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Friday, February 26, 2010

The dream keeper

My mother was a dreamer. She always had some plan, some fantasy, in mind. She could spend hours looking at a Sears catalog and redecorate the entire house in her imagination. She spoke of trips she would someday take, to Scotland, to visit her beloved cousins. She would buy a single lottery ticket and would plan how she would make her family happy with the winnings.

One of her favorite songs was Scarlet Ribbons. She would play it on our old piano, and sing. The song is about a girl, who dreams of ribbons. It is a sad song about unfulfilled dreams, about poverty. My mom saw the beauty in the words, and shared them with us. My brothers and I would sit by her and listen to her sing. This is how she instilled the power of dreaming. In the song, even though the little girls parents couldn't afford ribbons they appeared on her pillow one morning. Hope is eternal. Dreams can come true.

After my mothers death it became hard for me to dream. I would think of all of my moms big plans, which were cut short by her sudden death, and I would feel hopeless. It took me out, I no longer wanted anything to do with the future. I lost my will to dream.

It is only recently that I have spent any time at all looking forward to the future. I am starting on this path, the one my mother, the dream keeper, paved for me. Maybe someday I will journey to Scotland in my mothers place, and visit my cousins. Maybe....there will be scarlet ribbons.....for me.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Keeping up with the Laundry

I know that there are better, possibly more productive things to do with my day off, but blogging just seemed to call to me today.

There is a mountain of laundry in my basket, but instead of sorting it, and lugging it to the nearest mat, I decided to write a love letter to my dirty clothes.

Dear worn stuff in my laundry basket,

How are you? Are you getting along with each other in that jumbled chaos in the closet. I am really sorry that I am neglecting you. I really am, really! Soon you will get the attention that you deserve. I will sort you by color, then examine each and every one of you for stains. I will apply the proper chemical to each and every potential stain and gently rub you. Next I will place you  in the laundry basket and transport you to the laundromat. I will be careful to divide you into equal parts, and not crowd you. I will set the machine to the proper setting, and start inserting quarters. I will spend as much as I need to to satisfy your needs.

I will be careful to hang you up, and fold you nicely. I will take care of you until you are old, or until we grow apart.This is my promise.

Please be patient with me.

Love, Jane

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Instant Karma

We have a little book in the bathroom, we pick it up from time to time and read little pieces of advise. The advise is based on the principles of Buddhism, Taoism, and other spiritual traditions. Karma is the theory that what you do today, good, bad, indifferent, will come back to you tomorrow.

The first piece of advise in this book is wait for the door to be unlocked instead of trying to break it down. Good advise, I admit, but really who would stand by a locked door and not at least knock first? Was that implied, and I just missed it?

The last piece of advise in this book is "Start where you are". Yup in 594 pages the last advise is to start where you are. I kind of like it, really, starting at the end of the book, life begins anew.I find it comforting.

The most ironic thing about the book is the title, Instant Karma. Somehow karma should not be instant, but a walk that lasts your lifetime. I have tried some of the advise in the book. One of my favorites is "when you stop blaming others, you regain your sense of personal power." That speaks to me.

Just having that book, which has seen better days, the binding is broken, the pages are curled, makes me feel like there is a chance to be better.I like it.

Monday, February 15, 2010

If a tree falls in the forest....

I can imagine the crack of the tree, that rhetorical tree, I can actually hear it in my mind. I look up to see where the sound is coming from and I see branches twisting, breaking, falling to the earth. I quickly look at its path, to see if there is danger, and then look up again to witness the event. In my imaginary forest it is noon, the sun is shining on the forest floor, there is a bed of fallen leaves, and dead wood. I am on a path, and I am watching from a safe distance. It is cool in the forest, the shade feels good. There is a slight breeze, and no bugs. The sound it makes is a loud crack, followed by some high pitched squeaks, then small loud clicks as the limbs rub against other trees that are still standing. I can hear the dead wood shatter as it hits the forest floor.
The birds stop singing for this event, just the sound of the tree is apparent to me. Slowly the sounds of the forest resume. Birds chirp, squirrels scamper by, bugs fly past, buzzing in my ears.I take a step forward, and I too resume my walk. I feel comforted, knowing that there was a purpose to my walk. I was there to hear it, if only in my mind.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

The disadvantages of blind obedience

We may have been raised with the belief that blind obedience was the moral way. Never question authority figures, do what you are told, be good. It really didn't matter if what we were told made any sense to us, it mattered that we obeyed. It mattered what the neighbors thought, it mattered what other people thought. We may have inferred that the only opinion that didn't matter was our own.

Personally, I have been a people pleaser all of my life. I put myself last, my opinion was the one that went unspoken. I didn't always follow my instincts, and I should have. My moral compass was pointing to true North.

I am happy to say that I didn't raise my children to follow blindly. Yes, the same children who in previous blogs, I reviled are rail bums and who have abused drugs. It is as though we will prevent terrible things from happening if only we worry enough. If we guard ourselves from all of the negative things around us, if we look away from tragedy, if we look past homelessness it will not affect us. I am here to say that it will. I am here to tell you that even spiritual people, who have done all that they can to prevent such things, can be blindsided.

I am thankful for the disruption in my people pleasing life. I am thankful to my children for not only being themselves, but showing me my error of blind obedience. I was shaken out of my comfort zone and given a chance to look at everything anew. I read somewhere that your sadness can make you empty, your sadness can make you open up. The strange thing is I was sadder in my ignorance than I am now. I have put a mirror in front of myself, and seen me for the first time. I may not like everything about myself, and my decisions, but from now on, they will come from my heart. My moral compass will lead me.

Monday, February 8, 2010

On being grateful and energetic

Life is short, right? The energy we expend on guilt, shame, anger, anxiety, is all wasted time. I am making it my goal today to be grateful. I will be grateful, and I will be energetic. I will not waste my life in reflection. I vow to try new things. I will be brave, and I wont care about what other people think.

Okay, let me put it this way, I will try to do these things. I will remember to find inner strength in challenging situations. I will be better. I will attempt to find something good in everything.

This coming from someone who is, at times, afraid of anything and everything. Fear consumes me, it eats me alive, leaves big holes in my soul. I will find something useful in that too, because as my husband always says, there are only two true emotions, love and fear. I will thank the heavens above that love consumes me also. I am loved, and have the capacity to love. I have it all.

Sunday, February 7, 2010


The greater danger for most of us is not that our aim is too high and we miss it, but that it is too low and we reach it.


I used the greater part of yesterday attempting to learn to Water Color paint I looked at instructional videos, and read articles. I looked at some pictures as well.

What I learned from watching, and learning, is that there isn't just one technique. I learned that unlike some other forms of art, patience is essential. The big picture must be taken into account. I learned to go slow, and draw out my plan. I now know to look in the shadows, see the white spaces.

My painting isn't finished yet, but it coming along. It is only my first attempt.

Thursday, February 4, 2010

What does enlightenment have to do with my lipid profile?

Here is the thing, I really am serious here, what does it all mean? My husband works with the elderly, and we were discussing how there are basically two types of people in Nursing Homes, those who are ready for the great beyond, and those who are afraid to die.

Let me make this clear, I do not want to end up unable to care for myself. Who does? Given the opportunity I would much rather die in my sleep, in my own house, after a full and fruitful life.

I would like to profess that I am not afraid to die. I have given it my all, done my best, and blah, blah, blah. I would like to say that, but it would be untrue. I want enlightenment first. I want to know why my time on this earth was justified. I want to know what I was meant to do, and did I achieve this goal.

The answer is simple, I will just stay as healthy as I can, until I know what I need to know. Then I will be one of those old ladies, who are "ready to go".

There was a time, a few years ago, I thought I had it all figured out. I was fighting cancer, run away kids, and other assorted major life problems. I was ready to quit. I thought I couldn't handle the pain of it. I thought I was ready to go. My body was tired, my mind foggy, I didn't care what happened anymore. I just dragged myself through the days, weeks, months. I just kept on waking up, and doing what was expected of me. What I expected of me that is.

I look back on that time and I am grateful for it. I was enlightened by it. I know what I am capable of.

I also think I became more compassionate. I am empathetic in a way I never used to be. I take in emotions that are not mine to feel, and by looking from another view, I learn. Is this part of my journey?

I want to live. I love my life.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010


There should be less talk; a preaching point is not a meeting point. What do you do then? Take a broom and clean someone's house. That says enough.

Mother Theresa (1910-1997)

I never know if anything I do really matters, I know that sometimes what I say, just to sound clever, effects me, and no one else. I really do try to do good deeds. I try every day to make it not so much about me, to reach out. Here's the thing, I am not Mother Theresa, I haven't her faith, her dedication, and as much as I wish I did, I do not.

Today, I will go to work, doing my "good works", and getting paid for it. So does it really count, if you are getting paid to help people? Am I just a staff, a pointer, a stick, a rock, a sound?

It is snowing lightly here today. I will trudge through the snow, brush off my car, and drive through a forest for 30 miles to work for 4 hours. I will then drive back, in the dark, hoping that I don't hit another deer, or break down, in the forest, and have no way to get back to the safety of my home.

Sometimes while I drive home, I look up at the stars, and I think about how vast the universe is. I can only do it for a few seconds though as I am driving through a forest filled with wildlife, in the dark, alone . I really do have to be in the moment then, so every day I get to experience nature. I also am blessed to have a job I love, helping people, who look forward to seeing me.

I am thankful for that.

Monday, February 1, 2010

The back roads of life with my head in the clouds

There is no quiet place in (your) cities, no place to hear leaves of spring or the rustle of insects wings...The Indians prefer the soft sound of the wind darting over the face of the pond, the smell of the wind itself cleansed by a midday rain, or scented with pinon pine. The air is precious to the red man, for all things share the same breath--the animals, the trees, the man. Like a man who has been dying for many days, a man in your city is numb to the stench.

CHIEF SEATTLE (1790-1866)

So here I am, trying to keep my views of life precious. I will try and remember that what really matters is everything, not just the view from the back of my glasses.

I was filled with regret last time I met you here, so, here is to a new start to the outlook of this blog. I will not be numbed by the stench of regret. I will not be smothered by the past. I will not stop living because I made mistakes. I will not give up taking the back roads, hoping for the best, being optimistic, having my head in the clouds.