Monday, January 31, 2011

the way of the late bloom

in the 3 months since my grandmother's next great adventure began, i have thought of her frequently. there have been no tears, only an occasional clutching at my heart. we did right by each other in my first and her last 45 years on this earth. i can think of no regrets.

what i think of now, by her prompting, is the body of creative work she put forth into the world. culinary masterpieces from worn out pots and ancient wooden spoons, hand-knit lace tablecloths the likes of which had never been seen before on american shores, embroidery, hooked rugs, knitting, and gardening. prolific is too soft a word. what began as sanity maintenance as she transitioned to a new country became an expression of her soul. and whatever she created, she shared.

the smallest of my grandmother's orchid collection, now at home with mine, is blooming. it's the sassy one with painted petals. i refrained from staking the stem upright as it grew, instead, allowing it's natural urges to prevail. it is her message to me. now is the time to bloom.

take every creative urge, she says, and run with it. do it all to please yourself and then share it, whether it measures up or not. after all, there is no measure if it has come from the heart.

and so, i am creating. feverishly. behind the scenes for now, as i learn to squelch the demons that have kept my light and my urges dim. i am seeing the ordinary as extraordinary. i am on my knees with gratitude for mother nature and the digital camera. i am drunk on the notion that, with fate and health on my side, this can be the beginning point of my creative body of work. like my grandmother, the output in my later years can be astounding and liberating.

get going, she says. the late bloom is the most robust, filled with great warmth and sass.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

the 7 year pheasant

once, a pheasant died
on the road near my home.
i retrieved him.
I blessed his small soul.
and i plucked him.

because i am that kind of girl.

i carried his remains to the woods
 and i laid him down to feed the foxes.

i put his glorious feathers,
in a gold-covered box. 

i kept that box for 7 years.
i never opened it.

until 3 days ago,
 when i lifted the lid.

 i gasped at the softness.

 i cried at the beauty.

and i remembered what kind of girl i am.

Monday, January 24, 2011

the house of grace 4

as fully expected, the dollhouse project has brought me face to face with my creative demons and my disorder of the attention deficit variety. i get only so far and suddenly the shiny object off to the left has me wandering away. it's a ploy by my 6 year old inner artist to save myself from possible creative mortification. from disapproval. from ruining something.

yes, of course, it can't be ruined. it's a creative journey of discovery. it's a means to let go of all the shoulds and can'ts. it's a chain-busting ticket to inner freedom. i am aware. yet, still, i wander away, because to know things on an intellectual level does not mean it can be easily translated into the physical. which is the only way it becomes useful knowledge and the only way i will break a pattern of non-consummation.

it is about not fully trusting myself in certain areas. okay, alot of areas. i can finish plenty of things, but usually there is no great challenge involved in reaching the end. only when i have a shot at understanding myself on a deeper level and exposing myself to others do i constantly seek the distraction. then, i won't have to face the seemingly unacceptable flaws~ the myriad ways in which i don't measure up, lose my temper, spit while talking, gain 5 pounds, have no measure of american success, and fart in public.

damn that dollhouse.

but damnation or not, i must keep going. the real issue, the real test is not what the dollhouse will look like when i (please, god) finish it, but, rather, how much compassion can i consistently offer myself during the long or short process, no matter what it looks like, and no matter what arises within.

pass the glue. it's time to let compassion beget some joy.

Friday, January 21, 2011

to help heal the world

the very best thing you can do
to help heal the world
is take care of yourself.

with love.

 this is not easy.
but there is no other way.
caring for yourself is empowerment.

and only empowered people
can change the course of history.

Monday, January 17, 2011

the buffalo zoo review 2

baby boy, born 12-11-10

the adults next door
back end art
mama feeding
baby boy feeding
baby face
he's big and little, all at once

the buffalo zoo review 1

standing outside, watching the girls through foggy doors

in their element

offering milk and kissing toes

baby "amari", born october 2010

jungle cat, avoiding snow

snow leopard, not minding the single digits

mr. kodiak

because it didn't make sense to go out in such frigid weather, we went, kicking ourselves out of comfort zones and the sloth of winter ways. we layered ourselves like animals and went to spread some love.
i have terribly mixed feelings about zoos. the buffalo zoo is the second oldest in the united states, with antiquated buildings and too little space. the elephant house wrenches my heart. and yet, i feel grateful to see, up close,  the beauty and awe of creatures i would never otherwise encounter. then i go back to the other side of the coin when i see their natural behaviors and instincts squelched, and the psychological damage that ensues from living a prisoner's life.

but we had fun and we laughed, especially at the antics of the otter, and we blessed each soul we saw, hoping that their roles as teachers to the selfish human race would make a bit of difference.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

egg. nest. glass.

i am slowing down.
i am seeing things differently.
i am combining elements in sudden ways.

newness floats up from the ordinary.
the lightest whisper has gained weight, importance.
there is so much to do, unhurried.

i wonder about letting go of being some one,
accomplishing anything,
making my mark on the world.

there is a nest, a broken egg.
there is glass. 
round, incompatible textures
begging for fusion,
offering new vision,
defining a world where balance lives,
slow and bursting at the seams.

Monday, January 10, 2011

the house of grace 3

it is becoming a meditation for me,
this dollhouse project.
it is filling me up with joy.
ideas are coming fast and gentle,
like petals strewn ahead of me on my path.
words enfold the exterior, 
paying homage to my love of 
 uplifting through language.

there are no more nerves.

Thursday, January 06, 2011

TLC book tour

In the spirit of trying new things, I accepted an invitation, via email, from TLC Book Tours. I was asked to simply offer a book review online, of a book that matched my interests, in exchange for a free copy. I received The Wisdom To Know The Difference~when to make a change and when to let go, by, Eileen Flanagan. And, indeed, it does match my interests.

The book offers guidance on how to move forward in life, especially when facing a difficult situation. Filled with examples and stories of at least 30 ordinary people facing a variety of struggles, Ms. Flanagan encourages her readers to listen to their inner voices and intuitions to discern whether change or acceptance is needed to come to a place of serenity. At the end of each chapter, Ms. Flanagan offers a series of reflective questions that encourage her readers to draw out their own inner knowing.

Ms.Flanagan has divided her book in to 7 chapters or “7 spiritual lessons to help you live fearlessly", each offering an approach to understanding whether a situation is best handled with action to achieve change or acceptance to achieve serenity~
  1. The Courage to Question
  2. Knowing Yourself
  3. Seeking Divine Wisdom
  4. Shifting Your Perspective
  5. Practicing Loving Acceptance
  6. Letting Go of Outcomes
  7. Finding Wisdom in Community
Although I found the "Letting Go Of Outcomes"  chapter to be the most currently relevant for me, I folded page after page down in most of the others, knowing I would want to refer back to many poignant passages.

Here are some passages that I will reread over and over again:

From page 98~ "I've come to trust that when things don't look like they are going well, it's often because God has something better in store for me than what I had in mind. Usually I have to stop whining and accept whatever is before I can appreciate what could be."

From page 51~ " cannot change how you were raised or what messages you received as a child. You can, however, become conscious of what those messages were and work to overcome them. You cannot control your emotions or banish painful feelings from your life, but you can face {them} so  they do not control you unconsciously. If you avoid facing them, if you choose to simply suppress your difficult emotions, you will never find serenity because those emotions will continue to eat away at you from the inside, manifesting in anxiety, depression or even physical symptoms."

If guidance is needed for finding your way beyond challenging situations, this is the book to turn to.

To learn more about Eileen Flanagan and The Wisdom To Know The Difference, view her website,

Monday, January 03, 2011

the house of grace

back in november, an idea began to formulate. on christmas day, the idea took hold and i found myself unearthing an unfinished dollhouse from the recesses of my parent's basement. it was a present to me in 1976, meant to be wallpapered and set up as a properly furnished little house. obviously, it was forgotten.

actually, it was too intimidating.

perfectionism, taught early on, is the ultimate joy-kill.

34 years later, suddenly, it is time to attend to the house. not properly, however. this little house is to be my waterloo, my slow death of perfection, my journal, my canvas, my reclamation of joy.

31" wide, 16" deep, almost 27" high at the removable peak. and it's heavy.

i cannot tell you what it will look like when it is finished, or even if i will finish it. it represents a thousand different things to me; the home i long for, fear of doing it wrong and my unrealized potential, for starters. i fully expect to come up against the 997 other fears and revelations it will whisper along the way. but i tell myself there are no rules or shoulds or timetables. there is only doing and re-doing, if i choose. this is an open-ended adventure. this is joy therapy. this is the house of grace.

and so, as i am inclined to do, i shared this idea with debi of emmatree blog. as fate and freakishly-connected brains would have it, she, too, was thinking of dollhouses for 2011 and planned to build one for herself. no rules, no pressure to finish it, and maybe even take a wrecking ball to it by june. it is simply a path of discovery. naturally, we asked kelly of blue muse fame to join us. she's giving it some serious thought.

this, then, is the dollhouse project.

stay tuned. perfection is walking the plank.

update~ january 2011: kelly is definitively in. and now, the lovely katie of into the woode wants to play along. and kathy, too! and marilyn of heartsdelights is making seasonal houses.

could there be more grown women who need this kind of creative, perfection-crushing  therapy? could it be YOU? would you like to come play with us and chart your progress online? do i here a giggle and a "yes'?

Saturday, January 01, 2011


on this rainy first day of the year, i am resolute. there will be no specifics as to how to achieve the needs of my heart. i will simply declare the end result and leave the how-tos and the courses of action to the discretion of the universe.

i will listen to my instincts.
i will follow impulses.
i will take inspired action.
even when i don't know where i'm being led.

i will ask for help.
i will stay open to joy's lead.
i will let go while holding a vision.

courage will find me.

i will move.
and forward.