Broken Screen

My daughter is taking a long trip and my son is moving into an apartment with his girlfriend. These are exciting pieces of news. Why then am I crying?

I am emotional, touched by the slightest kindness, connection, bit of warmth. I watch the world move in multiple directions, unsure of my position, in the midst of a swirling windstorm. Where am I? Where are my kids? My parents? My family that keeps me centered and intact? I exist flummoxed and impinged.

My family, now inclusive of my oldest son’s fiance (my daughter-in-law to be) and my second and third sons’ girlfriends, gather for a farewell dinner for my daughter. They show up, and just two days after they showed up for my niece in Colorado. A lucky woman am I to be surrounded by such special people.

But so emotional. I break through the screen, the filter, of my very being. Unprotected, my vulnerability is a curse and a savior. I rattle around my shell as though visiting a mansion filled with untapped rooms and staircases. Which door do I open? Where will the staircase lead? Am I brave enough to make this journey … I don’t know.

In the moment, in the uncertainty, in the murky darkness, I sit directionless. How can something awesome be terrifying? That something, someone – is me. My sense of balance is thrown and I teeter on the edge of what I don’t know. Sometimes delighted, sometimes shivering in trepidation. Emotion contacts my heart in a soggy, water-filled place. I see the world through undulating waves.

The sensation of being left, real or imagined, is a triggered bleeder dragging me into a bloodstained and wilted pasture. There is no movement in yesterday’s news, yet I sink into that meadow with a cradled ease.

I long for the familiar but growth pulls me in other directions, making me fear and love change simultaneously. Stepping from the known, my insecurities roar loudly, calling attention to themselves. They step from secrecy so I take notice. One cannot examine what one does not acknowledge.

Bittersweet, so much is in the rear-view mirror. Miles stand in my wake. When someone leaves and I use the word, leave, loosely, a buried sadness surfaces. Worn, well-trodden paths of crumpled daisies and trampled grass. Fragrant memories fill my nostrils.

Perhaps on the staircase leading to places unknown, new flowers and fragrances will draw me, creating a bridge from what was to what is. If I can focus. For a moment. Without weeping. On the now.

 

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The Easy Way?

Boulder, Colorado has mountains peaks in all directions, nature, and a piece of my family. My youngest brother and my youngest sister-in-law live there with my youngest nieces. It is an awesome (I get to visit them here) and difficult (not often enough) situation.

Their younger daughter was Bat Mitzvah-ed last weekend. In a scenic town, far from home, we got to celebrate her. And celebrate we did. Family and friends came from near and far – many (myself and my entourage included) from the east coast.

I was sick before I went, and I am sick still. Two rounds of antibiotics later, with a sinus infection that just won’t quit, I do not feel right. I feel tired, enervated, and vulnerable. I am probably over-thinking this, over-concerned about this. I am wondering why it is taking so long to feel like myself. As I age, and since I watched my parents’ age, I have a different understanding of frailty. It isn’t only ‘them’ anymore. Unequivocally, I don’t like it. 

Somehow – on the proverbial wing and prayer (appropriate metaphor for the occasion) I managed to take part in all activities. And they were plentiful – a solid three day involvement – which served to bring close people even closer, solidifying the connection we all felt anyway. A reminder, a happy reminder, of who we are.

But I don’t have the head or heart for sick. It isn’t my strong suit. My parents’ end-of-life predicaments was a learning experience in compassion – for them, for me, for hospital personnel and hospice. It was a soul-searching, keep-your-heart-open-even-as-it-breaks, experience. It was powerful and frightening and enormous.

And even though I am fine (other than my congestion, clogged ears and head-and-toothaches) it brings up a feeling of surrender, of what if’s and oh my Gods. It humbles me. I am reminded I am not quite so powerful, so capable, so anything. These are the times I move from my head to my heart. The heart is harder for me; it’s fuzzier, softer, less defined. I am a head strong, analyze-the-shit-out-of-the-situation Virgo. But somehow coming from my heart connects me better, albeit not more easily, with why I am here. There is truth in: The easy way is the hard way in the end.

 

 

 

 

 

And celebrate we did. Though each day and each occasion took on a unique celebration and tone. There was a blessing circle Friday morning; serious, funny, filled with hugs and brunch – there was the Temple service Friday evening. Then came  where my young niece turned young woman spoke in fro

 

 

There is something about the gathering of family and close friends that has the capacity to be magical. The spark, the connection, the

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I Thought My Father Was God

I hope this does not insult believers, it’s not my intention. But I did think my father was God, at least in the eyes of his young daughter. His intelligence, his swift and capable handling of arising problems, his compassionate and caring mannerisms, his protective personality. I felt safe and fearless in his care. Isn’t that what faith is about?

I felt this with Mom, too. But the frequencies were different, feminine/masculine energy, yin/yang, etc. She did protect me – my mother was compact but powerful, her size gave her an edge, her strength was unexpected, her movements swift with intention. Mostly she was the nurturer, the feeder, the one who sat and talked to me late into the evening.

My youth, even with divorce and the ugliness and shame that evoked, was happy. There was stability, routine, and popularity enough to make it work. My parents were available, just not together. While I loathed this fact, I learned there were advantages. I had more alone time with each of them, our time, while perhaps less flowing, was more intentional. We were aware, especially with my dad, that it would end.

I think that going through tough times early in life has advantages – particularly when primary needs (and beyond) are taken care of. And mine were. The disruption that difficult times cause brings with it awareness, presence, feelings – all the little reminders of being alive. Troubled times set me up to appreciate fun times. This wasn’t a conscious decision on my part, it was by default – but it was.

So, while I am aware that my mom and dad are not God, I am just as aware that they were two of the most influential people in my young, and adult, life. They taught by example. They were smart, thoughtful, selfish, injured and loving people. They gave me life and care and attention and guidance. I do not believe I can adequately thank them, although I do not believe they would need me to. I, as a parent, can pass it forward.
And that is enough.

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I Can See The Dawn

Life in the self publishing lane has improved. When Balboa heard my concerns, when I got to the right person (always important), circumstances changed quickly and I received a competent human to work with. The difference (duh) is remarkable not only in the speed of response, the content in emails back and forth, but in my state of mind. I feel calmer, taken care of, unruffled.

IMG_0333And in the midst of the experience comes possibility from other sources (cover designer, support from many writers). Synchronicity. Serendipity. All kinds of good stuff. Another reminder to not stay stuck, to open the channels of energy and communication because therein lie the unexpected goodies of life.

In yoga, we take poses to open spaces. They are generally intentioned for body parts – chest, hip joint, back, jaw. When I feel stuck and overwhelmed, I back up, close off, turn away, the opposite of what my yoga poses are meant to achieve. I imagine, at the time, that I am getting perspective. But more often I am getting isolated and withdrawn, traits accompanied by their own sets of problems.

IMG_0304Yoga classes leave me stronger, more connected, vulnerable and open. The real change of import being the attitude with which I approach what is happening. I believe I am supported so I come from an attitude of security, not fear, knowing that I can handle what comes up, no matter the outcome. It is a very different way to live life.

I am excited about the book and its forward motion, I am excited about my blog and my readers, I am excited about my family members and friends (who I am connecting with on deeper and sustainable levels), and I am excited about the activities in my life. May this day bring you an unexpected nudge inviting you to join, just a bit more, your inside and outside environments.

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The Dealeo?

I was fully prepared to write a glowing review for Balboa, virtually retracting my prior bouts. But that is not going to happen. Not today.

The reason for this, is that the call I was to receive this morning, by a new Check-In-Coordinator, never came. Zilch. Nothing. Nada.

Really? Am I paying good money – thousands of dollars, to be ignored, dealt with shabbily, have my time disrespected? As I shake my head and work to control my rising anger, my closest friend calls. We discuss her son’s wedding.

It takes a conversation with my daughter for the fog in my mind to clear, and to realize that the day I sit at my computer, waiting patiently (or otherwise) for a phone call from a publishing business – is Sunday. To compound the issue – because I am nothing if not fastidiously detailed (except, apparently, for the day of the week) I wait a reasonable thirty minutes, then make phone calls to the dear Coordination Manager I spoke to last Friday, and the friendly woman who initially signed me up.

The conversation with my daughter goes like this:
“Where are you going?”
“I’m going to Dara’s.”
“But don’t you have things to handle today?”
“Mom, it’s Sunday.”

And that’s when it hits me, like a ton of bricks. My hyper-vigilance, my micromanaging, my lost day. I immediately re-email these women, who I am embarrassingly aware must think I am insane, and apologize.

There are reasons, justifications, considerations. But still. I was presented with myself full on and I had to take a deep breath and a hard look. I was feeling insecure about the competence of the help I was receiving from Balboa and I turned a bit looney in the face of it. And I had gone to an afternoon backyard party Saturday that felt like a Sunday.

The lesson for me, when I feel this way, is to slow down. I jump onto the fast track, and I speed along like a racing interstate locomotive. I take no prisoners. Nor do I apply brakes. And, an even harder lesson for a perfectionist like me, is that I make mistakes, too. Like. Every. Other. Human. It’s humbling, and I clearly need the reminders: Stay focused, stay kind, and still do what I need to do. It’s a hell of a lesson for a Sunday morning.

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Balboa – Bout Two

It has been a while since I signed up with Balboa, and a while since I last wrote about the process.

Suffice it to say, I’m not having fun.

The gentleman I’m working with, let’s call him WE (as a metaphor for all us authors and what we’ve got to deal with when we choose to self-publish). WE, has a very long turn around time responding to emails. So much so that he either responds after the email was relevant, as in: “Oh sorry, I just saw this, I didn’t know I should’ve called,” or he misses the emails entirely, as in: “I apologize, I didn’t even see your last email.”

This has caused frustration (What else is new?) and more importantly delays in handling issues and moving forward. My timeline for services has been pushed back. Daily. I became so annoyed at his fourth or fifth apology, that I called the woman who originally signed me, convincing me, sucker that I am, of the benefits of using a self-publisher that puts the name – HAY HOUSE – on their books. Quality control. Would HAY HOUSE let anything important slip by? The implication, I am now only assuming, being that it does not.

Well guys, so far, not impressed. But let us not put the cart before the horse, I have a 10 a.m. phone consult with WE, in which I plan to address – and handle – any and all outstanding impediments to moving forward. He assured me it was “on his calendar”. I am unable to rush the process on their end, but I bloody well can make sure he and I are on the same page and up to date.

Once again dear friends and readers, stay tuned…Bout Three is right around the corner. Perhaps with a surprise ending.

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Writing is a sign,  an expression, a sharing of the soul. Today I read a creative nonfiction project that my son wrote for a writing class in college. Four years ago. It turned up randomly, accidentally, intentionally. Regardless, it was really good. 

It makes me happy to see how good a writing class can be, especially when the person has talent.

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