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Posts Tagged ‘self-awareness’

 

Man is the only animal for whom his own existence is a problem which he has to solve.
(Erich Fromm)

Human animals think too much—without questioning the truth of their source. Unfortunately, we upright-moving creatures are born with ego and an overdose of certainty, based on experience in a tiny section of the world.

I wrote this poem more years ago than I recall. My granddaughter was a toddler. She is now in fifth grade. A ballerina. Grade-A student, She also happens to be significantly taller than I am.

These verses are based on an incident that occurred at the Museum Center in Cincinnati, Ohio. My beautiful girl may have grown up, but she chooses her friends based upon inner qualities, not incidental skin tone. I am proud of who she has grown to be.

Naked Baby Dolls

 

Child-proof dolls

with painted black hair

and eyes forever open

 

lie on the floor

of the toddler room.

Figures identical, except for

 

brown or peach plastic bodies,

the dolls are naked.

The children don’t care.

 

Bare babies and honesty

fit the simple ambience

of parallel play.

 

I watch as each doll

passes from child to floor,

and back again. The brown babies

 

get picked first.

My toddler granddaughter pouts

as another child grabs

 

the dark doll she had been cuddling.

I try to hand her the paler version.

Her frown deepens. On the rug

 

the dolls that wait

look anemic, pale.

I think about human skin shades

 

from ivory to licorice, and mentally

list a larger number of darker tones.

Nutmeg, cinnamon, chestnut, bronze

 

chocolate, mahogany, coffee, umber.

Strange that at this age

the little people choose the toy

 

with the richer complexion.

Yet only a few of the children

resemble darker hues. The toddlers’ choices

 

contradict the prejudiced

adult majority. Someday I pray

these children see beyond the exterior.

 

The dolls wear a paint layer

thin enough to be chipped off.

Their differences can be altered with a brush stroke.

 

People share diverse histories

and cultures, but living hearts beat

a common rhythm.

 

May we grow

together

as one human race.

 

(This poem has been published in the anthology, FOR A BETTER WORLD and in the online magazine PIKER PRESS.)

 

 

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It gets really tricky giving advice. The older I get, the less advice I give. ( Anne Heche.)

My father taught me to consider the source. I find that easier now than I could as a teenager, before I knew who I was. Strange that I recall being berated because my eyebrows weren’t penciled dark enough. My hair was the color of spun gold, with eyebrows that disappeared into a fair, freckled face.

The advice-giver. Why are there so many of them? And why do they have voices that match the average street preacher?

And—does it need to bother me?

My brother-in-law has an MD. When he said I was losing weight too quickly after surgery and was risking metabolic damage, I listened. Advertisement come-ons could be another matter. An invitation to skydive because it jump starts adrenaline? Probably not.

What is the best and worst advice someone has ever given you? My dad’s fits somewhere at the top. Any advice that told me I shouldn’t try because I wasn’t good enough. Definitely. In the don’t-think-so category.

 

 

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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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Try to see things differently – It’s the only way to get a clearer perspective on the world and on your life. (Neal Shusterman)

Laundry waits inside a plastic, easily opened hamper. If it were viewed by the privileged, it would be dismissed, seen as mundane, too common to be noticed.

If it were given to a group with nothing, the people would open the lid and stare inside. They would gather and empty the contents. Find a use for every fiber.

It belongs to me. I take it for granted. Wash and dry. Watch the time as if I owned each minute.

Friends and I talk. I listen. We see life differently. Together, we cleanse one another’s thinking. Peace, please.

 

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We’ve all got both light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are. (J.K. Rowling)

My grandson and I color together. He notices how difficult it is for me to maneuver my fingers. Arthritis and a fractured-metacarpal-that-healed-crooked make smaller crayons a challenge.

“Here, try this big fat one he says… And Minions are yellow.” He is certain about that fact. My lucky guess.

I thank him since my adult world rarely mentions animated characters. Grownups talk about world concerns, family problems, sports, the rising cost of gasoline.

Dakota notices both my gifts and deficits. Neither changes his love for me.

If only every relationship could be this simple.

Perhaps simple and easy are not the same reality.

Loving my young friend is easy. Any opening into the heart makes the spirit capable of growing—into accepting the light, into discovering who I really am.

 

 

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Sometimes you can’t see yourself clearly until you see yourself through the eyes of others. (Ellen DeGeneres)  

Sometimes. When that other person’s eyes belong to someone with insight. Vision is a process.

What is true about anyone? Actions, reactions, facial expressions are reflections of the other person. Coming toward. Going away. The eyes of others can be limited. My social, human-child creature got lost in taunting and going away.

My parents lived in the virtue of the rock-solid ten commandments. The spirit of the words carried power; as words etched in stone they were impenetrable rock. Visionless. Missing the gift of human touch.

Many years later I learned I was not alone. As the holes in lace are what create its beauty, as negative space in art is part of a work’s design, the final product, known as me, developed. Bloomed.

My senior status gains another year tomorrow. Friends surprised me with a mini celebration on Tuesday. Lemon pie with fresh fruit, created on a day when K’s air-conditioning decided it didn’t want to work in 90-degree weather. A pair of socks with a gracious message from M.

My message to anyone reading this blog today: May you see beyond your image in the mirror. It is backward anyway. May you know you were born with a purpose. And love fits somewhere in your definition as a social human creation. Pass it on…

Peace.

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screened vision

(screened vision, black and white, not easily read and slightly off-center)

The most important thing is to be whatever you are without shame. (Rod Steiger)

Even if I had the X-ray vision of the Superman I watched long before flat-screened TV and Netflix, I doubt I could understand human motivation. Friendships with the folk who share a similar sense of empathy, are easy. Those who can’t see a relationship between weapons and death, are difficult for me to figure out.

Someone I know tells a story about direct experience with an individual wielding a gun—at her. No pause for recognition of her experience, the person she tells continues with a statistics-game. No awareness of the damage done by violence.

Yet, this man is worthwhile, genuine in what he does. I have no intention of turning away from him. Argument proves nothing.

A photo taken through a screen isn’t the same as a picture taken in the cold and ice—as it develops. The picture isn’t the same as the photographed space.

Life continues without a set pattern. I need to be who I am, speak my own truth and respect the truth of another. Sometimes this respect is as difficult as seeing through two separate screens, made of vastly different experiences.

Peace. Five letters, each one separated by centuries of misunderstanding. Nevertheless, an essential goal. For all.

 

 

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