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Friday, December 26, 2014

Heartfelt Resolutions

Photo by Kevin Tomasello
After the sudden wintry weather in November, it's spring-like in December. Spring enveloped in clouds of gray, until, eureka--the first truly sunny day in the past two and a half weeks!

The holdiays were swift this year. Thanksgiving turkey leftovers gave way to the mad shopping "season." Before I knew it, Hannakah and Christmas flew in and out before my brain could take it all in. I was a terrible Scrooge this year: a whiney sourpuss.  Tired of the commercialism, I was annoyed by cheesy sentiment. Utterly depressed, actually. As the year comes to a close, I tend to reflect on all my regrets then feel guilty and try to focus on all my blessings. There are many in each category.

The creative side of me loves the drama, the warmth, the sorrow, and the sweetness that comes from reflection on another year. Mourning people lost during the past years, I still have hope for the future. I still look forward to the next year: to new beginnings. As I age, I savor the present much more than I ever did when I was younger. The present is really all we ever have. Why not cherish every second? Because this is bullshit. It sounds great! I want so much to be "Zen," to take it all in stride. And I am grateful; quite blessed, indeed. I have a roof over my head. Fire in the woodstove to keep me warm. A husband who loves me. A wonderful, successful son. I have a book coming out in 2015: my dream! Who am I to whine? A devilish drudge, that's who. Although I need constant reminders, I hate to be told what to think. I have issues; I am working on them. Frightfully flawed,  I am guilty of being caught up in the useless chaos of daily life. Minor annoyances irk me beyond reason as I allow myself to get stuck in the piddle in the middle. I ruminate on all the things I don't have, all the things I wish I had done differently, all the things I desire. As Brandi Carlile wrote so directly, "my mind is full of razors." If only I could cut these worries from my mind with them. So, here are my resolutions for the new year:

I plan to meditate, regularly, for real, every day. Rid myself of the "monkey mind" that steals my joy.

Let go--of all things that don't feed my soul, such as resentments and anger over stupid things.

Practice acts of kindness every day, starting with my own family. This is a tough one. I lash out my anger and destructive thoughts on those closest to me then I blame them. This is the ugly truth. Which brings me to my next resolution:

I will always tell the truth. I will try hard not to be cruel, but I will tell you the truth.

I will love the damaged little girl inside like she is my own child. I will care for her as the precious innocent that she is.

I apologize for the language, but the truth is, I swear like a sailor sometimes. If you are offended, I am truly sorry, cover your eyes. I am a woman, but not always a lady. I care with all my heart. An open heart can be quite graphic.

I wish you your best new year with all my bloody heart.

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

From the Heart

Photo by Laura Bear
As the editing process for my debut novel winds down: the final proof reading, the cover choice, the author photo (yikes!); as we hurtle through the holiday season (I'm not ready!); as I anticipate my 50th year on this earth; as I watch my only son marry his sweetheart in the new year (how did I get this old so fast?), I find myself erupting in a jumble of emotions. In a short few months, I will be a published author, a half century old, and a mother-in-law, in that order. I have anticipated the birth of my first book with the same trepidation and excitement of the birth of my son. The excitement--and yes, fear--of my only child pledging his life to a another wonderful individual cracks my heart open further than I ever imagined. The birth of a book has some of the same parallels. For two and a half years of my life, I labored, cursed, laughed, fumed, and bled over the pages to make them come alive. I want to jump and shout and cry and laugh and SING about all of this, but I will write because that is what I do. I am rusty. I am inferior. I am NOT Harper Lee. Or Hemingway. Or Plath. Or King. Or Lamott. I am only me. A small voice, but it's mine. So much to learn, so much to do, so little time.

Every one of us has a voice, though. Even the ones who can't speak. In my other career, I work with people who struggle with the expression and understanding of language every day: language lost through stroke or brain injury. What was once so natural becomes a strangled struggle to utter a single volitional sound or a constant failure to find the right word. Words once taken for granted become wispy figments for those who travel in the twisted world of the injured brain. I love language. Written language, poetry, and story-telling create a vivid alternate world for those who can partake. What happens when that world is cut off? Language is communication: written, spoken, painted, drawn, numeric, gestured--no matter the mode, we strive to communicate our thoughts, ideas, needs, desires. We are here to interact with others. Human beings need language in some form to become both part of and separate from the whole of humanity. Each voice is an important thread in the tapestry of this giant work of art we call Earth. The differences are essential to the strength and beauty of this world. Each one, fragile on its own, but strong in union. Different, unique, but together. No one insignificant. No one discarded. I expect a lot from language. From people. From myself. I want to be moved. I want to feel as much as I can. I want to know as much as possible. I wish this for all of you, too. For all of us. Thank you for checking in. I would love to hear your voice.