Thursday, July 9, 2009

La Vie En Rose (Edith Piaf)

July 7, 2009
Opportunity for Reflection
Hard Days

We all have days that seem endlessly difficult and hard. On these days, it is as if the odds are stacked against us and we just can’t get a break as one challenging situation follows another. We may feel like we’re standing in the ocean getting hit by wave after wave, never able to get a full breath. Sometimes it’s necessary or worth it to stay in the fray and work our way through. Other times, the best idea is to go home and take the breath we need in order to carry on.

If the only choice is to get through it, a hard day can be a great teacher. It will eventually end and we can look back on it, taking pride in the stamina, courage, and ingenuity it took to hold our ground. We may also look back and see how we could have done things differently. This knowledge will be valuable when we face hard days in the future. Trust your gut as you’re deciding whether to work through it, and know that sometimes a timely retreat is the best way to ensure a positive outcome. Getting space can remind us that external circumstances are not the whole picture. Once we catch our breath and re-center ourselves, we will be able to determine our next move. With a little perspective, we may even find the inner resources to change our attitude about what’s happening. We may begin to see that what we saw as hardships are actually opportunities. As our attitude changes for the better, our actions and the circumstances will follow suit.

Sometimes all that’s needed is a good night’s sleep. No one is immune to having a hard day and these are usually the times we can learn the most. If we can find it in our hearts to examine the day, and maybe make one small change in perception, we can ease our pain and greet the next day that much wiser.


Rob Brezsny's Astrology Newsletter
July 8, 2009

LEO (July 23-Aug. 22): At the farmer's market, an escape artist performed in the middle of the street. As a crowd gawked, he had two big strong men tie him up tight in a straitjacket and 50 feet of chain. For the next 20 minutes he shimmied and contorted and bent over backwards. His face grew red and sweaty. There were no Houdini-like magic tricks. There were no puffs of smoke or magic boxes or mirrors or distracting assistants. He rarely spoke as the ordeal progressed, but in the end, after the last of the chains slipped off and he wrestled his way out of the straitjacket, he said simply, "Now I invite all of you to go home and use what I just did as a metaphor for your life." It was a supremely sexy performance, and I realized maybe it would help you with your current situation.


I told a friend the other day that I need to work harder at being softer - I find myself back in that frustrated frame of mind...

As a few of you (who know my backstory) surmise, there is so much going on here emotionally with my mother, especially given our past history - we've always had a power-and-control tug-of-war relationship... mostly with her pulling and me pulling back in self-defense, trying not to get sucked in to that big mudpuddle in the middle!

Interesting to note that now, in the last few months of her life, she's still doing it - I know how powerless she must feel, unable to have much, if any, control over her life at this point... and of course she's going to try to find ways to dig in her heels, just on principle alone. I know she's grateful that I came, that I continue to stay and that I have sacrificed being with family and friends in order to facilitate her health plan - I am truly trying to do this selflessly, and with great love and respect...

It remains difficult... not just the day-to-day tasks but the emotional toll - caregiving is a thankless job, no matter how much anyone verbalizes their gratitude. My younger sister has stepped up in an *amazing* way and, if it weren't for her coming over three mornings a week so I could go to exercise class, and giving me a few nights a week respite at her house while she stays with mom, I'd have long since crossed over into exhaustion and insanity - I am beyond appreciative of her support, especially since she's juggling around a full-time job...

However, I told her the other day it sometimes feels unfairly like joint custody - she's the one who takes mom to Six Flags and orders in from the local seafood restaurant... and I'm the one who makes mom get up for school and eat her vegetables. Then I realized... that's always been our loop - I'm the responsible one (oldest) and Mari's the fun one (youngest). None of us can help the birth order nor the roles we've always played - I can waste time fretting and fuming... or I can just accept the fact that neither is better or worse... and that we actually need both for a balanced lifestyle for mom (I can be fun with my friends and Mari can be responsible with her daughter... :-)

I am at Mari's now, spending last night and tonight (can't believe how rejuvenating two nights in a row is) - since arriving late afternoon yesterday, I have: napped, eaten yummy crabcakes Mari left for me, watched Jeopardy, drunk half a glass of wine, watched a few hours of mindless TV (including Top Chef Masters), started a new-to-me Alice Hoffman novel, gotten a good night's sleep, walked 45 minutes in her neighborhood... and composed and uploaded this blog!

For my remaining time, I plan to: sun/read on the deck, do some much-needed work for my concert series on the computer, make a Target run, take a nap, watch more mindless TV, drink more wine, enjoy a jacuzzi/bath soak, get another good night's sleep... and head directly to exercise class in the morning... after which I'll return to mom's and re-grasp the baton so Mari can revel in a lovely weekend however she chooses...

Thanks, baby sister... for the opportunity to allow me to continue to learn, grow and give - we make a *great* team and I remain in awe of your maturity as well as your fun-loving spirit!

Everyone here believes that the roses
are blooming only for them, there where the air
by the formal beds is layered with the scent
of roses. From deep in their flushed and darkening hearts
pour odors of lemons and pepper, apricots, honey,
vanilla and myrrh and musk and semen, apples and quince,
raspberries and wine and ocean, the faint
scent of blood and the fragrance of death and the breath
of the life we are living now, in this place
where the roses are blooming for each of us, alone.

QUOTE: "There are some things, after all, that Sally Owens knows for certain: Always throw spilled salt over your left shoulder. Keep rosemary by your garden gate. Add pepper to your mashed potatoes. Plant roses and lavender, for luck. Fall in love whenever you can." ~ Alice Hoffman


  1. Ah...the icing on the cake of a lovely, heartfelt, thought-provoking post is the Alice quote at the of my favorites.

    Have you read her newest one, Story Sisters? If not let me know and I will ship my copy to you ASAP!


  2. Hey, M ~

    Synchronistically, Mom and I caught the last 30 minutes of Practical Magic the other night... and, as the finale approached, I told her... "listen... listen to the last few lines of the movie" - I fully remember reading the book for the first time (over 10 years ago at the beach) and sobbing great big happy tears when it ended that way... :-)

    I am coming home (tonight!) for four days (then heading up to Falcon Ridge)... and would love to swing by to borrow Story Sisters, if I may - I just finished Skylight Confessions and, if you haven't read, will lend that one to you!

  3. Susan, I just remembered that I loaned Kristyn Story Sisters but she's been reading like a fiend lately so she might have finished it already, I will ask her! I did read Skylight Confessions and loved it, but thank you for the offer! :)

  4. Hey, M ~

    No worries - I'll be in town for a few days (until Tuesday morning) then out of town for a week (Falcon Ridge) then home for a few more days, flying back to Atlanta Thursday July 30.

    If it works out for me to borrow it before I head out, that would be great - if not, I'll probably end up buying it anyway!