Tuesday, May 27, 2008

Simple Pleasures

Again and again and again, it is the simple pleasures in my life that keep my head and heart above water. The soft and gentle song of the Baltimore Oriole at 7am. A whirlwind of maple seeds spiraling into my lap. Sweet, fragrant bells of lily-of-the-valley. My ever-soothing rose petal tea. Belly laughs and tears, over lunch, with my dearest Kasia Blue. German berry strudel. Time to read.
Big events in life are not what are sustaining. They don't come often enough. It is the little events, the whispers of sweetness and fleeting beautiful things, that sustain the will to go on. That keep me engaged and looking forward to the next simple pleasure. As long as I notice them and appreciate them, the little events will come. Again and again and again.
Visit www.kasiablue.blogspot.com for more simple pleasures and beautiful words.

Monday, May 26, 2008

Buried Treasure

With impressive strength of will, I refrained from bounding out of bed yesterday and heading straight to the Sunday Flea Sale. Instead, I obeyed the sensible, and at times annoying, voice within and agreed to clean my art studio before adding to my pile of useful junk. To my surprise, the arduous task of paring down my wares turned into a treasure hunt.
I am a proponent of the purge. Clearing clutter to make way for a new, more refined energy. Out with stagnation, in with the flow. Except when it has come to my art studio. Disorganized piles have ruled the day in my supposed sacred, creative space. But later than sooner, there is no choice in the matter. Later than sooner, creativity grinds to a halt when key elements go missing under debris. And so, recycle bin and trash bag in hand, I began to unbury the space.
What I reclaimed from my personal land of the lost was glorious buried treasure. 2 art magazines I had coveted and searched (almost) everywhere for, photos of loved ones I had forgotten about and a package of semi-precious stone hearts. These treasures have invoked new ideas and new directions for my art. My uncluttered space feels so much happier. So much lighter. So much more welcoming.
My adventure of clearing and purging reminded me how the same concept is true for my inner environment as well as my outer environment. If I dare to purge the fears that plague me by sifting through them, examining them and finally deciding to choose not to live with them anymore, what is revealed within me is nothing less than buried treasure.
New levels of confidence lay under the debris of fear. New, more positive attitudes, new eyes for opportunities, new levels of love for myself and others all lie under the judgements, the gripes, the shutting myself away. Sooner than later, or later than sooner, it makes no difference, the morning arrives when the buried treasure of the human heart is ready to be revealed. On those mornings, I am made more happy, more light and more able to welcome the world.
{Treasure chest is a stock image.}

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Perfect Moments

I am blessed with perfect moments. Short spans of time and no time that come upon me suddenly and leave kisses of grace on my heart. These moments are brief. These moments are unexpected. But the beauty and fullness of fleeting, perfect flashes lies in my fairly new ability to recognize them. I'm quite sure I've been privy to these moments my whole life, but the effort I've put into opening my heart has cleansed my lens of awareness, and recognition is now swift.
4 days ago, I found myself crouching on a public restroom floor, new silk skirt splayed across the questionably clean tiles, rubbing my Mom's calf while she endured a mind-bending leg cramp. In those moments of pain and wincing and crouching, I experienced a peace that flooded my heart. In those moments, we had no past together, my Mom and me. We had no issues. No roles. No differences. What we had was each other. What we had was an intimate span of moments where I knew I would do anything for her. At any time. It was a perfect experience. A perfect moment.
3 days ago, I found myself sitting on a living room floor in Rochester, New York with7 good friends. Food and wine and the animated conversations of 6 spiritual Souls filled the room to the roof. Everyone had so much to say. I sat for a time and simply listened. The joy in camaraderie was palpable. The energy and enthusiasm to connect and share was infectious. I glowed in my own silence, watching and catching snippets of less-than-ordinary conversations. Somewhere in the midst of it, I was awash with peace and gratitude at being part of the gathering. My short-lived silence put me inside the vacuum of love created by happy hearts. It was exquisite. It was warm. It was perfect.
This morning, I was unexpectedly presented with 4 peanut butter cupcakes topped with chocolate frosting. The cupcakes came with a short speech from my dear friend, Sue, the Confection Contessa. Sue made and gave the cupcakes to thank me for writing my blog. Imagine that. Being thanked with decadence for expressing myself. As I squeezed her and told her she is one of the reasons I keep writing, I knew it was another perfect moment. I felt more kisses of grace on my heart.
If I am breathing, every moment is precious. Every moment is important. Even the darkest ones. But in questing to open my heart, there are now moments where God steps in, quiets my mind, and awakens my Soul to receive. These are the perfect moments.

Monday, May 19, 2008

The Pivotal Point

There comes a point in every life, I hope, when the reasons and excuses and fears to hold back wilt in the mind. There comes a point when it is suddenly pointless to remain in the shadows, to deny dreams and to keep the lid on creative forces that can change your world for the better. There comes a point when you must simply bloom.

Pain and grief and exhaustion often bring the reasons for self denial into the grimy, filmy light. You look at them and think, "what in God's name am I waiting for"? "Who the hell cares anymore for opinions and consequences? It's my life, dammit, I can do what I want and be who I want".
The pivotal point in a life can come at 16, at 29, at 43, at 60, at 81 and a half. It does not matter when it comes, just as long as it arrives before your last breath shudders out of your lungs. Because freedom rides on the petals as they fall open in bloom. Freedom rides the thoughts and actions that burst the bonds of self-restraint and self-imprisonment. Freedom lies in your choice to live the life you deserve. And you deserve the taste of freedom.
So get married. Write the cookbook. Get the loan. Walk away from toxic people. Learn to sail. Finish the degree. Open your heart and so what if gets trampled. Open it again. Make this moment or the next moment or 14,532 moments from now the point that pivots your dreams into reality.
Do not hold back forever. You don't have forever.
Bloom soon. Bloom now.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Berlin On My Mind

I am longing for Berlin. I am longing for the creative verve, the self-revival energy, the tamed and untamed aspects of a European city in flux and forward movement. I am longing for Berlin because 2 years ago my inner spirit woke up in that city. My soul was sparked, my mind was lit, my heart was home.
Today, my inner spirit is tired. Too much work and shards of small grief have worn me down. I'm not fond of being worn down. I prefer to be lit from within by wonder and discovery. I prefer to feel rested and ready to welcome the gifts of each day. I prefer the pulse of creative verve in my veins.
What I am in the midst of is a shift. Effort in one direction has ended. The pause has arrived. Possibilities are floating into view, but I'm too tired to act on them. For the moment. Flowers and birdsong, decorating magazines and blogs, blue scarves and cupcakes all call my attention and remind me...the energy of Berlin will come back to me. Rest a few days, eat well, drink water and the self-revival will rise. Rest, and the spark will be lit. Rest, give energy and love back to myself and my heart will feel at home.
For you who are overwhelmed by work or grief or the uncertainty of having to let go of the known, rest. Stop the effort. Drink fresh water. Eat fruit. Sit down. Allow the pause. Sleep. Your energy will come back. Your enthusiasm will come back. Your heart will find its joy and its home.
{My favorite window display in West Berlin, 2006}

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

5,318 Rainy Days

Yesterday at 4pm, I watched the ever-compassionate Dr. Brown slip the thinnest of needles into the fore paw of my beloved Rain Dance Little Shoes. 30 seconds later, her heart stopped. Before that heart-stopping moment lay a mountain of effort to avoid that decision and a mountain of love laid out over the coarse of 14 and 1/2 years.
Alimentary lymphoma in the small intestines, with tumors present and no hope of improvement, led me to let go of one of the sweetest loves to grace my life. As a woman with no children, cats have been a needful outlet to channel the love I carry in my heart. The pleasure I get from animals is profound. The pleasure I got from Rain Dance was at times, life-saving.
Because my 2 cats are elderly girls, each morning I would hug them and kiss them and thank them for staying with me another day. Because Rain Dance was ill for the better part of a year, we had many talks about her need to do what was best for her soul, regardless of how sad I would be without her. I told her God's plan for her was what we would follow, not my need for company and fur-love.
On the drive to the Vet for last-ditch-effort tests, I reminded Rain Dance that all her angel friends were with us, and her highest and best would be served. While at home, waiting for the dreaded call with test results, I cleaned up the mess and the effort of many months. I sat with a cup of rose petal tea and listened to Vivaldi's "Four Seasons", knowing deep down Rain Dance had reached the end of her winter season.
Back at the Vet, with trusted opinions given and no hope offered, I asked for 10 minutes to talk with Rain. I kissed her a thousand times. And this is what I told her: "There is no death. There is only a dream of love. In this moment, you are held in my arms of love and in a moment soon to come, you will simply and sweetly drift into someone else's arms of love. Your angels are waiting. Thank you, thank you, thank you for the gift of your life with mine. You live in my heart forever. You know I love you".
I put her in her favorite green walnut box and drove home with one hand on her still-warm body. I let her companion and nemesis, Miss Romance, sniff her in the box. I found a shovel and dug a round hole next to the yellow iris in the backyard. I lined the hole with a pink towel and her favorite catnip pillow. I knelt in front of the little pink womb, picked her up and cradled her against my heart. And then I sobbed. Big, fat tears that soaked her fur and baptized her into her next life. Finally, reluctantly, I layed her down and gave her body back to the Mother.
Today, I am the indentured servant to only 1 cat. Today, I mourn the loss of Rainy days. But all endings contain new beginnings. All endings bestow freedom. Somewhere, someday there is an orange cat that will come to me. I will name it Sun Dance. Because after the Rain, the Sun always appears.

Monday, May 05, 2008

Heaven On Earth

Heaven On Earth part 2

There are no more doubts in my mind. Heaven exists on earth. It may be fleeting. It may be hidden. But when the timing is right and hearts are open, the doorway appears and angels welcome us in. My doorway had a no trespassing sign on it. "Go anyway", I heard. And so I did.
At 9:30 this morning, a 60 degree and sunny morning, I stepped into the woods. My favorite angel, the chattering red-bellied woodpecker kind, announced my arrival and led me down the path into heaven. Along the path, thick and white and waving in the breeze, stood thousands of trillium wildflowers. Thousands. I stepped off the path and set myself down in leaf litter, completely surrounded by trillium. I took a breath and the breath brought bliss. Looking around me, absorbing the wonder of the crowds of trinity blossoms, I felt a sense of calm I have never felt before. It was so complete as to be intoxicating. I sat in this calm, this bliss, this fleeting heaven until I could sit no more.
I wandered down the path and was greeted again by the red-bellied woodpecker. He introduced me to his mate and their 2 fledglings. I sat down on a fallen cherry tree to listen to their music. A cardinal joined in and I closed my eyes. It was music to meditate by and the sense of calm carried on. When I opened my eyes again, a splinter of light lit a singular, rare red trillium in front of me. Upon closer view ,the rarities increased. Dozens, not thousands, but my pleasure was profound.
At the end of the path lay a field. Grasses and wide open sky and 2 red tail hawks coasting on thermals welcomed me into the sun. Another rarity, also sporting red, swooped down on me to both our surprise. A rose breasted grosbeak, caught up in chasing his mate, landed with wings spread and gusto on the grass next to me. Seeing I was clearly not his mate he vaporized back into the trees.
Because heaven on earth is not complete without the earth, I picked a dry spot in the field and lay my heart down on the Mother. I lay in the field, absorbing the energy and love from the earth, surrendering all cares, slipping into sleep, until I could lay no more. Again the calm. Again the bliss. Again the feeling of fleeting heaven.
It is now many hours since my encounter with the whites and reds of bliss. But the calm has stayed with me. The afterglow lingers. My heart is filled with heaven on earth.

Sunday, May 04, 2008

A Timeless Day

Today I live without clocks. Today I care not for time. My time pieces are either taken off walls, turned around or covered up. Because I am exhausted from rushing, rushing, rushing through my days and my life. Rushing to meet expectations and obligations. Rushing to be somewhere I am not. Rushing to please all others but myself.

Enough, I say.
Today I exist in my own time. I eat, sleep, create, speak or not when I wish to. Let the sky be my clock. Let my heart lead the way from one intrigue to the next. Let me be simple. Let me lie on the floor and stare at nothing. Let me rest in the freedom of no time at all.
Today I live without clocks. Today I surrender all effort. Today I live.