Living A Good, Simple Life

Be at One.

Breathe in goodness, exhale worry.

Take your time, Walk as much as you can.

She's Got Beauty.

Treasure the details, a flower, a bird, a snowflake, a child’s smile.

Believe in whatever God or Spirit, Nature or Person you Love;

it is not for us to judge but to be compassionate and open-minded.

Keep good thoughts in your heart and soul.

Loving kindness to other people. It, karma, will come around.

Never be defined by others, especially those who smile to your face and turn around to stab you.

Move away from mean people.

Liars are everyone’s enemies.

Have the courage of your convictions, hold on tight to your values, your beliefs.

Try not to be influenced by outside people and know that all of us make mistakes.

Forgive yourself and others equally.

Oh how I love this sweet little girl

 

I need to listen directly inside myself, to follow my voice within, for every decision.

Stop, listen to your Heart, your Soul, Nature, Intuition.

Be gracious and patient, control your temper, monitor your mood.

Be compassionate and giving and even when you feel you have nothing to give, keep giving.

Everybody has a story

Let your heart be open to give and to receive.

Offer only what you have,

Honesty in its purest form.

Love.

 

 

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Free Write Friday: Kellie Elmore

Tell me about a beautiful person you know…

quotes-about-strength

She is  a wisp of a woman, small, slender, I would like to be able to cover her with layers of warm blankets, one at a time, like a really special birthday cake. In her case, the rich, cocoa brown chocolate frosting, the color of very fertile soil, that will grow anything with abandon… especially ash trees… that sink their roots deep into Mother Earth to pull up strength and nourishment from below, and raise their branches high to the sky to soak in Light of the sun, moon, and stars… the sweet frosting would gently hug her and rock her to sleep. In my dream, she would be able to eat everything she wants to eat and she would be able to gain some much-needed weight. Right now she needs to gain a lot of weight, weight falls off her tiny bird bones and she is weak. She would sleep soundly all curled up in a sugar rose, like one of those wonderful Anne Gedddes photographs that I used to have hanging on my wall on a calendar. Newborn babies in sculptures. Asleep. Blissfully asleep. My friend has been physically sick for a long time, just like many of us with chronic pain disorders and the like.

I’m talking to you about my friend, Ash, a woman who to me is the essence of angels.  She is warm and open and shy all at the same time. She tries to be strong for other people but once in a great while she will show me her vulnerability. I can read her because, though not biologically, she is my sister. She is a spiritual sister to a few people and none of us are jealous of each other because in this spiritual plain, jealously doesn’t exist. Our other sister is Michelle, at one point we became a family of our own and I have yet to meet either one but that doesn’t seem urgent or even necessary. Ash seems to be the oldest of the sisters, though chronologically, I am. Her wisdom flows, teaches, keeps us grounded.

My friend has been through difficult times, I worry about her health, her adrenal glands, very weak body, the way her energy sounds over the phone she sounds wound-up and anxious and yes, scared. To me she is usually Mother Earth, Goddess of All Things Natural, all things Golden, an Angel on Earth but tonight I was strong for her; she needed ME tonight. No one is safe from a disturbing past, although I used to think that everyone had a clear, easy, simple path to adulthood. I was wrong. If you look behind the curtains you find out that every person has their own story. Sometimes they want their story to be a secret, sometimes they pretend not to understand the question. Every child has a story as do their parents.

Ash, had a rough childhood, she has Aspbergers which I never would have known had she not told me and a hard time growing up. Ash is a mountain girl, one with animals, I expect she relates more with animals than with people and the animals know that. They love her as their own. She has two daughters with two very different personalities, I know one better than the other, but the one I do know is loving, caring and has a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, I have been there too.

I had too much responsibility on my shoulders too when I was young so I can relate to “the little one” with ease and admiration. And with a word of caution, “you have your own life too, sweet one, please make sure to remember that” I am only a phone call away from both of you.

My friend is now bugging me to take dairy and wheat out of my diet, I try not to laugh out loud but she knows me too well. She wears me down, the most I will give her is “I promise to try” but it is a weak promise though I won’t let her down.

I will not let her down, my sister, my friend. I hope she knows that applies to my “niece” too.

My friend is going through another difficult time now, health-wise, I will always support her, I do what I can, living far away, but this gentle soul could use a break, please join me in putting a peaceful, spirit prayer to help her through the tough days ahead.

Spiritual

* PHOTO CREDIT SONGEDELUXE Spiritual (Photo credit: songedeluxe)

photo credit: songdeluxe

The Prayer

prayer..

prayer.. (Photo credit: aronki)

Grieve, not for those

whose souls have been lifted, remember them with love,

but for those who remain here on earth.

Grieve for the people left behind and show them kindness,

offer them to cry unto you, wrap your arms around theirs, allow them to weep.

Show them tenderness.

For we are not put here on this earth beholden unto ourselves

No, we are here for the people of the world and the beautiful nature surrounding us.

Be truthful, be kind and if you cannot be either of these, be silent with thought and regret.

Remember your time here on earth is short, it is just for a visit, spend it well.

For the good of all humans, animals, nature, for the good of yourself

Remain for each other, never against each other

This, is our prayer.

Haiku Heights – Vital

Butterfly-Kisses

Butterfly-Kisses (Photo credit: MissTurner)

Breathing room, space, life

needed, like air to survive

Compression is bad.

**************************************************************************

The safety of arms

Folded across my body

To sink in sadness.

**************************************************************************

Kisses on my eyes

butterfly softness, wispy

A prayer of love.

The Tree Of Life – Movie (Pop Cop)

"Tree of Life"

Image by Will-travel via Flickr

What does Jurassic Park, LSD and The Discovery Channel have in common?  They’re pretty much all in the movie called The Tree Of Life. I know, some people are oohing and ahhing over this film like it’s the second coming of The Sound of Music but frankly, it is not. It’s one weird ass long film and even though the effete intellectual snobs are calling it magnificent, I must disagree. A little. I have to say that part of it is magnificent in a visceral way.

Yes, the images and photography are fabulous but there are so many of them one after another, you get lost. And after about an hour I was looking at my watch which is NEVER a good sign. The movie opens with chanting in the background or angels singing or music you might hear in church. Don’t get me wrong, it’s melodic and beautiful and with it come quick images of molecules and lava, sperm and egg, church windows and creation of life images. They are amazing to look at and even though the movie is really long, part of me wanted to watch it in slow motion to savor each image but that would have taken the entire day and night.

Images of brothers, butterflies, baseball and bubble baths abound. The story takes place in the 1950’s in the Midwest where Brad Pitt stars as the stern, mean father. Jessica Chastain  is the nurturing mother and of all characters, I would have liked to see her character developed. I never did see Jessica Chastain before this movie but I’m impressed. Where has she been all our lives? With her beautiful red hair and her ivory skin she is amazing. I think now that this movie is out she has catapulted into stardom. One might say that there is no more character development for a mom in the 50’s but you want to know more about her other than that she is the fun parent, dancing, whirling and nurturing her children. She will go far, if she hasn’t gone far already.

Was I supposed to know that the big dinosaur beating down on the little dinosaur was supposed to portray the father beating down emotionally (physically too?) on his son(s). Was I to infer that the people on the beach (or wherever they were) in the end was meaningful and significant in a clear-cut kind of way? Heck no.Where exactly were they? The beach, heaven, Honolulu? It’s one (pretty) question mark after the other with very little dialogue and not much character development.

Yes, it’s pretty. It’s beautiful to watch ( for the most part.) Not always easy to understand. Pretty does not a magnificent film make. I’ve heard stories of people leaving the movie theaters during the movie and demanding their money back and I’ve heard of people who think this is the best movie ever made, that it was brilliant in every way. I would put it right in the middle.

In my audience, an artsy theater with plush red seats, no one said anything. When the lights were back on people looked at each other with question marks on their faces. The last person out of the theater was a middle-aged couple;  the woman turned to her husband and asked “what did you think?” He said “good!” She turned back to him, laughed, and said “You really didn’t understand a thing, did you?” He guffawed and admitted he did not; luckily she did not either.

That sums up the film in so many ways. It’s beautiful, confusing, long, magnificent, boring and asks but does not answer questions about the creation of life or death. It creates questions that are never answered. Too many things about the family are left out. A line from the movie was: “the way of nature, the way of grace, you have to choose.”If you understand that, great. If you don’t, join the club.

Because Love Has No Religion

Roses

Image via Wikipedia

I am slowly, very slowly and intensely taking off pink nail polish from my finger nails as if it was the most important task in the world. I feel like a surgeon scrubbing in to make him/herself totally antiseptic. It feels like that to me but I don’t know why exactly. I don’t know the codes or rules for going to a wake but I know, for myself, I have to wipe away every sign of sunshine from my hands because that feels right. My hands look plain, wrinkled, weather-beaten and bare. I’ve stripped off every clue to color because my friend Dawn is dead and the world feels color-less and grim.

I didn’t know what to expect at the wake; I had only been to one wake before in my life and that was thirty-five years ago. We arrived before the official hours and already the room was packed. I saw her husband, John first, and I hugged him, then their oldest daughter who hugged me as if to comfort me. Her middle son  sat tall and straight next to his friends and did not move, his eyes riveted to his mom’s casket. The youngest child was the most heartbreaking of all, he belonged to no one in that room. He was in his own world, going to the casket, returning to his seat, going to the casket and returning to his seat, his eyes on no one, alone in his private world. He sat neither with family or friends, he was in his own fragile bubble, looking younger than his years.

I thought in death, Dawn would look more like herself than she did in the last stages of her life. I somehow expected to feel comforted that I would see my friend as I had remembered her. I went slowly  up to the coffin although I was terrified; I knew it was something I had to do. But, inside my head, like an unrestrained child, inside my head I was screaming with disbelief and anger “this is not OUR Dawn” I thought, “THIS IS NOT OUR DAWN.”  In the coffin lay a woman I didn’t know, an old woman, with too much makeup. They had prayer cards with a picture of Dawn at her finest: natural, loving, with one of her great big smiles and that is what many people said they wanted to remember her by. Even though I felt the same way, the images for the next three nights when I tried to sleep were of Dawn in the open casket, someone I didn’t know, a stranger.

There were flower arrangements everywhere. A huge arrangement made from roses, dark, crimson roses that formed into a heart; it must have stood six feet tall. There were many other flowers, yellow, white, pink, every color you can imagine and as tall as one can dream.

Her husband John, then came over and put his arm around me to show me something. “I hope you don’t mind” he said but we used your letter to Dawn as our prayer.” In front of me, I saw a piece of paper with the words I had written FOR Dawn, many months before she died. It was called “Praying For Dawn” and somehow after writing it, I thought I would take a chance to drop it off at their house. It was meant for Dawn and her family, and yet here at the wake hundreds of people clutched the piece of paper that I had written.

Her family members wanted to meet me, they said they had all read it many times, I had no idea. I do remember that after I dropped it off I got a voice message in the back of my answering machine from Dawn, thanking me and telling me she loved it. I could barely make out her words but I never erased that message.  I gave my condolences to Dawn’s mom and she said “Oh, do you like that prayer, one of her friends wrote that!!!”  Somehow through my trembling lips and tears I managed to say that ‘I was that friend.’ I swear her eyes lit up and she thanked me and told me how often the family loved reading it. She asked ME if she could introduce me to Dawn’s father who had wanted to meet the friend that had written that poem. After the introduction, he hugged me, and then took my face in his hands and said “God Bless You”  “Thank you for writing that about Dawn, you captured her the way she really was. ” He told me he had wanted to meet the person who wrote it and knew I was a neighbor but didn’t want to walk into the wrong house and be embarrassed.”  I told him where I lived and told him that he and his wife were welcome to visit me at any time.

The emotional intensity for me was overwhelming. I was honored that they used my piece of writing at the same time I was in total emotional shock. People were complimenting me on something that I forgot about since I have written many pieces about Dawn in my blog. I looked at many of my earlier blog posts and I practically have a whole book about Dawn.

My husband practically had to drag me out of the door since we needed to get our daughter to her afternoon class. I saw an old dear friend that I hadn’t seen in a long time and we wrapped our arms around each other crying. “I feel so lost” she said, “I just feel lost.” We all felt that way, I think. Lost without a piece of sunshine in our lives, deprived forever more of this gift of a person who brought enjoyment to everyone she met. Dawn was our fighter, never giving up yet she still lost the fight to this horrendous disease. Dawn was our light, she was our strength, there was no one she didn’t like…..well, with the exception of a little dog in the neighborhood….We all laughed remembering that and it felt good.

Two days later I arrived at the church forty-five minutes before the service and again, there were many people inside. The church was beautiful, I had never been there before. The stained glass windows shone from the morning sun, the polished wood seemed inviting and homey. There were many new flowers, everywhere. So many people from our little community were there, every religion was represented, people from all parts of Dawn’s life were there to show their respect: sports teams, education, friends, family, neighbors, some of  the neighborhood kids, friends and their parents for all three children and the middle school Principal. Our community sometimes gets a really bad reputation but when something happens to one of our own, we come together as one. Our little town becomes so protective and so loving of one of its own; it’s happened before. Many years ago when a young boy had cancer, the town rallied together as well.

Both Dawn’s daughter and husband spoke at the funeral. Her daughter is a young woman with the most grace and poise I have ever seen. This young woman will be famous one day, I guarantee it. Everyone was either wiping their eyes or just letting the tears stream down their faces like leaks out of a rusty, old faucet. After the service the pallbearers brought the coffin out to the hearse. I saw a random pink flower on the ground that escaped and as much as I wanted to pick it up and touch it I couldn’t. It didn’t seem like the thing to do, it belonged to Dawn.

One thing I did not know was the tradition of the hearse and all the cars attending the cemetery making a final good-bye to the house where Dawn lived with her family. We drove around the loop as well and all I could think of was Dawn’s enormous Christmas wreath that she was always so proud of, hanging still around the front door. It seemed to me so heart-wrenching to do that, to watch her family ride in the car passing their house where their mother would never again live. Maybe it’s for closure too, I can only guess.

After that, we all went to our individual homes, sighing, looking at the ground, crying, solemn and gloomy and still, feeling that we were in a different world, a new reality. I don’t know how long it takes before the death of someone really hits you and takes its toll but I do know that it does take a while. After the company, the distractions, the food and the flowers, the only thing that matters is that there will be an empty chair at their kitchen table that no one can ever replace. And, at all her children’s’ games, their mom will not be there to encourage them and support them. Whatever condition Dawn was in, good or bad, in a wheelchair or not, Dawn was always there for her children, rooting for them, happy for them until the very last breath she took to say a peaceful “good-bye.”

Forecast: Snow And Pain

Ground blizzard conditions in Ontario. HWY 26 ...

Image via Wikipedia

I never wanted to be a weather forecaster but I have found if I listen to my body, I truly, can predict the weather. This is not a fun job for me; nor is it a fun job for any people who have Fibromyalgia or another chronic pain disease. There’s a blizzard going on in the Northeast and before I heard about it, I felt it. I felt it in my tired and achy bones and muscles. I couldn’t stand up from a seated position without a lot of pain. I needed to hold on to someone’s hand because I felt off-balance. Some experts say it’s related to the barometric pressure changing. My degree in weather forecasting is not that advanced.

My bones, muscles and body hurt enough as it is. Today, my back and shoulders  and legs are aching and cramping horribly. I am having trouble getting up, sitting down, walking (shuffling) while holding on to the railing in my house for the stairs, one step at a time. I also have the infamous Fibro (Fibromyalgia) Fog that causes me to lose my train of thought or forget something that someone just told me ten minutes ago. It’s bad enough that it’s painful but feeling embarrassed and humiliated is another blog post altogether. I do not understand this mystifying illness; that said, it is hard to expect others to understand it as well.

We’re in the middle of a snow, blizzard emergency now.  I am praying for the electricity and power to stay on so we have heat all night. I’m piling on the blankets, flashlight at my side, candle at the ready….just in case.  It may look pretty outside with snow drifts and the sheets of snow coming down sideways in the light of our windows but it doesn’t feel pretty. It feels horrible, it’s like clenching your teeth in every body part. My neck is stiff and constricted, my shoulders are tight, I feel like the Tin Man of the Wizard of Oz but there is no oil to relieve my pain. I hope for continued heat for all my friends but especially my Fibromyalgia friends because we really know what COLD feels like.

Stay warm my friends, we’ll all get through this together. Huddle under extra blankets and lie still. There will be hot coffee in the morning or English Breakfast Tea with milk and sugar. It’s just the beginning of winter; we have a very long way to go.

Wishing Everyone a Happy 2010

12/31/09

I woke up this morning watching the snow lightly fall on the branches of the trees outside my window. I was immediately delighted and relieved. It felt like the fresh snow was covering all the mishaps, medical illnesses, and hard times of 2009. At least, that is what I hope it means.  I choose to interpret the crystal snow powder as some kind of healing balm, for the human spirit and the soul.

I have no regrets that 2009 is over. None. It was a year filled with illness, sadness,  disappointment, unemployment and marital disputes and too much fighting among family members.   I say good-bye to 2009 with no regrets but with hope for the future. I have taken chances this year, some for the very first time and I hope they will be worth it. But, nonetheless, the act of taking them is, for me, is a significant accomplishment in itself.

Last night I lit the Kaddish candle, a candle of remembrance on the anniversary of my father’s death.  He died on New Year’s Eve 8 years ago, a day before my parents wedding anniversary. This time of year for me and for my family has always been fraught with sadness and emotional upheavals. Instead of lighting the candle this morning when I awakened, I lit it at 12:10 am, last night, in order for the flame to burn brightly during the early morning and through today, but extinguish quickly after the New Year has been rung in.

This is my fervent prayer, that 2010 and the snow that is bringing it in, will heal your pain and bring, if not better relationships, different relationships. If not love, than like. If not better health, a calming spirit. There are some things we have no control over and for those things I wish for patience, and understanding, better coping skills and peace.

Here is a wish for you, my friends and family: I wish you happiness and good health, I hope any gaping wounds you feel inside will be less raw and heal soon.  I hope that if you know your dreams, they will come true. And, if you don’t know what your dreams are you will not look at that with anguish but as a time of taking chances and new opportunities.

I wish for all of you, love, peace and the feeling that you are loved and cared about. I hope you feel that you belong, with someone, or something or some religion and community. Kindness and taking care of others is a universal religion, one that I am proud to be a part of. Please join me.

Happy 2010 for all my family and for the friends that I have and those that I have not yet met.

Love, Laurie