Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Posts Tagged ‘self-awareness’

Soaked shoes on a warm register take the shape of a wild cloud on a gray day.

Little by little, one travels far. (J. R. R. Tolkien)

Day by day, the toddler grows into an adult. One word at a time the child learns self-worth, or not.

Little by little, backed-up storm water travels in wider circles from our driveway into our garage. I realize our problem is trivial. The clips of the flood damage in Nebraska provide enough evidence to prove our labor is minimal. We succeed. My husband and I discovered the ankle-deep water before it reached the basement or lawn mower. The car was outside, wheels untouched.

My shoes dry on a warm register inside. Muddied socks already swirl through suds in the wash machine—healing.

I don’t claim an immunity to tragedy. Nor did I miss near drowning, in a metaphorical sense. Many years ago, March 17 began one of the most difficult times of my life. Do I remember every detail? Not all, but more than I would like. All unnecessary to repeat. Each life’s purpose is to live in today. Eventually. Many people reading these words have their own memories to overcome. Ugly events arrive. They also pass, like the dark, dirty water my husband and I move toward an overwhelmed drain.

My husband and I work, together. I don’t believe any recovery happens alone.

Without friends.

Without help in some form.

Perhaps one struggling person will come to my mind today, someone who could use a call or a visit.

A thought. Perhaps now is the time to follow through on it.

Little by little…recovery happens. And one travels far.

 

Advertisements

Read Full Post »

Be master of your petty annoyances and conserve your energies for the big, worthwhile things. It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out—it’s the grain of sand in your shoe. (Robert Service, writer)

I’m ready to start editing, eyes on the computer, coffee cup in my hand. And I set the cup on the pull-out board of my old desk—right smack on top of a pen. Gravity wins. Every thought I had falls out with the hot liquid, onto the floor and rug. Time to wash a load of caffeine-soaked rags.

An unplanned cleanup becomes the metaphorical grain of sand in my shoes, the shoes I’m not wearing yet. Sunrise is fresh and I’ve already drowned the day in spilled coffee. Far from an important event, but I can turn it into an omen. Easily.

Time to brainstorm some perspective. Random fun memories for starters. When the memory occurred doesn’t matter:

A granddaughter at play. She introduces herself as the teacher, Mrs. Tushman. Mrs. Man for short…

My grandson’s huge brown eyes and his turn as pilot. “We’re flying 20 miles and it will take 20 hours…”

Years ago, my parents gathered my siblings and me into the car. We were going somewhere. It could have been a trip to a park. It could have been a trip for ice cream.  The fun came with the surprise. The smell of popcorn! It’s a drive-in movie.

I smile. The splattered area is relatively dry.

I consider simple signs of love that have happened within the past 24 hours:

A thank-you note from my friend, Liz. We haven’t seen one another for years. Our friendship is rekindling.

My husband’s words, “Wait, I’ll do that!” as I carry dishes from the table to the sink.

Countless opportunities to give back. Someone could use a reach-out call from me right now.

I’d like to think that the next time I get in my own way I will be instantly forgiving. Probably not. Besides, the mountain ahead remains ahead.

Companions appear along the way. However, the climber needs to grasp each rock to succeed.

I didn’t really need another cup of jitters anyway.

 

Read Full Post »

 

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.)

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

Read Full Post »

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.

 

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

%d bloggers like this: