New Beginnings. New Book!
It has been 1 year and 1 day since my husband passed away from a long battle with cancer. It has taken all of this year to address essentials, finances, learning to live without putting the ‘other’ first in my life and learning how to re-create time and space for me, identifying who I am without a partner and best friend. My other best friend, my Mom, has been a tremendous help, jollying me out of blue funks and reminding me to ‘remember when’ for all the good times the three of us shared.
Even when you are expecting it, when your life turns upside down, it still takes time to find your feet again. And forget creative energy for stories or art…the well is empty…or maybe just too full of ‘stuff and memories’. It takes time to empty oneself of all the internal dialogue of ‘we’, and start making space for the ‘me and I’, for inviting spirit, joy and peace back into your life.
With the long-awaited estate-garage sale over, the studio almost empty and awaiting a good scrubbing down and re-organizing, 2017 feels like new beginnings. Stones of Fire, The Spidy Chronicles, Book 3, which has been languishing on the back burner for this past year, suddenly up and finished itself, no worries. I’m happy with the characters, the story and the ending, and look forward to finishing another trilogy, The Entity Chronicles. I’ve taken up sketching again, readying to move on to oil painting and art in all aspects, with creative ideas and projects flowing through my heart, and found a new home of comfort and support in my faith community.
The migration of sand hill cranes and hummingbirds are a scant 3-5 weeks away and hints of new life are pushing through the ground all around me. Blessings on my partner and friend, all those in my physical, spiritual and art/writing family who have supported me, and blessings on the new days ahead, may they be filled with laughter, grace and the joy of living.
“You do not have to be good.
You do not have to walk on your knees
for a hundred miles through the desert, repenting.
You only have to let the soft animal of your body
love what it loves.
Tell me about despair, yours, and I will tell you mine.
Meanwhile the world goes on.
Meanwhile the sun and the clear pebbles of the rain
are moving across the landscapes,
over the prairies and the deep trees,
the mountains and the rivers.
Meanwhile the wild geese, high in the clean blue air,
are heading home again.
Whoever you are, no matter how lonely,
the world offers itself to your imagination,
calls to you like the wild geese, harsh and exciting –
over and over announcing your place
in the family of things.”
― Mary Oliver
Be well, Cooper Hill
“Tell me, what is it you plan to do with your one wild and precious life?” Mary Oliver
A friend recently gifted me a book that has called me to the precipice of soul-flight, the author ensnaring my heart so deeply that I’ve yet to emerge from his web.
“Walking on the Pastures of Wonder–John O’Donohue in conversation with John Quinn” will not win awards for its title, but the depths and heights to which it plunges and soars have re-opened doors I thought shut forever. Its comely words have found a home and strengthened me at a time of introspection, examen of conscience and feeling my way through to the next step in life’s journey with quiet joy.
“One of the lovely ways to pray is to take your body out into the landscape and to be still in it…If you go out for several hours into a place that is wild, your mind begins to slow down, down, down. What is happening is that the clay of your body is retrieving its own sense of sisterhood with the great clay of the landscape…So I think landscape is an incredible, mystical teacher, and when you begin to tune into its sacred presence, something shifts inside you…landscape is always at prayer, and its prayer is seamless… ” John O’Donohue
Taking early morning walks to greet the dawn these past summer months have been my saving grace. The beat and thrum of insects in tall grass, spidy webs sparkling levitra 20mg uk online like diamonds in the morning dew, emerging sunbeams racing across tree and meadow teaming with life, singing tadalafil 20 mg how long does it last of growth—renewal, all these have beckoned me forward into new beginnings, into a new sense of self.
Quiet now permeates the crisp fall air as a belated morning sun cracks open the darkened landscape of deep purples and ground fog, setting loose pale streaks of color to spread slowly across an impossibly blue sky–rosy pinks and yellows, a new day laughing its way into my heart.
A challenge at any age, reinventing one’s self in middle age presents unique difficulties in today’s break-neck trendy world. The body is suddenly no longer as young or supple, requiring more effort and less food to maintain. And as your dearest friends, parents, mentors and family drift one by one over that invisible line into infinity, you are left to explore this world more each year as a solitary adventurer—discovering freedoms you never thought to have again after half a lifetime with others.
And yet it is still heady and challenging and wonder-filled. Beyond the sense of loss, of letting go, there is a slow-growing sense of excitement, an anticipation of what lies ahead, of the discovery, mischief and smiles to be found in each day, of offering a new home to that illusive spark that fills the mind and heart with creative endeavors—and wondering what is left to give back to this world–as a single entity, which you always were, but that is now reawakening itself and moving beyond the ‘we’ to a new wholeness of ‘I’ and the ‘we–Universal’. My life is landscape building itself anew. Choices
“I know many lives worth living.” Mary Oliver
Each day, I soar a bit higher. And to soar, I think, in prayer, work, play or among the clouds, is life at its most beautiful. Be well.
Oh! I have slipped the surly bonds of earth,
And danced the skies on laughter-silvered wings;
Sunward I’ve climbed, and joined the tumbling mirth
Of sun-split clouds, –and done a hundred things
You have not dreamed of –Wheeled and soared and swung
High in the sunlit silence. Hov’ring there
I’ve chased the shouting wind along, and flung
My eager craft through footless halls of air…
Up, up the long, delirious, burning blue
I’ve topped the wind-swept heights with easy grace
Where never lark or even eagle flew —
And, while with silent lifting mind I’ve trod
The high untrespassed sanctity of space,
Put out my hand, and touched the face of God.
John Gillespie Magee Jr.
I was pumped! Excited. I’d found my ‘writing rhythm’ again and the final 20 chapters of the #3 book in the Spidy trilogy seemed to compose themselves. I was happy with the plot, the ending, the characters–and felt good about where I’d left them in the tale. But it was after midnight, I couldn’t keep my eyes open and stumbled off to bed, putting off till morning the final adieu to my intrepid team of heroes–and dropped into sweet dreams.
You know how after a severe trauma or great loss, you bounce back unevenly, with ups and downs that resemble a roller-coaster? And you never know what small thing might trigger a sudden change in fortune, a Tsunami or an avalanche?
It was a bright and early sunny morning, with joy and peace settling into a routine—take the dog to the park for a walk, carry the trash up to the pickup spot on the main road, check the flowerbeds for armadillo damage, take the morning cup of chai on the porch to greet the day with Mom—you know, the simple daily chores that keep you grounded. But just when it felt I was getting my feet under me, the roller coaster reached the top of the crest and took its first dive. (more…)
2015 was a rough year. My husband’s 7-year battle with a rare ‘terminal’ cancer has taken its toll with the constant change and assault on our lives and lifestyles. We’ve endeavored to make the best of each year, each challenge, stage and state of being, as we currently embrace our latest quest for wellness, with immunotherapy and a great group out of California: Issels Immuno-Oncology Clinic
In the long run, it has been hardest on our sense of humor, on facing each day with joy, of finding something to cherish and laugh about through the days. Take for instance, the case of the stretching underwear. With a growing belly and shrinking bottom and legs, it has become increasingly difficult to find underwear that fits or will stay up. If you order the size that fits the belly, the rest of the garment hangs baggy-side down, tripping one up at the knees and confounding the natural gait and order of things. If you order the size that fits the backside and legs, the elastic round the expanding waistline is so tight it cuts off circulation, and that…can’t be good.
It occurs to me that this is a problem not unique to us, as many mature men and women also face the problem of a growing waistline and shrinking legs and backside, and that perhaps I should write to the underwear manufacturers of the world and ask them for a niche market in the resizing of the sizes. Diapers and pull-up briefs simply aren’t the answer for the still active, proud, and sound of mind.
* * *
Exchanging a full time art and jewelry career for care-giving–because it’s what you do when loved ones need you–was an easy choice, at first. At the time, I thought writing would give me a new outlet–if even only in stolen moments–fuel the creative fires still yearning to soar. But I have allowed fatigue, medical research, cooking, meal-planning, chores, house maintenance, bills, money worries, lack of sleep and stress–in other words, the daily details that can drag at each of us–to steal even that.
But thanks to author, James Patterson, today is a better day. My New Year’s resolution was to express gratitude for what I have, not fatigue or stress over what I don’t have, and begin the New Year by taking back some time for myself, no matter if late at night after the household has gone to bed, or up early with the neighbor’s roosters while the house is still in quiet slumber. So I signed up for Mr. Patterson’s MasterClass on writing on Dec. 16 (I’m just now getting to it, but hey–better late than not at all), needing some inspiration to ‘get back in the saddle’. https://www.masterclass.com/classes/james-patterson-teaches-writing/
I fell down a hole this week, and climbing out didn’t get me anywhere, so I researched. The ‘hole’ was finding a fresh +92 entries on Facebook, which led to Google-ing some information which led to signing some petitions on animal cruelty, which led to some unique personal ways to help the planet (more on that below), which led to a half-dozen website/articles that were super-interesting:
How does an author with a normal life find the time to write?
A Perspective on Time:
An interesting thing happened to Time with the advent of the internet and the information age. We discovered time was relative, that the more information and ‘connection’ we add to the general knowledge base of humanity, the faster time seems to move, and the less time we seem to have. How does that work? Quantum physics explains it one way, psychologists or mathematicians another.
The world’s body of knowledge is doubling at least 2X every 24 hours. That is a daunting thought and makes me feel very tiny, like a single water molecule in all the oceans on earth. With so much information and opportunity out there to know, learn, experience and do, and the means to do it, we often find ourselves suffering from sensory and information overload.
On the other hand, with everything I ever wanted to know at my fingertips, I’ve also made the delightful discovery that I am a ‘generalist’ rather than a ‘specialist’. I am happiest when I can take in vast quantities of information, collate it, find a cohesive center that pulls it all together and write it down or use it, and have found an outlet for it in creative writing.