Monthly Archives: May 2013

We Might Be Big…or, If I Were A Painter…

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Van Morrison just does it for me…what can I say…please enjoy the music as you read…


Last November I went through a health crisis. More accurately, my health crisis BEGAN…it’s been rather ongoing since. It started, instantly, at midnight on a Monday. I was SICK. Exhausted and in pain, “the voice” woke me from my feverish sleep at three a.m. of the third night…I mean, a BOOMING MALE VOICE woke me out of a deep sleep: “This is a gallbladder attack!”

THAT never would have occurred to me! I suspected some mild food allergies…but I have the constitution of a horse…so, I boot up and find a list of gallbladder symptoms…and, check…check…check…

When the symptoms had not subsided a week later, I went in to see a doctor. (Don’t use me as an example…) At this point, I was feeling much better. I was doing just fine eating nothing but beets, and having lost close to fifteen pounds now…but no more pain or fever.

Try to tell a doctor that you know what the problem is because A VOICE WOKE YOU AT THREE A.M. AND TOLD YOU…really, you try that…I’d be curious…and so, the tests, etc…I have gallbladder issues…but that isn’t THE HEALING this post is about…

That near death experience was just the beginning…I literally -physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually- became instantly intolerant of anything – food, words, people – that were toxic to my now acutely sensitive system. I would not wish this on anyone. Phew! My life changed that November night, and will not ever be the same.

About a week later I had what I only recently learned theologists call a “conversion experience”. Words will never describe it. It began as a hot flush, ears turned red and all…and as that sudden heat began to subside, an altered state of consciousness overtook me like a gentle, warm wave…and the ABSOLUTE peace lasted for several hours, until I fell asleep and woke the next morning.

And I have spent the last six months since in the discovery of a new life, a new identity…and it has been the most difficult time I have ever been through. My initial response to the experience was that I must be dying…and yet here I am…astonishingly intolerant of so much on so many levels!

And never better, Thank You! Would I go back if I could? Well, life was easier BEFORE the healing had begun…for one thing, I prided myself on being able to get along with just about everyone. Those days are over! My nerves are shot…I like to say that I am having a nervous breakthrough. I am learning how to “speak my truth”, and to be brutally honest (we might as well), and it is NOT PRETTY.

It is ugly precisely because I lost my co-dependence, my people pleaser…have you seen it? I wouldn’t pick it up if I were you…it’s lethal. Two days ago I alluded to this in my post “Show Me How Big Your Brave Is”…because if you are going to withdraw your co-dependent support from all of your relationships, if you are going to be honest with everyone all the time, you had better get your brave on…it is LONELY out here!

This is not to say that I don’t have any tact, or remember how to behave in public, but I am referring to my close encounters with family and friends. They changed that night, too…apparently, I threw up and off my old belief systems. Now I hear “the voice”…and I know it speaks the truth…as I said in another earlier post, “Maybe I’m Crazy…” (Post of March 15, 2013) Listen to the words of that song…they speak right into your heart.

All I know…well…it isn’t anything like what I used to know…as Oprah would say, “What I know for sure…” I know that ART matters. It heals. When I did not know what else to do with myself, I dug my old 1997 copy of The Artist’s Way out of a dusty box in the basement, and just coincidentally the next day Kelly Forrester sent an email announcing her class based on The Artist’s Way…

And now, months later, the class has continued with the sequel, Walking In This World. And the healing continues…Julia Cameron says:

“Sometimes when we get angry enough at being treated as if we are small, we get brave enough to trust those who think -and say – we might be big. One slight too many and we finally say our true name…”

Thank You for tuning in…S

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These Are the Days…

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Yesterday I snapped at my elderly father…again…about smoking in the house. I have asked what seems like dozens of times for him to smoke outdoors, weather permitting, as I work to get my home ready to market. As any one selling- or buying – a home can attest, the smell of cigarette smoke is a deterrent. Now, it is true that “weather permitting” has precluded the possibility of being outdoors here until the last week or so…even now the night and early morning temperatures are at or below freezing.

It is also true that “weather permitting” means something entirely different to HIM than to me…I hold an expectation that sitting in the warm sun in a sweater or bathrobe is a pleasant thing…our back deck hosts a comfortable table and chairs. The birds are everywhere enjoying feeders, houses, and baths. The landscape changes daily at this time of year.

Our front porch could be on the cover of a magazine…wicker club chairs pillowed to nap in…curtains billowing, lamps and racks of magazines¬† and…dirty ashtrays…

This morning I came downstairs after nine, sun streaming in the back door to illuminate him sitting at the kitchen table en-plumed in a cloud. He saw me and immediately hid the cigarette under the table.

To say that my father is a scoundrel would be a gross understatement. At a younger, more virile age he was a monster, a sociopath of novel proportion. That story is for a different venue – but as a little example, we do have a standing joke in my family that he should reveal where he buried Hoffa before he dies…and it’s sorta funny! How he managed to escape prison, or being murdered is beyond me. He did disappear for several years, I imagine until the statute of limitation ran out on some crime he committed. But now he is a weak old man…

Don’t think me magnanimous or overly kind by taking him in. As there are, truly, two sides to every story, he also provided a wonderfully adventurous childhood rich in the support of art and music, and the best private education drug money could buy…

He is the same Dad who taught me to swim at the age of three, to be kind to animals, to confidently pilot a boat through ten foot waves. He saved my family when our forty-two foot cruiser sank in a sudden storm out in the middle of Lake Huron…He is the same Dad who trooped we five mischievous kids across the country, up and down the St. Lawrence Seaway, over to the Bahamas fishing, and instilled in us an awe of nature. He hired me in high school to paint a mural across the side of his construction office; and sat by my bed and listened intently when I grieved the loss of my best friend. He is the same parent, in partnership with my Mother, who encouraged me to paint and draw and never to be bigoted toward any other human, nor to measure myself below any other human.

He taught me that everything comes in dichotomous evidence…everything is perspective. Everything. Not a day goes by that I don’t appreciate that without him, I would not be who I am…

Out beyond ideas of wrongdoing and right doing

there is a field. I’ll meet you there.

When the soul lies down in that grass

the world is too full to talk about.

-Rumi

Show Me How Big Your BRAVE Is…

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“Everybody’s been there, everybody’s been stared down by the enemy”…I often feel quite foolish here, as I write and post these missives. I am in the sixtieth year of my life, and I feel like I am beginning to express myself honestly after a lifetime of holding back. The shadow was winning, sucking the life right out of me…my history of silence was not doing me any good.

It seems to me that the youth of our culture are so very much smarter in so many ways, and yet I see them succumbing to the same demons of my generation. The addiction of codependence pervades our consciousness and looms larger than life. It’s a paper tiger, but a strong addiction never the less. We risk a painful, slow extinction if we do not wake to it’s evil.

And yet I sense theurgy…evidenced by the creative renaissance in music and in art. When our very existence is threatened everyday, when we feel increasingly powerless, how else can we respond but to become increasingly creative? We had better enlarge ourselves to beat that tiger at his own game. We owe it to ourselves, and to our youth.

So…say what you wanna say, and let the words fall out. I want to see you be brave. I want to see you…and Thank you, Sara.

For my beautiful niece Katie.

How Four Little Words Can Change A Life…Well Done, Mom…

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Well…I’m heavily in like…I had not been a Michael Buble fan until seeing this clip. He handles a heckler, expands himself and performs a random act of kindness and generosity.

I took this off of my new favorite blog, A Thousand Shades of Gray. I know nothing of this writer, Jill Salahub, but do yourself a favor…check out her sweet, well written blog…you’ll be glad you did.

“She Wears An Egyptian Ring…It Sparkles Before She Speaks…”

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It has been almost a month since last I posted here. Phew! What a whirlwind my waking life; my sleeping life, when it happens, a cacophony of otherworldly realms…

In The Artist’s Way, Julia Cameron says that going sane feels like going insane at first…she’s been right about so many things…I’m counting on her to be right about this!

This past weekend I stayed with my friend Marion, whose husband, Dick, passed away just a month ago. (See post of April 21st.) We had a great time, really. It was the Heritage Hill Home Tour in Grand Rapids, Michigan. Marion knew it would delight me, so she went out and purchased tickets right after we talked that morning. I explained that I had so much work to do here getting the house ready to market, but that my brother was threatening me again. She insisted I get in my car immediately and drive down to see her. (I did nickname her Miss Bossy Pants some time ago… she was actually my boss at that time…but that’s a different story!)

I had just pulled out of my neighborhood onto the main road when two Sandhill cranes flew low right over the hood of my car…and I was off on an adventure, knowing that it was exactly the right thing at the right time!

Ted Andrews, in his Dictionary of Birds, says that when Sandhill cranes appear in your life (and they seem to be following me lately) there is something to be watchful of and attentive to…they are noble guardians reminding us that it is time to change and move the guard! There is hidden protection around us, or we may need to be protective of someone weaker than we are. I only put up with my brother at this time because my dying father wants him around…but I am very aware that my father’s well being is at stake, and that he must be moved from my home into a safe environment.

The crane’s dual purpose is to remind us to celebrate life; that when we are SAFE it is time to DANCE! They serve as reminders to celebrate that which is OURS…and to join in the dance of life.

Lest you intellectualize that animals, and especially birds, are not spiritual messengers, let me remind you that these were not turkeys…

So, off I go on the tour of grand old homes with my fabulous friend…and we planted flowers and ate lots of fresh veggies and watched a baseball movie (Trouble With the Curve – it was terrific) and old Carol Burnett reruns on DVD and laughed until we had to cross our legs! Talk about healing…

And this morning I woke myself crying. I had dreamed that I came home only to find strange people in my house…it wasn’t my house after all…so I loitered outside trying to decide what to do, where to go…and a woman came out of the door and insisted that I leave or she would call the police…and I began crying, and woke up sobbing in Marion’s guest bed…

And then I remembered this as a recurring theme in my dream life since childhood…in grade school I would dream that I came home from school only to discover a strange woman in place of my Mother…and back out the door to check the address…yes…over to the neighbor kids…all strangers.

Where was I? I had followed the familiar route…where were my family, my friends? If this is not my street, my home, where am I? Where do I go? No one here knows me, no one can help…I am a stranger…all alone…

And then I got it, the gift…this is not my home. It never has been, it never will be…I AM my home. That Kingdom lives within. And the gift is also renewed curiosity in what HOME means. It will serve as impetus for a new exploration…

Last week a friend sang this song to me, and I have embodied it…well, the good parts…I’m not interested in painting the daytime black, but…suffice it to say, “I’ve got everything I need, I’m an artist…I don’t look back…