My hope is to offer encouragement to writers as well as to those who simply love to read. You will find snippets of things I am working on and special announcements here.
A single star suspended in the morning sky attracted me in its silent glory. I leaned back against my car and observed the star's glinting presence until the sky grew pale with the day's first light. "A sky to remember," I thought, as I headed off to work.
The memory stayed with me all week, that dose of blue sky and silver star like protein powder causing me to brim with grace and energy.
Then later in the week I read an excerpt from Dr. Henry Cloud's book, Necessary Losses. He provided a metaphor that resonated. He spoke of the rose bush. He described how rose bushes produce many more buds than they can sustain. The person growing roses must trim many of the buds to allow the plant to route its resources to nourish the healthiest blooms. If the plant is not pruned, the roses will not flourish. Dr. Cloud stated that often our lives can be like the rose bush. We perceive loss as negative, rather than embrace the concept of letting go as a means to increase health and wholeness. Perhaps I was magnetized to the morning sky, because it bore the symbolism of simplification. Paring down. One star, glowing aloft in its blue estate.
The root of the word "integration" is the smaller word "integer," which means "whole." Too often, racing through life, we become the "hole," not the "whole." We become an unexamined maw into which our encounters and experiences rush unassimilated, leaving us both full and unsatisfied because nothing has been digested and taken in. In order to "integrate" our experiences, we must take them into account against the broader canvas of our life. We must slow down and recognize when currents of change, like movements in a symphony, are moving through us.~Julia Cameron (from The Right to Write, An Invitation and Initiation into the Writing Life)
Sometimes answers surface on the page before they rise to the top in my thinking process. At times, I look back over journal entries searching for ideas, themes and actions that remain unassimilated in my life. As I wrestle with integrating the desire for more freedom with the need for careful consideration regarding retirement, what I discovered anew on the page provided determination to keep walking toward increased liberty. Writing can be that friend who listens...
I wrote: Coming up out of the blue. A dream surfaces. I am riding a bike. It's blue, the ocean near. I want to remember. I need to remember, but by noon it's gone. Life layers over me.
I remember the day, a hot, sweltering, Carolina afternoon, not unlike the scorching summer days we are experiencing now. Maybe that's why I'm recalling that time a few years ago. I walked over to our mailbox. I could feel the heat soak into my hands when I opened the box. I didn't even look through the collection of envelopes--probably only junk mail and bills. I spied a neon-yellow card in the middle of the stack. I wasn't curious--coupons, most likely, for fast food. Later that night, I sat eating dinner alone, my husband out of town. I absentmindedly picked up the envelopes and began to shuffle through them. Buried inside the quotidian array, I found a postcard from my husband. He has a lovely, vintage practice of buying postcards, writing a few lines and mailing them to me when he's away visiting his family in Europe. The photo on the card captured a scene of people sitting on benches around a fountain, a faultless blue sky overhead. My husband wrote on the back of the postcard, "We should be here together." I ran my fingertips over the ink he used to pen the words, the handwriting as familiar to me as my own breath. How could a postcard, something so small, so elemental bring such comfort?
I think because we crave to be known. In the sometimes harrowing pace that life foists upon us, we long to know that someone wants to share our company, that we have been singled out by someone else.
This week I was in charge for a few days. My boss was out of town attending a conference, and two other counselors who typically oversee the clinic were out on vacation. My boss asked me to be the "go to" person. I usually feel much more comfortable in the 'follower" role. This time, though, I wanted to be a team player and knew there needed to be someone to lead. I accepted her request.
It was as if I'd been asked to perform a solo dance. I'd never danced alone, but I knew the steps--knew them well. I entered the stage, my tap shoes securely laced. The curtain parted, the spotlight fixed on me. I began tapping, my body remembering the routine, freedom and joy filling me as I made my way across the stage, the rhythmic, sonorous beats of my shoes on the wooden stage resounding throughout the theatre. By week's end, I bowed, panting, a sheen of perspiration on my face, simultaneously exhausted and invigorated.
That art should be so elusive is deeply mysterious. In many respects it seems so straightforward. What art demands of us has remained constant down through the centuries--that we slow down, observe, contemplate, court quiet, practice stillness, live as if we have all the time in the world, knowing full well that we don't.~Richard Russo (from The Destiny Thief--Essays On Writing, Writer's And Life)
I spied the white rectangle in a shadowy corner of the parking garage as I walked to my car. When I got closer, I saw that it was an old cassette tape, streaked with mud, a wrinkled label coming unglued from its surface that read Staying The Course. I almost threw the tape in the trash bin, but took it to my car. I held the tape in my hands and read the title again, that phrase a kindness, a gentle touch there in that noisy concrete building.