I’m sitting on the porch in the early morning light with our pup Vanilla Bean and we are surrounded by movement and sound. El Nino is up to her usual tricks and the trees are swaying as if giants have awakened in the night and are rousing their cohorts to arms. Chimes are singing a furious song and leaves are swirling in constant rotation. It is sure the end is near.
We both sit in awed silence taking in the movement happening about us. Both having our thoughts for what it means and how it makes us feel. She looks out then back to me and then out again. As if to say is this ok? Should I be concerned? I look at her and say only the word “wind” and then smooth her fur. There is comfort in not going it alone. But alas, I can only name it. I cannot however control how it makes her feel. That venture I dare say can be a lonely affair indeed.
I think to myself isn’t that life?
We can name things, birth, death, graduation, despair , heartbreak, failure, triumph. These are their names but to climb inside anothers skin to feel the feeling is something we can only infer, and no matter what it is always a second hand account.
That give and take is the whole life of an interview. “How does it feel winning an Oscar?” “How does it feel losing the Super Bowl?” How does it feel to give birth, to lose a child, a parent a spouse? How does it feel to be successful, to be worth millions, be wanted or needed, or hated or feared? How does it feel? Inquiring minds want to know.
I wonder if anyone interviewed Da Vinci or Cleopatra, or Genghis Khan back in the day? Stories are written of them. They are full of what they did but how did they feel? That naked truth lies with them in their golden tombs.
For me unless the state is painful the wanting to know from others is not as important as feeling them first hand. Now let me be clear you can tell me the pain of a burned hand and I will feel no need to touch the fire. But I feel that the adventure of life is to feel it. How will it be really known to me otherwise. The feel of a lovers hand on my skin. Sunlight on my bare back. My heart when it is torn asunder.
Aaahhh the feeling.
The challenge is to make choices that have me feeling the way I desire. To change choices that have me feeling ways I don’t desire and to find a deeper place within me form when life places unpleasant feelings at my door. For that is the only way that I grow. For who would I be without the experience of a broken heart, loss of a loved one, betrayal of a friend. Who would we be without the failure? How would we experience fortitude. How can we truly savor triumph if there has never been defeat. Or love come anew if there was never love lost. It is by the contrast the bitter and the sweet that life takes on texture, nuance and depth. It is with a brave heart one must face the day. Ready to learn from our failures and be buoyed by our wins.
As we grow older it seems that our ability to feel dulls a bit by the experience of the sameness of life. Another pile of laundry another drop off another pick up. A part of us longs for new experiences. But as I sit and witness such a visceral display of nature in front of me… I feel it all. It only takes effort. It takes being present and being open to see it again and again and again… and still really see it!
So let the wind howl and rumple my hair. Let my own triumph and despair mold my clay. I listen to the chimes and hear their song.
I close my eyes to “feel” my life anew, free and unafraid.
It’s amazing the idea of ones own childhood. The 24 hour ness of it. The 12 months a year ness of it. Is it even possible that it lasted 18 years and yet it has been gone for at least twice that amount? The hours of play the make believe worlds the riding bikes and skipping rope ness… The best friends, the bullies the secrets and the deep emotions.
And yet the imprint lingers…
I am busy filling out paperwork for my kids and it has activated a nerve that often gets brushed when I do this task. “Do you need reduced lunch?” I proudly check No and in the same moment I can feel the tiny dime resting in my pocket. My Dad gives each of us one each morning and admonishes us not to lose it. I finger mine constantly throughout the morning making sure it is indeed still there. Some years we qualify for reduced lunch but some years it is free. I don’t like free. I like to be able to hand the lunch lady something other than a ticket when it is my turn in line. I envied those who carried the shiny new lunch boxes and even those with the paper sacks. Lucky ducks. Looking back my bestie Sara carried a sack lunch and it was the same thing every day. PB&J on white bread, un toasted an apple and some chips. The chip selection was the only element that changed. Sometimes dorritos and on the really awesome days it was cheetos, which were my all time favorite. We would lay her chips on my lunch tray and she was always generous a 60/40 split. She was so very over her PB& J but for me it looked like a dream come true. This memory runs it’s fingers through my hair more days then not as I prepare my children’s lunch. I have a sense of pride being able to do this simple task. Choosing the fruit changing up the selection. I feel such an amount of gratefulness.
Aaaahhh the imprint….
I go about my days of raising my own children and I feel the days slipping away and I try to dive in to see it to revel in it and get it into my skin. And yet even now I must arch my mind to remember them as babies their tiny hands and feet their first words the sound of their small voices.
The sleepless night, hours of play, the fevers and colds of babyhood have morphed into video games, playdates and homework. Where has the time gone?
We are told by many Sages to be present, to enjoy the moments as if it were our last. But how oh how? Admidst the dishes and the laundry and the homework and the discipline and the grades and…
And yet I have decided that this year I will revel for 5 min a day. It is an “alert” I put on my phone. It alerts me to Stare, Feel, Listen.
Stare at the faces, feel the soft skin…listen to their voices. I will rise higher than the prescribed duties for 5 whole minutes and I will know that this imprint will be there as my skin wrinkles and my walking slows.
And it will have to be enough!
It’s Almost here #Yipee!!
Another helpful, revitalizing, insightful workshop “A Goddesses Guide to the Everyday”.
Have you ever found yourself running on fumes. Only having just enough energy to a l m o s t keep up with yourself and your life. Looking for the meaning in it all. Looking in the mirror and wondering where “YOU” have gone”.
I certainly have. This workshop is designed to help us look at our lives in a new way. I truly believe that we all have a purpose and a reason to be here. A reason that is so vital to the world that it is imperative that we get on purpose and fuel our passion.
After this workshop you should be closer to identifying if you are on track with your goals and purpose. If not what has been standing in your way? I will give you tools to move from behind the eight ball and start to be the driver in your own life. Helping form a schedule a order to your life and along the way fueling your soul.
I know that we can feel excited about our life, our love, our kids, our jobs and our home!! After all without the passion the purpose and the love what are we doing it all for!!!
#Lets Go Goddesses See you on the 28th 3-6pm….yes I added an hour. (Gotta have time to chat and snack) Please email me for details Dahn@itsyoubutnew.com
Location of workshop is Studio City California.
It’s the first light of morning and I can hear an alarm going off. I moan and shift still half asleep. It’s not mine I don’t usually ever set an alarm, its for the hubby. He silences it in the groggy way one does at this time of the morning. He is usually up before me and off to the gym. He comes back and we trade. But not today. He had a late night of work and the gym will have to wait. He rubs my shoulder and whispers an admonishment for me to continue to sleep he knows I did not sleep well. But alas I am awake…Ugh I swallow and I feel the pain in the back of my throat and a throb in my head. It’s not quit the way I want to wake up any morning but definitely not on a Monday. This doesn’t bode well for the week.
I lay there knowing I have a window to decide how this is gonna go and it is closing fast.
I decide and carefully swing my legs over the side of the bed and hoist myself to my feet. I can feel the long busyness of yesterday along with tending to a sick child during the night in every inch of my body. I am tired and morning has come way too fast. My body lets me know what it thinks about me working out…NOT!
But through the haze I decide I am in charge… not my body and I need to run.
The crisp air hits me but it does little to alter the mood or the head throb but I press on.
I let my mind wander and it rests on a friend who is caring for her Mom who is going through the journey of Cancer. I say a prayer for her as my footfalls in a familiar cadence. I send her visions of this early morning light and prayers of grace. After her many others come to mind. Those who are suffering, those who are grieving, those who are out of a job, out of a home, out of love. And as I move I pray and as I pray I become a moving tide of gratitude. I think of all of those who would love to be on this mountain this morning doing just this. I think of those who would love to tend to a child or roll over next to a husband or clean a house or wash some clothes. Those who with just a smidgen of health or freedom would love to chase their dreams just one more day and my breathing steadies in determination my legs feeling less like lead.
I let the thankfulness fuel my thoughts of the day. I dedicate this day and all that it contains to those who can’t.
And as I round the last bend with my whole body in full forward motion I know that I will do it all #Because I Can…
And that makes all the difference.
Rest in Peace #MikeBrown
I’m not a Phd or Md or even a D for that matter in Relationships. Though I do love that letter for obvious reasons.
Nor have I done extensive research backed by grants and funds from prestigious schools of thought on marriage, relationships, and coupledom.
I am also not a Bible thumping believer in marriage at all costs or you will burn in hell and the children will be damned, scarred and forever wander in the desert of “can’t get it right, cuz mommy and daddy ain’t together no more. In fact I believe that being together only for the sake of the children can back fire terribly. I for one prayed nightly for my parents to divorce. The stress and strain of our parents unhappiness hung like a heavy wet wool blanket on a very hot day. Yuck.
What I am …is a regular
I believe in equal pay for equal work. A women’s right to choose and bedtime routines. I believe that kale is amazing, recycling is a must and M’M’s can change your outlook on life.
I can also easily grasp the idea that some might not wanna marry at all or procreate. Great! Marry and both be Boys or Girls. Go for it! You should be allowed to give it a whirl and see how you do just like the rest of us.
I am now and have always been obsessed with people and relationships and what makes them tick. Not in the gossipy non “Real House Wives” of Whatever-Ville way. But in the take apart the radio and put it back together…now turn it on does it still play… kinda way.
I was the kid playing in the kitchen while my mom and her friends talked so I could hear the latest. Collicky babies, men who didn’t want to commit, a new one pot dinner dish…I was hearing it all.
I was born into un-wed parentage, siblings by different fathers and a fierce amazing matriarch spirit who held the family together. My siblings and I cared nothing for the language of half’s and steps and so no matter our ration of blood we were full and we were love and we were mighty.
I knew God and church and brim stone. But no matter the brimstone what I hung, clung and clutched between my fingers like my life depended on it was Love.
It was what I searched the hallways of school for, the aisles of the church for, the playgrounds and the streets for…Love. No matter the upheaval of youth I knew it was all I needed.
“March of the Penguins” have you seen this movie? Oh the cold and the marching and the eggs and the babies and the mating and the hardship and the seals and the cold. The bone chilling cold and of course the voice. I am riveted by this story. I literally cry every time I see it. Simply every frame is filled with the fiber of Love. It helps them survive the weather the hardship the heartbreak the seals…if you ask me it was Love.
I wanted some of that Penguin Love.
I have read the article of “Conscious Uncoupling”. I like others giggled a little at the title. Some more New Age-y speak, ok fine bring it on. Upon reading I loved the point. There has to be a way to take apart, what was once together, in a sane, peaceful dare I say loving way. I stood up and cheered. Please oh please can we have more of that. Even if it comes with a ceremony performed by a group of small pointy nosed men and ashes I’m still in. But there was one cord that struck me as being off key. In fact it totally fell flat to my ears and haunted me for days. It was the idea that… marriage in it’s concept just doesn’t really …well …work… anymore! We live longer, we cannot expect marriage to last the distance. I heard biology, psychology, don’t expect…we are not equipped…no work for us no more.
I myself am on my second marriage I could be seen as living in a glass house but I have no stones to throw. What I do know is that as I walked down that first aisle towards a kind young man. I knew like I knew grass looked better green that this was not for me. And yet I walked and I spoke up when asked and I gave my consent. I was fresh out of college. I could blame my youth. But it would be an untruth. I knew. I was clear on the un- rightness of this coupling. But I was also hopeful in equal measure. Maybe all that I “saw” and “felt” would grow differently with the right amount of sun, water, jobs and friends. And then there was his sweetness and his true love of me. Oh how I needed that Love. So I reached up and grabbed it with a “I Do”!
“Are you married in a relationship…do you have kids”? It’s my question. My party, bbq, social mingle, PTA, church meeting, park bench conversation. It’s my question. I believe everyone has one. A question that though not scientific in nature sheds light on who this new person before us might be. My aunts question is what school did you attend? Education is always her question. My friends question is where do you come from? Birth location answers a lot I guess. And another guy friends wants to know what sport what team? I pity the person with lack of both.
But my question has always been married or not…kids how many? I have gleaned a lot from the answering of this question. And more than the actual answer is the way the answer is delivered. “Ball and chain” style. “Been there done that” style. “God help me get out of this hole” style. “Surprisingly it’s going well” style. Oh and my favorite “So far so good” style. It’s better than a scientology personality test -this question. What has struck me most in all of my relationship conversation is how very few “surprise” relationship deaths there really are. In fact I actually stared to view them like an urban legend. Out of the blue for no reason at all he/ she started to drink, beat, hit, be distant, not care, freak out, bore me to tears, leave. They literally woke up a different person. Which I might add is very different then “growing” into another person. We are all “growing” into something every day depending on the conditions and the weather. Births, deaths, war, finances, jobs, too much or complete lack of chocolate they are all effecting how we grow. What we have not done so often is turn from being a peach into a turnip. This evolutionary leap does not happen as often as you might think. There was usually something a little fishy about that peach even in the beginning.
Most stories I have heard all read like a not so riveting episode of CSI. Clues clues everywhere clues. Clues that were ignored or swept over or not taken into evidence properly. Whether this happened because of youth, naiveté, slow on the uptake, the desire to see the best in people or really great sex. Most are not payed attention to for one simple reason. The “if I know then I have to do something” line of thinking. If I fain being duped then I’m not responsible to do anything. And since we are not ready to “Do” anything we plead the fifth, cross our fingers and hope for the best. Well of course until there is just one… smack, lie, not showing up, lazy ass on couch, no ambition, unkind, arrogant, rude, unthoughtful, selfish, drinking, uncaring, eating with mouth open, aaaaahhh moment too many. And then with one huge AHA!!! We suddenly know what we must do ….run, jump, divorce, sever, leave, escape this Loch ness monster.
I have been made to watch a gazillion nature shows with my kiddies. The Kratt Brothers, David Attenborough and Morgan Freeman narrate my days.
I have always been struck by the symmetry of nature. The adaptation. The single minded focus of survival. Just the decision on which water hole to drink from is the difference of life or death for the herd. Every species has their “way” of doing things but guaranteed all roads lead to optimal chance of survival model. Survival of the young being highest on the list. They are in fact their tomorrow their ultimate survival ticket.
The human species seem to be the only ones bucking the system. We are like breakdown on eco system number nine. It seems to me and yes correct me if I am wrong that it takes two to make a thing go right. Yep that’s a hip hop song from the mid eighties. But two not one. And let’s be extra clear it really takes more than that. In case you haven’t heard it takes a Village. Aunties and Uncles and Grandparents and Friends and Peoples. But in the beginning to “make a life” it takes two. Even if you find a way to be one…if you want to make a child it’s gonna take two. And again correct me if I am wrong but it seems our species our children seem to do better (again arguably) with two. We are talking optimal health. Optimal survival. Some ying some yang I’m not talking sex…I’m talking energy. I’m talking about a family unit and I’m talking about everyones happiness. I’m sure some single parents are as happy as a pie lover in a pie shop. But I think if given the right person a little help and some partnership might really come in handy. Again I could be wrong.
And yet with the idea of Conscious Uncoupling we again embrace the idea that we are not “made” to do the two thing successfully. For very long. But since we can’t kick the kids out until at least 18 yrs old (ok fine maybe 16 yrs old in some states) and you know they still wanna stay past that. Then we are saying that “We the people” are not “built” for their optimal happiness model.
Just a moment I want to raise a tentative hand in the back of the class and ask. If every other species has in their DNA their ultimate survival game plan. Might not we also have this blueprint in our DNA. The ability to couple successfully for the ultimate survival and health and happiness of all involved.
Might this be “the way we were naturally designed” Might there be a homing device in us that turned on might attract the “really good for me” person for my person.
The reason that I pose this is that. What if we “knew” in our cells that coming together and being together for life was natural and the way we are “really built”. Might that feeling, that idea alone change the very nature of the union for our species. Might it release the ball and chain, the holding me down, the locked up, boring, same every day, no more excitement, sex with the same person ugh idea of …what marriage has become. Might it slowly start to thaw out the idea that it’s all just a crap shoot and that we are somehow going against our million sperm count to even try. Might we raise our boys and girls with the idea that marriage is great and good and fun and might that very idea produce a different outcome.
Einstein ( i think it was him who said) Just the observation changes a thing. Just the intent changes the out come. Just like the idea that school is hard, authority is oppressive, doing good in school is for the social rejects colors some kids school days for the worse. Most parents agree that unless you were born already knowing how to read, write and add. Your butt needs to go to school. Just because it’s challenging does not mean you don’t have to go. Just because it pulls it pushes, it makes your kids stress and strain. Even with the occasional boring teacher, or “overly” tough teacher. We don’t adapt to the idea that “school is just not natural” You know why because at our core we know two things…#1 the desire to learn is primal ask any parent watching a baby learn to move. You don’t really “teach” them to walk one day they are gonna want that cookie across the room and they are gonna scoot, crawl, walk or run to get it. #2 Well it’s just necessary for our survival. Cold cave man meet fire. And so we press on. We seek out great schools and inspiring teachers we search to see how our kid learns and how we can match their innate desire to a skill. We look for ways to stir the embers and light the fire. We know whether it’s sports or numbers, dance or the horn section once a child catches fire they are unstoppable.
And so before we add more fuel to the fire that is already burning so brightly that we are somehow not meant to be together …for that duration…under these circumstances in our lives today.
Before we do that.
Let’s sit with the idea for just a moment. That somehow the coming together with the perfect “for us” mate, that uplifts us and champions us, comforts us and sits with us. Someone who if you decide yes on children will stay and help raise them. And then later will rock on the porch with you as the light turns to twilight.
Whatever sex, color or creed.
There is a someone for your someone.
For the sake of the children for our species survival.
Let’s just rest on the naturalness of that…
for a moment
It’s a frosty night and I am cold. I pull the folds of my jacket around tighter and the hood of my hoodie more snug around my ears. Aaahhh why didn’t I remember to put on gloves. My fingers are going numb so I warm them with my breath and then jam them into my pockets. All of sudden I hear laughter and voices coming my way. I duck down and hold my breath. It is only then that the realization of where I am washes over me and I shiver again this time not because of the cold. You see I’m sitting on top of a baseball dugout on a baseball field…not playing baseball… in the middle of the night. Hmmm Interesting. Now to do this I had to hop a small fence and shimmy and hoist myself ( not without effort) over onto the low slung roof and into the position I am now Freezing in!
The voices move past me and I feel safe enough to rise up and then I see it. The flicker of a light that has gone on in the room across the way. I am here on top of the dugout because it is directly across from the room of my Hunky, Cocky, Sexy, Obsession. And I am Crazy Stupid in Lust /Love! Aaaahhh my head pounds and my insides do flip flops. I flinch as he moves past the window again taking off his shirt. How could I get so lucky more please!! And then I see her. HER!! The girl he “proclaims” to care nothing about. The girl who is “too skinny and un attractive to look at twice” Her! She’s in there with him. My breath catches in my throat and I am no longer cold. I am blood boiling angry! And it’s not at him it’s at myself. After 8 months of the hushed late night , shhhhh only in private never in public, seat creaming maybe he will call or nod his head at my existence torture. I am Angry and I am done!! Oh Thank Merciful Father God in Heaven! I am DONE. I’ve tried to be done before. But tonight as I sit shivering in the cold as she lays warm in his arms. I feel like the idiot stalker that I am. And somehow I am snapped out of my stalker revelry!! I know for sure if he really liked me he would like me in the Light around his Friends in the Halls in his room. He would be “ready” for a girlfriend. He would call when he said and we would laugh and talk and make out. I know at that moment “He’s just not that into me”. And I painfully, tragically, moaning-ly… move on…
I am standing staring at 2 dozen of the loveliest roses you can imagine. They are candle apple red long stemmed and they have just arrived. My new roommate comes up from behind and whistles her approval ( I wish I could whistle like her all low and sexy). I feel something on my face and I reach up to brush it away only to find that it is my tears falling skip hop down my cheeks . It’s done it’s over. The marriage. Where there was hope there is now only empty sadness. This does not come as a blow it’s been awhile coming. I mean I have already moved out. Instead it is like a brisk gust of wind, strong enough to make your eyes water not enough to make you wear a coat. I lay the card that I’m sure tells me how much he loves me on the table and I walk away. In my minds eye I see his puppy dog eyes as he watches me not knowing what to do or what to say. I see him on the couch drinking beer and watching Aliens for the 200th time (literally). I see him lifelessly waiting tables ( a job I got him) as he pockets cards from Executives offering him jobs. “I’m not really what they are looking for” Well how do you know? “I just do”. Well why would they give you their card?” a shake of the head on his way to another beer. I see the counseling sessions that I drag him to and the countless talks “What do you need? What can I do” as I hustle to job number 3 and back from rehearsals on my way to an audition. I buy myself tulips on my way home from acting class they were only $4.99 they are my favorites. I hate roses. I wipe the tears as I pack my bags. I know for sure – We can only change ourselves no one else. You can help all you want but in the end everyone has to decide to help themselves. You can stay and suffocate or Love yourself enough to leave. No one has to be wrong but the relationship has to feel Right!
I am arguing at a pay phone. My head is pounding and I really can’t remember what this particular argument is about. It’s a way of life for us now. He laughs and says we are Italian it’s fine. ( We aren’t Italians and they can’t be this miserable) What I do know is that I always end up confused and apologizing. Somehow it’s my fault. Oh right I remember… he didn’t show up to get me the other day. I waited and waited and I could have hung out with my girls who I haven’t seen for ages. In the back of my mind I think he did it on purpose. He doesn’t like my girls cuz they questions how he’s treating me. “That’s so petty” ( well if the shoe fits) ” I would never do that” I just forgot is all ( We had tickets and I was calling). Fine!! “Just come pick me up already” I say as I slam the phone down. It has started to rain and fearing for my hair I rush back to the house and past my roommate who is Still on the phone. Such a phone hog. I rush upstairs and finish putting on my clothes. I shimmy into a new dress all my dresses are new these days. And brush my hair the way he likes it. My mind is a blank as I put on my mascara I have willed it so. Silence is the best policy in times like these. I’ll be fine I just need to go out! He pulls his shiny Lexus up to the club and immediately we are whisked past the velvet rope and into the VIP section. I smirk as I feel the wanting eyes following me as I move. Uh huh VIP ALL THE WAY BABY!! The dull ache of my headache still lingers. I close my eyes waiting for the “FEELING” to pour over me. Damn! I must ” NEED a Drink”! I yell this to him over the music. He pauses, and in the pause I remember. Sh#^%T he needs money! Annoyed I reach into my purse and hand him 2, $20’s that should cover a drink and gas to get us home later. I mean he did get us in. We’re even right? We are moving to the beat but somehow his sexy body and the pulsating music do nothing for me. He leans in to whisper something in my ear…is his breath stinky? Yep. I turn and walk off of the dance floor and then keep walking until I hit the door (where I nod at his friend Todd) and then I keep walking until I see a Taxi. I can hear him behind me trying to catch up and calling my name. I turn and blow him a kiss…”You’re Right I’m Wrong” I say. But I’m done. I want peace and harmony. No flakes and facades. THINGS won’t make me happy. Being with someone should make me feel better in my skin not worse. Trust your instincts. Keep your friends.
I am coughing and my throat is raw from my effort. My eyes are bloodshot and my hair lays in a disheveled heap on my head. I look up to a steaming cup of something and I manage a weak smile as it is handed to me. “It’s beyond nasty but it will kill whatever this is” he says. The eyes are questioning though gentle the tone is reassuring. I nod my head taking the cup in hand and steady myself for the onslaught. And true to his word it is amazing in it’s awfulness. It lingers where it shouldn’t and I am perfumed with it’s insistent scent. YUCK! But days later I do indeed feel better. He is relieved…I am pitiful in my gratefulness. Death by unknown bubonic in my twenties…please I need to speak to the writer. I had been in this state for more than a month and he’s only known me for 6 months. It’s nothing like starting to date a girl with the plague. I am restless, he is steady. I am bacon he is vegetarian. I am rock he is jazz. I am free form he has schedules. He is hesitant I am sure of hand. He is resistant I am dazzling. I give space he comes closer. Always always…he is kind, he is truthful, he is interested, he is straightforward. We Blossom. We are laughter, we are sexy, we are grace, we are silly, we are committed, we are visionary, we are freedom, we are 17 years…
I didn’t want to write anything about The Man. The Man and his Greatness. Because well I figured all the great writers are writing about him right now. And I am not a great writer. And well what do I have to say about him that has not been said.
But after I mentioned this to the hubby he said “so what” you still have the right to mourn him to express your own personal feelings about the man.
…This Amazing Man the One and Only Nelson Mandela.
And as I sat and watched the tributes roll in. Watched the pictures being posted and his words being shared again and again I felt it. That thing that is the undeniable fact that we have lived in a time that framed the life of Nelson Mandela. A fierce crusader for Justice and Equality. A person who with dignity forged himself into a diamond a pearl through his hardship. This man this champion this leader….has Passed… and the tears fall unchecked .
I have to say that my attachment to Mandela was a very selfish one and very small by my own estimation. To me he represents Endurance and Patience and Despite the Odds Triumph.
I have found that my path has not been one that has been straight and easy to navigate. The twists and turns have been many. The pain has been real and the ability to cope has been needed. I found that because of this I gravitated towards those that have endured. I gained strength through them. Those that have not just survived but thrived admits the turmoil and chaos. Those were my beacons of light.
When I looked on his countenance I saw the years but not the scars. I saw the wisdom and the knowledge and the determination and the clarity. But I did not see hate and resentment and exhaustation in well-doing. How did he do this?
I am 10 yrs old and it is pitch black and I am lying very still in bed but I am awake. The smell is keeping me awake that along with the scratchy ness of the thin blanket and the fact that I am cold. All of these things plus the narrowness of the bed are not allowing sleep to come. I feel the breath of my sister who is lying beside me. Her slowed breathing is the only warmth I feel and it’s steady cadence calms me. As I train my ear to listen I can single out six different breathing patterns. You see my whole family is in this room. We are in a shelter or rather a Half-Way house. Half way to where? The streets I suppose and we are happy to have a place to stay….
How did he do that? How did he not come out of prison after 27 years not broken and battered angry and rage full . How? Those that knew him said that prison was a crucible and that Mandela bent the place and the people to his content of character. Aaahhh his character. The cell was tiny I have seen pictures and it housed a bed a table a chair and a pail. In the first 10 years he was allowed one visitor a year for 30 min and one letter every 6 months.
“Difficulties break some men then make others, no axe is sharp enough to cut the soul of a sinner who keeps on trying, one armed with the hope that he will rise even in the end” Nelson Mandela
My deepest desire in my life is to live fully. Mandela lived fully. To do this one must keep ones spirit intact. Though your spirit might be battered and bruised. It is like the heart is for the body. You must have it intact in order to live. Our spirit is the very life blood to our existence and it must not be broken. And so I protect mine with my very breath.
I am 8 yrs old… or so and I am lying in bed telling stories to my siblings. I say my age loosely for it really doesn’t matter. During my child hood I learned to forget so often and so well that recalling things now creates an ever shifting sheet of ice. Just when I lock ahold of something it breaks off and drifts away. Instead I remember through my senses and senses bely age. I am in bed telling stories to drown out the sound of arguing coming from the other room. I am animated and have voices for each character. They laugh and we talk and one by one they fall off to sleep. I lie awake listening. What is the matter? The usual. Lack of money, too many mouths to feed…not enough work… general annoyance and dismay about life. I hear a slap and then low crying.
I saw in this man the ability to endure. We live in a “right now” “easily hurt” society. Every challenge or discomfort is looked on as an evil . Comfort is sought at every turn even to the discomfort of others. “Life is hard” is spoken after a bad day at the office. People are in therapy for having been love to hard.” I read somewhere “You Day was Bad…not your Life”. How true. I sober up.
Mandela went to prison at 45 yrs old. The prime of life. He was released at 72yrs old.
HOW did he Endure? How did he thrive? HOW!! I am sure he had his bad days and months…hell I’m sure he had years of despair of doubt of fear of …no way outness. But yet he resolved to not be broken.
I am 18yrs old sitting in a car that my mother is driving she is talking and talking I am catching every other word. “Don’t come home” , “Don’t call”. I am staring down at the brace on my knee shifting it slightly to relive the dull throb… or is it in my head. “You have to figure your own way, I’m done”. We pull off to the side of the road where I see my friends waiting in their new red Civic to take me back to school. She is talking I am thinking… 3 months I have 3 months. She sits down my bags as I scan their bright faces. Watching a different mother great them warmly … I wonder who can take me in for the summer…and what to do about my leg…Hmmmm.
“Resentment is like drinking poison and then hoping it will kill your enemy” Nelson Mandela
This Man this remarkable man. Was released from prison while I was in college. He came out waving and Smiling. I remember his smile in all the news feeds. Not just a happy to be out of prison smile but a brilliant alchemy smile. He smiled like he had been made into Gold and he was about to Shine…!!!!
Oh and Shine he did! Watching him become the President of the Country that Imprisoned him was a day like no other. The people singing in the streets the banners waving the feeling of triumph and joy was palatable!! Though it was February It felt like spring and smelled like rainbows
“It always seems impossible until it is done”. Nelson Mandela
I am in the bed in the hospital it is bright and cheerful and full of flowers and balloons. Oh how I love flowers. I train my eyes on one of the blooms then look out of the window that is streaming with light. I am feeling excited, nervous and anxious. My life as I’ve known it has shifted permanently I have had a child. I shiver and pull the covers tight around me. The door opens and in walks my husband beaming followed by the nurse wheeling in our child. They announce she is perfect and lay her in my arms. She is so sweet and small and brown. she smells like morning and I stroke her little cheek and something in me relaxes. I realize I have been holding my breath and I laugh as I exhale and tears stream down my face. She is here, she is healthy I have done it. Fear fights for a place to be. What if I’m a bad mom? What if she doesn’t like me or I her. What if we don’t bond. She yawns and fidgets. I caress her small head and she opens her eyes. We lock eyes briefly on one another. She blinks yawns and closes her eyes once more. As if to say…”Hey… there you are …cool catch you in a bit” She was not worried at all. I am aloft on the waves of love. If I were a mere mortal before that day I got my cape at that moment. I felt fierce and determined and healed as I looked into her tiny face. The day I married I knew true love was possible the day my baby was born I knew I had come into my own. I felt capable and fully present. I knew I had the ability to fly.
I looked up to see my husband smiling down on me …What?
“Nothing you’re just shining bright…like a diamond”
This Man lived and more than fulfilled his purpose in life. He lived a life to be honored and emulated. He showed us what the human spirit was capable of and then charged us to do the same. He did not belittle anyones story or struggle but understood in all of us is the capacity to overcome and Love despite the challenges. My heart is forever changed because he lived.
“I learned that courage was not the absence of fear but of the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid. But he who conquers that Fear” Nelson Mandela
Rest in Peace Great Man.
We Love You
I have a girlfriend who every time she see’s me she has to compliment my butt. She really just can’t help it. We hug, kiss, tell each other how good it is to see one another and at some point when I turn around she gets a view of my butt and she let’s me know. “Girrllll you have the best butt EVER”! Now I know she is genuinely happy to see it. All round and I hope perky:-) I understand she doesn’t possess such pronounced bounty and well when she see’s mine it must make her smile. And In her mind I guess It deserves a compliment… every time.
But I have to admit. In the beginning of our friendship this “booty report” would totally throw me off. “What was she really trying to say!” Was I getting fat? I spent more time then usual sideways in the mirror trying to do before and after booty comparisons. Was I bigger then the last time I saw her? Yada Yada. I would go so far as to try on “The Pants”! You know the ones you keep in your closet but don’t wear. The ones you rocked before kids. You try them on every now and then (for me weekly). To see if they still fit. Hey I use that instead of a scale. Getting into them in general is not an option. But are they tighter then last week or looser? Inquiring minds wanna know!! Each encounter with my friend would throw me into the same funky head space. But not for long!! Luckily by the time I had met her I had grown. Not sideways but upward…I was Wiser.
See she met me after the turbulent years. Because now me and my body are not only on good speaking terms. We have become friends. It isn’t that we always see eye to eye . Lord knows we have our spats. But we enjoy each others company. Laugh at the same jokes and agreed on the basics. We are in this together!!
Now this wasn’t always so. There was a time that my ample bottom along with the rest of me did not make me happy at all. I call those years (12 yrs old until 8 years ago)… The Dark Ages” Back in the day my bottom along with my sturdy thighs among other things were parts to be hid, draped and covered at all times. I developed this hour glass shape pretty early on. And we all know how adolescent boys can be…”Loud and Descriptive” about what they see. And even though my “development “was complimented. It made me feel self conscious. And of course true to “Crazy form” you want that which you don’t have. I, like every other girl in the Universe /Stratosphere wanted to be Skinny!! Or at least that’s what it feels like, one body type (give or take boobs and a tiny butt) for 500 million women. That’s INSANE!! (not to be confused with “Insanity” a very popular workout video.)
My relationship with my body closely resembled that of a dissappoving parent who’s kid was lucky enough to get a smirk or a grunt of approval on any given day. “Now you know good and well that in “this family” all we have are Skinny Thighs …uh I mean “Straight A students” young lady.” So what do you call This!!! Hmmm blink blink…looks a little too wide to lumpy to bumpy to, short to tall toooooo something that wasn’t meeting with “moms” strict standards.
Only sometimes on rare occasions when the outfit was perfect perfect and I had eaten just the right meal for a flat stomach. And the clothes hit at just the right angle and the light bounced off the right side of the planet as the sun and moon eclipsed and the birds sang in operatic unison…was I Happy with what I saw in the mirror. Good Lord…who wants to live with this kind of disapproval all the freakin time. It was enough to make a person wanna run away!! And stay gone! But since the person I wanted to run away from was me. We settled on a “if you don’t start nothin’ neither will I” kinda relationship. We stayed away from religion, politics and short shorts hoping that would keep us out of trouble.
It wasn’t until after the Freshman 15 lbs, after it was lost, after College, after studying abroad, after living in NY & London, after my first real heart break, after my first 10 jobs after my first years of marriage and after my first BABY!!! That I finally really started having another kind of relationship with my body. That I stopped being the DOM needing my body to be the Submissive… That I started a new conversation with my body. A conversation that involved listening and talking. Where nurturing and loving and kindness came into my “body vocabulary” Where allowing my body to be be itself came into my way of being.
I remembered desiring with all of my might to be pregnant. I so prayed my body would cooperate. I remembered with elation waving around the stick that showed two mighty stripes. I remembered watching my body change with a new life growing deep inside. All of the thoughtfulness and the savoring of food that not only kept me alive but grew another life as well. Oh how I clucked over every choice. Lovingly reading the packaging. Checking to make sure that I was taking in enough of this or that so that the heart and lungs and brain would be perfect on this new being. Aaaahhh food & exercise became my wand and I it’s sorcerer. We were not only friends we were allies and we were in perfect pitch harmony “Must birth healthy baby”!!!
And we did it!!! We accomplished said task!! My beautiful daughter was born. After the process I looked at my body with it’s new curves and new bumps and lumps and thought…hmmm where to now?
Instead of going into complete panic mode. I read every accounting of how to get my body back. I had exercised throughout (doing yoga until the very day I birthed her). I had slathered myself with cream from head to toe. Get close to me during pregnancy and you are liable to slip slide away. I decided this was our new project and I dived right in. I did everything reccomended including binding my stomach, drinking the teas and starting slowly. I was invigorated with the process (yes with some anxiety) I was experiencing sleepless nights and long days. I was breastfeeding and tied down to a new crazy schedule of what she wanted when she wanted it! Ugh!!
I had the baby blues and I wondered could I… would it …can we? But now I wasn’t dealing with an enemy. My body had somehow thru the process proved itself to me. It proved it’s strength its capableness it’s amazing nurturing power. I was now dealing with a friend. And so we made a pact. If I chose the right things to eat, & moved my body as often as I could. If I would journal and talk to friends. If I would write and keep my mind moving. If I would seek help from my hubby and baby care. Then my body would do it’s part. It would pull itself back in and tighten up. It would allow me to walk and then run. It would glow and smooth out…it would calm into peace of mind. It would take care of me if I took care of it!
It grieves me to no end to hear us girls/women/mommies berating our bodies soooooo! Argh!! The mean words we say the unkind ways we treat our beings. The yucky things we feed our bodies and the lack of movement that our bodies must endure and then to be so un-lovingly thought of. It’s a wonder they don’t break down and cry daily. And weep for all the things they do that go completely unnoticed. Like the heart beating and the lungs expanding and the brain functioning and the cuts…healed and the babies born. All done with out a thank you in sight…
It’s a wonder they just Wail…and then quit.
And sometimes that’s exactly what happens. They get so tired of being mistreated. That they just can’t take it anymore and let you know it. Too much anxiety…hair falling out. Too much processed food…weight gain. Too much high stress….heart attack. Not enough movement and fresh air…Break down.
Would you want to do “better” for a task master such as this?
It is only thru kind words and action that our bodies will respond in kind. And like any relationship worth saving the change must start with you.
Loving yourself just the way you are. Body scrub and massages for your body as is. New makeup and hair for yourself NOW. New clothes uh huh right NOW. I know you are gonna lose those 20 lbs but your body and soul craves to look good TODAY. We have to love and reward ourselves and bodies for what they have ALREADY accomplished!! We are already behind in the accolades for services already rendered and it is Time to PAY UP and Pay it Forward!!
Recently the hubby posted a great quote about Big Butts & those who love big butts…”Trust anyone who loves Big Butts for they cannot lie”.
I laughed so hard because…
Truth be told I Finally know what my Ass-ets are!!
And I cannot Lie…
And by that I mean I HATE them!
Yep I used the “H” word and I mean it to the 10th degree!!
Having a friendship with an adult is like hanging out with a teenager all day and night. You’re having sooooo much fun sharing, caring and wearing matching bracelets and then BAM someone says something stupid in the hall ( doesn’t even have to be you) but it triggers a series of unfortunate events. Miss understood texts, talking in the locker room and well somehow you get dumped, blamed and well you NEVER know what happened. Remember those days? But fortunately as a teenager …your mom or a teacher or another friend gets wind of the Shakespearean comedy of errors and sits you down and sets the record straight while you all listen to Taylor Swift. Then you all cry and fish the bracelets out of the garbage and say what a dofus you’ve been. And the sun shines and the birds sing and well…you’ve seen the movie!!
But we are not Teenagers nope. In the Adult world it all looks mighty different. In the adult world. You don’t get the promotion, the locks change, the email’s stop, the book club goes on without you. Oh and you are not invited to their kids next birthday party…which by the way is happening at the Kids play space that you regularly take your kids toooooo….AKWARD!
And do you know WHY all of this is happening???? Huh?????
NO….Noooooo You Don’t!!!
Ok Ok maybe after you hit your head on the concrete a number of times you might have a vague shadowy recollect of something that should have been nothing…but hmmmm could that be it? Nahhhh…yeahhhh????
AND do you know WHY you don’t know for sure ? Drumroll please…..
Because no one wants to TALK. The absolute gripping fear of confrontation ( talking things out) Kills 95% of Adult Friendship.
Yep it’s that simple…. no one wants to talk about the shit and the ugh and the hurt and the pain and the stuff. No one wants to confront the uncomfortable-ness that comes with being a person and living a life. No one wants to make a mistake or be seen as someone who has flaws. In order to keep Adult friendships alive ( I have studied the mating rituals of this species) you need to either have an Alien mind meld ( You Absolutely agree with each other on all aspects of life here and beyond). OR be equal parts “Easy going” muscle relaxant style “. “Blind (Mob Style) ” oh and Numb (that gash…oh please can’t even feel it).
But let’s just say you are one of “those ” people who wanna “talk” wants to know. You can’t just “go along with the rules”!
And if by some chance you corner the person to talk and yes I do mean corner them. Just to “talk” and you know “clear the air”. Cuz things (birthday party…book club…girls night outs) are not what they used to be. As in you are no longer invited.
Yep they smile and lie. “Oh no nothings wrong…just been busy” You know kids, work, school, Bob, Mom…blah blah blah. And there is no Taylor Swift song and there is no fishing the bracelet out of the garbage and well you end up feeling like why oh why did I even ASK. Ugh!
Or they lie and say nothing is wrong and start doing passive aggressive stuff like “forgetting to put your name on the list or mention that you were interested in being on that committee or the invitation must of got lost in the mail. Really!! And this happens so often you can’t decipher when the invitation Really is lost in the Mail. Argh!
OR and this is my favorite…you have a come to Jesus talk they tell you everything. You laugh you talk you cry. And then they avoid you like the plague because now you know their secrets and well they can’t bear to see you and (the secrets again). Like… if I tell you… I’ll have to kill you GodFather Style. Sigh!
You know when we were kids. When we knew why sweet shy Sarah started skipping school and smoking in the bathroom with the older kids and sleeping with the football team. We knew that her parents had gotten a divorce and the dad remarried and he doesn’t come around anymore. We knew that her mother started to drink and that she cries at night. We still talk to her on weekends when her Grandmother brings her to the same church you go to. She admits she’s sad and being “stupid” with all those boys but she’s pissed at her dad. We still see her as she really is. We talk and laugh about happier times. We are happy for her when her mother gets a new job and meets a nice guy. And we couldn’t be prouder when she starts coming to school with a scrubbed face and pig tails again.
Remember those days.
But as an adult we don’t know what happened to each other prior to starting this new job…moving to this new town…joining the same mommy and me class. Instead we get to “know” the person we see at the school bake sale and the kids soccer games. We might have some play dates with the kids or go out to a Happy Hour. And we might start to notice that they never mention the town they were in before. Or that they can Never go out after the PTA meeting (something about the husband liking you home) or they don’t talk about their first marriage or they drink a little too much.
And we all have a choice.
To get to “know” them better or just let this new info float along on the breeze….All easy going like…
And this choice becomes less conscious and more about survival the more hurt and confusion we suffer at the hands of so called “friends”. If enough Friend-grenades go off in your face. Well you just don’t wanna “know” anymore. We just wanna “get along” have a “nice” time and not “spoil” everything. So we live a life of almost friendship. It’s kinda toddler style. We do things side by side but we don’t “Share”. We don’t wanna risk (being pummeled in the head with a rattle).
We smile and bake and cry in private. We suffer from misunderstanding and half told truths. We share a laugh over our kids heads in line and we tell “all about our day” in the bleachers. When it goes wrong when we hurt or get hurt…Well we just join another class or sign up for another committee or move.
We are the walking wounded. Hurting and being hurt. Unconsciously and sometimes on purpose. It’s all just horrifying.
I find this kinda life Sucky and crazy uncomfortable and yucky and icky. Kinda like half living. All of this NO INTIMACY Makes me wanna Holla!! Yeah I’m besties with my hubby and my kiddies are “my life” but Seriously!!
I am Raging against the machine. I have decided not to learn” this lesson. I have decided that it is better to love and have loss then to not have loved at all. It is better to know. It is better to be KNOWN. It is better to go in deep and live full and free.
Now don’t get me wrong I do all of this oh so carefully these days. The years of friend – grenades going off have left their mark I must admit. I have little or no patience for small talk and being with people that I feel no organic connection. I am not interested in agreeing about the weather and being with the “cool” crowd…who even knows what that means anymore.
I want to “feel” something I want to be connected to like minded people. I want to dance, travel, laugh and cry. I want to talk about stuff that matters I wanna smell the roses. I want to encourage and be encouraged. I want the space to be honest and full and Me…tiara and all.
Because If the grenade goes off… I wanna have been reaching for soul intimacy.
Live Big or Go Home….
So as you know it’s the day after Halloween which basically means it’s the week before Christmas!!
My daughter woke up this morning and literally wanted to know how many more days we had until Christmas? Huh!!! It was Halloween like 8 hours ago. I felt sweaty and my heart started to race.
Because I realized that they must have gotten to her…
Them…those people…those ADVERTISER Zombies and Make Money Money Vampires had bitten my baby!!!
We all know late last night they were throwing the pumpkins in the trash along with the candy and the scary masks and the wicked witch costumes… some with kids still tricker treating in them!!! Because they are in sucha darn rush to move on to the NEXT Thing. The Next Money Making THING!!
Yeah it was JUST Yesterday! So before you feel pressured to buy your Turkey tomorrow and put your wreath up on Sunday.
I recommend that for just a moment Pause and Breathe Deep. Don’t take down your skeletons and goblins…leave your brilliantly carved pumpkins out!! Take a moment to LINGER…Yep linger and spread out in this moment.
This weekend I challenge you to make a list of all of the ways you want to feel this Holiday Season. Yes FEEL…like I want to feel connected to family. Or I want to feel peaceful or joyful or accomplished or loved. Or I want to meet new people.
Then write a list of what has to be done for the Holidays. I gotta take the kids to see my parents. Or I gotta buy toys, I gotta buy people Christmas gifts. I gotta go to the darn office party…Yes the “Gotta Do” list can go on and on.
Now look and see if how you want to feel and what you have to do make any overlaps. Like I want to feel connected to my family…overlaps with I gotta take my kids to see my parents. Or I wanna meet new people might overlap with the Office Party. Or I want to feel accomplished overlaps with what I need to give people for Christmas ( maybe you make something)!!
Hmmmm Maybe just maybe you can come out on the other end of this Frenzied Season Feeling anything BUT…Frenzied.
Instead you “get to feel” Accomplished and Connected and Surrounded by people and Love.
Just by changing our Perspective we can change the whole Experience.
Ok so that’s my take!!
Cuz gosh darnit I’m still eating Candy!!