Now I Can See

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I live across from a cemetery now; the neighbors are rather quiet.

The corners of the sky glow pink and red as the last of this New Year’s daylight slips away.

I’ve just come through one of the more difficult parenting months of my life. The months ahead do not look less difficult, but perhaps unknown light will emerge around the edges of the darkness. There is, in any situation, always room for hope.

Last night, I journaled about the low lights and highlights of 2017, a practice I learned from Sister Karol Jackowski. I was blessed to take both Spiritual Writing and Nature Writing from “Karol” during my MFA program. From Karol, I not only learned to write better, I learned to live better.

In accessing my low and highlights, I recognized (which I think is the point of this exercise) the kernels of grace that exist in each down turn, each dark path. Many of the seeds of my highlights were germinated in the low lights.

Whether fortune or foe, who is to say, goes a familiar Buddhist teaching.

“Barn burned down, now I can see the moon.”  Mizuta Masahide

Now I can see.

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And sometimes, the barn can be salvaged.

On Manifesting One’s Dreams

Just over 15 years ago, I got divorced. At the time, I was a perfectionist (and still in recovery today). Divorce didn’t fit into my story about perfection. To complicate matters, in high school, I’d been voted “Most Likely to Succeed.” I’d taken that silly vote as a directive: You must succeed. Plus, I held a very narrow definition of success back then (case in point: I went to law school when I wanted to get my Masters in English, focusing on creative writing). A divorce certainly didn’t sound anything like “success;” instead it reeked of failure. After the divorce, this straight-A student (although law school cured me of my straight A streak), felt like I was walking around with a huge red “F” on my shirt.

But life goes on. You eventually move on. You become kinder with yourself (and hopefully with others) and you give yourself more grace. You develop new goals, like becoming a certified yoga instructor and going back to school and getting your MFA. You begin making lists of venues where you’d like to see your work. One of those lists (written in your journal, where you are known to create many different kinds of lists) included getting published on Jennifer Pastiloff’s The Manifest-Station. (Jen happens to be both a writer hero of mine and a yogi hero!)

Woo hoo! Woo hoo!

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Profile of my daughter watching Polica at Eaux Claires Fest 2015

 

Dreaming of a Vintage-Postcard Fourth

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In recent years, I’ve learned there is nothing more sweetly satisfying for a mom of adult children than to have all of your kids sleeping under one roof. While my young one, my seven-year old little man, will occupy my nest for years to come, I still feel I am a partial empty-nester. My oldest–Hannah–lives in LA and is rarely home. My second oldest, Ethan, just graduated from college and lives out of the house much of the time as a house/dog sitter. Ethan’s also in training as a postal worker. His artwork doesn’t support him (yet). Ethan will be returning home early on Monday, after an 11 day dog-sitting gig, and Hannah flies in later on Monday, stopping off here en route from a trip to NYC (she managed to score a ticket for Dear Evan Hansen–I’m so jealous) to LA. It seems that this 4th of July, we’ll all be together. I have some romantic notions of croquet games (with my vintage set) on the lawn and fresh-squeezed lemonade. I’m not sure this will quite be our reality, but I’m sure there will be at least one game of Apples to Apples and my kids will be sleeping under one roof. I plan on savoring the sweetness.

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The boys playing croquet in our backyard just a few weeks back.
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It was still snowy when Hannah was last home.