Sunday, August 29, 2010

Gratitude Sunday: Summer

Then followed that beautiful season... Summer....
Filled was the air with a dreamy and magical light; and the landscape
Lay as if new created in all the freshness of childhood.

~Henry Wadsworth Longfellow
I was born old and grew steadily older every year.  I reveled in responsibility and reliability was my middle name. Summer was always something of a bother ... a time when too many people were unavailable ... off traipsing about the woods and beaches of the world.  This summer I almost got it.  Living by a lake with a friend who's an avid kayaker meant lovely afternoons on the lake ... but usually only late afternoons ... after a productive day.

But Friday we took off at 11 ... and "took off" is an interesting term since I'm not "taking off" from anything.  But, take off we did and spent the entire day kayaking, swimming and doing hot rock therapy (translation: laying flat on a baking rock) and then repeating the process all over again.  We found a perfect cove and named it "Summer's End."  About half-way through the process, I felt myself unwinding, relaxing into the day, purring in the sun.

That's what summer does.  It gives us hot days that force us to "chill out," "stay cool" and find every opportunity to indulge in the extreme pleasure offered by a cool body of water on a hot day.  It reminds us that everything ... all that responsibility, all that work, all those chores ... will wait for us but joy shouldn't be postponed.  I got a call this week ... a cousin died.  We had only spent a few times together as kids so we weren't close but it was one more reminder that time for joy and the pleasures of summer is just as important as chores.

Yesterday the temperature dropped into the 70s and stayed there all day.  We'll have more hot days but it was an indicator that summer is winding down.  While it lasts, I'm going to savor the pleasures of "chilling out" even if I have to write in the dust on the table:  Gone Kayaking.

Friday, August 27, 2010

High Mountain Reverie

Louise at Recover Your Joy has an interesting post this morning about talking to our elder and younger selves.  It reminded me of this poem I wrote years ago.  It puzzled me at the time but now begins to seem like an old friend.

High Mountain Lake Reverie

While walking along the shore
Of a high mountain lake
In a darkened hour of my middle years,
I met a young girl and knew her awkward pain.

Her life flashed through my skin
And I stopped to give her hope.
I could not tell her how I knew
So I simply touched her cheek and said,
“You will love much and be loved.”

Her eyes grew wide as she stepped aside
And continued on her way
As those words rebounded down the years
And brushed my heart with a feather of joy.

I continued round the rocky shore
Till I met a woman in her latest years.
Her step was frail and slow;
Her eyes reflected the setting sun.

As she drew near, she reached out
Her fragile arm, touched my cheek and said
“You will love much and be loved,”
Then continued on her way.

I whirled around -- across the lake,
the young girl hopped across the rocks.
On this side, the old woman shuffled away
Leaving me alone
Walking along the shore
Of a high mountain lake
Watching the play of light
Across the silver water.


Tuesday, August 24, 2010

The Doll Collector

It is night.  Time to rest, to sleep, to dream.

She picks up the doll that her mother gave her when she was three.  Auburn hair matted and one eye drooping from years of make-believe and play. A warm sour smell comes with the doll ... from the time she fed her real milk instead of water.  She holds the doll as she looks at the others positioned carefully against the white eyelet bedspread, chosen because it frames the dolls so perfectly.  The delicate porcelain face of the doll Aunt Jane gave her with its crocheted southern ball gown.  The naked baby with the elastic bow around its head.  The Mexican dancer her father brought from a trip long ago.  The cheerleader.  The little Amish doll.  The wizened apple-faced grandma.

Carefully she picks up the twenty-three dolls and, once again, tries to find a place for them.  The chair is already full of the Circle of Seventeen ... well-dressed dolls who claim that space.  The dresser is filled with twelve dolls positioned with care ... they show no sign of being willing to move.  The shelves are full and dolls form a border around every inch of the floor.  She holds the dolls closely, sighs and sets them down once again onto their chosen places on the bed.  She moves them slightly closer together so that she can pull back a few inches of the covers, slip in on her side with her knees extending over the edge.  Finally she sleeps, but she does not dream.

Monday, August 23, 2010

Come to Me

Come to me my child, my lost babe,
Heart of my Self, lost ... abandoned,
left by the roadside as I headed off
for the glittering city on the hill.

Come to me, my darling infant,
I'll wrap you in soft, warm fleece,
Suckle you with the honeyed milk
I fed to the gods in the temple of gold.

Come to me, gift of my spirit,
Let me touch you with the tenderness
of Psyche's feather that brushed away
the cobwebs of my long, restless sleep.

Come to me my Beauty, my jewel
Your place is set -- the candles lit,
Flowers scattered across a bright cloth,
Celebrating your return, marking my joy.

Come to me, my beloved,
I've cleared the branches and boulders
Along this unused path.
Please come back.

Sunday, August 22, 2010

Gratitude Sunday: Creating

Yesterday, at this writer's retreat, we drew.  It was the end point of a series of exercises, a shift in media, another way to stimulate the flow of creativity in the room.  The materials were simple ... sketching paper, crayons, pastels.  The instructions clear:  create an image of what caught our attention in the previous exercise.  We could replicate it (or at least try), create a resemblance of it, capture the feeling of it or our relationship to it, focus on one quality of it or try find an image of the impression it left.

Thirty-eight adults sat drawing on the floor like children, absorbed, giggling, trading crayons.  Then, unlike children. embarrassed about our less-than-perfect results, we shared with one other person our image.  My "sharee" told me what she saw in mine and I told her what was intended.  Then we switched.  Her view gave me a whole new insight which deepened my experience.  Then we had an "art walk" .... put our images in a circle and walked around them reveling in the vibrant diversity, excited by the swirl of creative flow that filled the room.

It didn't matter that the level of art accomplishment was spotty at best.  It didn't matter that none of these images would wind up in a gallery.  It didn't matter that most would be discarded before the end of the retreat.  What mattered was that we were, in that moment, joined together in the magical process of creation, that we had opened our selves for just an instant to the gaze of 38 strangers, that we were connected and intertwined in the presence of creation.

We are creators, a species born with an impulse, a need, to create.  I am grateful for this need and for this opportunity to be in community with others who have recognized the need and are following their natures with such joy and abandon.

About the Image:  Yesterday several of us walked up to the Vedanta Temple where I found this magical image ... a spider's art.

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Land of the Free

America:  Land of the Free

by Joyceann Wycoff

"From our every day experiences, our history, we weave a story of meaning.
That story is our personal or our collective myth."

-- Dennis Slattery, Professor, Pacifica Graduate Institute

We came in ships, fleeing from poverty, hunger and oppression.
We came in droves, lured by possibility, freedom and land.
We came with pockets empty but hearts full of hope.
We came without roadmaps or jobs, ready to build our future.
Except, of course, some came as slaves with no hope or choice.

America:  Land of the Free and the Brave

We moved west, plowing the fields and planting apples.
We built houses and churches and towns and cities.
We crossed the prairies and found streams of gold.
We took charge of our future, declared ourselves free.
Except, of course, some were already here and had to go.

America:  Land of the Free and the Brave and the Strong

We needed the land from sea to shining sea.
We bought from France the vast heartland prairies.
We fought with Mexico for the golden southwest,
Drew a new line in the sand and declared it America.
Except, of course, millions of Mexicans just called it "home."

America:  Land of the Free and the Brave and the Strong and the White

They came on foot, fleeing from poverty, hunger and oppression.
They came in droves, lured by possibility, freedom and land.
They came with pockets empty but hearts full of hope.
They came without roadmaps or jobs, ready to build their future.
Just like us they came.
Except, of course, they were brown ... not like us at all.

"When myth loses its elasticity, it becomes brittle and leads to
an ideology that no longer holds the magic and power to
unite and inspire."  

   -- Dennis Slattery, Professor, Pacifica Graduate Institute

Friday, August 20, 2010

Remember When ...

I'm in Santa Barbara at the writers' workshop ... without dog.  I now know that the near-bolt was about more than fear.  Here's the poem that showed up as I drove through town ... a place where I lived for 20 years with Richard.

Remember When ...

It looks like rush hour
as the line of cars inches south,
Santa Barbara foothills on the left,
the blue Pacific on the right.

It feels, as I creep toward the gathering
of writers, like swimming through
a limitless vat of memory soup, stocked
with too many onions.

It smells like each green street marker
is a packet of madeleines ripped open,
spraying poignant and sticky crumbs
of times past into the air.

It sounds like the crackle of ghosts
of the lost and the dead crying out
in hoarse, unused voices,
"Remember when we ...
Remember when ...
Remember me ... "

It tastes like an under-ripened fruit
promising bright, yellow sweetness
But delivering only the bitter, green bite
of memory repeating, repeating
"Remember when ... "

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

How to Photograph a Dragonfly

How to Photograph a Dragonfly

Go to a lake or stream
where you could happily sit for hours.
Glimpse the dragonfly-blue flash
as you wade through the ever-changing
gallery of ancient abstract masters.

Take endless photos of rocks, trees,
water and kaleidoscopic reflections
until beauty spills out of your pores
like through a kitchen sieve while 
the blurred glint of dragonfly
streaks just out of view.

Leave renewed.
Repeat as needed.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Bolting Again

I signed up for a writer's workshop ... held at a beautiful location in Santa Barbara ... taught by a professor of depth psychology and a noted writer and poet.  I thought it would be a great opportunity to get back into writing and to deepen my exploration of self and the world.

Friday I tried to cancel my registration.  No go ... too late.   Yesterday I decided that I had to take Missy with me ... I'd miss her too much if I didn't.  I had it all figured out ... I could walk her in the morning even if it meant being late for breakfast.  At breaks I could dash out and give her a quick walk and then leave immediately after dinner and walk her again.  The temperature's going to be in the low 70s so she wouldn't mind sleeping in the car while I'm in class.

Tonight I talked to my friend Emily who just took the same workshop last weekend.  She reminded me that much of the "gold" in these workshops happens at meals and breaks.  I know that.  So why am I creating the drama of "separation anxiety" about being away from Missy for four days?  After much stewing and fretting it occurred to me that it may not be about Missy at all.  I will miss her but she will be well cared for while I'm gone.

It may be about fear.  I may be bolting again.  I don't know if this is progress or not ... usually I don't bolt till I get there ... now I'm bolting before I've even left the house.  I think I'm using my dog  as a shield to protect me against fully committing to being part of this workshop.

What is the fear I'm running from?  Rejection ... failure ... the same cast of characters.  It's embarrassing to write this ... doesn't it ever end?  I haven't written much of anything except this blog for years.  I consider myself a writer ... but I'm actually not writing.  What if I can't write?  What if the well is truly dry?  What if I'm sitting in a room of 40 brilliant, interesting people and I'm the only amorphous blob in the room?  What if I drown in the cesspool of my own self-pity?

I want to let go of my ego's identity as a writer and walk into that room as a beginner ... bright, curious, with great reverence for the process of communing on paper.  I want to drop all expectations of myself and the workshop and enter unguarded and receptive to whatever arises.  I want to remember that, regardless of what happens in the workshop, I am just fine.  After all, it wasn't so long ago that I took (and encouraged you to take) the BTGF (Brilliant, Talent, Gorgeous and Fabulous) Pact as advocated by Marianne Williamson (See blog post June 12, 2010).

Drat!  I had developed such a convincing story ... at least I believed it until my friend called me on it.  So on Thursday I will leave for Santa Barbara without my ten pounds of canine armor.  Most likely, I'll survive.  Most likely, I'll learn a lot.  Most likely, I'll be happy I caught myself, once again, in mid-bolt.

About the Image:  What would be the value of this if it were hanging in a museum next to a Warhol?  And which bird would they send the money to?

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Gratitude Sunday: Oakhurst

I am ... was ... a rolling stone. A quick count this morning showed that I just finished move #43 ... or a move on the average every year and a half. Not all of those moves have been to different cities but the count also shows that this is my 25th city in 12 states. Moving that frequently meant that I never formed deep ties to the communities I lived in.

It's time for a change and I think I've found the right place. Oakhurst is a small community of 15-20,000 about 15 miles from Yosemite. Because of the traffic in and out of Yosemite, Oakhurst has a few more amenities than a town of this size might normally have ... a very good grocery store, a few more restaurants, and routine exposure to a myriad of languages. But, basically it's a rural community in the Sierra foothills ... an area of little ethnic diversity but a wide spectrum of diversity in the areas of politics, religion, education and lifestyles. The natural beauty and slower pace of the area attract the highly educated, the exceptionally talented as well as the misfits and dropouts.

Somehow, it all seems to work. A neighboring community, North Fork, claims its status as the geographical center of California and is the home of the California Vipassana Center  where people routinely do ten-day silent meditation retreats, In the other direction is the Chukchansi Gold Resort & Casino where you can eat at seven different restaurants and then feed all your spare change to the slots. Bass Lake, where I stayed for four months till I could move into my house is a beautiful small lake that was once featured by Sunset Magazine as one of the best in the West.  There are several other beautiful lakes in the area which help make it an outdoor person's dream-come-true ... the picture above is of Mammoth Pools, one of my favorites.

While I don't know where the numbers come from, locals artists are fond of claiming that the area has the highest artists-per-capita of "anywhere." There are indeed a lot and most of them are brought together by a fun, open-studio event known as Sierra Art Trails which happens the first week in October.  It's a beautiful time to wander through the foothills, peek into the inner workings of the creative process and see, and perhaps buy, art directly from the artist who can tell you all about how and why he or she created it.

Yesterday was "Art Hop" day here in Oakhurst and I spent the day hopping around the galleries and fell into a meeting of my tribe at the Positive Living Center.  It was a magical day that ended with listening to live music under the stars with new friends and old. All in all, I think I've finally come to a place where I can rest and grow roots. And, for this I am truly grateful.

Friday, August 13, 2010

Seeing, Plain and Simple

I am reading "Buddhism Plain & Simple" by Steve Hagen and on page 28 he's talking about seeing and gives us this image that he says when we "see" it, we'll know what it is ... no wondering or thinking it might be something ... we'll know it.  He says to give yourself time to see it.  Well, I gave  myself several hours yesterday, slept on it and looked at it this morning ... still nothing.  I am determined to wait till I do see it  ... so please don't tell me if you know what it is.  No clues, either, please.

What I do want to know is how many of you see it right away and, if not, how long it takes you to get it.

No spoilers please!!!  But insights or thoughts on seeing would be definitely appreciated.

BTW ... so far, I really like this book.

Thursday, August 12, 2010

The Long Defeat

On the drive back from my friend's house, I listened to Tracy Kidder's biography of Paul Farmer, "Mountains Beyond Mountains."  Farmer is an extraordinary human.  Yogi Berra might say he's half anthropologist, half doctor and the other half pure saint.  Farmer has been at the forefront of public medicine and infectious disease for three decades, fighting poverty, tuberculosis, and AIDS in Haiti, Peru, Russia and as an international health care leader focused on bringing modern medicine to the places that need it most.

Farmer is a Harvard professor, recipient of a MacArthur "genius" grant and a man with bottomless passion for humanity who logs millions of miles and spends most of his time in the world's poorest and least comfortable places.  His biography is gripping and inspiring but what struck me most was when he talked about fighting the "long defeat" ... the endless battle against poverty, disease, ignorance, corruption and indifference to the poor.
“I have fought the long defeat and brought other people on to fight the long defeat, and I’m not going to stop because we keep losing. Now I actually think sometimes we may win. I don’t dislike victory. . . . You know, people from our background — like you, like most PIH-ers, like me — we’re used to being on a victory team, and actually what we’re really trying to do in PIH is to make common cause with the losers. Those are two very different things. We want to be on the winning team, but at the risk of turning our backs on the losers, no, it’s not worth it. So you fight the long defeat.”
It makes me wonder what I'm passionate enough about to fight the long defeat.

His organization is Partners in Health and you can find more information here

Stand With Haiti

Monday, August 9, 2010

New Identity

Last night I woke up with the thought that my identity has changed and I need a new name.   But I didn't want anything dramatically different, more of a shift than a severing.  While I love the inclusion of "joy" in my name, I've never quite liked Joyce.  Nor did I care much for my middle name, Ann.  Being an avid fan of Anne of Green Gables, I always felt short-changed with the lack of the ending "e."  For a couple of sleepless hours, my mind played with possibilities and finally decided it liked the sound of the fusion of the two.  But there were many possibilities in this shift.  I could drop all the various last names I've used and become a single name identity, or I could spell the fusion in different ways ... Joyceann, Joysann, Joyzann.

Since I've done some work with a numerologist recently, I decided to check some of the possibilities both with my last name or without.  The only one that gave me an identity that invited me to live in the direction of self-expression and joy was Joyceann Wycoff ... so this is my new identity and the numerology description for this new identity is below.  If you'd like to check your own possibilities, click here.

You entered: joyceann wycoff  There are 14 letters in your name.
Those 14 letters total to 66
There are 4 vowels and 10 consonants in your name.
Your number is: 3

The characteristics of #3 are: Expression, verbalization, socialization, the arts, the joy of living.
The expression or destiny for #3:An Expression of 3 produces a quest for destiny with words along a variety of lines that may include writing, speaking, singing, acting or teaching; our entertainers, writers, litigators, teachers, salesmen, and composers. You also have the destiny to sell yourself or sell just about any product that comes along. You are imaginative in your presentation, and you may have creative talents in the arts, although these are more likely to be latent. You are an optimistic person that seems ever enthusiastic about life and living. You are friendly, loving and social, and people like you because you are charming and such a good conversationalist. Your ability to communicate may often inspire others. It is your role in life to inspire and motivate; to raise the spirits of those around you.
The negative side of number 3 Expression is superficiality. You may tend to scatter your forces and simply be too easygoing. It is advisable for the negative 3 to avoid dwelling on trivial matters, especially gossip.

Your Soul Urge number is: 9
A Soul Urge number of 9 means:  With a 9 Soul Urge, you want to give to others, usually in a humanitarian or philanthropic manner. You are highly motivated to give friendship, affection and love. And you are generous in giving of your knowledge and experience. You have very sharing urges, and you are likely to have a great deal to share. Your concern for others makes you a very sympathetic and generous person with a sensitive and compassionate nature.

You are able to view life in very broad and intuitive terms. You often express high ideals and an inspirational approach to life. If you are able to fully realize the potential of your motivation, you will be a very self-sacrificing person who is able to give freely without being concerned about any return or reward.

As with all human beings, you are prone to sometimes express the negative attitudes inherent to your Soul Urges. You may become too sensitive and tend to express emotions strongly at times. There can be significant conflict between higher aims and personal ambitions. You may resent the idea of giving all of the time and, in fact, if there is too much 9 energy in your nature you may reject the idea. You may often be disappointed in the lack of perfection in yourself and others.

Your Inner Dream number is: 3
An Inner Dream number of 3 means:

You dream of artistic expression; writing, painting, music. You would seek to more freely express your inner feeling and obtain more enjoyment from life. You also dream of being more popular, likable, and appreciated.

Sunday, August 8, 2010

Sunday Gratitude: Baggage

I spent a few months recently exploring the world of and was intrigued by how many profiles stipulated:  No Baggage Please.  Now being "of a certain age," I was looking at profiles of men who also had six or more decades of life experience.  I can't imagine how anyone arrives at this stage of life without baggage.

Today is Gratitude Sunday and I want to celebrate baggage ... while it may be an infuriating, bewildering constant companion ... it is also a teacher who helps us uncover aspects of ourselves we might never meet otherwise.

I'm spending the weekend with my friend Emily who's an artist and a therapist and a lot of our conversations are devoted to unpacking our baggage, letting go of those things that aren't serving us, adding a little lavender sachet to freshen it up a bit and repacking everything neatly for the next time we open it.  Neither of us have a lot of tolerance for whining about our childhoods but we both know that each subconscious is filled with messages that arrived before our minds were capable of sorting out good from bad.  As adults, we too often make decisions based on those messages ... what are sometimes called "zero-order" beliefs ... rather than what our conscious, logical minds perceive and think.  That's where the "fun" begins.

Looking at our actions that often seem to make no sense can reveal patterns that trace back to those early childhood messages.  And, it doesn't seem to matter how many decades of logical, upright, hard working life we've lived ... the patterns still show up in bright relief.  One of my patterns that came to the front and center recently is how often I get involved with people who don't see or hear me.  I'm a great listener and seem to project a magnetic field for great talkers.  That would seem to be a perfect equation for a powerful bond but what actually happens is, after a while, I feel invisible and under-valued ... and, after a while, the other person either gets bored and moves on or feels betrayed when I want to make my presence more known.

I've recognized the pattern before but it wasn't until a recent rather casual conversation where I was telling a friend about a dog from my childhood that the pattern came into sharp focus.  When I was about 10, we got a fluff-ball puppy and I fell in love with it.  He was so beautiful I wanted to name him Prince or King but my parents named him Shorty after my grandfather whose nickname was Shorty.  I was broken-hearted at the belittled name and never did understand why we named our dog after my grandfather.  It was very confusing. 

It wasn't until my friend expressed her surprise and said that in her experience, the kids always had a major say in naming pets that I saw this minor incident as an example of a "message" that had become a zero-order belief.  I believe my parents loved me as much as they could and did the best parenting they could, but they did not value me, my interests or my opinions.  I was "just a kid," a second-string player in their lives.  The belief that formed was that I'm not interesting, valuable, or lovable as a person ... that I'm not as important as other people.

Fortunately, this belief has not dominated my life but it continues to work its sometimes not-so-subtle influence on my self-confidence and choice of life goals and friends  ... and especially men.  I am often attracted to bright, witty people who talk well and listen poorly.  This weekend, Emily and I unpacked this particular piece of baggage and identified other, usually minor, memories that contributed to the pattern.  We talked about ways to identify the pattern earlier and how to take an inventory of the people in my life ... those who make me feel like a valued person and friend and those who drain my sense of self-worth.  I don't have to eliminate people from my life, I just need to recognize the dynamic and decide whether it's serving a purpose.

This new awareness was prompted by my teacher ... baggage ... and for that I am grateful.  I also credit this particular item of baggage for my impulse to write ... to be heard.  Writing has always been a joy for me and I love being part of this democratic age of information when anyone who wants to be heard can add her voice to the electronic symphony, which may not always be harmonious but is always full-bodied and rich.  Belonging to this blog circle and meeting other bloggers who are so generous with sharing their thoughts as well as listening to the voices of others  draws the power away from that old message and makes me feel taller and stronger. 

A few posts ago Louise at Recover Your Joy asked the incredible question:  "Who am I when I am not being run by my past?"  When I am not being run by this old belief, I am a writer, an artist, a valued friend, a concerned citizen of the planet, a woman free to explore the possibilities of her world ... and a little girl running through the woods with her dog, Prince.

Thank you friend, Baggage, ... now I wonder what's the next life lesson you have in mind for me?

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Well of Darkness

Well of Darkness

If each day falls
inside each night,
there exists a well
where clarity is imprisoned.

We need to sit on the rim
of the well of darkness
and fish for fallen light
with patience.

By Pablo Neruda
Translated 1988
by William O'Daly

(In Spanish)

Si cada día cae
dentro de cada noche
hay un pozo
donde la claridad está encerrada.

Hay que sentarse a la orilla
del pozo de la sombra
y pescar luz caída
con paciencia.

By Pablo Neruda

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Creativity Infusion

Thanks to Maureen at Writing without Paper, I just spent 16 incredible minutes having creativity injected straight into my veins.  Marian Bantjes is a new hero and I hope you take time to watch her talk.

Monday, August 2, 2010

What Is This Thing Called Love?

"Each friend represents a world in us, a world possibly not born until they arrive."
  -- Anaïs Nin

The other night three of us got into a conversation about love.  It was interesting because the three of us ... each intelligent, educated women of a certain age with an abundance of life experience ... couldn't define love.  Of course we were handicapped trying to use a word that describes everything from our fondness for purple to the way we feel about our children.  So what is this thing we call love?

It started me thinking about some of the reading I've been doing in quantum physics that shows that particles, once bonded, are always linked and can instantly communicate over distances regardless of how far.  Perhaps love is that process of bonding that, once it happens, is forever and always.  The people we "love" (bond with) are with us always, they are always a part of our heart, a component of our cellular memory.  They are part of who we are, connected in a deep, physical way even when we are not in the same location and no longer "in relationship." 

Years ago I made friends with ... bonded with ... a woman who woke up something in me.  The friendship was pretty dysfunctional but I hungered not only for her companionship but for the new vistas she opened up within myself.  When we finally drifted apart, I realized that I would always love her, that she would always hold a special place in my heart even though we no longer spent time together.  I would not be the person I am today if I hadn't met her.  So, maybe that bonding process is one of recognition ... not just recognition of the other person but a recognition of a piece of ourselves that the other person brings with them.  Each friend opens up a new world within us.  And, once that world is open, it is forever a part of us.

Some people pass in and out of our lives leaving little trace.  We might truly enjoy them and consider them friends ... or even family ... but, for whatever reason, they do not become a part of us.  Others, almost instantly, are bonded to us forever.  Call it chemistry, call it karma, call it propinquity.  Perhaps it doesn't matter so much how this bond ... this love ... happens as that it happens and that we honor and cherish it. 

Yesterday I pondered the possibility that it might be the flow of information that holds our 50 trillion cells into the shape we call a body.  Today, I wonder if it might not be this bonding process of "love" that provides the linkage that allow the information to flow.  Maybe love truly is what holds us all together ... not only figuratively but literally.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Gratitude Sunday: Writers

Yesterday was a book day.  It began with seriously contemplating, for the first time, purchasing a Kindle and ended with a new book club meeting.  As I think about things I'm thankful for on this gratitude Sunday, I think about all the gifts books have given me through the years.  As an awkward only child living in the country, books gave me a glimpse of the world beyond the small Kansas farm community where I lived.  Through them I learned which fork was my salad fork, what life was like in different times and places, and about the many possibilities and opportunities that were open to me.

It's been an interesting journey ... beginning with weekly trips to town to visit the Carnegie Public Library (thank you, Andrew!) where I started at A and was proceeding slowly through the alphabet when a kindly librarian explained that some books were better than others and gave me a reading list.  And now I'm about to buy an 8 ounce device that will hold thousands of books ... and there are over 600,000 available for instant download.  That little Kansas girl could never have dreamed of such abundance ... even if "some books are better than others," that's a lot of books.  Jeff Bezos of Amazon recently announced that they are now selling more electronic books than paper books.  That one revolution may save more trees than all of our recycling programs.

Last night ended with the first meeting of a new spiritual book club, dedicated to reading one chapter every two weeks of Deepak Chopra's "The Book of Secrets."  His first chapter ties a lot of this thinking about books together as he talks about the incredible wisdom of cells.  It is estimated that there are around 50 trillion cells in the human body.  So far we don't know what holds them together in the forms we see walking around every day but we do know that the cells are in constant contact with each other.  Information flows and each cell shares its information freely.  And that's what writers do ... they ... we ... share information.  A lot of the time we don't completely understand why we are so compelled to share what's on our minds, what happened in our childhoods, how to use the latest gadget, or our deepest, darkest secrets.  But thinking about cells makes it a little more understandable.  We are cells in the Universe and it's in our nature to share information.  It's just what we do.

So, today is a special day of gratitude for writers everywhere ... writers of all types ... writers of books, writers of movies, writers of blogs, writers of graphic novels.  Writers write and the information flows.  And, perhaps, it's information that holds all the cells of the body together and maybe it's information that holds our world together.