Tuesday, September 17, 2013

9.17.19 FW Abracadabra

I have been thinking a lot about words and the power they convey.  This is hardly a novel thought.
The word abracadabra is derived from an old Aramaic phrase, avra kehdabra, that translates to I create what I speak.  (You may all now be excused from learning anything else today - unless of course you would like that).  Seems people been thinking about this a looooong time.

Sometimes, I am reminded, like to day, to look at what I speak objectively and see what I am creating.  Mostly what I'm speaking about right now is ugly, limiting and making me unhappy.  My outer world definitely reflecting that, making me feel at odds with the entire world, misunderstood and taken for granted.  It's not my best moment.  But I recognize some of the things I can tinker with to improve how I feel.

I catch myself engaging in full head dialogues about how much I miss my life, how as my mom has needed additional help, more and more of my life has slid away.  Describing in gory detail my sadness and cataloging every disappeared friend or empty engagement for future head arguments.  (This is required so that if subsequent head arguments break out, I will have the facts to win said argument).  Subtly blaming her for every encroachment.  There is deep grieving for what was.  Nothing wrong with that.  But at some point, it seems excessive and time to change it up.  I have been looking right over my mom, looking for those bits to still be circling waiting to come home.  They are gone.  Not coming back, most of them.  There are a few things that linger because they were so well nurtured.

So this week I am going to to try to find a place where I accept that this IS my life right now, to enjoy the moments that present themselves as fully as possible and to stop mourning what I no longer have at the expense of what I do have.  I have walked this line before.  I know I can do it.  All I need to do is be a little more on top of my words.  And then........abracadabra...........better days as if by magic.

Sunday, September 15, 2013

Naming the Muse

So a couple weeks ago I got it in my head as I was talking about the Muse that the term was too generic.  That as a modern day person with shamanic training I should perhaps develop a more intimate relationship with a specific writing helper.  

Naming the Muse

I whisper ask
Tell my your name
She whisper tells - Sylvia

Oh gawd.
Please not her

Why not Kerouac
or Ginsberg
Why not Kooser
or Keats
even the overly loved Mary Oliver

But she stands there before me
staring at her shoes
blonde curtain of hair between us
and I know better than to refuse. 

Sylvia Plath
beloved poet of goth children
and angst ridden teenagers
superhero of the suicidal
I read you and yawned

Now I resist you
How I hope you are but a bad CSLewis joke
or an Amy Tan misfire giving me indigestion

But a gift is a gift
even if you do not understand it

I say
Come Sylvia
Walk with me

And so it begins.  

Wednesday, September 11, 2013


There will be a ton of posts today about 9/11, most yanking at already bruised and war buffeted nationalistic heartstrings.  I will not look at these.  My heart remembers the sadness all too well.

Twelve years after the fact, I am more interested in what I learned that day.

I learned about a world that existed "out there" in places like Israel, Afghanistan, Korea in a way that made out there suddenly much more in here.  Over the last 12 years I see there is no difference in those places.  What happens out there, happens in here and vice versa.  I can't control out there, but I can garden in here and know that it is reflected outward.

I learned that you should listen to a little voice that says "not today" that some will call chance, but I believe to be intervention.  That sometimes you are late or sick or need to be somewhere else and it's OK.  It may even save your life.

I learned about randomness.  Unpredictability.  Those things remind me to live in the moment.  To tell people that I love how I feel and not wait or think that they know.  They might, but who doesn't like to hear that?

I learned to see the US from a place outside my 1960's upbringing, began to see it the way someone in a different country might.  That we are not always right.  What we are is stronger, better equipped and louder than other countries.  12 years later, I'm not at all sure that the Jeffersonian thoughts that worked so well for us, are translatable to other countries.  I'm even less sure why we aren't letting them figure out what works for themselves.  Helping, yes.  But directing/funding/sending soldiers, ummmm no.

I learned that there is a hero in each of us.  And that there's a coward in each of us.  Which one am I?  Like the story of the internal wolves - whichever one I feed.

Sunday, September 8, 2013

Elephant Dreams

Normally on Sunday morning I would be at my table at the Dawg writing.  But I have cleaning to do for an inspection on Tuesday and can't afford to give up that much time today.  Note to self:  You WILL recoup those three hours sometime this week.

Last night I had a dream in which I was on safari in Africa.  Africa has been on my bucket list since age 6.  I was absolutely thrilled to be jounced down potted roads wearing my pith helmet and laughing.  One must wear a pith helmet on safari and being in Africa, one must laugh.  Dreams.  

We are watching a herd of elephants and I am taking pictures.  Just in awe that I am finally here and in the presence of wild elephants!  The herd begins to turn toward us and the driver slowly takes us further away down the road.  A particularly big bull, charges toward us his massive ears spread wide.  We accelerate and take off down the road increasing the distance between us and them.  

That's when it happens.  We hit a particularly huge pot hole that rattles my teeth.  The camera strap is bounced off my neck and the camera goes flying out the open top of the vehicle.  It lands squarely in the middle of the road where the bull elephant, still charging toward us, steps on it.  

I'm never scared.  Never fussed.  Not about the charging bull.  Not about the loss of my camera.  I'm only slightly less ebullient.  

Thinking about this dream, many pieces make so much sense.  My love of Africa and me desire to safari.  My interest in photography.  So why did my brain kick this out and why now?


My occupation is research scientist.  Yeahyeah, it's less sexy than it sounds.  Mostly this means I set up things to happen and then sit and watch.  I am a paid observer.  That's right.  I get paid to notice stuff which is perfect for my personality.  That's right even in my own life I have a tendency to hang back or around the edges and watch as things unfold, trying all the while to decipher the underlying pattern.  I'm an out and out introvert.  Or should that be an in and in introvert?  That reinforces the observer pattern.  Left to my own devices I would be quite happen watching life unfold all around me and scribbling in notebooks like Proust.

What's that got to do with my dream?

Even in my dream I am the observer.  Happy.  Traveling.  Fulfilling my dreams.  But still in a way that doesn't engage me fully in the action.

I am the critic not the actor
I am the watcher not the watched
I am the passive voice not the active one

I have fallen into a place where I am distanced from my life.  Distanced from my feelings.  Watching it all unfold, but not really in there.  The reasons for this are many, I won't bore you by listing them.  But many of them are quite good reasons.  I will just say that "in there" is a place where I get bruised up and knocked around, where my emotions tumble and churn in my belly, where I am scared shitless.

In that safe place of observer, none of that touches me.  I can operate without engagement.

That is until the big bull elephant charges sending me down the rutted road.
That is until the pot hole that jars my internal organs to new locations.
That is until the camera flies out of my hand.
The camera that is the way I record and document.
The tool that keeps me distant
That keeps me observer bound
The camera is destroyed
And I am left to figure out life from this new place

A new place of churning emotion
of rutted paths and overgrown trails
I cannot be the observer here.
Good thing I dreamed the pith helmet.

I think I'm gonna need it.

Mean Girls Are Never Pretty

Mom's sojourn in Memory Care ended when she could no longer stand and became what they term a 2-assist.  She transitioned to Skilled C...