Letting summer free

A six and four year old, a wonder, and a perfect evening helped me remember something vastly important. Neither of them had witnessed the magical phenomenon of the lighting bug (firefly) and they were determined to find out if this actually was true. Unfortunately summer sun sets long after they go to bed, and they made me promise if I saw anything I would wake them; I pinky-swore.

Each night the conditions weren’t right; no magic.

Then a sweltery summer storm began to brew and the air got thick. The little’s had stayed up late, just because. But they were now tucked and kissed and night covered the world in a blanket of dim light and humidity.

Then it happened. From no where came the sparkles of light. Off and on, off and on; hundreds of fireflies. I ran to their bedroom as promised seeing the backs of two babies, in the dark peeking out their window, and as I rushed in we both said together, “They have come!” We ran outside, barefooted, grabbing our jar that had been on stand-by at the back door.

firefly in jar

…Then one sat at the bottom behind the glass–a bug, not a cute bug just a flying bug. It would not perform at will.

So we set it free and it landed quite gently on the arm of the four year old and shined it’s light; off and on, off and on, proudly. What joy! The six year old had a turn and the night was perfect. These bugs seemed to know this was their summer job tonight. To prove to two skeptics magic actually was true. We ran and jumped in the dark, together.

Right then I remembered summer is only one time a year. And even though it comes as a season, we have to take it in and honor it, personally. Or it will simply be missed.

I must not ever let running barefoot on a firefly evening go without notice. This is the time for me to stop, pick berries, run through sprinklers, sit outside in the golden hour and feel the breeze as the sun sets,…

Because why?

It is allowed right this moment.

Only if you let summertime trickle inside.

 

 

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Joyful summer

It’s time to let loose and do some serious playing!

HPIM0513

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It’s time to sing

adult adventure after the rain countryside

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Only 1

Shedding that pandemic cocoon this year makes summer that much grander. We want out!

But didn’t we also learn through the pandemic, we want a slower pace of living? We want to feel less rushed and feel more joy.

I’ve got a summer joy challenge for you.

It requires something we all love; memories. How many pictures do you have on your phone? I’ve got 2,645. We like ourselves and our lives.

Here is the challenge, and I promise it will bring you JOY.

Think of the number 1. That’s easy.

This week think of one funny memory about your life. It can be anything. I just recalled a funny flip my father used to do on his bed. It was called “One for the money…”

Write it down. It only has to be one paragraph or one page. Reminiscing fond memories bring us joy.

Now…

Once a week during the summer write a one paragraph or one page anecdotal memory about a moment in your life. (See Appendix one: “The Flip” below to see how quick it is) Start this on a word doc. or text yourself while you sit by a pool or wait to pick up for summer camps.

When summer is done you will have gathered ten personal  stories. Ten one paragraph or one page anecdotes of your personal life story.

Easy right?

You can go even crazier. Let me explain about the sharing part and how important this is. There is proven data that knowing family stories and connecting to strong family generational ties make you feel good. In fact it changes your brain to ignite the healing systems which help you feel joy and stay resilient. But it also has the power to protect children from making unwise decisions. (Check out the website  www.protectyoungminds.org the authors of Good Pictures Bad Pictures.)

Recalling family memories connects us to our family heritage which gives us a feeling of connection bigger than ourselves. Human beings are wired for being a part of a group and feeling connected. That’s why we have families. My all time favorite title for this is the “THE SUPERSIZED WE” which comes from the book, The Spiritual Child by Dr. Lisa Miller, the director at Columbia University in clinical psychology, referring to the power of family.

Those who are grandparents, this is a very cool idea to compile as short bedtime stories small one page moments in your life that can be saved about you and read as a story to your grandchildren.

My dad wrote once wrote one about when his plane was on fire in the army. It’s only two paragraphs. My kids loved it.

You could compile them for your children for a Christmas present if you wanted. (Let’s not get ahead of ourselves here.) You are recording memories that not only protect your children and grandchildren but wrap them up in love with little bits of your life story.

And certainly don’t keep to only the angelic parts. The spicy ones are the funnest

We are just barely coming out of a Super-Sized WE together as a neighborhood, a community and a world. I believe there will be special moments of JOY when we recall back to this time in history. If you want tell about this, too.

I hope you can do a bit of reminiscing this summer. Or grab Grandma or Uncle Pete and ask him to do some reminiscing. Summer is the best time to gather stories. It’s a great time to start writing about your unbelievable life…only ten.

“Humph, that’s easy!”

Joy is the goal.

I promise you will feel joy if you try…

Begin with 1.

 

(Appendix 1)

The Flip

My dad would do this silly flip on my parent’s big bed

just for fun with his kids when we were young.

We would lie on it on our backs and

he would grab hold of our ankles and say,

“One for the money,

Two for the show,

Three to get ready,

and four to …”

and he would flip us

on to our stomachs

while saying,

“GOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO”

When I had children they would take hold of grandpa’s hand and

lead him into his room.

They would climb up on the bed and say,

“Money, money.”

And that didn’t mean the green stuff or coins…

It meant the Flip!

How nice and easy life was in those days.

 

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A Poem in my Quiet Space

May 14, 2020

How do I love you?

IMG_7423

 

How do I love you?

For if you take all the screaming, all the fists thrust in the air, or the buckets with tears; buckets and buckets and buckets…

How do I?

How–do I peel off the labels stuck on so hard that rubbing and scraping don’t remove them–that it hurts to do so, it hurts because they won’t come off and it hurts because they’re stuck on.

How do I love them off?

How do I hold you in my arms so tight–

So you feel I’m sincere, that I mean what I say, that ‘I promise’ and it isn’t just a word, but a trust you can hold to, because someplace, sometime you couldn’t. And it was lost.

How do I love away those walls because I can’t reach you outside of them. Walls that guard your broken heart because you hoped; and it crumbled.

How do I love enough to create hope?

Ho do I love  your right-ness, your good-ness, your soul when I can’t find it because there is too much chaos…                    I can’t reach you.

I can barely find you, you’re so far away

fading farther and farther…

so you can’t find you either.

How do I love you, sweet broken heart.

I know you are hurting.

I can’t stand it!

Please everyone,

everything

just

STOP!

please.

So I can come to you, to love you.

Because it is I that screams for love, too.

WE are both made of it.

 

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Breath

March 12 stopped my routine walks at the high school track. Today I was drawn there. Hope was happening. The graduating senior’s pictures were being posted on poles as you enter. Their bright faces moving into the future was joyous.

There was another sign at the entrance and one on the school wall. They were not signs of hope but a cry of frustration. They said, “I can’t breathe. Justice 4 George, Justice for all.”
Isn’t it interesting that for the past several months our world has been focused on breath. We have been fighting a germ that attacks our freedom to breathe freely and live our “normal” lives, and we have become anxious and fearful of a normal occurrence we don’t commonly think about. We’ve cloistered ourselves from human contact. Our lives have changed drastically. We are forced to wear cumbersome masks so our breath doesn’t contaminate and germs stay abated. In those masks we can’t breathe well.
One dear neighbor, a professional,  has helped us lie in our spaces and concentrate on our breath to calm, regulate, and notice imbalance. The core of mind-fullness is awareness first on breath.
Some of us sadly know people who lost their ability to breathe and passed away due to Covid 19. Our breath is core to our existence and starts our life stories, and ends them too.
Isn’t it odd that during this difficult time of breath protection, as we worked so hard to  synchronize and unify that a brutal purposeful obstruction of breath would turn this silent pause into chaos.
George Floyd should be breathing today. But his breath was taken away not by Covid 19 but by a bad decision. Black Americans should feel heartbroken and outraged. I believe most humans feel heartbroken and outraged. What ever your belief system every human being’s most basic longing is to be able to breathe with safety, with peace and with love.
I SEE YOU  George Floyd and your family. I feel beyond sad this happened to you.
Here is a thought to think about:
“Be soft. Don’t let the world make you hard. Don’t let pain make you hate. Don’t let the bitterness steal your sweetness.Take pride that even though the rest of the world may disagree, you still believe it to be a beautiful place.” Zahn Thomas
Hope lies in believing the majority of humans are good and trying to be. Let us be a positive influence for good in the ways we can. It is time for a grateful  breath in and to not lose our hope. Love always wins.
It must.
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pressure cookers

When I was growing up my dad bought my mom this weird heavy yellow pot. He was so excited about it because it could cook food fast long before the microwave. My mother was afraid of it. But like a gracious receiver she tried it.

Once you twisted the top a certain way and clicked it tight, pushed the on button it came to life. It churned and hissed and began to gather a momentum of energy that you could tangibly feel. A meter of numbers showed the rising temperature. It seemed to grow bigger and meaner every moment. When she used it (maybe three times), my mother would scoot us far out of the house and she would go out to “water”… or “garden” on purpose and guard the back door just in case we would enter. I think we even had to go to the neighbors to use the potty.

Just in case what? We treated it like it was our very own ugly fire breathing dragon and the worse part came after it had grown big and fierce with power. My brave mother would have to go in and face that thing to let out the fury. I was not allowed to be inside the house when this happened but me and my siblings could watch through a sliding glass window into the kitchen. A simple padded square of material was the only thing between my mother and peril. We watched with angst. Would she get singed to a crisp?

A strange knob at the top of the lid was pushed down and once released boiling hot steam would scream out with ferocious power, a hundred times stronger than a tea kettle; the hole simply was not big enough or fast enough to release the angry power trapped within. It was a beast and my mother was trying to tame it. It clouded the kitchen. The windows got fogged.  She could only guard herself from the pent up energy and wait until the power building inside; so big and so angry could finally empty out. Then it was safe again and we could come in to eat. What mother’s had to do to feed their children!

The old pressure cooker exploded one time and started our kitchen on fire. We were outside like usual, thank goodness. My mother asked my father to never buy her a pressure cooker ever again. I guess we were not the pressure cooker type…

 

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How many mothers died?

Yesterday I was holding on to life–

and then it was gone.

Like a breeze blowing away…

Death’s one kindness; the lifeless body stayed warm.

My heart broke into pieces.

Death whispered in my ear,

“See how fragile…?”

Life simply left, how could this happen so…fast?

How many mothers wished for that last time to be  with their children who died for a cause?

How many mothers relived over and over in their minds that moment because they didn’t want their child to suffer, to hurt, to especially be alone? How many have put themselves into that lost picture holding their child when war stripped them of existence as they last cried, “Mamma,” before taking that last breath?

She was there for the first one.

How many mothers have left their child’s shoes in corners by the door, a letter or photograph near the coffee table, sometimes wear the coat that was left on the peg, or messages on the phone to not disturb the essence or energy– and to hold to something left behind of that piece of their heart?

How many mothers sat on the rocking chair, the porch swing, the park bench, the pew in silence and simply sat for hours trying to make sense of things? How many tears?

Freedom isn’t free.

How many mothers fought in the wars for freedom, but not with guns?

How many mothers died on the day their child did?

flag of u s a standing near tomb

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Did earth get her wish?

For a spectacular 2020 opening to the  year

what if the universe granted earth one wish.

blue and white planet display

What would earth have wished for?

What would earth want more than anything?

Did earth get her wish?

Did she ask for some peace and quiet?

Did she ask for her dear inhabitants to be happy?

Did she ask to regain her organic rhythm?

Did she ask for some type of message to linger?

Did she ask to be remembered?

Did she ask for a pause?

 

Mindfulness has one organic goal that could be quite scary.

It is to slow down enough to notice.

Perhaps earth asked to rotate quietly and listen to the wind and whispers of the stars just for a little while. 

Perhaps earth is not as sick as her inhabitants are.  

Perhaps earth asked for peace whatever way the universe decided how to bring it.

Do you think earth got her wish?

 

 

 

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Serious? Mindfulness helps?

topless man in black pants doing yoga

Photo by Andrea Piacquadio

Have you been hit with the mindfulness stuff yet, you know to help “deal” with the world pandemic? If you haven’t you will.

Stop and look at the present, they say. Breathe they say. Sit quiet and body scan.

Are you kidding? As the earth takes cosmic sick days, covers her head with the Milky way, and stops on her axis in the universe, we on this planet struggle with the great pause.

WILL SOMEONE PLEASE FIX HER?! Who will be the big doctor who can fix earth?

astronomy cosmic cosmos dark

Photo by Pixabay 

Our daily breathing is the one thing we don’t have to worry about except if we get sick and can’t. And we pray what is making earth sick, won’t be the one thing that effects our households beside everything else going on because of it!

Mindful stopping to look at our present is like telling the ocean or clouds to stay still. We just can’t. Most of us don’t even get the time to go to the bathroom without a distraction. And we don’t want to look in the present because the past and the future are so much easier to dwell in; safer.

The sitting quiet and body scan part is a luxury and a curse. Sitting quiet on a beach would be the dream, but the scan is way too vulnerable, way too much delving in that core we don’t want to go right now because it reveals truth we all are actually really really scared. The whole world is. There isn’t enough money to fix the earth on her sick days. There actually are vulnerable parts to the human race and all we really really want is all the bad stuff to go away so we can get back to what we thought made us happy, all of us to be taken care of, and the earth to just get back to doing her thing in the cosmos.

IS THAT TOO MUCH TO ASK?

That mindfulness thing makes me have to be aware, to look closely, to see me and my frailties. It makes me have-to calm down with simply breath with just myself. That is terrifying.

It is way easier to have a nervous breakdown, run away, tantrum, and rant. I don’t want a strategy to calm down when I want to stay angry and demand what I deserve. Just maybe if we all knock loud enough by our exhaustive discomforts and bang on earth’s door, she will get up and do her thing, even if she doesn’t feel good. We have to, it’s only fair…we are the best animal, right. We have our needs!

The mindfulness stuff and quiet breathing can wait until later. When we will be calm and peaceful some other time.

 

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