Sunday, December 19, 2010
Friday, December 17, 2010
Wednesday, December 15, 2010
Reberb10, December 15 – 5 Minutes. Imagine you will completely lose your memory of 2010 in five minutes. Set an alarm for five minutes and capture the things you most want to remember about 2010. (Author: Patti Digh)
The enlightenment spreading through Abby's eyes as I finally shift the way in which I explain something, and she finally shifts the was she receives it.
When Hubby and I first started dating, we lived in two different cities. Surprise visits were the best. thing. ever. The other night, the kids and I had dinner at one of dear friend's homes while Hubby had a work dinner. His dinner finished before we got home, and he came over to our friends' house to surprise us. I didn't hear the doorbell, but as I passed from one room to the next, I peripherally saw Hubby waving wildly in the front door's side windows. The giddy delight that bubbled up seemed to come from 1999, the year we first started dating, and the time of many surprises.
Bear hugs from Henry.
Forgiveness leads to brightness, enlightenment and freedom.
My children's love, at times, crushes my lungs with its power and force.
New kindred friendships bless my minutes and days.
This lesson: when I focus my energy on something, it grows.
(Oops. That was 6 1/2 minutes.)
Wednesday, December 8, 2010
Monday, December 6, 2010
Reverb10, December 4 – Wonder. How did you cultivate a sense of wonder in your life this year? (Author: Jeffrey Davis)
My year has been littered with wonder, laced with exquisite luminosity and ordinariness. I love the myriad of ways wonder arrives...in gallant leaps, in gradual steeping, with practiced patience, like a seasoned parent. Wonder dipped and bounced throughout each day, frequently sprinkling its stop-you-in-your-tracks splendor.
The juxtaposition of 2010 against past years made me realize that in the past, I didn't tap into wonder as much as I could've. I felt it--the wonder reached me--but I know that many moments passed, carrying wonder in its midst, when I could've experienced more but did not. Thankfully, wonder can hide under layers and layers of expired, antiquated beliefs. Unforgiven grievances. Road blocks.
Wonder's tenacity permeated the finicky caverns of my sometimes fearful, or negative, mind and allowed for wonder cameos. It radiated through melancholy and doldrums. Wonder provided the pinnacle of belief and the tenacity of hope.
Wonder sits in the midst of explicit ordinariness. For me, there exists an intrinsic relationship between wonder and gratitude. The more I give thanks, the more awe and wonder I experience.
So, I've contemplated wonder. Why has this year been so laden with wonder? I believe it began with forgiveness of decades-old hurts. And a purposeful cultivation and prioritization of self. Wonder--a splendid, phosphorescent jewel, just waiting to wow me. (I do wonder (predictable pun intended): do I cultivate it, or does it cultivate me? Carefully plodding and awaiting my recognition of its power?)
And so I sit, in wonder. Of each day I wake and stretch. Of the evolving complexity of my seven-year-old daughter. Of the constant progression of time. Of the smell of baking cookies. Of the power of the wind. For the much-needed embrace. Of forgiveness. Of darkness. Of the multitude of permutations of the sun's light.
Thursday, December 2, 2010
"Sit down. No, I will not cut the crust off of your toast. Don't touch your sister. A touch is not a hit. Sit down. I'm not serving candy for breakfast. I don't care that your brother looked at you. The next person who removes their hiney from their seat will enter their schools hungry. Now SIT DOWN."
(I'm pretty sure that I have an amazing opportunity for improvement here, but...I'm so ensconced in the cadence of our rituals that I'm finding it hard to feel the rhythm of a new way.)
Anywhoo, the morning proceeded as usual. I asked them to please just get along. And to get ready for school. Kids went upstairs to brush, comb, wash and dress. Arguing began. Luckily for me, from my perch at the breakfast bar, the floor between us muffled the actual words. Abby then appeared in the kitchen to announce the following transgression:
"Henry stuck his tongue out at me."
As I chewed my cereal, I sat in awe. And chewed on this thought: Really? She's tattling on her four-year-old brother for that? (Side note: I've been encouraging my children to work through these arguments on their own. Another side note: You can see how successfully I've deployed said encouragement.)
So, I told Abby that I thought she was being ridiculous and tattling.
Folks, that's when the wheels fell off the bus.
Her voice went up two octaves. And the rampage began:
"You don't love me as much as you love Henry. (Sob, sob.) Everyone likes him more. (Drip, drip.) You don't love me. No one in this house loves me. I'm going to run away from EVERYONE and from this house."
And my lovely maternal response? Silence.
And Abby screamed, "Why aren't you answering me?!"
So I said,
"Are you done? Cause if you're not, could you go somewhere else and cry?" (Another aside: Does my response seem harsh? Mean? Well, let me tell you, it may have been. But it was better than the response running through my head. Yup. Much better. I am just SO done with the wha wha wha whining. Every morning I'm asked to mitigate some grievous, outrageous event that is neither grievous nor outrageous. Usually totally benign. And I'm done. I'm toast. DONE.)
"NO!", she hollered. "I'm telling you HOW I FEEL!!!! You don't love me and aren't even saying that you're sorry I feel this way." Huge tears continue their descent.
And I responded, "I'm sorry you feel that way." (And I then thought that maybe I should actually feel sorry that she felt that way. But it all seemed so nonsensical to me. Henry's tongue sticking out to nobody loves me? Huh? Maybe this is how hubby felt when I was preggers. Huh. Spinning head. Check. Crazy irrationality? Check. Hormones? CHECK.)
Where does she pick up these theatrics?
The good news? I stayed calm. The bad news: I stayed calm. She saw my actions as insensitive, uncaring and mean.
The storm clouds passed. I offered a conciliatory hug with these words:
"I love you."
When she got out of the car, I told her that there was one thing she needed to remember today: That I love her.
I've spent my quiet hours today digesting her outburst. A ploy? Displaced emotion? Her truth? I'll excavate, gently, trying to find clues providing insight and tender awareness. I'll try my best. I'll look for that different rhythm, a new synchronicity to guide us through. And I'll love her. Whether she thinks I do, or not.
Wednesday, December 1, 2010
Encapsulate the year 2010 in one word. Explain why you’re choosing that word. Now, imagine it’s one year from today, what would you like the word to be that captures 2011 for you?
(Author: Gwen Bell)
As I reflected on 2010, I cringed, I cried, I giggled...a small smile tugged at my lips. Many fabulous and descriptive words danced and shouted in my mind, cajoling and begging for selection.
I can best describe your year! Choose me! they yelled.
Shhhh, I told them. You're all lovely, but I can only choose one of you. (Ummm, yes, I just admitted that I talked to words.)
Finally, the most appropos, the most singularly accurate word came to me:
In past years, I skirted the edges of living presently. Although I physically attended each moment, I didn't mentally inhabit each moment. Many moments I spent thinking about the past or the upcoming, and in so doing, I missed the Now.
But in 2010, I inhabited Now. The ugly nows. The epiphany nows. The blah nows. The euphoric nows. The grieving nows.
There are so many wise people and objects whom I wish I could thank for this awakening. The writers I read, the books I inhale, my children, the trees, my friends. I must especially thank Karen Maezen Miller. During her Boston Plunge Retreat, she welcomed us to Now. And then asked, "Have you ever been anywhere else?"
Yes! I wanted to shout. Many times, too many times, I wasn't in the Now because I was There, rehatching, rethinking, redoing...or I was There....planning, worrying, wondering. Not Now, but Then.
Her words reverberated with truth, and acted as a catalyst, a spark of sage connectedness in which all the messages and reminders culminated, returning me to my Nows. I was in that moment. And this one. Now. Wicked winds. Hypnotic candle flame. Classical music. Warm glow of my favorite lamp illuminating my white desk top, littered with cookie crumbs. Words flowing. Fingers typing. Now.
As for the future, in 2011 and beyond, well, I'd like live presently, in each Now that each of those years delivers. Perfect, on time and satiated in the present.