Thursday, December 11, 2014

On Seeking Home

Oasis Reflection: Obstacles are a matter of perception...

La Ventana "Windows" Park in Condado. San Juan, Puerto Rico
What is your view?

Recently, I've been reading On Moving: A Writer's Meditation on New Houses, Old Hauts, and Finding Home Again by Louise DeSalvo. the author addresses the topic of "home"and the strong desire people have to choose the perfect home. I started to think about how often people move and how most of us hope that a new location will solve most of our problems.

However, I am sure that we bring our problems with us wherever we go. What I mean is that the cause of our dissatisfaction is often not external, but internal. It's part of our personality and/or is shaped by our attitude.  I admit that like DeSalvo, I love to travel.  I love to imagine my life in those new unknown places; nevertheless, it's healthy to remember that our disturbances come with us wherever we find ourselves.

What do you see in the photograph above? Do you notice the rock in the center? The water flowing over the rocks to form a small pool of water in the right foreground? Or the deep blue ocean in the distance? Our perspective informs what we allow ourselves to see and experience. The rock can be seen as an obstacle to blocking access to the water or an interesting formation to scale up and over - an opportunity to see the unobstructed ocean from the top. However, what we see remains with us no matter where we go.

I believe that we have to be bravely curious about our obstacles in life and learn from these ever present rocks.

But today, the Rock cries out to us, clearly, forcefully,  
Come, you may stand upon my  
Back and face your distant destiny,  
But seek no haven in my shadow.  
I will give you no hiding place down here.

Excerpt from "On the Pulse of Morning" by Maya Angelou

Simon and Garfunkel "I am a rock"

© 2014 Cynthia Pittmann

Monday, November 3, 2014


Photo credit

I fell into a hole.

It really was just a broken place in the sidewalk but I had a flash of insight, which is why I' m writing about it here. The fall was accompanied by one of those familiar memories of the future where an event seems to be repeated but it's the first time it happens - as in déjà vu.  Has this happened before, I questioned. I tried to think of similar experiences of falling. The first memory I thought of happened after moving into a new house in Puerto Rico. I was jogging and following my bliss down a quiet side street

in a romantic dreamy fog when

Photo credit
I noticed a large Victorian house to my right that was set in the middle of a lush green yard filled with slightly overgrown but cultivated plants. (It looked like this photo of a sub-tropical Victorian home in Springfield, Georgia.) Still thinking about the possible residents of this romantic looking home, my senses were jarred by the view of a new condominium building project. Reflecting about the possible demolition of the aging house, I was suddenly shin deep in a small metal encased hole in the sidewalk. I was cut and a bit in shock. I realized that the accident happened because someone did not replace a cover over a water meter. At first, I was angry because of the missing cover, but then I wondered why I didn't see the hole right in front of me. I felt uneasy as I remembered that when I was younger, I was often told that

I had my head in the clouds. I was a daydreamer. 

Keep your eyes on the road! (photo credit)
Once while driving on the scenic panoramic route on California's coastal highway (California State Route 1), I was so captivated and excited by the view that I nearly drove off the cliff. Talk about entering the moment! So I remember that time of falling into the hole and wondered if I was daydreaming. I keep thinking of Alice and her adventures while she was falling into a hole. I'm showing myself in my own looking glass by observing the way I react.

Thinking now, I remember that I had sprained my ankle exactly twice in my life, and both times I had to be rushed to the emergency room. The first incident happened because I was riding on the butterfly handlebars of a new pink Schwinn bike that my younger brother was steering. (I was twelve.) I was thrilled with the fun loving ride until my foot caught up in the spokes of the front wheel. The second time occurred at the same age. I was when I was sitting on the wheel cover of a tractor driven by my father and my foot slipped into the wheel. In both incidents, I remember the face of the driver, my brother and my dad, looking pained and guilty, which may have contributed to my profound hurt at being wounded. I felt seriously sorry for myself both times. I have an insight as I realize that I want someone else to be guilty and sorry when I am hurt.

The incident of falling into an uncapped-water-meter hole on the sidewalk repeatedly returns to my mind because I notice that I'm looking for someone to blame.

Years ago when I moved to Puerto Rico, I complained to my director about the parking problem at work. I am a bit ashamed to admit to it now but I was overly critical. It bothered me that people would park their cars everywhere and sometimes double park so that I could not leave. In busy times, cars were parked on the sidewalks or drivers would create a middle parking lane behind the legally parked vehicles, which made it impossible for them to leave because they arrived early enough to park their car in an assigned space. My director listened to my explanation about being late to class because I was blocked in and she said, "Yes, this is a small island and parking is competitive." Was I supposed to infer that people didn't have a choice but to break the rules? My angry reaction to illegal parking occurred many years ago. I've learned that rules are flexible and subject to interpretation by the drivers.

The most recent time I fell into a hole, I realized my orientation had changed. I no longer took it for granted that the sidewalk ahead would be evenly paved over. I accepted that I needed to look out for myself in this life. I know I cannot prevent every falling incident (read mistake) from occurring but I noticed that I have accepted responsibility for my own well being rather than blaming others. I realized that thinking or focusing on someone's behavior (rather than my own) resulted in my victimization. I have to pay attention in life.

Living in Puerto Rico (where my expectations are frequently challenged) has taught me to pay attention. I'm grateful for this experience.

© Cynthia Pittmann
Oasis Writing Link ™

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

Inspiration for Change

I’m organizing people, tasks, plans
at work and in my dreams. I’m
living my work life twice,
once awake and once asleep.
Let me out!

Walking down the street,
I’m shucked as new corn –
Exposed, raw, open.
It’s New York City in the fall
Curtains blown through -
caught, held, pinned.
(Muse refuse?)

 Outside the box
walking through Washington
Square in clear air
Green corners filled out
In secret places
rendezvous and parlez-vous
“Bonjour mes amies!”

Feeling life, living, alive
Holding together, letting go
Convex, concave
light and loose …
– it’s now or never.

© Cynthia Pittmann 2014

Thursday, July 3, 2014

Oasis Reflection


 "The moment your judgement stops 

through acceptance of what is, 

you are free of the mind. 

You have made room 

for love, 

for joy, 

for peace."

The Eckhart Tolle, The Power of Now

 The sun is shining this morning in San Juan, Puerto Rico. As the breeze gently 

catches the ocean mist, I'm reminded of the goodness in this life. It's so easy 

to forget to notice the beauty that surrounds us everyday but today I am reminded to accept:

I'm lucky! I'm so fortunate to live here on this beautiful island. I appreciate my friends 

and family all across the States and Puerto Rico who welcome me into their homes and 

make room for me in their lives.  It's good to know my health, if not perfect is good ! (I've 

done my summer routine checkups and I'm fine.) 

I'm looking forward to little pleasures, for example, soon we will have bikes to ride around 

the town and to the beach! My girl is coming home for a couple of weeks! Oh, yes, I'm 

happy indeed! 

In our ordinary moments, we can let go and just be in this moment and 

experience it without any changes. 

It's lunch time now. My simple pasta is warm and sprinkled with freshly cubed 
tomatoes. Soft and sweet peaches, freshly sliced, await. No, I think I'll try a bit of fruit right 

now with the pasta. Why not?! I'm moving along at an even pace at home and at work

...look for this, look for that's a mellow yellow kind of day. 

I hope your day is brightly imbued with radiant joy.


They call me mellow yellow

(Quite rightly)

They call me mellow yellow

(Quite rightly)

They call me mellow yellow

Some comments by Donovan about the lyrics and his inspiration:

"In an interview with the June 18, 2011 edition of the NME,
Donovan was asked what the song was actually about? He replied: "Quite a
 few things. Being mellow, laid-back, chilled out. 'They call me Mellow
Yellow, I'm the guy who can calm you down.' Lennon and I used to look in
 the back of newspapers and pull out funny things and they'd end up in
songs. So it's about being cool, laid-back, and also the electrical
bananas that were appearing on the scene - which were ladies vibrators." (What!? These are the songwriter's risqué words! haha)

is also published in Oasis Writing Link™

©Cynthia Pittmann 2014

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

Dear Diary

I have written in you for years
You have helped me with my fears
I have poured all I have inside
Things that I have learnt to hide.

You have helped me through
Confusion, through pain and love
I have found in your pages
All that I am.

My mind needs your help
To straighten out the thoughts
To unravel the tangled emotions
That are caught in its claws.

I trust you to listen to allow
Me the time
For in your world there is 
No time-

Just space and patience
A place where I can
Lay the past to rest
Bearing all of it 
Not just the best.

Your lines give me structure
To create a new path
You are open and welcoming
Like a loving old Aunt

You lay there waiting for me
Never pushing or pleading
Ready for me whenever
My heart is bleeding or needing
A release.

Thank you dear Dairy
Thank you for your peace

Learning to Appreciate Every - Brief - Moment

The hibiscus flower and its short life reminds me that all life is brief as are all experiences.

Hibiscus  is a relatively common flower that I've encountered in California and other places in the United States. However, in Puerto Rico the Hibiscus is the Flower of Puerto Rico and has some differences from the common flower I've seen elsewhere. They grow to a smaller size than elsewhere and are individual single flowers supported by a long leafy base. Nevertheless, I consider all of these tropical flowers wherever they are grown to be delightful. Knowing that the bud will open one morning into a flower that will last but one day, does not detract from their beauty. In fact, when the potted hibiscus blooms on the porch (as it did this morning), I remind myself to delight in this moment because in 24 hours this bloom will close and be gone forever. Isn't that an important reminder about all life and experience?

I'm reminded by the Hibiscus to appreciate the beauty of all life experience because each event is here now, and never will return in the same way. For example, our children are only young for a short time.  When the two year old innocence is gone, it is replaced by another version of that same child. Every stage of growth is wonderful and awful knowing that it will be experienced as both a blessing and another loss. The nostalgia you feel when looking at your children's childhood photographs provides evidence that this is true.

We have to learn to love, appreciate deeply, and then let go and move on to embrace the next moment.

Every difficult moment has it's own life expectancy, too. We should cultivate observing the gift in this transitory moment regardless of judgement. Breathe and notice.  This skill requires attention and a willingness to experience each moment in all of its thrilling (or frightening) beingness.

The hibiscus flower and its short life reminds me that all life is brief as are all experiences. It is indeed important to know this fact and to confront forgetfulness - to remember, I am alive. You are alive. What are we waiting for?  

Let us embrace this moment!

© Cynthia Pittmann 2014

Monday, February 10, 2014

Life and Letting Go


Sitting on the porch step perplexed and
Pondering wherefore, whence and whatever! 
However, how come, hence and finally,
What goes around, comes around.
Return,  depart and what happened? 

My little boy is growing up, 
Just the way he should. He's 
Moving out and becoming 
All that he wants to be. 
I'm happy-sad, spilling over 

Confusion and curtailed honesty.
Must be strong. Be well. Be better
But my boy is moving out. Starting
To fly (I almost pushed him 
Out of this house-nest)

So say it loud!
Say it clear! Deep breath:
Be well! It's time. 
Bye hon. Bon voyage! (and 
Buck up, Mom.)

Sending love and hugs! 

©  Cynthia Pittmann 2014

Sunday, January 26, 2014

Walking into Mindfulness

I am walking everyday for a 30-day challenge - a small step towards a better life.
I am finding that minus 20 weather is a real de-motivator.
But I go because I have committed to this new life one day at a time.
No skips.
I have found that when I do things I don't want to do,
I can either shut myself off to the unwanted experience
or I can enter it, open to whatever it will bring me. 
I am free to choose either one.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Word Surfer: 7 Reasons to Wake Up and Write

Oasis Feature ~ Creative Writing 

"Early Morning Surfer" San Juan, Puerto Rico

Do you ever wonder how to develop your creativity so that your writing ideas are fresh and inspired? I am sure that the key to unlocking new ideas is to foster an ongoing relationship with your creative self. You can develop this ability. Decide to be dedicated to your own projects and make them a priority in your life. If your time is constantly compromised because of work demands, family duties and social commitments, be warned. You have to choose to develop contact with yourself first over being on call for everyone else. If you are a people pleaser making this decision is a lot harder than it seems. It forces you to reexamine how your life is organized and insists that you commit to fitting in alone time which is devoted to writing.

As a morning writer, you have to have the same dedication as the surfer in the above photograph. Waking up early, he walks to the water, carries his surfboard and enters the chilly ocean long before an ordinary swimmer feels the need to take a plunge. Every morning, you must write a few pages about anything. It does not matter if you write about nonsense because the initial point is to develop the habit of writing. Over time, your writing content will change. Many writing coaches suggest that it is important to write in the morning; however, over the years of my own writing practice, I know that it provides the perfect way to develop your insight and creativity. When you wake up and write, you gain these and many other benefits.

7 Reasons to Wake Up and Write

1. Remembering your dreams: When you start a morning writing practice, you are able to remember your dreams better. At first you will likely remember only dream fragments, but later you begin to discover that the more you record, the more you also remember your dreams. Dreams provide you with clues about your life and make visible the creative force of the unconscious.

2. Understanding yourself better: Writing over time allows you to realize who you are and identifies your values. As a consequence,  it becomes easier to say no or yes to people without feeling pressured or compromised.

3. Clarifying your intentions: Through the process of writing, you may write about why you made certain life decisions. These written explorations help to strengthen your resolve because you remember how you arrived at these decisions.

4.  Discovering hidden motivations: Nothing reveals dishonesty as much as writing a long rationalization about how and why you are right. In fact, the real reasons behind a particular action become clear as you see your words on the page. 

5. Knowing what is bothering you:  It is so much easier to know the truth about your feelings if you write down some of the disturbing mental noise that bothers you upon waking. Without writing, these worries often accompany you during the day. Often just writing about anxiety lessens it or may even take it away.

6. Improving your life: A regular morning writing practice provides you with a sturdy framework that helps to build self trust and confidence.  It enlivens your day with zest and lends purpose to the years.

7. Making ideas real: Dreams and ambitions identify what you desire but writing about them helps you to become proactive. Through regular writing, you are able to move forward and accomplish these life goals.

Finally, I suggest that you extend your morning practice into your day by carrying a notebook and pen with you everywhere. I do not recommend that you use an electronic device because the temptation is too great. You will take out your smartphone to make a note; for example, and before you realize it, you are surfing the net, socializing on Facebook or reading Email. With paper and pen handy, when you have a few spare moments, you can continue writing and exploring the ever-enriching conversation with your creative self. 

Cynthia Pittmann
San Juan, Puerto Rico

Happy writing!