Love Letter

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installation,earth,ceramic,grasses
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Surely none of us is separated by anything other than our belief that we are.

This I know for sure.

It has been a long row to hoe but here I am..Here we are…

This is a note to myself/us/you/me/we…

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LOVE LETTER

My dearest Cathy,

If time were irrelevant what might I wish you had known the moment you were delivered the label:
MULTIPLE SCLEROSIS?

1. This is a gift carved out just for you. It walked through your door and it is your choice how to meet your visitor. For she is just that- a guest. Beat the shit out of her because she TAKES and TAKES? Spend all your precious time crafting a nest to coddle and sing songs to her? Numb your ears to her attempts to get attention? Feed her incessant need for the red of your blood to augment her less-than-lively flow? I urge you, dear Cathy, to find the messages she came to deliver. Be a partner but never, ever let her lead.

2. Allow the tidal essence of friendships to express themselves. Practice staying in “What IS” instead of wondering why something is not. Stay in Love and take a pass on judgement.

3. Asking for help and accepting it will be the most challenging medicine after all is said and done. Remember what it feels like to give; an opportunity, Grace, a prayer, effortless. Maybe..just maybe this is how it feels to give to you.

4. Live closely with an animal. Preferably one you rescue. Much of your experience of illness cannot be translated into human terms. An animal will “get you” and your bond will steady your heart and spirit when God is nowhere to be found.

5. You are going to be turned inside out. Likely many times over. Remember how much you love the backside of a fine textile? How much more intriguing the imperfections appear? This is you; new, becoming, Wabi-Sabi, magic, intact but in a different way.

6. Become fluent in the language of letting go.
The space revealed is infused with a gleaming, wise innocence you may wish to fill…or not.

7. Your purpose may be unknown to you at times. This can be excruciatingly frustrating. Just EXISTING IS ENOUGH. Don’t waste time thinking about this too much.

8. Perhaps your most important challenge will be to learn how to hold the opposites with grace; My spirit is strong/my body is weak, The world outside my door is challenging/ There are so many gifts available if I do what it takes to connect, I hate the pain and weakness/I am blessed with the resilience, courage, perseverance that allow me to become the woman I am.

9. Your values will keep re-arranging themselves. It helps to make a list now and then to find out what you actually value and where each falls in your list.

10. Find your precious self endlessly fascinating. Then give up the story entirely!

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Creating A Life

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Hunger

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Emma survived on the streets of L.A. before we found one another. She was due to be euthanized the next day as she suffered allergies, little hair, no teeth and looked pretty bad. I saw her straight, clear, open and willing eyes. Miraculously undefended. They reminded me of my own. We are rescuing each other. Every day. Every minute.
** Photo credit: my beloved friend Jann Tennenbaum www.jannlovesdogs.com

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HUNGER

In the early morning
A ruckus of younguns’
Disturbed the peace.
Wanting.
Needing.
Violent
And guttural.
Slightly alarming
Was their wail.
“The mother should come.”
Where were the caretakers
Supposedly taking care
Of these wee wanton ones?
I felt my stomach muscles
Grip imaginary hunger
Quite sure
The seeming vacuum
Would not be sated.
Soon.
Or ever.
The recalcitrant
Screamers
Screamed on.
They were too new.
Too raw
And helpless
Except
For the natural pitch
Of alarm
They cast to the dawn
In case the airs
Beyond the heat of their own
Held a savior.
Screaming.
They annihilated the atmosphere
Out there
Beyond my control.
I was un- nerved
And slightly sickened
By the refusal
Of parental valium delivery
In the form of food.
Can’t you fucking shut them up?
I needed to nod off
Luxuriantly.
Not feel responsible
To insure
The nourishment
Of others.
In my disturbed mind
I saw their yellowed beaks
Squirming
In the taught nest
Built with adoration
By parents feathered
Yet slightly disheveled
From the chronic need
Of a brood
Full of need.

I was born in the 50’s
When leaving
A babe
In the crib while wailing
Was the accepted method
To teach
Self-soothing.
My stomach
And heart
Remember
Endless alarm.
Waiting..

This is why
I am a very poor
Alpha dog mom.

–Cathy Aten May 2016

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Is Your Attitude Fake?

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Is Independence the Holy Grail?

part 2 of 5
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