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His Eyes

Yesterday an old FB post a friend had put up several years ago popped up in my notifications.

I don’t know why exactly. I guess they were looking at it and that made it show? I don’t really understand FB, any of this stuff actually, other than how to make it all work in the limited way that I do.

Anyway, it got my attention  big time, in fact it is hard for me to turn my attention away from it.

It was a lovely little tribute to Tom from one of the Starbuck’s regulars, a group of friends he had made while supposedly “working at the office” (which is what we called Starbucks). Tom was  a writer and he did not thrive in solitude or quiet, so working at the local coffee shop was perfect for him. This shop had a group of friends that hung out together in the morning, and little by little Tom allowed himself to be sucked in, or maybe he allowed them to be included in HIS orbit, I don’t know. He looked forward to going every morning and hanging.  He’d get work done when they all left, but since many of them were writers and musicians and/or slackers, often times there was a lot more socializing going on than work.

While I often visited “the office” and even hung out many times, this was Tom’s place. It was kinda great to know where I could find him anytime, but it was his hang and I mostly left him to it.  (When he died the staff took a picture of him and pasted it under one of the tables in memoriam. For a couple years I could go in there, sit down and look under the tables and see his pic. He was there a LOT.)

That’s the back story. This particular  post was a tribute to him on the 4th anniversary of his death. It was sweet and loving and  his friend attached a picture.

The picture is what I cannot get enough of. It’s either a selfie or Tom being Tom and shoving his face right into the lens, and what you see are his eyes, basically, that’s all. Just those eyes. And I keep going back to it because I have a lot of pics of him with eyes in them but not like this, close-up, looking right in.

I remembered the post, even vaguely the picture, but, today I cannot look away, I cannot get enough .

I don’t know how to get it from their pictures into my pictures. I want it so I can look at it anytime. I am obsessed with it. I must have looked at it 50 times since it went up yesterday and it’s all I can think about

I’m writing about it for goddsakes!, right?

I can look into his eyes.

It’s not the same, obviously , but it’s as close as I’ve found. I can pretend. I can stare and pretend that I am really looking into his eyes. Those beautiful eyes that I haven’t been able to look into in forever and ever.

I miss him, still and SO….

There’s nothing I don’t miss about him. From all the FB chatter I gather this is opening day of football, right?  I  have joked that I don’t miss football.  I DO fucking miss football;  I’d give a kazillion dollars to be watching football with him right now, which is what he’d be doing , that’s for sure.

Oh  goddammit this is SO not my favorite time of  year.  Football season and the holidays. I have to go to Costco and am dreading it because I already have been warned that Xmas shit is up. Target today had Halloween candy.  I know one reason I was so upset about the canceling of my yoga teacher training was that  it was going to be keeping me very busy, occupied physically and mentally, for a few of these months. It was supposed to start this weekend, and a general sense of malaise, depression whatever has  set in. Truth be told though it’s not much different from every other year at this time, but I thought I might have a fix this time. And I was wrong.

There is no fix. I know it. Another fall, another holiday season, another deathwatch. I like to think “this year it’s going to be different” and it never is. I don’t know why I keep buying into that magical thinking. Maybe it’s survival instinct.  Maybe one year it will be different. Maybe. Apparently not this year.

 

I’m going to have to go do the only thing I know how to do to see that picture as often as I need to. I’ll go and tag myself so it comes on my wall. There is a part of me that doesn’t want to do that because I just want to be alone with it…god, this sounds so fucking crazy, no? It feels crazy. It feels a LOT , a lot more than it usually does.

But I can look into his eyes.

(I should have added this when I wrote this post. Better late than never)

 

 

 

 

The Best Laid Plans

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I am not someone who enjoys having their plans fucked-up.

Does that surprise you?  I’M AN ALCOHOLIC!  C’mon!

In my last post I was writing about being in a state of high dudgeon.

Consider me now in a state of…well, truthfully, today?  Calm acceptance.

But Wednesday evening  and part of yesterday? High Dudgeon , Higher, Highest Dudgeon! OUTRAGE! UNFAIR! WTF!  WHY IS THIS HAPPENING TO ME?  Crying myself to sleep…

but, yeah, I’m over it. Calm acceptance, making peace with what IS, being here now…such good lessons to learn.

I got a call from the owner of the yoga studio that there were not enough people enrolled in the Fall teacher training so they were cancelling it.

I KNOW!!!! DAMMIT!! SO UNFAIR I COULD JUST SCREAM!!!!….wait, pranayama, a little yoga breathing, settle down.

Ah….

I’m not gonna lie and say that I am not supremely disappointed, I definitely am. But the truth is that the next training is in January, which is only 4 months away and I can do that one. Even though I had mentaLLY PREPARED AND PSYCHED MYSELF…(breathe!)…up for this one, there is another coming soon and I am already signed up.

This is where I get to practice those yogic principles that I am so eager to delve into, to meditate more and to practice more. I think about January and I remember where I was ability wise last November when I started and I see how much more prepared I will be. And, in the same week that this happened I found a new class and teacher that I had never taken before and I’m a little in love with her…so I can learn all I can and then just learn even more when the training starts.

I really am ok with it now, and I really was NOT ok with it for about 24 hours. I didn’t write about it then because it would have been a screed and I don’t do those anymore. But I thought it all, and you know what? That’s ok. Know what else I did? I got the call at 4:30 on wednesday and at 5:30 I was in a yoga class. I cried through a lot of it, but afterwards the teacher, my friend Aimee, sat with me. She was going to assist and it screwed up her plans too. And that helped me remember, as in everything, it’s not only happening to me, that there are others involved in whatever drama I have in my life and that, once again, I am never alone.

I nursed my indignation until my 4 pm yoga class yesterday with Abbie and then I just left it on the mat. That’s where it started and stopped for me, in yoga, in sevasana, in meditation.

I need to regroup around the next few months. I’m not a fan of the holiday season and having a lot of time on my hands (I have way too much as it is), and so I need to make some sort of plan. And I need to remember that attachment to any plan is folly. I can make them, I can see them through often, but I cannot be attached to them because things change.  “Life is what happens when you’re busy making other plans” (thank you John!)

Which is the beauty of and the hideous truth about life, things can change in an instant and what am I left with?

Calm acceptance. The breathe. The practice of yoga and the practice of life. Equanimity and compassion for myself and others, and the sure knowledge that I will be able to find some meaning from this at some point.

Hopefully in how awesome the January training is going to be!

 

Four Times!

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I don’t know whether I am in high dudgeon or just depressed today. Something my depression masks as high dudgeon because of anxiety.
Either way, I was just able to say “high dudgeon” twice (oops,3 times!) and that lightens my mood considerably.

It’s just been one of those days, you know?

It started too early with a bunch of texts from people I love but I wasn’t ready to wake up. I attempted to get back to sleep but it was useless so up I was.

And faced my really messy apartment. Because I have been fully in “living alone so WTF” mode, I guess. But I don’t like it, chaos no longer works for me. It made some sense the last couple of days because I have been busy, but this Sunday morning it stopped. Not the chaos, the making sense.

I decided to make a good breakfast for energy to clean and there was the second bump in my road. You see, lately I have not wanted to eat. That doesn’t mean I don’t, no worries about food disorders here.  It means that, if I had  my way I would just take a pill every day and have done with it.  I think I have probably mentioned at some point in all of these missives that I don’t cook. I cook, but not well, or inventively, and that’s been fine. I eat a very uninteresting diet and, unless I go out, it hardly ever varies. So this morning staring at the refrigerator shelves and my choices well…there were no choices. Eggs it was along with a plan to hit the grocery store later. Oh, and a rice cake. And some grapes. Yawn.

I tried to settle in and surf the web but the chaos kept distracting me, so I decided to read instead. Then a little yoga. Finally I put on music and started to clean. I did pick up but stopped short of cleaning because….no reason. Because I need a cleaning person. Along with a cook. (LOTS of great ideas today!)

Next I showered, dressed and headed to Trader Joe’s. I ALWAYS shop at TJ’s.   I ALWAYS get the same things.  EVERY. TIME.  I have no idea why it bothered me so much today, but there it was…I am bored out of my mind with my food choices!  I texted my friend and told her “nothing fucking looks good. Except the wine. The wine looks good”. And, for a second it did. (It passed very quickly no worries.) She texted back that I might want to expand my usual choices.  Well, I have no idea how to do that! I told her I was going to throw a tantrum in aisle 3. Now, those of you who know TJ’s understand the problem with that logic…the aisles are all so damn  small that I could never throw a proper fit, so why bother.

I bought my usuals (plus some chocolate) and left.

Oh, and in fact walked a block and a half back to my car because, just like no aisle space, TJ’s has no parking. It’s insane how they thrive.

Driving home I realized exactly what the solution was.  So I drove into a neighborhood restaurant ordered sweet potato fries. ( I KNOW! don’t say it, I KNOW!)
And then, while waiting, I looked up and saw a man on a laptop .
My heart almost stopped, my eyes welled up and I was looking, for a split second, at my Tom, home from wherever the fuck he’s been.
It’s been a while since that happened, and, I’ll tell you what, it NEVER gets easier. The last time it happened it was actually Eric Stonestreet from Modern Family and I did an incredibly obvious triple take. When I could breathe again I carefully studied him and, dammit, it was uncanny. Eric Stonestreet looked like “when we met” Tom, this guy looked like “when he died” Tom.
I  stared at him the whole time I waited for my fries.   I actually considered taking a picture because I wanted proof. He left before my fries came, perhaps he felt the gaping.
People, that shit is hard, so hard. In the moment it’s kind of like I would imagine a near death experience is….your life flashing before your eyes. It felt like I was going to scream and run into his arms and all would finally be right again.  Gratefully I didn’t act on my impulse, and I don’t thnk that description does it justice, but, whatever. It was awful. Truly. I get no comfort in those sightings, not like I get from clear messages, little winks…seeing him in someone else just stabs me in the heart.

Anyway.
I get home, unpack groceries and feel like hell as I eat the sweet potato fries that I have absolutely no taste for any longer.
I turn on the computer and there I see a nice message from my friend about my lack of interest in food, with some good info.
And then I remember that my sponsee is coming over for some step work before I get to go to my 11th step yoga class tonight and I am so grateful because, service, right sober peeps? Cures what ails you for sure.
And I am recovered. Calm again, shook it all off (except the fact that I hate these fries) and decided to come over here and work on a post because it’s been a while and….

WordPress has changed the way the dashboard and posting looks.
I hate change.

At least there is no more depression..it’s all high dudgeon from here on out.

 

Not A Trip, A Journey

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I have been attempting to plan a  “big” trip for a while now.

I thought last year when my birthday rolled around I would be somewhere fabulous, Paris perhaps? Instead I was knee deep in moving, leaving my home of 22 years, downsizing, moving, alone, into an apartment.  Upending my whole life.

Don’t get me wrong, it was time, my life needed changing and I am so glad I did that.

It was, however, a big birthday and I admit to a certain sense of entitlement I was feeling around that. I SHOULD be doing something wonderful, I SHOULD be celebrating in style. Well, like I said, it turned out that I was doing something wonderful, and this last year has been awesome.

When my birthday came  around this year I already knew I wasn’t going to be anyplace special, but I also had in my head that I would take some kind of cool vacation in late September/early October. The  problem was I just could not decide what I wanted to do. I have been thunking about  this and researching it for months. I have a zillion  miles on my American Express card and figured between that and some added cash I could head to Europe,but where?  Then I had the idea that I would get in my car and just drive. I have friends all over the country, I love driving and road trips and I could take maybe 3 weeks and just go. I started mapping out routes and length of travel between destinations. Again, though, there was this nagging feeling of REALLY? Is this really what I want to do? Planning a trip seemed like so much fun, but actually taking it seemed, I don’t know, off in some way. Wrong.

In the meantime I had been scribbling ideas on paper, sort of half-assed vision boards, of what I wanted the rest of my life to look like.  I let myself go wild and so much of it is impossible and funny. I did however notice a recurring theme, having to do with my Yoga practice.

One of the very best things I have ever done for myself is to start a regular Yoga practice. When I first moved that was a commitment I made to myself. I attended a lot of classes at different studios all offering  the obligatory free week. One place was too corporate and cookie-cutter. Another too hard ass and physical results oriented. I can only take a little bit of hot Yoga (no Bikram zone here!), and some studios frankly, did not feel  welcoming to ME, older, clumsier, target Yoga pants vs. Lulemon. I wasn’t upset by this, I do live in L.A. after all, but they were obviously not the studios for me.

The last place I tried was the studio where I have been going for my 11th step practice.  Once I started there I fell in love. The teachers, the classes, the other students. I felt that they  were teaching YOGA there, which really started before the moves were even invented. Yogic principles, mindfulness and a sense of welcome inclusion made this the studio that has become my home.

I wasn’t really surprised when a nagging thought about how to deepen my practice started rolling around in my head. I began going to more classes, chatting with teachers and other students and as I did that I realized just exactly how yoga was working me…not  just physically, but mentally and spiritually also.

I began meditating on  how to move forward in all aspects of my life and  feeling that Yoga was an important key in that.  As I explored and talked to my Yoga mentors, as I meditated and wrote and made more lists and even  had a psychic reading, I got more and more corroboration that the universe was leading me on the right path.

I am now officially signed up for Yoga Teacher Training. Beginning September 5 through November 23 my weekends will be all Yoga all the time. There will be lots of studying and taking other classes….its immersion, basically. I am so excited and sure of this decision. I feel amazing.

I don’t know if I will ever teach.  I do have ideas, amidst all those scraps of paper, of how I can utilize what I learn in grief work, how I can train and possibly do 11th Step Yoga, how my age can be an advantage with students who are older or less confident….but truthfully I am trying to not think past the 12 weeks of training.

I have committed to trying to live my life by doing the next right thing a day at a time, and this is it.  I am re-committed to the YES.

The ability to write here and be me and go  through things with the support of this community has been so helpful, and I am  grateful. I will have a lot of studying to do and, as  I haven’t been in school for a zillion years, I am admittedly worried about anatomy and Sanskrit.  I am going to wean myself from too much FB, limit my computer time and try to experience this to the fullest. I have recovery meetings I need to get to, a sponsee,  my grief groups to run  and other commitments, so superfluous must go out the window.

This is not superfluous though. I need this too, all of you. I hope if I write here about this it won’t be too boring. I don’t think so though. I will be doing something awesome for myself and that’s what we all are doing here, right?  I know the support will be great.

I have Called and this is the Response. I listened, and I will continue to listen. Radical Acceptance. I don’t know what the future holds for me, I’m not looking that far ahead.

As I said, I have been busily planning some kind of trip for myself the last few months. And now I see that, instead, I am about to embark upon a Journey.

 

Namaste!

Blog Touring

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So there is this thing called a Blog Tour.

It’s kinda fun, because someone answers a few questions and then tags 3 people to answer the same questions,  then they tag three and they tag three and all of our collective heads spin. It’s also genius in that it is a very specific blog post, for those of us who might be a little stuck or slow or…..look, a kitty!

It’s also stealth, we’re not supposed to ask the people we tag.  Again, genius, because it’s hard to ask people to do things, right? Especially with the fear of chain letters (I wonder what the consequence of breaking the blog chain would be?  You will never have a cogent thought again? Your fingers will fall off and render you unable to type? ) Well, good for us there are no dire consequences for NOT joining in, no specific amount of time we are supposed to reply by, nor, sadly, any cash or prizes for completing the task.

BUT! there is good news! Because things like this introduce us to different people who might not be on our  radar at this point. We can spend (even more) time on the computer reading posts that might amuse us or make us think or might even make us a new friend. That’s a good prize for sure.

I was asked on the bus by Kristen at ByeByeBeer. She is a wonderful writer (even blogging for TheFix.com these days with no sign of swelled head!) and always has a unique way of getting her point across. Smart and funny and sober…I like that in an imaginary friend!  She writes about many different things, although she started as a sober blogger and runner, and I am always excited when her lovely face appears in my inbox.

I am pinging back to her post on this, well, a soon as I can figure out how to do that. (And I am keeping this comment up even after I ping back in order to show you the learning curve, the WORK, I have had to do to join this tour)

I like a little drama…so sue me!

Here are the questions”

WHAT ARE YOU WORKING ON?

First, let me state that I think this tour originally started with more serious writers than I, the rest of the questions kind of prove my point (and my answers will pound that point home!)

AHEM… At the moment I am working on this post and a decision about what I want for dinner tonite.

I really love to write and am so happy to have started this blog, it’s a great outlet for me. But I am one of those people that, at least in the writing department, really go with the flow. So, in terms of writing I am either working on a blog post or not. No novels. No articles. I work on responses to other blogs too (but never very hard).   What’s on my mind is on the blog, or not. I also have a ton of half finished posts on my dashboard, or finished ones that  aren’t meant to be shared…you know. My blog as a kind of journal. There you go.

How does my work differ from others of it’s genre?

I don’t think I have a genre. I write about sobriety but it’s not really  a sober blog. I write about grief but it’s not a grief blog. Lately I write about mindfulness, meditation and yoga, but that’s because that is what I am enthralled with at the moment. I did a 25 songs in 25 days challenge, which was a blast. I write stories about my life that I would like to be able to translate into spoken word pieces.

This is also a “secret” blog. I do link to twitter, but I always forget and my twitter account is secret too (even from me). There is nothing google-able linked to me in real life and this blog. Because of that safety net, this blog is SO the real me, much more than most people ever get to see. That also  seems to proves the point that I don’t have any real plans for my writing other than doing what I do now. However, never say never.

I am genre-less . I am not very promotable. It’s all good.

WHY DO I WRITE/CREATE WHAT I DO?

I need to.

That wasn’t  the case when I first started. It was a crazy idea “hey kids, let’s put on a blog!”. This isn’t actually my first blog. I  started one a few years ago…same name although it was” Mished-up…with a sexy little drunken slur”. (YES Really!). I wrote there a bit of an evening, usually isolating and a few drinks in. I brought a little over to this new blog, then deleted it all because, well.

So what do I write and create? I guess I am a memoirist, yes? (That may be my genre..maybe I have a genre!)  I write about me; I write what I know.  I write the truth, at least how it is in that moment. I’d love to take a stab at some fiction, some writing prompts, some poetry and yet it never seems to happen.

HOW DOES MY WRITING/CREATING PROCESS WORK?

Very well, thank you for asking!

I think I write when I have to say something. A lot of the time it is just for myself, but I think it might be vaguely interesting to others. Now that I am owning the genre of “memoir”,  I write about me, past,and present.  I try and stay out of the future, because that would just be a guess.

Very few of my posts take days to write. When I am ready to write I generally sit down and do it, not a lot of muss or fuss. This post is happening because I got tagged today. I had time to sit down earlier today and started. Now I am back at it. When I did the 25 songs in 25 days I had a few started at a time, but, in general, I sit down and just write. Sometimes something I am reading propels me to the computer. Other times I have been stewing on something for a couple of days, processing, and then I just sit down and spew it out. So that’s my creative process…spewing! Nice. (oh, and it is August 4rd and I started this on July 30, which kind of ruins my spur of the moment comment. I’ve been busy and I have been trying to figure out how to link to other posts. Plus ping back? no idea)

As far as writing rules, I always wait an hour or two before pushing publish, just to get a little distance.  I have to re-read several times because the amount of typos that I make in a first draft are pretty epic. And auto-correct makes it even crazier. I also MUST edit. I definitely over-write. I tend to over-talk too, so that’s part of me. I admire Kristen so for coming in around 800 words. I’m at 1173 right now and I haven’t even tagged anyone yet. I also haven’t edited yet. I will edit, however it will still be too long.

 

Ok, the linking part. here I am a little unsure of the protocol; I think I am supposed to link to a particular favorite post and say something about it. But this is already 47,000 words too long

First there is Sassy. You all should know and read Sassy. She is a truth teller, a yogi, a runner, a wonderful writer, a business owner, a memoirist like me (I am enjoying the idea of a genre!).  That description is ludicrously simplistic but it’s all I got.   I started to blog because I have been reading hers for years. I LOVE her! She is creating big changes and it is amazing to watch. This IS Writing For The Soul.

Next there is John. Very new to the sober blogging community, newly sober actually. He writes wonderful, funny posts that are full of truth. This can be hard work, especially early on. You might as well laugh! He’s the guy to make you. Here’s The Six Year Hangover

And last..hmmmmm. Here is a blog that I read when I first got sober. The woman whose blog it is has left it up, but it is essentially a long dormant blog. However, it helped me SO much. I had trouble with the steps and a HP, and she wrote so beautifully, from the same place. My favorite quote is somewhere in there…”First the gesture then the grace”. She is now the owner of a yoga studio in Minnesota, her life has changed drastically. But her writing is so beautiful and was so helpful to me.  Now I am reading all of her yoga posts, and including one here. When you visit there is a little menu tab at the top right…that will bring you to different parts of her blog. Just read it, it will get under your skin…SHE will. This is Whiskey And Porn For Everyone

 

 

Call and Response

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OH MY!

You know, I have been working lately on accepting what is and being in the moment and dealing with things as they come and not being attached to outcomes and all sorts of groovy  new ways of looking at life.

I have also been trying to really listen and trust, TRUST, what I hear in this call and response that is life. Because that is what I have felt like lately…I throw out an idea and see how it sounds echoing  back to me. I write something down and pin it to the refrigerator, looking at it daily and trying to see if it will float, or if something will float out from all the thoughts, words, ideas and regurgitation coming up from my mind these days. Crazy pages of scribbling words and ideas, floating messes with differing goals. Call, ask..and respond, answer.

The trick is not jumping on one idea so quickly that I don’t listen for the answer, and I can say with some certainty that I have been doing well in this regard. I think that’s why I haven’t been writing too much, why I have been sitting with my thoughts rather than throwing them out there for comment (even though the comments I get here I treasure, seriously, you all know that!). But in the last couple of months huge shifts are happening. They happened a little over 3 years ago when I got sober. Then again when I started being open to the idea of change…beginning 11th step yoga and staying open to a higher power energy, packing up my life and selling the house, moving to my apartment and divesting myself of stuff (and more stuff). In the last year (and it has been almost exactly a year since I left my house) I have been on a quest to figure out what might be my purpose in this last part of my life. I went deeper into yoga and meditation. I continue to be present for my grief groups and learn there. I am sponsoring and that really pushes me to get more in  touch with my own recovery, which has spread from drinking to eating to emotional recovery…it’s all the same thing. I have spoken with a person who has a lot of psychic energy and she has opened my eyes to some things.

I have been listening hard, sometimes to the detriment of doing, but that has to be ok right now, because i don’t want to do anything wrong, make a mistake, screw up the rest of my life……..

SCRRREEEECH!!!!!

Let’s just let that whole last sentence go, ok?

That sentence is the antithesis of what I want to do, and truthfully, I have NOT been doing that, for probably the first time in my life. I am listening and waiting for answers…call and response. I am trusting that the answers are all here, inside me and that they will come when I am ready. And I am being rewarded for this new tact, with new insights and certainty and hope for the future, a future I have been dreading for quite a while now.

One thing I know for sure (Oprah? is that you?) is that allowing is the way to go and that if I allow what IS to stay forefront in my mind, then allowing what is going to be will follow, because…call and response. Next right thing, next indicated action, the answers will come.

I have ideas, a lot of them. I wish I could show you the papers covered in thoughts and ideas and plans and outcomes, but I am sure you all have them too. They are a good tool though,because amidst all the mess there is one thing that keeps popping out, over and over. Grabbing my attention, calling to me, demanding attention  It is a starting point, a place that all the other ideas seem to flow from, and it surprises the hell out of me.

Yes, I am trusting and listening. YES, I hear you.

 

Sharing this call and response poetry I found and love: “all things in good time and all good things in time after so long waiting ,Dana. This, I believe This, I refuse to give up for another minute….”

 

Call and Response: Dana Gioia’s Poem, “The Letter”

Call: The Letter
by Dana Gioia

And in the end, all that is really left
Is a feeling—strong and unavoidable—
That somehow we deserved something better.
That somewhere along the line things
Got fouled up. And that letter from whoever’s
In charge, which certainly would have set
Everything straight between us and the world,
Never reached us. Got lost somewhere.
Possibly mislaid in some provincial station.
Or sent by mistake to an old address
Whose new tenant put it on her dresser
With the curlers and the hairspray forgetting
To give it to the landlord to forward.
And we still wait like children who have sent
Two weeks’ allowance far away
To answer an enticing advertisement
From a crumbling, yellow magazine,
Watching through years as long as a childhood summer,
Checking the postbox with impatient faith
Even on days when mail is never brought.

20140415-083050.jpg

Response: The Letter
by Jena Strong

No, Dana. In the end,
we will have received
every letter, opened some
neatly, along the crease
of the envelope, using
the letter opener we found
that time at the five and dime
when we were little kids
with coins in our lint-lined
pockets, that somehow
we kept through all the loves
and all the moves,
all the well days
and all the hand-wringing
goodbye moments,
tucked away and taken out
to open letters announcing:
I love you, you are loved.

Others, we will have been
not so careful with,
tearing them open
with overeager hands
or our front teeth
like rabid animals,
hungry not for news
but for something to chew on
and digest, to fuel us through
one hard winter after another.

Yes, we sent messages out
to the world, in bottles,
in songs, in pleas
and prayers, in exultation
and in desperation, asking
for so much and stopping
one day and then another,
no longer wondering
if we deserved answers,
deserved return receipt,
deserved reciprocity.

We deserved it,
deserved it all in the end,
got what our starving
hearts feared wouldn’t come.
We arrived, at the end, here,
to this place
where open and honest learned
to lie together, lion and lamb,
storm and stasis,
breath and gifts from an abyss
of longing unwrapped,
a party in our mouths
of words and of kisses
and of running
to the mailbox after work
to lift the lid
from the tin mailbox–
It came! It came! Mama!

All things in good time
and all good things in time
after so long waiting, Dana.
This, I believe. This, I refuse
to give up for another minute,
not wasting a single morsel
of the mail, the inbox–
the sender and the receiver,
the writer and the reader
are one, and the same.

 

 

The YES (again and still)

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IMG_2899“We bring alive the experience of Radical Acceptance when, instead of resisting emotional pain, we are able to say yes to our experience” “Yes is an inner practice of acceptance in which we willingly allow our thoughts and feelings to naturally arise and pass away”

“Saying yes is not a way of manipulating our experience, but rather and aid to opening to life as it is. Yet regardless of how our experience unfolds, by agreeing to what is here, we offer it the space to express and move through us”.

“Our practice of saying yes is not limited to our immediate experience. We can say yes to the whole life we are living. Yes to our friendships, to our parenting, to our physical appearance, to our personality, to our work, to our spiritual path”  “There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life. With even a glimmer of that possibility joy rushes in. When we put down ideas of what life should be like we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to life as it is”

( Tara Brach from her book Radical Acceptance)

 

I though I was through with my year of the YES.

Not totally of course, I like to take each years words and hold to them, learn from them, re-use them as needed. YES has been my favorite word, my first word. But this idea of Radical Acceptance has me by the throat (in a good way) and I see that YES is in no way finished with me, may never be

I am quoting a lot from Tara Brach because, although I have been assiduously listing to her dharma talks, reading her books, and doing her guided meditations, it is only now that I am really starting to understand what I have learned, am learning. Of course that makes complete sense; I am the slow learner, the experiential learner, the “takes what it takes” learner. And the good in that is that I find when it finally comes it seems to stick.  And that when it finally comes it hasn’t really finally come, there is always so much more to learn, but suddenly I see it, am open to it.

 

The picture above is an example of life throwing me a big “HELLO” !  My friend Brian Andreas wrote this new story and I knew it was meant for me (not literally, it spoke to me though). It was the YES in all it’s glory and I needed it. I immediately commented and thanked him and asked about a print. He told me he was playing with these new wood block things and if I waited maybe I could get in on that, and that sounded great.  So I waited and waited, (seriously maybe 2 weeks but it seemed like forever).  I asked him again about it and he told me that they had decided to NOT produce these, for a number of reasons, but he  did have this ONE. This ORIGINAL one of a kind and would I like it? YES! I listened and accepted and now I have that on my table and it is the only one. It is a message to me.

(See all of Brians brilliant work here…..http://www.storypeople.com/storypeople/Home.do)

And then I started to re-read Radical Acceptance and everywhere I turned there were situations arising within me and without that made it clear that there was much work to do and yet also brought into clear focus the work I had been doing and how it was all coming together, falling into place.

The YES came back in full force as acceptance, as falling back into the arms of a universe that wants good for me.  Allowing my feelings to be what they are and not stifle them or judge them, but be willing to work with them in a positive way to allow me  to live with them and to feel like I am insane or suicidal or giving up.  There is such freedom in acceptance, of non-attachment.  The freedom in being ready for whatever will come and not afraid of any of it. Learning how to live completely in the space of what is, fully surrendered to that. The HOPE that is there. After all the need and want and fear and judgement, the place of hope, of heart opening and of loving THIS life.

To wholeheartedly say YES and start to dance, to allow joy to rush in, to accept what is. Brene Brown says that “our capacity to be wholehearted cannot exceed our willingness to be brokenhearted”, and that fits with Tara’s “seeing and feeling the degree of suffering we are living with reconnects us to our heart.”

It is all determined by  the simple act of saying yes. Yes to it all.  That can include yes to non-attachment, to letting go of people, things, ideas that are no longer serving. Letting go of certain hopes and dreams that are just keeping me stuck in a place of not good enough or not accepting the “what is” of my life. Accepting that I may be alone ( and that is in the specific, not the more beautiful and true general knowledge that I am never alone) and that’s ok. Accepting that particular dance, joy may not happen in my life again and that will have to be fine. I have been stretched thin, full of fear and anger and sadness about that and I can let it go and be happy with what is, right now, right here.

Our practice of saying yes is not limited to our immediate experience. We can say yes to the whole life we are living. Yes to our friendships, to our parenting, to our physical appearance, to our personality, to our work, to our spiritual path” “There is something wonderfully bold and liberating about saying yes to our entire imperfect and messy life. With even a glimmer of that possibility joy rushes in. When we put down ideas of what life should be like we are free to wholeheartedly say yes to life as it is”.

 

Saying Yes to what is, that radical acceptance is what I want, how I want to live today. Re-structuring my life around and despite my broken heart, my suffering. That same suffering has led to much joy, awareness and usefulness.  There are two sides to everything, the yin and the yang (no longer the good and the bad), and honestly living in both is the change that I am hoping for.

 

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