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Posts Tagged ‘encouragement’

I can be pretty dense about my own basic needs, when my focus is getting through the many small tasks of a day’s work and a day’s caretaking. (Lydia Millet)

I suspect that if I still were smoking, drinking, or using chocolate as a dietary staple, my New Year’s self-promise would be a rhetorical question. The word resolution has developed a seasonal flavor, worn-out by February, lost before the first green of spring. I’m trying a side door.

A spiritual group that has kept me reasonably sane for the past forty plus years, has developed a new approach to the New Year’s Resolution. We each choose a word that represents something in our everyday lives that needs development, improvement, or downright realignment.

The name of our group, as the illustration suggests, is Apple. When we named ourselves, our bellies resembled the round fruit. We were in our fertile stage of life. (Fertile now refers to composting.)

Yet life continues to call for change no matter how much we age. Development. New seeds within our understanding. How can we become better individuals? Never perfect. Perfection remains a definition in the dictionary, like utopia. After all, we choose only one area of change. Encompassed within one word.

The word—It must:

  1. Express a need that appears often enough to set a person back as often as daily.
  2. Be intrinsic to our own flaws, not someone else’s.
  3. Yet, not allow self-loathing.
  4. And include a sense of humor and forgiveness.
  5. The same word can be repeated the next year.
  6. Provided effort is honest.

Examples of words are: judgmental attitude, self-criticism, resentment…

The next question is how can we take a notion and act on it? Lifelong bad habits don’t disappear with a decision. They take observation, study, sometimes even outside help. Therefore, we listen to one another’s experience. And make minor thought moves, followed by small actions.

For now, I try to get through the day. So much to do and no doctor’s okay to do it. No, I can’t choose patience. That asks too much. Then again, maybe patience is a side effect of any journey’s choice. As unavoidable as conflict, pain, and another sunrise.

Peace upon all, and a blessed year all the way through.

 

 

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The wisest mind has something yet to learn. (George Santayana)

Wisdom—an always valuable, fitting gift. Yet, it is never for sale. I earn or learn it. If my heart is ready.

I slip a small cold pack along my waist line and pray ice cools the ache. Laparoscopic cuts across my belly demand awareness. Pain interferes with logical thought.

Perhaps body-recovery asks for spirit-recovery as well. I lack the self-sufficiency my pride requires. I let go and accept humility soaked in love,

Peace arrives as a form of banal wisdom. For now, it needs to be enough.

 

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Between what is said and not meant, and what is meant and not said, most of love is lost. (Kahlil Gibran)

My grandmother died when she was almost

a decade younger than I am now,

old enough for us to trade places across the centuries…

If time could allow a trespasser to

break its borders. I recall how she spoke of hurts

while I remained mute. In those days

generations separated more than years,

free-speaking limited. Peers only.

 

My aunt put Grandma in her wheel chair.

She took her to the kitchen to wash her hair.

I crawled over the bed rails,

and lay next to the smells

of my grandmother’s presence.

 

The parts of her a stroke couldn’t steal.

 

 

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We none of us expect to be in smooth water all our days. (Jane Austen)

Sure, anyone who has stepped beyond kindergarten knows the kiddie pool closes when summer ends. I suspect most of us cherish the daydream about an escape route, a charmed life—long after planned recesses end. Bullies, putdowns, and early traumas. They unsettle the water early and intensify a longing for a smoother ride ahead.

When I grow up…

I’ll tell the kids who called me Ziggy the niggy

they need a good eye doctor and some listening ears as well.

Ziegler, my family name, is German and means tile mason.

Hardly aristocracy. As if that mattered.

And my skin is pale to match

eyelashes and hair color common in Ireland.

A connection unknown if connected at all.

The insult you intended is learned ignorance.

You see, human refers to a wholeness.

Of body and spirit.

Dark and pale outsides can hold spirits made of sun.

And I revel in the possible housing color of spirits:

Chestnut, cinnamon, charcoal, peach, olive.

Perhaps I speak only to my own written word.

To a long-gone past.

You are busy with your own agenda.

Yet, I speak to you with respect.

Only love can make churning water

a place possible to maneuver.

Peace.

 

 

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People are like stained glass windows. They sparkle and shine when the sun is out, but when the darkness sets in, their true beauty is revealed only if there is light from within. (Elisabeth Kübler-Ross)

In a large portion of the Midwest, ice didn’t wait for the autumn leaves to drop. My husband and I experience some time without power. No heat or electricity. Difficult, but nothing in comparison to the losses of folk in other parts of the country. Fires destroy California.

Hurricanes demolished everything in their path.

Heroes and heroines rarely make the news. They are too busy working, giving. Being who they are. No time to watch them for virtues. Better to emulate them with action. I can always give more to people around me.

Even in simple, everyday ways.

I watch my seven-year-old grandson as he fills can after can with fallen leaves. He wants to do more. To work, to help. I make mashed potatoes. He learns to lead the beaters through the hot taters and create a smooth dinner treat—not as a chore, as something new. He is a hero in training.

Dakota is a gift, the kind that blasts light from within. These days before Thanksgiving I celebrate the special times we share together.

I can’t melt the ice any sooner or smother the raging fires on the other side of the country. I can give what I have to reputable organizations. And deny hard-of-heart messages from entering my spirit.

At times darkness wins. However, when light remains within the good inside people, hope lives.

 

 

 

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Cherish all your happy moments: they make a fine cushion for old age. (Christopher Morley)

I drive a familiar route. As rain fills both left and right curb lanes, light shines from within gold and crimson trees.

Sour acid threatens my gut and spirit. Fracturing news events race through my mind. Hatred, racism, greed, voter suppression…why? The trees remind me of beauty from within. Don’t give up.

I stop at the grocery store. My cart is filled with perishable basics after a trip to visit family out of town. None of the fifteen-or-less-items lines are open, better called fifteen-or-fewer-items stations. I need more time to think, to settle thoughts aligned with negative trends. I allow two customers with mini orders ahead of me.

A store employee places a huge pot of mums into my cart. “Would you like these? They are free.”

Obviously, she has no idea how poor my botanical skills are. I suspect kudzu or poison ivy would grow under my care, but those pesky plants are self-motivated.

Nevertheless, I except the gift. True, this is the end of the season in the Midwest. Flowering plants bloom only a few months before cold takes over. The store is getting rid of old, perishable merchandise. However, this pot of flowers contains beautiful, living merchandise.

Treasured happy moments. Holding on to seeds that spill possibilities from aging flowers. The seeds create. Eventually. Mums are perennials. Winter ends.

Old age comes. But it doesn’t negate the life that existed and exists now, or the effort made toward creating a better world—even if it involves no more than a few planted seeds.

 

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Perseverance is a great element of success. If you only knock long enough and loud enough at the gate, you are sure to wake up somebody. (Henry Wadsworth Longfellow)

Six-thirty AM. Election Day, November 6, 2018. My husband and I are newbie volunteers outside the polls. Time to make our first mistakes. We have no idea where the entry for voting could be in this huge building. No flag. No signs. A long-time voter at this location, leads the way. We park our chairs 98 feet too close to the site. A poll worker points out the 100-foot mark. We move. Quickly.

No light in the sky and we are in the dark as well. Temporarily.

We meet Duane Morgan. She is the third part of our team, the all-day volunteer. She is new at this work, too. However, she transforms the parallel don’t-know-what-to-do lines Jay and I bring, into a workable triangle. She delivers the inspiration.

In the past few weeks I spent entirely too much time worrying about cold, wind, rain, storm. Duane is a two-time cancer survivor. Her son was murdered. Nevertheless, her eyes sparkle with an inner glow; the predawn darkness can’t diminish her spirit or faith. The rich brown of her skin is beautiful. It hides her age. She is six years older than I am. Yet, her energy exceeds mine. Perhaps she has overcome useless worry as well.

Today’s forecast included thunder and lightning. The oh-so-important plastic poncho I had to buy waits in the car. An unexpected gift of sun alternates with wind. An even greater gift appears as Red and Blue speak, human to human.

Lonnie is a young, well-educated Republican. We talk to one another, civilly. As friends. I don’t know his last name. Yet. I learn that he, like Duane, is a survivor. He was born with a heart defect. Recently, he had heart surgery. It has not stopped him from running, not only for office, but on the streets.

My stand on human rights, the need for accessible health care, and recognizing skin color as a human accessory hasn’t changed. If only…if only…we could work in peace.

 

 

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