Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Coming to the Crossroads

The more you surrender to the fear of someone’s disapproval, the more
you lose face in your own eyes, and the more desperate you become for
someone’s approval.  Within you is a void that should have been filled by
self-esteem.  When you attempt to fill it with the approval of others instead,
the void grows deeper and the hunger for acceptance and approval grows
stronger.  The only solution is to summon the courage to honor your own
judgment, frightening though that may be in the beginning.
Nathaniel Branden
There comes a time in everyone's  life when they need to slow down and reflect on the roads they have walked down, both the unpaved roads that cause one to question the choices made and the gifts we have been provided with along the way. We've all come upon crossroads at one time or another...that point in our lives that a decision must be made or a direction must be decided upon.   Today is the Day of Hecate at the Crossroads, and as I was writing the post for my other blog, I took pause to think of all the Crossroads I have faced in this journey of my life....all the decisions...both good and bad...the paths taken that made me who I am today....

...like walking into school on my 18th birthday, boldly saying to the principal, "You can't do anything to me.  I'm 18 now.  I quit."  Oh,  did I ever think I was big and bad and all grown up, but do you know what?  That was the wrong path, indeed, but one path that could be and  was rectified later in life when I obtained  my GED, my degree in Criminal Justice, and my CASAC training.   I guess I must have been a rebel just as the doctor had said, but I had so much anger in me back then...anger at my mom and dad for not being there for me....at mom for her hurtful words.  You're going to end up a fat old drunk like your father.  Although I can still hear them in my head, they don't hurt me anymore. They are no longer a part of my life.  I am not that person she said I was; I never was.  my rebellion was reaching out for attention the only way I knew how.  And, now that I am older, I know she didn't really mean it.  She was so unhappy with her life that she took it out on me...just as I quit school to get even with her.

Shortly thereafter, I moved out to live with a friend and her family.  Bad decision, but also rectified.  I didn't last long there before I moved back home.  Talk about dysfunctional families.  It was the divorced mom, my friend, and her sister.  Mom did nothing but drink and smoke cigarettes and encourage her girls to kick people's butts.   Fighting was never my bag....

....so I stayed at home for several years...working in factories....listening to mom harp on if you wait much longer to get married, no one is going to want you.  I was only in my early 20's.  I worked, cooked for them, cleaned the house, did the laundry...why, I even took care of the yard work....but it was never ever enough for my mom.  She always seemed to find fault....

....and so it was that several years later I found myself at another crossroad in my life. I was stagnating.  The one man I had thought I might settle down with had died, and even if I had wanted to settle down, there was not much left to choose from.  Mom had been right in that respect.   The time had come for me to make a decision....stay put, get married to someone I really didn't love and become a Stepford Wife like all of my friends...or venture out into the world and start a new life, in a new place....and nothing bigger and better than New York City.  Oh, I was such a free spirit back then!  No fear.  $200 in my pocket and two changes of clothes.  That's all I brought with me.  It wasn't easy.  Many wrong paths may have been taken, but for all the bad decisions I made, all the wrong turns...all eventually led to  the right path because right now I am where I need to be, where I am supposed to be. ...and, yes, one day I will face those crossroads again and have to choose between living in the city and going for a more peaceful kind of life...and, of course, with no more wild oats to sow, a home in the country will win....  

I am no longer that young woman craving adventure for I've grown, oh so much wiser with age.  The risks I took when I was young, those unpaved roads with their unexplored nooks and crannies, they are better left to the young....
I do remain haunted by reflections of that brave young woman I once was, that girl with a wandering spirit and a restless soul, who wasn't afraid to take chances and  never looked back once a decision was made. Thank you for letting me share.

 I do not ask to walk smooth paths
Nor bear an easy load.
I pray for strength and fortitude
To climb the rock-strewn road.

Give me such courage I can scale
The hardest peaks alone,
And transform every stumbling block
Into a steppingstone.
--Gail Brook Burket--

Monday, November 29, 2010

Day 13 : Band or Artist that has Gotten you Through Some Tough Ass Days. (write a letter.)

Take care of all your memories; For you cannot relive them.--Bob Dylan

Dear Bob,

Yes, Bob, you were the one.  You were the one who helped me through some pretty drying times.  You gave me strength when I was about to fail.  Many, many years ago I wasn't the person I am today.  Back then I was a scared little country bumpkin trying to find my way in the big city, and you were there for me.  Your songs, they spoke to me.  As a young woman coming of age in the 1960's, I felt there was something missing in my life.  I wasn't content to marry and have children as my classmates were.  I wanted more out of my life;  I wanted a chance to see the world.  Oh, I knew that one day I would settle down and have my family, but first I wanted to sow my wild oats.  Men did.  What was so wrong with a woman doing it?

"Come gather 'round people
wherever you roam
And admit that the waters
Around you have grown
And accept it that soon
You'll be drenched to the bone. 
If your time to you
is worth savin'
Then you better start swimmin'
Or you'll sink like a stone
For the times they are a-changin."
--Bob Dylan, "The Times They are A-changin"--

Sink like a stone. Had I stayed, I was going to sink like a stone,  and I knew it.  I was different from all the rest.  Even my choice of music was different.  While the others were listening to pop or country, I found myself gravitating to folk and singers such as Joan Baez, Woody Guthrie, Peter, Paul and Mary, and of course, you, Bob, my idol and my mentor....singers who spoke of real people, of the real world.  I wasn't bad...as my mom seemed to believe. I remember her telling me over and over again that she didn't know where she had gone wrong and even drug me to a psychiatrist who said, Your daughter is rebellious....like it was something criminal, sinful.  Mom, there is nothing wrong in wanting to be different...in wanting to choose another other path.  My goodness, Bob, you knew,didn't you?  You knew that the status quo was just not going to be good enough for some of us anymore.   Yes, the times were a-changin.  In those days I was called a rebel; I was scorned.  Today when a young woman chooses to venture off to find herself in the world, everyone wishes her well. 

And, when I finally made the decision to move to the city, I lived in the East Village, in the same transient hotel, The Hotel Earle at 103 Waverly Place, where you and so many other folk artists had stayed.  I tried to get your old room, 305, but it was already taken, so instead, I got a room which looked out over Washington Square Park.  

Now you’re smiling out the window
Of that crummy hotel
Over Washington Square

-Joan Baez, Diamonds and Rust--

I frequented the coffee houses (we called them houses back then) and clubs such as The Bitter End, The Village Gate.  Discos and dancing weren't for me.  It was a different time back then, a quieter time, a time when one felt safe.  If you found yourself wide awake at 3 am, you could slip on your clothes and take a walk in the park.  You'd always find someone to sit and chat with, and if you were really lucky, you'd come across with a guitarist singing your songs...Blowin in the Wind, Rainy Day Woman, Like a Rolling Stone...I finally felt as if I were a part of something, and Bob, it was you who helped me along the way.

(Beautiful, isn't it?  My window was just on the other side of the archway. This was the place to be in the 60's and 70's,  Within the circle,  there were singers, musicians, etc)

 Ah, but those days are long gone, Bob.  They lock the park up at night; it's gotten far too dangerous out there.  The Earle Hotel is gone as well.  It's now called the Washington Square Hotel.  And, while it may be  true that we cannot relive our memories...they will always be there...in our hearts.   

Oh, and before I forget, Bob, I have to tell you a little story.  Long after I moved from there, I still continued to frequent the park.  After all, that was my first home in the city.  One day, while I was sitting on a bench, a man happened along.  "Would you mind if I sat here?" he asked.  I looked up from my book and shrugged, hoping this wasn't some pickup line. I had just come out of a bitter marriage and most certainly was not looking to get into another relationship.  I wanted to take some time to get to know myself.   Well, something happened when I looked into that man's eyes.  I realized that I had found my soul mate.  That was 19 years ago and we remain together today.  That man is my husband....a chance meeting in the park bringing together the love of a lifetime. 

With love,

Sunday, November 28, 2010

Sunday Musings

Parents belong to the world of the past; children belong to the world
of the future.  Both share the world of the present, but neither can enter
or fully understand the other's world and time.  It is easier to communicate across miles than across years.  We meet and laugh awhile;
we separate and grieve awhile.  And then we remember.
Joseph A. Bauer

Family means many things to different people, yet the word itself  can bring about so many feelings and  emotions from anyone who hears the word uttered.  Some of the  most important bonds are the ones we have with our family.  It is these  bonds  that remain with us as we journey through all of life's stages.  Even those of us who grew up in not so happy households  have that bond with their family.   At holiday time,  I remember time's past, and I grieve.  I grieve for what I never had and for what I have lost, because  no matter how bad we think our childhood may have been, there is always some good to remember....if we only allow ourselves to open up to it. 

These bonds are important because the family we are given is the only one we have.  And though sometimes out of anger and wrath we may behave in hurtful ways, it does not mean that we don't care for each other. Family quarrels are bitter things but are of least importance. We should not care about these few bitter memories, but rather we must think about the good memories, the times that we really felt that we mattered...letting go of the losses and sorrows.   

No, indeed, my parents were far from perfect; they made their mistakes, mistakes that damaged me in untold ways, yet, for my own peace of mind,  I have to believe that they really DID do  the best they knew how.  None of us are perfect.  And, the mistakes that they made with me taught me how to be a better parent to my own children.   

So with the holiday season once again upon us, I will remember with joy and fondness those holidays of the past, the love and comfort that I felt.  And when the pain and angst begins to set in, I will remember to let it go and rejoice.  Last night as I was going through my Christmas items, I found the following  written in one of my journals.  I wanted to share it with you today.  I guess it went into a Christmas journal lest I ever forget.  Tis the season to let it go.

To let go isn't to forget, not to think about, or ignore. It doesn't
leave feelings of anger, jealousy, or regret. Letting go isn't about
winning or losing. It's not about pride and it's not about how you
appear, and it's not obsessing or dwelling on the past. Letting go
isn't blocking memories or thinking sad thoughts, and it doesn't leave
emptiness, hurt, or sadness. It's not about giving in or giving up.
Letting go isn't about loss and it's not about defeat. To let go is
to cherish the memories, but to overcome and move on.

It is havingan open mind and confidence in the future. Letting go is learning

and experiencing and growing. To let go is to be thankful for the
experiences that made you laugh, made you cry, and made you grow.
It's about all that you have, all that you had, and all that you will
soon gain. Letting go is having the courage to accept change,
and the strength to keep moving. Letting go is growing up. It is
realizing that the heart can sometimes be the most potent remedy.
To let go is to open a door, and to clear a path and set yourself free. 


Saturday, November 27, 2010

Truth 12...Something You Never Get Compliments on

If you can't get a compliment any other way,
pay yourself one.
Mark Twain

Not an easy question.  When I started out on this venture, I had no idea that some of these questions would be so tough to answer.  I actually don't give much thought to compliments anymore. It's take it or leave it...take me as I am or don't take me at all.  Wasn't always like this. There was a time, when my self-esteem was at its all-time lowest, that seemed to be the only thing that I measured my worth on.  If somebody didn't say I looked nice....oh my goodness, what was wrong with me. Something had to be out of place. And, although we all like to get praise for the work we do, but not all of us take such personal affront to what is perceived as proof that I am just not good enough...

...and sadly it became a vicious cycle.  If someone didn't compliment me, it was because I was flawed....and then when I DID receive a compliment, I had trouble accepting it.  .I would often protest, turn the compliment into a negative, or confess to other shortcomings in their discomfort with accepting praise for which they feel unworthy.  For example, if someone said, "Oh, that is a pretty dress," I would say, "Oh, but it is so old."  Or, "Your hair looks nice,", I would respond, "You should see all I had to do to style it like this.  I have awful hair."

Today, it really doesn't bother me.  If my boss doesn't say, "Good job", it doesn't bother me anymore.  I don't need that reinforcement to prove my worth.  As long as I know I have done the job to the best of my ability, that is all that matters.  And as far as compliments go.  I may still find myself saying oh this old thing, when likes my outfit, but I don't feel that they are just trying to make me feel better, the compliment is probably genuine. 

So, in answer to the question, what is it that I never get compliments on?  My eyes.  My baby blues were always my best feature, and from the time I was a teenager, people remarked about my eyes...and my dimples.  My eyes are blue, and I once had the longest lashes that curled up on the ends without any help.  But now, as I've grown older, my eyelashes have grown shorter and thinned out.  I can't remember the last time someone told me I had beautiful eyes, but that doesn't matter to me anymore for it matters not that others see the beauty of my eyes, but that my eyes see the beauty of the world.
When your inner eyes open, you can find immense beauty
hidden within the inconsequential details of daily life.
When your inner ears open, you can hear the subtle,
lovely music of the universe everywhere you go.
Timothy Ray Miller

Friday, November 26, 2010

November Comes and November Goes

"November comes
And November goes,
With the last red berries
And the first white snows.

With night coming early,
And dawn coming late,
And ice in the bucket
And frost by the gate.

The fires burn
And the kettles sing,
And earth sinks to rest
Until next spring."

-  Elizabeth Coatsworth-

Thanksgiving has come and gone. It seems that only yesterday I was donning my wig and witch hat for the Halloween festivities. I'm don't know ready for this. I'm still trying to savor some of the splendor of Autumn. Yes, I know, we've still a month of Autumn before the Winter Solstice, but let's face it, now that Thanksgiving has passed, everything will move at breakneck speed...and in the blink of an eye, Christmas will come and another year will have passed....and where has it all gone?

When we were all young, we used to think that we were never going to grow up. Time seemed to crawl.  When I was young, I couldn't wait to become a teenager...and then I couldn't wait to turn 18.  From there it was that special age of 21...always wanting more; never savoring what I had.   We were all in a hurry, thinking it was better to be grown up than it was being young. What was the matter with us?  Why could we never cherish what we had?

Ours was a quiet Thanksgiving...me, my hubby, and my two sons.  Hubby has an enormous sized family--19 siblings--but we gave up socializing a long time ago.  No one gets along with each other so why put ourselves into the middle of it.   We had turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, candied yams, brocolli with cheese sauce, green beans, and cranberry sauce.  And, with hubby being Dominican, of course I had to include gondulas and rice. 
My youngest brought a great cheesecake (which I don't like) and a homemade lime pie from his girlfriend.  She spent her day with her family which is why she didn't come. 

Put up the tree and decorated it yesterday...at least partially.  Usually I race about on Thanksgiving trying to decorate everything and cook, but this year, I took my vacation the week after the holiday, so I've ten more days in front of me.  I'm getting older now, and not as agile as I once was, so this gives me time to take it easy and do a little each day.  Besides, I spent so much time in confusion yesterday, it was a joke.  I've had the same strings of lights for years, and last year when I took them down, I heaved them all out knowing that it was time for them to start burning out....and since I no longer smoke, I have extra money; hence, I bought a couple boxes of lights.  Well, after putting up the star, unraveled the lights, and put them on the tree....then, when I went to plug them into the wall, I discovered I had somehow I had nothing to plugin...I'd somehow connected them all wrong so I had no prong end left.  It took nearly an hour to figure out where I'd gone wrong.  

All in all, it was a wonderful day and I am so grateful to have my loved ones around me.  Even my kitty enjoyed her day.  After 19 years, she knows what the turkey means...turkey liver.  That's become our Thanksgiving tradition.  She hounds me all day until I boil them up and give them to her...usually when we sit down to our meal so we can ALL eat together as a family.  My only bittersweet moment yesterday was thinking, as I watched her eating, that this might very well be her last one, but before the tears began to flow on such a joyous day, I forced myself to brush those thoughts aside and be thankful what I have....for I have so many blessings that, all too often, I forget.  The following quote touched me deeply when I read it for all too often we think of the things we lack and not of the blessings--family, love, cherished pets, Thanksgiving dinner--that we have been given.  Hoping you all had a wonderful day, filled with love, peace, and joy.

The Pilgrims made seven times more graves than huts.
No Americans have been more impoverished than these who,
nevertheless, set aside a day of thanksgiving.
H.U. Westermayer

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Over the River

Over the river and through the woods,
To grandmother's house we go;
The horse knows the way to carry the sleigh,
Through the white and drifted snow, O!

Over the river and through the woods,
Oh how the wind does blow!
It stings the toes, and bites the nose,
As over the ground we go.

Over the river and through the woods,
To have a first-rate play;
Oh hear the bells ring, "Ting-a-ling-ling!"
Hurrah for Thanksgiving Day, Hey!

Over the river and through the woods,
Trot fast my dapple gray!
Spring over the ground, like a hunting hound!
For this is Thanksgiving Day, Hey!

Over the river and through the woods,
And straight through the barnyard gate,
We seem to go extremely slow.
It is so hard to wait!

Over the river and through the woods,
Now grandmother's cap I spy!
Hurrah for the fun! Is the pudding done?
Hurrah for the pumpkin pie!

Memories .... Everyone has them and each is precious. The above song never fails to remind me of childhood Thanksgivings spent with my beloved grandparents who have been gone now for many, many years, but will always be remembered with so much love.

Thanksgiving at their home was the best.  When we arrived, their home would be so toasty; the turkey had been roasting for hours.  The aromas coming from the kitchen set your mouth to watering.  None of us were allowed in grandma's kitchen when she was cooking her Thanksgiving spread, and it was kind of boring hanging out with the adults, so I'd bundle up and head on outdoors.  And I would always find myself in the woods...skipping along the path and singing the above song.  Somehow it seemed to have been written solely for me. 

Thanksgiving is a time to be thankful for the blessings we have and look forward to the year ahead with a renewed hope for an abundant harvest. I'd like to take this opportunity to wish you  peace, joy, and love.  Blessings to you and yours.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Thanksgiving Blessings

We remember the Pilgrims on Thanksgiving Day, not so much for their
turkey dinner, but for the sheer faith that inspired them to give thanks in
a year that saw nearly half their number die of sickness.
Yet they prayed with thanksgiving.--Ralph F. Wilson      

Thanksgiving is a time for giving thanks. Families and friends often gather together to give thanks through one or more Thanksgiving prayers in order to express their thankfulness  Remembering why we are thankful on Thanksgiving  Day is  a wonderful way to learn to appreciate all that we  have in this life, and how lucky we are to be alive to live every day to the fullest.  Give thought to the many blessings that you have.

Thanksgiving prayers and blessings are an important part of the tradition of Thanksgiving. Blessings give us  time to reflect on the good things about life. Often in this hectic society, we loose sight of just how blessed we really are.  The most basic thing to be thankful for is our existence.  We
should be grateful for who we are.  To be alive is a blessing.  Each one of
  us can point to people, events and things that we have and cherish beyond measure. The fact that we have a meal in front of us  is a blessing. The family and friends that celebrate the day with us are a blessing.    Prayers on Thanksgiving are a natural response to the blessings. We say thanks for the blessing to our Higher Power no matter what the religion or beliefs.

There is much to be thankful for every day in every way, and there are always constant reminders, if we pay attention, of those blessings that are already in our lives.  To spend time in reflection, and in gratitude is a prayer of Thanksgiving.  Prayers on Thanksgiving is a chance to offer support and hope for those that are less fortunate then we are. It's a time to reflect on ways that we can strive to give back to the community and to humanity as a whole.
Whatever our individual troubles and challenges may be, it’s important to pause every now and then to appreciate all that we have, on every level. We need to literally “count our blessings,” give thanks for them, allow ourselves to enjoy them, and relish the experience of prosperity we already have.--Shakti Gawain

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Truth 11:Something People Seem to Compliment you the Most on

Simplify.  Stop bothering with the non-essentials.  Having devoted my life to my work so far, I should reap the harvest and learn how to live the rest of it properly.  It's time now for trees and grass and growing things.
Author Unknown

 Amazingly, these days I get compliments for something I now consider a chore...cooking.  Others often say how much love I put into my food....If they only knew.  It wasn't always this way.  I once LOVED to cook...so much so that a while back I took up some catering courses and worked for awhile with my sister-in-law on weddings.  She did the planning, and I did the cooking.  Hubby never knew what to expect at dinner.  It was always an adventure for him...anywhere from a four-course Chinese meal to homemade noodles and a Polish dish.  And pies, cakes, cookies?  When Christmas came about, I'd spend one night without sleep and bake at least 90 dozen of assorted cookies to give as gifts.   I loved being creative with my food...loved surprising everyone, but that was then and this is now.

But, let's face it, I was almost 20 years younger then and had a great job.  I worked 'out in the field' meaning that we went to the clients; they didn't come to us. The team would have their meeting the morning, we'd get our assignments...usually about 3 or 4 clients in the same area...and then be on our way.  If a client wasn't home, it still counted, so sometimes I was home by 1pm and usually no later than 3 pm. There was plenty of time to cook.  But, great as the hours were, the money was bad, the danger was great because I had to go into some of the worst neighborhoods in Brooklyn, and there was a lot of wear and tear on the body. Eventually I found myself paying out more than I was bringing in so the time came to let the job go and get a job where I had to work real full-time hours.

Nowadays, as most of you know, I shop and cook every two weeks.  Every other Saturday I find myself slaving over the stove cooking and freezing enough meals to keep us until the next payday, and we have a decent meal on the table every night...not as fancy as it once was, but tasty nonetheless.  And don't get me wrong, now.  When I have company, I will still whip up a meal that will make you feel you are dining at one of the fanciest restaurants, but company, too, is few and far between now....

...not that I am complaining.  I'm happy with the quietude of my life right now.  Ah, the simple pleasures that come with age.  Had someone told me 40 years ago that my greatest joy on a Friday night would be arriving home from work,throwing on my flannel jammies, and relaxing in front of the television, I would have told them they were crazy.  Where once I headed for the bright pulsating lights of the city's clubs, now there is nothing more beautiful to me than watching a beautiful sunrise or a sunset, the grace and beauty of the rising Moon, the stars twinkling above...so far, far away,.  Heck, if I had to come home and cook every evening, look how much I would be missing.  

So, yes, people do still compliment me on my cooking.  I guess cooking is one of those things that once you learn how, you never forget. 

To be happy in this world, especially when youth is past, it is necessary
to feel oneself not merely an isolated individual whose day will soon be over,
but part of a stream of life flowing on from the first germ to the remote and unknown future.
Bertrand Russell

Monday, November 22, 2010

Truth 10: Someone You Need to Let Go of, or Wish You Didn't Know

Let go. Why do you cling to pain? There is nothing
you can do about the wrongs of yesterday. It is
not yours to judge. Why hold on to the very thing
which keeps you from hope and love?
--Leo Buscaglia--

Golly, I didn't realize how difficult this one would be, but truth be told, I've wracked my brain and can't think of a single soul that that fits into this  Truth.  Why?  Because at this stage of my life,  I have already let go of everyone who needed to go, everyone who was weighing me down with their toxic behaviors.  So, when I reached my early fifties,  something changed within, and  I underwent a complete metamorphosis....not only a cleansing of myself, but also  those who had filling my life with negativity....my ex, my so-called friends who never had my best interests at heart...a boss who treated me like a  doormat.  Negative people can easily drag you into a world of pessimism and despair, and I no longer wanted to live my life in that manner.  

And so I did a thorough housecleaning,  tossing out everything that had been cluttering  up my life, everything that had been weighing my soul down.   Some chose not to go easily.  My ex gave me a rough time, and for awhile I was always looking over my shoulder. My ex-neighbor/friend  was just as bad.  Why, it was just as little as four years ago that she was still giving me an occasional call.  And it really wasn't that she missed me so much as she had claimed.  No, her phone calls were out of nosiness and wanting to have the latest gossip about my life.  Just hearing her voice  made me cringe, and I finally I had to ask her to please lose my number.

People have a hard time letting go of their suffering.
Out of a fear of the unknown, they prefer suffering that is familiar.
--Thich Nhat Hanh--

When it comes to cutting someone out of our lives, we often feel a strong sense of guilt.  And although we probably find  ourselves fed up and disgusted with that person's behavior,  just thinking about that favor the person once did for us or  the history we may have with them, makes our decision all the more difficult.  But, the problem with not letting go is that it can impede our progress and limit our capacity to receive more goodness into our lives--more joy, revelations, peace and serenity, and by letting go, we open ourselves up to new possibilities. 

 I'm comfortable with my life right now...and with everyone in it. Not everyone is perfect, but I am not perfect either.  I've got plenty of faults. We're not here to be perfect; we are hear to learn.  Even my lazy co-worker has her place in my life today for she is a constant reminder of the person I never hope to be. 

Letting go doesn't mean we don't care.  Letting go doesn't mean we shut down.
Letting go means we stop trying to force outcomes and make people behave.
It means we give up resistance to the way things are, for the moment.
It means we stop trying to do the impossible--controlling that which
we cannot--and instead, focus on what is possible--which usually means
taking care of ourselves.  And we do this in gentleness, kindness,
and love, as much as possible.
--Melody Beatty--

Sunday, November 21, 2010

To the Rising Full Moon

Slowly, silently, now the moon
Walks the night in her silver shoon;
This way, and that, she peers, and sees
Silver fruit upon silver trees;
One by one the casements catch
Her beams beneath the silvery thatch;
Couched in his kennel, like a log,
With paws of silver sleeps the dog;
From their shadowy coat the white breasts peep
Of doves in a silver-feathered sleep;
A harvest mouse goes scampering by,
With silver claws, and silver eye;
And moveless fish in the water gleam,
By silver reeds in a silver stream.
-- Walter de la Mare--

The Moon..so mysterious and alluring...casting  a cool brightness, quiet, mysterious and at times mystical. Some connect the Her to the subconscious, especially when She is full.  Ancient cultures worshipped Her and held ceremonies, rituals and festivals in Her honor. Mythologies speak of Moon Goddesses and even the image provokes a powerful archetypal energy.  For thousands of years She has been worshipped as the One from whose womb all life springs. She has been alternately been called the Great Mother, the Great Goddess, Mother Nature,a myriad of other titles, for it is in Her that we see the shining representation of the cycle of life.  Gazing at the Moon can be inspirational; it encourages the mind to wander and can transport one to a world of illusion...far away from reality. 

There is beauty in Her  presence, especially when reflected upon the waters of a lake....adding light and mystery to what otherwise would be total darkness   And She does not shine, except through reflection, for  She has lost Her inner fire.  She has no emanation, and no radiation, but astrally She is strong for  She is linked with the astral body of our Planet, and with the astral body of all humanity.

She has always been a magical force upon the human imagination. She gives light to the dark nights and  brings hope for the light that comes after the darkness that looms us.  And we all wake to a new day, knowing that tonight, the moon will light our way. Through all the pain and the suffering, we get to see , no matter who we might be.

If you have a collection of healing stones or crystals, the Full Moon is a perfect time to energize your stones. Like anything that you use regularly, your stones and crystals can use a good cleaning and clearing away of energy that is not useful to you. Gently wash your stones one at a time under water while saying "Releasing all negative energy back into the earth in a non-harmful way." Then place your stones in your windowsill or outside in the full moonlight for 3 full nights.

WILT thou suddenly enshroud thee,
Who this moment wert so nigh?
Heavy rising masses cloud thee,
Thou art hidden from mine eye.
Yet my sadness thou well knowest,
Gleaming sweetly as a star!
That I’m loved, ’tis thou that showest,
Though my loved one may be far.
Upward mount then! clearer, milder,
Robed in splendour far more bright!
Though my heart with grief throbs wilder,
Fraught with rapture is the night!

by Johann Wolfgang Von Goethe

Friday, November 19, 2010

Truth 9: Someone You Didn't Want to let go, but Just Drifted

Little girl....little girl...can you come out to play?  That was my first memory of our childhood friendship.  We'd only just moved into the neighborhood and were barely settled in.   I had turned 5 in March.  This was our first home.  Actually it was the starter home for all the families who lived there.  Half the houses were still empty; those who were filled were mostly young couples with or without children.  The houses were all alike, different colors but  same shape...I think it was what they called a cookie cutter neighborhood back in the 50's.  They were springing up all over the place.   I was quite an unhappy camper.  We'd been living with my grandparents, and I had NOT wanted to move.

So, that day I remember lying in my room, moping.  I remember it was a warm day: the windows were open so it was either late spring, early summer.  It was just when I thought my world had ended that I heard her Little girl, little girl, can you come out to play?  On that day, Kathleen became the first friend I can remember having.  She was living right next door to me, and our friendship got off to a quick start...not so bad for that shy little girl who had just moved into a new neighborhood.  From the start, we did everything together...every day...inseparable twins we were. I remember us splashing in the little kiddie pool in my backyard and playing with my beloved three-legged mutt, Susie.  The sidewalk out front was always our territory whether it be for playing hopscotch, jacks or skating in our old silver skates. We played outside for hours, catching lightening bugs until our mothers called us in.  Sometimes, we'd even sleep in the backyard in our tents. 

We had several years together, but all too soon, it had to end.  Kathleen's family was growing, and they decided to move to a bigger home, not too far away, but far enough to break our bond.  Somehow I guess I knew it that day even though, as I began to cry, Kathleen said,  Don't cry.  We'll still be friends.  We will always be friends,  You can come and visit me, and I will come and visit you.  And I did.  I visited one time...and one time only.  Something was different.  Things felt different. We were both beginning to bud into our adolescent years, and it seemed that we were both heading into different directions.  Kathleen was what one would call a Nerd, a real bookworm, and I was the one who wanted to have fun.  Phone calls continued between us for awhile, and then they stopped.  I can't remember who was the one who let go.

People come into your life for a reason, a season, or a lifetime.  When you figure out which it is, you know exactly what to do.
When someone is in your life for a REASON, it is usually to meet a need you have expressed outwardly or inwardly.  They have come to assist you through a difficulty, to provide you with guidance and support, to aid you physically, emotionally, or spiritually.  They may seem like a godsend, and they are.  They are there for the reason you need them to be.  Then, without any wrong doing on your part or at an inconvenient time, this person will say or do something to bring the relationship to an end.  Sometimes they die.  Sometimes they walk away.  Sometimes they act up or out and force you to take a stand.  What we must realize is that our need has been met, our desire fulfilled;  their work is done.  The prayer you sent up has been answered and it is now time to move on. 

When people come into your life for a SEASON, it is because your turn has come to share, grow, or learn.  They may bring you an experience of peace or make you laugh.  They may teach you something you have never done.  They usually give you an unbelievable amount of joy.  Believe it!  It is real!  But, only for a season. 

LIFETIME relationships teach you lifetime lessons; those things you must build upon in order to have a solid emotional foundation.  Your job is to accept the lesson, love the person/people (anyway);  and put what you have learned to use in all other relationships and areas of your life.  It is said that love is blind but friendship is clairvoyant.
Author Unknown

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Tuesday Ramble

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate;
I am the captain of my soul.
~William Henley~

These past few days I've been doing a lot of soul searching...a natural result of my participation in the 30 Posts of Truth...and when I look back over my life and the things that I have lived through,  it's only natural to wonder why?  Why do we suffer?   Why do certain things happen to us and not to others?  Is it fate, destiny, or free will?  Is fate what drew us into our abusive relationship?   Was it destiny that brought us together?  Or, was it free will?  Did we have the choice to make?  

Many feel that fate and destiny mean the same thing.  They do not.  Fate is a past-oriented viewpoint of that what something has become.  Something was fated to become as such  and could not have come to be otherwise.  Fate as a word is, therefore, used to see that things are expected to unfold in an expect way.  Meeting my hubby was fated.  On the other hand, destiny is a future-oriented viewpoint; something is destined to happen...unless...  It was my destiny to meet my husband.   Fate is seen as divinely planned, whereas destiny has the power to be influenced by man’s actions.  This is where free will comes in.  Confusing, isn't it?  Gives you something to think about....and, please, feel free to disagree.  I'd love to hear your thoughts.

I am rather glad I made the decision to take on the Truth project because working on it has really made has made me aware that we are, indeed,  all captains of our own soul.   Each one of us is the author of our own life story and our destinies change or can be re-written at any time.  Our Book of Life is written as we go, and when we use a belief in destiny or fate...and only destiny or fate...as an excuse for not taking responsibility for being the master of our life, we not only end up blaming  others for our pain, but also believe it is our destiny to suffer.  How well I remember that awful feeling... there is no way out. We end up free-falling into a downward spiral rather than being an active participant in our own lives. 

Yes, we do create our own paths...we make choices...we suffer the consequences when  we choose wrong, and we reap the rewards should we choose right. We can't lay this at destiny's door...we control our futures, we create our pathways.

Life is like a game of cards.  The hand you are dealt is determinism; the way you play it is free will. --Jawaharlal Nehru

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

8 someone who has made your life hell, or treated you like shit

It is healthy to accept myself as I am, to like myself, and to love myself.  It is okay for me to accept a compliment or praise. Because I am just as deserving and worthy as anyone else, I may treat myself as well as I treat others, live my own life, and enjoy my life.  There is a difference between being unselfish and being a martyr or a victim.  There is a time for putting myself first so that I may take care of myself and my needs.--Jill Wolf

I thought about this one long and hard.  Gosh, there are so many people who fall into this category.  What a sad thing for me to say!  But, what's even sadder is that I allowed myself to fall into this category.  I allowed myself to become everyone's doormat.  Dysfunctional men surrounded me, but isn't that because I drew them to me?  They say we get back what we toss out into the Universe.  Wasn't I just as dysfunctional as they were?  I could have turned around and run the other way, but, no, instead I allowed myself to be romanced into relationships I knew were destructive.  Come on, now.  When someone breaks your jaw, why the heck would you go out and marry the creep three months later?  Yep, I am guilty.  I am guilty of self-loathing, that indelible feeling that you don't deserve any better....that feeling that your life is not worth anything unless you are fixing someone else.  And so, you float from one destructive relationship to the next, all the while thinking that if you can fix him....if you can just fix him....you will be all right.  And, the truth be told, you are the one who needs fixing.

And, it wasn't just romantic relationships, no, I allowed everyone to abuse me....even my bosses.  I was always the one who overworked, who did her share along with everyone else's share.  I was the one who never said no to overtime, even if I had something else planned or was just plain burned out.  My boss had to like me.  Everyone had to like me.  That's because I didn't like myself.  

So, the answer to this truth is 'I' was the one who made my life hell; I treated myself like shit.  Sure, no one had the right to abuse me--lover, friend, boss--but I let it happen.  Yes, my self-esteem was low; yes, I'd grown up in a not-so-loving household.  Maybe I am not to blame; maybe I am...but the question is someone who has made my life hell and that would be me.  I put myself into these situations.  I could have put my tail between my legs and run the other way, but I chose to stay.  

That WAS me;  fortunately, it's not me anymore. Ironically, when we hit our twenties, we feel we are grown, but there is no set age for growth.  It takes some of us longer.  I had to reach my 50's to find out who I really am...and, yes, there are times the old victim me tries to creep back in, but fortunately, I am able to cut her off at the pass....and there are times, too, both at work and at home that I find myself doing more than my fair share...and I have to watch that it doesn't get out of hand.  And today, now, the tables are turned, and I am the one trying to help others dig their way out the hole they have dug for themselves just as a wise counselor did for me...and I know I am good at helping others it because I have been there myself.   Thank you for letting me share.

You are in charge of your feelings, beliefs, and actions. And you
teach others how to behave toward you.  While you cannot
change other people, you can influence them through your
own behaviors and actions.  By being a living role model of what
you want to receive from others, you create more of
what you want in your life.
Eric Allenbaugh

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Post of Truth 7.... Someone Who has Made My Life Worth Living

I have learned silence from the talkative,
tolerance from the intolerant
and kindness from the unkind.
I should not be ungrateful to those teachers. 
~ Kahlil Gibran
 My logical answer would be hubby and my two wonderful sons...and, of course, they have definitely made my life worth living, but for this truth,  I wanted to share about someone else, someone from my past who was always there for me when no one else was.  Yes,  my beloved grandmother had always been there for me...and yes, she did make my life worth living, but today is about  someone else...a beloved teacher, Mr. Ferguson.

In school, I was that child who stood on the sidelines, the child who was not a part of.  It wasn't always that way, but in  a short span of time, my grammar school years went from one of fun, games, and acceptance to one of endless taunting.  School had become a nightmare for me.  I had  always been a 'shy' child, but i also had a circle of friends who had been with me since kindergarten...but somehow they all ended up in another classroom while I ended up in a class with the cousin from hell,  a kid  with a  mean streak mile long...a cousin I had never even met until that year when he and his family moved into the neighborhood.  I'll never know why, and  guess I shouldn't really care.  We lost contact over 40 years ago.  There is one  part of me that wants to believe the best people that says he was difficult for him leaving his friends and moving to a new place.  Perhaps he just didn't know how to fit in, and the only way he could feel like he WAS somebody was to belittle someone else...someone too shy and weak to defend herself. Perhaps it was really was just as hard on him as it was on me. Who knows?  And why should I still care?

Because teasing is belittling, hurtful, and demeaning.  When you are the object of the teasing, you  feel like no one likes you, that you are friendless, unlikeable and that these feelings will last forever. And, when you are a shy child as I was, it drives you further into yourself.  Mean, hurtful words can and do follow you well into adulthood, hiding beneath the surface, continuing to mold who you have become....and they will continue to make you feel less than until one day you awaken to the beautiful, whole person that you really are...but I seem to have gotten off track here....

...Fortunately, I had Mr. Ferguson.  He'd always been one of the most beloved teachers in school, one who is not easily forgotten. he's gone now having been  at least in his 40's when he was teaching us, but what I remember is someone who didn't take sides.  He neither singled me out nor those who taunted me, but treated us all as one.  He saw past the straggly haired little girl who had no one to help her get ready for school, who never seemed to have it together because she had to take care of herself.  There is one day I remember as clear as if it just happened yesterday.  It was picture day, the day we were supposed to look our best.  We were all standing in a line waiting to sit for the photographer.  I was a mess.  That morning I had tried to put it in a ponytail, hadn't done a very good job of it; half of the tail was out and hanging straggly over my shoulders.   Mr. Ferguson came along, then called one of the female teachers to give all of 'us' girls a quick comb out.  He didn't single me out, but instead included all of us in the little tidying up effort...

....and so, Mr. Ferguson, here's to you.  55 years ago you made a little girl feel special,  and that little girl has never forgotten.  Know that in those times that I wanted to crawl into some corner and hide, you made me feel special.  You made a little girl's life worth living and for that, I will always hold you in my heart.

They may forget what you said,
but they will never forget how you made them feel.

Carl Buehner ~

Monday, November 15, 2010

Truth 6: Something You Hope You Never Have to Do

Good morning, everyone   Here we are, another Monday morning....which means another week has flown past.  How fast time is moving along.  I cannot believe it's almost holiday time.  I was thinking about it just this weekend.  Here we are--hubby and I-- with our last paychecks before Thanksgiving....so I ended up buying the Thanksgiving staples on Saturday. Time has flown by so quickly, I almost missed it. 

I've also been pondering this year as to whether or not I will set out my villages, but ponder as I will,  of course I will end up setting them up.  It's become part of my tradition and without tradition, there is no holidays.  It's just so much work...packing away all my books to make room...and it never fails, even though I try to keep the books I know I will be using handy, somewhere around Christmas there comes a time when a book I want is at the bottom of the box.  

Gosh, it is almost time to change the look of my blog as well.  Holiday time.  Trouble is, I like this look and hate to see it go, but seasons pass by quickly, and we must be prepared to make our changes with them....so, it will be, then, that probably after Thanksgiving, I will bid farewell to my Autumnal look  and welcome in the new season with a wonderful, new snowy affair.

I know this post should be about Truth 6, but this  is one truth that  I cannot bring myself to respond to. Oh, it's not that I don't have an answer; it's just that it is an answer that I don't want to think about it, let alone write about it.  Of course, the answer has to do with loss, and I'll admit it, I don't deal with loss very well.... I think all of us have a tough time dealing with loss...even those of us who believe that death is  not the end, but the gateway to the Otherworld which exists alongside our mortal world....that we all one day meet again.   Oh, I could talk about loss of a job, of my home...favorite clothes, friends, jobs, everything that exists materially --all of these are always under that threat of loss, but I have lost everything before, and  I have survived....but loss of a loved one, a beloved pet...no, these are things I hope I never have to deal with  So, you will have to all forgive me if I skip this one and instead, focus on happier thoughts.  So, on that note...
...Be alive, be beautiful. Tomorrow will come, but today is already here. Let's discover what part we we have to play in today's chapter, and let the storyteller worry about what tomorrow brings.  May you all have a blessed Monday.

I wish you humor and a twinkle in the eye.
I wish you glory and the strength to bear its burdens.
I wish you sunshine on your path and storms to season your journey.
I wish you peace--in the world in which you live and in the smallest corner
 of the heart where truth is kept.
I wish you faith--to help define your living and your life.
More I cannot wish you--except perhaps love--to make all the rest worthwhile.
~Robert A. Ward~

Sunday, November 14, 2010

Truth 5: Something You Hope to do in Your Life

Cut not the wings of your dreams,
for they are the heartbeat and the freedom of your soul. 

  There is much I hope to do.  One thing I would absolutely LOVE to do is take a trip to Ireland, but it's not only way out of my budget, but how would I get there.  I won't fly, and I won't take a boat because it might sink, so unless they build a tunnel or a bridge, I guess I am out of luck.  

It is good to have an end to journey towards,
but it is the journey that matters, in the end.
~ Ursula K LeGuin, novelilst ~

On a more realistic level, one day  I hope to do to be able to  move out of the city and back to the country. I was born and raised in a small town in northern New Jersey.  There was no nearby shopping.  If I needed something from the store, it was at least an hour's walk.  Most often, though, I'd hitchhike; it was a lot safer back then.  There were no thugs walking the country roads.  At night, if it wasn't a weekend, we'd go fishing at the pond.  On weekends, we went to a little place called Happy Time Barn where we'd dance til the wee hours of the morn.  I have to say, I was a pretty darned good square dancer.  Life was so much simpler; as a matter of fact, it was too simple for me.

Back in 1965, we gals would graduate high school, maybe work in a factory for a year or so, then get married to some home town boy and have a mess of kids.  That is what was expected of us.  College???  Ha, your a female; it's your job to have babies; that's a full-time job.  I had quit school in March of 1965...when I turned 18.  Thought I was a big shot.  Walked into school, cleaned out my locker, went to the principal's office and said, I quit.  Now, I know that was a big mistake, but at the time, you couldn't tell me anything.  

Well, anyway, after I quit, I still kept in contact with my gal friends and watched as one by one they married off and settled down.  Oh, I almost did so myself...I'm not gonna lie.  I'd met someone I think I would have been willing to settle down with.  He was three years older than me...the most handsome guy and so gentle and kind.  Remember, I was used to running with the wild bunch so this young man was a true gentleman.    We cruised through town or spent evenings at my home. Then one morning my mom woke me and told me she had some bad news for me.  It had been all over the news.  Robert had driven his car off the road and into the lake.  He was dead.  October 30, 1965.  He was 21 years old. They said he had committed suicide.  I still cannot believe that.  He was too altogether for that.  I often visit him online on Find a Grave and cry.  Yes, 45 years later I still mourn this man and wonder what might have been.

After that, there wasn't much left for me in New Jersey.  The one man I might have been willing to settle down with was gone and that wanderlust set in.  Shortly thereafter, a female friend and I spread our wings and took off for the Big Apple.  I never moved back home.  My friend and I had a falling out and lost contact.  I don't know what happened to her.  And, you all know the rest.  45 years later, I'm still here, but aching now for the life I left behind. The city holds nothing for me anymore.   I'm tired of having no privacy, of having to wait til late at night to enjoy my yard, to spend some time communing with nature, with the moon.  I'm tired of the speed; I move so much slower now, and everybody seems to be racing by me.  They don't just seem to, they are.  Here in the city we are always racing someplace.  We never have to be no place.  We've always a place to go...even me in my snail's pace.   I never just go for a walk for the sake of a walk; there's really no such thing.  Even those who say they are just going for a walk; they always end up someplace. 

One day I want to go for a walk in the woods, pick some flowers that are there...free to be picked, rake up some leaves and throw myself into them....wake up the vast white landscape of a newly fallen snow...not the grey icy mess of New York streets and sidewalks.  Put simply.  I want to go home.

Your vision will become clear
only when you look into your heart ...
Who looks outside, dreams.
Who looks inside, awakens.

~ Carl Jung (1875-1961), Psychologist ~