Archive for the 'Water' Category

Kindness Raises Its Head

Friday, November 20th, 2009

“Before you know what kindness really is, you must lose things, feel the future dissolve in a moment� only kindness that raises its head from the crowd of the world to say it is I you have been looking for and then goes with you everywhere, like a shadow or a friend.’ -Naomi Shihab Nye

The Future feels like it is dissolving around me lately: dreams dissipating, relationships abruptly ending, and young people overcome by their possibilities, or lack of them, are taking their own lives. This is what my days have been full of. One has only to pick up his or her local paper to bear witness to the loss and struggle that characterizes the lives of so many. We are collectively awash in things lost and running as fast as we can to re-imagine a future, any future.

Loss and the stages of grief that accompany it are universal. Little by little, beneath the anger, denial and depression, our sorrow carves the unbelievable into our psyche, making the grooves in our brain expand to accommodate what our hearts cannot hold. This is the truth of deep sorrow; it changes us bodily if we allow it. Refusing is no good; although it is unfortunate no prizes are ever awarded for the mighty efforts made to resist our own pain. The resistance becomes its own storyline, which the Tibetans call ‘shenpa.’ This is the places where loss hooks us, and rather than actually experience the depth of our sorrow and pain, we devolve.

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Truth In The Details

Friday, May 8th, 2009

‘Remember that the truth is in the details�Of course the devil’s there, too–everyone says so–but maybe truth and the devil are words for the same thing.’ -Stephen King

I have never been a detail-oriented person. I have always preferred big picture thinking and have enjoyed relishing visions of possibility without really grasping the zillions of details that would take me there. My husband continues to remind me that it is easy to have another great idea, but painful if you refuse to account for the tiny steps that make up the path to your dreams. I have been mostly cured of my wreck less creative dreaming by the daily work of raising our four children and the processes and procedures that build a business, brick by brick. In the process I have learned to embrace the details as the dream because ultimately they are inseparable.

Life is nothing if not the details of time and place that identify the work and relationships that define our existence. We reveal ourselves most honestly and intimately in the smallest of interactions and the tiny incidents of daily routines. When we ignore and become impatient with the details of our life we betray the dreams that created them in the first place. Learning to embrace the details of life and give ourselves to them with the same intentions we held for the dreams that they came from is what transforms our ordinary life to the extraordinary.

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Silver Lining

Friday, April 17th, 2009

‘To live is so startling it leaves little time for anything else.’ Emily Dickinson

If life on earth can be reduced to anything, it is the time we are given to inhabit it. Time is the one resource that is doled out to all of us equally and yet what we do with the hours of our lives determines not only the quality of our daily existence, but whether in the end, we have left behind anything that makes life more beautiful, more bearable, more true for those who remember us. Yet, time is also an elusive resource. Everything takes longer than we think, except for life itself, which the deeper you get into it, the faster it seems to go by. I recognize this in my own life by the way a new season still catches me off guard, letting go of summer takes me clear to the end of October. Every time I unpack the holiday ornaments, I am dumb founded by the spin of another year gone by.

Celebrating my silver anniversary this spring is yet another poignant reminder of the time of our lives. I can’t even believe that I am old enough to have a silver anniversary, let alone take stock of the thousands of days that I have spent alongside another person, who, even after all this time, remains a mystery. Mark Twain once said ‘Love seems the swiftest, but it is the slowest of all growths. No man or woman really knows what perfect love is until they have been married a quarter of a century.’ Still, even after all this time, I am not sure I would claim to know a perfect love, just one that I can keep turning to.

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Two Feet In

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Although I don’t remember the exact day that I pulled the one foot that I had out the door back into my marriage, Today, celebrating 24 years of marriage, I can’t remember the last time that it occurred to me that I would ever leave. It seems like I should remember when that change took place as it so profoundly changed the very fabric of what we were doing together, but like most things in life that are daily, we don’t see them as they are happening. They are clear as we look back.

We never had a fairy tale marriage, and in fact anyone who claims to have one is probably either not really present or honest. Our love for each other was uneven and the common issues of attraction and initiation- who wanted who, first and more, plagued our ability to connect for years. The classic, “I am not in the mood” or “I am tired” responses create a cycle of defensive and offensive reactions that is almost like a pre-patterned dance. It’s a scenario that many couples just don’t have enough language to find their way out of.

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Take the Time

Friday, March 27th, 2009

“There never seems to be enough time to do the things you want to do, once you find them. I’ve looked around enough to know that you’re the one I want to go through time with…” Jim Croce’s last love song still brings tears to my eyes whenever I hear it, the truth of it becoming clearer with each passing year.

Almost every great love story shares this common theme of the brevity of love, whether it lasts for a year or fifty years. The moment you become deeply grateful for the gift of love you share with another person, the more fragile and ethereal the love becomes. This year’s Valentine’s Day celebration was a personal testimonial to that experience; our cards to each other this year a testimony to all the years we have spent learning to love each other, and the grace, strength and courage that the work of staying bestows.

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Forgiveness – The Action Verb

Friday, March 27th, 2009

“Love is an act of endless forgiveness.”  — Peter Ustinov

If love is a verb, than forgiveness is the action verb. It is the highest form of love and the single behavior that most distinguishes our human potential. In an ancient tale from the Kaballah, God told some angels in training that the capacity to forgive is the most excellent gift in the human experience, more essential to the continuity of life than the courage to sacrifice your own life for someone else or enduring the pain of giving life. God explained to the angel ‘Forgiveness is the only reason my creation continues. Without forgiveness, all would disappear in an instantaneous flash.’

Certainly some might suspect this true with a quick glance to the Middle East. What would it look like if the rule of power and force was replaced with a mandate for the strength and courage of forgiveness? The comment by Desmond Tutu that “Forgiveness and reconciliation are not just ethereal, spiritual, other-worldly activities. They have to do with the real world. They are realpolitik, because in a very real sense, without forgiveness, there is no future’ speaks volumes about the state of things.

And yet we don’t have to look that far, for most of us, right in our own homes we struggle with hurts, real and imagined that separate us from the ones we say we love. The smallest of details in sharing a life with someone can easily and often with out notice turn into a story line about the person you love. For years, my disregard of my husband’s need for order and cleanliness and in turn his disgust at my laissez faire approach to house cleaning came to mean everything. We weren’t talking about behaviors where we dramatically differed, instead each housekeeping incident was a personal insult that with just a small push inflamed to fury about the other weak points in our relationship.

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Go On Anyway

Friday, March 27th, 2009

“Do not let the fact that things are not made for you, that conditions are not as they should be, stop you. Go on anyway. Everything depends on those who go on anyway.” – Robert Henri

This is the quote of the day or, well, the week for me lately. Sometimes words can help you find the courage to go on anyway, to be willing to come back again and again. I realized today as I continued to struggle with maintaining a positive mindset to the challenges in running a small business, that really if I could just apply the hard won lessons of how to sustain a relationship to my work, it might feel totally new or at least doable.

Learning how to stay when things are difficult in families is great practice for working though obstacles to other dreams. In the same way that I would never think of leaving my family, even at the most painful of moments, I long to have that same whole-heartedness for my work.

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Appreciating Everyday

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Here’s the thing to know about love, sometimes it feels great, like a sunny day in the Northwest after 26 days of rain, but sometimes it feels like the early stages of flu- unsettled, achy, loss of appetite. Ok, well maybe not as bad as the flu, but love lives can be irritating, like an insect bite that keeps itching. This is good to know about love because it allows you to have reasonable expectations, that love will not fix you or your life- it will keep you interested in life and if it is good, keep you honest and trying to be yourself.

I bring all this up because it is Valentines Day, the day we set aside once a year to honor and express our love. This is a good time to assess what are reasonable expectations of such a holiday, it is a good time to recognize and acknowledge what you love about love and about your lover. It is also a good time to realize that even the best Valentine in the world cannot fill in the space of not communicating or appreciating in the day to day of life. So be reasonable.

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Learning to Feel

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Our feelings are like weather patterns. They are changeable and act on the environment with great power. They inform and distract with their intensity. They reflect the nature of the moment with great accuracy. Our ability to experience and share our feelings in meaningful ways is one of the profound marks of our humanity.

Yet feelings are, for many people, a locked box; an experience that overwhelms and is difficult to express. We are taught in a variety of circumstances and for a variety of reasons to suppress our feelings. We learn to silence our feelings so well that the messages in our bodies are not even discernible. Suppressed feelings are not as invisible as you might think. They take on a life in our dreams and eventually become diseases in our bodies. Our inability to express our feelings cuts us off not only from our own experience but limits the connection we feel with the people we love most.

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Making Time

Friday, March 27th, 2009

Making time for love is an important barometer of the commitment and sustainability of your relationship. When you consider the outrageous scheduling hoops we agree to without qualm in our work setting, or even more intensely in managing our children’s activity calendar, it makes you wonder how the idea of scheduling intimacy could still be so taboo.

Yet, taboo it is, with an overriding belief that sex and intimacy are somehow tainted if they are not spontaneous and immediate. This belief system is connected to the shame and guilt we carry around from our adolescence when we could only describe a make-out session if we could first say, “I don’t know how it happened, but suddenly we were just doing it!” We can only fully embrace our sexuality if it just happens to us. Planning for it forces us to claim the most unpredictable, and to some degree uncontrollable, part of our life.

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