Wednesday, October 16, 2019

Musing on an Autumn Day

The transition from fall into winter has always been a reflective and somewhat bittersweet time for me. The weather gets colder, the days shorter, and the nights longer, and I want to hibernate but I'd miss the fall foliage which is quietly breathtaking.  I feel blessed that I live so close to nature. I can look out a window at any given moment and see glimpses of the river silently flowing, constant in all seasons, just beyond the pine trees in our valley. 

My thoughts turn to my family, my children and grandchildren especially. What a year it has been.  I turned 70, my firstborn son turned 50, and my firstborn grandson turned 20. Each of us is beginning a new decade. It doesn't seem that long ago I was a young mother embarking on a new and so very fulfilling and challenging life. Hindsight is now clear and I made some unwise choices but the love I have had for my children was and still is, unwavering.  My heart is full.

To all of my children, I pray for your strength and wisdom as you navigate this crazy world; be kind, be forgiving, be true to yourselves, and never give up hope.

Monday, September 16, 2019

Miracle of Grace, a short prose poem

“A miracle is simply a shift in perception.”
Marianne Williamson
Everyday Grace

I have landed in the center of myself. My soul is like a precious stone cast into a deep pond causing ever-widening ripples of understanding. Does what I perceive mean anything at all? To still the mind, do I wrestle it into submission or gently entreat? Suddenly in a moment my perception shifts and a pearl of peace is felt. It must be treated gently, not clutched it tightly, but held lightly, for it is the miracle of grace.
The pond freezes in winter. Then what? There is no motion in the water. It is white, still, suspended, timeless. No reflection, just acceptance for what is as Mother Nature wields the silent power of snow, ice, and utmost stillness. This, too, is grace.

Thursday, May 2, 2019

From the Corner of Alder and Bridge Streets

It stands on the corner where Alder and Bridge Streets intersect;  the house where I spent my teenage years and from which I left when I became of age. A solid structure, it is an old building rich with history. Two generations of our family have lived there.

It was our beloved home, not only where our parents raised us but also where grandchildren and great-grandchildren laughed and played within its walls.  It was here that Mom took care of Dad when he began to fail during the last few years of his life. This is the house that my siblings and I packed up when our mother moved because she couldn’t live alone anymore.  It is this house, and the life it represented that my mother longs for.

It is more than the house, or the town that she desires, It is the presence of Dad, who passed in 2011 and the wholeness of her mind and heart that dementia is stealing from her. Dementia is stealing our mother, slowly and surely.

We take comfort that Mom is now in a safe, clean place and being cared for. It hasn’t been perfect, but it’s what we’ve got to work with.  There are some things in life that cannot be controlled, things that are hard to accept but accept we must and do the best we can each day. My siblings have done an amazing job handling the many details of Mom’s medical and financial situation. Mom has a network of good friends that have been closely supportive for many years. This it the nature of a small town. People care for one another.

The sad part is that Mom does not realize how much she is loved. I know she appreciates and loves her family and friends but she has been so sad since Dad died and hasn’t really been able to move on. She still has her sense of humor at times, and her easy-going personality is what I love the most.  She has always had a hard time asking for help and I know she feels helpless right now. She is in a place that is not “home” and has lost control over aspects of her life. She has lashed out in anger and frustration, unable to escape the prison of thoughts in her mind; the forgetfulness, the anxiety and confusion.

I miss the house at the corner of Alder and Bridge. I miss the peaceful afternoons there with Mom when I would visit her. I miss our walks around the neighborhood on those beautiful summer evenings and sitting out on the front porch playing a game of Scrabble and sharing a cold beer. I suppose in a way I am grieving.

The house at the corner of Alder and Bridge has new life in it now; extended family (children of a cousin and their little boy). I am happy for that. I believe they are continuing the tradition of care and love of our family.  There is much to be thankful for on this part of life’s journey.

Thursday, April 11, 2019

Meeting on Holy Ground

“The place where people meet to seek the highest is holy ground.” 

This morning as I was sorting through some papers   I found this line from the movie The Scent of a Woman. Curious, I did some research to find the origin:

I found this quite inspiring. From my perspective, anything we can do as human beings to further harmony, unification, and kindness is vital to our existence.  So often we focus on the differences and the things that divide us rather than the attributes we have in common no matter where we live on this planet or what culture and ethnicity we are.

These ideas of peace and harmony are nothing new but I like to be reminded and these days I don’t mind being reminded often,  and in fact, I seek positivity (not always successfully) each morning when I start the day.
As I write this the song of John Lennon comes to mind:

Monday, April 1, 2019

Women Enduring our World

There is power in the collective we. My individual experience is only one of the thousands of experiences with similar themes; stories of trauma and abuse and manipulation, often by those we trusted and believed, both individually and collectively. When I reached the point of “enough is enough”, I stood up for myself. We as a group can stand up for ourselves as one because we are empowered women and we have come too far to go back now.

It is daunting, discouraging, and frightening to witness what has been unleashed in our world today since the last election especially. Human rights are being stripped away, greedy corporations fund war instead of decent health care and education, Mother Earth is suffering. History tells us how countries have been overtaken by tyrants and dictators. Is it happening here? I feel we are on the brink, but I also have hope.

We can’t give in to fear, and if we are angry, we should be but I'd like to channel that anger in constructive ways and be good examples of kind and courageous people.

Sunday, October 7, 2018

Everyone Has an Opinion and This is Mine

I am a grandmother. I marched against the Viet Nam War, I was part of the counterculture and believed in peace and love and the oneness of humankind. I still do. I am conscious of what I read and watch as far as the media goes. I am aware the media is used to control and brainwash and separate. I also see there are sources that are intelligent and educational as well. With what is going on now we have a huge undertaking. Voting is the very least we can do but we MUST vote.

Right after the last presidential election, I expressed my dismay at the outcome to one of my acquaintances on social media. This person asked me why I was so upset. I couldn’t even respond at first. Clearly, this person had a different perspective and that’s OK. It’s still hard for me to comprehend because, in my mind, this goes beyond the party lines of politics. It is a moral issue or the lack of it in this case of the POTUS.

I have been on this planet long enough to recognize toxic behavior. The man’s attitude towards women, people of color, gays, and the handicapped; or anyone who dares oppose him is so blatant and cruel. There are those who seem to accept or ignore these behaviors even among those that claim to be Christian. I don’t get it.

I don’t claim to be an expert but this president's policies on the environment, on immigration, and his friendships with the dictators of Russia and South Korea are alarming, are they not? This is my opinion for what it’s worth.

I am learning not to engage in debate, at least not heated ones because I don’t think it is fruitful. I don’t mind a peaceful, intelligent exchange of ideas but try as I might I still don’t understand those that support this noxious behavior from a man who holds this powerful position in our country.

Tuesday, October 2, 2018

A Feminine Perspective

Something remarkable has happened.  Two women I know have each published a memoir.  One woman is near my oldest daughter’s age and the other, like myself is a grandmother.  As any writer knows, writing is hard work, to say the least, a memoir especially. In my opinion, these memoirs are groundbreaking because until now the writings about the Love Family have been written by observers , journalists, and historians, not by people who dedicated years to living beliefs and ideals that were initially presented.
I believe in the power of story. It is so important right now, especially for women.  Too long those of us who have been subject to emotional and physical trauma or manipulation have kept silent.  People have asked me over the years (in reference to both my abusive husband and the Love Family) “Why didn’t you just leave?” I was married to an abusive man for several years before I ran in fear and the memory of that particular night is etched into my mind and has changed my life forever.  I spent most of my adult life in the Love Family even after I recognized the financial and social discrepancies, the manipulation, and the patriarchy. Why I stayed and hesitated to express myself until years later is a complicated issue. Those who have not walked in those shoes may never understand.
The memoirs of my friends describe the journeys that led them to the Family and the lives that ensued.  There is a common thread that weaves those of us who lived together during those years. There are also as many variations of stories and experiences as there were people. A person’s truth is a person’s truth.
From my perspective women in the Family were not valued and respected, simply put.  Or maybe we were just overshadowed by the rule of serving the whole first, core families second.  Certainly, we were not encouraged to speak out. It was more important not to make waves or ask questions. As ideal as it seemed in the beginning, the Family morphed into a microcosm of the world at large with the same problems.  I did not live in fear there but as a woman, I felt repressed and manipulated as the years passed.
There are those who had a different experience. Some aspects of a  big family were positive and I am a better person with a wealth of experience. I gleaned some lasting friends and the children that we raised together have bonds to this day. I learned a lot about my self and about human nature.  I have to believe that we did change the world for the better for a time.

Below are links to the memoirs: