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Archive for January, 2016

Great things are not done by impulse, but by a series of small things brought together. (Vincent Van Gogh)

D has worked in jails. She’s seen pain and ugliness. She understands both justice and injustice—from the inside. And the experience has not hardened her.

Sure, I’ve given a dollar or two to displaced folk. But, if I’m going to be honest I have rarely looked those individuals in the eye. Once as I was driving out of a heavily traveled area I handed a few dollars to a young woman. She smiled; I notice she was almost toothless. Immediately I interpreted it as  meth mouth. Maybe she had it; maybe she didn’t. I was not going to solve the depth of her problems anyway.

I feel overwhelmed by the causes and power of homelessness. D saw a situation where she could help and dived right into it. She stopped long enough to talk to a couple who had nowhere to go.

The young girl, unmarried, was pregnant. Her family kicked her out of the house. Her partner also lost everything. D checked out their stories. By some divine serendipitous fluke, D’s friend in another state was able to verify the facts. D found a safe haven for the girl and a halfway house for the man.

Although this is the summarized version of the story, it includes the essence. I don’t want to accidentally relay the couple’s identities for the sake of curiosity. Therefore, I keep D’s name quiet as well.

I’ve seen suggestions for the desperate such as placing useful items in a purse and giving them to homeless women, or wrapping warm coats around telephone poles with a note: for anyone who needs something warm. However, D went ten steps further. She gave hope and possibilities.

I know D has overcome a lot in her own life. When she was a child her mother threw her and her siblings out into the snow. The children had no hats or coats. A neighbor brought the kids inside and called a relative who saved them. D knows how the cold and helplessness feel.

But D has not let loss live inside her soul. Thanks for the openness of your heart, ordinary angel. You are a blessing. Just wanted you to know it!

angels as ordinary people Optimisim Revolution

 

 

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You are important, valuable and unique. Don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. Live your truth and be amazing. (Ricardo Housham)

 Our outdoor thermometer reads twenty-two degrees; this is a step up from yesterday’s reading of eight degrees. I wait for the sun to shine as brightly as it does in mid-June, even if brightness and warmth are not synonymous.

Like many people I have survived trauma. Cold desperate winters remained inside my being long after each spring thaw. The situation is more common than most individuals want to admit. Since those days I have embraced the pain as well as the good that came from the past. After a lot of hard work. Time. Meditation. The love of friends.

However, I only recently learned that memories live in the body as well as in the mind. Why am I perfectly fine one moment, and then, without warning, an internal storm rises? I tend to retreat. Others strike back. The why isn’t always obvious. Even if I don’t act upon how I feel, the response remains.

As a writer I watch people. When threatened, one person may stare with contempt, mouth closed, jaw clenched. Another may fight without editing words or actions. We are emotional beings—whether we want to admit it or not.

The body remembers trauma, sadness, and loss even if the mind has long-ago gone to the next page. Am I depressed? Heck no! I have a loving family, a passion for writing, and more energy than many almost-seventy-year-old people. Moreover, the physical therapy for my misbehaving neck is working.

Nevertheless, I suspect that part of the disconnection between my head and shoulders has something to do with blocks inside my body’s memory. And that is where Marcia Erdman comes in. She does something called Defusion Therapy. She is also a licensed massage therapist. And she is highly intuitive.

“You give more than you have to give,” she told me once.

And she was spot on.

One brain therapy works for me because I don’t have problems that keep me from living life. I have blocks that keep me from reaching for the sky. No, I won’t harness every lofty goal, but why not try? Why not make the world a better place, simply by being in it—as fully as possible. Marcia uses an approach that includes Three in one Concepts. In essence this means that the mind and body work together to choose rather than react when stress inevitably appears.

Marcia’s system includes muscle testing and symbols, such as flowers, to improve areas that need growth. The highlighted sites explain the system better than I can. Besides, I’m a newbie. And for people in the Greater Cincinnati area, Marcia is accepting clients. Simply click on the link connected to her name.

In the meantime I watch the snow fall since rebelling against it won’t make winter pass any faster. Peace upon all. Wherever you may be.

 

becoming PIQ

 

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Most of us can’t help but live as though we’ve got two lives to live, one is the mock-up, the other the finished version, and then there are all those versions in between. (André Aciman)

I am sitting among friends, other women who are senior citizens on the outside with young spirits on the inside. Every Tuesday morning we meet and talk about our lives as they really are, not as we want them to be. We call ourselves Apple. This name appeared before I joined, forty years ago. Someone in the group mentioned the biblical quote: “You are the apple of my eye.” And laughter resounded. Many of the women looked like apples—their bellies were swollen with advanced pregnancies.

Now many of those babies are parents. But the Apple name stuck. We’ve changed over the years. The singing and harmony that drew me in doesn’t exist. The room isn’t as filled as it used to be. Members have moved or found other interests. In the early days the stay-at-home wife was common. That changed. Many of us went back to work. So did I. But I was fortunate to find a part time position that didn’t interfere with the time for the gathering. One woman died in a car accident. Two others care for disabled husbands.

As friends we have seen one another through triumph and tragedy, seasons and years.

M knows I hate driving in snow. She called an hour before the sharing time began, and she asked me if I wanted a ride. No false pride here. I accepted with gratitude.

Now a squall begins outside. Complete with a threatening wind. The kind that sets my worry gene into gear. But I pause. Listen to my Apple sisters share inspirational stories. And laugh. No, the storm isn’t okay. But it exists. We can’t harness it.

A ten-or-twelve vehicle pile-up on our local Interstate is making national news right now. I don’t know about it yet. Awareness is good. Especially when that means a major highway is closed. Continuous in-depth coverage? Maybe not. Especially when it begins a rolling snowball of coast-to-coast anxiety.

I learn later someone I love struggled through the morning commute, slid on the ice, and had a generally difficult day because of that awful four-letter-word beginning with an s. Yet she managed—without the dubious benefit of my fears. I offer my help. She won’t need to drive an hour out of her way for a babysitter. If I could hop in a time machine and change her outcome, I would. But I believe in fantasy only in stories.

I’d like to say that every word I write springs from my soul like some kind of innate holy water of positive thinking. It doesn’t. I work at it just like everyone else does. And I’m grateful for my friends at Apple for their constant support and love.

We’ve come a long way from new mamas to not-so-new grandmas. Together. Thanks. May your friendships be filled with people who listen more than speak, share both their highs and their lows, and know how to laugh at their shortcomings. Peace—one imperfect day at a time.

apples

 

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Love doesn’t make the world go ’round. Love is what makes the ride worthwhile. (Franklin P. Jones.)

 On the first day of January I am in the locker room at the Y—that sacred realm where children run naked and women hide their extra flesh behind wrapped beach towels. I see Kathy. Actually, I’m not sure she spells her name with a K. I only know her from the Y. She wears a beautiful soul that emanates enthusiasm for life.

Kathy generally arrives at the pool at about the time I am preparing to leave. Several months ago she bought place mats with the characters from Frozen for my granddaughters. She greets me as if I were family.

I finish dressing and wait to make eye contact with her. She is talking to someone else on the other side of the aisle.

“Oh, Terry, Happy New Year!” she exclaims. “I love your smile. It is so contagious.” She hugs me. Not one of those quick, in-a-hurry embraces. A healing squeeze. A you-are-important-and-I’m-letting-you-know-it hug.

And I choose to remember it.

“First hug of the new year,” I say.

I decide to pass the gift on, leak it out to others as the cold outside deepens and the warmth inside my old ’97 Toyota blows rich comforting air toward me.

In “The Curse Under the Freckles” I tell my readers that Chase doesn’t think much of himself, but he is important. He needs to break the curse; the cousin he relies on for almost every move can’t. Chase faces the impossible. He  sees himself as the kid at the bottom, both in class and in life.

Sure, I will need to go outside into the chill soon. Utopia exists only in the dictionary. However, beginnings are important. And every New Year’s resolution I’ve considered reeks with negativity. Perhaps fictional Chase and I have more in common than I realize.

Thanks, Kathy! You’ve made my day. No, correct that statement. You’ve started my year off right.

beginning makes the conditions perfect

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