On Carolyn Porter and Marcel’s Letters

I am so happy to have crossed paths with Carolyn Porter a few years back. The journey that unfolds in Marcel’s Letters: A Font and the Search for One Man’s Fate, is an amazing tale. For more, see Brevity’s Blog, Of Fonts, and Fate, and Marcel’s Letters.


Now I Can See

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.

And sometimes, the barn can be salvaged.

Loony Tunes

Did I ever mention that Robert Bly was my entry point into poetry? Perhaps even more so, though, it was the loons (listen to midnight loons).

The Loon’s Cry

From far out in the center of the naked lake

The loon’s cry rose.

It was the cry of someone who owned very little.

~Robert Bly

2009 Moon Over Lake
Photo Credit: Scott A. Fettig




Breaking the Cycle

I’ve been rear-ended three times in the past eleven months. The last rear-ending just happened on Saturday morning, on Yale’s campus, just blocks before I returned my rental car to Hertz, where they tried to hold me hostage until I would produce a claim number from the insurance company; the insurance company told me that the claim number would not be forthcoming until Monday. I asked my unpleasant Hertz customer service representative, named Tyler, if he’d like to keep me in the Hertz office until Monday morning. It seemed as if Tyler was upset that I had created work for him. He never, by the way, asked me if I was okay after having just been rear-ended fifteen or so minutes earlier.

The young man who rear-ended me was also quite nasty about the whole thing. He didn’t want to give me his insurance information and when I asked for it, took out his card and started writing incomplete (and illegible) information on a sheet of paper. Thank goodness for smart phones; I asked to photograph his insurance card and am grateful that I thought to do so, otherwise I’d have had no clue about his actual insurance information. This young man was annoyed that I had yielded for a pedestrian; clearly, I was making him late for something or another.

After about 45-minutes of distressing interactions with both the driver of the other vehicle and then, my Hertz representative, I was given a ride to Union Station (finally, the Hertz rep released me when I called my husband to tell him that I was being treated like a criminal and perhaps, being falsely imprisoned–because I went to law school once upon a time) to catch my train to NYC to visit my daughter.

The (different) Hertz employee who gave me that ride offered me some welcomed kindness and compassion. He asked about how I was feeling after the accident, he asked if I was a mother, he then wished me a Happy Mother’s Day; he also inquired after the health and well-being of my children, which I was pleased to report was good. He reminded me that our health and well-being were what really mattered. The rest was just things. On that ride to the station, I was mentally telling myself that bad things come in three’s. At the moment I was thinking this, the driver said to me, “Bad things come in three’s–you should be done now.” Confirmation? Oh I hope so. I had a series of three car accidents (none my fault) in 2005-2006, exactly ten years ago. I do hope I am done now, once again. That Hertz driver seemed like an angel, piloting me away from the horrible Hertz return center, where I thought I might be spending my weekend.

In spite of the rule of three’s (is it a rule, a superstition?), I find myself wanting to examine the energetic patterns in my life in 2005-2006 and to notice whether they, in any way, mirror the energetic patterns that have governed my life this past year. Is there something that I can do to break this current cycle, I wonder?



Transformation Through Loss

The process of transformation (my own and others) fascinates me. Never is one more in the business of transformation than when faced with loss or life-altering change (they typically come hand-in-hand). Not unlike death, divorce blows both loss and change straight into the center of one’s life. There’s no place to find cover during the storm; one can only surrender to the experience and patiently await the day when she, finally, realizes she’s found her way to the other side.

Loss takes time; it will not be hurried.

It is how people move along in life, in spite of loss, that amazes me.

As some point, the day comes when wild flowers (perhaps nourished through tears) bloom on the grave of all that has been lost; and, suddenly, we emerge from our cocoons to see how the soft tipped-brush of loss has colored our life with a fragile and delicate beauty.


Ten Loving Intentions for 2016

  1. To honest daily effort, rather than grand resolutions.
  2. To actively cultivating compassion towards myself and others.
  3. To accepting the damage and scars wrought by life with open, upturned palms; and then,
  4. To releasing a past that no longer serves me.
  5. To being mindful of the reality my thoughts create within me.
  6. To choosing joy and noticing joy erupting around me.
  7. To waiting in stillness for my intuition to speak and having the confidence to act in accordance with that still small voice.
  8. To turning my face towards the light–towards the face of God–especially in my moments of deepest shame.
  9. To listening for my breath, even when I feel the ground shifting underneath me.
  10. To holding fast onto love, especially in those desperate moments when fear enters.