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Posts Tagged ‘experience’

 

Asking ourselves, “Where am I right now?” gives us a chance to step outside the internal dialogue for a moment of peace. Look around you, take a deep breath and notice what you see, hear and feel. Present moment awareness is the point of power and choice. It frees us from our compulsive thoughts. (Laura Harvey)

Okay. It’s time to organize. Or, should I have started these projects years ago? I haven’t been allowed to lift anything heavier than five pounds for more than a month. Now that my cataract surgeries are completed my eagerness to begin is heightened.

My eight-year-old grandson Dakota wants to help. He eyes the paper shredder. “Anything to shred?”

“No…Wait!” Folders lie stacked on top of one another. Copies of short stories already published. Stories I abandoned—for good reason. Early chapters of my books, The Curse Under the Freckles, Stinky Rotten Threats, and The Ugly Mood Storm. The Ugly Mood Storm, the third book in the series, will come out in October.

Sure. I could recycle the pages without shredding, but my young buddy likes the noise and the action. He knows how far away to keep his fingers from the blade, the source of the noise he enjoys.

The past returns as I open each folder. Mistakes circled in red on the page. Mistakes made in life jump out as well. Years cycle through as I open each worn folder.

“Oh,” I say.

“Something wrong?” he asks.

“No. It’s just a name of someone I used to know.” Someone who died.

He pauses to make sure I’m okay.

I celebrate the messy, beautiful present, my young grandson on the floor next to me.

Dakota continues to work, sorry when the shredder needs time to cool, sorry when the last sheet becomes a mass of white slivers. Then he is happy to play another game.

I take a deep breath and notice the whir of the air conditioning on one of the latter days of summer.

“See you next Thursday,” Dakota says.

His enthusiasm brings me a gift no amount of money can buy.

In the scheme of things where am I right now? Not sure I know, but it’s a mighty fine place.

 

 

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It’s paradoxical that the idea of living a long life appeals to everyone, but the idea of getting old doesn’t appeal to anyone. (Andy Rooney)

My vacuum cleaner and I have more in common than I like to admit. Two of my toes are bound together after a mishap in my living room, and the electrical cord on my vacuum cleaner is held together with enough tape to stock a hardware store.

The vacuum and I both wheeze around too much dust.

“Come on!” I call to it. “One more time over the shag carpet.”

As an inanimate object, its answer is a weak whirring sigh.

If I were asked to follow my double-jointed youngest granddaughter’s exercise routine, my sigh would be similar.

Older citizens have limitations. Physically. Not when it comes to a capacity for giving and caring. We can live locked inside our pain or despite it. My grandson calls me a wrinkled kid because I get down on the floor and play with him. Perfection isn’t required. Not when imagination fills in the gaps.

Imagination, hope, love—gifts inanimate objects don’t have as they age. I pray to continue to learn, to celebrate possibilities hidden inside each new crease.

 

 

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If civilization is to survive, we must cultivate the science of human relationships – the ability of all peoples, of all kinds, to live together, in the same world at peace. (Franklin D. Roosevelt)

If peace were a bird, it would fly through heat or wind.

It would thrive in a nest open to storm.

 

If peace were a mountain,

it would stand patient,

constant, firm for centuries.

 

If peace were a tree, it would begin

as an acorn, unafraid of darkness,

then grow to house birds,

and reach for mountains.

 

Peace. It transcends

mountain borders,

and allows foreign bird species

to nest together.

 despite unseen possibilities.

 

originally published in For a Better World

 

 

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hospital bed in intense color with parking lot below

Life is what happens while you are busy making other plans. (John Lennon)

Spaghetti with homemade sauce, salad, a special bread, and tapioca for dinner. The pudding is the kind that sticks to the bottom of the pan, not the pre-packaged stuff that requires no more than the opening of a plastic lid. I wanted to make something special for my husband. A just because.

My timing could have been better.

“I’m feeling a little queasy,” he says after eating a much smaller quantity than usual.

Somehow queasy is understated. By the next day he is dehydrated enough to pass out at the emergency room entrance. As his inadequate support I go down with him.

The crisis ends. One healed moment at a time.

And I sit at the computer knowing life is not mine to control. I can give. I can look a homeless person in the face and offer food or money, listen to a friend when I would rather open a book or take a nap. Act or React.

Perhaps all I can do sometimes is have a vague outline for the week and an open heart.

Right now, I have plans to learn to be more flexible, “with a little help from my friends.”

Thanks to all my friends who gave more than a little help.

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Our deepest wounds surround our greatest gifts. (Ken Page)

Enough

Enough, such a curious word

to ponder on a solstice day.

Enough light, dark, pain, success,

orchids, and weeds. Illness and health.

Does enough thrive on my dinner table

or include food for a child I will never meet?

Does enough stop at my ego or begin there?

Perhaps, this is not a question to answer.

But, a journey to live.

 

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The one thing I need to leave behind is good memories. (Michael Landon)

So many things clutter our attic. I find my wedding dress, yellowed with age, and remember a poem I wrote after my parents died:

LAST VISIT TO THE HOUSE I CALLED HOME

Dust encases the old homestead.

Encyclopedias from 1963,

boxes of unused pencils,

 

skeins of yarn with faded fifty-cent

mark-down stickers,

a broken clock.

 

Most of the saved items are gone,

Dumpster and shredder items wait.

Bags of cancelled checks

 

on Mom’s closed account.

She died years ago.

Dad’s will to maintain dissolved, too.

 

In the back yard his loss leaked

into the naked, open space

leaving it flat, withered.

 

Before the property grew sullen,

I planted seeds for annuals that sprouted into

a tiny-stemmed miniature garden.

 

They dwarfed next to tomato vines

Dad tied to hand-cut posts.

Sunlight coaxed

 

white blossoms into green and then red fruit.

Inside the house Mom made soups that

took all day to blend the chicken

 

with onions, carrots, celery

into a fragrance that filled every nook.

I try to recall an ancient, lingering scent

 

but it was taken for granted

too long ago. I find my wedding gown

in an eaves closet,

 

zipped in plastic.

I had changed my name and moved on.

The yellowed department-store receipt

 

remains attached to the wire hanger.

I wipe off the grime and carry what-was-me

into what-is-me now.

 

The door locks for the last time.

The sun leaves a sliver of itself

on a pink horizon,

 

a visible color beyond reach,

like memories, both dark and light,

locked inside things left behind.

 

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Cooperation is the thorough conviction that nobody gets there unless everybody gets there. (Virginia Burden)

Among Facebook’s satirical cartoons, pet pictures, brags and complaints I see a post that jolts me. Someone I know has lost her home to a tornado. Several other people declare themselves safe.

Global warming. Yes. It affects weather. That cause can’t be abandoned. Cleanup help for victims remains. Now.

My contribution seems small because it is small. Yet if it helps another living creature it isn’t nothing. The whole isn’t up to me—not if I’m on a team for the good of all.

A small stained-glass angel picture hangs from my back window. Rain mists our backyard. The grass is a swamp. The angel reminds me that blessings remain. Somehow.

Suffering is part of the human experience. Peace fits in the picture when someone, somewhere brings a moment of light long enough for other individuals to see that light exists. For anyone. For everyone. As soon as we learn to share a goodness no one individual can own. Sounds simple.

Too bad simple isn’t easy. It is possible…

 

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