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?...

Christmas Sparrow

This month I offer a poem written by Billy Collins. In honor of surprises and wonder, and how they invigorate us instantly. And in honor of the resiliency of the many creatures that quietly live among us. If you have had experiences similar to the one in the poem, I’d love to hear.   Christmas Sparrow The first thing I heard this morning was a rapid flapping sound, soft, insistent— wings against glass as it turned out downstairs when I saw the small bird rioting in the frame of a high window, trying to hurl itself through the enigma of glass into the spacious light. Then a noise in the throat of the cat who was hunkered on the rug told me how the bird had gotten inside, carried in the cold night through the flap of a basement door, and later released from the soft grip of teeth. On a chair, I trapped its pulsations in a shirt and got it to the door, so weightless it seemed to have vanished into the nest of cloth. But outside, when I uncupped my hands, it burst into its element, dipping over the dormant garden in a spasm of wingbeats then disappeared over a row of tall hemlocks. For the rest of the day, I could feel its wild thrumming against my palms as I wondered about the hours it must have spent pent in the shadows of that room, hidden in the spiky branches of our decorated tree, breathing there among the metallic angels, ceramic apples, stars of yarn, its eyes open, like mine as I lie in bed...

Minnesota November

Dusk descends early on this cold, gray cloudy November day. All day I needed the lamplight next to my chair to read, and now I spread the wool throw over me. Halloween/Samhain/All Soul’s Day ushered in the dark time, a reminder of death and ancestors, of mystery and shadow. In November, as bony trees appear, cold deepens and days become shorter and cloudier I sink into that bleakness, become more subdued, sleep more, dream more vividly, move more slowly. I make things in my home warmer and softer. I gather blankets and also thoughts, pondering the past, considering the future. And sometimes I just sit and stare at the brown landscape, or let my thoughts wander as I doodle. At least, I do these things when I can. My body and soul, embedded in the natural world, want me to do these things at this time. Yet end of year tasks natter at me (making charitable donations, health insurance choices, purchases needed before winter), as well as activities connected to the holidays (baking, cooking, sales and gift shopping, decorating, attending concerts, shows and parties). My rebellious heart cries NOT NOW! These things jar and distort the contemplative energy I feel in November and December. I love Thanksgiving because it can be a quiet feast with close friends and family, acknowledging our interdependence, expressing gratitude for being alive and for all those who support us in cold, dark times. Also harmonious with this season is a winter solstice gathering honoring insights gained from our time in the dark and celebrating the eventual return of the light. But the last thing...

Smiling into the New Year?

Feeling calm, content, hopeful, thankful and ready to celebrate the New Year? Me neither. Well, I am full of gratitude for family, friends, the fascinating earth we live on, and many, many blessings. But I’ve also been tired, emotional, physically under par, and a bit spacey. I assume from navigating the unknown, unexpected, and constantly shifting energies we find ourselves in these days. (I’m wondering if  words like “plan” and “expect” will fade out of the language in the next few years.) So I can’t seem to put together coherent thoughts for a blog post right now. But as humor always helps me find a bigger and more nourishing perspective, I thought I’d share a few old cartoons with you this month. May they make you smile and lighten any loads you carry. Aftermath of Christmas/Other Holidays Department: For those of you who got new clothes as gifts, you may appreciate this one: New Year’s Resolution Department: This one represents my typical filing system, something I periodically think I ought to resolve to change (but never do): New Year’s Eve Festivities Department: As holiday celebrations continue, right now I resonate with this one: May you freely frolic and chuckle during this holiday time-out before 2017 begins. Happy New...

Putting It On

It’s Halloween! Are you dressing up? Even as a kid, the juiciest thing about Halloween for me was the costume. I’ve always loved costumes. Over the years I’ve donned them for skits and performances at church and school, for Halloween, and just for play. Every few years I ponder throwing a midwinter costume party. I love how costumes transform and surprise. When I put on a costume, suddenly my voice changes pitch and tempo, I stand and gesture in new ways, and my desires and attitudes shift too. (Try on sturdy cowboy boots and see if you don’t start lumbering along, bow-legged, and begin to drawl. Wrap a black boa around your neck, even over a t-shirt, and notice how your sense of yourself changes, how racy new ideas and fantasies pop into your head. And then adorn yourself with a pink one instead; any changes?) How freeing to let go of the confines of my usual self! How exhilarating, to act how I think I can’t or mustn’t. Or to allow a mysterious Other to emerge and come alive. Even “playing a type” can be fun relief from a tight self-concept. I guess costumes also tickle my creative funny bone. I like the challenge and playfulness of pulling together the ensemble, usually out of whatever I have on hand. I’ve always kept a “dress-up box,” even before we had kids, and still do though they’ve grown and gone. Donning a costume I’ve created and letting it expand me feels like writing a play in real time using my body and voice to generate the script. I especially love...

Dirt on the Fourth of July

I recently had an odd dream. In the dream I enter a woman’s public rest room. There I find a woman bent over her baby at a changing table. With calm determination she is trying to clean up piles and smears of pudding-like poop. The baby seems contented, and there is poop everywhere. Without a second thought I pitch in to help since she obviously could use more hands to get this done. With a nod and a brief smile, we work seamlessly together. When our mission is accomplished I go on my way, pleased to be of help and happy to be deflected from my previous plans (whatever they were). Can you believe I dreamt this twice within three nights? (Different mother and baby in each dream but the dream was the same.) Because it was a recurring dream I spent some time with it in meditation, pondering and writing. The colors of the dream were brown and green, like things growing in the earth. I was struck with the image of women’s capable hands, calmly working together in the dirt/poop. While I decided the dream had personal things to tell me, I also sensed a broader meaning. The dream seemed to be suggesting: Women know that life, death and transformation are interwoven and cyclical; The world is a mess right now, needs lots of “cleaning up” to better support Life, and women know what needs to be done and how to work together on it with joy and ease; Messes are normal in life—essential in this material world—so we needn’t react or resist them, merely get busy to...