What’s Stress Got to Do With It?

My boyfriend is having surgery in the coming days. He was injured almost a year ago and we have been waiting patiently for this surgery. Covid got in the way and so here we are at this late date finally scheduled for surgery. To say that this is stressful is an understatement. The last week has been off the charts. He’s more anxious about getting everything in line before the surgery. He needs clearance from different doctors. What was expected to be an easy transition has turned into an eleventh hour situation once again. In these Covid times it’s hard to get things done. I think many people are working from home so that makes it difficult to communicate properly within the medical system.

I find myself trying to keep him calm and stress free. It’s not working too well. I act like I have it all together and tell him not to worry. I think I have it all together but last night I did something that made me realize that I have misplaced my mind. Before I went to bed, I made sure to dust the living room tables. We have glass tables and you can see every bit of dust. It drives me crazy, as I sit there watching television I get distracted by the dust on the tables. Yes, I know. I can hear your voice as you reply that I must be nuts. Who watches dust? Anyway, I finished wiping everything, closed up the house and headed for the bedroom with the dust rag in hand. My clothes hamper is in the bathroom so I headed straight in there to throw the rag in and go to the bathroom while I was in there. I finished going to the bathroom and was about ready to flush when I realized that instead of throwing the rag in the hamper, I threw it in the toilet. I kid you not. I can’t make this stuff up. As I realized what I had done, I stood there shaking my head. Of course I had a new problem to handle. You know, geting the wire hanger and twisting it up so I could retrieve the disgusting rag. Yes, I did the gruesome deed, scrunching my nose up the entire time. I guess you could say that maybe I am stressed out too. This is not my idea of calm relaxation before bed.

I finally got in bed and did my nightly ritual of doing what I call my gratefuls. I list all the particular things that I am grateful for from the day. Then I sent all my prayers out for those individuals in my life that needed some loving intent. Finally, I meditated and fell asleep.

It all sounds so peaceful and it was. You would think that I didn’t have a worry in the world. I felt that I had given it all over to God. I find myself awake at 4:30 am thinking about what I have to say in order to get the clearance from one particular doctor. My mind begins to race so finally I got out of bed only to look out the glass sliding door and see the clearest sky above. The quarter moon shining bright and the planet closest to her shining right along. I’m reminded that my Holy Spirit is with me always. There are things that are out of my control but they will take care of themselves. Gazing up to the sky, I gasp at the beauty and grace of the moon and stars. I realize how blessed I am.

God’s Promise

Sitting here today looking at a blank page. I wonder what’s going to come up from within. You never know what will tickle your fancy when you’re sitting alone waiting for whatever. Could it be the 85 pound Rhodesian Ridgeback that doesn’t want me on the computer, laying his head on my lap and pawing at me? Maybe! Or, could it be the background voices of household occupants talking on the phone or listening to music? I never know what’s coming so I’m going to sit here and wait.

Boyfriend and I went out this morning, picked up a bagel and coffee and went down to the dock by the bay. It rained all day yesterday so everything was completely flooded. There was a fine mist from the moving storm as it exited our vicinity. As the sun started to break through the clouds, out came a rainbow. Everytime I see a rainbow I whisper to myself, “God’s promise”. No matter how old a person gets, it’s very exciting to see a rainbow. It lifts us up to enchanting heights. It is pretty profound that a prism of colors can have that capability. It’s called hope and it’s there right in front of us, ripe for the taking. Never underestimate the power of hope. It’s in the little moments of our daily living where we can find everything we need to carry on in positivity.

So many people these days are losing hope because of the pandemic, politics, rioting and complete stupidity. My advice, “Slow your roll everyone.” Take a deep breath and breathe in the colors of the rainbow. Close your eyes and feel its’ magnificence. Become one person, not a mob. Become your most positive self, not what you think others want to see. One person, one moment, one step at a time will get us all where we should be in this human race.

And, there you have it. A blank page just became a post because of a simple rainbow. It is really that simple. Humans usually get in their own way. We can achieve greatness if only we slow down and look at the rainbows.

The Green, Green Grass of Home

Picture this is you will: A spring and summer of a pandemic. Everyone quarantined to their homes. Oh so bored we all are. In my home, I have an alien believer roaming the halls. “They’re coming back I tell ya.” These are the echoes I hear in my sleep. All the neighbors constantly teasing him about how aliens don’t want to come to earth because of our craziness. Oh, how he longs for his unearthly friends to appear.

The quest began. Boyfriend was obsessed with his new project. The front lawn must be better. The grass isn’t good. It’s all crabgrass. They’ll never return to me it’s all crabgrass. The research began on youtube. Day after day he was hard at his studies looking for the perfect solution. After weeks of deliberation he found the one thing that would kill the enemy. He had obtained the knowledge that no other average homeowner had ever dreamed of. Then came the day when he was finally willing to push the button. The submit order button. He broke a sweat as the credit card was charged but he knew this was going to be the greatest solution ever. The product came and I warned him that if he was going to spend the money, he was going to have to adhere to the directions. I gave him warning in advance. He couldn’t sleep for a few nights because the conditions were not right with the temperature of the earth. He lost so much sleep and then it happened. The weather got a little cooler, it was dry. It was time. He mixed up the solution and measured so diligently. He was ready with his 2 gallon pump sprayer and off he went. He was in his glory out there, spraying every inch of the front lawn. He came in the house afterward and said, “Now we wait.”

It took 3 weeks of painstakingly waiting. We didn’t even start to see results until about 10 days in. The crabgrass started to turn lighter by the day. By the end of the third week our yard was completely white which meant it was dead. It also meant that he was right all along about the yard. It definitely wasn’t good enough for the aliens to return.

More research followed. Day in and day out he researched to find the perfect fertilizer and grass seed. These box stores wouldn’t do because that’s what youtube said. So once again, after agonizing, he pushed the submit order button. I’m sure that I am not telling you anything new about slow shipping here in the U.S. in the last couple of months. OMG, every day he asked me if the order shipped yet as he bit his nails down to stubs. Finally, the magic potion arrived and he impetiously went outside and put down the fertilier and grass seed. We waited with a microscope every day, searching for the little sprouts of grass. YES! It finally appeared. He was sure that his lawn would finally be pleasing to the aliens.

Two weeks in, he noticed a neighbor on the same quest as he. We watched what the neighbor was doing to his lawn. He couldn’t have found the same secret we did, could he? Oh, silly man, he bought his potion from the box stores. Haha, it’s never gonna work. But, we learned a new trick from the silly man on the corner that day. He was now a smart man because he had a thatcher machine. It digs in the ground and picks up old grass clippings that smother the soil and keep your grass from getting through. And, go!!! Gotta have one of those. He did finally concede that he should have done that first. Maybe because he didn’t do enough research. I don’t know. Next up, buy a thatcher. Thatcher came and there he was tearing up the lawn, yes the new successfully growing lawn that we just spent all this money on for the perfect solution. Oh well, we had more fertilizer and grass seed so why not. What do we have to lose? My sanity for one and money for two.

After starting over and going through the whole process again, we watered and waited and watered and waited. And, it came to fruition. We now have a beautiful green plush lawn. I’m sure the aliens will come back now. But wait, there’s patches of crabgrass still. He must have missed them when he was creating the killing field. Well, we have tons of the magic solution left so let’s spray it again. Yes, it happened. Now I have white patches spread across the lawn and he will once again fertilize and seed before the winter comes.

But, there are those who believe that this whole time he was preparing the yard for the aliens to know where he lives. They believe that he was making crop circles in the front lawn to be sure that they came here. Yes, it’s true, they look like crop circles the more I look at them. Now, I’m afraid to look out my window at night. I’m afraid of the bright light coming out of the sky and I’m afraid of watching my beloved being levitated from our home to the mother ship.

All Boxed Up

It’s a new day. Where did all the days go? I’ve lost track of time just like everyone else. It’s funny how the concept of time has changed for us all through this year. All of a sudden time has become meaningless. The constructs have changed.

In all of this time quarantined at home, somewhat in a box, we have had to redefine our relationships with others living there. It has been an adventure to say the least. The television has been on non-stop, not my choice because I love silence. But, silence has found a new home. I don’t know where but it sure as hell isn’t here. Oh how I miss my silent time. That’s where I connected with my soul, my God. There’s always movement, noise in this house now. I need stillness and silence for just a little while. Meditation has been very limited for me. The closest I have come to that is walking through the house humming “OM”. The stares that come from household occupants reminds me that obviously these people are not on the same plane as I. I do come close to meditation state by listening to my beloved, John Denver. I truly feel closer to God when I hear his songs. They seem like prayers to me and I find myself looking to the sky, feeling a sense of release.

To be fair, boyfriend has been out of work for a year because he got injured. It’s been hard on him not being able to be physically active and living in a routine every day. I get it. We try to do things outside every day. The sunshine and fresh air bring a refreshing aspiration to our life. Putting aside the television and constant noise, we have found a new level of intimacy by sharing every aspect of our day together. We have had many profound conversations and have come to a deeper connection. It truly has been a blessing to be boxed up with my soulmate.

In retrospect, I believe this year is just a resetting of society, time constructs, and value of home and family. I have the expectation that after all the turmoil, humanity will reset itself and take us to a higher plane. I will never give up on humanity no matter what the news shows us. I believe that most people are good. Sometimes people get caught up in mob mentality. Everyone needs love and most people want to share love. Never mind the minor inconveniences of being quarantined, wearing a mask or not being able to go to certain places. Love! Love! Love! It’s a tool we all carry, why not use it? Share it, Care it, Receive it.

“Did I say that?”

It all started in early November 2019.  The boyfriend got injured at work.  Complicated injuries have him home full time for now.  With everyone being home quarantined at present, here is my experience with home quarantine not related to the coronavirus.

At first, all hands on deck in caring for my beloved.  That has not changed.  Actually, we both care for each other the best we can since I have health issues too.  When there is a sudden reconstruction of one’s life you start to see different personalities appear from someone you’ve lived with for years.  And you thought you knew them.  HA!!!

In all fairness, my boyfriend is used to working every day for his entire life and when you lose that suddenly, you lose part of your identity.  Then there is the uncertainty of what’s next.  Together we have run the gambit of emotions on this crazy rollercoaster.

I’m going to break it down for you how the two of us have gotten closer over these last few months.

I wake up to the sound of the tv every morning.  Not part of my usual reality.  I used to go all day with no television.  I loved the sweet silence throughout the day.  Now, it’s Fox News or sports channel or Ancient aliens.  My three choices.  Ok, fine. If you go back and read my post titled “Aliens in the House”, you’ll understand how I have accepted the reality that aliens live among us. Apparently, living in my house.  It now has been pounded into my psyche that Democrats and Republicans cannot get along and who the hell cares about Tom Brady.

But, it being a new day, I smile.  Moving forward, we attend physical therapy 3 days per week.  Afterward, we usually go to McDonald’s for breakfast and leisurely hang out and chat for a bit. That was before this social distancing thing. Now we sit in the car and eat our breakfast and chat.  Sometimes we stop and get soft pretzels and a soda and hang out on the dock of the bay.  Go ahead, sing the song, “Sittin of the dock of the bay. Watchin the tide roll away.”  I sing it often.

The conversations that we have had in the last 4 months are the real eye-openers:

Sitting in the car, eating our soft pretzels and drinking soda:  Soda makes you burp and we own our burps.  The louder the better.  He finishes his soda and burps and I dismiss it as usual.  I finished mine and let a loud, boisterous burp.  He had a look of disgust on his face as he said, “Dis – gusting”.  I completely ignored that because that’s what we do but in the same motion, I looked over at him and blurted out, “I love you so much.”  Confounded, he said, “So, I guess I have to call you disgusting in order to get an I love you?”  It happened so fast and it was like I didn’t even hear him say, “Dis – gusting”.  After a minute of going over the conversation, we both laughed so hard that our stomachs hurt and tears just rolled down our faces.

Driving home from physical therapy, we had a conversation about how I should slow down because state troopers can scan your speed from behind the cop car.  I didn’t know that but, ok.  Then it began, he continued for a good 5 minutes straight ranting about how he got pulled over because he was speeding.  His explanation to the cop was that he was on a grade and he had to build up speed to keep pace as he ascended so-called grade.  He kept talking and talking and I couldn’t take another minute.  I shouted, ” Stop talking.  I didn’t need a dissertation on the trajectory of the highway grade and how that doesn’t warrant a ticket.”  His reaction was priceless.  Astonished and half offended. Once again, my brain seems to be on a delay, I replayed the conversation in my mind and almost had to pull over for laughing so damn hard and crying at the same time.

Our living room has a couch and two recliners.  I usually sit on the couch with the dog and my boyfriend sits in the rocking recliner.  The recliner is getting old and now it has the most irritating squeak.  My boyfriend has this nervous rock.  He can’t sit still.  If he’s not in a rocking chair, his leg is constantly shaking.  I try, I swear I try, but after hours of that damn squeak, I want to jump out of my seat, drag that damned chair outside and burn it.  I want to burn it in big flames, big, smoky flames.  I feel like it would be such a cleansing ritual.  It would free my soul.  Every single day, hour after hour I listen to that evil squeak that has been sent to test the conduction of every single nerve in my body.  I have to say, I patiently tolerate it.  I don’t ever ask him to stop rocking. Well, once in a while, I ask him for just a moment, through gritted teeth, to please just stop before I have to explode.

We have become much closer than ever.  We have shared different experiences of our lives with each other, now that we have the time to do so.  We have also opened the pandora’s box of each of our little annoying nuances.  We’re still here, laughing mostly and enjoying each other’s company, for the most part.  Every now and then, there are little whispers coming from under our breath that we want to say out loud but also keep to ourselves.  The whispers tend to sneak out of our mouths all on their own.  We sit back and smile and think, “Did I say that?”

My hope is that you are getting the most positive experiences from your quarantine time with family.  I hope you laugh more than you cry and that you are finding virtue in your level of patience.  Smile, it makes life so much better.

 

 

 

You Can Teach an Old Dog New Tricks

Last week I was in the waiting area of a physical therapy center.  I played around on Facebook for a little bit and then decided to shut off my phone and just engage in my surroundings.  I like to at least look people in the eye as they pass by me, giving them a quick smile.  It’s important to interact that way.  The passerby and I each have something to offer the other.  We exchange energies, I believe.  If you open yourself to the opportunity, you meet new people, share stories, smile and laugh together.  That’s a concept that is quickly fading away with the younger generations, sadly.

As I sat, I  listened to the receptionist and an office manager have a conversation about troubles with the computer system.  The problem was that the receptionist had just sat on the phone for an hour and a half with AT to work through a technical problem.  As soon as she got off the phone, she pressed a button and magically, the situation resolved itself.  It was instantaneous.  She was flabbergasted at the fact that she just wasted an hour and a half of her life that she can never get back.  As she relayed this to her manager, the two went on to discuss the fact that it is hard at the end of the year to reconcile year-end computer processes and have a holiday in between.  I get it.  Christmas is near the end of December and there is a lot of back up work to be done with the computer.  Having Christmas and New Year’s holidays while trying to close out a month and a year on the computer can be a bit daunting.

The next part of the conversation went a little haywire as far as I am concerned.  The receptionist is a young woman probably in her mid to late 20’s and the office manager is in her 50’s.  The receptionist starting to complain and asked why does Christmas and New Year have to come together at the same time.  Hmm, I was anxious to see where this thought process was going.  As I listened, my astonishment could have knocked me right out of my chair.  She went on to ask, ” What is Christmas anyway?”  She was very confused as she tried to figure this out.  She said, “Is that when he died?”  At this point the office manager spoke up and looked at her, trying to remind her about the three wise men and a baby being born.  Before the receptionist could process this information she blurted out, “Oh, wait, that’s Easter.”

To say that I was confounded is an understatement.  My mind went rushing, thrashing, flailing, not knowing how to process what I just heard.  I felt like I was in a dream state.  My mind became an exhibit of discomposure.  Is it actually possible that someone in their 20’s doesn’t have any idea who Jesus Christ was?  Not any idea why we celebrate the holidays?  No clue as to the true meaning of these gatherings of people around the world?  I cannot fathom the possibility that here in the United States a person could be that ignorant to facts regarding certain traditions.  The US is a populous of many different religions and belief systems.  I understand that many people are not educated on other’s faith practices.

I guess, my mind is blown because it makes me deeply sad that we have commercialized holidays so much that young people truly have no idea what any of it means.  They wander around aimlessly at Christmas, spending their money and frantically rushing against time to accomplish almost impossible tasks for the sake of a holiday that they know nothing about.  The absurdity of this lack of knowledge hit me so hard that it rattled me to the core.

I guess, Santa Claus and the Easter Bunny reign supreme in a world that needs to know the limitless quality of love.  I’m not suggesting that everyone become Christians.  I respect other people’s faith and most are based on true love and humanity.  I am astounded that a younger generation are not being given some form of foundation to build on.

Then again, that may not be true.  I am a woman in her late 50’s.  I was raised Catholic and although I do not practice Catholicism any longer, I do believe in a personal relationship with God.  Maybe the new generation is not being indoctrinated the way that many of us have been.  That’s not always a bad thing.  Maybe they are free to decide for themselves what to believe in without indoctrination.  Just because they are not being exposed to religion doesn’t mean they are not being exposed to love and humanity.

While my mind was knocked off its axis while listening to the aforementioned conversation, a new lesson is coming through.  Religion is not love.  Love is love.  Compassion is love. Peace, happiness, sharing and caring is love. I didn’t need indoctrination to know love and while I am a Christian, my beliefs are based on a deep personal relationship with my Holy Spirit.  I don’t participate in organized religion because it does not feed my soul.

I have slowly but surely been setting aside my indoctrinated mind, growing spiritually each and every day.  Although the younger generations may seem to lack the knowledge of the history of Jesus Christ and the holidays, they certainly know how to share the love and caring that is needed so desperately in this world.

The New Calendar

It’s a new year and everyone is celebrating.   Last night I heard the firecrackers going off and people laughing.  I was happy to be warm and cozy in my bed.  All the well wishes for a new year are spinning around with hopes of a bigger, better year.  Many wishing good riddance to 2019.  Expectations are high for big changes in life and circumstances.  It’s a new year with an opportunity to start over again.

We look at a calendar of December and now that page has ended and suddenly as we flip to the new page we feel refreshed and ready to go get this new life.  I find it kind of silly in a way.  Don’t we have the same opportunity to refresh in each moment of the day?  Life is not going to switch gears because of a flip of a page.  I wish it were that simple.  But then again, it really is.  It’s in the breath.  We can only take one breath at a time and as we do we have the ability to change our mood, our actions, and our reactions.

Our society waits for a new year to make changes in our lives.  We wait for Monday to start that diet or go to the gym.  I’ll do it Monday because it’s the beginning of the week. I’m sure you are familiar with that reasoning.  We are looking for the perfect time to begin something new but for some reason, we look at a calendar to tell us when that time will be.  It’s a calendar.  It’s just a piece of paper printed with a beautiful picture above it hanging on our wall.  It’s a general timepiece and we give it so much power.

Why are we giving power to dates on a calendar?  We have everything we need right here and now.  The new year isn’t going to be different if we step into it with the same thoughts and behavior.  Expecting major changes without doing the work is insanity.  There is no magic flip of the page that will transform our lives.

Peace, hope, love, joy, health, and happiness are all right here within us at any given moment.  We have it now.  We’ve had it all along but we were waiting for the calendar to change.  What a shame to waste all this time.

Life is full of challenges, heartbreak, hard times and sadness.  Such is life.  But, life is also full of the things we continue to wish for:  There is love everywhere if we choose to see it.  The balance of hard times and good times is natural.  The flip of the calendar won’t take away the hurt, sadness, hard times, etc….  But the modification of our thoughts and patterns and responses can bring us the peace that we so long for.

My wish for all of you is to find your peace, joy, love, and health in each breath you take.  In each moment that we are given, there is the hope that we are all praying for in the new year.  It is the here and now that gives us what we need.  Breathe and feel the precious lifeblood flowing through us, The Holy Spirit that does not need a calendar to renew our soul.  Instead of wishing you a happy new year, I wish you a blessed new breath in each new moment filled with the overflowing love that we need to grow, change and evolve into a better version of ourselves.

Happy Breathing!  Celebrate and be joyous.

Experiences of a One Dollar Bill

Stiff and fresh from the mint factory, the dollar bill begins its life at the local bank.  A small grey-haired woman, slightly bent forward, wearing her crocheted cardigan sweater stands in line.  She has a look of determination on her face with her lips pursed because she is taking care of important bank business.  Whenever the elderly go to the bank it is considered urgent.  They don’t use the ATM because technology doesn’t agree with them.  No, standing in line in a building called a bank is of paramount nature.  As she approaches the counter she takes out her social security check from her purse and hands it to the teller to be cashed.  She’s very attentive to the process.   These new, stiff bills are really hard to separate for the elderly hand.  And so, she slightly dampens her finger with her tongue to separate and count her treasure trove while making sure the teller watches her in case there is an error.  She is satisfied and leaves the bank feeling triumphant that she accomplished an errand on her list for the day.

Next week is her granddaughter’s birthday.  Our elderly friend picks out the perfect birthday card and sits carefully pondering what she should write inside the card.  After all, this is a very special occasion.  She continues this preparation and carefully contemplates how much money she will put in the birthday card.  She counts out ten one dollar bills, fresh and new and places them in the card.  Off they go to the world of a five-year-old.

The little girl is so excited to see so many “monies” in her card.  What will she do with such a prosperous portion?  Filled with excitement, she begs her mommy to take her to the store.  A tiny little girl, holding her mommy’s hand is confounded with all the choices in front of her at the dollar store.  She carefully deliberates and finally decides on her delights.  As the child and her mommy approach the checkout, she carefully counts her money and hands it to the nice lady behind the counter.  A happier child, the world has never seen.

The next person in line is picking up a few household items.  He’s a young bachelor trying to stretch a dollar.  The necessities of having his own apartment mean having cleaning supplies on hand.  He never would have imagined himself buying cleaning stuff for his own place.  His sense of independence makes him so proud.  He’s defining his purpose as a “man”.  Staking his claim on his own place like men do.  This is his first time buying this kind of stuff so he’s a little apprehensive about whether it’s the right stuff for the job.  He doesn’t remember what cleaners his mom used at home.  That stuff just wasn’t important to him at the time but now, his world is different.  He’s a grown-up, doing grown-up stuff.  He proudly hands the check out lady his twenty-dollar bill and she gives him his change which included a fresh one-dollar bill.  The sight of a young bachelor excited to go home and clean his new apartment, beginning a new adventure in adulthood can make a person feel proud of his accomplishment.  He goes home and takes his cleaners from the bag and starts reading directions like it was a captivating book.  And he begins the task at hand.   At this moment he is so happy being an adult.  Soon, hunger starts urging him away from cleaning but he wants to finish what he started.  The next best thing to do is to order a pizza and so he does.  The pizza delivery person arrives with a fresh, hot,  mouth-watering pizza just waiting to be devoured.  Well, of course, this delivery person deserves a nice tip for bringing such a feast to a ravenous, young man.  He hands off 4 one-dollar bills, one still stiff and fresh from the bank and the delivery person goes happily on his way.

As a delivery person, working part-time at night, tips are the goal.  This person is a young twenty-something, going to college during the day and delivering pizza at night to be able to continue paying for cell phones, insurance, and car payments. Tips are the life-blood for someone in this position.  It has been an exhausting day but there is still homework to be done.  Pizza delivery can extend into the late hours of the night and school comes very early in the morning.  The first thing to do though after coming home is to count up those tips and separate them.  The majority of the money is one-dollar bills but there are enough fives thrown in there to make it worth the effort. Tomorrow the cell phone bill is due and the cash is of paramount importance.  The homework is finally finished by 2 am and a short sleep is a necessity.  Seven in the morning comes very quickly.  The agenda for the day is school, quick lunch, stop by the cell phone store to pay the bill and then back to school for a few more hours.  After that, pizza delivery calls.  The cell phone bill is $133.24.  Payment consists of cash, a bunch of twenties, fives and 3 one-dollar bills along with 24 cents in change.  Success!! At least for another day in the life of a college student.  Another bill paid and more money coming in.

The fresh, stiff, one-dollar bill isn’t so stiff anymore.  As it continues its journey from one hand to the next it becomes worn and soft and supple.  The exchange of hands and lives and circumstances is unfathomable.  This inanimate,  simple one-dollar bill has touched so many lives, seen so many things, and gone from one circumstance to another.  If it was a living, breathing entity, imagine the stories it could tell.

The cycle of life travels from one hand, one person, one circumstance to another.  The journey, if separated and considered piece by piece is astounding.  The power of one interaction after another is capable of transforming people into new, different beings.  The potential for life-altering experiences can come from one tiny, seemingly insignificant situation.  Everything matters.  Every single thing matters.  Every word, every action, every reaction matters.  Nothing in life is insignificant.  No person is insignificant and no circumstance is insignificant.  We are all of distinguishable value.  Life is of insurmountable value.

 

As I Sit and Paint

 

I sit in comfort at a local ceramics shop, enjoying the joy and peace of painting a birdhouse.  I use all colors of the rainbow as I create my special piece that has only my handprint upon it.  I am joined by my boyfriend and ladies around me, all enjoying their relaxing time the same as I.  There is Christmas music playing in the background.  We share warmth and lightness as we chat with each other.  All are intent on their work.

The subject matter we talk about has an extensive range. We share how far we’ve come with holiday shopping and errands that we must complete later in the day.  We discuss different health issues and past experiences that bring us to the opinions we have formed.  Each listening and understanding and painting as we go.

A subject comes up about a local news story where two young men were driving at a high speed and they lost control of their vehicle as it flew through the air and landed in the second story of a building.  We all quietly continue to paint as we remark of what a terrible tragedy it was.  We speak of the feeling of sadness for the parents of the deceased and we continue to paint.  I observe in my mind,  the contrast of the story and, the activity that we are partaking in.  I know for myself that as I create in this relaxed situation, my heart aches for a dear loved one who is struggling with pure existence, unable to even speak without sobbing, striving for a new way of being.  My heart hurts as I watch my boyfriend tackle his art creation through the pain of a severe work injury and being unsure of the outcome of said injury.

Each person at our table has trials and tribulations, heartaches and sadness that are alive and well in their lives at this very moment.  Yet, we sit and paint. I am torn between the activity and the underlying pain we are all suffering.  I somehow, cannot reconcile the two. As I sit and ponder the situation, I feel guilty for enjoying this moment of relaxation.  I cry inside for what my family member is going through.  I can only pray that he could have this moment of clarity in his life at this same moment.  My tears continue to flow for people and situations that are unseen, unheard and unknown.

As I paint, I chat and I contemplate.  I am an observer, aware of all the underlying pain and suffering each person is encountering in their lives.  Realizing how unimportant and trivial some of our daily complaints are, I can feel a larger picture emerge right in front of me.  There is a higher purpose here.  There is a greater calling for all of us.  We are all suffering in one form or another.  Our families, children, grandchildren all have struggles.  Our neighbors, our friends, people we come in contact with every day either as passersby or acquaintances we wave to as we drive by, they all have trials and sadness that we know nothing about.  We all have a story.  We all have heartache.

Our purpose is to love and be loved.  Isn’t that what each of us really want?  It’s a simple concept but hurt people, hurt people. We all begin life with a clean slate of joy and love.  Newborns come into this life with pureness.  Experiences passed on from generation to generation teach us a way to be.  Sometimes it is not such a pretty outcome.  But as I stated before, we are all in this together and we can help each other along the way.  As stated by John Denver, “It’s about time we find out, it’s all of us or none.”

In comprehending this, we have an opportunity to share an even greater love for our fellow humans. We are all in this together whether we want to admit it or not.  We are very much the same.  Life is hard sometimes.  It can be unbearable for some.  As I sit and paint, I feel the underlying stories of each person I come in contact with.  My heart is open and outstretched to share as much love as I have.

Orange you glad I didn’t say Banana

I love fruit.  I like to have different fruit each day so that I can reap the benefits of the different vitamins each one has.  Right now I have apples, bananas, and oranges in the fruit bowl.

My boyfriend especially enjoys oranges.  Being the good “wife”, I cut up his oranges and present them to him all nice and pretty.  The other day, I placed a beautiful bright orange delight in front of him as part of a perfectly balanced breakfast.  I learned from my mother that it’s all in the presentation.  Enjoying a meal to its fullest begins with the eyes.  Did I mention that I am also trying to teach him how to create a balanced plate for the purpose of eating healthier and losing weight?  When you prepare a feast for the eyes in a bunch of different plates and bowls, it looks like such an exciting event with so many different things.  It all starts in the mind.  If it looks like a lot of food, we feel more satisfied.

The breakfast that I prepared wasn’t anything special but I made it look special.  I placed a whole-wheat English muffin with light butter on the plate.  Half of the English muffin had a scrambled egg and a slice of cheese on it.  The other half was placed next to it just to take up space.  Alongside that was a sausage link cut in half lengthwise and browned to perfection.  On a separate plate I sliced up a navel orange.  To present the orange, I cut it in half and then took each half and placed them face down and sliced them like I would slice a tomato.  This made one navel orange look like a massive amount of food on its own plate that was the same size as the plate the rest of the breakfast was on.  I spread it out in all its brilliant luminescence.

We sat down and ate our breakfast and I was feeling quite noble in my attempt to satisfy the hungry beast.  After finishing our breakfast my boyfriend gave me a strange look.  I wasn’t quite sure what he was trying to say.  Eventually, he said, with a smile on his face and a little bit of trepidation in the way he spoke, that the next time I cut up an orange for him I should try to do it the right way.  And, as my words were being spewed back into my own face, “You’re never too old to learn something new.”  I looked at him with the curiosity of a cat. You know the old saying of “Curiosity killed the cat.” My curiosity was about to kill this cat.  But I sat with inquisitiveness on my face to hear about the “right way” to cut a navel orange.  Here are the instructions according to him:  Place the orange on the surface with the navel facing up.  Cut in half, then turn it and cut it in half again.  Now you have four quarters.  Now, the slices are too big because it’s a navel orange so you take the slice and slice it in half again.  Now you should have eight slices.  Now you are able to take your thumb and peel between the orange and the peel and pull the orange out in one piece.  As I sat torn between disbelief and entertainment, I smiled and told him that I have the perfect solution.  “The next time I’ll let you cut it for yourself.”

The orange cutting debacle of 2019 didn’t end there.  As I replayed this event to friends of ours, my boyfriend defended his take on this situation and the purpose of him educating me.  He stated that maybe one day he might have “imaginary” arthritis and I might need to cut an orange for him and I should at least be able to do it right.

Such is life in my household.  I didn’t take it personally.  I was willing to learn something new because that is what I preach.  I am completely amused at this occurrence of such a production over cutting an orange.  This is an intersection of choices.  I could have chosen to be offended and allow a fight to ensue.  Instead, I looked at it from the place of love and humor that it came from.  The laughter and silliness that came from this whole situation would have been completely lost if I chose being offended.  I am happy to be able to share the great navel orange debacle of 2019 in the hopes of bringing lightness and laughter to others.

Have fun and enjoy silliness in your life.  It’s the spice of life.