Tuesday, June 29, 2010

New to Writers Rising

Hi Everyone,
This is my first post to Writers Rising and I'm so happy to be here.
I write primarily about my spiritual journey, which actually encompasses all I do, think, feel, desire, observe, intuit, and emote. In other words, I write about everything that comes into my life and hope that, considering our commonalities, something I write will touch the lives of others. Often, I give some suggestions or recommendations about my topics.

Some day I hope to finish my first book. It's almost finished but, thus far, procrastination has won, and the day of completion remains nebulous. That must give you clues about my character. My second book is already in my head - it will be about "The Ladies". They are my mother and mother-in-law who moved in with me several years ago due to old age and mental maladies (dementia and Alzheimer's). I suppose someday I'll also start a new blog site about taking care of old ladies, but for now my encounters with gerontology, which have proven to be the greatest opportunity for me to create my heaven or plunge into my hell, go into my one blog.

As I look at my self-portrait above, I am confronted with yet one more issue that can help my character and Spirit move forward. I have yet to post real pictures of myself anywhere. Though acceptance to what IS is one of my highest goals, I see that I haven't accepted my self-image.
"Character may be manifested in the great moments, but it is made in the small ones."
Philips Brooks
This is my chance. Today, I add another ring to my halo and another muscle to my character. Here I am.

Me and My Daisy
Wow! Trust me that took courage. I honestly don't have any other photos. But after this, I suppose it gets easier. I'll take some and post them to my blog. Hope to hear from you there (http://mydailyspirit.net) Otherwise, lets connect on Writers Rising.
Many Blessings!

Sunday, June 27, 2010

What if?

I'm sure that by now practically every person walking the planet has heard some snippet of information about the year 2012. Various Doomsday scenarios are circulating out there, proclaiming that everything from catastrophic Earth changes to full-out Armageddon/The World Will End will occur in December 2012. As I am not omniscient, I have no idea what will happen in 2012. What I would like to say about this is....

What if the world doesn't end in 2012? We had a small taste of a similar hysteria that built up in 1999 with Y2K dire warnings of everything coming to a screeching halt with technology. Computers would crash and everything would go back to "the old ways" of doing things. Even in my area of the southeast, there were many survivalist groups which sprang up. I actually remember talking to people who were excited about this possibility; these people were romanticizing a reality that they could never truly be prepared for. Very few of us today have much concept of what living without electricity is truly like....what it would be like to have to grow our own food and be completely dependent upon the whims of nature for vital crops to thrive and be harvested. Luckily for all of us, when the year 2000 rang its way in, the world did not end. Technology rolled right along with very few hiccups to mar the even tenor of our lives. I, for one, was extremely relieved that the dire predictions didn't manifest.

And now, here we are again....hysteria building, more dire warnings predicted and quite a few people seemingly excited about the prospect of global catastrophe occurring. This is beyond my personal ability to grasp how anyone could possibly anticipate such a horrific outcome with excitement and hope, yet those people are out there.

I repeat, what if the world doesn't end in 2012? What if life continues its purposeful march forward and catastrophic earth changes do not occur? What if, starting today, we all focus positive thoughts around December 2012 and choose to believe that our Mother Earth will survive to harbor us all?? What if...instead of global disaster, the true shift that occurs is one of unity and peace?

What if the true worldwide manifestation that is predicted for December 2012 is actually a spiritual shift that brings us together on a worldwide level such as Man has never experienced?

Would people be disappointed if this positive wave of energy is the true manifestation that we experience? Maybe. I don't doubt that some people really do want to see a huge amount of chaos and drama instead of an equally huge wave of good enveloping the globe. Is it wishful thinking to believe that in a flashpoint moment, every person walking the planet could be instantaneously changed for the better, that each individual harmony that we call our Spirit could be lifted and shifted to a higher consciousness? I don't see that thought as any more preposterous or impossible to embrace than the Doomsday concepts swirling about. Why do we as a people tend to get more easily wrapped up in a negative scenario? I guess we could brush it off as something that is inherent to our psyche.

I just know that I, personally, feel that it is necessary to focus on a positive manifestation for December 2012.
If there is even a modicum of truth that we truly do generate our reality from our thoughts, then I find the willful belief in the negative 2012 scenario to be frightening. There are definitely a great many people who do believe in that negative scenario. In light of this, I choose to feel, think, believe and speak positive thoughts in return. I have said this many times before and will say it again here:

My belief is that December 2012 will be no more eventful than the Harmonic Convergence in 1987.
This was another moment in recent history where many Doomsday prophecies were spinning around, yet the day dawned bright, clear and uneventful. There were people the world over joined together that day in positive thought, I do remember that. Were they responsible for the lack of catastrophic events, or was the fear based thinking simply that....fears with no basis? There is no way to answer that question. I just know that the day itself was a calm, quiet, peaceful one in my small spot on the planet.

Nobody knows what that specific day in December 2012 will bring for our planet. What we can say with certainty is that tomorrow is not promised to any of us. Earth changes can and will happen, as they are a natural part of this living planet's evolution. Yes, those Earth changes can be incredibly destructive to land, property and lives. Is it written in stone, or the Mayan Calendar that the world will end on that day in December 2012? No, it is not. It is simply the ending of one calendar's cycle and the beginning of a new one. I am not writing this article to debate the science of the Mayan people. I am here to suggest that rather than wrapping a blanket of fear based thinking about us and focusing on negatives, what if we change our mantra to:

"The world is just beginning a new cycle in December 2012 and we are all fortunate to be there and welcome this positive, new energy wave."
It is a simple shift of our daily thoughts and takes mere microseconds to achieve. Just give it some thought. What if you make this one small change? I can say this much with absolute certainty - when I think of the Doomsday predictions of disaster, I feel like absolute crud. When I think of a positive manifestation of strong beauty, higher vibrations and only good things occurring on that day in December 2012, I feel wonderful! I know which mindset I prefer to embrace. I know which emotions and feelings I choose to experience, and that is where my conscious thoughts are focused for the year 2012. Again, if there is any veracity to the belief that our thoughts are what shape our reality, why not begin today by choosing to think positive, uplifting, healthy, safe, beautiful thoughts for our world for the year 2012? What if that is what makes the difference and shifts the energy from negative to positive for that year?

Seriously, people...what if? We are the stewards of this glorious planet - why not be mindful of the thoughts we project about our one home?? I know that I grow increasingly weary of being bombarded with all the fear based thinking, all the dire predictions and people practically salivating in anticipatory glee with the negative predictions. I find that type of mindset to be exhausting and draining to be around, and I definitely don't choose to read it online, in newspapers or watch it on television. I am not suggesting that we all sit in a corner and ignore the negatives in our world. They definitely exist and are reason to be concerned and take action. That is not at all what I am talking about here - I am talking about choosing to think positive thoughts and project positive energy towards the year 2012. What if that is all that is necessary to shift the energy and make that day as quiet, calm and peaceful as the day of the Harmonic Convergence and the first day of the year 2000? It certainly can't hurt a blooming thing for all of us to choose those positive thoughts over the negative ones.

I admit that I am one of the more patriotic people out there. I am patriotic about my home state of Tennessee; I am patriotic about my country, the United States of America and I am patriotic about this beautiful planet upon which we all live. I want a strong, positive future for myself, my family and all the people that I love....and I want that same reality for everyone else walking this planet. Many people will read these thoughts and say that I am still wearing rose colored glasses and viewing life through idealistic eyes. I will staunchly agree and take one step further to declare there is nothing wrong with either choice. I have chosen to use only beautiful photographs to illustrate this blog article because I see no reason to embrace negatives in thoughts or visual images. What if that's really all it takes to tip the scales in the direction of only good things for us in the year 2012?

I don't have the answers to that one solid question, but I think it is worth taking time each day to choose the positive mindset. I think it is worthwhile to take moments out of each day to choose to believe the year 2012 will be full of positive happenings and that our world at large will continue. I think it is uplifting to choose those positive thoughts and believe that the year 2012 will be peaceful, safe and calm for all of us. This is my choice in the What if? question. This is what I choose and I hope that many others in the world will choose that same path. What if? It's a good question. How will you choose to reply?
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

Friday, June 25, 2010

Silver Strands

I have been thinking about silver strands a lot lately, for several reasons. One of the reasons is this blogger, Denalee at silver strands. When I first found Denalee, it was this post that caught my attention. It was about her mother having breast cancer and Denalee cutting off all her own hair to make a wig for her mom. As if that didn’t kill me enough, it was a beautiful surprise for her mom. I cried for days thinking about this woman that would do this for her mother. I wanted to fly to her state, hug her and force her to adopt me as a sister. Seriously, if you want to be inspired and uplifted on a daily basis, silver strands is the place to go.

A few weeks back, Denalee had a book giveaway and I won. Winning the book was awesome because, as I have said before, I am an avid reader and always looking for my next fix. Winning a book is better than winning the lottery to me. For one thing, it doesn’t cost me anything to enter. Ok, call me cheap. Anyway, the box from Denalee arrived and I was so happy to open it so I could read my new book. Guess what? She didn’t just send the book, autographed no less, she also sent other treats. How sweet is that!!! So here’s what I received:

Let me just say, I read the book in one day and loved it. It is sadly a true story but the lives of these people will truly inspire anyone facing lifes challenges. I could relate to so much of it having gone through illness and loss with loved ones. The other goodies were absolutely icing on this cake. The sand dollar made me cry. I have no idea why. Yes, I do. Nevermind.

Anyway, like I said, I have been thinking about silver strands. Sometimes, for some unknown reason, I can get kind of introspective and start thinking this way. When I do, this is usually what happens: I start picking apart words and how they affect my life. So that’s what I did for a few days with silver strands.

I thought about silver and how it is a common but precious metal. It also has the highest electrical conductivity of any metal. Then I thought about the word strand. How it meant several things including, tresses of hair or fibers being braided together. It also means to run aground and be left in a helpless situation or land bordering the ocean.

As I thought about these two words, I realized they fit what Denalee has been for so many. She might seem like just another common blogger but believe me, she is precious. We all are, we just don’t realize how precious sometimes. It seems easier to accept that we are common but there is something so deeply precious in each of us. Something that makes us conduits for precious things if we will just be who we were created to be. That’s it. Just be who we are intended to be and what we are intended to do will happen. I believe that, with all my heart. Then when the times of being stranded and feeling helpless come, and they will come for each of us, we will find that strip of land in another. A safe place to run aground and be loved and healed and whole.

In the end, it really is about being braided together. Each one of us no less, no more, important than the other. Life is good even when it isn’t and I am thankful. Thankful for my life, my family, my friends. Thankful for Denalee. Thankful for each one of you. Silver strands.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Apple Is My Teacher


By Sharni Montgomery - please visit me sometime at Sharnanigans! 
I am convinced that on the journey of life we are thrown several character tests.
Opportunities or a run-in where our decision will either send us plummeting backwards (in which case the lesson usually rears its head again in another form) or flings us forward.
Sharnanigans was recently thrown an opportunity which I experienced as a test of my integrity.
A metaphorical ‘apple’, if you will.
I was honored to receive an email offering me an opportunity to write for a major Australian Parenting Website.
They told me that they had chosen my blog along with a handful of other “Australian Mummy Bloggers” that they considered to be a great contributors to the Australian online community. (yes my head swelled considerably)
The email went on to say that they would send me a massive hamper of deluxe products from a very well known baby product company.
I could either review the products or write about a special experience of motherhood and link my story to their site, have my site mentioned on theirs and display their ‘badge’ on mine.
There is no doubt about it, I was wrapped (and grateful) to be chosen for such an opportunity.
I throw everything I have into this website and opportunities that pop up as a result are virtual pats on the back.
After the initial excitement wore off I had a think about the offer.
I considered the moment when the Courier delivered me a big hamper of goodies.
Caught up in my self-importance I got butterflies in my stomach and may or may not have bragged about the prospect to friends.
This was my angel on one shoulder, devil on the other moment.
While I was drifting in Ego Heaven a familiar voice piped up.
It was Angel.
“Ummmmm… what are you even considering this for girlfriend? I have two words for ya :  Natural.Products ! Ring any bells???  Geeeez!
(she has a bit of ‘tude this particular angel, but I’m down with that)
Oh sheesh, that is right, I am on a quest to use all natural products for my son and have been reviewing them.
Why on Earth would I do a complete 360 and start plugging a brand that doesn’t comply with this?
Blogging without Integrity anyone?
As quickly as it arrived the fantasy of the Hamper arrival went into the dustbin.
I explained that I could not accept the gift of the hamper as I would not use these products nor write about them as they would present a conflict of interest.
I said, I would, however, be happy to write about a lovely motherhood experience and wear their badge on my website.
I lost the gig.
While this hurt my ego a bit initially, I gave myself a pat on the back because I had passed my own personal test.
I am quickly learning that opportunities come along often, some are ‘tests’ sent to challenge our resolve and personal integrity.
Whether we choose to be true to ourselves at these moments or get caught up in the temptation offered and ‘take the apple’ is one of the most common challenges we face as human beings.
I have spent a good chunk of my life feasting on the ‘apples’ that have been presented to me, without a second thought!
Looking back the ‘apples’ I consumed didn’t do much to keep the doctor away or my sanity intact but if you never accept an ‘apple’ you can never learn to knock one back.
Today I am proud of the fact that I saw this situation in a new light.
While this opportunity and hamper may have been a wonderful blessing for some, for me it was a test of my resolve.
Rejecting a hamper is No Big Deal or heroic effort but the exercise was beyond hampers, it was an excellent reminder and lesson to myself.
When all is said and done, it is the tests you set for yourself and your ability to pass them that matter.

Polishing the Dull Side...

I've been obsessing over the carpet in our home lately.

First of all, it's a light color. (not white, mind you, but a very light beige!) Second, we have 3 boys, 4 dogs and a cat. Third, the house is 11 years old.....high traffic, high maintenance for eleven years adds up.

I've cleaned it, and cleaned it.  And ....cleaned it some more.  It's really starting to show  the wear-and-tear.  While part of it doesn't look "too" bad, the few real stains that are present are way beyond ever coming out.  A professional steam cleaning isn't even going to help now...

To top it all off, the wood flooring that we have throughout the kitchen, dining and hallway areas are pretty beat up as well.  That either needs to be stripped and re-surfaced, or completely pulled up and done over.  After eleven years in our home - I keep finding so many things that are now either coming due for replacement, or major repair.  It's overwhelming, and I know there's no way we'll be able to tackle these kind of expenses any time soon.

I'm not looking for perfection here, but I do mind these things when they start to look dirty and unkempt.  I've known for a while that I'm a little obsessive-compulsive when it comes to organization and neatness, but I'm usually not too picky when it comes to the heavy cleaning.  (With three boys, I'm sure you could relate!)

Why am I writing about my dirty floors on a blog that should be offering snippets of positivity and inspiration?

Even though I have been unhappy with the way certain areas in our home are beginning to appear faded or dingy, I'm truly thankful that I even have a home to clean. I'm almost looking at those stains now as  "badges of honor."  With so many families losing their homes in this dark economic era (and some losing even more) I have nothing to complain about.  Reminders that a close and loving family fills this dwelling, those stains are starting to remind me just how fortunate and Blessed our family is to have a home to clean....

Even though their bedrooms constantly need vacuuming and dusting, my boys are lucky enough to even have their own personal space, and a bed to lie on.

Even though I cringe when I note the wood decaying under the dishwasher in our small, crowded kitchen, we are Blessed with a full pantry and refrigerator.

Even though we don't have the financial means to  create the landscape of our dreams, God continues to grant us the ability to call this little slice of heaven our home....and it is filled with love.

It's more than just your average "attitude of gratitude."  This has been a conscious decision on my part to face an otherwise depressing or challenging moment, and try to turn it into a reminder of truth.
My truth:  the worn-out carpet, flooring, paint, and fixtures of my abode have never defined those who dwell within.  Home is what you make it, and how you live it.

"If you can't see the bright side of life,
polish the dull side."

In a nutshell:  I'm rich!!!  :)

Pay it forward - Spread a Smile !

Photo courtesy of Google images.



Of the unknown

The untrodden path

The unscaled heights

The unexplored depths.



Of failure






Of loneliness






Of people

Natural calamities





Of being let down



Taken for granted.



Of the known

The challenges

The obstacles

The constraints.



Of so many things

In life

That dictates

The paths we choose.


What if there was

No fear?


What would

You do?

Where would

You go?

How would

You live

A fearless


Also posted on my blog.

Wednesday, June 23, 2010

365 Lessons-Lesson 172: Keep Your Childhood Memories, But Know That Every Moment There Is A New You

Last night my dad went to bed and I stayed up a little longer. I pressed my face against the glass window in the dining room and stared out at the Gulf waters. My dad lives right on the water in St. Petersburg, Florida. Palm trees rustled in the wind. The rippling of tiny waves in the distance made me feel calm. I stared straight ahead for what seemed like a long time. Two flashes of lighting appeared by the old smoke stacks in the distance. The stacks my father mentioned would be torn down anytime now. They were using a gas system now and the stacks wouldn't be needed any longer.

The silence throughout the house made me lonely. My mind filled itself with all the memories of my time here. Like the time when a possum got in the house and my friend Sara had to capture it in a laundry basket and let it loose out the front door. I remember giggling with my friends in the upstairs bedroom, telling ghosts stories until all hours, spending endless hours in the pool, putting tin foil on my sunglasses with my friend Lena thinking it would reflect the sun more and make our bodies turn brown, water skiing behind my dad's tiny Boston Whaler. Boats, lotion, water, friends, laughter, outdoor dining under the umbrella, lizards, crickets, cockroaches...memories just came flooding in like a huge tidal wave and then passed and left me standing there with the awareness of the cool tile under my feet and the fact that it was very late.

I wandered upstairs to bed. I kept the window blinds up, turned off the light and let the sound of the palms and water soothe me to sleep.

I woke up and my dad already had the coffee on. We chatted a bit, had a little breakfast. The time goes so slow here. It's good. There's no hurry to get anywhere and my dad and I really didn't have any big plans today. Suddenly I said, "Maybe we can take the kayaks out." My dad looked at me and said, "Sure!" We walked to the side of the house and dad noticed that an old hornets nest was inside one of them. Cockroaches scurried around the bright orange plastic which seemed to magnify them.

We carried the kayaks out and dropped them on the lawn and dad hosed them off. We dropped them down from the cement wall onto the beach and slid them off into the water. I flipped off my flip flops and sank down with my bare feet into the white sand. We were off.

Once out drifting on the water, my dad tried to calculate how long he'd been at this house. He figured he'd been here since he was 39 years old. I'm now 40. It didn't seem possible that my dad had settled into this house at an age younger than my present age, but I guess it was true. As we paddled along, my dad pointed out an Osprey's nest on a boat marker. The Osprey cackled at us, thinking we were prey to it's offspring. We were now out in the open channel.

"Yeah, I've been here a long time. I'm going to miss it, no doubt there," my dad continued, as if the pause gave him time to reflect on what a wonderful place it has been for him. Soon, he will be letting his house of almost 30 years go for life in a retirement community.

We continued on in silence in our respective kayaks. Every now and then we'd drift together and make a remark on our surroundings. We watched enormous pelicans near the Mangrove trees devour entire fish, the seagulls would follow close behind picking up any remains. I watched my father silently paddle in front of me.

I wanted to seize the moment. I didn't want things to change. I wanted to freeze time. Just as I was thinking this, my father was swallowed up by Mangroves. He had entered the Mangrove tunnels.

Huge tunnels were formed by the trees and you could kayak through them. Inside, under the shade of these trees, there was a feeling of being far off on some ancient expedition through the Amazon. It was as if we had gone back in time. Once out on open waters again, civilization returned instantly. People zoomed by in speed boats, fisherman near by pulled up their nets, jets flew overhead.

Sweat poured from my brow in the final stretch back to the house. It must have been 90 degrees outside. Good thing I had suntan lotion on. We pulled the kayaks up onto the grass again, pulled off our sweaty clothes down to our bathing suits and jumped in the pool. The water cooled me instantly.

Later we sat under the shade of the porch awning and ate leftovers from the night before. I know things will change. I've always known that, but somehow, this time, I want to hold on to each moment.

Also published on my blog Lessons from the Monk I Married

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Gratitude, feedback, a request, and something for nothing..........

Hi everyone,

I'm not sure if this is the best place for this sort of thing, but I figured that most of you would read it here.

Some Gratitude

First of all thanks for all the posts! I am really appreciating your writing and ideas. I do have trouble keeping up with all your posts, and I would like to spend more time commenting, but I have a deadline and I am on an internet restriction. I have thought about just leaving a :) to indicate I have read your posts, but instead I'll just say it here. Thanks for your comments on my (infrequent) posts.

Some Feedback

Is anyone else finding that the Writer's Rising page takes ages to load? It might be just me but I have my suspicions about the widget globe thingamujig. If it is that is there anyway we could bypass that besides just reading RSS feeds?

In my reader (IGoogle) RSS feeds don't include comments, so I always open up the blog to check them out and wait and wait for the page to open. Any ideas? Any solutions?

A Request

Finally, I would welcome any tips on productivity, writing, editing, and managing long projects that you have found useful. I am trying to finish off something big and I need all the help and inspiration that you can offer.

And here is something for nothing

My current favourite productivity mantra: One thing at a time. Most important thing first. Start now.


Balance, balance, wherefor art thou balance?

By Kristin Brumm (Wanderlust)

I’ve always been a good multi-tasker, a high energy person able to keep lots of balls in the air at once. Before I married I worked full-time, studied evenings and weekends for my graduate degree, stopped at the gym on my way to work in the mornings and managed to squeeze a satisfying social life in between all of this. So I imagined fitting kids into this equation wouldn’t be too hard, right? Right?? Oh settle down you in the back! If we all knew what parenthood was going to be like going into it our species would come to an abrupt halt.

Yeah, so, those images of me rocking a cradle with my foot as I put the finishing touches on my dissertation, or edited the final version of my novel? Dust. Go ahead and insert laugh track here.

The first few years of parenting are like being caught up in a cyclone. You have no idea what has hit you. You are powerless. You simply surrender because honestly, what else is there to do? You diaper, feed, soothe, bathe, dress, undress, sleep (well, not really sleep) in an endless loop. At some point, however, you wake up and realize your children have gained a modicum of independence and you can do things on your own for brief periods of time (go up and down the stairs, read a book, pee alone!) and it is deliciously liberating. It is about this time that fate whispers in your ear that perhaps, perhaps your life can be blessed with balance.

After all, there are scores of books and articles in women’s magazines dedicated to the topic. Articles with pictures of slender women with nice complexions sitting comfortably in lotus pose. It must actually exist, this balance. I’m sure I could achieve it if I just managed my time better, said “no” to the things that drained me, spent less time reading emails, took more bubble baths, dressed in earth tones and lit candles and baked organic cupcakes with my daughter, right? Right??

When I first came out of my mommy coma and started to do things for myself again, it was exquisitely gratifying, like a long rain after drought. I renewed old friendships. I read books. Lots and lots of books. I traveled to Australia with a girlfriend. I wrote. And wrote and wrote and wrote. All of this fed a deep need in me that I had abandoned during the selfless, faceless first years of childrearing. And yet it just touched the tip of the iceberg. Because there was still work and kids and all the day-to-day responsibilities of a life. But there was also something else. There was a noticeable backlash from my children. When I would sit down and open up my laptop (which was often) they would respond. First with sighs, later more strongly.

My daughter told me, “I think you love your computer most of all.”

My 5-year-old son: “I hate your computer.”

And two nights ago my daughter had a dream that I was leaving to go to Australia but could only take one child with me.



Here’s the thing. Balance is a fine concept. But it is just that. A concept. There are times in our lives when it is more achievable than others (retirement comes to mind, our twenties perhaps). I don’t think raising small children is meant to be an easy, relaxing time in our lives. Throw full-time work into the mix and it’s even less tenable. (Though, honestly, I don’t know that it’s any easier for those parents who stay at home – just a different set of challenges.) I’ve come to accept that I will probably not feel well-rested and sated in all the myriad ways I would like to be for quite some time, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean I will stop seeking balance. It’s a necessary goal. But I think of it less as a final destination and more as a mark by which I navigate, something that keeps me from going too far off course in any one direction.

Lately, this has meant closing up my computer and getting down on the floor to build a train station out of Lincoln logs. Or sewing the arm back on Bear. Again. Or baking cupcakes with the kids (not organic, sorry) and letting them lick the bowl.

My kids will probably never have as much of me as they would like. I will never have as much of me as I would like. We’ll each have to live with that and do the best we can. I’m willing to give up more of myself to them now because I know that one day, I won’t have the honor of them wanting to spend all their time with me. I want to enjoy being at the center of their universe while it lasts. Soon enough, life will call to them and I’ll be left with time on my hands. At that point, I suppose I can unearth the tub from beneath the plastic boats and crayola bath crayons and cherry bomb no-tears shampoo that currently live there, and take that coveted bubble bath.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Shivers + Yawns = Growth!

Photo courtesy
of Bing Images
I was revisiting my childhood a couple of days ago, prompted by a recent post, Mandala Memories. In that blog, I recalled countless hours spent drawing what I now recognize to be Mandalas - beautiful, intricate wheels of color that seem to exist in many religions around the world. If you're interested in learning more of the fascinating history of these beautiful creations, you'll find some helpful links on the aforementioned blog post. The reason for this blog is to focus on the byproduct of creating something pleasing to the human eye, being mindful of my own reactions to this experience and another that I will relate as I go along in the body of this post.

In the midst of my busy day today, I could feel this inner urge to engage my hands, heart and mind in an artistic application. The childhood past time of drawing Mandalas popped into my mind and I sat down to quickly create one of these designs. By the time I was finished, my heart and Spirit were both lighter and I could tell I had reached a pivotal moment. That exercise of paying attention to that unspoken urge to be creative in a different medium than writing was such a joy! I felt so light and happy inside.

I was taken back to what I call Comfort Memories from childhood, yes, but I was paying very clear attention to how I felt today as I drew, filled in with color, defined with shading and lines. I sat and reflected on the finished design and was entranced. This process of creating, to anyone who has an artistic nature, becomes a form of meditation. The finished mandala itself, although dashed off quickly to satisfy that sudden creative urge, suprised me. I could see that if I set aside more time and invested more attention and care, I could produce something worthy of being framed or reproduced. It reminded me that I don't give enough voice to this side of my artistic nature. Beyond these absentminded musings, what truly captured my attention were the resultant chills that I felt while gazing at my finished sketch.

Photo courtesy
of flikr.com
As I looked at this intricate wheel of shapes, gradations of color and texture, I found it extremely pleasing to my eye and shivers danced along my arms and legs. This is key! Have you ever noticed when you experience a moment of pure inspiration, pure beauty, music, pure love or anything else that is crystalline in purity....you're assailed by chills? This is your Soul recognizing a Divine moment, I believe. I suggest that these shivers are the result of our physical bodies being bathed in a higher, more pure energy and it is a blissful experience that can be extended and amplified if we take time to recognize it for what it is. Quite often, it doesn't even occur to us that we can actually extend that wonderful feeling.

Once that first shard of Light is recognized, the rest is a much easier walk for us. Focusing on those happy moments invites more of the same energy to be attracted to us, and we begin to pay more attention to those moments that evoke chills.

Photo courtesy
of ehow.com
Are you familiar with the concept of speaking and/or writing affirmations? These are simple statements that are positive in content. They don't have to be long and involved; indeed, the shorter and more concise, the easier the whole process becomes. There are endless books on the market that teach what I am talking about, so I will not take time to list endless references. If you are interested in learning more, the concept of daily affirmations can be typed into any online search engine. I have incorporated this practice into my life for years, but admit that I'm as guilty as the next person about becoming lazy here and there. When I do get serious about this process, it is astonishing how powerful a method it can be. I recently ran across a suggestion from a friend to repeat a positive affirmation aloud ten times, and repeat this process at least twice a day for several days. Okay, I thought, that's pretty simple.

Photo courtesy
of Bing images
I began to do this, choosing one simple statement that was easy to remember and that wasn't necessary to write down. I could recall it with ease and speak it those ten times throughout the day with no trouble. What I found intriguing was that usually by the fifth utterance, I would feel the need to yawn. Another key point! Bear with me, because I have an unusual correlation to offer. Yawning seems to also be a sign of unusual demand on our mind/spirit. If you take a moment to reflect, at a simple glance, we yawn when we're tired. Scientists can't completely explain the reasons for yawning, although I've read many suggestions that it is a primal response triggered by our adrenal system. Stay with me...I'm weaving this together!

Photo courtesy of
Have you ever noticed when you're in the gym, lifting free weights and really challenging your body, you'll get hit with the urge to yawn? Exercise physiologists, like scientists and medical researchers, haven't figured out the true reason behind this reaction, but suggest it is a primal reflex within the pineal gland to pull in more oxygen as the physical body is subjected to new demands. It took me a while to correlate these two thoughts, but the fact that I kept yawning right slap in the midst of ten utterances of a single positive affirmation struck me as clear evidence that my spiritual self was being subjected to a new energetic demand. The pineal gland also governs a great deal of spiritual energy, so I find it plausible that this yawning reflex was telling me I was consciously lifting my own energy field.

This makes sense to me. It might not to anyone else, and that's okay. I've said many times before that the world would be a very boring place if we were all cookie cutter images of one another, with no new thoughts to be shared. Feeling happy is of primary importance every single day of our respective lives. We each deserve happiness, and it is up to us as individuals to pursue actions that will manifest that happiness. What I recognized by the simple act of sketching a mandala, and speaking affirmations aloud, was that I was smiling as a result! My Spirit was responding to these loving acts I was giving myself and I felt a tangible lightness affecting my physical body and my emotional state of being. It was moments of bright happiness that I could feel washing over me.

Photo courtesy of
Bing images
Recognizing the hints from God/Universe that we're on the right path is so important! Don't discount those moments when shivers hit you. Don't ignore those moments when yawning punctuates a thought of clarity. Don't overlook simple joyfulness - embrace it greedily and with both hands! I was reminded by these two experiences that I should relearn the process of being good to myself, exclusively. The unspoken message I was feeling was along the lines of finally paying as much attention to myself as I dole out without hesitation to others. It was, in essence, a very clear mirror that was held up to my face. It was a gentle reminder to embrace and claim personal happiness. And the result was that I was hit with shivers. I paid attention!!!

Yesterday, a dear friend sent me a song that he has sent before to lift my spirits. I was assailed, this time, not just with shivers, but with tears. It was such a sweet, thoughtful gesture from a very manly man, made more precious for the fact that he extended himself in what we both now call 'an awkward tender moment'. In so doing, he also made me laugh out loud. Each time I watched the video attached to the song, shivers continue to hit....the lyrics of the song were so apropo to what I've been going through. And the message inherent in the song was that I am loved and cared for.

Tonight, before tapping out this blog article, I ran through a couple of my spoken affirmations, counting to ten with each string of them uttered....and smiling as each time I reached the fifth repetition, the urge to yawn would become irresistible. Shivers, yawns, the lyrics of a song, and true friendship all culminate to show me that I'm doing okay. All is well; friendships and family ties are solid in my life, showering me with blessings. As I write these words, more shivers dance along my arms and legs.

Photo courtesy of
It is now that I close with the simple equation that:

Shivers + Yawns = Growth!

It is a simple, yet complex equation that I doubt mathematical minds such as Pythagoras and Archimedes would spend precious time and ink to quantify. It is my own peculiar equation and it makes complete spiritual sense to me. A Dawnesian equation that lets me know that life is good; positive energy is flowing and the Light is blazing brightly. As you go forward in your day, pay attention to those shivers and yawns...and remember...they could very well be a small, quiet voice telling you that you, also, are doing okay....and you're growing!
If you enjoyed this blog and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.

When we were kids...

When we were kids

We did not have

Games simulating the outdoors


Playing with a toy train
When we were kids

We did not have

Barney to entertain us

So we would eat.


When we were kids

We did not have

Every facet of our life

Visually cataloged.


When we were kids

We did not wear

Helmets and knee protectors

When riding our bicycles.


When we were kids

We did not eat

Fries with tomato ketchup

And ice cream.


When we were kids

We did not have a

Schedule for playing, eating, singing, dancing

And everything in between.


When we were kids

We did not talk back

To our parents

Or question their directives.


When we were kids

We did not have

Cell phones to text with

During family dinners.


When we were kids

We did not need

Hallmark-created days

To appreciate those who mattered.

Fooling around in a restaurant to keep myself amused

When we were kids

We did not strain our eyes

On the computer, the television,

Or a gaming console.


When we were kids

We did not go on

Planned trips to

Exotic locations.


When we were kids

We did not shut the world out

With earphones

Attached to nifty iPods.


When we were kids

We did not invite the world in

Via tweets and

Status updates.


When we were kids

We led a simpler life

One with less stress

And even lesser external stimuli.


When we were kids

We were happy

With one TV channel

And a shared home-cooked meal.


When we were kids

We found contentment

In little things

Like building twig castles.


When we were kids

We played until late in the evening

Unchaperoned and



When we were kids

We waited for hand-me-downs

With excitement and

A sense of gratitude.

Reminiscing about the good ol' days
When we were kids

We lived like kids

Uninhibited and



When we were kids

We were just that --


Not little adults.

Also posted on my blog.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Bird by Bird

I am an impatient writer. The rush to adequately express my thoughts makes me uncomfortable. You see I have a lot to explain and I don’t care to take the time to carefully spell it all out (insert sigh here). I am well aware that I owe it to my reader(s) to make their journey from one scintillating point to the next more of a tip toe through the tulips than a murderous leap.

I hate to read the murderous leap stuff almost as much as I hate to write the other.
So it’s time for a change. I need a new perspective much like the one I implemented to help me pass 3 years of statistics.

I realised that there were problems in my statistics future because while I languished in the bookshop queue with new stats book in hand I instantly regressed to my 17 and a half year old self. As I flicked the text open to a random page I was instantly transported to one of the perfect rows of individual desk islands set up in readiness for my final mathematics exam. The desk islands' sea was an enormous hall where I had sat through many achingly boring assemblies and school plays. My eyes caressed the exact spot where I danced at the formal with my sweetheart.

In contrast to that fun night the hall was now full of quiet. Pens, pencils and erasers were carefully lined up on each desk along with the examination slip, a bottle of water, and for those who insisted that they had a sore throat, (yeah right!) a pack of Butter Menthols. The only sound was a chorus of bitten fingernails drumming away as Sr. Fancy made her way down the aisles licking her thumbs and distributing the exam papers. Each exam paper was firmly placed face down on each desk. Each paper in danger of bursting into flames with the heat of each set of eyes as they attempted to reveal what lay within. Finally the command was issued: Girls, you may commence. There will be no writing for 10 minutes in which time you must read through the paper carefully….

Within a nanosecond there was the deafening sound of over 100 papers turning, pages flipping and a solitary stifled laugh. Mine. For within two nanoseconds came my appreciation of the simple fact that there was no way I could pass because I was crap at maths.
Back in the bookshop queue I reexperience the feeling that I am hopeless in the face of all numbers. I want to run off screaming, but I stay with it. Instead I pay for my book and then I turn on my heel and make my way from the campus book shop to the library. At the catalogue terminal I enter the word "statistics". Fourteen hundred and twenty six entries spring up along with a little bit of my lunch. I scroll through them slowly my eyes glazing over at the titles of these books ( The annals of statistics, applied statistics, computational statistics..). One catches my eye on the 157th page. It says "What is mathematics anyway?" By Reuben Hersh. Yeah, good question! I mutter to myself as I record the call number. I wonder off to the library's southern corridor in search of the book. I find it. It is an unassuming paperback with a very vivid cover. I flick it open and read.

After 10 minutes I am saved. You see depite the fact that everyone agrees that mathematical statements are true the author argues that any certainty is simply a mistake. You see regardless of our ideals, mathematics is done by fallible people, it is a human activity and mathematical truths are uncertain like any other truths. And it is now that I know that mathematics is a game. The numbers do not mean anything really. Mathematics is not an exclusive club for brainy people. It does not reside on the lofty, difficult to access, dusty top shelf. It is just a bit of fun.
My maths avoidance has been cured just like that. I can do statistics. I can do it and I might actually enjoy it. Right there in the library stacks I give myself permission to do so and what follows is 3 enjoyable years of statistics. My marks are fabulous. I enjoy every minute of it. I have been set free.

It is about 10 years later that Anne Lamott's book- "Bird by Bird: some instructions on writing and life" delivers a "What is mathematics really?" type cure for impatient writing.
In her fabulous book Anne explains:
"Thirty years ago my older brother, who was ten years old at the time, was trying to get a report on birds written that he'd had three months to write. It was due the next day. We were out at our family cabin in Bolinas, and he was at the kitchen table close to tears, surrounded by binder paper and pencils and unopened books on birds, immobilized by the hugeness of the task ahead. Then my father sat down beside him, put his arm around my brothers shoulder, and said, Bird by bird, buddy. Just take it bird by bird."
It is my solemn vow after reading Anne's helpful book to write a shitty first draft of everything. To write it all. To include all the details needed to connect the dots. To follow all the little paths that lead the reader through the tulips. To stop and smell the roses along the way.
My patience will come from just writing the next little bit, and not thinking about the hugeness of the task ahead.

Just like that I give myself permission to be a patient writer.

Friday, June 18, 2010

Trust no One?

Oasis Reflection: On Trust During Troubled Times
(Re-posted from Oasis Writing Link)

David: Why do people do such terrible things?
Sophie: Like what?
David: Like beat people, and kill them, and make them prisoners.
Sophie: Most people don’t do that, David.
David: My friend Johannes always used to tell me, "Trust no one."
Sophie: Oh, life wouldn’t be worth living if you did that, David. You can be cautious, but you have to let people in.
David: How do you know if they’re bad or not?
Sophie: David, most people are good. They have families and friends, and they just want to live their lives as happily as they can. Oh there will always be bad people in this world and you will usually know them when you meet them, but sometimes you won’t. But you can’t let that stop you from living your life fully and freely. And making friends and seeing the goodness in people because if you can’t do that you will never find any happiness.

Do you ever wonder how you can trust again after a difficult experience? I admit that I struggle with this one. Sometimes I think I'm a bit like the 12 year old David in the quote above. He was taken by himself to a Bulgarian concentration camp when he was young because of his family's political beliefs. Growing up away from his family in a lackluster environment surrounded by guards who are quick to administer punishment changes the way he interacts with people. He forgets how to smile. When unexpectedly he is given a chance to escape, he sets off on a journey across Europe to Denmark carrying important secret papers which later turn out to be his personal identification and the information needed to reunite him with his mother.
The story is compelling to me, but it is his interaction with Sophie, the Swiss woman who helps him to get in touch with his mother that is most compelling to me. She is played by Joan Plowright, a favorite English actress who plays a similar role, Mary who takes care of Luca Innocenti, in Tea with Mussolini. Both Sophie and Mary are exactly the kind of people I admire. In both of these roles, we meet creative, self-sufficient yet engaged with others woman; these women are not afraid to reach out when help is needed. Admittedly, I like Joan Plowright best in Enchanted April, where she plays Mrs. Fisher, a woman whose feelings have contracted so much that she has lost the ability to feel compassion for others, but then her time in Italy thaws the her heart and she realizes the importance of yielding to creative impulses and allowing connection with others. (photos from Facebook fan page)

Why am I pulled toward this type of character? I think I have to continually learn the trust lesson. I imagine myself sitting down and discussing life over a cup of Earl Grey tea with a wise woman like Sophie. If I let my imagination go further, I can envision that I might be a woman like Sophie in the future...and maybe a little now. However, at the moment, I'm feeling more like David-cut off and fighting with my own emotional demons- I'm particularly battling with trust issues.

Perhaps you know that my own mother was murdered by a neighbor. (I have told the story before-just click the link.) I don't know if you realize how perplexing it is to that young person who resides in me -ever an innocenti- who cannot comprehend how someone familiar and well-known-a lifelong neighbor- could do something so drastically cruel.

You read about people- this past weekend in Puerto Rico, for example- who kill their own spouse or family, and then turn the gun back on themselves. It seems like such a foreign experience. You never think you will have to confront that type of situation with anyone you personally know.
I have never been able to connect the act of murder with the known person who was my neighbor.
Factually, I know he did it. I've looked at him in photographs and in court but it never made sense to me. I think about his behavior more as a symptom of society's sickness and lack of tolerance for others differences. I have to make myself remember that it was his hand that pulled the trigger. It was Jim Brooks who killed my mother and her partner, Christine.
No, even after writing that statement, it still feels remote.
While viewing I am David, I allow myself to feel upset. After the movie, I watch an episode of Friends and found it extremely amusing. I laughed out loud. I felt freer somehow and more open to all emotions. I know it is important to feel. I also know that trying not to feel leads to depression. Did you know that when you have trouble, it often acts like a trigger for a cluster of repressed feelings, and there are some things that you just don't want to remember. Noticing myself going through this emotional roller coaster made me realize that I need to remember to feel and allow myself to trust people again.
Sophie is right, "...there will always be bad people in this world and you will usually know them when you meet them, but sometimes you won’t. But you can’t let that stop you from living your life fully and freely. And making friends and seeing the goodness in people because if you can’t do that you will never find any happiness." I'll take that wise-woman's advice!

The Memo

I stood outside and watched wispy white clouds finger paint the blue sky. It was a warm, but still a beautiful day and the sun was quite playful. That was then-this afternoon. Now, just two hours later the evergreen trees are dancing to music with a rolling drum beat like a tympani approaching the peak of the crescendo. The sky is dark, the sun hidden behind the storm clouds and a tornado warning has been issued. An over exuberant wispy cloud must have knocked over all the finger paints and they have spilled across the sky creating a most unusual color. The evergreen trees are now black silhouettes, almost like skeletons with long spindly arms extending towards each other in their dance. The squirrels have left the bird feeder. Uh, did I miss a memo? Did someone change the channel with the remote when I was not looking, leaving me puzzled trying to figure out who these characters are and what do they have to do with my movie?

There is no danger but like a child with grand plans for the day, standing and looking out the window dripping with rain, I feel miffed. My thoughts, caught in the wind currents, roll across each other like the clouds. Look at the monitor then the trees and back to the monitor. I have headphones on and it occurs to me that the trees are dancing in rhythm with the music playing. Nature is playing, a bit rough, but is having quite the time this evening.

Part 2

There are lyrics to songs I truly get lost in but because of the music around the lyrics I am unable to enjoy their genius. Nature and seasons have a rhythm. No matter what they bring, there is a rhythm to them. I believe that. Like the music, sometimes the lyrics of nature’s frolicking have a rhythm that makes it difficult to dance or sing. Tornadoes have left destruction and death. What had been a very surreal moment watching the storms come in, quickly changed as sirens blared their danger for almost two hours.

So how does one reconcile the before and after photographs in your mind? You cannot ignore the destruction. It happened. Sometimes its unavoidable. You cannot, however, ignore the beauty of the dance before, the splendor of the visual display during and the calming colors when the storm passed. Somehow, we have to find the rhythm and the lyrics and not forsake one for the other. To remember the rhythm of the seasons. And maybe that’s the memo.

Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Clearing away clutter.

One of the easiest ways to get organized and to clear away clutter is by taking out the trash. If you want to start organizing and clearing away clutter, start by clearing away what you know is trash: junk mail, flyers left on your door or mailbox, empty food and/or drink containers, empty boxes from mailed or bought items, empty grocery bags, dry cleaning plastic, old magazines, etc.

As you clear these items away, you might want to consider how you can cut down on some of this type of trash that enters your life. Perhaps removing yourself from catalog mailing lists and investing in reusable grocery bags could be a start. Then as you sift through and release this trash, start identifying other items in cupboards, drawers, and the refrigerator that can be considered trash and remove these items. Start on one element at a time.

Then as you move through the process, move to larger projects; for instance, closets, attic, garage, basement, and rooms. Start with trash first and be honest with your items. Unless they are holiday items being stored yearly for holiday usage, if you have something stuck away that hasn't been used for a year or more, it is most likely trash, or at least something to donate.

Often just by going through and removing trash that we hang onto in our lives we can make a huge leap in getting organized, and the removal of the trash that clutters our environment can go a long way in clearing the clutter of our minds.

This is just a beginning step and a metaphor for clearing out the clutter of one's life. What is cluttering your life? What steps can you take to clear out the trash, cut back on allowing trash to enter your life, and clean up your environment, your mind, your body, and your spirit?

I Hate Housework!

It's tedious, monotonous and infinite! I resent the fact that Hagar doesn't do as much as me and has somehow managed to morph a relationship founded on equality to one of segregated conjugal roles! How did this happen? At the same time, I know that I lead a privileged existance and inside my soul I should be pleased to serve my family and create the nest that they all need to function to the optimum. Yet, I can't help it - it really pisses me off that it's me that has to be the slave!

My gran, Betty, was the guiding light of my life. She was one of 14 children. She grew up in a country village near Peterborough. My great-grandfather was a drunk, and had drank, and gambled, his father's fotune away. Gran lived in a tumbled down cottage, she and her siblings would have to collect the family's water from a pump in the middle of the village square. At 14, she left home and moved to Coventry to live in lodgings with her sister Pearl. She worked as a secretary to an army officer.

At 16 she met my grandfather, Ginge, (a redhead - the clue is in the nickname), he had been dragged up working on the docks in York. His father was murdered with a dockers claw for his wage packet. He slept rough around York docks until he was 15. When the war came he was called up and enlisted to the RAF as a rear gunner. According to my very uncharitable father, he was a big boozer and spent most of the war in the brig for drinking offences, hence the reason he managed to survive a role, where death was almost guaranteed.

After the war, Ginge and Betty married, and moved to York, where they were issued a council house at 49 Tenent Road. This is where they lived until they both died. They had four children. My mother was one of them. She was the eldest and born in 1947. Life at 49, as it was always known through my raising, was pretty turbulent. Gran and grandad had come from nothing and they had nothing. The house was furnished with filth, orange boxes and love. Grandad was now working at Rowntrees Macintosh as a painter and decorator; a job he held until he retired at the age of 60. Ginge was a drinker - he loved his booze. He could open his throat and pour the amber nectar down his neck in voluminous quantities. His greatest achievement was that he could drink a pint in under 5 seconds.

He could be found in The White Rose most nights, drinking and playing dominos. My mum quite often would have to pull him, and his bike, out of the hedge in the morning and make sure he got to work on time. Betty kept the home fires burning, stoically and cheerfully - held together by tots of brandy and many fags. He was a womaniser as well. When Ginge's fancy women would turn up at the back door, gran would shriek, "Gin-ner! There's a women here, says you are leaving me. Are you going?'

"No Bette," would be the sheepish response.

"Did you hear that?" Gran would spit at the doorstep daliance.

"Now sling yer hook."

Betty's darkest day was when my mother committed suicide at the age of 26. She could never speak of it. She put it in a secure vault and buried her grief deep inside her soul, never to be unlocked. In fact it took until I was 18 years old before she could put a photo of my mum, amongst the collection of family memoribilia, framed and set amidst the vast array of porcelain birds.

Through this rollercoaster of a life, my gran served her family and her grandkids and others as well. She cleaned, washed and ironed - singing terribly, crooning. She fed every stray dog and child in Tenent Road. Many kids sought refuge from life at Betty's house. You would never know who would be living there and for how long. She couldn't bear to see a child in pain.

She worked as a barmaid in The Mania Bar at York Station Hotel. She was straight out of Andy Cap - lacquered blonde hair, bright pink, powder and paint, back skirt, white shirt, with an ample cleavage and killer patent leather heels. How she worked shifts in these shoes, I have no idea. On day shifts, she would sneak me in and hide me from the management. Whenever, the bosses came down I would scuttle behind the crisp boxes, under the bar and wait for them to leave. My reward for silence and stillness was 10p for the fruit machine, that would often multiply magically into a £1.

All she did was work, smoke, sing, dance and celebrate life. She waited on all of us. She said she was born to serve. 'You come to my house to relax', she would say to me. She was proud to serve her family. Her house was a real refuge. My refuge. I called it the 'bosum'. The bosum of Betty.

Betty Smith

Like a shining star,
A blooming flower,
Early morning and a face that is sour.

She can be bright and gay,
Like a sunny day.
She has a twinkle in her eye
And a sparkle in her smile.

She is loaded with love,
She is armed with style.

With a life full of pain,
It is from her that I gain,
That at the end of the day,
When it is all said and done
And push comes to shove
There is no one like Betty
She defines the word love.

I think of my gran and the spirit she inspired me within me. I give myself a little pep talk. I am blessed to have such a wonderful gift with my life, two gorgeous children, the handsome Hagar, a beautiful nest to raise my kids and yet no matter how much I try I still can't help hating housework!!! It's so boring and pointless!!! When Hagar comes home and I have cooked a fabulous home-cooked meal, with fresh ingredients, from scratch, and then I end up doing the washing up, and putting the kids to bed as well. The nagging 'I am not born to serve' battle unleashes itself. I blame Thatcher! She was a false icon - she had staff and a millionaire husband! I need me some of those. It's no good, I can't help it - I hate housework. Right, that said I have to go and make the beds. The battle continues on.......

"Someday I’m going to do and say everything I want to do and say, and if people don’t like it I don’t care." - Scarlett O'Hara

First written by me at my new blog:


Sunday, June 13, 2010

You can't hurt me

Someone flashed me. I didn’t feel a thing...

I spent a glorious day yesterday with a group of friends I do not see as frequently as I would like, but it seems we always pick up where we left off. You know those friends; the ones that you may not see for days, weeks, or years, but some ripple in time does not make it seem as long as it has.

Upon driving the hour-long trip home, I enjoyed a brilliant light show from nature warning us that it was about to christen us with a healthy rain. Soft melodic music set the ambient background as the wind burst in and out of the window with my arm “surfing” the bluster. T’was a blessed evening indeed.

The drive along the dark highway with only the soft “whish” of damp tires was eventually interrupted by civilization. Bright street lamps, glowing signs, and hustle and bustle of people getting where they have to go eventually encroached upon my serenity set to cruise control.

I approached the light; one option for left, one for straight/right. You know the one where the arrow goes forward and also veers right in the same vertical column separating our choices. I chose straight/right.

I admit I was not aware of how important the guy was behind me. Nor was I aware of his urgent schedule. I mean I did not plan to be where I was when I was there; I just arrived at that light at that time. I stopped at the red light as my choice, once narrowed from the straight/right to only desiring the straight, halted my progression momentarily. “His Highness” behind me must have desired to go right, despite his cosmic tardiness now placed him behind me. I stopped, coincidentally he did too. He flashed his brights at me. I didn’t feel a thing.

I kind of chuckled as once upon a time, the illuminated “call-to-arms” could have led to a good old fashioned redneck smack down. Not tonite. I now find the folly in what people allow to derail them. No I am not talking about any physical contact as I could see if someone punched you, pulled your hair, flicked your nose, gave you a “noogie, Indian burn, or wet-willie” which could cause a commotion if undesired, but the simple things we have allowed to become unnerving. It is quite comical actually.

“She rolled her eyes at me, can you believe it?!”

“Did you kick her ass?”

“No, but I really wanted to.”

This one I have heard and I am sure somewhere the outcome did transpire into violence.

Who also started the “I will harm you and disrupt you with a loud exhale” tactic? Ever had one of those moments in line somewhere; you cannot make up your mind between the chicken or the beef? I mean a burrito can be a commitment as they do truly stick with you for a while. You pause, you vacillate between the two. Then you hear it from behind you: “Huhhhh!” “Crap, give me the beef.”

Someone ever “raise their eyebrows at you? You know the: “Did they really just say that” with the accompaniment of the “OMG” sneer? Ouch. I mean that one is usually saved for the most severe of social indiscretions. I find it practiced frequently among pre-teen girls. At least in my home.

I find the “Slow-shaking-of-the-head-in-disapproval” is another tactic with its own venomous barb.

“What did I do? I mean I looked over and this dude was shaking his head at me!”

“Oh my gosh man, did you shake your head back?!”

“Damn! I didn’t think of it fast enough.”

“Maybe you ought to take the day off tomorrow to recover.”

All I want to know is how many people have died over time from the simple extending of a digit? Make a fist. Now, extend only your middle finger. Good. Now raise that hand at someone. What happened? I know; can you believe it? The simple extension of a digit. If this ever happens to me, I have fun now. I act as if I did not see it correctly, and nod in excitement mouthing “Thank you”, and raise my index finger as if they just told me “I am number one!” It really frustrates the “Flipper.”

I guess I find these things funny now. These gestures are just that, and have no more power than I give them. What does that say about me and my character to let these simple little movements and behaviors take me down. Funny how they can have a tendency to linger if you let them.

“Remember last week at the grocery, when I was trying to dig the change out of my purse, the lady behind me exhaled rudely?!”

“What? Uh, no.”

“Well, I would have said something if I didn’t have the kids with me.”

Now when confronted with these behaviors, I simply smile. Maybe that is my own passive aggressive retaliation subliminally, but not necessarily my intention. And to you “Mr. Brights-you-from-behind,” if you would like to email me your social and travel schedule, I will try to avoid your chosen path. If not, that will be me smiling at you through the rear view mirror.

Repost from: Artisan of the Human Spirit

Grasshopper thoughts, Vol. I, Part I

You're wondering what in the world 'grasshopper thoughts' are, right? This is my way of describing how my mind works. If you've been outside on a hot summer day, walking through a field, then you know that grasshoppers possess a remarkable ability to jump in the most bizarre, unexpected ways and angles seconds before you walk upon their location. This is how my brain activity functions. I have several blogging friends who label these blog posts things like "Popcorn Posts" (Anahid Boghosian's Fireside Moments) and "Pleasantly Disturbed Thoughts" (Duane Scott). These posts happen when we writerly types have a slew of thoughts that don't really settle into one nice, cohesive, smoothly communicated line of prose.

As I admit that I am, at times, more serious than I need to be, I decided after a couple of conversations with the two friends mentioned above that I would adopt this format and make it unique to me. You may enjoy the disjointed thoughts that take sudden, quirky jumps in a completely unexpected direction, only to fly off at another bizarre angle moments later. You may not like this format at all - I just know that I'm enjoying the sheer freedom this concept provides, so here goes...the first Grasshopper Thoughts epistle!

Golden raisins - who, other than myself, is a fan of these little jewels? Do many even realize they exist, overshadowed by the more traditional dark raisins? Golden raisins are actually called Sultanas, a fact I just learned by going to my old friend, Wikipedia. Take a moment to click on the link and learn some fascinating information! I just happen to prefer these golden lovelies because they're not so overpoweringly strong in flavor and lend themselves to various foods better than the darker raisin variety.

Spinning wool into thread - I just have to wonder about this one. Who was it that was musing in the fields of sheep one fine day and decided, "I do believe I'll shear those critters, do complicated things to the wool and even more complicated processes to produce this thin filament and call it 'thread'!" Whomever this intrepid soul was, my hat is off to him/her. This then makes me ponder the next thing in line, which is who came up with the concept and design of the spinning wheel. See what I mean? A typical grasshopper line of thought.

Dark chocolate & raspberries w/ salt. Need I say more? I think there is no more sublime a combination than melted dark chocolate - of at least 80% pure cacao - and ripe raspberries with a sprinkling of sea salt. I'm not really a sweets eater as a general rule, but when I do want something sweet, this is it.

Honeysuckle mornings....ahh, nothing better! You are not reading the blog of a true Morning Person, just know that right here and now. On the rare occasion that I'm up with daybreak, it is generally due to the fact that I've been on a writing jag through the night and haven't gone to bed yet. This post is being written in the midst of June 2010 and East Tennessee is in the grips of an early, hot summer. Humidity is thick enough to cut with a knife, stealing oxygen from the air we breathe, stifling the lungs as we step outside. In the wee hours of dawn, however, that same humidity coaxes delicate, heady fragrance from the honeysuckle that climbs the hill behind my patio. I sit, eyes closed and breathe the fragrance in as I listen to the day awakening around me....and my heart is still....my mind, for a brief moment at least....calmed from grasshopper thoughts...temporarily.

Mascara - it's all about the brush, people. Ladies, I have no doubt that you get this immediately. Gentlemen, I doubt you get it at all and that you probably don't care to learn! For those of you who worship cosmetics with gleeful abandon (I'm guilty, yet proud to be in this sisterhood), you know that perfect brush is the secret to long, full, curled-just-right eyelashes. I am on an eternal hunt for the next best creation, but I always come back to a tried and true favorite. Thankfully, it is one that has a cult following and has been on the market for close to twenty years, so I believe I am safe from the dreaded "DISCONTINUED" disease that is rampant in high end cosmetics!

I declare this to be as good a point as any to stop with my grasshopper journey. Never fear, this will be a continuing post. I'll be curious to see how it is received and how many of you out there have similar jumbled thoughts running through your minds at any given moment! There is absolutely no unifying theme or purpose here, other than to jot down my thoughts as these topics flit with maniacal grasshopper gymnastics along the fringes of my conscious mind.

I think it's healthy to give these grasshopper thoughts voice - I'm sure, in fact, that my gray matter is probably breathing a silent sigh of relief that I'm bestowing some semblance of order here. Yes, I know...our brains don't breathe sighs of relief, per se. Which brings up a grasshopper thought......to be continued in Vol. I, Part II....
If you enjoyed this post and would like to read more, you can find me at Healing Morning blog.