Category Archives: gratitude

New Year’s Eve

This time of year has been hard for me. Not 2016 in particular but beginning with Christmas through New Year’s Eve. I usually breathe a sigh of relief when all this is over.

Maybe it’s because I don’t have a family–children, I mean–and am not in the majority, i.e., in a heterosexual couple, “normal,” if you will. I’ve been an Other most of my life. In the ’70s and ’80s I reveled in it, demonstrating and proclaiming words like liberation and patriarchy. In the ’90s I bought my first house with another woman. We were a couple for seven years and remain friends to this day. No kids, though, just a dog and two cats. I felt welcome in my neighborhood Northside, the up and coming urban and gritty gayborhood.

Now I’m retired and live on a road that used to be country (there’s a horse and a cow half a mile away!) but is turning suburban. I love my acre and creek and privacy among the trees. I live alone if you don’t count two dogs and two cats.

Yet I make it a point to invite women writer friends to my backyard deck. We toast our imagination and friendship and this is good. They are consciously chosen family, many of them. We share deep reflections and cry and laugh together. Some of us are crafting poems, others hope to write a Great American Novel. I love facilitating these classes and getting to know them so well.

It is morning on New Year’s Eve. What is it about it that so often has filled me with dread? I think it was those early years of drinking and drug experimenting. Being at parties with strangers. For much of my life I have known I felt separate. In recent decades I have worked on this: through Landmark Education, through zen meditation, through Siddha Yoga. Connection had become my mantra.

And this is good. I have chosen to focus on what unites us as people rather than separates. Certainly 2017 will not be easy with a President I abhor. I am disheartened to say the least. But a few relatives I love voted for DT and I still love them. Who said politics is ever easy? Who said life and loving comes easy?

This evening I will spend quietly in front of my fireplace with a new love who came to me in the spring. We have had a tough beginning, parting and coming back together. I do not take a moment for granted! I feel loved and this is the best wish I could wish for on New Year’s Eve.

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Compassion over mulch at the White Oak Garden Center

It was a Sunday in early May but not Mother’s Day. I may not have had much sense driving to the White Oak Garden Center to do what I planned to do but I did have sense enough to avoid it on such a special flower day.

I went to get some mulch.

That sounds ordinary enough now, doesn’t it? But it had been barely ten weeks since my open heart surgery and lifting was still tentative, especially a forty pound bag of mulch.

After I had selected and paid for my four bags, I started driving to the back to pick up my order. By now there were several cars with uncertain drivers, including me. Where were we to park for the mulch? There were options which–with a car behind me, one in front, and one on the side–began to irritate me. (I realized later that my irritation had to do with my sudden realization that I was going to have trouble unloading my mulch at home!)

One of my pet peeves is someone following too closely and, although the young guy in the red truck wasn’t actually doing so, in my agitated state he seemed close. I made an irritated face and put my left hand out the window, showing “hold on!”

When he and the other guy ended up next to me, I felt embarrassed. The garden guy took their receipt first and the older man who turned out to be the father said, “She was before us.”

“Thanks, I appreciate that. And–sorry I was in a bad mood driving down here. I didn’t know where to park and was feeling surrounded by cars.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it. Hi, I’m Dan and this is my son.”

How gracious! Dan and I shook hands.

The garden guy deposited mulch into the back on my Honda CR-V. It hit me: how the hell was I going to deal with these bags once I got home? I muttered something to this effect.

“How close do you live? We could follow you and get it out of your car for you.”

I couldn’t believe his offer. The Universe seemed to be answering my muttered wish.

“That’s so kind of you! I might just take you up on your offer. You see, I’m recuperating from heart surgery.”

After they got their twenty bags of mulch in the back of their truck, Dan and his son followed me on Sheed Road.
I backed into the side yard in front of the fence gate to the back. They put two bags there and two bags in front by some bushes.

“Thank you so much. You’ve given me faith again in human beings!”

As we talked, the conversation came back to my recent open heart surgery. What hospital, when, and more. Dan told me he is a nurse and teaches at Cincinnati State Community College. What were the odds? I was amazed by the coincidence of being helped by someone who knew so much about health. And was so kind.

They admired my little nature preserve and said their goodbyes. I felt warm and fuzzy inside, trite but true. And will never look at bags of mulch the same again.

raspberries for breakfast

raspberries for breakfast
oh what a way to start my day
and birds were singing
as if it were Spring

raspberries for breakfast
can life really be so simple
and the day promised possibility
as if it were my birthright

raspberries for breakfast
this day and life can be so sweet
and I choose to open to it
as if joy is walking beside me

“When I’m 64”

That Beatles song has been in my head lately. “When I’m 64” has finally come true. This is my day, my 64th birthday. Hard to believe I am this old.

Yesterday I celebrated by going to a poetry reading. I bought a chapbook of poems from one of the poets, Susan Glassmeyer. She is a member of the Greater Cincinnati Writers League which meets once a month. I like the poems I’ve heard from her! I believe we are kindred souls. So when I read what she had signed-thanking me for my support “and lovely poems,” it made my day!

My lovely poems are lurking inside waiting to see the light of day. I have a strong feeling that once they start coming through, there will be a lot of them. But Susan’s vote of confidence will keep me going.

This morning for my birthday, I ordered some poetry chapbooks from Finishing Line Press. I ordered poetry by Kate Fadick and Karen George. I know these two women, sister poets, from the GCWL. I admire their words and commitment to the craft of poetry. I am glad to support them. They, also, will serve to keep me on my path as a poet.

My lunch with two friends was postponed due to impending freezing rain. It’s tough to be a February birthday “goddess babe.” But I have my two dogs napping on the bed next to me and the profound art of poetry.

practice

In my previous post I had vowed to bow even to those I disliked, distrusted, didn’t understand. Well, the Universe gave me practice almost immediately.

At an event, I ended up sitting between two people I hadn’t seen in awhile. Neither did I know well but, perhaps you’ve had the experience: there are some people you have an almost instinctual dislike for. On one side was a woman I’d heard enough stories about to be cautious of her dynamic personality and sometimes caustic wit. On the other side was someone who repelled me for no obvious reason. Looking in the mirror is rarely easy. I know I had attracted two people with issues relating to me. I had vowed, bring it on! and the Universe had complied.

The next day I ran into someone in a parking lot. I had just emailed a friend saying X had a tendency to be “grandiose.” Gulp. Here was Ms. Grandiose before me (& haven’t I been grandiose? Plenty). Go away, mirror! Haven’t I had enough practice already this weekend? X seemed genuinely glad to see me. We shared some brief chit chat then she mentioned she’d just got a puppy. Separation dissolved. She had charmed me with her topic. For I love dogs, have three of my own.

I had to shake my head and chuckle. Call it instant karma, coincidence, whatever. But I came face to face with practicing what had only been a theory the day before. Be careful what you wish for. I will.

Bowing . . . from the Centre of Gravity

Wow! I just discovered Centre of Gravity, a wonderful group and web presence. Based in Toronto, it also has audio dharma talks and an online presence. A post I just read on Bowing woke me to my missing of my zen roots. There is something about bowing, the simplicity and the reverence. Today I vow to bow . . . to Buddha, my partner, my companion animals. I vow to bow to those I distrust, dislike, don’t understand. I vow to bow to my dissatisfied & disassociated parts. I know–it’s a huge job. Yet it might also be simple…..if I just begin with bowing.

here’s the piece:

http://www.centreofgravity.org/notes/2012/6/13/beginners-mind-6-throw-up-and-bow.html

focus on what you love

This has become my new affirmation, thanks to a flier I received in the mail from LensCrafters that has this line as their come-on (focus = get new glasses, get it?). So will I do it?

This morning I am off to a good start. Awoke at 6:00 a.m. and actually got up. Chanted as the sun came up, then meditated. Now I’m at a local coffeehouse before doing a few errands in my neighborhood. Tonight I go to the local Siddha Yoga Meditation Center for satsang.

This week the fall session of Women Writing for (a) Change began. It was good to be back in a class! Being in a small group each week with listeners for my writing pieces really helps with the discipline I need to write regularly. Following class, there was a Women Writing New Media Circle meeting. There are six of us now as we create, organize, host, and record podcasts. It’s always a good sign if there is laughter at a meeting. (We blame it partly on the chocolate)!

Fall is my favorite season. I am glad, and grateful, to be able to go outside when I want. Thirty years of full-time work inside a building took its toll. My dogs are happy they are getting more walks. I am happy I can watch the leaves turn colors, then go out and crunch them under my feet any time of day.

My time is opening up since I quit going to hatha yoga classes. Although I would try for three classes a week, usually I made it to two. Having two mornings open up is a goddess-send. I enjoyed the classes and like the teacher but . . . I now feel free, as a retiree should. I have been too quick to say yes to the Universe, I fear. Now I must prioritize — focus on what I love.