Only Moments


The silence comforts me

and scares me at the same time.

I feel the fragility of everyone around me

while I draw my strength from them.

It is a celebration and a mourning

this thing called life.

So much to experience

in something so shallowly lived

when you realize

the scope of it.

Moments easily overlooked

when they are the ones that matter most.

People put on hold

when you’re too tired

too busy

too wrapped up in things that mean nothing.

We all are are blinded

to some degree to what really makes

a difference to another soul,

because it hurts sometimes to let it be significant

and we just aren’t willing

to bear that kind of pain.

Maybe if we knew the number of our minutes

just maybe

we would make sure

we used them to touch

the life of another.

Deeper Instinct


“I, with a deeper instinct, choose a man who compels my strength, who makes enormous demands on me, who does not doubt my courage or my toughness, who does not believe me naïve or innocent, who has the courage to treat me like a woman.”
― Anaïs Nin

I absolutely love these words. I believe we can be women with both our strength and beauty at full power, continuously building our lives and interests into an oasis where our truest selves can rest and grow.

We can also invite men into ourselves, into our lives, with their own clarity of vision and self-awareness. These men exist, but are unseen by the untrained eyes of women caught up in living the damage all of us carry with us if we’re not willing to address it and move forward.

A friend said to me the other day that she wondered when men quit being courteous and protective gentlemen. I suggested that those qualities were possibly resting by the roadside next to the grace and femininity we set aside thinking we had to war with each other.

I’m not a man, and I don’t want to be. We are of equal value but we are not equal in many wonderful ways that have apparently been forgotten. We bring different gifts into the world and each is made more powerful by what the other has to offer. Each can bring more joy to the other.

Beautiful music, well written books, cognitive therapy and a willingness to look inside for answers have helped me make my way to the life I’m building now. It will always be so for me, and that makes me happy. When I recognize that in a man, that kind of investment in himself, I am awed. I know what kind of courage it takes to do so.

It’s hard and it’s painful at times. But to be able to bring my whole self to the table with all I have to offer inside, and a man’s willingness to do the same is a breath-taking possibility of unlimited potential for a very real love.

I have a “deeper instinct” to choose wisely in the future. To preserve myself and offer everything at the same time. To be capable of maintaining my individuality as well as answering the masculine call to my femininity. I will consider it a joy, not a weakness to revel in the celebration of like hearts, like minds, and very different bodies.

We should not be at war. I love getting flowers, having my doors opened and a man showing his protectiveness. I adore these things that call to the feminine in me and will consider them a show of respect and an indicator of the value I will have to him. It matters little that I can do these things for myself. Likewise it makes me happy to show my heart in the things I do and the care I give even when he too will be capable of providing for himself.

I think men and women have both gotten a bad deal. We gave it to ourselves, and it seems like such a waste of time to me. There have been too many wasted opportunities to be more and have more as individuals and as companions of choice.

I grew tired of fighting. I set my weapons aside and picked up my books, my headphones and held my hand out for someone to show me the way in. It’s changed me in ways I will never regret. It’s grown beautiful things within me that can’t be taken away.

They can only be given or shared, guided by that “deeper instinct”.

The Art of Being Ugly


I woke up ugly this morning.

Not on the outside although it wasn’t one of my better days, but my heart, my thoughts and my perception of things were on the hard side. I woke up gritting my teeth and knew it would be a struggle to contain the harshness from those who didn’t deserve it.

Which was everyone.

I usually don’t feel this way, and I don’t like it. I used to deny its existence or hide it from myself, missing every important lesson the meanness was trying to teach me.

I’m a slow learner but when I finally get it, it sticks.

Listening to the ugly parts of me is the only way to see where I’m being foolish in ways that injure my heart. Shaking hands with the side of me that wants to strike out helps me see where I’ve set myself up for failure. The “righteous” part of me that wants to cause equivalent pain in another is a 911 call for pulling my head out of my ass and taking a good look at where I’m standing…

And how fast I’m sinking.

I’m about chest high in bad attitude right now, cigarette in one hand and wine glass in the other, listening to the ugly. I don’t apologize for the contents of either hand or the content of my mind.

I’m sorting it out.

The more I listen the more it recedes, slowing my breath and easing the tightness in my jaw. My heart softens again and my mind settles. I see the adjustments I need to make to defuse my dilemma.

Fortunately, most will never meet the ugly I talk to from time to time, even though that side of me is an important part of who I am. If I don’t listen to the black-hearted, judgmental, vigilante part of me…

How will I ever grow?

Front Porch Therapy


Welcome to my front porch. Sacred ground. A place to share your pain, anger and silliness. It’s by invitation only because my first responsibility is to myself. If I’m not right, my porch is not the place for anyone to be.

My porch is Switzerland, baby. Neutral territory. No recognized extradition laws here.

Only the truth is spoken here, either in person or via phone or text. But I, at least, must be sitting right here for these laws to be in effect.

Your age, race, gender or faith of choice is rendered clear here. We talk, share, shout out, laugh hysterically and solve our issues. At the very least we part ways with new ideas to filter through our views of life.

It’s an awesome place to hang out when needed.

The Front Porch is a precious place to me. I’ve laughed here, cried plenty and healed to a wholeness I’ve never known before now. I’ve heart/soul talked with brothers, sisters, parents and friends who are my family.

I became real here. It will be hard for me to ever leave should I someday decide to.

My heart took its first free breath here with broken ribs, and a fierce joy.

Fierce.

Only those who have proven themselves soul-worthy have been welcomed here in person, or otherwise. It is non-negotiable to me.

One of my best friends says she’s not right if a week goes by without porch therapy. I get it. If your soul can’t speak out in a safe and accepting environment, it gets a little lonely.

We need each other. Don’t act like we don’t.

So my point is this, friends…find your “front porch”. Build it. Protect it fiercely. It will save you, and those in your inner circle who live in your heart.

Be the safe place. Open eyes, open heart, open mind…open arms…

Because hugs are a critical part of front porch therapy, even if they’re virtual.

You know who you are, you are welcome here, and I love you.

 

Unexpected Places: A Eulogy


rumi set your life on fire

I thought her beautiful

at any age…

Time seemed to have

no power over

how she

presented herself

to the world…

She made me laugh

every damn time

I saw her, and lifted

me when I was

sure nothing could…

I don’t understand

how she could

be gone

when she never

grew old…

Never got stuck

in any one way of thinking,

always open

to the next great

possibility…

She was honest

when it wasn’t “cool”

and transparent

when no one

wanted to

see…

There was something

about her that

drew you

close,

held you tight

and made you welcome…

She knew the latest

songs and slang

and laughed

uproariously at how

it blew my mind…

She loved

at times when

I thought she

shouldn’t, and the pieces

of life that she

leapt out to have

for herself

that made me

question her sanity

were the times

she treasured most

in her heart.

I can only hope

that she will live on

not just in our hearts,

but in our ways

of thinking and seeing

the world,

the choices we make

for our lives,

and the courage

we call out

of ourselves

to love and live

in unexpected

places.

 

 

Not The One


I need to tell you this. I am not the one for you.

I am not physical perfection although I wear the years of my life as gracefully as I can. The scars I carry are proof of the parts of my life that matter most. I survived shredding my arm through a window at age five. I lived after being hit by a car at age ten. I thrived giving birth to my son via emergency c-section. I walked away from a wreck that should have killed me and everyone in my path.

I’m proud of every mark I wear that shows I won the fight.

The glint of silver in my hair and the twinkle lines finding their way beside my eyes are just a manifestation of the tears and laughter that have carried me to this moment.

Proof of life.

I am not the one for you.

I don’t know how to give my heart just a little bit, or love from the shallow end of the pool. I can’t give myself to another, and then someone else just for kicks. Loyalty matters to me. Integrity matters to me. How I feel about myself in the morning matters to me.

My life is not a game, it is a gift. That is how I see it. When I love someone, their struggle becomes the thing I support. Their well-being the thing I uphold. They will never feel unloved or unworthy due to any action of mine.

I am not the one for you.

I am the one that will weather every storm when I love and am loved in return. If I give with no holding back or hiding, I expect the same in return. I am not jealous, but have no problem forcing a stand down if someone doesn’t recognize an obvious line of decency drawn.

I believe in treasuring a heart that is given to me in trust. I will shelter and protect it from anything that threatens. I will be the tree that bends and twists, losing leaves and limbs, but stays rooted and strong in the face of anything that comes to call. No one loving me will be without me standing in front of them when the shot is fired. That is who I am.

I am not the one for you.

I am not frivolous or vain. I don’t need the attention of anyone public or private to give me a sense of worth. I don’t need to be anything other than myself. A woman who loves fiercely and fights relentlessly for a loved one.

I don’t need to be famous, or best dressed, or most popular. These things are just icing on some cake, not part of who I am. You have to see this and know this truth from the place where you are right now.

I am not the one for you.

You don’t know me. You can’t see me. I’m not a game to be played, I’m beyond your reach.

I am not the one for you.

 

 

The Story Of My Heart


One of my best friends found my heart for me. He sent it to me and now it’s mine, bought and paid for, as we say in the Midwest.

He suggested that I fill it with the desires that light me up and start building the new life I’ve taken such insane steps to begin.

Yes, my heart is as heavy as it appears. Yes it seems to be empty.

Until you notice the vials.

There are nineteen tiny cork-stoppered vials waiting for my first  adventures to be rolled up and stuffed inside. There used to be twenty of them but as life will do when we aren’t tending to our dreams, one arrived broken.

It was a perfect reminder to sweep aside the broken things that can’t be repaired to make room for the new dreams. Things that make a new life. The very things that make me step away from the churning and turmoil of the past and create a new future for myself.

Learn to tango…

Learn Latin…

Walk in the rain, face up, eyes and heart open. All alone…

Re-read a classic…

Buy a ridiculously expensive pair of shoes that will make me magical.

These are the types of things that will fill my heart. And when I pull one out to be done, I will refill it with something new and put it right back into the heart it came from.

I’ll go to a little play in Nashville, and maybe a bigger one at the IRT in Indy.

I will stay home and re-read Aristotle’s De Animus to remember the layers of the soul.

I think I’ll have a picnic with my son and daughter and all of our pups.

I’ll cook for Momma and Daddy in my new home.

I have some crazy things going on in my heart right now, like seeing how far I can get with exactly half a tank of gas in any direction I choose and spend the night where ever it is I end up. Maybe next time I’ll go a full tank.

I wonder where I’ll be. Isn’t that amazing?

In the next few years I’ll fly overseas and breathe in the  experiences of France, Italy, Ireland and England. I’m going to drive to New York, take a train to Chicago, and fly to California when my heart tells me to do so.

See, my deceptively empty heart is full of things great and small that light me up from the inside out. The heaviness of it is necessary to keep it grounded while it holds such wonderfully outrageous things inside.

My heart is a beautiful work of art and a tool that becomes a magical thing when I put the dreams I have inside of it, and then pull them back out one by one. That is the secret to magic and miracles.

You have to work your ass off and keep your promises to yourself.

I know this to be true. I can testify. You can do whatever you want if you have the courage to make the decision and step up.

I’ve let myself down all of my life. I have disappointed and disrespected who I am. I allowed myself not to matter at all. I have taught those who “loved” me to treat me with the same disregard as I treated myself. I don’t blame them. I did that to me.

That’s history. I’m not that chick. I have a heart now. With dreams in it. My friend found it for me, so now I have a physical manifestation of the actions I’ll be taking. That rocks in ways you will never know because you’re not me. But I’ll be more than happy to share my adventures as they occur.

I doubt I’ll be able to stop myself.

I’m going to dance until the wee hours in the Dominican, I’m going to stay home and re-read the classics and I’m going to laugh with my kids as they eat the amazing enchilada’s I’ve learned to make. I’m going to sit in the courtyard and enjoy every moment. Some things I’ll have to save for, some things will ask only my time. Each and every one of them will be important.

I only need to feed and fill my heart.