Fragile

I’ve been feeling small the last few days. Fragile. Young. Sensitive. I want to be held, snuggled, tended. And I’m tired. And weepy. I’m fighting off a skin infection and I’ve had a busy couple months—that must be it. Why must I always search for a reasonable explanation for feeling under par? I’m disappointed to see how hard it still is for me to truly rest. Without anxiety or guilt. To mother myself, with warm blankets, food that strengthens, loving words. Apparently I still do not trust that my body knows what it’s doing and what it needs. That letting go of a week’s responsibilities will not make me into a lazy slob who will never do anything responsible ever again. I know it’s ridiculous. We all have ups and downs—in a month, in a week, in a day—but somehow those times of feeling small, sensitive and fragile still seem shameful, illegitimate (unless, of course, I can find a “legitimate reason” for them). Ok, in this culture we are addicted to productivity and strength–I know that. And we don’t respect our bodies, that’s true. Or mothers and mothering. Or our own cycles, or the cycles of nature. But something else is niggling at me. A memory from last week flashes into mind: during an intuitive painting retreat a little girl emerged from within me, eager to paint, full of play, tantrums and great love. In fact, she embarrassed me by tearfully telling everyone there how much she loved them, that they were beautiful. And she insisted on painting big bubblegum-pink hearts on the canvas, decorating them with paint and...

Looking and Not Talking

  I’m hanging in a wordless space, even as I write these words. Recently home from a family trip on the Oregon coast for the holidays, I’m savoring all I saw and heard there: my family, of course; and also blustery winds and rain; thundering waves; squawking seabirds; towers of sand; and fairy woodlands, waterfalls dashing amidst stones and trees adorned with moss, lichen and teeny mushrooms. People I love are still facing serious health crises and I’m silently holding them in my heart. Yesterday I gathered with friends as in creative silence we asked our personal dreams for 2019 to appear on vision boards. The visual storyteller Maira Kalman, when asked about her love of museums, spoke of the peace in “just wandering and looking…I think we have the opportunity to understand silence around us, and really looking all the time.  There’s always the opportunity. And there’s never a lack of things to look at, and there’s never a lack of time not to talk.” Looking and not talking. Yes, I’ve been in this space and do not want to leave it. So this month I offer a few pictures for you to look at and ponder if you choose, with some white space around them…                                                                   (The entire “On Being” interview with Kalman, sent to me by a dear friend, is fabulous and can be found HERE.)...

Playtime for a Full Heart

Life has been intense lately. Amidst the dark and cold and holiday hullabaloo (and provoking world and national news), many people I love are going through very tough experiences right now.  So I decided to give my sore heart a break with a little playtime. The result is the writing below and the drawing, both of which gave me a much-needed chuckle. I hope you get a chuckle out of them, too.   Counting Change   One is the loneliest number One-act play One day I won one! Hard one Hard-won Won over One after another One a day One by one Won by one One left?   Two heads are better than one It takes two to tango Two by two Two left feet To where? To dream To ache Can I have two? Tea for two Too much? Two choices Me too!   Three’s a crowd Third wheel Bad luck comes in threes Third time’s the charm Three coins in the fountain Three wishes What’s the third thing? Three-legged stool Seeing in 3D   “Four eyes” On four legs Four-poster bed It’s a four-door What for? For a song For a lark For a laugh For spite For a change For heavens’ sake! For or against?   FORE! Four way stop.   Did you find the four numbers hidden in the drawing?...

The Day After

I am posting this blog on the new moon, the day after the midterm elections. We begin two new cycles–lunar and political–yet much has not changed. I found helpful today the wisdom in this poem by Carrie Newcomer so I thought I’d pass it on. Revolution the Day After Revolution is not a single event.       Revolution is finding True North and walking toward it. Knowing that you will be walking for a very long while, Or always, Because the process of arrival At the most precious destinations Because bringing in a better world Will take more than your one lifetime.      Revolution is traveling light, Leaving what’s dead weight By the side of the road, Like hate, The least effective form of resistance, That by it’s very nature expands and gets heavier, Like slow drying cement, In the chambers of the heart.      Revolution is holding close all you love, all you believe in, all you hope for, Everything that actually matters, Because you’re going to get tired and discouraged and angry and wander off course in sorrow or doubt And you’re going to need All you’ve gathered in, Embraced and endured Because it is what you love Not what you hate That will keep reminding you to Look up, Search the sky Get a bead on something improbable Shining and unstoppable and keep walking....

Finding my Way in the Dark

It’s the dark of the moon, sunlight is waning, and my mood is dark. For four years now I’ve not ventured into politics in this blog—I figure we all get plenty of that elsewhere—but it’s been a hard week and I’m struggling. I can only imagine how the many women who have been raped or assaulted are feeling. Yet even without that experience myself, my rage has been triggered, based on a lifetime of being ignored, discounted, and unheard as a woman. Decades (and lifetimes) of this, even as a privileged white woman amongst educated and privileged men. A few days ago I felt encouraged, as new information and support for women was continuously spilling forth in the news. Secrets revealing the misogynist culture at Yale. Dr. Ford’s courage, and her story validated by stories from women all over the country. Unprecedented letters written by the American Bar Association and hundreds of law professors. Yet on Friday and Saturday we learned it made no difference. (Apparently the majority of the Judiciary Committee were so intent on getting what they wanted that they couldn’t hear, or wouldn’t listen to, all those voices crying “no.” Kind of like a man intent on rape who is unable or unwilling to hear “no”?) How to channel my rage and sense of helplessness? I spent two days writing a fiery poem about it all. That helped, a little. On several days, including today, I tried to swim it off in an extra-vigorous workout. Helped some. But now I’m cranky all over again reading an article in the Sunday Star Tribune (from the Washington Post)...