Three to Five

“No one is actually dead until the ripples they cause in the world die away…”
~ Terry Pratchett

What’s happening here? I asked him. He replied, “A key broke loose and I’m gluing it back in place.” Ha, well that’s certainly a creative way, I retorted speculating on the curiously odd way he was going about it. The late model laptop was laying on the living room floor next to his chair with a large brass dolphin figurine resting across the keyboard, it’s nose strategically placed on a function key was the silliest looking thing I’d seen in a while — so much so I had to take a picture.  This will come in handy one day I told him.

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~~~

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAIt was a gift, that blue model sail boat. A gift from me to Boomer, in 1999, the second summer I spent with him in Saugatuck, Michigan. I’d spotted it in a tourist gift shop. He loved sailing and his favorite color was blue. The purchase was a no-brainer for me and probably the easiest gift I’d given him in all our years together. He loved it. The boat was one of his favorite things and always made its home in a prominent place of stately presence in the three residences that followed. It was all the sentimental history surrounding the boat why I kept it.

I never imagined a time when it wouldn’t be in my home or moreover, the home I shared with Boomer. Yet there I was, taking pictures of it and placing it on Craigs List to sell — three years after he died — as I began clearing out and packing up the house, preparing to move. It was time. He was the sailor, not me. I’d been selectively assessing what I’d take with me into a new home. The new home without him. What items were special to me, my tastes or my likes that also meshed with fond, loving memories of Boomer or our history together. The blue sail boat was no longer such an item.

A woman in a neighboring town called late-morning that Wednesday with interest in the boat for the nautical-themed redecorating of her guest room. She could be there in 30-minutes. I walked into my own guest room to retrieve the boat from the top shelf of an increasingly empty bookcase. I stood there looking at it, remembering its life with us, its life with Boomer and said a private goodbye when I spotted a small piece of dust in a corner of the bow.  As I blew on it, something moved and I leaped out of my skin in startlement.  What on earth is that?  A peculiar, misplaced, square piece of black plastic.  I picked it up, turned it over for examination… BAM!  I am stunned by what I am holding… the function key. 20151014_124916

That boat had been moved, adjusted, repositioned and dusted countless times in the last three years.  The laptop had been discarded and recycled over two years ago.  A deluge of questions dominated my bewilderment: What the?  How the?  Where the?   Then the grief hit; a trouncing blast of paralyzing mourning shock and awe of Boomer’s passing, my love, my sorrow and loss, and a spiritual affirmation of his presence right there with me in the moment; all so intense I could barely breathe or stand, and had instantly usurped the surprising discovery of the laptop key so much that I was now terrified over my inability to contain my emotions — and the woman was arriving in 15 minutes to buy the boat.  Pull it together, pull it together.  I chant to myself over and over, when I recall Amber’s counseling words: It’s a three to five year process. The full emotional healing process of bereavement, mourning, and loss can take three to five years. Welcome to year three, SMO; you’ve arrived.

I desperately wanted to rebuff Amber’s trained, educated insights each time I heard them during the 22-months of my grief recovery therapy with her.  Three to five.   Sounds more like a distorted criminal judicial sentencing.  I thought she was crazy.  Yeah, crazy like a fox.  And so is grief.  As the time passes and you move through life, making the adjustments, while the subtle natural emotional healing of time passages occur, surprises will beset you. Bet on it, and yet you can’t. That’s the irony of grief and also what’s so damn frustrating.  You are blind-sided — every time.

The sound of a car door coming from the driveway, jolted me back into an assemblance of coherent composure.  We did the transaction — taking all of five-minutes — as the blue sail boat was placed in the trunk onward to its new home, new owners, new memory making excursions. I walked back into the house, picking up where I left off, and uncontrollably dropped to the ground, landing in the very spot where the laptop and dolphin gluing project had been staged.  For a few moments, I felt like he had just died — again. I surrendered to the second microburst of tears, pain and anguish and let them run their course as I sat there on the living room floor.  A phone call to a nearby friend, spawned a in-person visit and talking through the experience with her, I regained my strength and felt better within a few hours.  This is grief…the later years.

Grief need not be a life sentence.  But the healing unequivocally does take time.  Expect the unexpected.  Take comfort in knowing that that is what is guaranteed — the absolute unexpectedness of emotional triggers.  Yes, I know…it’s always easier said than done. Do it anyway, for your love of you, your loved one and your healing.  The moments may hit hard,  but they don’t last quite as long, so long as you give yourself permission to unfold with it when they do.

I can’t help but wonder, what will be next?

Death is not the opposite of life, but a part of it. 
~ Haruki Murakami

God Schmod. Waiting on a Friend.

I believe in God, but not as one thing, not as an old man in the sky.
I believe that what people call God is something in all of us.
I believe that what Jesus and Mohammed and Buddha
and all the rest said was right.
It’s just that the translations have gone wrong.

~ John Lennon

“Be still, and know that I am God.”
Psalm 46:10

Pushing through the double doors exiting the CICU of Lee Memorial Hospital, I walked past the elevator bank, toward the waiting area.  Handbag over my shoulder, cell phone in my right hand,  I looked up, threw my arms out saying, “Well, what’s next?  What do You want me to do next?”  Wait.  My worst nightmare, the one thing I’d been most afraid of was now reality — Boomer was dying.  He entered the emergency room the night before;  during the night he took another hard, rapid, declining turn and was now sedated and intubated.   I was called in before dawn as it was happening.  I knew the situation was dire, moving too rapidly for me to keep up.  There were calls to make, but I didn’t have answers.  There were decisions to make, but I didn’t have all the information.   Wait.   I’m a doer, not a waiter.  When crisis hits,  I am all-hands-on-deck.  Wait.  Waiting is another nightmare for me.  God was telling me to wait.

“If we can learn ways to touch the peace, joy and happiness that are already there
we will become healthy and strong, and a resource for others.”
~ Thich Nhat Hanh, Living Buddha, Living Christ

Six months earlier, I laid in bed, staring out the window, desperation consuming me:  lonesome, hopeless, helpless, terrified, fed-up and done with the whole thing.  It was the time – the only time –  I contemplated leaving.   Leaving Boomer.  Leaving the marriage.  I didn’t have answers.   I didn’t have solutions.   Just thoughts.  One thought and it scared me.  It’s not my nature to leave.  A phantom whisper interrupted the thought:   Stay.  Wait.  Don’t leave.  I need you.  Boomer needs you.

I’d been doing the very best I could, studying, listening and learning of the suggestions being offered in the rooms of 12-step recovery, Al-Anon specifically, make no major changes to your life for at least 6 months, focus on your recovery, work the 12-steps for you. I had been at it for eight months when the thought of leaving surfaced and the whisper found its way to me.

Growing up, I knew God to be anything other than a friend and only as someone you visited on holidays, like your Aunt Louise.  God as I understood was to be feared.  God was judge, jury, punisher, rule maker, also like Aunt Louise.  God was also a misogynist, sexist, and later, child molester.   If I told lies, God would get me.   If I didn’t confess my sins in a dark room on my knees, God would get me.  If I was married more than once, or had sex out-of-wedlock, God would get me.  If I didn’t follow the genuflecting workout exercises during a mass, God would get me.  If I ate a juicy burger (or even a dry one) on Fridays or that candy bar during Lent, God would get me.  If I didn’t hand over 10% of all my income to the church, God would get me.  If I didn’t follow the “rules”  — which I could barely comprehend anyway — God would get me.  God as I knew “Him”, was a do as I say, but not as I do dictatant.    I developed a real pessimism for God, kind of like the one He evidently already had for me.  God was good.  Really?  If He’s so all that then why are my parents divorced?  Why was I beaten as a kid?  Why did the biological father of my daughter cut and run?   Why is everyone’s else’s life so much better than mine?  God is good?  Bullshit.  God sucks.    Still I towed the line, followed the rules, did my time of a living penance and shuffled my daughter along through the dogmatic system until she finished 8th grade, because that’s what good parents do.  But when internal secrets broke loose of children being molested by priests…Bastard!  Fuck you, I’m outta here.   I didn’t go back.

God schmod.  Good riddance.  That’s were I left Him.  God couldn’t be trusted.  God was a liar.  The whole God thing was a sham.  I was through with all of it.  So I switched gears, by way of lexicon.  No more God.  I’ll take The Universe, for $1,000 Alex.  Oooooh, The Universe.  Trendy.  Mystical, magical, cosmic, and an ideal approach for wayward agnostics and newborn atheists like me to set up spirit camp, divorced from the doctrine of Roman Catholic Christianity, all Christianity for that matter.  Yet, deep down in the caverns of my heart and soul I knew something did exist — beyond me, greater than me, and wildly incomprehensible to me. Because I had some proof — direct personal proof –to back it up.

Pregnant at 17, something inside me knew.  I knew, I would be raising my daughter as a solo-parent.  It’s not the way I wanted it and in my still-a-baby-myself, immature 17-year-old ways I tried all I could to force a different outcome.   But way down, deep down, I knew, all along, it would be The All SMO Parenting Show.  I regularly had these quiet private secret moments, I couldn’t call them prayer, but that is what it was.  I regularly asked the Air up there, the Air over there, the Air anywhere, for my baby to be a girl, a healthy girl.  I’m going to be doing this thing on my own and I need the support of relatability in order to succeed as the good, loving parent I want to be.  I’m a girl; I can relate.  I want to be the kind of parent my own parents were not.  Please give us both a fighting chance here, let this baby be a girl, that will help me out a lot.   Anytime, day or night, whenever I was overcome with fear, shame, guilt, or hopelessness about my situation, I asked the Air for my baby to be a girl.   When I gave birth, the doctor handed the baby to me, laying the tiny body on my chest at an angle that prohibited my ability to physically identify gender.  “What is it?” I exhaustively asked.  A girl, a healthy girl.

In my humanness, I keep wanting to make God this 3-dimensional entity of flesh and bone — tangible and opaquely  visible in accessibility to me at all times, 24/7/365, and 366 on leap year.  Nope.   Not so.   Religion confuses this for me.  Religion keeps trying to tell me that there’s one guy, and only one guy,  the carrier of a single message.  No.   What I continue to experience, study, embrace and be fully dazzled by time-and-again that the proof is the prize for faith, for asking, without knowing certainty.  Ask.  Believe.  Receive.   And sometimes I have to wait too.   There are many carriers of a message, whatever the message is that I uniquely and specifically need to hear.

Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.
~  Hebrews 11:1

Back to that dire morning at Lee Memorial.  Over the course of three hours, God delivered everything I needed to know, needed to say, needed to do and used fellow humans:  doctors, nurses, friends — near and far — to communicate to me those instructions.  First point of proof was the doctor.  He sat me down in front of a computer monitor and walked through Boomer’s stats, what they meant and the seriousness of the situation.   He spoke to me in simple, calm, easy-to-understand terms.  “Do you have calls to make?”  Yes, I do.  “OK, here’s what you say…”    It was amazing, God, through the doctor, gave me the script word-for-word to make those phone calls; the hardest, saddest, scariest phone calls I’ve ever had to make.  While I was on the phone, a nurse walked over and handed me printouts with highlighted areas specifically describing what Boomer had, what was likely to happen, that enabled me to have those conversations, to answer the naturally impending questions.  Nurses brought me coffee and sliced apples to help keep my energy level up.  I wasn’t alone.  Nor was I alone, when I had my daughter.   God needed me and so did Boomer.  God gave me what I needed to be there for them both.   I stayed.  I asked.  I waited.  I listened.  I followed the whispered instruction.  That’s all God wants.

I’ve come to acknowledge that I am a deeply spiritual being having one helluva a  wicked human experience.    I’ve struggled readopting use of the term God.  I tried on Universe, Higher Power, Source, Spirit, Energy, all the others.  I heard writer Anne Lamott say, she sometimes refers to God as Phil, for her favorite scripture quote from Philippians.  I like God.  God works.  It’s simple.  It’s one syllable, 3 letters and I like simple.   I once heard an acronym for God:  Good Orderly Direction.  That’s good too,  God is my internal GPS.  What I didn’t always know or willingly admit was I’ve always had that internal GPS, that guide for good, the nudge I get in the center of my gut.  It’s a navigational alarm of what is good, or not, and I often sense it before my brain grabs hold to dismantle and manipulate it into something different, often denial, and always troublesome in one way or another.    I just didn’t understand that nudge is always for good; my good, and the good of those I interact with.  An invitation to dialog, ask for what I need, what I want, like a healthy baby girl or the right words to communicate terrible news.

I awoke to God in my despair — a Gift of Desperation.  God is ecstatic with me that I have finally chosen to be active in our dialog together, welcoming the friendship.  The grief counselor I spent 22 months with after Boomer died,  said to me once, “God has been pursuing you.”   Heavy and true.  Though it took difficulties and tragedies and trauma to get it, accept it,  God has been a patient friend, waiting for me.

Ironic how God is, has been, so patient with me, yet I do not easily reciprocate that patience.  That’s how we are different.  God is omnipotent and omnipresent.  I am not.   God loves when I get it, when I mess up and try again, and even when I get mad.   I do not.  I pray for guidance, direction, support and protection.  Then I wait.  The whole patience thing is something I struggle with daily.   God is also a prankster with me, making me wait little longer, like when I ask for patience and then all I get are red lights when I’m in a hurry, or the slowest line in the grocery store.  In prayer, I ask God for the help.  Then I wait.   In meditation, I listen for information or answers.  They come, though rarely on my timeline, always on God’s.  I can never project, I just get to piece it together later.  I live life forward, understand it backward, that’s how God rolls with me.  It’s how I’ve see God’s answers:  Yes, No, or I have something better in mind.

God keeps reminding me I’m not in charge, of my life or someone else’s.  Whaaaat?  Trust me, the shit that’s gone down in my life, I did not want it — none of it.   I never said, hey, wouldn’t it be cool to be married to a drunk who dies?   I never said as a little girl, I bet it might be fun to be pulled down a flight of stairs by my long brown hair.   No, and yet that crap happened anyway.   War and peace.  Love and hate.  Life and death.  Health and sickness.  Where is God?  Right there, orchestrating it — ALL of it.  Since the dawn of time, ask Adam and Eve, or their kids, Cain and Abel;  talk to Job, he’s got stories too.  It’s divine design this God thing.    To open my heart, have faith, sometimes that means waiting, often with uncertainty and confusion.

It was only a few months ago, I came to terms with the possibility that God takes loved ones, when we perceive it to be too soon,  because God knows they won’t get better;  God uses them to be teachers for the rest of us.  God uses us, to help carry that message — whatever it uniquely is for us.  Like in Boomer’s case, he was so incredibly sick, with a disease that is destined to kill, God intervened and took him.  God said it was enough, enough suffering for all of us.    And as a result, turned me into an advocate of recovery, and addiction awareness.  Who’da thunk?

Organized religion doesn’t fit me, it never has.  God showed me that and said it’s a-ok,  because I came to believe in my own way at my own time; or was it God’s?   Ah the mystery of life.  Today, I study all faiths, I practice the principles of Buddhism – peace, love, and compassion for all living beings, along with the 12-steps, one day at a time.

I woke one morning, a voice whispering in my ear, and tears running down my right cheek. Everything was necessary, the voice said, absolutely necessary to get you where you are today and to get those who are around you today here too.  Absolutely necessary.  It still baffles my mind, but I roll with it anyway.  Faith — find answers in the heart — is where God is for me.

God didn’t give up on me.  What a terrific friend.  Thanks for Your patience.   It’s good to be with You.

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image credit:  footprintsholistic.com

45 + 7 = ?

“It took me a long time to realize we are not meant to be perfect;
 we are meant to be whole.”
~Jane Fonda

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Fragments and pieces.  Look closely.  See the missing faces, darkened by black permanent marker.  Notice where parts and sections of the photographs have been manually removed, cut out or torn away.  This was no accident.  It was intentional, an attempt to erase, as much as possible, the relational presence of existence to the now missing other part.  You see images that are incomplete.  A story being told, an action taking place with only a few parts of the whole being represented, while another story is untold, one where separation, restriction, isolation, and insignificance are forcibly created.  You will also see innocence, that of a baby, a toddler, a little girl, who’s ages range somewhere around  10-months to six-years-old.  You’re looking at someone else’s pain and the action they chose to use to express that pain.  You’re also looking at the direct pain someone’s action inflicted upon someone else.  So much is there, and so much is missing.  You see remnants of a life story — mine.

This is my family photo album.  I am the baby, the toddler, the little girl in the pictures.  These are some of my early childhood memories.  They are only the visual reference to a time I barely remember and I see them, revisit and reminisce each time I open the album.   This is what I have to work with and whenever I peruse the early albums an inquisition rapid fires:  Who is that man?  When was it taken? Where were we?  Who else was there?  What happened?  Who took the picture?  What else is missing?   Why did this happen?  To me?  How can someone be so cruel?  Many questions and just one answer: pain.

There are too many people today who instead of feeling hurt are acting out their hurt; instead of acknowledging pain, they’re inflicting pain on others.  Rather than risking feeling disappointed, they’re choosing to live disappointed.”
~ Brene Brown, Rising Strong

The action taken against the photographs was my mother acting out her pain.  The outward expression of anger, frustration, fear, sorrow, despair, resentment, etc. following the end of her marriage to my father;  I was 6, my brother was 4.   Ironically, what she didn’t know was the pain she was also inflicting on me (I can’t speak for my younger sibling) in the way she chose to lash out.  It was one of many ways she inflicted her pain, but this sticks because there’s documented proof in the pictures.  Pass on the pain…   I have pain of never seeing the full picture of my history.  My father’s missing face as a young man.  His expression of pride (maybe?) of being with his first born, Daddy’s Girl.  My paternal grandmother’s missing face, her expressions of joy being a grandmother and spoiling the kids.   They and mysterious others completely removed from visual existence.  Their expressions I describe I make up, because they are not there.   People I am a part of, created from, loved by, were visually dismembered or killed off.  All I have is my imagination.  That hurts.  The pain stuck with me for 45 years.

I love photographs.  I am the matriarchal archivist of our family — I’ve got all the albums. I discovered while grieving the loss of Boomer, photographs are a very important part of my healing process.  I sit with them, reflect, laugh, weep, scan, copy and share them with others.  I tell the correlating stories over again walking hand-in-hand  – once more through memory lane – with my loved one.  It’s my process and the deeper I immerse, the swifter I emerge and feel better.  Grandma passed away last October, I was all in again.  For two weeks the albums were strewn across the floor of the Buddha room – a spare bedroom of my then home where I meditate and guests occasionally stay.   I worked my way through the albums in descending order when on one Thursday morning I came to the remnants again.  I froze.  I felt the sting I always feel when I turn to these pages.  When will the pain cease?  I asked myself.  Grabbing my journal, it started coming through…

I am responsible.  For the lingering 45 years of pain;  I am responsible for holding on to it. I am responsible for keeping the photos accessible and available to perpetuate my pain.  I am responsible for self-inflicting said sustaining pain.  I had taken what my mother started and just kept on truckin’.  I have distorted the meaning to include beliefs that I too, am fractured, a remnant, unimportant, or worthless.   I bought in and I am responsible for that.   I was, as Brene Brown writes, living disappointed, I pick up in the same place every time, often anticipating it, whenever I opened those particular albums.   A misguided act of martyrdom:  see what I’ve been through,  how I was treated, why I’m the way I am.  I was needy that way.  I needed to justify and rationalize so I could avoid actually feeling the hurt, the pain, the disappointment.   It was time to stop, I’d had enough, so I did.

For seven hours that Thursday,  I journaled about it, cried buckets, blew my nose a lot and talked it out out loud alone in the house, with my grandmother and Boomer watching over. I expressed my confusion and asked for direction about what to do with the photos… throw them away?   No, not ready yet.  What, then?    Experienced with the concepts of 12-steps, I followed the principle of one-step-at-a-time:

  1. First, I removed the manipulated photos from their albums;  most were glued-in and damaged the paper pages.  I sat with them, looked at them, spread them out on the floor and took the photo above — I knew at some point I wanted to write about.
  2. Next, I removed the now empty, damaged pages, inspiring a revamp organizing project that is still ongoing.
  3. Finally, for now, aware I wasn’t ready to throw the pictures away – yet – I stuffed the photos in a white, letter-sized security envelope and enclosed a letter to my daughter:

Dear Darling Daughter Dara (our regular greeting),

If you’re reading this note,  it means I never reached a decision of what exactly to do with these photos.  The remnants hold sad, hurtful memories for me.  I knew I didn’t want to carry those feelings around anymore, nor did I feel certain tossing them out was wise either.

They are part of your history, extended-family history that’s filled with pain…not a side most people want to look at.  I don’t think I have to go into detail, other than to say you are free to do whatever is in your heart to do with them.  

…My hope is that you have never felt, from me, as if parts of your life or the people in it deserved to be erased or cut-out, especially by me.  This is a very dark, and unhealthy part of your extended family history, yet it holds a very valuable lesson in life…

Our actions and our choices, especially as parents, always affect our children.  My mother’s vengeful actions hurt me — all my life.  After all these years, I’m trying to put the hurt behind me.  This is how, for now, I did it with the photographs.  Life is full and rich with experiences.  In those experiences are episodes of unpleasantness, extreme difficulty, and heartache.  I’ve learned that it’s important to find peace and forgiveness out of those experiences.   I will never forget what happened and how it made me feel.  But by holding on to the visual proof I don’t have peace and remain a hostage to the pain that was created.  That is my responsibility to deal with.  Sealing them away this way, is a big step in my healing process.  If you never read this, well, that means I took another healing step and let them go for good.   I love you, Pooh.  Your Mom.

Two weeks later, I had dinner with Dara and I told her all about it, including what she may or may not come across one day.  There are no secrets between us, even fewer with myself now and certainly much less pain. I’ve removed the remnants and reassembled what was there to be whole — for the first time as I know it.

It took 45 years to get there, and 7 hours to do it. Right on time.  I guess it was really just about the math.  Whew, what a relief.  Problem solved.

 

Allegiance to the Period

postcard35“I pledge allegiance to my Flag and the Republic for which it stands, one nation, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all.”
~ Francis Julius Bellamy, 1892

Hang with me for a moment…

About 10 minutes into the calming, quiet stillness of mind I was enjoying during this morning’s meditation practice, I was abruptly interrupted.  Salty water was backing up behind my closed eyes, when a tear broke through like a cracked dam and rolled down my left cheek.  I realized I was silently reciting the Pledge of Allegiance – the 1954 (and current) amended version.    It evolved into a mantra chant of sorts… with liberty and justice for all… repeating those six words many times as the dam broke, tears multiplied, drenching my face.
We are not there – yet.  It’s been 240 years since our ancestors declared our independence in hot pursuit of freedom.  Liberty and justice for all.  Still, here we are, 240 years later, we are no better at holding the baton of accountability – liberty and justice for all – than we were.  We keep dropping the baton in our rhetoric-rich, action-empty attempts to deliver it –  liberty and justice for ALL.
What hurts my spirit and is fracturing my love of this country, my country, the mighty US-of-A, is our crippling inability to honor punctuation.  Period.  There’s a period after the word all.  Every time.  Interestingly, iterations The Pledge endured one thing didn’t change…the period.    And we’re still ignoring it too.  Two-hundred-and-forty years later, our actions, our attitudes, and our behaviors are bankrupt of love for the period at the end of this specific sentence.  We continue to conjoin  proverbial commas or semi-colon to conjunct exceptions, sustain division, separation and restriction.  I am heartbroken.  Because I love you.  I love my neighbor.  I love the stranger I’ve yet to meet.  I love the person who acts, thinks, looks, prays, believes differently as I do.  I’m ok with it.  I want you to have sanctuary: the privileges, the resources,  the opportunities as I do, without conformity or inhumane, loveless conditions.  That is honor and respect as the adoption of Francis’ words were intended to be.  It makes sense to me, I empathize with Mr. Bellamy’s daughter’s objection to the 1954 changes; they epitomizes the exception, surrounded by commas.
Some men look at constitutions with sanctimonious reverence, and deem them like the ark of the covenant, too sacred to be touched. They ascribe to the men of the preceding age a wisdom more than human, and suppose what they did to be beyond amendment. I knew that age well; I belonged to it, and labored with it. It deserved well of its country. It was very like the present, but without the experience of the present; and forty years of experience in government is worth a century of book-reading; and this they would say themselves, were they to rise from the dead. I am certainly not an advocate for frequent and untried changes in laws and constitutions. I think moderate imperfections had better be borne with; because, when once known, we accommodate ourselves to them, and find practical means of correcting their ill effects. But I know also, that laws and institutions must go hand in hand with the progress of the human mind. As that becomes more developed, more enlightened, as new discoveries are made, new truths disclosed, and manners and opinions change with the change of circumstances, institutions must advance also, and keep pace with the times. We might as well require a man to wear still the coat which fitted him when a boy, as civilized society to remain ever under the regimen of their barbarous ancestors.
~ Thomas Jefferson, 3rd US President
Jefferson, a chief architect in getting us here, the USA,  himself imperfect, was wise in articulating he misguided sanctimony we were and continue to confront.  Something I believe the simplicity of Mr. Bellamy’s tender words inspired.
My plea:  Please stop bastardizing what we’re suppose be about; liberty and justice for all.  No exceptions.  No exclusions.  Please stop it.  Stop giving it lip service.  Please actually do it.  Abide by the period.  Give allegiance to it.   For this, I salute you in hopeful reverence.
I love you.  ALL.  Period.

Now, where was I?

“A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions.”
~ Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

It seems you’ve covered just about everything, I remember her saying.  Those weren’t her exact words, but the message she implied during that phone conversation a few years ago was that in her mind there wasn’t anything else for me to write about. How does she know?  Is she living my life?  Is she somehow me?  No.    I disagreed with her, but only in thought because I’m a coward.  Coward in the sense that I refrain from getting into a debate with people who I know do not have comparable experiences, never mind that she’s a long-time friend.  I didn’t want to justify, argue, defend or explain why I wanted to keep writing.  How I dream of reaching a higher level with writing, making a difference, maybe a book, or a chair-side chat with Oprah, how about my own TED talk.  Why not?     That’s how I see it now.  What I translated and tattooed into my bones from my friend, a writer herself, what that I wasn’t qualified to write or didn’t have anything interesting, unique, or substantive to say.  Gradually, I began to watch my writings become less frequent and harder and harder to put out.     She never said those things.  But I sure did — in my head — I made it all up, put it on continuous loop and pumped the volume to 11.   I slowly began to give up — on me.

Then I moved.  Then I turned 52.  Then I fell in love again; this time with me.  I realized I needed a new dimension, a new platform.  The old one, like the former house or the engagement ring, doesn’t fit.  Suddenly, I’m driven by a sense of urgency; time isn’t feeling on my side and a threat of regret is looming if I don’t give it real try.  I think that may very well had been – without knowing it – exactly what my friend had been trying to say, sort of. Butterfly Love Wallpapers 7

A part of the move includes this new destination for Papillon D’amour  and a refined focus of what I write about: Love.   I explore where and how love is present, absent, thriving, disillusioned, fractured, whole, or empty in all areas of life.  I integrate my personal experience and observations hopefully through even better spirit-centered story telling.  I try to break it down, turn it around, put it upside down and reassemble it.  Pretty much the way I’m doing the same with my life right now.

If you’re newly reading me, thank you.  I hope you stay, love what you read, and get something for yourself out of what’s here and spread the word.  To catch you up, please check out how it all began, www.papillondamourstory.blogspot.com.

If you followed me before, thank YOU.  It means a lot to have you with me here again.   What you loved before about my writings will continue to expand your heart, your mind, and your life.  I hope you stick around, tell your friends, Oprah, and the powers at TED.

When it comes to love, we’re all in it together.   Now, where was I?