The Soulful, Sonorous Sounds of David

“EVENING”,11×11″,m/m

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I love David.

I actually am IN love with him.

When I hear the salve of his soundings

It feels like honey in my heart.

DAVID ATTENBOROUGH’S voice has just the right combo of gravitas, innocence, awe, humor, wisdom, silliness and nobility

To allow me immediate rapture regarding any damn thing he says.

Today, that thing was the brand new BBC PLANET EARTH II series. (link is to NETFLIX listing)

I just watched the first episode on ISLANDS

And reveled in the advances technology has made in the ability to capture Nature in such glorious intimacy and power.

Here it is: BBC PLANET EARTH II narrated by my guy: David Attenborough.

Use it as the perfect buffer to whatever-the-hell-it-is we are living through these days.

KOMODO DRAGONS FIGHTING! SLOTHS LOVING! PENGUINS SINGING!

No pretense…sigh.

(except that horrible bird that pretends to be something he’s not and steals the eggs from the mother bird out gathering nest material and then he EATS them slurpily..)

Farmer

installation in private garden,naturally pigmented earth,ceramic

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If one is a farmer of life
Times of drought tiptoe in.
Rough, old earth workers
Expect such chilly emptiness.
They wait.
Patiently by the fire
With a scrappy mutt
And darned socks
They wait.
Inside illness
As I am
Time is stained by fear;
Will I slide smoothly
Into a new season
Of fecundity?
Will summer sweat be mine again?
Or will I wither
From lack?
The oddest questions
Seek me out.
Really…ANYTHING
With expectation
Is suffering.
I should know by now
That emptiness
Is only
Rest
And possibility
We humans
Dress up
in
Anxiety.
Today, Riley
(my shaman barista)
Decorated my latte
With an artfully drawn frond
Of some sort.
That tiny action
Rose up to grab me
By the heart.
Can we make anything beautiful?
That little flower he drew
Affected me as such
Because it came
Suddenly
Into my anxiety-tinged emptiness
I feared
Might never end.
If the emptiness disappeared
There’d be nowhere
For the Love
To land.

Space


3 silly girls at a birthday party: Alexis,Cathy,Nymphe

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Recently I watched a wonderful film on NETFLIX: EMPIRE OF SCENTS.

One clip in particular fascinated me as the question: “What does space smell like?” was posed.

Only a handful of space-walking astronauts could answer this question with authority.

Not that they whipped off their headgear whilst meandering outside the space capsule but upon re-entry to home away from home they are sealed into a pressure chamber to allow the shift in atmosphere.

Coming in from outer space as the door closes behind them SPACE and its scent is captured in there with them.

After the cabin is re-pressurized they then take off their protective gear and for a scant few seconds can smell the scent of space.

The astronaut interviewed described it as “slightly metallic; maybe like a witches cauldron.” A little bit scary, old and a little bit mysterious was the sense I got.

It feels to me that all of us sentient creatures are just floating; crowded into the ante-chamber breathing the dark,hot breath of our centuries old history

Until the friggin’ re-entry door decides to open into maybe something that is beautiful and smells of hope.

How do we find the buffer for the acridness afoot in our world ?

Setting very clear boundaries regarding what we invite near us is key.

The effort to cleve to any intention I may set feels nothing less than Herculean.

There is always, ALWAYS slippage

And yet..

Sometimes I am RIGHT IN THE POCKET!

The things that work best for me in the current witches cauldron we are soaking in are:

1. good, authentic, forgiving friends
2. my dog, EMMA
3. a heating pad at night
4. always flowers
5. recognizing the little miracles when they happen like some stranger opening a door for me.
6. A good book
7. gratitude all day long
8. creativity
9. non-clutter
10. showing appreciation to people who enhance my life for seemingly small things like a superb cup of coffee.
11. prayer
12. lipstick.
13. film
14. tequila

onward we all go…

xxx

Mere Mortals

Emma and me at The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum

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A good bit of family joined me here in Santa Fe over the holidays.

Sister, brother-in-law and nephew plus his fiance.

There were extended family as well.

For a girl pretty used to solitude this particular conglomeration of humans felt so good.

Entering the age in which one is acutely aware of aging brings with it a surprisingly potent form of super-glue regarding blood family where once there was none.

When I am near family my tired defensiveness about life in general seeps away as I know I have a soft place to fall no matter what.

I imagine I feel this more acutely as I don’t have kids so my family and friends are the ones holding the trampoline at street level should I teeter too far from some high rise in search of who knows what.

My family settled into a very fine AIRB&B.

One of us had been stricken with a virus en-route to Santa Fe.

As each day dawned another of us fell into various levels of stupor.

It didn’t hit me until their final day for which I am glad.

Recuperating in bed I watched mind movies of my family being their lovely selves; easy, fun, entertaining, nurturing, inspiring, authentic.

I feel proud to share their bloodline.

Think of all the effort it took for each of these people to get on planes and travel to Santa Fe!

Never, never would I take this for granted.

They are the best medicine.

I love them so.

Re-Solve

detail,hand-painting on wool

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When I think of “resolution”

Like many of us do at this time of year

The word seems hard and one I don’t actually feel like approaching.

I never keep my word to myself, anyway, in the way of resolutions and feel like a failure.

Wondering how I could use this potent time of the beginning of a new year

And have an intention I’d feel eager about holding and continually re-visiting

I came up with this:

Create an IMAGE in my mind instead of a list of words which would be a symbol for the feelings and emotions I wish to evoke

That hopefully will translate to action.

Just musing about this idea brought forth an image of me;

Standing (no wheelchair) dressed in a butter yellow swirly ball gown (the kind a competitive ball room dancer would wear. I have always had the secret dream of being such…),

My shoulders thrown back as well as my head, arms outstretched in a totally undefended stance.

When I hold this image in my mind I FEEL what the essence of it carries: balance, athleticism, confidence, joy, faith, creativity, trust, Spirited.

Life.

Capital “L”.

This is the “ME” I will be living into this year.

Happy New Year fellow life-wanderers.

In the face of so much ugliness may we do our best to make and share a bit of the beauty we are.

The Sacred and the Profane

detail, monoprint

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I may be the last person on earth to have seen the film BAD SANTA

But last night was my night to actually laugh A LOT in that rare, ugly and involuntary way;

The kind that hurts so good.

Now, this film, with Billy Bob Thornton is pretty much in the profane lane

Until you get to the end

Which is worth it.

I love to swear.

I find it extremely therapeutic

And a medicine I rely on

In these times of woe.

During the holidays in Santa Fe it is a challenge to meander down the sidewalk without getting slimed by someones’ family drama having escaped.

Emma looks askance at me when I swear

But I experience an immediate cleanse, physically and emptionally

And then can come back in to enjoy the holiday festivities.

My coarse exclamations are as bad a girl as I get

And so I enjoy them thoroughly when they appear unannounced.

My God.. I could be a heroin addict or thief

But I have settled in on unapologetic cursing.

I feel these exclamations must be brought forward with commitment.

No question mark at the end, boys and girls.

Say it and be done!

After such a clearing the nativity is fully populated and all the candles are there in the life-sized menorah on the plaza;

The lights are blessedly lit and my heart returns once again to an un-contracted state; open and primed to receive the gifts of the season.

Here we go—moving from darkness once again into the light.

I Sing

“BIRD”, 2001, 5″ x 4″ x 4″, ceramic

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I SING
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Big.
Black.
Eyes.
Watching
Me.

Ever-present oceans
Of adoration
And also
Fairly gracious
Demands:
“Get a move on, wheelchair girl!!”

Does each
And every
Tree trunk
Play
It’s own personal
Dog symphony?

In her complete silence
Emma is
A potent diplomat.
She instantly shifts all
Discontent;
Granting us a few untainted moments.

If she likes someone
She may
Grant the fortunate
A tiny tail wag
Or even a lick.
Maybe.

Never needy
Or unappreciative
Except
When I move
Away from her
In bed at night.

It is then
I hear a rustle of blanket
And slight adjustment
Until the press
Of her warm back
Meets mine again.

Emma is communion.
A wafer and wine at mass
Don’t hold a candle to her.
Everyday
I open my personally writ hymn book
And sing.
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– CA.

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Intimate Observation


painting on wool flannel

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The weather has shifted into raw winter here.

Everyone is bundled and puffered.

An occasional muffled greeting escapes layers of protection and meets my ears.

Emma’s face bravely pokes into the wind like the prow of a Viking ship.

As my beloved Santa Fe slips into the holidays

The stoic and frozen Native Americans sit very still under the portal presenting their offerings as they always do.

They are so beautiful in their contained presence; the antithesis of what is on the news.

The winter, between holidays, is our local time sans too many visitors

So we can see and feel one another easily.

How do those Indians keep sitting there prettifying a tiny piece of sidewalk real estate with blankets placed perfectly

Bordering their neighbors spread?

Where do they go to the bathroom?

Why do they seldom smile?

Over the years we’ve led our lives near one another with me and Em scoping out the plaza and the mysterious Naive American artists nearby, a few hundred feet away.

It calms me they are always there.

I count on their gravitas.

One time this past summer I had the thought to rise before dawn and spread anonomous rose petals all along the sidewalk where they set up.

Anglos can be mysterious too.

I didn’t do it thinking how they’d have to do the work to clean them up.

We all exist side by side with stories about one another

Or maybe not.

But we share air.

A brief look.

A quarter of a smile.

These seemingly inconsequential ocurrances seem meaningless

Yet, here I am writing of them

Feeling a soft and grateful heart.

We never know how the essence of us affects the world of “other”.

Add in the courage of vulnerability or out-loud recognition of those who matter;

Up your game to half a smile

And add a “Hi”

POOF! You got a community.

The Wave

I dropped my head this morning with a sigh

As I read that TIME MAGAZINE has voted the women

Who have bravely thrown open the shutters

And told their truth regarding past sexual abuse; THE SILENCE BREAKERS people of the year.

Is it any wonder 90% of autoimmune disorders (MS, Chrone’s,RA, ALS) are experienced by women?

Autoimmunity is the action of the body attacking its’ self.

What do we all imagine happens inside us as we continually shrink to fit

As I have done most of my life.

My storyline began at birth changing myself around to wrangle some love from a depressed mother.

From there I went on to do things like stay silent while Les McCANN, a jazz musician of note, fondled my crotch in a pressing crowd while I asked him for an autograph for my boyfriend.

It was an expensive gift.

I stayed silent.

My boyfriend was overjoyed.

In my 30’s I was raped in Boston.

A young black man stole into my apartment.

My eternal hero, Detective Joe Lally, pieced together obscure clues and caught the guy.

As I testified in court I understood my voice was very important; I would make it through this horrifying experience-keep it together..speak through my walking-deadness

Because I knew that my voice that day represented all the legions of women who could not, would not speak.

The rapist was sentenced to 27 years in prison and died there a few years ago.

My hero, Joe, called to tell me of his death.

The backround fear I carried in the bottom of my stomach left.

I remember years ago when the wave of feminism was gaining and bras were burned in a potent but fairly messy swing of the pendulum.

Change happens this way.

A critical mass is reached.

The pendulum swings waaaaayyy over to one side and then, in time, we integrate that very change achieving balance.

Courage is contagious.

I am going to let this sacred wave of change wash away all the self-judgement, shame, silence, containment, stasis and the lost and weary undernourished dragon in me I left out in the cold so long ago.

I think I shall invite her in and tell her I am sorry for shutting her up so many times that her fire almost disappeared.

I will listen. Wipe her tears and polish her scales that I never let her use to protect me.

I will tell her it was too dangerous to allow her presence to be known.

We can share some tequila, maybe.

She will be my teacher.

My blood has cooled to a dangerous degree and I will let her gently warm me with her fire.

Nope…and Yes


detail of painting

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Aging is really shitty.

And not.

The other day I had a memory snafu the likes of which scared me to death.

This morning I ran into a female friend who blasted me with her opinion that all the sexual abuse victims voicing revelations hidden in pressure cookers for eons were, in her reality, just out for attention and money.

My tolerance level is at its lowest point.

No.

Nope!

I cut and ran from my friend.

I did.

Never did that before.

I used to have more Grace and room;

Space for differing opinions, values and humanness I might find prickly.

Aging and illness has given me a great gift of boundaries.

My physical body immediately registers energetic DANGER and unceremoniously steers me clear.

With the acute registration of “NO!”

Comes an equally insistent knowing of when and with whom to exhibit a hearty “YES!”

Yes to space and beauty and undefended connections.

Yes to nature and prayer and Emma and soul-polishing books and film.

Yes to eating well and rituals that keep me comforted and warm.

Yes to giving back to and investing in those who continue to support my well-being.

Yes to learning cool stuff and musing about big questions.

Yes to leading the kind of discriminating life that only comes with age and illness.

It is only by saying a definitive and hearty “NO!”

That I can even begin to know what and who to say a true “YES!” to.

All of It

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Early this morning Emma and I jetted downtown.

The holiday streets were bare of humans.

The return of my wheelchair after a week of being in the shop and me held prisoner at home

Provoked a middle-of-the-road, fifth gear frolic.

The line at Starbuck’s was out the door already.

A single dad behind me in line chatted me up due to the cement grey solemnity he met in his visiting 3 kids.

I could taste the awkward hunger for some sort of bridge between them.

All of us turned to Emma to save us.

A loud, video-gaming recalcitrant young un’ pushed everyones’ borderline sanity into the red zone

Until a stranger braved an approach to the family and said: ” Please turn down the volume of the video game.”

The father huffed.

I had left my paper, sunglasses and Emma’s leash on a table to ensure I had a place to sit.

Negotiating my chair through the throng of holiday-altered folks

I returned with coffee to the safe zone I had smartly saved for us.

The single Dad settled his chicks at a table nearby slurping breakfast Frappuccinos and headed over to my table.

He stood chatting for too long and I understood he desired safe harbor.

I just couldn’t save him.

I needed the pseudo- peace of this morning to feel the simple pleasure of Emma in my lap and muse about how it feels to be a sensitive person; perceptive enough to pick up the nuances of the surrounding family constellations

As well as the slight fog of single people without family near.

I was pleased I did what I needed to do for myself this morning by not throwing the life preserver to the guy.

He ended up sitting at the community table by himself.

Feeling the world as deeply as we all do; the discordant symphony of Life itself

Tests us all moment by moment.

Finishing my coffee I left to roll about my beloved town.

A bit of silent communion was had as I caught the eyes of a few fellow travelers and smiled.

I felt in love with all of it.

Freedom


detail painted wool flannel

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On the street recently I met Monica; a lovely butter-colored puffer clad woman of an age who shared with me she had recently paid to have a new small dog enclosed park built nearby.

No small feat what with fencing, getting city approval etc..

I soaked in her uber-generosity as I rolled home.

Since Emma was a street dog in Los Angeles before we met and likely a puppy mill resident before that

Her history of the pleasures of just plain being a dog were severely truncated.

When taken to the new park and let off the leash she was very confused without the familiar thread to her person.

She remained in one place just looking around and yawning from anxiety.

Witnessing the learning curve to enter freedom is really interesting for me as a wheelchair user.

My own learning curve is to continue negotiating constant loss of freedoms

And how to stay free within the peeling away of those I take for granted.

My wheelchair was picked up by the repair company yesterday as it needed over-hauling.

I was grateful they left me with a loaner at least

Though it is far inferior to mine.

Venturing out last night to walk Emma the motor began faltering and I turned around to barely make it home.

Here I sit for at least a week able to use this chair around the house but no more.

I feel like a caged animal having lost my freedom;

A visceral inner howl.

Big STOP.

Each cell of me is wriggling with discontent.

To get through this I understand meditation to be my salve; get quiet..sit down and know there is nowhere to go and deal with the fucking truth of THAT.

Nowhere to go.

Nowhere to go…..

Nowhere to go…………..

I am free.

Simply Complicated


my garden

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When I screw up with a friend I am really hard on myself.

My path in life has been devoted to lifting up the heaviest of metaphorical rocks in my being and having the courage to see, smell and touch the stuff of the dark.

Somehow, I never lost the trail the faint perfume of an innocent, highly charged girl/woman trapped under that weight still exuded.

I found her at last and with oodles of assistance did what it took to dig her out.

I really like her a lot.

She is still revealing herself to me.

It is a damn messy business..getting authentic.

So many costume changes till one finds the right color and fit.

Sometimes I use a telescope..sometimes a magnifying glass.

For all the editing I’ve done over the years.. now, when I find a friend I don’t need or want to edit myself with

All manner of unpolished communication passes between us.

To many people I have seemed complicated in the sense I live a very curvaceous life.

As an artist I know the dark..the light and bright horizonless white of a blank canvas too.

They are the same for me.

The worms and shed skin of a snake are catalysts for curiosity as much as the loamy, sexy smell of dirt under the rocks I’ve displaced.

My life is a lot of the nothingness most pay handsomely for a ticket to once, maybe twice a year.

My life is not a sunny beach

But a swath of sand visited in the early dawn hours after a surprise storm has left large and little treasures strewn every which way.

I must bend down to reach them..not a one has jumped directly into my pocket.

That would be my parting Facebook profile picture:

A woman walking bent over one early morning in half-light; pockets heaving with the damp stretch of treasure.

A little white dog two steps behind tries unsuccessfully to keep it’s feet dry.

Essence vs. Extra

I feel flat in the midst of the turning seasons.

The Summer heat, sense of easy expansion of my energy, stretched out daylight, fabrics like linen and silk, fresh colors of white and pink, exclamations of birdlife and riotous blooming

Shift

To naked trees, involuntary contracting of muscle and mind, dark and frosty chill, vacant garden rows and lots and lots of puffer coats; mostly black.

I know, I know….

So much important work going on under the frozen earth as root systems rest and rebuild and we all hunker down in our dens.

My nervous system is tattered from the long summer of tourists standing in their great width and weight, middle of the sidewalk with heads hang-dogged seeking the security of GPS.

I am powering down and it feels flat.

Rolling down the road today with Emma in her usual spot at the prow of our ship

She relinquished her ever-forward gaze

And turned that beloved face up to me a number of times.

She was feeling nervous about various canine appearances along our way.

She looked up at me with her clear, trusting, present and glittering black eyes

Just to check:

Everything cool? Any need to guard you?

I say: ” Hi Em..Everything’s ok. Good dog..very good dog”.

My heart slows with the medicine of her pure goodness and beauty.

More and more I live inside these seemingly small moments of reverence for life.

Tiny soft furry breathing on my lap

Or her front leg reach mixed with jangling up and down dancey head movements during dinner preparation.

As my heart plumps to bursting I remember these little church moments and take that awareness into the world.

That man in Starbucks jumping up from his comfy seat to run across and get the door for me before I even get there…the purity of this act feels the same somehow.

The bright red chile ristras hung recently on the plaza were the essence of red; indescribably deep and rich.

The feelings I am after have no names, really.

Because reducing them to language is missing the point.

Crafting a life of ESSENCE and not EXTRA is what I am up to as we enter this season of excess..

Here is my front porch winter offering inspired by Scandinavia’s inherent appreciation of less-is-way-more...

How I Keep Getting Up

“RENAISSANCE” naturally pigmented , 10’x3’earth, wood

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I’m talkin’ ’bout getting up in the morning and rising above the aches, weariness, thoughts of “not-good-for-much today”, undercurrent of hating the world and peeing my pants…

(Gotcha’ with that last one, eh?)

You may be aware MS is often accompanied by this symptom).

My greatest medicine is a way of looking….perceiving.

Our current outer world is uncivil, ill-mannered, divided.

It affects me so much.

I want to shrink away from it all;… MY pain.. THE pain just living our daily lives demands of each of us.

I find myself getting smaller energetically and less available to the barrage of bullets.

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SOME THINGS THAT HELP ME BE HEALTHY:

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1. Mental health is just as important as physical health and we can’t survive without it. My definition of mental health means we can easily access a reserve of energy to think new things, live moderately well in the unknown in the company of the natural anxieties arriving moment by moment. KEY word: A RESERVE of life juice. A savings account of self-love. HOW?

2. I put myself next to, behind or near people/beings of character through personal contact, video online, film, books, friends, animals.

3. I create beauty to keep myself entertained; decorating myself and my home and noticing it in others and telling them.

4. Remembering we only really have this moment after all is said and done, I cry, wipe the tears with 2-ply tissue, patch the hole in my skirt, apply lipstick and scent and roll on.

5. Depression finds my chest feeling collapsed. I remember my posture and get comfortably straight then breath into my belly. This creates instant pride in a good way.

6. Too much time alone and I get so bored with myself. Out we go- Emma and me into the wilderness of life. I go fast in my chair and sing stupid ditties into the wind.

7. Eating plants and green stuff is good but a slice of carrot cake with too much frosting is grand medicine.

8. Give something to someone. SOMETHING YOU VALUE to a stranger; a smile, even “Hello” will lift someone else but mostly you.

9. Down time with head under the covers is part of remaining healthy. Just get up before you forget the sound of youtr own voice.

10. Buy flowers. For your own precious self.

11. Remember the strongest truth there is: EVERYTHING DAMN THING CHANGES. ( NATURE points to this reality and the comfort/alarm in it). Comfort is not the goal.

12. Finding the good in the bad starts out being kindof exhausting but this is the most effective way to a thriving life I know.

I would say what keeps me on top of my game the most is subscribing to the philosophy of WABI SABI- the perfection of imperfection. Cultivating a way of looking.. .click here:

Emma Loves Earthworms

detail-ceramic

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AFTER THE BIG STORM

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EMMA LOVES EARTHWORMS.

INTOXICATING! BROWN. DEAD.

MOVE ALONG, DOGGIE.

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CA- 2017

Raven Walking


RAVEN WALKING

I saw a raven walking.
Really more of a strut.
He felt himself fully
Flashing this way and that.
Hysterical children
Bothered him not.
He walked;
Courting no one.

I am like him.
Little need
To bolster my flash.
I enjoy my lot
Taking only as much
Sidewalk
As I need.
I roll on;
Courting no one
In particular.

That raven I saw
Has a black stride
Way
More secure
Than my own.
I did notice
He had
One feather
Slightly
Amiss.

His naturally black eyes
Have no overleaves
Of pretense or posturing.
The swagger he owns
And the flash too;
He can’t divorce himself
From who he is.

I got up this morning
And vacuumed
The dustbunnies
Off my precious
And secret
Self.
When I emptied
The bag
It was less full
Than yesterday.
(Big sigh)

I roll.
Hoping to meet that raven.
“Thank you
For showing me
Your Real”
I shall say.
“Here is some of mine
For you.”

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Purpose

Apologies for my extended silence.

If I don’t have anything to say, I don’t.

I have been shifting with the season.

In order for new stuff to come in the old has to die off as we all know but I never like it while it’s happening.

Like the leaves, my energies feel brittle and warm from the advent of composting.

I acted as sounding board for a friend conflicted in his decision-making process whether to stay in Santa Fe and continue in business which has been a challenge for the past year

Or to return to his familiar life back east where his income was safe and he knew exactly what to expect.

He was freaked out because he is pushed to the wall time-wise with head and heart battling it out.

His bottom line ended up being “PURPOSE” and deciding what that is for him; recognizing his unwillingness to live the remainder of his life without it.

Putting words to our purpose feels important.

For me, the diminishing capabilities of ambulatory living and even two hands to count on have forced me to welcome the heat of my own leaves which have fallen; on the composting trail to new and fertile soil.

Dirty, messy business to face the need to shift from one identity to the next.

I might say that my past and pre-MS identity and purpose was that of an artist bringing beauty and interest into the world.

Today, I understand that to merely exist with as much awareness and appreciation as I can muster

As well as be a reflection for the miracle that is us

Is my purpose.

Really the same thing I was doing as an artist

Just not “in form”.

After all is said and done

To BE…to exist

Is enough.

I wish I felt more kindly toward that pesky “composting” part though….

A work in progress we are.

I don’t remember Spring every occurring without the “dying to be re-born” part.

Do you?

Yuk. and Yay!

Becky

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On my own at a favorite restaurant a couple months ago I sat next to Becky who was dining with her friend Carmen; both of whom were in town for Indian Market.

First, I noticed Becky’s energy which is big in a lovely and sophisticated sort of way.

“She has amazing skin and is so beautiful” I thought.

I drank my wine with half my attention on the woman next to me and petted Emma sleeping on my lap.

I can’t remember who started our first conversation but come to find out we are both highly skilled textile designers. I think I commented on her amazing and highly unusual tee shirt.

Becky tells me her son who had been tragically killed in a car wreck a number of years back had painted the shirt for her and she had never worn it or washed it until tonight; a sacred relic.

I surmised she now was far enough away from her Texas Hill Country ranch and felt anonymous enough to wear it.

My throat constricted in disbelief that this remarkable woman was sharing such searing intimacy with me.

“There are no mistakes here..you sitting next to me knowing about textiles” she drawled in an upper-crustian Texan way.

In the time since meeting Becky in person we have been building a sort of friendship tapestry by email.

Sometimes in life, if we are very fortunate and have pleased the gods, someone comes along with just the right kind of medicine and I see we are that for each other.

She has lost a son and two husbands, manages a large ranch as well as a mother in partnership with dementia.

I sensed her soul was too tired and needed hydration of some sort to counter-act the brittleness.

Steeping in grief for so long, even surrounded by such natural beauty can erase any memory of what it feels like to be held tenderly by life.

My new friend is spectacular in so many ways and it is easy and fun for me to remind her of who I experience her to be. My opinion surely but: a superb talent in textiles and design, painting, writing, style, keeping her family alive through funny and poignant masterfully written books.

She does the same reflecting for me by understanding the particulars of dealing with hardships and what it takes to keep calling up resilience; a gift we share.

She gave me a hat, the wide-brim kind she wears so well and I initially felt it was too big for me. I was unsure I could carry it. She believed I could. It was an excercise in EXPAND TO INCLUDE for me as I put it on and tied the scarf she designed around my neck the way she showed me.

Voila! A part of me bloomed in this hat!

The point of all this is that we need good girlfriends to help remind us who we are when we forget. A downward spiral gains momentum in that direction if we let it do what it wants to do which is go down.

There was a time when I lost myself for years.

To remember I needed to fake it to make it and listen carefully to how those I love were reminding me who I was; what words were they using to describe me?

At some point I heard things often enough that I began to believe.

We all lose ourselves and sometimes need help coming home.

Thank you to those in my life I count on to hold space for me when I vacate awhile.

Thank you Becky, for seeing me the way you do.

A Woman Eating Alone In A Restaurant

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One of my most satisfying pleasures is to go to a favorite casual restaurant or coffeeshop and enjoy being there alone.

It continues to surprise me so many friends are too uncomfortable to take solace in this simple joy.

I know…we have these ancient imagined stories reeling in our heads like: “How pitiful to see her there without a dining companion”, or “Can’t she get a man?” or just “How sad…”.

The key take-away words are: ANCIENT, STORIES, IMAGINED.

It is 2017 girlfriends.

You know you are good company.

Take yourself to lunch!

Here’s how:

1. Pick a casual place you know..maybe off hours to start.
2. Bring a book..forget your phone.
3. Smile on entry as you are seated.
4. Ask for a different seat if you don’t like where you are put.
5. Be engaging with the wait person: “Do you like this wine?”
6. I always imagine wait people dislike seeing me sitting alone because their minds are on money..less $ for table of 1).
7. When I first started going out to eat alone I just had to fake it because it was too weird but I took my mind off the strangeness by appreciating how lovely it feels to be served, the clean and sparkling glassware, nobody to take care of as far as entertaining a dining companion, just a deep pause in a fast life just for me.
8. Try not to go too far down into your book to make it impossible to connect with other interesting people.
9. Relish your own interestingness.
10. Lately, I go to a hotel downtown with an outdoor patio open to the street. Very casual at happy hour. I sit with Emma and have a margarita…no phone..no book..I just people watch. In just a few visits I have met astoundingly interesting people. It feels super comfortable because it is a hotel and not terribly strange to see a woman alone.
11. I always tip VERY well and make the experience different than the waitperson expected. You will be treated like royalty next time you go! PROMISE!

a tidbit from OPRAH- click HERE.

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