Christmas Sounds And Feelings Brewing

The train horn and slight sound of the wheels on the tracks reverberate this sleepy house in Deer Park. It reminds me of my childhood in Norwood, where a freight train yard was up the street, turn left, run downhill,make a right and run slightly up and down another hill.

I didn’t do that but once. It was not on a route I took and though so close, you left Norwood and entered Cincinnati. Norwood was my small world that was safe. Cincinnati was too big.

The train is quiet now, passing. Probably on those tracks that ran through Norwood. There is a website called, “Everything Runs Through Norwood,” and it is quiet true.

Why am I talking about trains and Norwood when I was going to talk about taking time to look at the ornaments on a Christmas tree?

I am staying. Not in Norwood, but Deer Park is pretty close. So it was that sound of the train that took me back, took me home, to Christmas when I was a child.

I love this sound of silence. Nick is sleeping and so is our youngest daughter. Remember that feeling as a parent, when all of your children were tucked into their beds and home, safe? The world was “out there”, someplace. That feeling, now a memory, is one of the gentle memories of this life I have lived.

My heart is beating, tick-tick, tick-tick, and it is marvelous. It was two weeks ago, today, that the ticker got fixed. This morning, I began some gentle exercises. I plan to be an athlete, yet.

Yesterday, I stopped at Trader Joe’s. It was delightful. My speed of store … not too big. You know me and the vapors. Nick pulled in front of Krogers in Montgomery, because I wanted some distilled water. I said, “Are you kidding? I’m not going in there.” The parking lot was packed and throngs of people were going in and out. I looked at him and said, “That place gives me the vapors.”

So far, I have heard both daughters laugh. We’ve shared a couple of meals. Today, I will see one of my sons and do something we do when we are in town. He and I will meet at Starbucks and sit and chat for a long time. Catch up. And then, tonight, the Christmas festivities begin.

I was so not in a Christmas spirit a month ago. Other things were on my mind. Things began to shift when we celebrated Christmas at our son’s house in South Carolina, on the 16th. It was wonderful. I even sang karaoke with my grandchildren.

And now, after one of our best drives up here, we are and will be in the arms of people we love, people who make fun of us, who know us deeply, and understand the love that we have for them. People we would do anything for, including giving our life.

That is deep love.

I will call both sisters tomorrow and say Merry Christmas. I will think of my friends, here and in South Carolina, and wherever they may be. I know one friend is making a four layer carrot cake, one is having dinner tonight with friends, and another has seen grandchildren and their parents, staying at her house all week. Aye-yi-yi. And she loves it.

I will be thinking of my brother-in-law, for a reason that just is.

Of course, I called Camp K-9 to see how The Boy is doing. He is having a great time. They love him, too.

I was looking at my daughter’s Christmas tree. I mean, really looking. She placed every light and ornament on it.

The spirit of Christmas was awakened in me.

Oh, here is another Christmas sound. The garbage truck picking up trash. Ho, ho, ho.

The fact is. All I have are blessings to be grateful for. Love surrounds me. I actually feel the presence of Jesus, and the purity of his actions. Was he real? Did and does He exist? Is He really God, the father?

I choose to believe som. It gives meaning to my life, and offers a guide to be good to people and, it checks my behavior. I don’t know enough about life and I can surely use the help and guidance. It is through Him, that’s I find my purpose. I am a wobbly human, and the walking partner shows me the way.

Good Lily of the Valley, I am spilling the beans.

So, with that, though I am taking the week off, I am here to wish each of you, whether you are Christian, Jew, Muslim, Hindu Atheist or whatever, Merry Christmas from a wonderful, kind and forgiving man who was born in a manger on Christmas. Peace be with you. May light shine on our troubled world and may all your Christmas dreams come true.

Susan

Seeing The Light

Ho, Ho, Ho,
 
No, I wasn’t calling anyone a name.
 
I was saying that the spirit has risen and is shining in one lit candle and thre fake ones.
 
On my desk, as part of my new enlightenment, I have a lavender oil candle lit. I like to stare at the dancing flame. I find it a marver that, though, we can’t really see the movement in the air, we see a bit of life that shows us that life is there. It is all around us. We just don’t pay attention.
 
I also just blew on my left hand. I felt the breeze, the movement of air. And get this, I just took a piece of heavy paper and fanned it by my face and felt air move.
 
Yep, I am back! Looking at life through any avenue I can take. There is alos a plexiglass container on my desk, that holds The Boy’s treats. I just noticed that there is a reflection of the flame shining on it.
 
Simple, maybe magically simple, explained by science. Yet, it amuses me. It is like being n a cavern and yelling and hearing the echo. This is an echo of light.
 
There were some days this week that I wondered if I would ever look at life as I had before. Those aren’t fun times. Recovery isn’t always easy. It can be work, too. You are told to take it easy, relax, let things go.
 
That can be stressful for me, especially if you have anesthesia brain and are not seeing the forest for the tree sap. Illness and not being in control and having to take medicines that help one thing and mess up another, can wreak havoc on your psyche. Is this the new you? The icky new you? Will you return to the old you, that really had its weirdness, too, or will a new and improved version show up at your door like Mary Poppins, and grow your new life?
 
I have a term for this mental confusion. It isn’t a nice term. It is two words and the first word is cluster. The other one, take your choice of a prime four letter word.
 
So, you try to listen when people say that it takes time and you try not to compare yourself to the 35 year-old guy on YouTube who had an ablation and participated in a race the next weekend.
 
It isn’t that it is “poor me,” … for me it is more like, “Oh, Shitzu,” where do I go from here?
 
And you finally, remember to talk to God and pull pback and stop fighting time and energy and phantoms of imaginary futures that are less than your fancy.
 
“Thank you, God. I am sorry it took me this long to say that.”
 
Silence.
 
“Thank you for the blessings and the people who helped me and, say, (this is in the back of your mind because when you pray and talk to God, you really don’t want to wear your asshat), can you please give me a sign, a sign that says life can at least get back to parts of the way it was?”
 
And then I think, Eh, I was not necessarily in a good place. I was playing Russian Roulette with eating and using my brain more than my body and yep, maybe going back to the old me isn’t the best thing, after all.
 
So then, my boundaries came down and instead of being afraid of the future and looking at this as a permanent position, I breathed deep with my new and improved heartbeat, and gave God time to chew on what I said and to give me that sign. Yep, I sometimes use God as my dumping ground … but usually a bit late in the process … after I have churned things up and made a stew and tried to fix things myself.
 
Sometimes, my name shoud be Half-Ass Backwards.
 
Then like I said, yesterday, I finally got myself quiet enough, took moved my orange collapsible fear canisters andopened my mind and heart.
 
That is when the healing began.
 
I was fighting healing. I didn’t want to put the time, thought and energy into healing. I just wanted to be fixed. But that isn’t how life is. At least, rarely.
 
It can be so easy to look at this moment in time and plant yourself on it and forget about life as a whole, a living breathing organism, like my little flame I am looking at as I type.
 
I am sure glad that God has a bigger plan for me and that I am simply his tool do some good on earth. I can say that if “I ruled the world, it would be better.” But the truth is, if I ruled the world, there would be way too many paintings of weird looking women, words, everywhere, a tidy kitchen but a mess of wars and stupid human stuff that I wouldn’t know how to deal with.
 
The light is not only at the end of the tunnel, but it is right near my face, flickering, warm and kind, saying, “Come on, Susan, let’s dance. You are breathing, life is good. And keep the flame alive.”
 
Susan

To Be or To Do? That Is The Question

The word for today is peristalsis. That came to mind about 4:30 this morning. I decided that I like the movement of the word, which is similar to its function.

Rejoice. Hallelujah!

Our internal glory, our place of joy, enlightenment and growth sometimes gets lost in the whiskers of life, changes and problems.

There are times when reassessment is in order … when things shift and what was … now, isn’t.

One of the interesting things about life, that I have found, is that not once in our lives, does time stop. Oh, yes, it seems to stand still, of we wish we could hold a moment in time, but we can’t. Time moves.

Our lives move, too. From birth until death.

Some humans work at planning their lives. One of our earliest forays into conversation is when someone asked us, as a child, “What do you want to BE when you grow up?

Another version of the question is “What do you want to DO when you grow up?

To a young mind, those questions seem the same. As children, I didn’t distinguish the two questions.

But now, I see them as very different. One is occupational and the other is our soul, beliefs, values and, well, who we are.

After having a lifetime of professions and titles for what I “do”, the stage I am in and on, is an extension of the question “What do you want to be?”

It has morphed into who I have become.

Many of the things I have done, occupation-wise, study-wise, experience-wise ,by choice or demand, has evolved into who I have become.

An interesting thought to me is that one of my occupations, took hold so much and gelled so deeply into me, that it actually has braided over to be part of who I have become.

Writer.

There have been times when I have struggled. Just being, and being who I am, I felt, wasn’t enough. Simply being myself, without “doing” wasn’t enough.

I should do this. I should do that. Perpetual motion of the mind, placing more value on the what I do, versus who I am. Maybe it is or was an earning my keep thing. Perhaps it is societal rumblings and expectations. I have often felt that I needed to earn my right to life.

I look at the walls of my house, the art, the things that are around me and I see many things I have done.

In a way, they are me. But in a way, I can separate myself from them and not really recall making them.

When I think back to my occupations, the days I was in the workplace, I was never any of those occupations. They were skills. I did them to the best of my abilities for you I was at the time, but none of the occupations was me. Marketing director, sculptor, real estate broker, software company CEO, workshop teacher, etc … I did them all, but they weren’t me. With each, there came a point when I said, no more.

But in each one, I learned and what I learned, I put through a sieve, and brought onboard the parts that I would build into who I have become.

Why do these thought matter to me, now?

Because once again, the last four months or so, my life has taken unexpected turns.

Years ago, when I was in real estate, a friend who had gotten into the business because I had, dais, in a very distressed and exasperated way, “Why are there always so many problems?”

I laughed, looked at her and said … “That is wat we are paid to do … solve problems.”

She said that from that moment on, she got it.

And then, she quit.

That knowledge, that nugget, that life is often about solving problems, and releasing those you can’t solve, to a higher power, is something that plays out over and over. And I have to remember that when my blueberry basket gets tipped over.

There are times, such as recently, when I have had to dive under water with my eyes open, and do the breast stroke. I might not see clearly, but I must do it.

As humans, we often have to swim through uncharted emotional, fearful, uncertain waters. But in doing so, our muscles get stronger. We become stronger than we knew we could become.

After initial shock and a bit of flailing, I find that I get in a rhythm. The opposing currents subside andI get in a flow of the new and strange. And for a while, I have a new normal.

The new normal rarely lasts. Even life doesn’t last. But the ride, this wonderful ride, with its twists and turns and earthquakes and whirlwinds, when there are days that we wonder how we will get through, and times we wish would last for ever, is a real trip.

And for that, I say, Rejoice! Hallelujah!

Susan

Life Lessons From The Garden

I can be harsh. I can look at a diseased or dying plant and have it affect me much more deeply than it should.

I can hone in on the problems of the garden and life.

Instead of seeing the whole picture, the beautiful flowers and plants and the birds that arrive with bravado, I look at what needs to be done, size up what needs work.

That is what hit me in the face, yesterday, as I looked at a zinnia whose leaves had gotten some sort of black spot. Yep, I took it personally.

Abut after watching “A Gardener’s World” a lovely show about gardens in England, I walked to my garden and thought, wow, I have done a  lot of work and smiled … right before I dug in, and made a new path and began sweating like Shrek in the weather with a 77% dew point.IMG_1824-1-1

The mind shift and excitement came back to me as I saw possibility, and put away my stink-eye.

Sixty-six years old, and still have to work on my attitude.

In my life, I have met people who couldn’t figure out how to live. Life was always a problem. Nothing added up. Why can’t I have this, do that, look like …

Accepting things as they were or are, and not going down the path of self-doubt, or feeling angst and defeat is a big part of how one lives a peasant life in a day.

I am slow, but I am learning. I am seeing so much of life, and myself, in my garden.

Dirt that is rampant with fungus. It is there. The world will not end.

The plant that had glorious flowers yesterday, is dragging, today. There is no need to fret.

Weeds are coming up, again, where I thought I had gotten rid of them. Relax.

The hostas don’t like where they are. Move them and get on with your life.

You get the point. It is the same as in so many other areas of my life.

The dough I made didn’t rise properly. That need not be the benchmark for your day.

The 5 gallon pail with all of the birdseed fell over and spilled all over the patio. Shit happens. Smile anyway and laugh. The birds will still come, tomorrow.

Monte, the gardener from England, whose show I watch, made me realize I was being a tad anal about all of this, and that the garden (and life) will have its day, or most likely, a moment, when the flower is perfect, the plant is robust, the dough rose beautifully, and my hair looks pretty decent.IMG_2043

These are but moments in time. You take your mental snapshot and know that it is all going to change  because that is how life is.

But to only see the diseased plant or the flower with the gimpy pedals or to think you are a failure because your dough didn’t rise? That is like living in a no-outlet.

And that isn’t how I want to live. I shall, each day, marvel at the flowers and plants and events that make me feel that sense of marvel, wonder, and fulfillment.

This moment is temporary.

And so is life.

Susan