Tuesday, January 1, 2013

New Year's Day (Mary Chapin Carpenter)



Hi Susan! Here is your Daily Horoscope for Tuesday, January 1
Your mental energy is peaking now, giving rise to some great creative power. Make the most of it to get a quick start on your resolutions while you show others what they can do to join you.


and...

Dearest Susan, I was about to wish that your every dream come true. That you find yourself surrounded by friends, laughter, and good times. I almost wished that your every cup runneth over financially, romantically, spiritually, and creatively. That good health be your faithful companion, peace your guarded ally, and love your perpetual guide. When suddenly, it dawned on me that as an infinite, powerful, fun-loving gladiator of the Universe, with eternity before you and the power of your thoughts to help shape it... it's you Susan Moss, who will be granting wishes this year.

10... 9... 8... 7... 6...
    The Universe

Oh, Susan, HAPPY, HAPPY, HAPPY NEW YEAR anyway!



Don't f*cking faint (again) - after 2+ years dormant, I am resurrecting Optimistic Voices.  I miss writing and, even though I'm still very overwhelmed in real life, I will commit to a once-a-week schedule of blogging - also going to try to post at Star Maker Machine weekly as well (be still, my heart... and laptop keyboard...  :-) 

I thought about doing a recap of everything that's happened in the last 24 months but, honestly, it just sounded exhausting, not to mention unnecessary - this is where I am now, this is where I need to be and I'm only interested in forward motion at this point.  There will be room and time for reminiscences, asides and flashbacks - for now, let's concentrate on ushering in 2013... and, after much soul-searching, the Word of the Year (my Christine-Kane-inspired New Year's custom) is Create, as in:

Create music
Create writing
Create art
Create space
Create time
Create harmony
Create order

It's good to be back - let the creativity games begin!

SONG:  New Year's Day by Mary Chapin Carpenter (scroll down to #11 for the lyrics)

BOOK:  Meditations for Manifesting : Morning and Evening Meditations to Literally Create Your Heart's Desire by Wayne W. Dyer

 POEM:  In Tenebris  by Ford Madox Ford

All within is warm,
   Here without it's very cold,
   Now the year is grown so old
And the dead leaves swarm.

In your heart is light,
   Here without it's very dark,
   When shall I hear the lark?
When see aright?

Oh, for a moment's space!
   Draw the clinging curtains wide
   Whilst I wait and yearn outside
Let the light fall on my face.


QUOTE:  "When old words die out on the tongue, new melodies break forth from the heart; and where the old tracks are lost, new country is revealed with its wonders." ~ Rabindranath Tagore

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

The Waitress (Jonathan Byrd)


Nothing "of substance" this morning (and who says there has to be, right?... :-) - however, today's poem from The Writer's Almanac made me think of Jonathan's amazing song... and then I only needed two more components for a blog post. No brainer - enjoy!

SONG: The Waitress by Jonathan Byrd (can't find the lyrics but YouTube video here)...

BOOK:
Counter Culture: The American Coffee Shop Waitress by Candacy A. Taylor

POEM: Daily I Fall In Love With Waitresses by Elliot Fried

Daily I fall in love with waitresses
with their white bouncing name tags
KATHY MARGIE HONEY SUE
and white rubber shoes.
I love how they bend over tables
pouring coffee.
Their perky breasts hover above potatoes
like jets coming in to LAX
hang above the suburbs—
shards of broken stars.
I feel their fingers
roughened by cube steaks softened with grease
slide over me.
Their hands and lean long bodies
keep moving so...
fumbling and clattering so harmoniously
that I am left overwhelmed, quivering.
Daily I fall in love with waitresses
with their cream-cheese cool.
They tell secrets in the kitchen
and I want them.
I know them.
They press buttons creases burgers buns—
their legs are menu smooth.

They have boyfriends or husbands or children
or all.
They are french dressing worldly—
they know how ice cubes clink.
Their chipped teeth form chipped beef
and muffin syllabics.
Daily I fall in love with waitresses.
They are Thousand Island dreams
but they never stand still long enough
as they serve serve serve.

QUOTE: "When the waitress puts the dinner on the table, the old men look at the dinner. The young men look at the waitress." ~ Gelett Burgess

Saturday, January 1, 2011

We'll All Meet Up Next Year (A New Year's Song) - (Deirdre Flint)


Today's TUT... A Note from the Universe:

Susan, soon the new year starts, so now's a great time to:

1. Wipe the slate clean.
2. Focus upon what you really want.
3. Chart your course.

Right?

Well... only if you want to risk having to repeat these steps for the same wishes next year! Maybe this is splitting hairs, but here's an adventurous alternative:

1. Give thanks that life is... just as it is (and that it's been... just as it's been). Because of it, you're now "READY."

2. Define what you want in terms of the end result. Don't worry about the hows, or even the course. KNOW that what you want is ALREADY yours in spirit, by divine LAW, just focus on the certainty of this ownership, understand it, claim it, and "it will be on earth, as it is in heaven (spirit)."

3. LET THE UNIVERSE show you the way via your impulses and instincts that appear as you take inspired action. Don't worry that your first steps seem silly or futile. And if you don't know what to do, do anything! Go! Get busy! Do not insist on intermediary successes, only upon the end result.

2011 is going to be your year (it already is),
The Universe

It starts now, Susan! This is your year! Happy beginning of something GREAT!!!

You really are READY Susan. And your self-confidence in my intuition and wisdom is ready for you.


Don't f*cking faint! - after taking 5 months off (for erratic behavior), I have now written and uploaded three posts in as many consecutive days. No promises... but the future bodes bright - pass the shades... :-)

So... as has become my custom each January 1, I subscribe to Christine Kane's Word of the Year concept - the last month I've experienced strong and intentional vibes and was gifted with a *Phrase* of the Year - Let. It. Go. (which is similar to my Release of a few years back, but somehow different). I will not explain but I know why I chose it and how I'll apply it - I will say that it relates to #2 of The Four Agreements (on my right sidebar)... and let it go (see... already putting it into practice) at that!

We hosted a lovely and fun Open House today with friends, family and neighbors - I am exhausted yet full... mimosas segueing to coffee interspersed with healthy spinach dip, raw veggies and a few bites of cookie...

SONG: We'll All Meet Up Next Year (A New Year's Song) by Deirdre Flint

Time to Let Go by Cary Cooper
(Cary just wrote this song a few days ago and posted it on her Facebook page - given the synchronicity, I had to include... :-)

BOOK: Writing Down Your Soul: How to Activate and Listen to the Extraordinary Voice Within by Janet Conner

POEM: begin here by
Maya Stein

When the last seat is taken,
or the key has trapped in the lock,
when the rain has eviscerated your garden,
or your words have run out one by one.
When the packing is half-finished, or traffic
keeps you from your purpose,
when the bright white of your day
has paled and pixilated.
When the grocery bag rips coming up the stairs,
when the telephone bill shocks
and then flounders you,
when love has flown off course,
when your nails are ragged and wanton,
when the runway is slick and the sky sodden.
When the ache for something nameless
fans out into your bones,
when you are hungry, or lost or in need of a hand
across your eyelashes.
When it’s deadline or dilemma
or just you tripping on the stained carpet of your trouble,
begin here.

Place one leaden, obstinate foot
where you can see it.
Gather your maniacal breath,
your little windbags of lungs.
Eye only the square of sidewalk a blink away,
that quadrant of concrete mottled with the dirty
evidence of living,
and go.

When the manual for what’s broken
has been misplaced, when the view is obscured
by a restless construction site,
when your closet is an echo of castoffs.
When the bridge toll climbs and the road
down the mountain is pummeled with snow,
when your face bears little resemblance
to the person you remember,
when the field is populated with abler bodies,
when poems have been written by nimbler souls,
when no amount of squinting
delivers oasis, begin here.

Guide your defeated arms
into a small fit of swinging.
Coerce your hips into the barest
shimmy. Locate the pocket of a single,
deserted minute, its hum of insignificance,
and go.

When cheer cannot cheer you,
when crumbs cannot feed you,
when the storage space in the garage
topples from the weight.
When beauty eludes you,
when the weatherman confirms your fear,
when the doctor bears his wild news.
When you return to the bad habit,
when the current continues its brutal tackle,
when mess is your middle name,
begin here.

Climb onto your weary haunches. Lift your belly
from its mattress cave. Initiate the wholly
unremarkable act of breathing, and go.

When you have had enough.
When you have had too much.
When your fortress has not kept away the enemy,
and the walls are an abscess of rubble.
Do not fling yourself from the gangplank.
Do not hasten your disappearance
with your own cruelty.
Do not mask your ferocity with a collage of good manners.

The death’s door of your failure
is still a door.
Wrap your shaking fist around the handle.
Hear the cricket click of the latch.
And begin.

QUOTE: “There will come a time when you believe everything is finished. That will be the beginning.” ~ Louis L’Amour

Friday, December 31, 2010

We Traveled So Far (Mary Chapin Carpenter)


Thanks again to all who never gave up on me these last five months, whether by active cheerleading or supportive patience - lots of reading and pondering has convinced me it's not about the "trying" but about the "being"... so I will try (ha!) to *be* more accepting of myself, in whatever form, in the future...

Time did march on since mid-July (my last wrenching post) and below is a recap of the "life before my eyes" in that abyss of emotional floundering - I would like to say I feel better now... and I do... but I also am more prepared to handle the ups and downs of the journey. Mixed Nuts, a really lame movie we watched Christmas Day with the exception of some amazing character actors (Madeline Kahn among them), had a great piece of dialogue:

"Just remember that in every pothole there is hope. Well, you see, pothole is spelled P-O-T-H-O-L-E. So if you take the P, and add it to the H, the O, and the E, and rearrange the letters... or contrariwise, you remove the O, T, and the L, you get "hope". So, just remember, in every pothole there is hope!"

:-)

Amen and blessed be - so... Top Ten Past Events, Good and Bad, to Close Out 2010:


10. I did go to Falcon Ridge this July, as I missed the 2009 festival due to Mom's illness/passing - it was amazing to reconnect with friends and music I only experience in person once a year, but are with my cyberly daily...

9. August 5 brought my 56th birthday - I can't even remember what I did, but I do recall telling everyone I didn't need presents, as I really already had everything I wanted...

8. After putting Mom's house on the market mid-April, we signed it over to buyers late-August - closure is always bittersweet and, sad as it is to think we've metaphorically and literally closed that door, we've also moved forward with our lives while keeping the memories...

7. My sister hosted a what-would-have-been-Mom’s-80th-birthday party in mid-September, attended by new and old neighbors as well as other friends - more bittersweetness ensued, as we celebrated someone who always celebrated life...

6. I experienced a personal and professional dream-come-true as I hosted the amazing Dar Williams in early-October at the concert series I've coordinated for the last six years - the evening was a success on so many levels (musical, emotional, financial) and I am beyond blessed. Photo of commemorative tattoo, a few minutes after inking, above - love and thanks to Kristyn... :-)

5. Terry, a friend from book club and the gym, discovered she had ovarian and stomach cancer, and there was only a month from diagnosis to her death on November 14 - it still doesn't seem real and she is much missed...

4. After being with his company for 25 years, the week before Thanksgiving my husband received pre-notification he's being let go in mid-February (they're outsourcing his role to another country) - rather than operating from fear, we are belt-tightening where we can but also thinking positive (along with networking his many resources) that there is something better out there for his talents and experience...

3. In mid-August, I finally got serious about a weight loss program and, as of mid-December, have lost 40 pounds - I look great, feel terrific and, after successfully maintaining through the holidays, will take off another 10 or so to get to goal as well as peace of mind...

2. For the last 10 years (since my mom's second husband was killed in a car accident in March 2000), each Christmas we have traveled to South Carolina to spend time with my husband's family and Georgia to see mine - it has been rewarding but also exhausting and expensive, and this year we made the conscious decision to stay home. We resurrected old traditions (put up a tree and over-decorated) and made new ones - we of course missed being with extended family but actively embraced the holiday in our own home for the first time in a decade...

1. Tonight we will go to a party (home by midnight to honor our champagne-in-the-jacuzzi ritual) and tomorrow finds us hosting a New Year's Day Open House - my wish for 2011 for myself and my friends: inspirational music, thought-provoking literature, heart-based camaraderie and awareness/intention to appreciate and enjoy!

SONG: We Traveled So Far by Mary Chapin Carpenter

BOOK: The Ten Things to Do When Your Life Falls Apart: An Emotional and Spiritual Handbook by Daphne Rose Kingma

POEM: crossing the border by Maya Stein

It hit her, crossing the border into Ontario. The drive from Ann Arbor
had been grey and wet, the rain coming in fat drops,
metronoming her windshield wipers. She'd settled into her seat,
like she'd done for the past 5,000 miles, reached for a stick of gum,
adjusted the radio dial, checked the battery on her cell phone.

The landscape into Windsor was flat, almost featureless,
though the bridge had been magnificent, a real piece of architecture,
the cables long and taut as ballerina legs.
But the strip malls greeted her cheerlessly,
the sky empty of welcome. She drove on, having filled up
on gas at her departure. Finally, the cornfields reappeared,
barns and silos rising out of the land again, and the first
hints of autumn announced themselves in the distant trees.

Maybe it was this particular rain, or that somehow
crossing the border had carried her even further from home,
or that the season's temporal beauty - so splashy now -
would tumble into certain bleakness and cold, but out of nowhere,
she gave the steering wheel a fresh earnest grip,
wanting to hold on to whatever it was
that was letting her go.

And yet, she realized it was time, her own muscles tired
of engaging only to leave her heart frayed so thin.
The exchange was untenable, staying rooted to a past that charmed
and even, occasionally, soothed, but no longer fed.

She had opted for the country road on her way
to the big city, but soon it became clear this wasn't a day
to get lost. The road required an oddly painful slowing. Construction
and idle drivers kept interrupting the steady pressure of her foot
against the gas pedal. The single lane made it difficult to pass.

And though she preferred these roads, their changing scenery and
unexpected finds, she saw the delay they would cost her journey,
and with reluctance, she returned to the highway's swift efficiency.

There is no easy way to cleave the heart
from loving. It does what it does impiously, inopportunely,
uncalendared and unseasoned. What she carried with her she gave
with a lack of deliberation, discretion, scurrying
to greet every opportunity to add to the pile.
But the act of filling had not made her full.

Instead, she was twitchy with worry. Emptiness and sorrow
had attached themselves to her most joyful, generous gestures.
She knew something in her was flagging, losing steam and grace.
She knew she could not puppet this theatre any longer.

The road was wide and clear. Somehow, the rain seemed less
rigorous here, and she turned off her wipers in time
to see the city rise into view, skyscrapers pushing into the clouds.
It would be a lie to say that she was healed, heart full as an udder again.
But I can tell you she was precisely where she needed to be, even
in her brokenness, and she would know where to go
from here.

QUOTE: “Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ~ Theodore Roosevelt

Thursday, December 30, 2010

Prayer for My Friends (Terri Hendrix)


I am in process of attempting to "get unstuck" - I promise a more detailed, personal and catch-up entry tomorrow... but, in the meantime, here is what I put together, but never posted, for Thanksgiving. Deepest gratitude and boundless thanks to those who have loved me, supported me and reached out... even when I pushed away - you will never know how much it means...

DailyOM
November 25, 2010
Being Truly Thankful
Beyond Counting Blessings


When we are in the state of thankfulness, we are in a higher state of awareness,
gratitude at our doorstep. Often when we practice being thankful, we go through the process of counting our blessings, acknowledging the wonderful people, things and places that make up our reality. While it is fine to be grateful for the good fortune we have accumulated, true thankfulness stems from a powerful comprehension of the gift of simply being alive, and when we feel it, we feel it regardless of our circumstances. In this deep state of gratitude, we recognize the purity of the experience of being, in and of itself, and our thankfulness is part and parcel of our awareness that we are one with this great mystery that is life.

It is difficult for most of us to access this level of consciousness as we are
very caught up in the ups and downs of our individual experiences in the world. The thing to remember about the world, though, is that it ebbs and flows, expands and contracts, gives and takes, and is by its very nature somewhat unreliable. If we only feel gratitude when it serves our desires, this is not true thankfulness. No one is exempt from the twists and turns of fate, which may, at any time, take the possessions, situations, and people we love away from us. Ironically, it is sometimes this kind of loss that awakens us to a thankfulness that goes deeper than just being grateful when things go our way. Illness and near-miss accidents can also serve as wake-up calls to the deeper realization that we are truly lucky to be alive.

We do not have to wait to be shaken to experience this state of being truly
thankful for our lives. Tuning in to our breath and making an effort to be fully present for a set period of time each day can do wonders for our ability to connect with true gratitude. We can also awaken ourselves with the intention to be more aware of the unconditional generosity of the life force that flows through us regardless of our circumstances.

And yesterday's StoryPeople lesson:
Rules for a successful holiday:
1. Get together with the family
2. Relive old times
3. Get out before it blows


SONG: Prayer for My Friends by Terri Hendrix

BOOK: The 7 Great Prayers: For a Lifetime of Hope and Blessings by Paul McManus and Tracey McManus

POEM: Thanks by W. S. Merwin

Listen
with the night falling we are saying thank you
we are stopping on the bridges to bow from the railings
we are running out of the glass rooms
with our mouths full of food to look at the sky
and say thank you
we are standing by the water thanking it
smiling by the windows looking out
in our directions

back from a series of hospitals back from a mugging
after funerals we are saying thank you
after the news of the dead
whether or not we knew them we are saying thank you

over telephones we are saying thank you
in doorways and in the backs of cars and in elevators
remembering wars and the police at the door
and the beatings on stairs we are saying thank you
in the banks we are saying thank you
in the faces of the officials and the rich
and of all who will never change
we go on saying thank you thank you

with the animals dying around us
our lost feelings we are saying thank you
with the forests falling faster than the minutes
of our lives we are saying thank you
with the words going out like cells of a brain
with the cities growing over us
we are saying thank you faster and faster
with nobody listening we are saying thank you
we are saying thank you and waving
dark though it is

QUOTE: “Thank everyone who calls out your faults, your anger, your impatience, your egotism; do this consciously, voluntarily." ~ Jean Toomer

Monday, July 19, 2010

Disorder in the House (Warren Zevon)


I am still here, although it's been three months since I've checked in with my blog - I'd like to say I'm okay... but that would not be true. July 19 is the one-year anniversary of my mom's passing - I have spent the last two months re-tracing my steps as to what I was doing this time last year (caregiving since mid-May). Today feels like a destination of sorts, of raw grief and the beginnings of healing - I have allowed myself minor meltdowns in these last 24 hours but, as soon as I hit Publish Post, I will get in the jacuzzi and weep until I am empty...

Today also marks eight years since Dave Carter died - I am exhausted, I am sad, I am bone-weary... and I leave for Falcon Ridge (by way of Boston) in a few hours. I will only get a few hours sleep - it is now 5 a.m. although, for clarity's sake, this post is dated yesterday to honor The Day of the Dead...

I had grand plans for this post, and it has fizzled along with my energy level - my annual festival beckons, and with it a promise of rejuvenation and regrouping and renewal. I have to snap out of this emotional chaos, and surrounding myself with music friends is a lovely first step - Mom and Dave would want it that way... and I trust them to lead me on the path to, as my friend Myra says, "the new normal" (sigh)...

SONG: Disorder in the House by Warren Zevon

BOOK: The Shadow Effect: Illuminating the Hidden Power of Your True Self by Deepak Chopra, Marianne Williamson, Debbie Ford

POEM: The Wind Blows Through the Doors of My Heart by Deborah Digges

The wind blows
through the doors of my heart.
It scatters my sheet music
that climbs like waves from the piano, free of the keys.
Now the notes stripped, black butterflies,
flattened against the screens.
The wind through my heart
blows all my candles out.
In my heart and its rooms is dark and windy.
From the mantle smashes birds' nests, teacups
full of stars as the wind winds round,
a mist of sorts that rises and bends and blows
or is blown through the rooms of my heart
that shatters the windows,
rakes the bedsheets as though someone
had just made love. And my dresses
they are lifted like brides come to rest
on the bedstead, crucifixes,
dresses tangled in trees in the rooms
of my heart. To save them
I've thrown flowers to fields,
so that someone would pick them up
and know where they came from.
Come the bees now clinging to flowered curtains.
Off with the clothesline pinning anything, my mother's trousseau.
It is not for me to say what is this wind
or how it came to blow through the rooms of my heart.
Wing after wing, through the rooms of the dead
the wind does not blow. Nor the basement, no wheezing,
no wind choking the cobwebs in our hair.
It is cool here, quiet, a quilt spread on soil.
But we will never lie down again.

QUOTE: "Like cars in amusement parks, our direction is often determined through collisions." ~ Yahia Lababidi

Monday, April 26, 2010

To Whom It May Concern (John Wesley Harding)


Today's Note from the Universe:

Wake up, Susan! Remember what excites you. Think of these things, those friends, and the adventures that can be yours. Focus. Care. Fantasize. Imagine. It's all so near. Speak as if you're ready. Paste new pictures in your scrapbook, on your vision board, and around your home and office. Physically prepare for the changes that you wish to experience in your life. You've done this before. You know it works. You're due for an encore. It's time to amaze. That's why you're there.

And it's why I'm here,
The Universe

Wake up, Susan! Remember! Do what you know to do! It's all so near.


Impossible to believe it has been almost a month since I last posted - I'm well (thanks for asking... :-) but insanely busy... and I won't bore you with a laundry list of reasons/excuses I've been incommunicado...


Today's note above... as well as the poem below, posted on the Life is a Verb website last week, inspired me to check in here to say I miss writing and will try to do better - in the meantime, enjoy today's ode to the written word!

SONG: To Whom It May Concern by John Wesley Harding

BOOK: A Book of One's Own: People and Their Diaries by Thomas Mallon

POEM: don’t forget to write by maya stein

while you are piecing together the map of your life,
stepping as nimbly as you can out of the mulch
of your thoughts, the busy traffic of your heart,
while you attempt grace and magic and the blessing of
your soft, surrendered kiss, while you are fathoming the stretch
you will need for the wide and rocky jungle of your own happiness,
while you are hunkering down to a piece of dark bread
and the odd, welcome relief of hunger,
don’t forget to write.

write this day, its too-early morning and the birdsong
you cursed into your pillow. write the way the dog
looked at you as forlornly as your own shadow.
write this blanket, this cup of coffee, the irreverent
clatter of the neighbor’s lawnmower. write the bees
that bend forever to their task. write the July heat
and the laps in the town pool that cleave you from
this earth, the over-solid grip you have on everything.
write this hour, tired and awake all at once, the distractions
you can make of breakfast or a calculator or the remote control
lying flaccid on the living room couch.

write the dead mosquito on the bathroom floor, the small
clot of blood on your forearm. write the careful arrangement
of the bed linens, the yellow of the walls, the way the
garden hose snakes around the back porch where old boxes
are bending under their own weight and where spiders
have begun to take control of the tomato plants.

write your white legs and your short pants and
the constellations imprinted on your skin. write
the dusty sex toys in the bedside bureau, the silvery
condom packages nearing their expiration dates.
write the wet sound of love in the middle of the night.

write the blackberry bush and its sour fruit,
the mailman in his cheerful hat,
the neighbor who confuses you with someone else,
calls you a name that’s not yours, write the feeling
of lost identity and disappointment and some letter
you’re perennially hoping for.

write the words for failure. write the words for hope.
write the tightrope dangling above the canyon,
and down below, the electric water furious and free.

write green. write violet. write blazing orange.
write the smell of grapefruit skin, the eyelash
on a cheekbone, the hand you hold in the dark.
write the first, honest paragraphs of sunrise.
write everything, or nothing, but don’t forget to write.

QUOTE: "By living well, by observing as you live, by reading well and observing as you read, you have fed your Most Original Self. By training yourself in writing, by repetitious exercise, imitation, good example, you have made a clean, well-lighted place to keep the Muse. You have given her, him, it, or whatever, room to turn around in. And through training, you have relaxed yourself enough not to stare discourteously when inspiration comes into the room." ~ Ray Bradbury

Sunday, March 28, 2010

One Week (Barenaked Ladies)


So... when last we left our She-Ra, she had undergone a brain shift, such that she was determined to make better choices, one day at a time, until she began to take feeling and looking better for granted - I am pleased to say that, after one week, I am on the right track (pun semi-intended... :-)

Beginning last Saturday, I have accomplished the following... every single day:

~ eaten very mindfully and healthfully, mostly from my list of Brain Foods

~ not eaten after 9 p.m.

~ cut out almost all sugar from my diet, except the natural sugar found in fruit

~ consumed at least a half-gallon of water, sometimes more

~ taken my medications/supplements: blood pressure, thyroid, multi-vitamin, Calcium, Vitamin D, fish oil caplets, low-dosage aspirin

~ walked 40 minutes (then taken the dog out for another 10 minutes)

~ stretched after walking


So far, I have lost 3 pounds - it's a start. What is even more important is that I have more color in my skin, bounce in my step and clarity in my brain - Week 2 started yesterday, and I'm excited about continuing the momentum!

SONG: One Week by Barenaked Ladies

BOOK: You'll See It When You Believe It: The Way to Your Personal Transformation by Wayne W. Dyer

POEM: The Necessary Brevity of Pleasures by Samuel Hazo

Prolonged, they slacken into pain
or sadness in accordance with the law
of apples.
One apple satisfies.
Two apples cloy.
Three apples
glut.
Call it a tug-of-war between enough and more
than enough, between sufficiency
and greed, between the stay-at-homers
and globe-trotting see-the-worlders.
Like lovers seeking heaven in excess,
the hopelessly insatiable forget
how passion sharpens appetites
that gross indulgence numbs.
Result?
The haves have not
what all the have-nots have
since much of having is the need
to have.
Even my dog
knows that - and more than that.
He slumbers in a moon of sunlight,
scratches his twitches and itches
in measure, savors every bite
of grub with equal gratitude
and stays determinedly in place
unless what's suddenly exciting
happens.
Viewing mere change
as threatening, he relishes a few
undoubtable and proven pleasures
to enjoy each day in sequence
and with canine moderation.
They're there for him in waiting,
and he never wears them out.

QUOTE: “The moments of happiness we enjoy take us by surprise. It is not that we seize them, but that they seize us.” ~ Ashley Montagu

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Brane Ded, Body MT (David Stocker)


You must all be tired of reading about my Epiphany du jour... whereupon I have a life-changing, light bulb moment... and swear I'm going to do everything *the right way* from now on... only to find I have fallen off the proverbial wagon yet again - this one's different... I swear!

I was having a relaxed Friday evening, curled up with What Not to Wear (a guilty pleasure) and then my book (a Tabitha King novel) - at 11, I happened to turn the TV back on, began to scroll through the channels and ran across a program on PBS: Change Your Brain, Change Your Body. Dr. Amen (gotta love that name) himself was lecturing on the various steps in which we can bring about change, based on his new book (of course) and, naturally, I know most of this stuff - I take fish oil caplets and Vitamin D supplements... I realize broccoli is better for me than donuts... I am aware I should exercise on a regular basis...

I wasn't particularly swayed by his definitions of brain types... but when he asked the question: what is your motivation?... I experienced mental whiplash - all these years I've attempted to sculpt my habits, my waistline and my attitude... and I've never really confronted myself with WHY...


Short-term: Falcon Ridge (late-July 2010)... and my daughter's wedding (at least a year down the road) - long-term: to see my kids grow up, get married (or not) and have children (or not). I want to be healthy for myself... but really, my family is the best reason there is - e-f*cking-piphany...


I've eaten healthy (so far), I walked my 2 1/2 miles (40 minutes)... and I am drinking enough water to float a battleship - plus... I am choosing to eliminate sugar from my diet (I can do this... :-)


SONG: Brane Ded, Body MT by David Stocker (I can't seem to find the lyrics online, but the CD, to listen to the song clip, is here)...

BOOK: Change Your Brain, Change Your Body: Use Your Brain to Get and Keep the Body You Have Always Wanted by Daniel G. Amen M.D.


POEM: The Heart of Herakles by Kenneth Rexroth

Lying under the stars,

In the summer night,

Late, while the autumn

Constellations climb the sky,

As the Cluster of Hercules

Falls down the west

I put the telescope by
and watch Deneb
Move towards the zenith.

My body is asleep. Only

My eyes and brain are awake.

The stars stand around me

Like gold eyes, I can no longer

Tell where I begin and leave off.

The faint breeze in the dark pines,
And the invisible grass,

The tipping earth, the swarming stars

Have an eye that sees itself.


QUOTE: "We live in deeds, not years; In thoughts, not breaths; In feelings, not in figures on a dial. We should count time by heart-throbs. He most lives who thinks most, feels the noblest, acts the best." ~ Phillip James Bailey

Monday, March 8, 2010

Live Forever (Billy Joe Shaver)


My husband and I saw Crazy Heart a few weeks ago - for more on the subject, see my Star Maker Machine post (and how wonderful that Jeff Bridges did indeed win the Oscar last night for Best Actor!)...

My middle child/older son got in some major trouble in late-January, which could have had substantially-tragic results... but we were all lucky, and it appears he's seen it for the big-*ss wake-up call it is... and is in process of making some definitive changes to turn his life around - the tune below, a snippet of which is sung a cappella by Robert Duvall's character in the film, made me think of Rob... and I dedicate today's post to him, sending perpetual love and continued purple candles...

SONG: Live Forever by Billy Joe Shaver

BOOK: The Fifth Agreement: A Practical Guide to Self-Mastery by don Miguel Ruiz and don Jose Ruiz

POEM: no one expects you to save the world by Maya Stein

The headlines are begging for your help. Thousands needing homes, food.
But here, your own children, like inexpert stilt-walkers, flirt too often
with obstacles in the street. It’s no wonder you keep eyes glued
to them. The demands of love, or a job, the hard winter reining you in -
it takes all your muscle to keep your own life upright. And though you know
what you have is fortune compared to the great rift that earthquake left,
and the aftershocks continuing to destroy so much, somehow
that same fortune paralyzes, obstructs you with a heavy, gloomy guilt.
But no one expects you to save the world, no matter what you plan.
Sometimes the best thing we can do is to love everything we can.

QUOTE(S): “Though no one can go back and make a brand new start, anyone can start from now and make a brand new ending." ~ Anonymous

“Remember, we all stumble, every one of us. That’s why it’s a comfort to go hand in hand.” ~ Emily Kimbrough

"It doesn't matter what people tell you. It doesn't matter what they might say. Sometimes you have to leave home. Sometimes, running away means you're headed in the exact right direction." ~ Alice Hoffman, Practical Magic

Thursday, March 4, 2010

I've Just Seen a Face (The Beatles)


My friend request message, sent over the last day and a half: "It's officially The Apocalypse - I've joined Facebook!" - loosely translated: "What in the f*ck did I just do?!?" I finally signed up so that I could view my daughter's Europe pictures and live vicariously through her experience - I never envisioned quite such a headfirst tumble down the rabbit hole...

I have been fighting Facebook kicking and screaming for years - my main defense/objection has been... if I can't keep up with the "real people" in my life (and I'm always in overwhelmed mode), how in the world can I made the time to connect/reconnect with friends all over the country/world... not to mention acquaintances from my past?

I have a MySpace account (begun in December 2007) but, really, it's in the name of my concert series - it isn't about me personally at all, but rather a good PR tool to promote, and keep up with, the music...

I also have this blog, started in May 2007 - I use it as a journal/scrapbook/exercise in creativity. I'd like to post more often but seem to lose track of time - comments from readers (what readers?) are immaterial to me, as I'm really just downloading what's in my heart/brain/soul at the moment...

But Facebook? - in my less-than-48-hours experience with the social network, I have learned that it is truly In Your (or My) Face! It has been a pendulum from fun to frightening and back again... as I vowed to start out slow... which snowballed into "just one more" (friend, that is) - it's exhilarating to read all the repeated "welcome" messages (makes me think of Dar's "we're so glad that you finally made it here" lyric)... but it's exhausting to consider the effort it takes to reply and follow-up... not to mention the trepidation of opening various Pandora's Boxes...

High School? - ack! Suffice it to say, since it was 68-72, my memories are vague - I recall being high every day of my senior year, yet making the Honor Roll every quarter. I remember football games (with dances following), a handful of amazing girlfriends and being on the annual staff as well as head of props for our senior play, "The Matchmaker" - I also recall tubing down the Chattahoochee River (with a beer cooler in tow), a few special guy relationships... but also a less-than-full social calendar. I can't remember who I was back then - even more interesting, part of me is now wondering who I was in the eyes of others (in terms of The Breakfast Club... I was more Ally Sheedy than Molly Ringwald... :-)

So... although, as I said in a reply earlier today, "balance is not my strong suit", I have vowed to enjoy the experience while still motivating myself to handle all the day-to-day stuff it's easy to let slip by the proverbial wayside - I have to finish the folk club newsletter (already 4 days late), clean house tomorrow for dinner guests... and prepare for the concert I'm presenting Saturday night (not to mention catch up on various e-mails owed)...

In the meantime, though... I'm delighted at the thought of so many special people (friends and family) from all aspects of my life being in one place - it's a big-*ss cross-pollination... and I can't help but sport a broad smile across my (I should be reading a Book) Face (although I'm wary of the poke, whatever the h*ll that is... :-)

SONG: I've Just Seen a Face by The Beatles

BOOK(S): Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook by Sarah Schmelling

Facebook Me! A Guide to Having Fun with Your Friends and Promoting Your Projects on Facebook by Dave Awl

POEM: Remember by Joy Harjo

Remember the sky that you were born under,
know each of the star's stories.
Remember the moon, know who she is. I met her
in a bar once in Iowa City.
Remember the sun's birth at dawn, that is the
strongest point of time. Remember sundown
and the giving away to night.
Remember your birth, how your mother struggled
to give you form and breath. You are evidence of
her life, and her mother's, and hers.
Remember your father. He is your life also.
Remember the earth whose skin you are:
red earth, black earth, yellow earth, white earth
brown earth, we are earth.
Remember the plants, trees, animal life who all have their
tribes, their families, their histories, too. Talk to them,
listen to them. They are alive poems.
Remember the wind. Remember her voice. She knows the
origin of this universe. I heard her singing Kiowa war
dance songs at the corner of Fourth and Central once.
Remember that you are all people and that all people are you.
Remember that you are this universe and that this universe is you.
Remember that all is in motion, is growing, is you.
Remember that language comes from this.
Remember the dance that language is, that life is.
Remember.

QUOTE: “It’s surprising how much of memory is built around things unnoticed at the time.” ~ Barbara Kingsolver

Monday, February 22, 2010

Daydream Believer (John Stewart)



A dear friend (and major John Stewart fan) sent me the link to the above video, absolutely horrified at the use of the song in this short film - on the other hand, it was *exactly* what I needed to snap me out of a three-week funk. My e-mail response to him is below:

Don't sugarcoat it - tell me how you really feel!

I actually laughed my *ss off - I'm sure John Stewart is turning in his grave (at least his coffin lid closed, right?)... but the entire clip is just so over-the-top and hysterically self-mocking... you can't help but snicker... as one thing is more ridiculous than the next...

There's even an Oz reference - "and Sparky too!"... "and Sparky too" - plus... the film kicks into color when he starts singing...

Actually, everybody should have an Uncle Felix - however, that song should be off-limits... :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Confession time: I haven't walked since we returned from our holiday trip to South Carolina and Georgia... and only managed to squeeze it in once while we were away - the extended cold weather combined with a variety of events (which I may or may not go into at a later date) paralyzed me for the last two months. As a result, in that period of time I've gained five pounds... and lost muscle tone, the healthy glow in my skin and the will to self-motivate - ugh...

So... after watching the movie clip, something in me snapped - I'm re-calibrating my eating habits... and I laced up my New Balances for a long-overdue trek through the neighborhood. I've decided to pound the pavement for a shorter period of time (30 minutes instead of 45) but more often (every day, if I can manage it) - I'm also choosing to leave my walkman at home and use the outing as a walking meditation, clearing my head rather than having music fill it...

I always knew my dog was smart... but the sheer joy of watching Rocky get excited ("yay! - she's wearing her special shoes!") had me laughing out loud - since I always take him out when I return, his open-mouthed "smile" and frantic dashing from me to the front door and back again, waiting to be leashed, was priceless... :-)

Not so sure about Sleepy Jean... but I sure cheered up - thanks, FM... I needed that. Day f*cking One - bring it on!

SONG: Daydream Believer by John Stewart

BOOK: The Second Half of Life: Opening the Eight Gates of Wisdom by Angeles Arrien

POEM: The Bright Field by R. S. Thomas

I have seen the sun break through
to illuminate a small field
for a while, and gone my way
and forgotten it. But that was the pearl
of great price, the one field that had
treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying

on to a receding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.

QUOTE: “You’ve got a lot of choices. If getting out of bed in the morning is a chore and you’re not smiling on a regular basis, try another choice.” ~ Steven D. Woodhull

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

I Got You Babe (Sonny and Cher)



Here's a little something light and fluffy... until I can post something of substance (which I've been working on for the last week) - I live in South Florida... so the whole groundhog thing is pretty moot!

Cheers to the groundhog - and world peace... :-)

SONG: I Got You Babe by Sonny and Cher

BOOK: The Groundhog Day Book of Facts and Fun by Wendie C. Old and Paige Billin-Frye

POEM: Groundhog Day by Lynn Ungar

Celebrate this unlikely oracle,
this ball of fat and fur,
whom we so mysteriously endow
with the power to predict spring.
Let's hear it for the improbable heroes who,
frightened at their own shadows,
nonetheless unwittingly work miracles.
Why shouldn't we believe
this peculiar rodent holds power
over sun and seasons in his stubby paw?
Who says that God is all grandeur and glory?

Unnoticed in the earth, worms
are busily, brainlessly, tilling the soil.
Field mice, all unthinking, have scattered
seeds that will take root and grow.
Grape hyacinths, against all reason,
have been holding up green shoots beneath the snow.
How do you think spring arrives?
There is nothing quieter, nothing
more secret, miraculous, mundane.
Do you want to play your part
in bringing it to birth? Nothing simpler.
Find a spot not too far from the ground
and wait.

QUOTE: "The groundhog is like most other prophets; it delivers its prediction and then disappears." ~ Bill Vaughn

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Wilder Than Her (Fred Eaglesmith)



I had the great pleasure of seeing Fred Eaglesmith and his band in a very small coffeehouse this past Monday night... and posted the following review to our local folk list - if Fred and company come anywhere near your town... I strongly urge you to go, go, go!

P.S. I spoke with Kori, Fred's drummer, at the break and requested this song - she kindly passed it on, and he played it mid-way through the second set... :-)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I was first introduced to the music of Fred Eaglesmith way back in 1997, when Dar Williams released an EP which included her cover of Wilder Than Her - I always loved that she felt comfortable enough not to change the gender. Seven years later, Todd Snider covered Alcohol and Pills - when two of my faves spotlight another artist's music in their catalog, you can bet I'm going to pay attention!

I was lucky enough to see Fred and band twice at the amazing Main Street Cafe, before it closed - last night I had a chance to reprise the experience at the Luna Star Cafe. The four-piece group might have been a bit "close" on stage... and their trademark merch table (limited edition vinyl, Fredhead coffee, earrings made out of Fred's old guitar strings... not to mention cowboy hats, CDs and DVDs) might have had to shrink a bit to fit on the piano in the corner... but the lyrics were larger-than-life, the musicianship was overflowing and the sense of privilege at experiencing this legendary group in such an intimate setting was huge...

What Fred and band (Matt Simpson on guitar, banjo and vocals; Kori Heppner on drums; Luke Stackhouse on upright bass and vocals) offer up onstage in their repertoire is exceptional (words front-and-center, exquisite harmonies and tight accompaniment, whether rocking or mellow, bluegrass or bossa nova) - what is unexpected but equally charming is Fred's over-the-top personality. David Engels posted yesterday that Fred will make you laugh - what he also does is make you think. He "afflicted the comfortable", with rant topics ranging from socialized medicine to stashed money in Panamanian bank accounts to corporate bailouts - he regaled us with humorous stories of sex, reincarnation*** and his new brainchild: joke-eoke... :-)

Part poet, part stand-up comic, all Buddhist Canadian cowboy (a koan artist?), Fred and company used the power of language and music last evening to full advantage - thanks to Alexis and Bree and all involved at the Luna Star for opening the Cafe on a normally-closed Monday night to showcase such stellar entertainment... in addition to her delicious food and extensive beer menu!


***My new favorite joke, from memory (ack!):

Once there were two nuns who promised each other that whoever died first would come back to tell the other what heaven was like. One nun died and, about six weeks later, the second nun heard the voice of her friend, and asked about her experience.

“Well, first I get up in the morning and have some vegetarian greens, then I make love, then I eat greens again, then in the afternoon I make love some more. Then I have another meal of natural greens, and make love again in the evening before I go to sleep.”

The second nun was quite surprised at this and asked, “So that is what it's like in heaven?”

The first nun replied, “Who said anything about heaven? I’m a rabbit in Saskatchewan.”


SONG: Wilder Than Her by Fred Eaglesmith

BOOK: Awake in the Wild: Mindfulness in Nature as a Path of Self-Discovery by Mark Coleman (introduction by Jack Kornfield)

POEM: The Peace of Wild Things by Wendell Berry

When despair for the world grows in me
and I wake in the night at the least sound
in fear of what my life and my children's lives may be,
I go and lie down where the wood drake
rests in his beauty on the water, and the great heron feeds.
I come into the peace of wild things
who do not tax their lives with forethought
of grief. I come into the presence of still water.
And I feel above me the day-blind stars
waiting with their light. For a time
I rest in the grace of the world, and am free.

QUOTE: "First keep the peace within yourself, then you can also bring peace to others." ~ Thomas A Kempis

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Live Like You Were Dying (Tim McGraw)


Confession Time: I am a devoted follower of MTV's The Real World, hearkening back to the very first one, in 1992 in New York (could it really be 15 years ago?) - remember when Becky asked Heather if she were a drug dealer, because she had a beeper?!?

But I digress... :-)


Actually, the segue here is that I've been watching the
latest Real World season, filmed in our nation's capital, and kept seeing the promos for a new show, The Buried Life, whose premiere aired Monday night, but I missed it so I had to catch it on re-runs last night - since I'm always espousing the carpe diem life philosophy, especially after Mom's passing this summer, I of course was beyond intrigued by the show's tagline: "1 Question. 4 Guys. 100 Things To Do Before You Die."...

I very much enjoyed the first episode, in which two of the guys crashed a party at the Playboy Mansion... but they also put on a street show with their breakdancing and raised enough money to buy a computer for a local charter elementary school - it was cute, sweet and inspirational... and I'll continue to tune in...


Here's a wonderful article and interview on the premise and the reactions so far - I've used the poem that inspired them in today's post...


SONG:
Live Like You Were Dying by Tim McGraw

BOOK:
2DO Before I Die : The Do-It-Yourself Guide to the Rest of Your Life by Michael Ogden and Chris Day

POEM: The Buried Life by Matthew Arnold


Light flows our war of mocking words, and yet,

Behold, with tears mine eyes are wet!

I feel a nameless sadness o'er me roll.
Yes, yes, we know that we can jest,

We know, we know that we can smile!

But there's a something in this breast,

To which thy light words bring no rest,

And thy gay smiles no anodyne.

Give me thy hand, and hush awhile,

And turn those limpid eyes on mine,

And let me read there, love! thy inmost soul.


Alas! is even love too weak

To unlock the heart, and let it speak?

Are even lovers powerless to reveal

To one another what indeed they feel?

I knew the mass of men conceal'd

Their thoughts, for fear that if reveal'd

They would by other men be met

With blank indifference, or with blame reproved;

I knew they lived and moved

Trick'd in disguises, alien to the rest

Of men, and alien to themselves--and yet

The same heart beats in every human breast!


But we, my love!--doth a like spell benumb

Our hearts, our voices?--must we too be dumb?


Ah! well for us, if even we,

Even for a moment, can get free

Our heart, and have our lips unchain'd;

For that which seals them hath been deep-ordain'd!


Fate, which foresaw
How frivolous a baby man would be--
By what distractions he would be possess'd,

How he would pour himself in every strife,
And well-nigh change his own identity--

That it might keep from his capricious play

His genuine self, and force him to obey
Even in his own despite his being's law,

Bade through the deep recesses of our breast

The unregarded river of our life

Pursue with indiscernible flow its way;

And that we should not see

The buried stream, and seem to be

Eddying at large in blind uncertainty,

Though driving on with it eternally.


But often, in the world's most crowded streets,

But often, in the din of strife,

There rises an unspeakable desire

After the knowledge of our
buried life;
A thirst to spend our fire and restless force
In tracking out our true, original course;

A longing to inquire

Into the mystery of this heart which beats

So wild, so deep in us--to know

Whence our lives come and where they go.

And many a man in his own breast then delves,

But deep enough, alas! none ever mines.

And we have been on many thousand lines,

And we have shown, on each, spirit and power;

But hardly have we, for one little hour,

Been on our own line, have we been ourselves--

Hardly had skill to utter one of all
The nameless feelings that course through our breast,

But they course on for ever unexpress'd.

And long we try in vain to speak and act

Our hidden self, and what we say and do

Is eloquent, is well--but 'tis not true!
And then we will no more be rack'd

With inward striving, and demand

Of all the thousand nothings of the hour

Their stupefying power;

Ah yes, and they benumb us at our call!

Yet still, from time to time, vague and forlorn,

From the soul's subterranean depth upborne

As from an infinitely distant land,

Come airs, and floating echoes, and convey

A melancholy into all our day.


Only--but this is rare--

When a beloved hand is laid in ours,

When, jaded with the rush and glare

Of the interminable hours,

Our eyes can in another's eyes read clear,

When our world-deafen'd ear

Is by the tones of a loved voice caress'd--

A bolt is shot back somewhere in our breast,

And a lost pulse of feeling stirs again.
The eye sinks inward, and the heart lies plain,

And what we mean, we say, and what we would, we know.

A man becomes aware of his life's flow,

And hears its winding murmur; and he sees

The meadows where it glides, the sun, the breeze.


And there arrives a lull in the hot race

Wherein he doth for ever chase

That flying and elusive shadow, rest.

An air of coolness plays upon his face,

And an unwonted calm pervades his breast.

And then he thinks he knows
The hills where his life rose,

And the sea where it goes.


QUOTE: “Ideas can be life-changing. Sometimes all you need to open the door is just one more good idea.” ~ Jim Rohn