journal

musings and ponderings…

January 26, 2017

making space 4 – not impossible

day four in the making space series,
and this one’s not so darn wordy –

my experience in ANY kinda relationship has been
that it’s hard enough to heal when ONE ‘side’ feels hurt.
but when BOTH ‘sides’ feel wounded –
compassion and understanding are a lot harder to get to.

making a safe space for each other seems impossible.

but it’s not.

it really is in how deeply you want it.
it really is all about who you ultimately want to be.

vine_200x67

January 25, 2017

making space 3 – never assume…

and here is blog entry number three
in my making space series
that has been birthed out of the
complicated challenge of making
space for all of us in the present
divisive atmosphere.

i was married for close to twenty years!
i would like to say that i learned a lot about
love over that time…but i honestly think it
was since my divorce that i’ve really been
doin’ the learning.

i think before that, i just assumed i knew about love.
i just assumed i knew how to do a marriage.
and i know now that they really are right when they
say never assume.

assuming closes so many doors.
and yeah….eventually all those closed doors made
for a gigantic crumbling.

and oddly enough, what’s goin’ on around us right
now reminds me of both of my long term relationships.

the assuming that is going on around us and in us,
the doors that are closing,
and the crumbling that is taking place all have echoes that
i have heard before.

the good news is that it was after the crumbling that i decided to learn.
really learn.

if we could all get to the point where we see the assuming
that we are doing about one another is crumbling us,
maybe we could start to really learn.
really learn how to communicate.
really learn that we’re more alike than not.
really learn to make space for each other and grow.

which brings me to my second long term relationship.
we are so different on the outside that it’s been mind boggling
to imagine us together.
to point out just a few of our differences –
i’m a gentle, book reading, ex-catholic, non-cussing, vegetarian,
reflective ponderer.
he’s an aggressive, you tube watching, ex-jewish, cuss like a sailer
meat eating hunter who likes activity.

yeah.
and that’s just for starters.

our differences have taken quite a lot of work for us to sift thru.
and as we’ve sifted, and listened, and watched and stretched,
the respect we have for one another has grown deeper and deeper.

to stay together,
we have had to expand our ways of communicating.
we have had to learn how to speak in ways that the other can hear.
and to listen in new ways so that we, ourselves, can hear better.
we have had to learn to be vulnerable and say out loud when we
feel we haven’t been seen. and at the same time own when we
haven’t done the seeing.
we have had to acknowledge our issues that have kept us from being
compassionate and kind when that is always what is needed.
we have had to learn that what we think is giving isn’t always
perceived as giving and then learn about the other person’s
perceptions and accept them.

and one of the most important things i’ve learned is to over and
over again turn my eyes inward and look at what *I* am doing.
not what the other person is doing. what is it that I need to work on
to make things healthier?

this is just a smidgen of what comes to mind.
top of my head stuff.
imagine if i really sat with the idea!
and no, it hasn’t been easy at all.
the learning seems to come thru in really hard ways.

but what has kept us going is that we both know the value of this.
we both believe the other is worth the effort.
and that what we’ve created is worth fighting for.

we all want to fight for our rights.
as we should.
but in the fight, will we lose each other?

or will we remember that our relationships between us all
are also worth fighting for?

that assuming that we do can be really quiet,
and tricky and sneaky and make it so we’re not aware
that we’re doin’ it. that’s where the work comes in.
to turn our eyes to ourselves and focus on our own actions.

maybe, just maybe, we’ll start learning.
and we’ll learn to make a space for each other.
and we’ll find that we become so much more from this process that
stretches us over and over again.

vine_200x67

 

January 24, 2017

making space 2 – “i’m afraid”

this is blog entry number two
in my making space series
that has been birthed out of the
complicated challenge of making
space for all of us in the present
divisive atmosphere.

there’s a theory that every action and thought
is based in either love or fear.
break anything down, and at the root,
you’ll find one of those.

that theory has never failed me.
there have been times i haven’t been thrilled with this idea.
but i’ve never seen it not work.

the fear that is swirling around between us now is overwhelming.

in yesterday’s blog, i mentioned that no one’s asking
anyone else what they truly think. there’s just a lotta
talking at each other. or hopping in on noise that sounds soothing.

i believe that when we’re afraid, we don’t invite in dialogue.
that’s the nature of fear.
we close down, shut ourselves in. wrap ourselves in the
familiar. protect ourselves.

i know, personally, that i can do this in beautiful ways.
i can do this in ways that i tell myself i’m being open and loving.
that in itself is so fascinating. the ways we can deny our
fear to ourselves are endless.

does it matter?
i guess that’s for everyone to decide for themselves.
for me, it’s the difference between living honestly and not.
and that matters.
a great deal.

i witnessed two people arguing recently.
neither listening.
both convinced the other wrong.
and i kept thinking – you’re both afraid.
just say it.
admit it.
talk about it.
‘i’m afraid. i’m afraid right now. are you?
can you feel safe enough with me to tell me
your fears? i will tell you mine.’

if we could stop and admit this,
see that we’re working out of a place of fear,
acknowledge that it’s closing off space for others who
seem different to enter….
i believe it would change our conversations.

‘closing off space for others who seem different to enter’
may immediately bring to mind racists needing to see different races.
strict religious minded folks needing to see different views and rights.

that’s too easy.
too obvious.
we know that already.
we gotta work harder at this or the fear just won’t stop.

it’s a woman demanding her right for legal abortions
being able to see that another person truly does see abortion as murder.
and hearing their fears. and sharing her own.
and understanding that compromise doesn’t work for either one of you.
and crying together over the complete lack of any answer
that can possibly fix it for both sides.

it’s a liberal understanding that being a conservative does
not mean you’re a racist who hates women.
it means putting down your issues and hearing that you
actually understand some of their points and most of their fears.

it’s both liberals and conservatives understanding that we
are mostly all good people with deep moral convictions trying
to do the right thing. that one side is not morally empty, and that
we’re more alike than not.

it’s realizing that our need to raise some politicians up on pedestals
and make others hatred personified is probably not realistic and that
doesn’t deal in honesty with whoever we do that with.

so here it is – i’m afraid.

when trump first started out, a deep worry came over me that
he was tapping into our worst parts of ourselves. at the time, i thought
it was only a certain part of the angry population that this was being
brought out in. a conservative angry population.
but now i’ believe that it’s a much greater amount than
i thought and it’s as deep in liberals as it is in conservatives.
which makes much more sense because we’re all people.
and i’m not sure it’s really tapping into our worst parts of ourselves.
i think maybe it’s that our fears have been stirred and those fears
are closing down our space making. and it is in our space making that
our best parts of ourselves shine.
my fear is we won’t stop and look at ourselves and the hurt we are
causing one another without realizing it. i’m afraid that our own
self righteousness – and we all seem to have this right now –
will blind us to our own responsibilities.
i am afraid that we won’t be strong enough to close the divide.

if everything really is fear or love, i can so easily see my fear right now.
and it’s my love i want to shine.
over and over and over i turn to myself and ask myself what am i doing right
now? is it fear or love?

and i gotta tell ya……a whole lotta times the answer is fear.
and that just won’t do.

vine_200x67

January 23, 2017

space making

it was some years back when i first
heard the concept of ‘space making’ –
making a safe place for people to be who they are.
making a safe place for people to share.

it’s something i’ve kept in mind ever since
and something  i’m thinking a lot of us
would like to be aware of and work on.

i realized lately tho that i have been so caught
up in watching the craze around me with amazement,
that i haven’t been making the space that  i would like to.

wait a minute,
that’s not entirely true.
i HAVE been totally been caught up in watching.
that’s true.
but i think also, there doesn’t feel like any room to be
a space maker.
or maybe i’ve been so busy trying to make space for certain
louder people  (feeling that was where my challenge was)
that i haven’t worked at making space for the quiet ones
who are feeling so isolated.

in trying so hard to make space for the stuff i’m uncomfortable with,
i realize i haven’t been making space for the all.

what a beautifully complicated challenge this is becoming for me!

yesterday, when i saw someone comment on someone else’s truly
thoughtful post with an ‘i respect your opinion, but…’
it struck me so deeply that  i knew it would be in my blog today.

then this morning, when i heard from several different friends
who felt they had no room for their feelings and thoughts, i decided
that space making was going to be my blog theme for the entire week.

it’s going to be a challenge for me.
i want it to be inclusive, tolerant, positive, helpful, and thoughtful.

staying in that spot has been really difficult lately.
so this will be a productive challenge for me.

today’s is easy.

it’s a basic communicating rule –

the word ‘but’ negates whatever came before it.
like it or not, that’s how it gets perceived.
and most likely will shut down whoever you’re talking to once you use it.
good to know for any conversation we’re in.
one of those handy life tools.
‘specially now.

so.
if you say ‘i respect your opinion, but…’
and then proceed to tell the person why they’re wrong,
they don’t feel respected.
and let’s face it, they shouldn’t.

if you truly respect someone’s opinion,
leave it at that – ‘i respect your opinion.’
and then hear the words you say and hold them.

what an absolutely beautiful thing to say and mean.
what an incredibly hard thing to do.
it should never be said lightly.
but with some inner work, it could be said often.
and then….
leave it there.

you don’t need to fix their viewpoints,
remember……you respect them.

did they ask for your opinion?
i’m doubting they did.
if they did, by all means, share.
but i’ve been listening, and haven’t heard anyone asking.
truly. i mean that.
(that in itself is another blog)
so chances are no one’s asking for your thoughts.
so it’s just good practice for us to really respect another view.

take a peek, watch if you say ‘but’ today.
watch if those around you do.
i’ve also seen some pretty creative versions of ‘but’ –
you can use different words and mean the same thing.

i’m thinking if we were all being as respectful and tolerant
as we’re claiming to be, then i wouldn’t have heard from
these women this morning who are feeling silenced.
those two things just don’t go hand in hand.

space making matters.
for others, yes.
but more so for ourselves.
we become more – better, stronger, brighter –
when we make space for more than our own thoughts.

and let’s face it,
it’s not easy,
it’s uncomfortable,
and we don’t do it as much as we think we do.

i include myself in that boat.
and am thinking now is one heck of a good time
to start getting better at it.

vine_200x67

January 19, 2017

and the fear melts into gratitude

i hurt my darn back the other day.
it’s no need for alarm.
just a good reminder to pay attention.

this morning i was reminded that there’s
so many many ways in which i can pay attention.

i was hobbling around like i was 200 years old.
every moment was painful and had to be thought out.
socks were such a challenge.

as i was trying to navigate thru some of this stuff,
i saw my fear.
i hurt.
and the pain sparked the fear.
and the fear added to the pain.

it was clear and obvious.
so i had a talk with myself.

‘okay terri. it’s not that bad.
your tension is making it worse.
relax and breathe.
this is temporary and something you can work with.
with any luck, you’re gonna get old.
and pain comes with that.
learn how to work with it.
use this.
and as you go along, think of every single
person you know who is in chronic pain.
use this to understand their lives more.’

so i started watching, breathing, and accepting.

i always seem to forget how much energy i use
during the day. i’m typically very energetic and
whiz around the place at high speeds doin’ many
things in many directions.

i forget i do that.
and i felt such gratitude for that being normal for me.

knowing tho that it wasn’t gonna be that way today,
i realized how lucky i am that writing is what i love to do.
i can go slow and write from the couch. and since i know
this is temporary, i can easily embrace it.

my friends who have had strokes have been SO on
my mind. every movement i make today is thought out
and done with effort. how on earth do they handle this
times 1,000 every single day? their attitudes that they’ve
shown thru their challenges humble me.

i look out my living room window as i type this.
how lucky i am for windows.
how lucky i am for health.
how lucky i am.

go figure.
sometimes it takes a hurt back
to remind me of all i have.
and all i want to be.

looks like i’ll have some quiet time to hold this.
and i’m feelin’ like that’s okay.

and the fear melts into gratitude.
and it all just is….

 

 

fear melts

January 18, 2017

giving yourself away…

i was doin’ some reading last nite
and as i read, i felt the people i was reading
about had given themselves away.

well, to be honest,
my first thought was they sold their souls.
thing is –
nothing’s simple, is it?
i felt like at least one of the people i was reading
about had good parts to them. they weren’t without
soul. there was good there. they hadn’t sold their soul,
but definitely had given part of themselves away.

i was trying to figure out why.
what was the motivation to do so?

when i was done reading, i was leaning towards pride
as the reason they did what they did. but still wasn’t
sure and wasn’t really trying to make a judgement.
i was just trying to see what was going on.

i walked into the kitchen,
knowing we’re all basically the same.
what you see in another you can find in you.
so i  grabbed a drink, leaned against my counter,
crossed my feet, and asked myself ‘okay, terri,
what would you give yourself away for?’

now wouldn’t you hope your first answer would
be ‘i wouldn’t!’ or your first thought would be ‘oh gosh,
that’s a hard question.’???

that’s what i would hope my response would be.
but noooo
right away, without hesitation, i pop up with –
‘love. i’ve done it for love and could do it again.’

well, if nothing else, i was at least honest.

i not only gave myself up for love,
i was trained in it. i was a pro at it.
somewhere along the line, i woke up to what i was
doing and claimed myself back.
whew.
that was no easy task.

and the thing is,
that stuff is still inside me.
that fear that was behind the willingness to
give myself up – that feeling that if i really was who
i am, then i wouldn’t be loved – that stuff doesn’t
just go away.

i have wrestled with it ever since my big claiming
of my life back. it wasn’t one moment i claimed me
and then everything changed.

it was one moment i claimed me,
the next i considered giving me up again so i wouldn’t
shake my world so much.
to deciding to hold on to me and not give me up,
to giving me up without even realizing i was doing it.
to claiming me back.
to doin’ this over and over again.

and this is just in my quiet little life with no big
outside pressures from anyone but my small circle.
i can’t even imagine what it’s like to have global pressures
like the people i was reading about.

i like this watching and paying attention that i’m trying to do,
because any watching on the outside can so easily get turned
to inner watching.  and i really really don’t want to give
myself away anymore. that answer came so quickly for me.
which, i believe, means i need to keep a good eye on myself.
and breathe in belief in me every chance i get.

how about you?
what would you answer?

every chance

vine_200x67

January 17, 2017

passing silhouettes…

it was dark when i walked this morning.
i decided to turn onto the street that had sidewalks,
and as i did so, i saw two silhouettes
standing there just a little way down the sidewalk.

passing and saying hello
and mentioning that it was freaky to see them standing there,
the dad told me they were waiting for the bus.

it was a father and daughter.
a quick passing of hellos and that was it.
it was enough tho.

i liked the sound of the dad’s voice.
gentle and refined and really caring about
his daughter.

as i turned up another street,
i heard the bus come and pick her up.
walking back by where they had been standing,
i looked at the empty sidewalk.

they’re gone.
just like that.
poof.

where would they go today?
she school, him work.
who would they touch?
in my head i said he was a doctor.
but now that i think of that, i doubt it.
don’t think he’d live in my neighborhood!

i thought of all the people they’d speak with,
all the people they’d interact with.
and wouldn’t think again about our passing in the dark.
how i’d go on with my own stuff and just keep going.

all this led me to thinking about everyone in our lives.
the ones who hang around longer and you get to know,
the ones you get to love,
the ones you don’t think you’ll ever be able to live without.
how all of them pass you on the sidewalk –
or you pass them.
how maybe we linger longer.
or walk together for a bit.
but how sooner or later we all just keep going and moving on with our stuff.

i thought of my partner inside just gettin’ started with work.
how glad i was that he was here with me now.

coming in, kicking off my shoes and coat,
i grabbed some water and went and sat down next to his desk.
we chatted.
i stayed a bit longer than  usual –
appreciating the little piece of sidewalk we were sharing.

vine_200x67

 

January 13, 2017

conversations with the moon

i got ready for my walk this morning,
thinking FINALLY i’ll get some good time
in with the moon.
but as i looked out my window to check on her –
i couldn’t believe it.
it was cloudy out.
no sign of her.

are you kidding me?!
sighing, i headed out anyway.
two steps out my back door,
i looked up –
and there she was!

she had come out from behind the clouds.

i said ‘ha!’ right out loud and was just delighted.

but by the time i got from my back yard
to the end of my driveway,
she was gone again.

seriously?!

she did this the whole walk.
in and out. in and out.

so i watched.

i stopped a few times to just watch the clouds
drifting all over her.
i walked backwards once, looking up so
as i could see her until she got covered again.

one time she looked like she was in a tunnel
of clouds. way back behind them, but shining
so brightly she lit everything up all the same.

i got to thinking about our own light inside of us.
if our own light is like the moon,
then the clouds would be like our heavy thoughts
or the things we fret over, or our heavier emotions.
and how they come on in and cover up our light.
but how the moon was showing me that it was okay
that clouds came.
because they didn’t stay.
they kept moving.
blowin’ across the light.
and the light just never dimmed.
it didn’t matter how many clouds covered it.
it was still there.
and then they’d clear.

yeah.
that’s us.
it really is.
only we forget.
and we think the clouds will stay forever.
like they’re made from some sticky cementy stuff
that won’t ever go away and will just get stuck and
weigh us down.

no.
no.

no.

they’re clouds. that’s all.
and we’re light.

and if we can remember that…
i think the weather gets a whole lot easier.

that’s what the moon was telling me this morning on my walk with her.
and that’s what i’m tuckin’ in my pocket for my cloudy moments.

vine_200x67