Sunday, June 28, 2009

We're all cousins after all

One good thing about living half a century and counting, is that you get to see life take huge circles.  Astonishing twists and turns across mountains and around the world can wind up right back to the place you started.  But when you find yourself back in that place, you see things you never saw before.
In just a few days - a house full of people - word from old friends - a family reunion on multiple levels - a dear friend's loss.  So many energies seemed to converge at once.  For the first time in what seems like many days, my house is silent again and I have a moment to take it all in.
I have so many families.  There is the family of friends whom I have chosen and who have chosen me.   There is the family that I was born into with whom I share the longest memories and genetic history.  There is the family created by my father's second marriage when I was very young.  All these families are precious to me.
I view my neighborhood and larger community as family.  And these past days, sharing so much time with the closer family has given me some interesting perspective about the larger family context.
I have been estranged through the years from my genetic family.  There were things I thought I could never forgive and there were things they thought they never could.  But I wound up at family reunions again and found that we are really not so very far apart at all.  Our history together - those camping trips and holidays - the shared losses and shared successes - brings a larger context that overshadows any differences we may have.  We find a way to honor our connections.
In our neighborhoods and our larger community we need to do the same.  It's our common ground and our interconnected experiences that matter most.  If we can find a way to honor those, we can find a way to be family.  

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Company's Coming

Living in a hundred plus year old house has many challenges.  It's big.  It's old.  And I haven't been around as much in the last few years so things need a lot of attention.  It doesn't help that I am that person you may have read about the goes into one room to do something, then sees something that belongs in another room, then gets to that room and sees something that needs done, then gets a phone call which leads to something else and on it goes all day long.  At the end of the day I have been very, very busy but not one full thing got accomplished.
Well, now company is coming.  While I don't particularly like clutter, I can easily overlook it.  But it matters a lot to me that guests not feel uncomfortable, so I am motivated to shape up.  One important agenda item was to clear the boxes that got shoved into the library in disarray and create an extra guest room.  I'm pleased to report that within hours - actually forcing myself to stay on task - a guest room is formed.  AND just a few adjustments and the second guest room will also be ready.  The third and most important one needs to be ready by Thursday.
I'm really happy that company is coming over the next few months.  For those of you who are natural homemakers it may seem odd but I'm finding a new pattern of thought for me.  It is one of functionality - how to use the space to work more naturally for me as well as comfortable for those who may wish to share it.  There's great creativity in that.  
Next, I think I need to keep company coming so I'm motivated to keep honing those creative skills.

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

A reason for everything

A dear woman I once knew would often say, "Everything happens for a reason".  Her daughter repeated those words to me once when I was least receptive to it.  I had walked out to my beat up van to go to work.  It was a difficult time.  After many years of media experience and education behind me, I was only finding part time work in my field.  Ready to go to that job, I found a flat tire on the old van.  I kicked the tire, walked back in the house and fought tears.
"Everything happens for a reason," she said.  I had just enough time to express my true thoughts, when the phone rang.  It was an offer for the job I was hoping to find.
Often things just don't happen as quickly as we believe they should and not in the way we believe they should.  Then once we get to the other side, we see an amazing series of events that came together to create this new thing.  The difficult parts created appreciation.  The things we believed were side paths actually brought some important understanding that we needed in order to obtain a better outcome now.  Of course, there are other paths we take that we can clearly see kept us from obtaining our objectives sooner.
Generally, I believe it's the times I try to force an outcome that turn out to be source of mistakes.  There's much to be said for taking a slower pace and seeking patience.  But it is all a balance.  The turtle only wins the race if he keeps moving forward.  

Friday, June 12, 2009


Tonight the phone has been ringing off the hook.  One of my favorite young friends with questions.  One of my best friends with chat.  My Dad and step-mother with plans for an upcoming visit - which must include golf, I'm told.  Text messages from my brother and sister about plans for the weekend.  And a call from an old college friend with whom I'm recently reconnected.  She and her son will join us to kayak on Sunday.  Then on line facebook and twitter messages.
What I love is that all these people are genuinely connecting to do fun things.  There is life out there.  There is life right here.  
I'm ready for laughter.  I'm ready for genuine spirits seeking the best the things in life.
Have I said "genuine" enough?  
1. Actually possessing the alleged or apparent attribute or character: genuine leather.
2. Not spurious or counterfeit; authentic. See Synonyms at authentic.
a. Honestly felt or experienced: genuine devotion.
b. Actual; real: a genuine dilemma.
4. Free from hypocrisy or dishonesty; sincere.
5. Being of pure or original stock: a genuine Hawaiian.

Ok, we all have some agenda.  But, you know what?  Some have much more agenda than others.  Let's have some good, old fashioned connections.  Honest - actual - real - free from hypocrisy or dishonesty.  That's not so hard.  Certainly not for good hearted people.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

No rain - no rainbows

It's raining - a good soaking rain.  Most of us grumble about it.  Today I'm happy because it'll help my garden grow.  And I love the saying "No rain, no rainbows".
Most of us go through rainy times in our lives.  Sometimes we experience outright storms.  We are impatient to get through them.  They are troublesome and seem to keep us from what we'd rather be experiencing but it's part of  life.  There will be storms.  Hopefully fewer as we learn not to call them on.  But there will be storms.
When I was young I liked running out in the middle of the pouring summer rain - even with thunder and lightning.  Maybe one day this summer I should do that for the fun of it.  But more and more, I look for a calm spot to patiently wait it out.  I'm the one you'll see pull my car to the side of the road when the blinding rain is too much for the windshield wipers.  
I'll wait out the storm and look for the rainbow on the other side.  I'll search the garden later with expectation of spouting seeds.
And so it is that I remind myself to value to the rain and storms of life.  There will be rainbows.  Keep planting to seeds between the rains with expectation of sprouts and a harvest.

Friday, June 5, 2009


Some people say I think too much but I'd rather think too much than too little.  Some people say I'm kind of quiet, but I remember a saying "if you have nothing to say, never say it out loud."  So, I think and I write.  Maybe writing is like thinking out loud.  
Tonight I'm thinking about perceptions.  Years ago I did communication workshops about it.  I'd start the workshop showing a handful of pictures from ads and magazine stories minus the text that went with them.  Two of the images were perceived incorrectly by every workshop attendee.  The one was a close up of a young woman's face.  Her hair was wet and she was holding an ice cube to her bottom lip.  The other showed two black children cuddled together in a living room with a shadow of a man in the doorway which led to the kitchen.
Now, these workshops were held for volunteers who were preparing to work hotlines, women shelters, and other crisis intervention programs.  So, I admit that they were a bit set up to seek trouble.  But, that was my point.  Even when we see it with our own eyes, it may not be what we believe it to be.
The woman with the wet hair and ice cube was in a health magazine story about ways to keep your lips healthy.  Most believed she had been beaten.
The story with the black children was about Habitat for Humanity and the shadowy figure was their dad who was making their dreams come true.  Most thought the children were in danger.
We can be so very wrong about what we are seeing if we do not have all the "text" to go with the story.  
It's the text and the full context that makes all the difference.
And so it is with our perceptions of ourselves.  The greater context of our existence provides the greater truth.  If we isolate ourselves, find ourselves in great conflict with outer voices, or otherwise discover that our self perception and our external audiences perception is different, we are probably missing the truth.