Thursday, February 9, 2017

My Buddy Bella

She waits, ever patient, hoping I'll begin this day with a bit of play.
Alas, Mom washes her face, plays on Facebook, drinks her water
Bemoaning yet another dark and rainy day.
   She hunts for my photo and cannot find it, so posts one of Abbie, another cat
Yet here I am, her buddy when she's down, present when she cries
I comfort her in bed at night.  I have no concern for the political scene
  that weighs heavy on  her in recent months, for I live in the present moment.

Bella has seen  me at my worst, which is often the first hour of the day.  But there is a hint now of spring in the air.   Trees are budding, and in some gardens, crocuses are already starting to bloom.  It has been a long, crazy winter, and Bella has been a mellowing influence on me.
   She remains curious, loving to sit in the window in all kinds of weather.
   She is ok with only a few sticks with string for toys, and boxes with strategic holes.
She demands far less than I of the day, and our silent love grows.  I have good company on my home front, beyond the computer and plants,  a sweet being who adores attention, but can mellow out with  her many naps when mom is busy elsewhere, or exercising, or eating.
   She loves people, anyone who shows up at the door she will gladly explore with her nose.  The real enemy is the noisy vacuum, or maybe Rose's small dog Pearl; she claims her turf, and Pearl backs off, aware those claws can do damage.  For the most part, my Buddy Bella is a friend I can count on even in sickness, and that has been such a blessing this winter!  We are learning one another's routines, and she can run like a mad cat in  the night all she wants, as long as she leaves me to sleep.  She knows I am not in a playful mood when I get up at night for water and a bathroom break, but she still leaves me a stick with string in case I change my mind.  And now it's time for some pre-breakfast cuddling, so I shall say good-bye here!

Tuesday, November 29, 2016

WE LIVE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES

     WE LIVE IN UNCERTAIN TIMES
No longer assured we have a functioning democracy
For suddenly, to the shocking  surprise of many of us
We have a president bent on supporting  corporate interests
  Ignoring the  dignity, rights, and concerns of women, most minorities, and immigrants
  disdainful of caring for our planet with measures to curb global warming  or cooperating with other nations,
       He chooses to not protect our  waterways,  national  parks and forests, clean up our atmosphere, or have the EPA  do its job.
He  has no intention of getting our energy from solar, wind and thermal, but delights in using more oil even when the risks are truly  scary with  the track record of pipelines.  His invested interests are his bottom line.
   He cares more about his investment in pipelines than in protecting Native American’s sacred lands or sacred anything.  We obviously need to be resourceful and get organized without our president-elect on board.


He wasn’t prepared to become our president, and we sure aren’t prepared to live with his agenda as it is unfolding with his transition team.  THESE ARE NOT ONLY UNCERTAIN, BUT DANGEROUS TIMES UNLESS WE STAND UP TO THIS MAN WHO HAS NO QUALIFICATIONS TO BE LEADING  OUR GOVERNMENT, despite winning in the Electoral College.  Changes need to happen.

Sunday, November 6, 2016

BEING OPEN TO SURPRISE CHANGES EVERYTHING!

The day began so quietly, and my intention was to rest and take it easy, beginning with stretches in bed with my bedroom flooded with bright light.  But  the day unfolded in ways I had not imagined.  The predicted day of rain didn’t happen till about 6:30 pm, and it poured much of the night, again blessing our  forests, fields, waterways and gardens.
   So while starting my morning tea, I listened to  a program about how unique each of our brains are, and when we list  our goals, then imagine achieving them, we start to create new set points so our old “default” ways of operating begin to fall away as we take small daily steps and see what happens.  With success, we secrete dopamine,  and when we share it with others, we release  oxytocin, increasing our likelihood  for success.  
   Some of my small daily steps include Donna Eden movements throughout the day, wiggling or dancing to inviting music, taking time to meditate.  The latter just didn’t happen yesterday  because I was engaged in saying yes to life!
    After breakfast, I took a short morning walk, and began to tidy my tiny garden, pulling out the sun chokes so I have a few to eat, and raking the soil as I continued to uproot the dead plants.
    As I walked in my apartment door, a potential caregiver called, so we had a good talk. Already two people have answered my ad, a good start, and both sound interesting to interview soon.
Then as I began to meditate, Rose, a loyal caregiver this psst year, called inviting me to join her and her parents for lunch at Sauce. They are visiting  for a few days from Maryland.
    This was such a welcome surprise, and the four of us had a lovely time, free to talk and share our food with one another.  I  discovered I love their beef brisket meatballs along with a bowl of dahl, brussel sprouts, brown rice, raw beets, avocado, and butternut squash.  It was fun offering Rose’s mom  some of my food, as she’d ordered a simple  salad but was curious about what was in a “bowl” entry.  Their chai tea  is fabulous, and perfect as after our lunch I headed home to greet Jerry.  We drove to hear an amazing piano Trio at the SOU Recital Hall.
   This Dephi Piano Trio was totally mesmerizing, playlng with such grace, precision, and passion.  It was my favorite Chamber Music Concert of the maybe 8 I’ve attended over the years.  Tickets are discounted from $38/seat to $5/seat with a Food Stamp Card.  We first heard a Haydn piano trio in F Major, then  a Czech composer Smetana with fast-paced lyrical melodies and ending with a somber tribute to his four year old daughter who died of scarlet fever, and his grieving was put into this composition.  After the intermission we enjoyed Schubert’s  Piano Trio in B-flat Major.  Words don’t do justice to this remarkable ensemble., but  we knew we were hearing musicians who put heart and soul into their playing, moving the  whole audience.  At the the end they had a reception with fruit punch, two huge cakes, and even gluten free brownies made with avocado oil; you don’t have to go to New York to hear the best.  They’ve recently released their debut album, Live, an appropriate one-word for how they play together.  The big surprise came as we were leaving, admiring the gorgeous bouquet of bright fall flowers full of mums, gladiolas, chrysanthemums, lilies, and a few  others Jerry knew and admired; suddenly the lady offers us the bouquet, so we took it to Jerry’s home!
   I had intended a quiet evening on  my own.  Instead we came back to my apartment, shared a simple soup and toast dinner, then drove  in the pouring  rain to Pascal Winery for an amazing evening of beautiful singing, with two young women  with  operatic voices. Then  we heard a Seattle group with a fiddler,  guitarist, and a loud, brassy women  singing Ukrainian and Celtic folk songs.  We came  home at intermission, too exhausted to stay.   It was a very full day, focused on fun instead of election paranoia.  Sometimes saying yes to surprises can be quite an unexpected blessing.
  “ In every moment, our senses take in new information, or old information seen in a new way. We add that information to what we already know and adjust our knowledge. We see the trees slightly differently- the colors of the leaves dance in a way that they haven't for us before. The bark of the dog sounds more rhythmic and musical than we had ever noticed. The life circumstance that we are in suddenly seems like a classroom, where we are learning in every moment. How to grieve. Who to talk to. How to express our anger. When to crack open our heart and let others in. How to see ourselves with more loving eyes. We all have this same opportunity for learning, but many of us don't see it. We see ourselves as victims, that nothing ever changes. That life never gives us what we think that we are owed. The real truth of the matter is that every experience, no matter how we qualify it in our minds, is a gift. A priceless treasure.”  This quote is from a sister writer from my class on freeing your Inner Wild Writer.  And we now have a year to share on  Facebook, encouraging one  another.  This quote actually fits the sort of day we had when I let go the shoulds and  just let the day flow!
   

     

Wednesday, October 26, 2016

WE MAKE A DIFFERENCE







When we get discouraged, it is important to know what we say, what we do, what we hold dear does make  a difference.  Our world, the one we grew up with,  is no longer viable.  We need to address issues that have long  been avoided, and take a stand.  And we are more creative when  we come from our wise inner self, not from the critics we hear all around  as well as within us.  
    In my final class tonight on Freeing the Inner Creative Writer, the bold teachers suggested we continue to connect and share with one another, for there is strength in being there for one  another.   I shared this with  the group,  and do so now with you as well.
   I am a small bright tree in a vast forest. In the sunlight I  feel alive and expansive, connected to the wonder of Mother  Earth and all the sky Spirits-the wind,  the sun, the unseasonable warmth after weeks of grey, wet skies.  For the first time in many moons, it was warm enough to sit outside and hem my new pajamas, for I could see as I cannot to do such work  indoors.
   Once it becomes dark, if I am quiet and present,  I  become aware  of how deeply I am protected and supported by invisible forces. It is easier to let go, and trust I belong right where I am, in this humble abode.   Happily, when I let go the doubts and fears, I can also let go obsessing about people or situations I cannot change.   Would I rather be free, or attached to security, control, approval from  others? 

    As I age, I am more patient, more discerning, more forgiving toward myself and toward others as well. I have learned feelings arise, often need to be expressed, sometimes shared, then they too pass on.  To keep on letting go, I need time to rest,  time to be reflective and honor this time for self-care I don’t have when my life centers on  others.  Community matters so much now too, a chance to be playful, sing with, be with others  in ways we nurture one another.  That is it for now!  Know your choices make a difference too!

Sunday, October 2, 2016

Let's begin to turn it all around

Let's be like this roaring, lovely river
Carving her way for millenniums through the stony land
Giving hope to Indians long forgotten, still alive

Let's find wonder in hidden  places, be it our dreams
Or a response to a Facebook post that I am feeling lonely
And like wild flowers we don't expect to see
Friends from far and near, reach out to comfort me

For while I do enjoy solitude, I also love good company
Whether it be an outing with a friend I've not seen in years
Or sharing a dinner with good conversation at a friend's home
Let's begin to turn all this fear-based living around
And  choose to focus on the beauty and wonder, right where we are.
Yes, illness and a need to change plans  are part of life
Today I  shall listen to upbeat music, live and booming on JPR  right now
It can be good to break out of routines and habits that no longer serve us well.

So while I'm unlikely to roar while tending a sore throat
The writer in me is beginning to come  forth, not just with
   her pretty, happy parts, but also the downcast, lonely parts
That welcome hearing from friends, reminding me I am indeed loved
Even when I am discouraged by my body needing TLC, not just from me!
Off I go,  to listen to live jazz and take a short drive up the mountain
This chilly, rainy day.  The rain is so healing for our forests, waterways, pastures,  gardens.
It gives life to Mother Earth, and for this, let us give thanks.
 

Wednesday, August 31, 2016

SIMPLE JOYS

SOMETIMES happy memories bring back a sense of wonder and gratitude, like the photo above shows from our  family gathering/memorial three years ago.
Yesterday had special moments, like checking out Goodwill,  finding a great bright light for my living room on a dark, gloomy day, and a great pair of pedal-pushers with pockets.
  Meeting a new caregiver Heidi who has such enthusiasm she'll return Friday to learn more!
  A surprise call from a friend to take me to a movie-I love movies, and it's ever so much more fun
   to go with a dear friend;  I need more  light-hearted moments, though the movie was heavy, it did portray how a dark-minded mother who presses her son to feel guilty and confused can sure mess up a number of people's lives.  Her son was sensitive, intelligent and naive in his social skills. She made him promise to let go a  young woman he really loved in trade for her staying married to his dad-manipulation is never a wise move.  It's a joy to see a movie on the big screen with a strong message!
   And I learned an all women's choir (Women  with Wings) will start up Sept. 10, and meet every two weeks, so I am hopeful  to join my voice  with others and make some new friends too⁄
   With all the reasons to be concerned, even worried,  in  our polarized world, simple joys are crucial to our well-being!  Fall is very much in the air, including the smoke from fires.  It is a joy to have high temperatures under 90 degrees!


Sunday, June 19, 2016

Can we celebrate life in the Shadow of Death too?

In the Shadow of last weeks deaths in Orlando, our web of life has been shaken.  What can we do now to make it tougher for such massacres to keep on happening, where can these people find shelter, solace, a safe place to find sanctuary in a world like this?
      For a week now, our skies have been darker, more rainy, cooler than is usual for June.  Could so many unpredictable changes be affecting us all?  Yesterday we had a wonderful Interfaith Vigil at our local Havurah, hosted by the Jewish community.  We listened to rabbis, ministers, minstrels, and shared our horror at what is happening in our country.  We shared our resolve to not let these repeated massacres define us, letting fear paralyze us from taking actions to create a more peaceful and safe world.  In the face of such deep grief, we also need to play, to rest, to take care of our selves individually and collectively so we do feel loved and protected.  As Norma Burton shared, life for many of us has been  full of storms, times that try our souls.  We can  emerge with more tolerance, more compassion, more awareness of how crisis can bring us together and help awaken us
    We are survivors, and it is tough to realize how deeply violence is imbedded in our nation's soul.
Maybe this is a wake-up call, time to stand  up for gun regulations.  Maybe it's a time to find healthier hobbies than hunting for sport, shooting other people when  we are mad and upset, condoning the silence from our lawmakers.  We need to break  thorough  the vicious cycles of hate, isolation, and rejection of those whose customs and ways of life are different from our own.  With the internet and other media, we now can see the faces of those who have lost their  sons and daughters, their friends who have done no harm, and now are dead, many only in their 20's and 30's.  They were gathered to enjoy one another's company, to be with kindred spirits.  What next when the Pulse will remind them of what happened only a week ago?  Our web of life has been  violently shaken, and more innocent people have been murdered and maimed.  One minister said we must now love each other out of our despair and shock, that we need the presence of Love in  our lives to arouse our courage, our resolve to help create a safer, kinder, more just world for all.
    When we were encouraged to first look a stranger in the eyes, then embrace one another, how readily the tears flowed, tears that may have gone unshed had we stayed home.  It is a time for mourning, and too, for finding simple  ways to honor and celebrate life.  It felt good for me to go to a second-hand children's store and take the time to buy some fun  gifts for my granddaughters, who are coming to Ashland this week.  Celebrating that I am a Grandma and  I treasure these rare visits with family who live far from  me.   Yes, we can celebrate in gentle ways, reach out to one another, resist the temptation to isolate ourselves at this time when so much seems out of control.
We can show up for life.  Slow down.  Be there for our friends and even for strangers, and do what feels appropriate to care for ourselves as well.  Sweet  Eliza, and Taryn too, I am so glad to see you for a couple of days this week, to be able to hug and read to you, just enjoy your presence and that of your wonderful parents too.  Let us choose to say YES to the life that nourishes us, brightening  our days even as we trust the rainbows and sunshine shall return.