RETREAT..

It feels like the world is spinning out of control. America is divided and at a cross roads and the pandemic rages on. Trying to find solace, a place to retreat from the angst and the storms, feels impossible. The vibration of discontent lurks in the shadows and at times it seems we are being devoured by strife and sorrow.

I refuse to give in to the pull of anger and vitriol. I am a fighter and my first instinct, always, is to battle the forces that are seeking to undermine me and indeed, our nation. Still, I’ve decided on a different course this time. Perhaps it’s getting older and hopefully wiser. Perhaps it is the people who came before me who understood violence only begets more violence. Even more importantly, perhaps it’s simply because using the gravitational pull of kindness, respect, and empathy will gain all of us so much more.

Looking to reset my own angst, doubt, and worry, I sought out the woods where my favorite trees thrive and reside. The sinewy paths that lead to new discoveries and the hidden treasures of the woods with pine needled coverings sprinkled across the path, is a luxury all its own. On this walk I found this amazing little camp where utilitarian design, beauty, and community collide. Cabins strewn about the forest, creating a circle, safety, and inviting everyone to enjoy a respite in this hectic and frantic world.

I was reminded of my days at summer camp where the slap of the screen doors to the mess hall and slap of bare feet on the docks, and the echoes of excited kids ready for the days adventures ahead. Running, splashing, crafting, hiking, fires, laughter, stories, and a reliance on each other to create a community where each person played their individual role. Each person responsible for themselves and for providing a community environment where success depended on everyone.

Here is a slideshow of my return to the woods, to silence, resilience, respect, and growth. I could hear myself think, and the wind whistling and the earth speak and for awhile I was able to push the rancor and antipathy away. I was happy to listen to the forest breathe and with each gust of wind I inhaled gratefully.

I thought I would share a piece of the peace that I found. Enjoy!

Retreating to Nature

SHATTERED!

 

As much as I wanted to stay oblivious, secure, and in my cocoon, the despicable, brutal and callous murder of George Floyd changed all of that in 8 minutes and 46 seconds. I felt my heart stop and my breath quicken and my soul shatter into a billion pieces, as I sat in absolute horror, fear, fury, and despair as a human being was killed before my eyes, before our very eyes.

My mind refused to accept the cowardly, despicable, inhumane, dispassionate, and racist, hate filled act of a human being pressing a knee onto a man’s neck until his life was extinguished.  I sat immobile, tears streaming down my face, dripping endlessly onto my chest soaking my shirt, heart  wrenching sobs escaped without warning, I couldn’t absorb what my eyes were seeing and I felt like I couldn’t breathe.  When Mr. Floyd, was begging for air… Air!…. and grasping, pleading to live, breathlessly, mournfully, tragically called out for his mother, I doubled over in horror and pain, clutching my stomach, ….and I wept. I felt the pain a mother feels when her child so desperately needs her and she is not there. How could this happen? In public! With no one intervening? Where were the police? How could this be a police officer who is sworn an oath to protect and serve? Why couldn’t anyone stop this person from executing a man before our very eyes? Again?! Still!! 

The cocoon I had erected around myself and my family, shattered into a billion pieces. My false sense of security and safety was violently, and indiscrimantly stripped away. I was catapulted, tumbling into a world filled with hate, racial injustice, and violence, again. A world that unfortunately, never seems far away. Racial hatred is always bubbling just under the surface, now it is erupting all over our country once again, stoked and encouraged. The embers have never died down and with the cold blooded murder of Mr. Floyd, I was reminded that no matter how far we have come, the road is still long and steep. Frankly, it’s exhausting, tiring to the bone, to be here again, in my lifetime and in my children’s lifetime. To have to reiterate the demands of my ancestors, to gain liberty, equality,  justice, and freedom for all, wears on the soul. 

Words, creativity, faith, and optimism abruptly faded away into the background. I was swept further backwards on the current of racial inequality, violence, and fear. My thoughts became jumbled and the respite I had struggled to create for my family, amidst another frightening and daunting challenge; this pandemic, became bleak, isolating, and fear-filled, dark began to swallow me up. I stopped believing in the good of my fellow Americans. I felt hopeless, tired, angry, helpless, and demoralized. Hate was winning.

I started to breathe anxiety, anger, and despair through my pores. I found my breath jagged and shallow, my heart rate banging in my chest with fury, sorrow, and pain. I couldn’t sleep and the drum beat of race baiting and the fire of hatred kept growing ever bigger, obliterating the light and breeding and igniting fear. Helplessness, hopelessness, and hardship were the salty taste of the tears I wept endlessly, as I tried to provide my children with the tools to live through an ill-fated encounter with a racist officer of the law who might be capable of such a heinous act. At the same time fighting to instill in them the belief that most police officers take an oath to protect their citizens and the communities they serve with dedication and respect for all. Trying to find the balance and the faith to believe the words I speak, the prayers I pray, the faith I surround them with, that will hopefully keep them alive and safe from hate and harm.

Even as I write this, I know it’s a fable and an untruth that I speak in a desperate hope but no longer with the utmost conviction. Knowing all the while, as I sit here sharing my thoughts, it is nothing but a fervent, mournful prayer that all mothers and fathers of children of color make each and every day before sending our beloved children out to face the world. Sometimes, like with George Floyd, we know it might not even matter.  That even as we have raised our children well, that the color of their skin may ignite a racist officer to deny them their very right to breathe until they breathe no more. My body quakes with the uncertainty, fear, and unfairness of the burden I lay at their feet. It is not a burden they should have to bear. No one should have to bear it! 

Even having to accept this unseemly and contradictory reality,  I along with all loving parents of children of color, Latino, Asian, Native American’s,  and LGBTQ, know this is no shield against racism. Mr. Floyd’s murder was a stark and vivid reminder of their/our continued vulnerability. Still we pray, organize, galvanize, and continue to prioritize the need for the peaceful protests to continue so that our children may know safety, security, freedom, and justice for all…someday. That the content of their character may someday outweigh prejudices of those who loathe the color of their skin.

Finding my equilibrium, my sense of optimism, creativity, and faith…has been a herculean task. I fumbled, unsure and unaccustomed to being so unmoored by the destruction of my country, that I love so much. I have been struggling to find a sense of the future where I feel safe, where my children are safe, and that is familiar to me. Where manners, tolerance,  respect, and civility, at least have a prominent place at our societal table.

When the protesters started and continued to march for George Floyd, for justice reform, for the equality  and safety our mothers, brothers, sisters, and friends, I was able to steady my heartbeat and take a deep restorative breath. Once again, as is our history’s not so distant past, people of all colors rose up to demand that police brutality, profiling, redlining, gerrymandering, and the indiscriminate killing of black people, people who are different, would no longer be tolerated. Having witnessed collectively unwaveringly, and tramatically, the murder of Mr. Floyd, we as a peaceful and law abiding society could no longer deny that the targeting, terrorizing, and murdering of black people by police officers, could not, would not be accepted. Bearing witness to this shame has galvanized the nation and helped to restore my faith again.

I know that the road forward is exhausting and steep and that hope is fleeting in the face of such immeasurable pain and repetitive quests for equality. I am aware that the struggle will need to continue until the embers of hatred, injustice, and racism have been extinguished for good. Maybe not in my lifetime, but surely in my children’s lifetime, I pray. 

I will do my best to find the bright spots and to blaze vibrant color through the tapestry that is my world. I will pay homage to my family, a microcosm of this multicultural country, and I will celebrate our differences while remembering that it is those myriad of flavors that make my life rich and fulfilling. I will retreat from the darkness and let the light drive hatred, racial animosity, violence, and intolerance into the background. I will find the vibration for healing, promise, acceptance, and love. I pray that this time we can succeed in putting out the fire of hatred and blanket our country with liberty, justice, fairness, and grace. I refuse to succumb to the hate, pain, and sorrow that threatens to envelop all of us if we don’t find the strength to resist the haters and elevate one another to our greatest ideals. I will continue to urge myself to create art and to find beauty to dispel the dark and invite joy, light, faith, and love back into my life.

And lastly, I will vote like my life, your life, our lives, and our country depends on it.

Be Well.

 

 

 

 

 

     

 

Distancing…

   Cocooned in my house with my family, I alternate between calm, despair, and panic..and back around again. I struggle to resist the siren call of vitriol and resentment as the nation lurches through these uncharted and unprotected waters. I find myself praying silently multiple times a day and simultaneously counting my blessings. Keeping the darkness at bay and remaining steady during this turbulent time, is a full time job. Inside there is an unrelenting drumbeat of uncertainty, suspense, desperation and without constant vigilance the apathy and fear will surely drown us all.

  All around the talons of worry, resentment, and sorrow lick at my heels but there is a moat around that fear and that is faith, resilience, and grace. I don’t know what lessons are to be learned from this abrupt halting of our lives? I don’t know the path forward out of this surreal and historical pandemic? I know the earth is tired and perhaps even the people, plants, and animals are tired too.

  My family and I previously moved at a breakneck speed, my sons strewn here and there with sports, social media, activities, friends, school….living. Maybe we weren’t really appreciating the moments as we ping-ponged to the next new thing. Constantly leaning forward already looking away from the present into the future of what’s next? As the people have stuttered to a halt, the earth and all its inhabitants are benefiting from peace. I suppose we are to take this time to catch our breath and see what we have collectively built and is it sustainable? To appreciate all that surrounds us, instills, inspires, and relies on us. To bow our heads in gratitude, hope, and faith.

  Without warning, we are brought up short, life planning is put on hold. Senior year in jeopardy, no sports, proms, activities, no friends to hang out with. Work life on hold as my husband at work,  is still considered essential, we move hesitantly forward. How to get through this minute, hour, day, and now…gulp, month, without turning into a snarling, sniveling, depressed mess? I did the usual and pulled out the speeches about “digging down deep, remaining positive, keeping a routine, and using this time productively.” My son’s listened but were entirely skeptical as only teenagers can be. But as time progressed I realized this was different, collectively and globally we are all holding our breath. This is unprecedented.

  I have been forced to exhale and relinquish the foolhardy notion that this is within my control. I can’t ease the uncertainty of the future. I can’t think my way around this painful reality. I have to accept it and adjust and frankly, that requires less pontificating and more purposeful actions. I have to be here in this moment sharing all of the feelings of loss, and grief for people I have lost, hopelessness and fear and see it all through a brighter, larger lens. I have to fan the flames of hope. I have to live the example of resilience, strength, and triumph.

  I have thankfully, stopped long meandering monologues of hope and perseverance and simply began to appreciate what is here, right now, within my reach. Blessedly and gratefully there is my family, our delightful dog, our home, our yard, our DIY renovations, and our gardens. Turns out almost everything we really need, everything that we really love, is right here in our own backyard. While we are separated from loved ones, beloved friends, our social and work lives…we are nevertheless, home.

Home where hopefully peace, gratitude, laughter, prayers, and blessings abound. I will forever remember that this pandemic didn’t break us instead with God’s grace, we are stronger. We have accepted and aligned ourselves with the necessity of pausing but will continue to look forward while staying vigilant to the preciousness of the minute, hour or day.

I pray everyone is doing well and staying safe and strong.

On The Rocks..

 


      I think I live my life with a certain amount of optimism and gratitude..most of the time. I have learned to accept the cyclical nature of my journey but even then it’s shocking when obstacles appear and suddenly the placid rhythm of life has been disrupted. I am in uncharted waters.
      Sure, I get it, challenging times are to be expected but they certainly don’t have have to be welcome with open arms. I know that there is a lesson to be learned from each jagged and rough hewed rock obstructing my path back to the tranquility of the shore. I know I need to embrace the good and the bad.
      I’ve read and absorbed the extensive wisdom of the the Truth-Tellers. I know I’m to embrace the rocks, and acknowledge the challenges in my path. I need to get to truly know each crevice and barnacle so I can feel the sadness, frustration, and disappointment.

      Then I can begin to climb over, under, above, through, and around these impediments and with bloodied and scrapped hands, I will crawl back to the sea where my equilibrium and hope reside. That is where my spirit feels at home. It is how I heal.

      I know all of that but for now I’ll gather my senses, my strength, and my determination and just breathe. While simultaneously preparing for battle and praying for my soulful return to hope, faith, grace and peace.

        Knowing this too shall pass.

RETREAT..

It feels like the world is spinning out of control. America is divided and at a cross roads and the pandemic rages on. Trying to find solace, a place to retreat from the angst and… More

SHATTERED!

  As much as I wanted to stay oblivious, secure, and in my cocoon, the despicable, brutal and callous murder of George Floyd changed all of that in 8 minutes and 46 seconds. I felt… More

Distancing…

   Cocooned in my house with my family, I alternate between calm, despair, and panic..and back around again. I struggle to resist the siren call of vitriol and resentment as the nation lurches through these… More

Merry Holidays!!

 What a crazy ride this holiday season has been. As my sons get older, the day becomes less about stuff and more about us and the time we share. That being said, try wrangling teenage boys to share in the “true meaning” of the holiday and you will receive multiple eye rolls and sighs that defy human capabilities. Still, it is my job to foist love, devotion, and the full meaning of Christmas upon them while I still can.

This year is about transitions. As my eldest prepares for college next year and my youngest will attend HS, this time without the omnipresent guidance, (read less than constructive criticism) of his older brother, I’m aware of change in the air. I’ve spent this fall striving to be comfortable with my son preparing to leave our chaotic but loving home and venturing out into the big wide world. He continuously assures my husband and me that “he’s got this.” There are momentary lapses of panic followed by meditative gasping of air and the constant mantra, “this is what we’ve prepared him for..life.”

My youngest is thrilled, I’m not kidding, delighted. He has plans to move into his brother’s room, stay tuned, and to be the “only child” while his brother is away at college.   He is looking forward to playing football without the comparison to his older brother’s skills and talents which have loomed over every game and school event. He is getting ready to step into his own skin devoid of brotherly advice and reproach. Transitions.

As usual, I’m struggling to keep up with the quickening pace. I am grabbing hold of every moment, savoring each bite like a fine meal, hoping it won’t end before I’m ready. The sad fact is, it will so I’m preparing. I’ve loved being a mother and while it’s not my entire identity, it’s truly my proudest one. I’ve prayed to find the kind of love I have for my sons and I’m blessed that they have been the souls I’ve dreamed of for so long. I’ve loved, honored, adored, disciplined, and devoted a huge portion of my heart and soul to these two magnificent spirits and it has not been in vain. They are intelligent, kind, handsome, thoughtful, reflective, determined and loving young men and I’m proud of who they are becoming even if they must fly the nest to find out who they will be. I’d post pictures but I did mention they’re teenagers now and I don’t have their written consent.

I’m aware that these transitions will change me as well. I’ve got to change and grow again too. While they are embarking on new adventures, I’ve got to begin to do the same. In a way, we’re sharing the same excitement, fear, and exhilaration of new chapters and stretching our wings. We are boldly and unabashedly thrilled to see what’s next for each of us in the new year. I’m going to focus on what’s ahead and allow minimal moments of sad reflection of what has come and gone, that’s what photos and memories are for. I will embrace the adventure and love what comes next, seriously that’s the plan. Stay tuned and a Merry Holiday season to all.

9D447E81-0866-4998-A3B7-0662B71C7DFAO Christmas Tree!! Happy Holidays to Everyone!