Lemmings in Line

If you’ve ever seen Lemmings jumping off a cliff, one after the other, then you have glimpsed my darker thoughts about life and death. How many of use just go through life as if we are just here to be the next to jump? And every time one of the older generation ‘falls off’, I think about how my generation will be the next to ‘jump’.

Everybody dies. It’s how we live that matters. I tell myself this as I plod to the kitchen, to pour that same cup of water into the same coffee maker like an automated…lemming. I plop the Kuerig pod into the machine, reminding  myself that I am adding to the landfill again. I have a delicious, steamy cup of coffee in hand in no time, but I don’t spend too much time to savor it slowly, because I have already plopped down in that same chair and automatically jumped onto Facebook. As usual, I get to see the latest political rants, dumb jokes, and some idiot lighting a firecracker under his friend’s ass, and then laughing when that friend nearly has a heart attack. I sigh. I click over to my 12,978 unread email list. “Online DealKing”, “Publisher’s Clearing House- respond NOW!”, “Indeed Job Alerts”, top the list. Again I sigh. Same shit, different day. It’s Friday. So what? I am at home. I don’t care and can barely keep track of which day of the week it is anyway.

I turn on the television. Three days from the presidential election between two of the biggest boobs in history. Both of them suck in different and yet profound ways. The fluffy kitty is snuggling next to me. At least she’s real. Genuine. I am grateful for her. I reflect on  gratitude, and my attitude starts to shift. The sunlight is soft and inviting outside my window,and the autumn leaves are lovely with their dappled hues, caressed by the breeze- falling, another lifetime ending. Leaf-lemmings…

And yet, we don’t really mourn the leaves, nor the grass that dies when it’s season ends. And in the large scheme of things, even though one leaf, one blade of grass, is a miracle unto itself, we don’t mourn, because we know that in the Spring, more leaves, more grass will come. That’s not enough for people, though. We cannot replace a loved-one with someone else. That one person is unique, priceless, treasured. We are left with memories, and we hope for a future of spiritual unity in Heaven. But there’s something else. Our mothers and fathers leave a part of themselves in us, our children, and their children. More than memories, more than the DNA that gave our kids that red hair, more than photographs. They leave a legacy. It might be good, it might be awful, but each new generation has its own chance, its own choices to  make.

Nature and nurture may have determined I will die as some sort of addict. Sure, I can choose to wallow in lemming mentality. I can follow the path of my father, a long-deceased alcoholic. I could follow the path of my mother, and could still be smoking cigarettes, never to quit until they make the last years of my life a living hell. I could go numbly through life, never allowing myself to appreciate the moment- the quiet time with a cup of joe, the cuddly soft cat on my lap giving and wanting affection, the golden sunshine casting beams and shadows through the house. I can also remember the beautiful people that my parents were, despite- and through- and beyond their addictions. Just like I am beautiful- and life is- despite, and through, and beyond our darkness.

It’s all about focus.

 

 

 

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Dream States

Three separate and distinctly different jets flew by overhead this morning at precisely two a.m. I am not sure if that is the noise that originally woke me up, or if it was the fairies playing tiny harps. I live an hour north of Portland, and wonder who needs to travel so early in the day, anyway?

It was not a dream. I do sometimes dream in music and sound, even composing my own tunes and lyrics, none of which I can remember when waking for long enough to write down. Some of them have had chart-topper potential, mind you.

This morning was different. I was clearly awake. I looked at the clock. During the dying rumble and schwoop of the last jet to go by, I began to hear this tiny, pleasant sound. It was as if leaves blowing in the wind were strumming the top of the strings on my guitar, up by the tuner knobs. Or, as I stated, fairies were playing tiny harps.

I reasoned that my husband’s i-phone alarm was going off, set to harps, on low volume. No. He doesn’t use the harp alarm anyway. And if he did, he surely wouldn’t have it going off at 2 a.m. No lights from his side of the bed were lit, either. So, what then? I was too sleepy to get up and investigate further, but it stirred my imagination.

I like to believe there is another world that remains mostly unseen, but is no less real than the one we cling to. I fancied that an angel was coming to say “Hi”. I wondered if my grandmother was tripping through the cosmos, or maybe my dad, and just wanted to be a presence in my room, at that moment. I worried briefly that my mom just passed on. She is quite ill of health, having suffered with COPD for many years. Wait- I haven’t called her today! What’s wrong with me?!

Ultimately, I didn’t truly believe any of my theories to the degree to act upon them- yet. But it’s been on my mind all day. Some things that others see as coincidence, I take a different approach to.

Yesterday morning, I was singing “This Little Light of Mine” to cheer myself up, as I realized I’ve been more grumpy and low-energy lately, and for much longer than I like. When I got to work, I was working in the solar lighting department, changing shelf price tags. The store is lit with fluorescent lighting, set to dim when the store is not open. Even at full bright, that light is not  enough to turn on  any of our solar globes. Then I just noticed that the one closest to me was softly but consistently lit. I chuckled out loud with a bit of delight. I mean, it cheered me up!

The cheer was short-lived, sadly. Too much work to do, too little time. I had to focus on the task at hand. But do you ever wonder about the small, seemingly insignificant , often symbolic occurrences that would mean very little to anyone but ourselves?

I’ve heard stories all my life about signs like this. The yellow rose that blooms mid-winter just under a  recently deceased loved-one’s window – when everyone thought the rose bush had died?

The bouquet of balloons that float by seemingly out of nowhere just when you were missing your   child the most- and balloons were his favorite thing?

Do the departed reach out with quiet messages to let us know there is life after life? Does God send messages our way, in hope that our inner spirit will see and understand, even as our eyes and mind doubt or miss them altogether?

Many people would say that they have had at least one unexplained ‘message’ like this, some people claim to have  had many more bizarre and stronger signals than these come through. But from where, exactly? And, as with most matters like this, is it only our faith that enables us to receive these messages, or can it all be summed up by mere coincidence and imagination?

I am not sure, but I will tell you that I enjoyed a sense of magic, and awe when I heard the music this morning.

Couple’s Massage

Our wedding anniversary should be special. I mean SPECIAL. The once a year extravaganza of expenditures- over birthdays and Christmas, over even Valentine’s Day. That means, you do whatever necessary to ensure that when that day arrives, you can pull out all the stops. Couples massage is a nice choice. Ditto for bungee jumping or tandem parachute jumps. I don’t know- just make it grand. Understandably, finances do play a part. I can’t afford to pay a massage therapist to rub down my husband with no more skill or acumen than I have for $70 per hour when I make less than $15 per hour, but I did that. I did that so I could make him feel that he takes priority with me- not only my time and affection, but in areas that require sacrifice and generosity.

I think it was worth it, but again- I think I need to go back to school for massage therapy, because I GOT THIS. I don’t really want to rub down the senior silver-backs but OK- for $70 an hour I can deal with the hair, smiling later on the way to the bank. The massage therapists may argue that they have a significant cut out of that which goes to space rent, then there’s taxes. Do they even get insurance availability for their families, or do they have to work as independent contractors? I don’t know, but perhaps their financial lives aren’t the cakewalk I presume.

All I know is that I would have paid a month’s pay to know that I pleased my husband. I wanted him to feel pampered, adored, WORTH IT. I can only hope he understands that , and that he isn’t upset that I spent ‘so much’ on him. I should not feel the need to prove my love to him through expenses, though. I hope that is not what I am doing. Last year, I think I just gave him a card and some massage oil, but this year, I had some extra money, and I wanted to spoil him.

Why? Because he can sew a flag and style my hair, after mowing the lawn and changing my   oil. He was a pastry chef and graphic artist ,but also helped build and decorate this house. He is a loving father, and a man of wonderful work ethic. He is honest and straight-forward, not wasting his time with flattering others, because he is genuine in his care and concern for others, and is everyone’s friend. He takes care of as many people he can who he loves, and is just good. Good to his ex, his kids, me, his mom, his friends, his co-workers, and neighbors. He inspires you to want to rise to his level, where there is no pettiness, jealousy, or hatred. He claims no Christianity, but is more Christian than many who proclaim that title.

Whatever fears and demons I fight in my own mind, have truly nothing to do with him. I am reminded that mindfulness- living in the moment, is so very important for my sanity.

I fear what he might be doing- but what is actually HAPPENING at this moment?

False Evidence Appearing Real. Fear is stupid.

Anyway, the couple’s massage was quite nice . They sprinkled rose petals on both beds, and after the massage, we were treated very nicely to a sumptuous feast of meats and cheeses and white wine.

Johnny Appleseed

I am 3, the crown of your achievements, the apple of your eye. I don’t know better

yet I am four

pining for my lost definition of

who I am and what I am to be about

and you are the apex of all my desires

and this is the beginning of the ending of most of them

because

you were not the King I thought you were,

not worthy of my worship and unconditional love

but when I gave that up

I realized

I wasn’t so special

not a princess at all

You’re not ever coming to pick me up

Time,

like the one hundred dimes

I used to call you

and I waited there

on my suitcase

by the door

but no more

The woman I am

cannot forget the child I was

so full of promise, belief, and love

crushed

waiting by the door

Ten Things My Father Taught ME

I just read a really lovely, wonderful post about a great dad, and a great daughter. It was very sweet, and I was wistful, and a bit envious reading it. What would it have been like to have had a father for more than my first three years of life? Even better,  a dad who didn’t drink, abuse pills, and almost kill my mother.

So, here’s what even a bad experience, and/or a really bad parent can teach you:

1) While it’s true that what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, it can also make you broken and bitter, until and unless you learn to forgive, and find a path to healing those old wounds and hurts.

2) A bad father can make a girl seek out all the the wrong guys for all the wrong reasons. It took me a few bad years with much older guys to stop realize I was  looking for a father figure. Now, I have a healthy relationship with a wonderful man, but I had to grow into that.

3) Having an abusive dad who abandons you can cause you to be distrustful of men on levels so deep you may not realize the distrust is there. It might take counseling and some very deep introspection to find it and deal with it.

4) You might attract more abusive people into your life until you resolve past conflicts.

5) You might always cry on Father’s Day.

6) Your mom might have never moved on to a healthy, stable relationship after your dad almost kills her.

7) You tend to idealize people and relationships, especially with men, because you never learned to have a loving relationship with someone despite normal flaws- any sign of imperfection in a person you get close to in your life signals danger, sometimes too much so. In healthy relationships, you learn that nobody is perfect. That doesn’t mean they are not worthy of love, nor does it mean they will abandon or abuse you.

8) Conversely, you may ignore true danger signs in a person or relationship, because you have no positive role model or a normal, healthy relationship to compare this one to.

9) You can move on to have healthy, productive relationships with people. I have no uncles, no real brother, no grandfather, no older, positive male role model in my life at all. I sometimes truly grieve this, but what can I do? I can move forward. I can still respect and admire people in my life who are positive role models, whether family, acquaintances, or teachers and bosses. I can also realize that none of these relationships will ever replace a bond between a loving father and his daughter. I may never understand that dynamic for myself, but I can still find love, and give love. Most importantly, when no one gives you that strong sense of belief in you, that sense of identity and belonging, you may need to learn to love and appreciate yourself. You have to respect yourself, and not hold your father’s sins against your own life. His failures are not your fault, and you don’t have to inherit them!

10) Trust. I still have a hard time trusting people, with a few very special exceptions. I still struggle with caring about others without fear of attachment, because the cared-for for person either leaves, dies, or changes into a different person. I hope someday to be able to just care about people without any worry about how it will affect ME, and just care freely.

So, to all of you out there with dads who were decent, flawed, real human guys who you knew loved you, no matter what, be grateful. Call your dad. Spend some time together with the ‘cranky old fart’, or ‘puttering old fuddy-duddy’, because one day he may just be gone. Love each other.

Sun Screened

Walking through this high desert

the sun is cleansing me

and I jump, run, skip

a woman in love, in awe

This moment always is-

was- will be in me

When the clouds are unending

the rain forgets to cease

cold winds blow anew

I close my eyes , seeing then

which becomes my true  now

and smile, contented.