Coming into awareness

ListenSometimes it’s a fleeting thought after the fact: “I must stop doing that.”  After doing, saying or thinking something that does not serve a soul well.   But that’s all it is; a thought.  It’s not placed in front to be addressed.  It has come and gone and nothing shall be done about it until true awareness accompanies it.

For an hour and a half on a Wednesday night, I join others in group meditation.  It is a most serene thing and I love taking part with my whole heart.  We hardly say a word except to introduce ourselves and if we wish, share.  It could be how we feel, it could be about an event that affected us, anything at all.  I met a woman this past Wednesday that I connected with instantly without words.  It felt like a thin click through eye contact on a spiritual level.  It’s happened to me only once before and that woman and I are still friends.  In fact, we call each other butterfly sisters.  On Wednesday, this woman shared an awareness she had come into that day of a mental habit that was not helpful to her and I admired her openness and mindfulness.

We walked out together and chatted, scratching the surface of a mutual liking and as she was talking, I could relate to what she said.  However instead of listening, I jumped onto her train of thought like an enthusiastic stowaway and interrupted.  In a second, I saw the effect of my habit:  She had to stop what she was saying and pay attention to me.  Right then and there, I came into awareness.  I was embarrassed, and wondered how many people I’d offended in varying measures with my rude sentence hopping over the years.

That I see this and I have brought it to the forefront means I am now able to work at making it less troublesome.  And all I have to do is keep my mouth shut, my eyes in focus and ears perked until it is my time to respond.  I’m happy to put this into practice going forward because it can only make me a more loving person.

Friday Fictioneers – Benji and Marge

Photo courtesy:  Indira by way of

Photo courtesy: Indira by way of Scott Vanatter

Benji and Marge

Word Count:  101

Benjamin didn’t care what the others thought; he loved Marge, had restored her to her original condition.  Now here he was, way ahead of them racing to a call.  Through the Devon countryside he urged his beloved fire engine forward and she responded with every nudge of the accelerator.  His CB radio crackled:

“Benji…got yer ears on, mate?”

Benjamin smirked, pressed the mic and replied, “ten-four.”

“Yeah Benji, what’s your twenty?”

“Cadover bridge.”

“Cadover…?  Benji, wait!”

“Nah, don’t think I will this time, mate.  You’ll be thanking ME for a change!”

He turned the corner toward the bridge that wasn’t there.

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Thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her weekly challenge:  Friday Fictioneers

Liebster Love

My husband drove the car yesterday while the rest of us settled in for the two hour car ride to the beach.  It was our first daytrip of many for the summer and although the forecast seemed a little ominous, we were happy to go.

We decided on a new destination this year; my husband’s old stomping grounds and it did not disappoint. His phone did the navigating while I tootled around on mine:  Facebook, CNN, Scrabble, WordPress, Weather, Gmail, Liebster Award, Facebook….wha…??  Liebster?  A Liebster nomination for me?  I had seen the award bandied around but assumed it was given to bloggers with more longevity than me.

My fellow blogger zeelikestowrite has humbled me with her nod in my direction and I would be honored to answer the eleven questions she has posed.

1.  Describe in two words what a world without WordPress would be like.

Less connected.

2.  When did you start blogging and why did you decide to start?

I began blogging in January of this year.  My husband was more gung ho about creating his own but he convinced me to start one too.  I will admit that at first I felt conceited and wondered not why I shouldn’t do this, but who would actually read it and find what I have to say, interesting?  Also, I was concerned about it becoming more of a diary than a journal about my journey with insights to share.

3.  What is your favorite possession, and why?

It was the spring of 1977, I was seven and living in Kent, England.  I was sitting among the clover on a  large swath of grass opposite our house searching for a four-leafed clover, not with any determination, just sort of  leafing through patches left and right.  To my surprise, I found one.  I plucked it and ran inside to show my Mum who brought down from her jewelry box an old locket she had.  It was on a long gold chain and was shaped like a small ball which unscrewed to become two halves.  One half was filled with glass so that it became a magnifying glass on the outside and the other half was hollow.  She placed the clover in it and gave it to me to keep.  I still have it.  It’s been opened only a handful of times over the years because the leaves, although dry and brittle are all still attached to the stem.  As for the why, I think simply because it’s a keepsake for the happier moments during my little years.

4.  Which author would you like to interview and what would be your first question?

Anne Tyler.  Ms. Tyler, what things inspire you to come up with the first seed of a story?

5.  Which book, already published, would you like to have written?

Dr. Seuss’ “Oh, The Places You’ll Go!”

6.  What is the most adventurous food you’ve eaten?

In the mid-eighties, a girl in school came back from South Africa with what she said was ostrich.  I took a tugging chew but couldn’t confirm if she was telling the truth.  Other than that, I think I had emu at an Australian-style restaurant.  But who knows, it could’ve been some kind of domestic pet for all I know.  I do love Indian food though and that can be quite adventurous.

7.  How often do you check your stats on WordPress?

Honestly, not very often.  I get email updates regarding Likes, Comments and Followers.  If, however, there were more detail in the stats such as City, State and Domain Name I’d be all over it like shit on a stick.  I have another blog on Blogger.com that is linked to Google’s Analytics website and from there I can see everything that satisfies my ego.

8.  Where do you do most of your writing, and why?

Believe it or not, I do all of my writing at work.  It’s rather cushy because although the company I work for is large, it is based in Europe.  My boss and I man a very small office on the East Coast, however he travels extensively which leaves me by myself for weeks at a time.  I do my work and with my free time, I write.  I have lovely visions of writing at home during the summer evenings when the kids are in bed and my husband is watching telly but we like to sit near each other at the end of the day and talk and laugh and watch our shows.  So I get creative with a view of trucks driving past and the Delaware Memorial Bridge in the background.  Suits me fine.

9.  What is the best writing advice you’ve ever received?

I’ve not been writing long but have been given plenty of advice.  So far, the best has come from my Mum, a published writer herself. She reviewed my first short story and warned me of ‘purple prose’ which I think a lot of newbie writers feel they need to include.  This is why I like Friday Fictioneers; those 100 words have to convey so much, it’s excellent training in curbing unnecessary waffle.

10.  What was the most embarrassing moment of your life?

I thought I’d had it with on-air mishaps or farting in the delivery room but the most embarrassing moment (although definitely much larger than a moment) happened earlier this year at the One Act Festival.  I was in a two-person play and had performed in it twice before about two months previously.  The Festival draws community theatres from around the state and the winner proceeds to the Eastern States Theatre Festival (or something like that – the next bigger one).  I changed one small detail at the start of my monologue and the whole play went down in flames.  For me, there is nothing as mortifying as being onstage knowing that something has gone horribly wrong and being unable to find a way to jump back in again.  The spotlight seemed brighter, the silence poured all over me and my poor teenage castmate could only stare at me helplessly.  It was terrible and I felt stung by it for days.  Even now, it’s difficult to tread over again.

11.  What country would you like to visit, and why?

French Polynesia.  Because my husband and I haven’t taken a vacation in eight years.  If we could go anywhere it would be here, specifically Bora Bora, to a thatched-roof hut on the water with no television, no wifi, no phones, no computers.  Just sun, sea, sand, fruity alcoholic drinks, delicious food and each other.

Thank you for the nomination.  I can only continue to grow and develop as a writer because of what’s in my heart, my mind, my soul and by having WordPress as my platform for creativity.

Nuts and Bolts

argument-cartoonThere’s a sort of ‘settling in’ that occurs after a time in a marriage.  My husband and I will have been married for ten years this coming November, however our beginning was much like the deep end of a swimming pool after someone had nonchalantly pushed us in.  We discovered a week or so after the wedding that I was pregnant.  Tradition fled, and whatever  we gently knew of each other would have to suffice.  Life got real.  No time to take our time with the honeymoon year, to discover the depths or truly enjoy us;  our research had to tread water as my belly grew.  We were resigned to the fact that one hand from each had to hold the pool side to keep us from sinking.  We could not fully embrace our coupledom.

The years that followed could have any number of adjectives used to describe them:  Fraught, tense, strained, closed-off, angry, bitter, wedge-filled, distant…really, I could go on and on. We were less about love and more about trying to keep ourselves as a unit in the face of financial hardship and forced decisions.

Something in the years of resistance fell away recently.  Possibly due to the worry lifted from our lives or the slow upward turn we feel we are making.  We can see the light at the end of the tunnel, not some false star provided by others or a mirage that beckons before beating a scornful retreat.  No, this is all our doing.  A plan in place, a desire to stand alone together.

As the opposition falls, humor and a lightness of being have come to take its place.  Humor has always been a major shard of our backbone, like the bottom of that swimming pool, is still, solid and dependable.  The surface may curl and whip in turmoil for many years but that basin of laughter holds steady.  It keeps us grounded with knowledge that we are family and that without each other, we are incomplete.

So, when my husband shoots me a look because he has to exit the shower to grab the face wash that I left on the bathroom sink, my kneejerk reaction is a chortle instead of an exasperated eyeroll.  Of course it’s not all wine and roses; there are flashes of irritation and bickering.  But after almost twelve years of togetherness and having sunk down to the depths of despair, touched the blackness, turned and bobbed back up to the top, it really is about smooshing our asses into the comfy seat, holding hands and appreciating all that we are creating.

And, I will always continue to make him laugh.

laughter

Friday Fictioneers – Bravely Won

Photo Courtesy:  Managua Gunn

Photo Courtesy: Managua Gunn

Bravely Won

Word Count:  101

It was Marit’s first hour on duty and she was bored beyond belief.  When papa had told her that she was to join the Royal Guard, Marit had a vision of riding the white palace horse into lush grassland with banners aloft; roaring the Royal House name before charging into battle with her men.  But no, she’d spent the morning filling out paperwork, handed a uniform and ordered to stand guard at the sentry gate for eight hours.  Tourists stopped and stared; some goaded, most just took photographs.  Marit retreated.  For the next seven hours, she fought and won her battle.

All New

smallsweptunderrugThe spirit is incredibly strong.  When the body has squeezed out its last ounce of effort, the spirit can pick it up and do its bidding. Someone asked, “How’ve you been?” and I replied that I had moved house.  Two words that do not convey the enormity of the event.  At all, really.  How about “I packed, lifted, dragged, hoisted, transported, hauled, carried and plopped every material thing that matters to me, from my daughter’s plastic ring that she received in a party favor bag to the 60″ HD television and every inanimate or living object in between, large and small.”  Would that cover it?

We spread the work over three days to avoid the stressful, nerve-jangled one day of it all but it was still exhausting because it seemed that the material stuff oozed out of unseen spaces.  When I thought I’d accomplished one part, I found more overlooked crap to go into another box that I didn’t  have.

The back aches and twinges upon stretching and says “If I gotta help you lift one more thing and you don’t do it from the knees, I’m just gonna quit and you’ll be stuck like this for days.”  So I tried to be mindful of that.

Cats don’t move well.  At least the skinny, nervous kind.  On top of the fatigue and the whole pulling energy from all corners of the body, I became embroiled in a hissing bloodshed escape attempt.  But again, the spirit overcame and four days into the new place, my cats are adjusting.  They still have the low-girdled, jerky-faced look of a prisoner on the run but they’re coming around and it seems my skinny kitty and I have forgiven each other for the pain we inflicted.

And so life begins again.  In a new home.  A new road to take.  New places to frequent…mostly the liquor store.

I like the organizing, the finding new places for furniture, the new pathways around a house.  I like the new.  As much as I loathe moving (and this one was particularly fraught with worry) I do rather relish the Mary Poppins aspect of everything in its place and a place for everything.  It’s refreshing for my soul.  And with that, certain cares have had the carpet lifted from them and their dustbunny existence has been blown from me.  It’s quite freeing.

Friday Fictioneers – The Key

photo courtesy - John Nixon

photo courtesy – John Nixon

The Key

Word Count:  103

Dwayne had forgotten to wind the key leaving Bill stuck with legs akimbo in front of what he presumed was a stunned audience.  He rolled his eyes; it wasn’t the first time the little pisher had messed up and Bill regretted not firing the kid back in Memphis.  He wagged his legs and heard a titter from the audience which prompted further frantic waving.  Within moments, Dwayne clumped to the piano whereupon he whispered, “sorry boss,” before turning the key.  Below, a panel opened, allowing Bill rolling access onto the stage.

Dwayne departed that day.  The little pisher took the key with him.

Friday Fictioneers – Bikini Warp

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photo courtesy – E L Appleby

Bikini Warp

Word count 102

Ta-da!  Wha…?  No!  No, no, no….this isn’t right!  What happened to Jamaica?!  I’m supposed to be on a beach with Maria….oh god, Maria…did she make it through?!  Ok, don’t panic Roger, you can find your way back; you just have to figure out where you are.  Mmff….what the…?  I can’t move!  I CAN’T MOVE!!!  Oh god…what the hell happened?  Think, think…I generated the portal for Maria and she went through in that, oh, that cute safari bikini.  I generated the portal for myself, closed the door, the light went on and now this.  SOMEBODY HELP ME!!

Purpose in the detour

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What is purpose?  A life devoted to that which feeds the soul?  To pursue that goal in the name of love, of enlightenment and all that is true to the self?

I envy those that can do it, not with hatred; merely a coveting of the free time to pursue the actions of the heart.

Now I would not, for one second, wish my children or my life to be anything than what it is.  I could have taken the path to follow my dreams as a young girl but given the frame of mind I had then, I wouldn’t have survived in such a brutal industry and most likely would have come to some unfortunate end.  I was mildly put out but followed Dad’s wishes and toddled off to college to get some skillz.

I find these days, a frustration swimming below the surface; I want to do and see and take part, but I am not in a position to do so.  I find other avenues which take longer, are less nerve-wracking but are still satisfying.  Until I find that they are unsatisfying to others who would help propel my purpose forward.

There are old hands out there, my Mother included and I’m thinking that in order to really move ahead, it would behoove me to seek impartiality rather than family when it comes to my writing.  I had my first rejection and was not that fussed at first.  A week or so later my thoughts on the subject have become insidious in their jibery and pokery – You write too simply.  You are not eloquent.  Look at this writer, be more like that.  Maybe you should gear yourself toward young adult.  I counter with – I think I’m easy to read.  Being eloquent and flowery isn’t me and most importantly, I love my work.

Eventually, it’s easier to pile other crap on top of those thoughts because let’s face it, there’s plenty going on.  But sometimes, they poke through like Carrie hands from the ground, reaching, pointing, cramping any sort of creativity.  On a whim, I’ll browse jobs that would take me away from writing but they require time and commitment I just don’t have.

I have trouble accepting that writing is all I have time for.  I can move an entire house with pets and children and spouse, set up the new one, write a best-selling novel AND go on auditions, right?  No.  I feel like my Dad to myself.  No, Lisa.  You can’t do that, you have to do this.  And I am petulant for it.

I am a crazy life-driver, veering left and right without signalling.  Sometimes I make the sharp turn only to find the road is blocked and all I can do is stare forlornly at the goings on over there.  I turn the car around and drag my wheels back to the main road that is meant for me and continue on the Highway of Life; searching, writing, doing, coveting, loving, thinking, wanting, and yet… still feeling content with my lot.

Such a strange meeting of feelings.

Mental Salmon

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I do not think that in the seven months I’ve been meditating (give or take the last two months) that my mind has been quite so rackety with thoughts during the quiet time.  Even as a newbie last year, on the tail end of some very emotional stuff, I did not have half as many visions and scenarios that I’ve had recently.  And it’s almost impossible not to become absorbed by each one.  I realize only when I’m in deep that I’m engaged; I have to bring my awareness back but before long another one steals in and sneaks up my skirt.

Granted there’s a lot going on in the life of this Spiritual Biscuit.  We finally found a rental home and will be moving next Monday but coming up with funds for all and sundry is a gargantuan effort, helped mostly by some very good friends and by family.  Moving was not our choice; it was forced upon us and if the landlord had waited just a few more months, we wouldn’t be struggling as we are.  So, we’re emptying our bank account to move in, to move our pets in (because pet deposit is ridonkulous), to turn on water, to switch on electricity, to turn on cable and internet (which I might survive a while without but with two young children, my sanity depends upon it), to have trash picked up.  And don’t even get me started on a moving company.

This will also be the first summer that my kids have not stayed at home with me, so we’ve been researching day camps too.  *cha-ching-a-ling-ding-ding*.  And beyond that, the lovely task of breaking the news that they’ll be moving to another new school in the Fall.  My daughter is just like me when I was a kid – adaptable, easygoing, friendly and upon floating the subject, she’s all “I’m a duck, where’s the water?”  My son is like my husband, reserved, resistant to change and as evidenced by last year’s switch, capable of becoming so highly emotional that he will make himself sick.  So…yay for that upcoming conversation.

Lots of external clatter makes for much internal chatter.  But somewhere through the chaos and unkempt mind, is a small still space.  I was there for a few seconds today and it cracked a teeny, tiny smile before I got sucked back into the fray once again.  I will also admit that my meditation practice, as mentioned above, has been quite sporadic.  With time and consistency and once we are moved and somewhat settled, I’m sure my mind will calm some.  It’s not as if the scenarios I have are ones that need sorting out.  They are generic, every day themes that I can’t recall after the fact so I’m not worried that I have inner demons to chase down right this very moment.

I’m treading water.  Doing ok for now.  Keeping busy.  And remembering that being mindful is as easy as focusing on scraping the salmon off the bottom of the pan.

Lisa…