Moving On

art-of-moving-onNot too many days ago,
my mind developed a mind of her own.
It happened almost the very second that my eyes read
that sappy online blog.

You can make a choice about moving on.

I, as usual, rejected the pop psychology blather.
Sure, I said in my best know-it-all sarcastic voice.
I’ve tried for six years, count ‘em, six years,
With help, without help,
praying, ranting, practicing the old fake it ‘til you make it.
All to no avail.
But, somewhere inside my head, I repeated the corny line
with the perfunctory obedience of a stubborn child.

Instantly, my mind,
which had spent a lifetime lurking unseen, unheard,
somewhere inside my left parietal lobe,
came to life and grabbed on to the new revolutionary idea.
In a flurry of celebration, my mind shouted,
We’re moving on? Awesome!
I’m so sick of thinking those same useless thoughts,
so bored with your futile wishing and hoping.
How many times are you going to make me plod through the same daydream,
the one with your version of a happy ending,
the one that gets rid of the wife and his bad habits,
the one that rights all the wrongs,
and vindicates six years of avoiding reality?

At the same time my mind seemed to have compassion for
the five year old me,
the child inside who still wonders why Daddy left,
why no one asked her to the prom,
why the years without love have far outdistanced
any moments of bliss, and
who still wants her fairy tale ending.

But now that my mind has finally spoken up
And has convinced me that torturing her
isn’t going to solve my problems,
I can’t seem to go back.
The fact that the very next day I had not one but two offers for
coffee and conversation, and a third close on their heels,
added a karmic underscore.

As with all things
life rummages about and finds
chinks in the armor of even our
best intentions and insights.
The cancelling of one offer,
a disappointing turn of events with the other,
and tears surged over the spillway of my cheeks,
creating deep gouges of despondency.
Thoughts of revenge clamored for my attention,
pounding on the door of my mind
with a battering ram of malevolence.
A full out assault demanding
justice for wrongs done.

My mind, without comment, declined to cooperate.
Once liberated,
out of patience with my lifetime of self-pity,
of conjuring up happiness in my head
instead of creating it in my real life,
my mind refused to send the emails that would
illuminate then destroy their lives.
Then, she sat with me on the edge of the bed
until the gush of tears turned to a drowsy drop or two,
coaxed me under the covers and
lullabied me to sleep.

Upon waking this morning,
she got me dressed and fed,
sat me down to write this poem,
put on my make up
and shuffled me out the door
for lunch with prospect number three.
No promises, she reminded me,
but nothing ventured, nothing gained.
Oh, please!
But out the door I went.
Moving on.
Awesome!

Flight of the Soul ~ A video poem for recovery

I have flown on Southwest to San Diego many times. During one flight, it came to me that perhaps I needed to be on a very different kind of journey and Flight of the Soul was the result. Now I have turned it into a video poem for those in recovery of any kind.

For more poems for recovery visit this page.

 

Dreaming in the new year…a video poem for recovery

Last Sunday I took an inspirational course from Kai Carlson-Wee, a Jones Lecturer in Poetry at the Stanford University Creating Writing Program, on Moving Images. It inspired me to take my poems for recovery and begin turning each of them into video poems. And as we learned in his workshop, the music, images, and words can infuse each other with new meaning, new directions, and a more exciting creative experience. My first effort,appropriately enough, is Dreaming Into the New Year.

Enjoy the video poem version.

The nature of GOODBYE – a poem

good-byeGOODBYE starts as a word
shot from the lip
penetrating reluctant ears
ripping through soft tissues
creating internal wounds
more felt than seen
leaving a bloody splatter of rejection
upon the soul

GOODBYE registers in the brain
as an alien thought
a foreign invasion
a disruptor of dreams

GOODBYE leaves a residue of grief which
pollutes the present
sullies the past and
relegates the future to a
rubbish heap of
broken promises

GOODBYE repels all attempts to
breach its impregnable walls
with reason or
understanding or
new beginnings

GOODBYE remains dormant
a chronic infection
that lurks in every cell
waiting to break out into
tears and wailing

GOODBYE has no antidote
nor immunization
to protect humanity
from its sting
but fade it can
and fade it will
as seconds tick away to
minutes
hours
days
weeks
years
until a new hello
seems possible

Good and Evil on my dresser top

14590405_10106873760480710_7791093641878332179_nFaces not so different
Both gnarled with age
My fairy godmother and my necromancer
Posed in uncomfortable juxtaposition on my dresser top

Meticulously carved expressions
Wide-eyed rosy-cheeked Good14657444_10106873760800070_322077144382564574_n
Dark-lipped deceptively malevolent Evil

14494784_10106873760685300_8403029407292149811_n

Both in exquisite garb
Good in pink paisley leggings
Evil with spangled bloomers tucked stylishly into ebony boots
Nevermore perched in a cage upon her arm14650664_10106873760590490_6177776904577473120_n
Good a flutter of diaphanous wings
Evil awash in a black veil with silvery spider clasp

Both reminding me that I have grown old with them
That this very day marks my seventy-third year of dancing between the two

At times inhabiting a world of pink froth—helping others, bringing children into the world, trying to be a loving mother and grandmother, a faithful friend

At other times donning a darker habit, thinking myself quite justified in self-centered pettiness, harboring hateful, revengeful thoughts over what I consider life’s injustices

And so, they sit in judgment upon my dresser, looking down on me
Reminding me that each moment of each day
I have a choice between good and evil

An invitation to share your thoughts

writing meditationI do a daily writing meditation each morning. First I chose a passage or two from one of my daily readers or other 12-step literature and re-type the passages so that they sink in. Then I write my own responses. I have done this over many years and sometimes I like to go back and read what I wrote about the passages in prior years.

This year I’ve decided to start afresh and just write in the present without plowing through the past, thinking of it only as the compost that allows me to grow and bloom in the present and not feeling it necessary to stick my hands back into the muck.

In the tradition of anonymity I will not cite which 12-step program the following passages are drawn from, yet fully acknowledge that they are the published words of others and not mine.

I share them today because they have special meaning to me and so encapsulate the struggles I have had since childhood adjusting to this imperfect world we all live in. I’ve highlighted the thought in each that most struck a chord with me.

share thoughtsPerhaps you would care to share your thoughts if one of these passages has special meaning for you.

Passage One
choicesLive and Let Live reminds us that we cannot control the actions or decisions of other people. If someone chooses to end a relationship with us, that is their right. If we’ve ascribed to the belief that the success or failure of our relationships is solely our responsibility, we may blame ourselves when a relationship ends. We can remind ourselves that each person played a part in the relationship. If a relationship ends, that doesn’t mean we’re necessarily at fault. Whether or not someone wants to be around us, we are still worthy of love and respect. Just because we don’t choose to end a relationship doesn’t mean we don’t have any choices. We still have the power to choose how we will respond. In the past, we have punished ourselves or assumed our role as victims. We don’t have to see ourselves as victims anymore. Today we can choose to be around healthy people who want to be around us.

Passage Two
pain teachesDo not consider painful what is good for you. My reaction to things that were “good for me” was one of pain. Today I know that pain puts me in touch with what I need—something from which I have cut myself off in blind obedience to habit. What pain tells me today is that I have to change. I am willing to examine old ways of thinking.

Passage Three
maturity-is-the-ability-to-joyfully-live-in-an-imperfect-world-quote-1People have disappointed you, hurt you, and let you down by being imperfect. Can you let go of the idea of perfection and accept reality, loving people just the way they are? Love the imperfect people around you. Love your imperfect self and your imperfect world. For if you cannot love life the way it is, you will suffer from eternal loneliness. We all live in an imperfect world, surrounded by imperfect people. The ability to love yourself and those around you is a gift from God that enables you to live fully, bravely, and meaningfully in an imperfect world.

Practice patience

Patience-allows-life-time-to-fall-in-place.8x10unexpected pain
a moment of inattention
the fall that only “old” people have
forcing me to face my age
my vulnerability

thrust instantly into
helplessness
incapacity
realizing I can’t just
pick up a fork
wash that other arm
reach for the remote
open the fridge
searing pain stops me short

cracked eggforcing my brain to remember
I will heal
others won’t
I can use the other arm
others can’t
I can work from home
others have lost their jobs to illness
I can count my successes
others will cave to failure
I can ask for help
others feel too defeated
I have family who have stepped up graciously
others are truly alone

I can see the benefits—
mindfulness in abundance
a window into aging
full evidence of being loved
acceptance of life as it is

attitudes and habits to carry
into wellness
when it comes
and it will come

just for today
practice patience

An ode to my alter ego by Doc Flamingo

flamingo_closeup_peeping_md_clr__stperfectly balanced
knobby-kneed leg tucked under
a fountain of pink fluff
bold black beak
ending in scimitar curve

2014-01-20 10.18.52instantly recognizable in any form
elegant
comic
tropical
plastic
neon

shall I compare me to thee
deserve I your name?
“doc” is well earned
“flamingo” perhaps
misappropriated

flying namibiado you scoff at my timidity
compared to your bravado
soaring en masse over wetlands
in the Carmarque or Namibia
or regally planted on lawns
dignity never lost
never needed

do I draw the same admiring looks
spark the same smiles
or do I swim listless in a sea of
beige humanity

Maddux Flamingos do I catch the collector’s eye
as you do
alive with form and color
or do the connoisseurs pass on by
leaving me to gather dust
on a nameless shelf
cluttered with equally
non-distinguished folk

would I keep your sense of humor
if caricatured in pastel hues?
or would I bristle
with high and haughty hubris

even faded and forgotten
in the aftermath of some raucous party
you remain an icon of delight
absent the rage I would feel
to be so ill-used

flamingo_sunglasses_drink_md_clr__stbut I stubbornly keep your name
and hope you will forgive
your pink passion gives off
a secondary glow
making me into what
I aspire to be
I can always hope for reincarnation
as the real thing
in my next life

Valentine’s revisited 2016

Lonely-heart-miss-you-3D-wide-300x250now is the only time to
create a state of mind
a joyful moment
that will carry me to the next hour
travel with me though my morning
thread its way into my afternoon
trickle down to my tomorrow
spill over into next month
next year
to color all the days of my life

I always fantasized that that joyful moment
the one that becomes a contented hour
then turns into an afternoon of delight
could only come if my hand were held
my face caressed
my yearnings satisfied
by a man—a mythic prince.

but my prince is not here
not present in this valentine moment of mine
he is off smiling that shy little-boy smile
the one with the dimples and the heavy-lidded longing
for someone else
or so I imagine.

I could as easily imagine
that he is asleep at this moment
or lost in the shadow of a frown
perhaps his jaw is clenched in anger
his lower lip quivering with grief

yes…he could be sharing a blissful moment
with the woman he now loves
but they could also be sitting apart
hearts aching
in a dark place edged with uncertainty

will our paths ever cross again
will we need or desire each other if that moment comes

silly questions that beg to be left unanswered
I have only now
only this valentine moment of mine

what shall I do with my moment on this red-letter day
I will breathe in my solitary pain
I will breathe in the pain of all those who find themselves alone this day
I will breathe in the poison of lost dreams—mine, theirs
I will breathe out a measure of loving kindness,
that soft breath out will soothe me
and flow out in endless ripples
to comfort all the solitary souls

heartscould a moment in a lover’s embrace
with its uncertainty
its impermanence
ever produce such a melody
such a true and clear harmony
as the symphony of a thousand lonely hearts
connected by a single breath out

An ode to life as it is

cheeriosticking items off my list
picking popcorn from aging teeth
polishing up health policies
affecting thousands
popping cheerios into hungry mouths
cleaning up spilt milk
plopping exhausted on my couch

 

cameliasfinding joy in life as it is
winter camellias in rosy bloom
carried to school in pudgy hands
a warm sun drying sidewalks slippery from drenching rain
friends doing more than expected
kind words here
good thoughts when needed
even when not

crocusthankful for hints of prayers answered
before they are even lifted up
a new relationship springing up
like a purple crocus breaking through
freezing snow
bringing forth the hope of
spring as my life slides into
its own winter

wisdomallowing each moment to elapse
with no regret and
few expectations
asking only for
willingness
a sense of wonder and
wisdom