Archive | Uncategorized RSS feed for this section

My silence

19 Aug

A Journey Called Life ...

My silence is not my weakness,
It’s a pause, sometimes too long
when I listen to better songs on the radio.

View original post 207 more words

Sign of the Times

8 Aug

Early morning sky reveals the secrets day holds; but like many of us, the sky speaks in riddles.  Its indigo stained humidity, when seen through the lenses of a window shares the appearance of a winter storm.  It isn’t until you open the door that you see for yourself the truth of such illusion.

By 3 o’clock it will be 102 degrees and all possibility for rain, let alone a nor’easter, will disappear in heat’s grasp.  Calm will have descended; creatures will seek shelter from sweltering temperatures peering only briefly at the reality outside their hiding place.

Men will wipe their brows, push back damp hats, lean against the forgiveness of shade-bearing trees.

Women will fan red faces with the hems of work aprons as they sip yet another cool glass of iced tea.  Children on summer vacation will lean even more intently into the electronic escapes and connections they share.  Babies will chafe, cry, fitfully sleep.

The spring promise of green grasses and fruit trees bent toward the earth in bounty has been broken.  Cats, pregnant only a few months ago have grown scrawny.  Their fur is dusty and lack-luster as they bury themselves in dark corners of burnt leaves.  True to her word, summer burns.

The sky is a clock ticking subtle beats in homage to the cycles of time.  Seasons are mere minutes; tomorrow it will be winter.  Next week, spring.

The early morning sky is a predictor of gifts and challenges. It is a reminder to remember all of the things easily forgotten. Live fully; open the door.  See for yourself the truth hiding inside illusion.

morning sky

Under my Skin

13 Jul

Under my Skin.

Recipe, homemade

21 Apr

Beautiful sentiment expressed poetically… Thanks Archita!

A Journey Called Life ...

Sunrise

Drink a cup of Tea. Better if you can add cardamoms
and a bit of love. Go out in sunlight. Hug. Hug harder.
There’s always going to be shadow in a sunny world.
Rest sometimes. And while you rest, find a pretty
bird and click a photo. Share it with your grandmother
later. Call her often. Talk. Tell her you look pretty today.

View original post 98 more words

beautiful roller coaster

13 Jan

In two and one half hours I enter the chamber where

masters and prophets of healing will

crack open the cage of my chest,

mend the broken egg inside, as I, traveler in

this magnificent sphere, wait beside glorious rails leading one

way or another.

Hidden Treasures

24 Dec

My friend nailed it with this beautiful reminder that life/love is a constant stream of oft overlooked small miracles.

Sadie Forgets Her Inner Voice

20 Nov

Profoundly true…Enjoy.

Adieu Summer

14 Nov

21 Days of Empathy ~ Day 4

9 Nov

itty and the monster

7 Oct

spooky door 1

 

The first time I opened the door I was eighteen.  Since he wasn’t a stranger, I invited him in, never dreaming he’d stay so long.  Had I known better, I’d have pretended no one was home, saving us all a lot of grief.

He always wore black and had irritating quirks and peculiar ways.  I’d say he was funny like that, but actually, he never cracked even the tiniest smile; instead, he was all business, heavy and bleak, like the kind of storm where the air suddenly ripens with so much moisture it’s nearly impossible to breathe.

I always blamed Mother for bringing him home the first time, but looking back I honestly believe he was really Dad’s associate, one of those obnoxious, burly types that sometimes followed him around.  What I didn’t know until years later was that he was an old family friend whose relatives before him had deep, troubling relationships with generations of my kin.

It’s both ironic and perhaps a bit unusual that his predecessors were acquainted with both sides of my family, maternal and paternal; but the longer I live, the more I recognize repetitive patterns that are so distinct it’s impossible to confuse them with coincidence.

I might call our meeting fate, but I prefer to view fate through rosier lenses.  Mother used to get disgusted with what she called my romantic view of life; she would still judge my perspective as frivolous if she could, but she has Alzheimer’s now.  Still, some days I can see it in her eyes, that disapproving scowl, that once strong and swift index finger wagging in my face, telling me how ridiculously selfish I am, how I am a carbon copy of my father’s mother, that self-centered, manipulative shrew and it still stings.

My grandmother, whom I greatly adored, and whom I try daily to emulate in the strong-minded survivalist spirit she so perfectly emitted, was the life-jacket to which I clung with all my might; even though at sixteen she’d opened the door to her father’s confidant, letting him in.

By forty I sometimes confused the dark man with a livelier one.  Sometimes they seemed to share the same body, like Yin and Yang on speed.  Ten years later I understood the lively guy never existed; he was a defense mechanism, an automatic response to having spent so much time with the heavy guy back in my youth.

It used to be all about me, and I carried Mother’s sharp words in my arms like I was carrying shrapnel I’d pulled from my body, guarding it in case I needed it again.  Today if depression knocks on my door, I cop a real attitude. It’s not about me anymore; it’s always about somebody else, someone I love or have never met.  Someone I heard about on the ten o’clock news, or a child, or an old person.  Or wounded soldiers and abused animals.  Or melting icebergs.  Or cleared rain forests, or beached Dolphin and Whales.  Or bad air and dwindling water supplies. Or war and cruelty.

Today I’m the hard-core shrew pounding my own chest, but I’m pretty lucky; no one throws stones or spits out my name.  No one tries to bust my spunk, they leave me alone because I’m just being me.  They call me Mom or Nonnie, or honey, or friend, but you can call me

itty.

 bev

 

 

Aside

Home, with party hats!

21 Sep

Home; I could stop writing now and most of you could relate to the emotions the word carries, but when it comes to words and emotions, I’m no minimalist.  Currently home is a small rental nestled deep in the flat plains in the expansive outreaches of southwest Texas, just on the cusp of the legendary Texas Hill Country; but to imply this particular house is responsible for evoking a sense of home within my heart is like saying birds like trees. The implication is far too general, yet oddly, too specific to authentically represent the complexities of absolute truth.

1103 24thwelcome to our world

front walkwayyard 3yard 1passion flower

I could play word-games by saying things like I’m in a transitioning phase, or have entered yet another level of self-discovery, or I’ve fully embraced the autumn of life, or even; I didn’t move back to Texas to die, I moved here to live, and, actually, each cute little quip would be true.  But truer yet is the fact that I’ve simply taken another mindful step in the natural progression of life.

Make no mistake; time is rushing past like a fastidious parade and one can either pretend to sit on the sidelines or concede that, in deed, he is responsible for the chaos and beauty of his own life. It’s not particularly why or how something begins, but how it is handled that builds character. I never forget that.

So I’m back in my home state, MIA only a few years although it felt much longer.  I’m resettling into myself, slipping back into my slow, southern drawl, stretching each vowel till it dissolves in complete silence in a natural death.  I’ve reconnected with the chicken-fried steak and sunsets that absolutely blow my mind.

chicken fried steak

sunset

I’m rising with the sun but maintaining night owl habits. I seem to need less sleep and am filling with energy.

Routine and consistency juxtapose spontaneous activity as Richard and I split time between two worlds, ours and our daughter, Billie, her husband, Brian, and two grandchildren who live down the street.  Their zest for life keeps us on our toes as we dash with renewed vigor in an attempt to share every minute offered.

Tonight we are attending an official birthday party for their dog, Maggie, and their cat, Bella.  Fig, our precious canine, is on the guest list, as is Loki, our mischievous scoundrel of a cat, who seems to have already made plans for the night.  Fig, however, never misses the opportunity to party.

dog in party hat

Although homemade doggie treats are on the birthday kiddies menu, I’m not sure what ours consist of, most likely not chicken fried steak; none-the-less, gifts and party hats have been purchased, the punch bowl has been removed from dizzying heights of ancient kitchen cabinets and prepared to receive a ginger-aide and fruit juice concoction guaranteed to curl chest hair.

In the process of down-sizing, we’ve unearthed pure gold. It hasn’t been an easy process.  Selling a home, packing and moving is a real challenge at any age but at 65 it’s a real stinker!  Our children live in Texas.  I was born and raised here; Richard was a Texan at heart who woke every morning to the reality of New Jersey.  When he first moved to Texas in 2006, he said he had realized a life long dream.

Against all odds, Richard and I found one another and built a good life together.  Now we are home again and it’s another beautiful day in paradise. And we absolutely plan on enjoying it!

rick and bev summer 2014

Gallery

A Different Kind of Award

23 Feb

Congratulations to one heck of a teacher! Tracy is an amazing adventurist and spectacular photographer, not to mention a sincere and warm-hearted human being!

Wanderlust

Two days ago I got a letter.  It wasn’t one I was expecting. I honestly had forgotten in this crazy rush of life that I had applied…

image

I think I’m still in shock…

I have been given a fellowship. I will spend 10 days working with leading scientists studying climate change…in the Arctic Circle.

Yes…the Arctic Circle.

Not your average everyday kind of adventure!

I will be staying in a little town called Churchill. In Manitoba, Canada. Know as the polar bear and beluga whale capital of the world!

Visit http://www.everythingchurchill.com to learn more about this incredible place.

I am beyond excited…

What an amazing opportunity! I am humbled and extremely grateful!

And so…

Come July, I will be blogging from the Arctic Circle.

I hope you’ll join me!

View original post

MIA

20 Nov

Really? No, I’m not missing at all, my friends; I’m just side-lined for a little while…I’ll return to ittyMac’s piece of the world and a cozy slice of Aunt Bea-Me’s kitchen very soon. itty

A Wise Defense

26 Jul

If you try your best, it is still quite difficult to shut out the noise of the world, perhaps that’s not a bad thing because little would change without collective outrage against the status quo. But there is only so much energy a person can expend before annoyances burgeon into total outrage. A thoughtful person who deeply knows him/herself respects the boundaries he sets in efforts to keep enough energy available to successfully run the Mother Ship. A good rule of thumb: Carry social concerns and controversies in direct proportion to weight you can safely bear without causing damage to your mental and physical balance. Do what you can to further causes you are passionate about mindfully; that’s another way of saying the same thing.

The desire to continue my own inner journey is often inspired by observing the chaos of others. The further they move from the light, the more driven I become to reflect its radiance.

Life is the teacher, we are students. Some learn quickly, others never try. Some people in the classroom act out, hoping to illicit a response from others. Often it works, distracting many from tasks at hand. There are pools of negativity everywhere we look. They have always existed, but the smaller the world becomes with the tools of social networking, the more aware we become of their existence. Social media consists of many students of the world. Some use global social media in an attempt to increase numbers in their angry crowds. Like follows like, but loud attracts the attention of many who have not yet formed strong consciences regarding issues presented; thus, it is a formula that, sadly, works.

When I hear, read, or witness words of hatred, I am inspired to react in two different ways. The first is to fall into the abyss, heat rising in my gut, evoking a primal urge to strike back. The second is to intercede and settle the matter, hoping against all odds that the terrible hate-filled events were mere misunderstandings. These are initial reactions, but both are far from practical responses.

Throw hatred in my path and even though I want to kick it out of the way, I have learned that’s like kicking a hornets nest, or trying to reason with a rattlesnake. But as a human, emotions must be respected, so I allow myself to experience the feelings of having been offended, and then I move in.

For me, the best way to accomplish this is to try to identify the source energy of the particular hatred involved, examining everything I discover from a philosophical perspective. Almost always hatred can be traced back to fear. Each of us shows our true colors by the words we choose to speak, by the banners we carry, the projects we begin and the arguments we end. To create something beautiful and beneficial does not require one to be a god, but a steward of positive intentions, deliberate actions, and unwavering focus. All that is needed to destroy is a carefully chosen word of dissent angrily spoken.

Words are powerfully constructive tools when used to build, but they are weapons of mass destruction when intended to destroy. Conflict cannot be avoided in life; for me, the goal isn’t to be giddy with hope or combatively defensive, but to counter the extremes in a spirit of generosity, choosing to use language fostered in the quiet, practical countenance of inner peace before speaking, or setting words to paper.

Throw a rock at my right eye; I will not offer my left as your next target. I will not throw another stone at you. I will not satisfy your cruelty with screams or tears. But I will look you in the eye and I will know you. I will see your weakness and your fear. I will maintain my peace, and the fact of knowing you as I will, shall weaken the hatred that propels you to do and say irrational things.

I cannot shout louder than an angry crowd, but wisdom and introspection will protect me from catching hatred’s demoralizing disease. There is a cure for hatred. To find it, we’ve only to look inside.

Image

The power of a strong inner life…

6 Jul

It’s easy to imagine because I’ve seen it a thousand times in my head, a bit here, a fragment there; pieces of a grand puzzle coming together like a rainbow after a long storm, one color fitting snugly against the next, complementing the whole, yet amazing on its own. That’s how it is, this forest inside my head, the enchantment of the soul visualized by the mind’s eye, making it real.

I’ve been to the forest many times, beginning early in childhood when monsters came out from under the bed, their terrible teeth threatening to eat me alive.  I visited again during adolescence, those years of longing and drama.  The stillness I found amongst towering branches and the scent of deep pine wafting through tangled jasmine was the white knight whisking me away from turmoil, transporting me to a happier, more welcoming place.

Had it not been for the forest, I may not have survived the first twenty years of my first marriage with its intoxicating balance of delight and cruelty, and co-dependence so cavernous it erased every good thing that crossed its path.  But when I was 49, my body made the decision my mind had refused to make, as I stumbled into the kind of illness that consumes every ounce of strength and deliberate thought possible.  Suddenly my body was the tomb I was buried in. 

After the anger and grief, temperance set in, and I found in the midst of rubble, the most peaceful cave.  This silent, empty space was perfectly accommodating, seemingly knowing my needs before I’d consciously recognized and acknowledged them.  I dwelt in that space for three years, until one morning I heard the most delightful sound of a red bird singing on the window sill beside my bed, and his vibrant energy and contagious joy became the crutch I used to move from the cave into the forest of the outer realms of the world.

Pushing my weak body and placid mind, I moved forward, one step at a time.  But the cave of introspection and intuition had become part of me, so I brought it along ever conscious of its presence, and I used it like a self-help manual, or a book of new rules, rules written for and benefitting no one but me, and I called this newness of thought The Self Is and its code and content, The Requirements of Self-Is-Ness.

With renewed clarity of mind, I coaxed my body to do its part to save Self so that I might tell my children about this most amazing revelation I’d discovered within, the absolute fact that we can rid ourselves of the poisons that cripple us, that we can grow whole and find happiness within the boundaries of our own bodies simply by understanding the power we hold. 

I wanted to tell my daughters there are safe places that provide shelter when we become our own worst enemies, or when we allow the world to infect us with unhealthy ideas and role assignments, and how it is necessary first to go in in order to work ourselves out.  I wanted to tell them that the results of caring most tenderly for ourselves with absolute honesty and the tenderness we would afford a child, will carry us past any solution we may have previously imagined, because time spent in the cave is time spent unlearning, converting old assumptions and presumptions of implied fact into authentic personal truth

During the day, I worked to regain strength and balance.  When the time came I sought help from a neurological therapist who taught me how to create and integrate new tools for thinking into automatic responses.  We did this to improve my short term memory and to help me adjust to the loss of many memories of the past.  At home, I took on new tasks, trying confidence on as if it was an exotic new dress, and I embraced critical thinking in ways I’d never imagined before. 

I deliberately broke many status quo rules, as difficult as that was for me.  Friends and family either moved away from me, as if to avoid catching whatever madness had settled upon me, or gathered closer as a show of support for something fragile and young that was determined to live.

It was a difficult but satisfying process. At night I began building a house in my mind, deciding to return to the protective forest of my youth, using this technique like a new tool.  Building this house was a deliberate exercise, lasting an entire year. I began by mentally leaving home and then I imagined a beautiful green valley, lush and inviting.  Arriving in a car packed with sentimental belongings, none of which were particularly well suited for survival in the wild, yet each priceless thing, emotionally necessary, I began unpacking, moving each article into a back corner of an abandoned, leaking shack that I would soon transform into a comfortable home.

I can still see every item I’d packed for the journey, a foot pedal sewing machine, wooden bowls, blue glass, quilts and scraps for making more, good books, pen and paper, string and basic tools, and a seemingly endless supply of candles. 

This mental exercise strengthened my resolve as I built a home from scraps I imagined had been abandoned by another woman who had moved through her own personal forest, discarding possessions she no longer needed as she traveled forward.  In the end, what illness had taken away, newfound physical and mental health and deepening spirituality returned one hundred-fold.

Today I visit my cabin often; I sit on the porch under the stars, or drink coffee beneath the warmth of a quilt, and watch in perfect peace as storms pass outside.  Every day each of us is healing and growing at the same time; that’s what we do on this journey.  As for what comes next, I simply cannot say, but today is good, and that’s enough for me. 

There are so many paths leading home.  The lesson for me is learning to respect myself by caring for that timeless child within, and to listen to myself.  When I do these things, the daily practices of the Requirements of Self-Is-ness are easier to follow in spite of the clamor and chatter of those who confuse self-care with selfishness.

I believe personal forests are essential; without a quiet place to contemplate the pace of the world and it’s sharp, narrowing judgments, too much time is wasted feeling constricted or sad by our personal limitations.  I choose to live an active inner life, working to make my home in the physical world a better reflection of the healing forest in my mind, anchoring myself, providing safe passage for the infinite child who lives inside.  

 

Image

When your heart takes over the show…

20 Jun

The signs were there.  But my bossy brain, as disciplined and intent as a Sumo wrestler assigned them to the wrong room, unwilling to admit she may have made a mistake.  When the body revolted causing a scene, the doctor was called, and well-intentioned-rationalizing-I-Can-Do-It-Myself-Sumo-Me was sent to detention hall where I’m trying hard to blend.

It is not asthma, the drain of wind from great sails; it is not the gut gone tight and bubbly in the gladiator coliseum of social and political riot.  No, it is the sweet, red pump that drives everything.

As often is the case in this world of doublespeak, the tests that had moments before been reported positive, coiled, rose and struck like a snake interrupting my happy dance; and the interpreter of medical lingo on the other end of the telephone, (her voice as calm and cool as a summer melon cut in half), explained that was bad news.

So now the road forks, one sign pointing toward doom, another toward freedom; but the third trail marked by the largest sign of all, its path rutted by the passage of thousands of determined feet.  This is the direction I have chosen, the sign marked Onward, with Hope and Determination.

On June 26th, at 10:30 in the morning, my body will join the long line of silver headed warriors lying on gurneys in front of the alter of stainless steel doors that are as cold as a gnat’s teat, watching through a veil of numbing drugs, as the doors swing open then close like jaws around the lives of the hopeful.  Just like a busy ice cream shop, or a government office, I’ve been assigned a number and will wait my turn for the Great Oz while my best friend/lover/husband grinds his teeth in another room the same way I’ve ground my own for him each time he has taken this trip.

 My heart is huge.  My heart is durable. My heart is not close to giving up.  I’ll be back soon.  You’ll see.

And PS, I love you all.

 

 

Day one, June first: be kind dear month, merciful, dear season. Refrain from shaking too hard these ticks from your magnificent body.

1 Jun

Sitting in my storm shelter, I wonder if we’ve lost sight that we are part of nature or if self-importance has only inflated our sense of superiority.  The fact that anyone these days, take me, for example, can sit in front of an innocuous computer, and between sips of coffee, (or from a storm shelter), espouse a litany of personal beliefs, emphasizes the dilemma of having more venues to share than actual facts to present. 

Now, enter: personal experience and bias, we all have it to one degree or another.  Next, enter, (take cover), politics and religion, two devilish,( pardon the pun), components in an emerging super storm.

I wish I would, (not could), walk the explicit way of my own words, and see myself as an equal to ants and spiders.  But I am an animal that steps on those I categorize as creepy bugs when they invade my space, apologizing even as their guts squirt around my shoe.   I say I wish I would, not I wish I could, because certainly I could if I’d a mind to.  But I don’t; my bias, my perspective, my pick and choose variety of practical wisdom leaves its imprint across every hour of every day in my little world.  And while I may shake in horror as I do the things I do, I continue to opt to do them.

Today is June first.  2013.  Dawn of the new age.  (Cough, gag, choke.)  In fact, today is the first day after yesterday and the day before tomorrow.   I don’t know about you, but not too much changed overnight at my house.  The weather outside is still raging.  It’s the great mirror to what’s going on with people all over the planet.  It’s the duck legs below the waterline struggling while the swan only appears to glide. 

The earth is a seed perpetuating new seeds, or maybe it’s only a dog. 

We, on the other hand, retro-evolving parasitic life-forms, seem to be moving backward in thought, rather than fast-forward; hence the emergence of a super race of resource exploiters bashing our way across mother/planet/seed/dog earth. 

Yes, of course, we have our holy women and wild men roaming the forest primeval prophesizing and recording, but mostly their numbers are dwarfed by frightening numbers of consumer/ticks sucking the blood directly from the foundation they’ve built their homes on.

Dumb?  Yeah, I think so; short-sighted, for sure.  But are we, or let me make this more personal, am I save-able?  While the jury is still out on that one, the signs are imminently clear.  We’ve reached the limit on ignorant bliss…it is time to wake up, to come to the storm shelter and sit peacefully in the company of ants and spiders. To ask ourselves the question: are we living a sustainable lifestyle: emotionally, spiritually, financially, physically and of course, environmentally.  And most certainly, it is time to take notice of what nature is saying, time to listen up as she does her best impression of a dog driven to the cusp of madness by colonies of ticks, and to take action, positive action, to help ensure we survive on the back of this great dog that has begun the process of shaking her problems loose.

Image