and smile? Would a lack of seeing take away assumptions or judgments or the immediate default to an awareness I may be doing so, and a desire to reconnect with my spiritual self? I think I would miss art. I would miss the expression on my loved ones' faces in their reaction to life happening around them. I would miss sunrises and sunsets. Yes, I would miss faces; all faces. I would miss exploring. I would miss the ugliness I confront that prompts me to wonder how I can do my part to overcome it. Sometimes I wish I was blind. Only sometimes.
Sometimes I wish I was deaf. I would be able to no longer hear the words of people trying to discourage others due to the differences in thought, politics, religion, sex, race, and creed. I would not hear words of hate. I would not hear the anger spewing from people who do not seem to desire to understand and accept that there are others who exist in difference to be able to allow the difference in myself to exist in my own unique beauty. I wonder if being deaf I would not be tempted to listen to the gossip and negative stories that are abundant and tempting. The stories that allow us to self righteously feel we are better, privileged, or separate. I too then think I would miss the songs that come from my children as they hum a non-descript tune they make up as they swing, or play. I would miss the trickle of water as it calms me while I sit in the presence of a creek side. I would miss the whisper of the wind as it passes through the trees while I quietly sit and reflect on my patio. Birds; I would miss the song of birds. Sometimes I wish I was deaf. Only sometimes.
Sometimes I wish I were mute. I would have to give up trying to show my smarts in a conversation which often times ends up being a lesson in ignorance. I would no longer be able to simply wait to talk, but would have to eternally listen. I would be placed in a position to see that connection does not exclusively come from dialogue, but the ability to become silent in the presence of another. I may find that my not speaking connects me as much as when I open my mouth. I would lose my ability to vocalize my anger and not be able to use my words which can cut like a knife and often take longer to heal. I think though that I would miss the ability to say a kind word to someone. I find that what nourishes me the most is the ability to verbally pick someone up when they have fallen. I also like to pass on words of encouragement and enlightenment to my children. I like sharing stories and laughter with those around me. I would miss speaking maybe more than those around me. I must remember to use my words as if they were precious and in limited supply. Sometimes I wish I were mute. Only sometimes.
Sometimes I wish I were disabled. I often wonder what it would be like to rely on others for movement, for food, for companionship. I wonder if I would perhaps gain a better appreciation of my surroundings and the significance to where I spend my time. Perhaps I would see the precious gift I have in health and mobility and better understand the significance of being able to enter and exit my location at will. I may reflect on the monumental blessing of being able to go out into the world and connect with others when I find now I may be too lazy to reach out, or call, or visit a loved one. I wonder if I would take care of myself better. I wonder if I would realize that the gift of companionship or company is a gift I can freely share where others who have abundance are stifled by the lack of the ability to drive, or pick up a phone. I guess I can look around to see where I may be able to reach out. I can look at ways that I can extend myself more so to those who may find solitude sometimes excruciating, and the silence of being alone deafening. I guess I do take mobility for granted. I need to think of that more. Sometimes I wish I were disabled. Only sometimes.
Sometimes I wish I were physically different. Maybe obese or missing a limb, or with a unique disfiguration. It may teach me to be able to appreciate walking into a room without someone snickering or judging under furrowed brow. I would be better able to understand what it is like to blend in, to find that I am bland enough to not draw looks from others in fear or contempt. I could appreciate going for a long walk, the ease of playing with my children on a trampoline. I could find that my smile would be the first thing that is seen by others as opposed to that which makes me different. I may be able to stop taking for granted that my "label" would be my name and not my disposition, “the fat one”, “the short one”,” the weird one.” I would appreciate the music of my name more so as it would be used to identify me and not my condition. My shape is not who I am. Sometimes I wish I were physically different. Only sometimes.
As I reflect I see how by sometimes wondering, sometimes placing myself in a different situation, I am better able to be compassionate. My compassion and awareness of the needs of others I find is paramount to understanding who I am and my place in the world. Sometimes I lament that I am unable to help someone in one of the above situations, but now find I am wrong in that assumption. I can always extend compassion, and respect those with needs and affliction with the respect I will desire when negative circumstances come into my life. Sometimes I will not follow through, and sometimes I will fail myself and others when my actions will not live up to what I already am aware. Sometimes I will need the same compassion extended to me, and sometimes by not receiving it, I will perhaps be reminded of its' value and importance. Sometimes.
Friday, January 29, 2010
Blogging is a new experience to me but it has brought me full circle. My passion for and release through writing began at the age of nine on a large very worn and clunky Royal typewriter and a picture in the World Book Encyclopedia showing you how to type. You know those old typewriters that could amputate a finger if it fell between the keys. The tapping rhythm of the keys hitting the platen, the ribbon spools turning, and the paper inching upward with each return physically embraced the emotions of watching thoughts appear on paper. You could not hide the smudges if you made a mistake. Everything was exposed on the typewriter. Then came computers and everything could be deleted, cut, pasted or copied with a single keystroke. Convenient, but it felt like something was lost. Blogging and writing in an environment like Writer’s Rising has brought back the opportunity for the honesty and nakedness of that old Royal typewriter … with the added convenience.
I am a fifty-six year old southern woman who chose a non southern woman’s role and pursued education and working. My degrees are in accounting and anthropology. In a predominately male manufacturing world, my job is to tell the guys whether they are performing to standards. People ask me how I deal with numbers all day. It always makes me smile. I tell stories and I teach. I am a translator or bridge maker between the plant, finance and executives. I speak their languages. My job is to help the plant workers see how their actions have a financial impact. I then tell the plant’s story to the guys in the suits with clean fingernails. They see only ratios, balance sheets and P&L statements with little or no understanding of what happened to create the numbers. My work gives me a chance to do something not many people do - give a voice to people who are usually just an employee ID. That's pretty cool and that’s what I do with numbers – I tell stories and I write. I share this because I think many of us who have the desire to write see it as a double life separate from our “real lives.” My epiphany that the two can be joined is perhaps not only my introduction to this group but also to myself. The two types of writing are very different but they share one author-the passion to write and give voice.
Life, to me, is like a Rubik’s Cube. I am constantly looking and twisting the cube to create new patterns. I am an observer of life and people determined to find that spark and spirit of hope and awakening. My blog, Hope's Breath represents my journey into the magic of life’s Rubik’s Cube, of waking up, seeing and breathing the joy and wonder of life. Along the way, my breath of hope is that I may leave bread crumbs of hope for my fellow travelers. Thank you to all the contributors of Writer’s Rising for the loaves of bread you have shared with me. Oh, the little one in the picture is my great niece,Zoey, a real breath of hope.
I have a creative process as a writer that is neither particularly unusual nor original. A lot of my work comes out as "automatic" or "stream of consciousness" writing - which is not to say that there is no intellectual process involved, simply that any intellectual or analytic component comes later on in the editing phase, when I realize (hopefully) what the heck I was talking about.
On some rare and very special occasions, I am visited by words the source of which I cannot trace. They quite literally come from a location within myself that is unmapped. The poem I wrote to read at my wedding falls under this category (which, if enough people express interest in reading it, I may post here as well). Yeats, among many others, claimed to have accessed some other intelligence or state of being in some of his writing. I do not purport to take a stand for or against the verity of such claims. All I know is that occasionally I have the experience of writing something, then looking at it and going "Where the heck did THAT come from?"
At this point I would like to "out" myself and confess that I am the author of this blog [link] which has heretofore been anonymous. I invite you to partake of this exercise in mostly or somewhat automatic writing as you have leisure to do so. Here is a small excerpt of that writing, to give you a taste of the sort of subject matter it deals with.
Thursday, January 08, 2009
to be loved
possibly every fear, every worry, every sorrow can be traced back to the desire to be loved, or perhaps more succinctly, the desire to feel as if we are loved. feelings are only a partial source of information, and using feelings to map reality is like trying to sew a wedding dress with one's teeth.
love is not a feeling, but an action - this is a cliche that you may already have heard many times. we do not truly understand the implications of what being truly loved is - if we did, not only would we lose completely and permanently all illusion that it is possible to not be loved, we would be consumed by the fire of love that is more ubiquitous than air.
the desire to be loved causes sorrow. it is an unquenchable desire.
the only liberation from that pain is to realize that it arises from an illusion - that we are not loved. still, it's easy enough to talk about abandoning illusion, but every human being who has ever lived has struggled a mighty struggle against their own illusion, as a hunter with a broken spear might struggle hand-t0-tusk with a wild beast.
the only proven way to liberate oneself from the illusory, addictive desire to fee loved is to love completely and totally without seeking to be loved in return.
some confuse not seeking to be loved, with rejecting love. but the rejection of love is also an illusion, like a fish rejecting water. does the fish welcome water? the fish does no such thing. the fish abides in the water. so do we abide in love, whether we see it or not. to love selflessly opens the heart to receive love more completely than any other pursuit.
to fully see reality as it is, may possibly be a great burden. but those who dare great things may dare to see beyond their fears to an underlying reality.
the reality is not simply that we are loved, although we are. the reality is not simply that to love the other is the only way to open the heart to receive love, although that also is true. the reality is not simply that we are surrounded by love everywhere and in everything, although that also is true.
the reality that holds all of these things is that everything is love, and that there is nothing that is not love. the only reality is love. everything else is illusion.
I was 16 when the writing bug bit me hard. Getting my poems and reflective essays published in local magazines was encouraging. But as much as I found myself attracted to the idea of making this form of self-expression a full-time endeavor, the thought of letting down my parents held me back. I halfheartedly prepared for management courses, studied computer networking for a year, and even tried my hand at teaching. Anything but writing. Ok. Time to ‘fess up. I was still writing on the side. Small freelance op-eds for the local daily; a couple of reports for another national magazine; my journal. Just pursuing my “hobby” as I’d tell mom. Sneakily, I had applied for a writing position with a publishing house in Mumbai. Within three days of my application, the hiring manager called. A 45-minute phone interview ensued. I was shaking with nervousness. If I got this job it would be a resounding validation of my skills. I could convince mom and dad that I was good at this – that someone thought my writing was worth a paycheck. 48 hours of suspense. I checked my e-mail every hour on the painfully slow dial-up connection; made sure the telephone receiver was kept properly. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or drink. And then it came. The offer letter. They wanted me to start in a week. Surprise. A tinge of disappointment. Anxiousness. Those were the three emotions my parents exhibited when I broke the news. Two days later, these would be replaced by excitement – a mild sense of achievement. Happiness that their only child was taking flight. I had found my wings. I learned many new skills on the job, but within nine months I was keenly aware of my shortcomings. I had no real grounding in journalism. “You’re supposed to get married at this age, not go back to school,” said dad when I told him I wanted to get a master’s degree. In the I quit my first job, flew back home, and started preparing for the GRE and TOEFL. “It isn’t the writing bug that’s bitten her,” mom would say. “It’s the love bug.” She was partly right. An unexpected e-mail from halfway across the world had made its way into my inbox in the wee hours of a winter night. He had read my poem on sexual exploitation of girls and wanted to know what kind of a nut-job I was. What business did I have thinking and writing about such serious topics at my age when my peers were out shopping for bangles or discussing the latest Bollywood heartthrob? He was moved (and curious enough) to write me. I responded. Within a week of exchanging 50-odd e-mails and four-long IM conversations per day, we knew we were meant to be. He loved my writing style. Encouraged me to speak my heart. Inspired me. Challenged me. Supported me. Was my worst critic. My best friend. Still is. After a year of drama, intense preparation, and lots of rewrites I got into all the six colleges I’d applied to. I chose to go to the We made it through. 2004 was a milestone year: I graduated with a master’s degree in journalism, got my first full-time job in the U.S., moved from the mid-west to California to be with my husband (we’d gotten married the year before), and got a driver’s license. Six years later, I continue to enjoy writing as a profession. I write about students, professors, philosophers. Through their stories, I inspire interest in education. My parents say I had the brains to become a lawyer, an IAS (Indian Administrative Services) officer, an engineer, a banker, or anything I wanted, but I chose to be a writer. (And truth be told, they’re proud to see my byline now and again.) It doesn’t pay as much as all the other “choices” I had, but it’s satisfying. And with my blog, I can take a break from PR communication, and write about things I’m passionate about. My ponderings. My observations. My two-cents on the goings on of this crazy world. It’s where I find my solace. It’s where I hope you can find some inspiration, too.
I halfheartedly prepared for management courses, studied computer networking for a year, and even tried my hand at teaching. Anything but writing.
Ok. Time to ‘fess up. I was still writing on the side. Small freelance op-eds for the local daily; a couple of reports for another national magazine; my journal. Just pursuing my “hobby” as I’d tell mom.
Sneakily, I had applied for a writing position with a publishing house in Mumbai. Within three days of my application, the hiring manager called. A 45-minute phone interview ensued. I was shaking with nervousness. If I got this job it would be a resounding validation of my skills. I could convince mom and dad that I was good at this – that someone thought my writing was worth a paycheck.
48 hours of suspense. I checked my e-mail every hour on the painfully slow dial-up connection; made sure the telephone receiver was kept properly. I couldn’t eat, sleep, or drink. And then it came. The offer letter. They wanted me to start in a week.
Surprise. A tinge of disappointment. Anxiousness. Those were the three emotions my parents exhibited when I broke the news. Two days later, these would be replaced by excitement – a mild sense of achievement. Happiness that their only child was taking flight.
I had found my wings.
I learned many new skills on the job, but within nine months I was keenly aware of my shortcomings. I had no real grounding in journalism. “You’re supposed to get married at this age, not go back to school,” said dad when I told him I wanted to get a master’s degree.
I quit my first job, flew back home, and started preparing for the GRE and TOEFL. “It isn’t the writing bug that’s bitten her,” mom would say. “It’s the love bug.” She was partly right.
An unexpected e-mail from halfway across the world had made its way into my inbox in the wee hours of a winter night. He had read my poem on sexual exploitation of girls and wanted to know what kind of a nut-job I was. What business did I have thinking and writing about such serious topics at my age when my peers were out shopping for bangles or discussing the latest Bollywood heartthrob? He was moved (and curious enough) to write me. I responded. Within a week of exchanging 50-odd e-mails and four-long IM conversations per day, we knew we were meant to be.
He loved my writing style. Encouraged me to speak my heart. Inspired me. Challenged me. Supported me. Was my worst critic. My best friend. Still is.
After a year of drama, intense preparation, and lots of rewrites I got into all the six colleges I’d applied to. I chose to go to the
We made it through.
2004 was a milestone year: I graduated with a master’s degree in journalism, got my first full-time job in the U.S., moved from the mid-west to California to be with my husband (we’d gotten married the year before), and got a driver’s license.
Six years later, I continue to enjoy writing as a profession. I write about students, professors, philosophers. Through their stories, I inspire interest in education.
My parents say I had the brains to become a lawyer, an IAS (Indian Administrative Services) officer, an engineer, a banker, or anything I wanted, but I chose to be a writer. (And truth be told, they’re proud to see my byline now and again.)
It doesn’t pay as much as all the other “choices” I had, but it’s satisfying.
And with my blog, I can take a break from PR communication, and write about things I’m passionate about. My ponderings. My observations. My two-cents on the goings on of this crazy world. It’s where I find my solace.
It’s where I hope you can find some inspiration, too.
This morning as I was sleepily trying to find something on TV to gently cradle my attention while I injected coffee into my system, my attention was briefly snagged by the beautiful blue creatures featured in Avatar. Why? I don’t know as it is now borderline overkill even with my applause for the film, and the definite fact that it will adorn my DVD shelf someday. What I think caught my focus was the ethereal and soothing sounds emanating from singer Leona Lewis as she sang, "I See You". It is a nice song, and I went to You Tube to find many available renditions of the video I saw this morning. By the end of this post, you may be so inspired to watch it. For those who have not seen the movie, this will have little relevance, so this is where the bus now leaves.
In the movie, the planet Pandora is the setting for a group of sentient natives called the Na'Vi who are to say the least, very in-tune with their planet and one another. They have this indescribable connection with all things. Part of the movie is based upon this special connection as the beauty of their people is their deep and profound recognition of how one and all are spiritually and ecologically connected. It is a brilliant symbiotic relationship I envy.
In recognizing and acknowledging this in one another, they use a salutation, an affirmation mind you---"I see you!" Embrace this!
This salutation emulates the premise of many of our earthly cultures and the wisdom many of us humans aspire to connect to. It parallels the meaning of Namaste': “The light (God, Source, Spirit, etc.) in me, recognizes the light (God, Source, Spirit, etc.) in you. “ (There is some flexibility to that definition.) Also as in the Mayan greeting of In Lak'Ech ala K'in, meaning: “I am you, you are me.” We again see another parallel from yet another culture.
What I believe the sages of Earth, the wisdom of the universe, and the Na’Vi are trying to express and admire is the intrinsic interconnectivity in all of us. What separates us--- poisons us, and eventually causes our demise. This mantra addresses the need for insight; an insight that assists us in foiling some of the six components of our personal degradation from the EGO.
I am what I have.
I am what I do.
I am what others think of me.
I am separate from my desires.
I am separate from others.
I am separate from God.
I think once we see the brilliance and beauty of how truly connected we are, a shift will occur. It has in me. Deep down our makeup, nature, and biological needs are the same. It is when we see others differently, or different from us is when the venom starts to take effect. Often we are unaware of the toxicity coursing through us. We pass it on to our kids and our environment in a contagious effort to ostracize that which we fear or do not understand. We separate.
I find that true seeing is least done with the eyes. It is the seeing I do in my core being that allows me to connect inward as well as outward. We can see with all of our senses. One of the many definitions of the word “sense” is “an appreciation or understanding.”
What I find helps me when I feel confronted, misunderstood, different, disconnected, is I try to see things from a collective view. I am part of a greater whole. The circumstances that affect me were perhaps not aimed at me, but maybe my path put me temporarily in the way. If I see that I am a “cell in a collective body”,” a note in a song”, I will see my part with more depth and importance. We must connect for life to be strong. We must harmonize to create the symphony.
I still work on my “blindness” to some things, but now I look for the light switch. I work on seeking the sometimes less-than-visible connections in one another rather than address how “different” others may appear and how wide that gap is. If it takes scantily clad blue humanoids to help you get the message, please do so. You won’t be disappointed in the visual presentation. We are so very connected and I see that.
It is nice to see you all! Namaste’! In Lak’ech ala K’in! Thanks for hopping on the bus!
This post is also available on my blog Artisan of the Human Spirit.
Well the first thing I have to say is that I'm in great company here. I've just read the recent introduction posts by Sai, Aine, Pam and Marcime. They do say birds of a feather flock together. I can relate to all the reasons why you like to write (and all the reasons why you haven't before).
Blogging can make you feel very naked sometimes. I remember last year when I first started blogging, I felt very naked and vulnerable putting my words out there. But then I came to the conclusion, that I've been given a 'voice' for a reason and I should therefore use it. As a friend said to me recently: "I'm just putting dishes on the collective table - and it's up to everyone whether they dip in or pass".
Right. Now to the bit that I never like doing. The bit when you join a class or a new group and they ask you to stand up and introduce yourself.
I'm the blogger behind Uplift Antidote. I write posts that aim to be uplifting, inspiring or thought provoking. I try to do a post a day but don't always manage it. It's less of a personal blog and more of a mission! I think it's important to keep upbeat and optimistic and writing my blog helps me do that - and hopefully helps readers too.
I live in London, am a life-long dog, animal and nature lover and a creative, sensitive soul. London is on one hand not ideal for me - because it's crowded and often grey and people's faces tend to be quite miserable. It is a stressed city that's for sure. But on the other hand, I've come to love it too. There are so many creative people here and I've had the opportunities to meet and become friends with people from all over the world and all shades and colours.
One of the things that's important to me is promoting racial harmony (whatever 'race' is). I have known so many wonderful people of all skin colours and I know we all share a common humanity and spirituality and it saddens me to see negative stereotypes and labels still in operation. I hope to challenge that by promoting a positive message through my blog. These are the posts that I'm wanting to write but haven't yet found the right words.
As for me personally, I'm female, have a grown-up beautiful loving daughter who is on the road to being signed as a singer. I love her very much and we are best friends. I have a partner who I also love dearly and whose smile always lifts my heart. I have a Mother who has not spoken to me for well over a year and a Father who lives in Australia and who is also currently not talking to me! My 'true' parents were my Grandparents and they are now in that special place that we all go to at the end of our journey here on Earth. So I've had a few 'bumps' in the family department. But I'm okay! :)
My mission in life? To shine my light, to inspire and help others along their path and to continually strive to live to be my fullest and 'bestest' version of me. Gandhi's saying, "Be the change you want to see in the world" is wisdom I live by.
Thursday, January 28, 2010
Hello all, and allow me to introduce myself! My name is Tony Anders and Katherine was so very kind enough to ask me to join in the fun here. Like Katherine, I think we bonded as I believe and perceive we share a similar goal in doing our part to "drop our spiritual pebble in the pond", and hope the ripples wash over the masses making the swim a touch more exciting. Enough with the metaphors for now.
I am a hairstylist by trade and it is that close and intimate connection where I have heard many stories of love, hate, fear, gain, loss, beauty, insecurity and a menagerie of humanness that has really drawn me into seeing that I may be able to use these stories to help my brethren collectively. If presented in digestible, approachable, and compassionate chunks, I think it is achievable.
My career has taken me around the world as I have been a trainer for my craft, stage presenter, and motivator. I have written for magazines, as well as spent six and a half years as a local TV on-air fashion reporter. After feeling a void after a quarter century of beauty, I decided to shift my focus to how people "feel" more so than how they "look". It's about the gift inside, not necessarily the wrapper! This pond I eluded to earlier now had more depth.
I have recently finished a book titled "Artisan of the Human Spirit ~ Awakening to life's lessons" to be out soon in 2010. It is an observation of important lessons we can experience in life that do not necessarily require mentors, guru's, sages and prophets to present them to us. I have grown weary of people looking externally and always feeling a healthy spiritual insight is elusive and unobtainable. My eponymous blog and posts you will find here, reflect my quest to not only connect myself to a better place, but others as well as the things that surround me. I don't profess to be anything more than a "finger pointing the way", where you arrive is up to you.
My musings are spoken from the vantage point of a "regular guy" as I grew up in a small town in Ohio (USA), and I have always tried to remain three quarter redneck at heart. Aside from my humble beginnings, I have truly been blessed with a variety of contacts, and experiences that may be worth reading about; you can decide. Just know, I share, I do not proselytize.
My writing, I feel is like if I were to present a buffet of many wonderful treats. I am inviting all of you in. I try to respect everyone's palate. I will try to make my buffet abundant, and inviting, and should you choose not to sit at the table, nor wish to eat; please know that you are still welcome and invited and my door is always open to you. Namaste', In Lak'ech ala K'in, Aloha, How do you do, 'Sup everyone, and love to all!
Wednesday, January 27, 2010
I saw a protest. A sole individual wanting to be heard. Are outcries to be heard obsolete in the cold? We don't paint signs and gather as much as we did or our parents.
Religion...perhaps that is a good thing that we start to see our need to be saved from our selves starts with saving ourselves.
Though graphing is like an artistic protest, I rarely find pieces like this.
What we do see is the evidence of our past. Our transport has changed from footpaths and horses as primary means. I looked at my laptop, in its disuse, unable to connect to the world as frequently as I had been used to.
Tuesday, January 26, 2010
Like many in their late twenties, I'm at that point where my 9 to 5 job (which isn't always 9 to 5, it's more like 9 to whenever) tends to take precedence over all my other interests. But I'm trying to change that. I'm trying to give my art more space in my life. Like I used to, before I started a regular job.
I've always loved writing. I used to write essays, speeches, reports, research papers, magazine articles... all kinds of stuff, in high school and college. But the thing is that I always wrote for a topic that was given to me by someone else. It was only a few years ago that I decided I would start writing for the sake of writing, not for anyone else, but for me. I would write to give form to all of the thoughts, emotions, and insights that are constantly dancing around in my being, that sometimes drive me a little insane with their intensity.
My initial hesitation was fed by a fear that questioned, "what will people think of your thoughts? What if you make a complete fool of yourself?" My first few attempts were hard because I was writing what I thought everyone wanted to read. I was filtering out, judging, and editing so much that when I read what I had written, I couldn't see myself in there at all. So I would write, read, and then delete!
Then, I did something which is kinda hard to do. I let go. On one condition, though. I decided I would start a blog, but I would not share my blog with anyone, just keep it to myself. Having consoled my fear with that condition, I began writing as if no one was going to read. And then, the words began to flow. Once I opened the doors, they pretty much stayed open. I knew I had conquered one of my greatest fears, when I emailed the link to my blog for the first time to my closest friends.
I have been married for nearly twenty-seven years to the same man and we have three daughters, one grandson who will be turning two in one month and another grandson whose entrance into the world is imminent. I love being a mother, I came to it naturally, I'm a very mothering type.
I've moved around alot in my interests and studies over the years, having been an artist and performer, to an astrologer and reader of the tarot, to a metaphysician and healer, a dream counselor, a lecturer, a ceremonial high priestess, a hypnotist and a published author. In my evolution I came to view the symbolism of myths, religion, and the esoteric as a road map of the evolution of consciousness for me and I learned that interpretation of symbols came quite naturally to me.
I focus mainly now on my writing and my art as I move into a more settled, focused, and quiet stage of my life and I hope that my writings inform, possible educate, and most importantly inspire. But I write for myself most of all; I never preach. I will share and let you in on what works for me and hope that it might be applicable for you; at the very least, I hope it inspires you to seek out what works for you. I also seek community and companionship in spirit with all, and I have found the internet to be a wonderful tool for the connecting of us all in our collective consciousness. I look forward to sharing and getting to know all of you.
In service, love and light,
Monday, January 25, 2010
While I'm certainly no kid, I did recently make a mid-life decision to revisit a life-long dream of mine....to further explore the world of creative writing and my possible place within it. Putting my personal thoughts to paper has sometimes been a difficulty for me – I still have vivid memories of several attempts I've made over the years to begin (hand-written) journals - the challenge lasting maybe a few months, then eventually loosing my momentum and desire.
I discovered the world of blogging late last year – this medium opened up a whole new vista of possibilities to me. Thus, my desire to leave a footprint...a mark...perhaps even a legacy to my family and my world community has been restored. More than just a recording of my day-to-day activities and the important milestones I've experienced within my life (and that of my family), I began to realize that a blog was a form of communication – an opportunity to not only express my inner-most thoughts and personal views of the world around me, but the chance to exchange emotions and viewpoints with other individuals the world over.
This new opportunity has lead me to some wonderful discoveries. The mere process of reading and exploring another person's thoughts, views, and reactions to the world around them brings us profoundly closer together. Cyberspace in general, makes this infinitely easier. But through the personal window of a blogger, we are permitted to discover each other's humor, sadness, joy, wisdom, insight, spirituality, and so much more. The world indeed, becomes a much “smaller” place. I don't believe I will ever tire of feeling the thrill of learning that someone else “out there” is feeling or has felt about something the same way that I do. In addition, by accepting and absorbing views and feelings that differ from mine, I have expanded my vision and personal boundaries. I'm prepared, now, when others begin to question me about the importance or significance of writing a blog: I understand how it brings me closer to the world at large, and that I become an active rather than passive player upon its stage.
My family – like all families - has certainly dealt with its share of toils, troubles, heart-ache, illness, death, and pain. However, we've also been blessed with an amazing number of Joys. When first making the decision to begin a blog, I struggled with the question of what “genre,” which direction, my blog-writing should take. There were and are so many wonderful and creative “mommy-blogs” out there, and while each of us is more than capable of sharing unique and individual stories, I felt that I didn't quite fit that shoe.
My husband (and most of my family) will tell you that I tend to perpetually wear a pair of rose-colored glasses. I heartily admit that I've had some (extremely) low points of self-esteem and sadness in my life, but I almost always bounce back, remaining the “cock-eyed optimist” that I am. I most certainly am not claiming to be perfect - believe me, I'm still working on ironing out some personal issues at the age of fifty! But more-often-than-not, you'll find me searching for the positive part of any situation - or person, for that matter.
Thus, it made perfect sense that I focus my energies, my gifts, on seeking out the positive in all that I undertook while writing for my blog. My desire is that while continuing to learn about, absorb, and appreciate the world around me (in the company and in guidance of fellow writers), that I return a smile, a small slice of Joy...a brief respite for my fellow travelers on this journey we call life. I am SO looking forward to meeting other writers and readers via Writer's Rising, and rubbing elbows with those I now consider my teachers and colleagues.
I'm humbled and grateful that you landed here, chose to read my thoughts, and are sharing the ride with me!
(for additional information about me and my other site, feel free to read my updated bio!)
Sunday, January 24, 2010
I am a product developer by day and a writer by night. I spend time writing every day, and now it has become a wonderful, happy habit, just like brushing my teeth, eating breakfast, and doing yoga. It keeps my mind fit and active, and has brought me connections with so many wonderful people whom I may have never otherwise met.
In 2009, I blogged every day about something that made me more hopeful. It was my New Year's Resolution in 2009 to be more hopeful every day and bring that hope to others. Blogging helped me accomplish both of those things. I'm turning those posts into an e-book that I hope to have done in March. This year I'm taking all of that hope and every day blogging about one little step I'm taking toward building an extraordinary life in 2010.
This month I launched my new site complete with my full blog as well as content pages that highlight some of the other projects I'm working on: my yoga teacher certification and an after-school program in East Harlem for middle school students interested in product development and entrepreneurship.
I've always wanted to join a writing group and have poked around at a few though I never found one that had the right vibe until now. Then Kathy invited me to this group and my first reaction was, "ah, yes. This is the feeling I was looking for." My unending thanks to Kathy for inspiring me with her own writing and inviting me to be here with all of you. And of course to Sharni, my blogging sister down-under. I look forward to the conversation!
The photo above is me having fun in a park near my apartment. Photo taken by my pal, Dan Fortune.
Saturday, January 23, 2010
Out of The Sandbox
Recess in first grade was a war with the second graders
A battle over who could build the higher sand pile
With little time to shape and mold pointed piles
Awkward miniatures of Kilimanjaro or the Mater Horn
The challenge was all consuming, six of us working
Steadily, quickly, but the second graders always won.
That day, I believed for once we really had them
It was near the end and we had them by a foot or so
Then, joined by others, they took the lead and the bell rang.
Another day of humiliation, why did we always lose?
With that weight, I started to the line, then turned back
The devil in my feet; ran and kicked their mountain down!
It felt good to get the best of them, see the horror, the fear
But their expressions were not about the sandbox war…
Something— Ahhhh! — Something stung me, whipped me!
Jumping, my arm twisted in the death hold of her hand, I jerked
She slapped again and again until I screamed in painful fear
I remember words about not turning back after the bell rang...
Then she let go, I walked slowly, every eye in the school on me
I couldn’t look up, couldn’t get in line, walked to the boy’s room
Locked myself in, bawled for what seemed hours (was ten minutes)
The first grade teacher came, talked me out, my mother arrived
Raised hell, had that woman called on the carpet, reprimanded
(Good old Mom)… events then fade; I don’t know what happened,
Remember mostly the sting of that hand, hard words, those eyes
My first encounter with the terror of pain inflicted by a stranger
Something bigger people called
Sometimes I feel like all the artists, dancers, and writers out there are known because they must be geniuses. I don't think so now.
We all have amazing gifts to share with this world. We are all geniuses. If you are passionate about something. If you have a dream. If you are an artist, a mother, a dancer, a painter, a traveler, a knitter, a sewer, a trumpet player, a doodler, a whistler, a gardener, a whatever and you LOVE doing what you are doing, NURTURE IT! Believe in what you are doing and do it. If you feel happiness from what you are doing in life, that happiness spreads to all those around you. There must be something you do in life that makes you happy. Make that your priority. Protect it at all costs. When we are doing what we love we inspire other people to do what they love and it goes on and on and on like this. All of us have these gifts inside us. I am grateful for everyone I have met here because I see that you all are doing just that!
Wednesday, January 20, 2010
The surroundings seem to be everywhere and anywhere, with music pumped into the streets. Prague is full of magic, a magic I seemed to tap into as a complete stranger here. It is fascinating to me to see how much Prague has changed since the revolution. It has retained the beauty of its identity, but the Western influences has come in the forms of cuisine and increased shops that cater to those that are addicted to their labels. Money and things have crept into the frequency of conversations of a generation that had not and is slowly transforming them into haves.
The signs of the old sculptures are integrated into the new cafes and restaurants. I find it interesting to see how this world is ever changing. You are dining where the ancients once roamed. Watching the waves of power and influence shift around the globe has been interesting to see first hand. The Czech Republic was a very poor country, under the control of Russia. It is the people that forced the change and cried out for new ways when old systems were breaking down. Revolution is apart of history, a history that many governments fear.
I looked at the adornments of the Municipal House and found it difficult not to fall in love with the atmosphere. You saw the jaded eyes of those who were used to seeing it all. There was a loss for the magic. I love those moments, where eyes light up and you want to carve a moment in time and hold on to it. However, time moves and the only way to freeze those moments are through these images and words. It makes it last longer by sharing them with the attitude of a wondrous child.
It was amazing. It still is.
From the Municipal House in Prague, The Prague Royal Orchestra - Vivaldi's The Four Seasons - Row 1, Seat 12.
Tuesday, January 19, 2010
Not much to show for it either
Well that's not really true
Connections have been made, problems solved, and insights revealed.
The only trouble is they are still all inside her head
Lunch beckons and she willingly follows
There is a certain meandering quality to the journey back
She scolds herself
And still feels unmotivated
So she gives herself a good talking to and then does one thing on the to do list
Well that feels better
She eventually wanders off carried along by the afternoon and the promise of the evening
It all begins again tomorrow
Friday, January 15, 2010
A few years ago I attended the funeral of a good friend's mother. I heard her loving family and good friends describe her ordinary life. There was no drama evident in the telling, but rather the picture of someone supremely happy doing the everyday tasks that get us all through life. I felt envious that my friend's mother did not feel the need to strive for, or live a life beyond the one she had.
I found her ordinary life quite remarkable.
It is also the instances when life departs from the ordinary that are noteworthy.
So the life of someone from another culture is always remarkable, because it is different.
What is even more remarkable is what happens when the broad brushes used to paint a picture of what constitutes an average life are laid down, and a finer brush is taken up to fill in the details.
When we really listen carefully to the details of another's story, layers fall away exposing diverse qualities.
Before Christmas I listened to and then wrote the story of a remarkable life. I am both proud and humbled to contribute a profile article to the inaugral Diversity Writers website which is the excellent and very new website of one of Writers Rising's contributors-Sharon Egan. It has been published here.
My article describes the life of a wonderful lady who I call Viv. Viv's story reveals her passion to be herself no matter the cost.
Perhaps that is what constitutes a remarkable life; simply having enough courage to be YOU.
Tuesday, January 12, 2010
This lesson from today is brought to you by a fortune cookie...that's right! According to my mother, my grandfather, who is no longer with us, use to also save the fortunes from his cookies and pin them up. It must be hereditary, because I do the same. He is was one of the most inspirational people I've ever known. He graduated from MIT, worked for RCA and helped with the development of the colored TV. After retirement, he traveled the world helping people in other countries develop in electronics. He was very positive and he had a very opened mind. He always believed in me and he often sent me articles from the Christian Science Monitor related to whatever I was doing and wherever I was. He donated to have a church built in his community and he also attended a multi-faith conference at Stanford University where he saw the Dalai Lama and other leaders of different religious organizations. I think he was ahead of his time.
Also on my bulletin board is a letter from my grandfather dated 12/06/96, he died three months or so after this letter was written. He wrote, "I was very pleased to learn in-depth of your travels and interests. You are a remarkable person and I am extremely proud of you. I like your ideas of writing a book. If possible, I would like to read it." I am sorry he won't get a chance, but his words seem to spur me forward. They shoot out at me, reminding me to keep going.
So, I made a bookmark of fortunes from cookies at various restaurants I have visited over the years. I know, it sounds a little wacky...but I like it. Some of the fortunes come from the Yogi Tea bags. I saved the ones I liked and taped them to a piece of handmade Korean paper. One of the fortunes on that paper reads, "Don't give up, the best is yet to come." Hence, our lesson for today.
I also have a card on my bulletin board from a friend. She gave it to me when I decided to quit the company where we both worked. It was my first job after college. It was sort of an "ideal" job...good pay, benefits, vacation time, 9-5...but I felt I was suffocating. I was ready for something more after less than a year working there. That was 1993, I believe. The card read:
"Whatever you can do, or dream you can do, begin it."-Goethe. I'm happy to say that that friend is now an avid reader of this blog and one of my biggest supporters today. Thank you...you know who you are ^_^!
I took a leap of faith. I quit my job and worked in a few restaurants locally, traveled to Mexico to teach English for a year, went on my own down to South America and hiked on the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu, one of the seven wonders of the world.
I went all over Asia, lived in Japan and even climbed Mt. Fuji.
I met a monk who became my husband, traveled to India and the Taj Mahal, opened two yoga schools in South Korea...I just kept going!
So when I feel like giving up, I remember these things. I remember that so many people believed in me. I remember that whenever I took a leap of faith against all odds, because it felt right, I was rewarded. I remember that all the obstacles, money and time it took to see my dreams become a reality were worth it. The more I started living like this the more it became a way of life. Even if there is still a faint little voice in the back of my head telling me that it would be easier to stop, I don't think I can. I've walked too far down this path and now I feel I want to share it. Here are some other quotes worth requoting:
Never give in. Never. Never. Never. Never.-Winston Churchhill
I used to work at the International House of Pancakes. It was a dream and I made it happen-Paula Poundstone
Quit now, you'll never make it. If you disregard this advice, you'll be halfway there-David Zucker
Always listen to the experts. They'll tell you what can't be done and why. Then do it-Robert Heinlein
If you never try, then you'll never know just what you're worth-Coldplay(On the top of Mt. Fuji, Japan)
Monday, January 11, 2010
I was in Gare du Nord (which simply means the North Terminal) in Paris. A homeless man approached me and looked into my eyes and took my gloved hand and put it to his cheek. He didn't ask me for a thing, but just to be touched. In the gulf of his pain that I could see in his eyes, I saw the cry of a man to be a man again. I was speechless and withdrew my hand and took off my glove and he took my hand and held it, just simply stood by me.
I thought about the courage it took him to approach me. It moved my heart and my eyes threatened to tear up. He then moved my hand to his cheek and then to his neck, which begged for the touch of a woman. The moment lacked words, but had the human moment without words of touching an untouchable in the view of society.
I thought about my potential reaction to recoil out of fear, but I was not afraid. I saw the deeper meaning, the hunger we all have to be touched out of love and not fear. I walked away and mouthed the words, 'I care'...perhaps that is what we all need to do more of.
Thursday, January 7, 2010
I have a post I would like to share, and hope you will forgive that I am going to directly link it to my blog -- the only reason I am doing this is because the pictures are important to the story .... BUT my computer is on the meltdown today and I tried uploading them again and it is not a-happening!!!
I'd be really pleased to share this story with you though - please visit and let me know your thoughts - simply click here to read about what the BIG PICTURE from Angkor Wat represents to me
Thanks & look forward to reading more from you guys
Sunday, January 3, 2010
O.K. I might be biting off more than I can chew, but I am ready to try. I'm ready to be disciplined. My meditation teacher, SN Goenka, always says, "Continuity of practice is the secret of success." If it works for meditation, it will certainly work for other areas of my life. My husband also tells me that success comes when you continually work on whatever you want to succeed in. When times get rough, you keep going. You have to just keep at it.
January 2010 marks my first year anniversary writing my blog, Lessons from the Monk I Married. That's a big success for me. When I started out, no one knew this blog existed. Over the course of a year, I've gotten to know so many people in the blogosphere. Though we've never met, I feel some of the people I've met here I know personally, like family. Writing for one whole year on this blog was a course in discipline for me. Near the end of this year, I felt I didn't have any more to say, but I do.
I don't like to make New Year's Resolutions because I don't always stick to them. Lesson One for this new year is about discipline, so I intend to try and stick to my resolutions this year (emphasis on the word "try").
As many of you know, I've been writing a book entitled "Lessons from the Monk I Married". This has proved to be no easy feat, but I continue. My first resolution is to have it completed and published this year. My second resolution is to write on my blog 365 lessons I've learned. These lessons I've learned will be written on a daily basis and I will finish this project on January 1, 2011. Many of these have come from walking on this path of life with my husband, a former Korean Buddhist monk. He is not a writer, but he has inspired so many with his words. Some of these words even come from Facebook status updates. I'd love to write a book just of those, but I will stay on my task here. Don't be surprised if some of those updates show up in my lessons here. It's good to point out that these are lessons I have learned, everyone has their own set. I have been sharing some of these over the past year with a positive response from so many people. If what I write benefits people in a positive way, why wouldn't I want to continue. What benefits you benefits me. We are sharing the love. If what I write doesn't resonate with you, you don't have to read it. It's your choice, just as this is my choice.
My other resolutions include sticking to my daily meditation practice and keeping up a regular yoga practice. My husband is a yoga teacher and currently teaches in my house, so that's been easy so far. This year he hopes to open a yoga studio with his friend near our house in Seattle. I'm very excited about that.
It's a little scary putting all this out there into the world, but it's about time. Hope you all will follow me on another year journey. I look forward to your comments and sharing this journey with you.
So this is the project I will be working on this year, as well as completing my book manuscript. What are you working on? I'd love to hear about it. Much peace and happiness to you all in the new year!!