Sunday, February 3, 2013


Life can break you. There is no argument there. There is nothing that can protect you from the all too frequent messes, pain and just plain garbage that life drops in our laps.  I have thought a great deal about this, my life, my agonies and defeats and lost dreams and yes the successes. 
What sees us through these pathways of life?  What bolsters us up when we don't think we can take it any longer? My conclusion ~ love!  You have to feel it and ultimately come to realize it is the reason we are on this earth.  We are all here to risk our hearts, in one way or another.

Love of friends, family, oneself, dogs, music, travel, works of art, history, the sea, beauty, books, flowers,  a clean house, and soft, clean, silky blankets to curl up in when you are at the breaking point....are all there for us when we are at the breaking point. Yours may be substantially different from mine, but we are here to risk our heart, our lives, our passion, our treasures, and come face to face with the tiny moments where we find what we have been looking for, hoping for. These can be little things that for the moment bring a smile to our face and joy for a time.
Yesterday a friend sent me a photograph of his two turtles munching on broccoli and a kitten playing and snuggling with them. It was a precious photograph.  Another friend sent me a photo of her pet rabbit in a caterpillar costume. Both of these people are experiencing great, deep pain right now.  One the loss of his wife of 28 years and the other a warrior with tremendous battles to overcome on a daily and hourly basis. Yet in two photographs it showed me they still, although at the breaking point, were reaching out and were not allowing themselves to be swallowed up.  Perhaps the answer is when you are at this place you have to risk your heart, if you find yourself broken or betrayed, alone or hurt, or if death brushes way too near. You just might need to find a small moment to cherish and handle and savor with great care.
Tasting the sweetness of these moments doesn't make the pain vanish, but it does allow you to remember that there is life beyond the pain and you often have to quite literally force yourself to find the sweetness of a single second, a moment. 
Sometimes we have to be our own angels. 
We all have our ways of overcoming 'stuff' when we are at the breaking point.  But the singular point is that we try and that we help others try. We have to find our own moments and help others to find theirs.

"When words become unclear, I shall focus with photographs.  When images become inadequate, I shall be content with silence." ~ Ansel Adams
For me, I find my sanity and peace and joy and moments in the world of writing.  It focuses me, centers me, puts me back together.  There is a saying in the writing world: "If you can't feel it, you can't write it."
Whether in photographs of turtles and kittens and rabbits or simply sitting with a cup of hazelnut coffee at the computer, looking out the window at the pastel blue breaking through the early Sunday morning clouds, I find my emotions are heavy and deep and poignant. Our feelings are a huge part of what it is to be human. 
Life is too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. Ignore those people and circumstances who try to break you, brush them aside. For it is quite true that everything happens for a reason. And ultimately it is only hurting them, as they show you who and what they really are.
"The most authentic thing about us is our capacity to create, to overcome, to endure, to transform, to love, and to be greater than our suffering." ~ Ben Okri
Listen to others and to your own silent cries for love.  Inspire others and in so doing you will also inspire yourself. Your life, the way you live it, is your message to the world.  Make certain it is inspiring!!
~ " Be a LAMP, be a LIFEBOAT, be a LADDER.  Help someone's soul heal today.  Walk out of your house like a shepherd. ~Rumi
Even if you find it is your own soul you are saving.



We tweet, we e-mail, we text.  Everybody is chatting but is anybody listening?

Perhaps it is my age and stage of life, but it seems suddenly quite clear that we need to restore the vanishing art of conversation.  WE NEED TO TALK. And not only do we need to talk, WE NEED TO LISTEN! WE NEED TO HEAR!
It is all too easy to write words out of haste or anger and hit the send button. It is all too easy to leave messages on our answer phone with words that can cut, hurt, and cause irreparable pain. They quickly become stuck in our memories, our hearts and our inboxes. They cause pain, misunderstandings, and heartbreak, as they continually reverberate in our heads.
It isn't all about us. It is about taking the time to close our mouths and open our ears and hear when someone is in pain, or reaching out, or in need of our presence, or soup and tissues or someone to care that we are alone and just don't feel well and need someone to show they care.  What we don't need is their ambivalence and attitude of "I am too busy, or too important, and have too much to do to be there for you when you need me." Days and days go by and you get an email, "I hope you are feeling better."  Seems like caring just goes out the window. But they reached out in the most impersonal, least compassionate way possible.  A way that again tells you that you are not important enough to assist when needed, but because they sent an email their obligation was met and their guilt assauaged.  Or you get a text, 'can I do something for you. YES! Thank you!  Do you need for me to get anything at the store for you? YES!' I guess this is the 'new' communication.
The other day I was at lunch and out of dozens of customers there with 'friends', almost every person at the table was on his/her cell, texting, tweeting, communicating in some remote fashion. But none of them had any remorse that the person they were with was completely ignored.  Rude comes to mind instantly.  It tells me that I am not important enough and this person I am with puts me in the backseat while something more important is happening on his/her phone.
It is time to create that moment in our lives, in our friends lives, in the lives of our loved ones where we are really and truly present for them.  This is slipping away.  Platitudes are issued, "Well let me know what you need." But nothing is forthcoming. 
What we need is more touch.  We become more human when we touch and are touched.  Why? Because when we touch, we are seen.  And when we are seen, we realize that our value is not tied solely to our pain and grief.  And we find quite soon that our being is not trapped in silence and isolation.
Our feelings are so much a part of what it is to be human.  Sometimes, many times, we just need a hand to hold, asking nothing, receiving nothing, just being there and recognizing that we are human, and we hurt, and we need them there.

Friday, February 1, 2013


What can't you wait until? 
I pondered and pondered this question quite last last night.  This is something I think we should all ask ourselves at some point in our lives, or perhaps more importantly many times in our lives. 
You know the drill ~ I can't wait until my kids are grown. I can't wait until I can get a better job. I can't wait to travel. I can't wait until I make more money. I can't wait 'until' I get married. And on and on. 
I can't wait until. There is always that 'until.'  But what if we can't wait.  What if we don't want to wait? What if time is running our and there may not be time for another 'until'?
Most of the time we are smitten with 'until'. It is a panacea, a place where everything will be beautiful and there will be no stress, anxiety or strife. It is a place where time stands still and all the moments incorporated into this place, this sanctuary, are exquisite, beautiful and timeless.  Moments that stay in our hearts and minds, never to be forgotten.
This question got me to thinking, to remembering, to cherishing moments of my life that I remember.  I remember making snow angels on the campus of Oklahoma University with my soon to be husband.  I remember when my daughter was seconds old and the nurse placed her in my arms.  I remember the loves of my life that turned out oh so wrong, carrying with them great pain and lessons to be learned.  I remember window boxes containing flowers that would make you gasp in Yugoslavia and pizza in Barcelona and summers in Paris with my aunt and uncle.  I remember wild raspberries on mountains in Colorado.  I remember the rumble of thunder shaking the earth in these same mountains.  I remember green moss growing effortlessly along peacefully flowing mountain streams. I remember looked at with love and my heart melting. I remember a yellow butterfly moving from flower to flower and the birds calling out their stories at the end of the day.  I remember moments of feeling peace. I remember being betrayed and hurt.  I remember fear of losing someone so dear to me to a stroke and praying endlessly.  I remember wandering the streets and alley ways of Seoul, Korea and absorbed in the sound of a country that intriguiged me tremendously.  I remember with the deepest love possible the dogs of my life.  I remember the breath of a horse as he nuzzled my neck, telling me in his own way that everything would be okay.
This morning I remember yesterday, sitting in the doctor's office waiting to be called in.  Three people sat with their backs to me.  One a young man playing games on his phone and next to him a Japanese couple watching the Home and Garden Network on the television above them.  The wife was bundled up in a beige crocheted shawl and cap.  I never saw her face.  The husband in an expensive suit, smiled constantly at his wife.  I returned to reading my book and glanced up again to see that he had put his arm around his wife.  With his finger tips he gently made circles on her back.  Then he would softly move his hand back and forth across her back.  I tried to continue reading my book but was mesmerized by this scene unraveling before me.  In this time and place I was witness to love.  To caring. To a man telling his beloved wife that he was there for her, that he loved her, that no matter what they were one. He then took two fingers and drew circles on her back and then returned to soft, tender strokes and pats that brought tears to my eyes in a waiting room in a doctor's office.  The simple beauty of this scene is one moment I shall never forget.  For in this moment, I became lost.  I became envious.  I became sad. I became alive to what love is.
I then knew what it was that I can't wait until.