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....

Gift from a Horse

Nearly three weeks ago I went to a daylong personal growth workshop with horses. Because horses are powerful, gentle and extremely sensitive they are used for confidence building with special needs adults and children, in leadership training and team building and in personal coaching. In personal growth work horses are not ridden; participants touch, lead and observe them. I had read that they are excellent mirrors  because they attune to what our bodies, emotions, thoughts and energy tell them and they detect and respond to any conflicting messages that we send. I’d been looking forward to the workshop for weeks—though I was also a bit nervous because I had no experience with horses and had always been rather afraid of them. The day of the workshop I woke feeling tired, spacey, weepy and fragile. And I was limping a little with a sore hip. Yet I had paid my fees and a friend was picking me up, so I went. We worked in an indoor ring with four male horses and their handlers doing a series of exercises, beginning with greeting each horse and deciding which one to partner with. In between exercises we met in circle to discuss our experiences and observations. During the course of the day we spent time breathing with “our” horse, listening for messages from the horse, and leading “our” horse on a path which represented a life challenge. I chose to work with one of the white horses, Shooter, because he seemed the most gentle. And I felt affection for him right away. Shooter taught me something during every activity (and everyone there experienced different...

Spinning My Wheels

I want to post a blog touching on one of my usual themes—wonder, creativity, humor—but today those feel a little scarce. Well, I do feel wonder as I sit today in this blizzard, the worst I’ve seen in many years.  And in mid-April yet. I know a few of you are living where spring has indeed arrived. I hope you are full of renewed energy. For us in the Midwest, not much has changed for the better in the outer world in the past two weeks, when I wrote about struggling to find my patience. Now that impatience–for spring, for positive change, inside and out–feels more discouraging than angry. I feel kind of muffled and mired, able to do all the necessary daily tasks but lacking the will and energy to do the many things that would probably lift my spirits and vitality. Or maybe just feeling tired of doing them all winter and wanting a change. Wanting the sensual contact with nature that spring brings. The grounding. The joy. I wrote this poem several years ago, but it feels appropriate today as I realize what’s missing right now (not all of which involves springtime): Groundless  For too many days now I have not danced, tickled spritish spirit with leaps and twirls, or dissolved, exhilarated, in sunshine splash, been pricked awake by gusty winds or cardinal call, clutched rainbow blossoms to my greedy nose, or burned to merge with musk and sweat.   Too many days since I have sought the dark, ventured in, with quiet breath, pen in hand, to listen and dictate whisperings wild.   begin—stop—veer—clunk! rattle!–turn back–...