The Rebirth Ring

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I wore my “rebirth” ring the other day. A barista ringing me up complimented me on it and asked me about it. I told her it was my “rebirth” ring – that I’d bought it after I’d come through a really challenging time. I pointed to the sapphire on one side – “I was born in September – and that’s the stone for September” – and the pearl in the middle – “pearls are created from struggle – something beautiful from something challenging” – and the sapphire on the other side – “I came through the challenge and was reborn.” She said that was really beautiful, and I thanked her and nodded, and remembered, again, my Year of Insanity…

Ten years ago I went through a massive depression – I’d never experienced anything like that before – I’d always been a kind of naturally happy person – but I went through a year that was, literally, a life and death struggle for me. I couldn’t eat, contemplated ending my life, had a constant dialogue going on in my head, seriously doubted if I would ever feel happy again. It is not an exaggeration to say I wasn’t sure I’d make it through.

It was during this time that I discovered I had a wealth of friendships and love and people who cared about me. It was during this time that I also discovered how strong I am. I gained a confidence that I hadn’t really had before. I came to appreciate what’s really important in life – not material stuff – but love and kindness and integrity and the ability to laugh at ourselves. I have never felt impoverished since going through this. I’ve come to see I’m wealthy beyond anything I’d imagined.

People sometimes talk cavalierly about “choosing joy.” During the Year of Insanity it didn’t feel like joy was a “choice” for me. But now that I have my choice back – yeah, I choose joy. I’ve come to realize that life really is a matter of perspective – of how we look at things.

People have told me that they want my life – or that they love my life. And I guess I should feel flattered by that maybe. But…the thing is… love your own life. Make something of that precious gift you’ve been given. By saying you want my life you discount my struggles, and you discount your own possibilities.

I’ve never wanted to be anyone else. Never. Not even when I was going through my Year of Insanity. I knew, even then, that EVERYone has challenges in their lives. I knew, even then, that most of the challenges in my life were ones I’d created for myself and that it was my job to learn from them.

You – yes, you – have the power to bring love and kindness to someone else – even when you’re going through your own times of insanity. You have a purpose, and a reason for being here. As long as you can love there’s a reason for you to live – I realized that during my challenging time – and it helped me get through it. Let me repeat that: AS LONG AS YOU CAN LOVE THERE’S A REASON FOR YOU TO LIVE. There are people who need you here. Please don’t give up on your life.

You are loved.

via The Rebirth Ring

cropped-as-long-as-you-can-love

Memories of Moz this Mother’s Day

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(Originally published on Mother’s Day, 2018.)
I’m missing Moz this Mother’s Day. I wish she was here with me so we could watch The Music Man together and laugh at the Shipoopi song. I wish I could hear her talk about her father one more time, and sing the Christopher Robin song with her. I imagine taking her out to my hobbit hole of a secret garden and listening to the birds singing with her. I imagine sitting out on the back deck in the sun with her and talking about family and friends and politics.

When I’d driven her home from the hospital a month before she’d passed she’d smacked her lips together and said, “I want some cream cheese dip and potato chips.” I wish I could give that to her one more time.

I can’t do any of those things with Moz right now – but here’s what I’ve got: I’ve got memories of laughing together, singing together, talking together; I’ve got the lessons she taught me – be kind to everyone; “love the hell” out of the crabby people; treat all of God’s creation with care and respect; be generous; play fair; speak up for the little guy; keep learning; be able to laugh at yourself; be brave; be honorable; have some awesome adventures. I carry Moz’s love with me.

Here’s wishing mothers everywhere a most magnificent Mother’s Day.

***

So last year in honor of Moz I sent a bouquet of Mother’s Day flowers to a friend who had been very dear to Moz. This year it came to me that I needed to honor Moz by bringing a Starbucks gift card to one of my heroes: The bank manager at Moz and Dad’s bank who had been so kind and helpful and amazing to my parents and I as we’ve negotiated moves and death and inheritance and safety deposit boxes in the last couples years. I seriously do not know what we would have done without Laura in our corner.

When I got to the bank Laura recognized me right away and gave me a big hug and I handed her the card. She told me to come back into her office when I was done with the banking stuff I had to do. When I joined her at her desk she told me that on Wednesdays in Anacortes the schools always start late and so she and other moms have taken to meeting at Starbucks with their youngsters for breakfast. And last Wednesday, Laura told me, she brought chalk to Starbucks for the kids to color the sidewalks. Then she got out her phone and showed me how the youngsters had “bedazzled ” the sidewalks in front of Starbucks. People heard about it and came to look at their sidewalk gallery. If the weather is nice next Wednesday, she’s going to bring sidewalk chalk to Starbucks again. And she’ll have my Starbucks card to get herself something to drink. 🙂

I think Moz would be happy about the Starbucks card – I can imagine her smiling.

via Memories of Moz this Mother’s Day

Where It All Needs to Start

You know, this stuff didn’t start with Trump. The greed, the racism, the me-firstness, the bullying, the dishonesty, the corruption, the mean-spiritedness – that stuff has been a part of our society and politics for a long time – the only difference in the last couple of years is that it’s come out in the open – people almost seem proud of their hate and greed and dishonesty now. And to see all of that being played out in front of us – in the open – is disheartening, yes. But… here’s what gives me hope: It seems to me that if there’s been a rise in acts of hatred, there’s also been a rise in acts of kindness in the last couple years – people seem, to me, to be more conscious and deliberate about kindness.

And that’s where it all needs to start, doesn’t it? The healing and progress? It needs to start with us, as individuals. In our own acts of kindness to others. In our own generosity. In our own integrity.

Alrighty. That’s where I am right now. Carry on then…

kind heart

Thinking About Cables in the Head

A show on the radio talked about cables
coming out of a brain in the same way
cables come out of a computer –
and prosthetic hands feeling touch
like Luke Skywalker testing out his new
hand in the Star Wars movie –
thoughts from the brain transferring
to the hand to move the prosthetic
fingers – and that night I woke up from
a dream about cables coming
out of a head – my sleeping self
trying to process brains and computers,
cables and touch and movement –
and technological improvement.

And I thought: If Consciousness is infinite –
fills all space – and if our bodies are just
the manifestations – the forms – of infinite
Consciousness – then why couldn’t a robot
be just another form – another expression,
idea and manifestation of Consciousness?
Why couldn’t a robot reflect Soul?
What makes human bodies any more Soul-
filled and Soul-reflecting than the form
of a metallic hand, a robot, or an earthworm?
I’m thinking Consciousness isn’t any more
housed in a brain and a flesh-body, than it is
in a robot body and a computer chip.

Yeah. This is the kind of stuff I think about
sometimes when I take myself on a mental trip.
– Karen Molenaar Terrell

“Surely goodness and mercy shall follow me all the days of my life; and I will dwell in the house [the consciousness] of [LOVE] for ever.”
– from Mary Baker Eddy’s interpretation of Psalm 23

“Isn’t this the life?!”

What a beautiful day!

Rode my bike to Edison for a cappuccino at Tweet’s.  There was a woman ahead of me in the line there buying a drink for herself and a pastry for her young daughter. It wasn’t until she was ready to pay that she realized Tweet’s only accepts cash or checks. She started to turn away without her pastry, but I reached out and stopped her. I told her I’d like to pay for her pastry and drink. At first she was reluctant to let me pay, but I kept urging her to let me do this for her, and finally she relented. I’m so glad she let me do that for her! We talked for a while -she told me her name was Casey – we both work for non-profits – she in Bellingham, and I in Mount Vernon – and we talked about that for a bit. She said she’s driven by Tweet’s many times on her way to Camp Kirby, but it’s always been closed – this was the first time she’d actually been inside. She was so grateful she actually got to experience Tweet’s today.

When  my cappuccino was brought to me I took it around to the front of Tweet’s to find a place to sit. The customers who were buying meals there had first dibs on the tables – so I moved to a chair I found off to the side in front of the art gallery and nestled myself into the wicker to enjoy the sunshine.  A couple of ladies walked in front of me and I smiled at them and asked, “Isn’t this the life?” They both smiled and agreed, and one of them summed it all up by saying that this moment – right now – was a perfect moment.

Soon a gentleman exited Tweet’s and walked in front of me. I asked him if this wasn’t an awesome day.  He grinned and said it WAS an awesome day and then he pointed towards the sun and said, “Soak it up! The sunshine is free!”

I was already feeling the magic of the day – the people I’d met, the sunshine on my face – and then a man rode by on his motorcycle and made my Edison adventure complete: He was wearing a face shield and I couldn’t see the expression on his face – there was something kind of intimidating about that – but I smiled and he lifted his hand and waved – and his friendly gesture to me was so kind and joyful  that I felt myself tearing up at the beauty of humanity.

Here are some photos from my Edison adventure –