Category Archives: magic

So Many Different People To Be…

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It’s been nine months since my Dad passed away. As time is a fickle and irreverent companion, nine months took but one beat of my heart…and some days take an eternity. I sure do miss him. If you’ve read past writings here about my Dad you know that he was a larger than life character…I love the movie Big Fish with Albert Finney and Ewan McGregor because it reminds me of him, of us. He was also not prone to express his emotions. I suspect much of his generation had no language for it. So in many ways it seems I am getting to know him better in his absence than I did in his presence.

After he died I found pictures of him as a child that we never even knew existed. What a cute kid! Do you ever look at childhood photographs of yourself or your loved ones and see the utter sweetness in our faces? And I don’t know about you, but often at night, in the vast dark silence, I still FEEL myself AS that little kid…I AM still her…perhaps that is always true for us all.

People sometimes ask me why I put up with so much from my family. Did they not see those photos of THEIR family? We are all innocent here. In the end we must give up our beliefs about what the past meant. We must forgive them…we must forgive ourselves. We must. I’m not saying it is easy, or that it means we allow any further abuse. We draw a line; we turn to face the dragon, we pound our staff and declare to our pain, “YOU SHALL NOT PASS.”

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With Tuppence for Paper and String…

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I don’t know about you, but I see an awful lot of myself in P.L. Travers. The uptight intellectual snob who wrote Mary Poppins fought with Walt Disney over creative rights for twenty years. She needed the money, but she was utterly opposed to her beloved characters frolicking in a musical –  lest they be made to seem trite or unimportant, powerless. Sometimes a push is needed to allow truly magical things to happen that would otherwise never come into the world. It allows for healing to take place. I suspect that is true of all art. It gets away from the artist and takes on a life of it’s own.

To this day this is one of the best selling stories of all time, and I know why. It speaks to us all, to overcoming heartbreak and becoming powerful again, to healing. Heroes come in so many unexpected ways, don’t they?!

For my dear Dad and my beautiful sister Shelly, who both played piano and sang the soundtrack of my childhood.

Daylight Come and We Wanna Go Home…

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Life in a human body is pretty terrifying much of the time, isn’t it?! I woke at four a.m. this morning in a state of terror, as I often do. I am talking physiological adrenaline rushing hot nauseous get to the toilet my life is being threatened terror. Not panic – this is not your run of the mill anxiety attack. Xanax won’t help this.

Is my life being threatened? Only by stress. I will spare you the tedious list of accumulated problems, but in fact, I am not in any immediate danger. I do not have any life threatening disease. I am not going hungry. The wolves at the door are virtual…my brain and body, however, are taking the information fed them daily from the onslaught of difficulties, and creating an emotional swamp of harmful interpretations…

Pardon me, but fuck this shit.

At this rate the miss-interpretations themselves might kill me. At four in the morning there isn’t anyone to call…and so, I do the only thing I can do: I turn on the light, sometimes several – and chase the demons by reading from The Course in Miracles. I know some people can get solace from reading the Bible. It doesn’t work for me. This does. Something in these pages seeps in through the heart pounding terror and the tears blurring the pages and slows the effects…even though, most of the time, I don’t understand a thing it is talking about.

The itchy hotness becomes a comforting warmth…my heart rate steadies…I begin to notice clues in my immediate environment that would indicate danger is abated – like my dogs are snoring. And slowly my body begins to relax, and then finally I am in the world…but not of it. Love wins.

This is freedom. The goal, of course, is to live in this state, whether danger is real or imagined…whether pain is physical or psychological, whether the words make sense or nothing does. It takes practice…and it’s the only game in town. This is the science of magic! Sometimes, I even get my sense of humor back…daylight come and we wanna go home…

A Twice in a Lifetime Opportunity

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Are some of us truly more blessed than others? Do we hold some special favor in the heart of God? Some higher position in the cosmic consciousness? I don’t believe that…

As I’ve mentioned in past missives here, people have told me for decades that I am living a charmed life; I have often wondered what they meant by that. It seems to be true in some ways, and yet, like everyone, I manage to ignore that fact for long periods of time and make astronomical screw-ups which I then defend –  and further spend copious amounts of time wending my way free of!

As a young child I was clairvoyant. I had no idea what that was; I’m not sure I understand it even now. But I had an uncanny awareness of the near future. I would often dream of the people and places of the next few days. I would meet people who I had met in last night’s dream, and then greet them with familiarity – or speak some detail of their life they never would have shared with better friends. Needless to say, my narrating the upcoming day from the perspective of the car’s booster seat proved a bit disconcerting to my young parents. Waking them at two a.m. screaming that I was dead and I could hear the angels was even less endearing.

Aside, let me just say: Never tell a psychic they have a gift. We are all born this way, of that I am sure. Any adult with this ability still intact has lived through hell as a child. By it’s very nature, this so-called “gift” is very isolating. You learn to keep your mouth shut. Were that naive child not already living a very lonely and isolated existence, I’m sure that inner knowing would subside, could it be willed away.

However, survived into adulthood, it turns out this IS a gift of great magnitude, but not for the reasons you think…not because you can tell others their future. The future is not given us to know for a reason. The mystery of discovering our common future is how we evolve our consciousness toward our mutual enlightenment – it’s how we learn to be happy and get the heck out of our own way.

This gift – the gift of KNOWING rather than believing – that there is an invisible reality playing itself out here on the face of this planet, as well as in the heavens- is priceless. Yes, there are heavens. I have roamed them. Yes, there is also a hell; I’ve met it’s demons face to face. They’re intimidating. Having had no formal religious training, I was nevertheless well prepared. Don’t try to tell me there isn’t a God. I won’t think you a fool, just sadly uninformed.

But  today I have another story to share. It is again about my Mother, my own personal Mary Poppins. She died ten years ago. (I haven’t recovered yet – I’ll keep you posted.) Meanwhile, a few months later, I happened to meet the owner of an art gallery. I happened to need a job, and she happened to need an employee. And so, our ten year friendship began…her name is Marion.

Marion is another Mary Poppins. I know – hard to believe my good fortune. Two in one lifetime. Only in hindsight do I get to have the perspective of seeing the workings of divine intervention. I’ve had glimpses – like the RAYHOPE experience (see my post of August 21st, 2013.) Truth be told, I am astonishingly blessed with several friends who have saved my ass – I mean life – more times than I’d care to review. Coincidence? You don’t still believe in those, do you? (If so, see my post of  August 21st, 2013.)

Well, a couple of weeks ago, Marion bought me a house. Suffice it to say, it’s a long story that got us both to that magical day. And, yes, I will buy the house back from her…but, with my house under contract and no set closing date, we “happened” upon the perfect home for me. It was a deal that would not last long on the market, and was generating second viewings 3 days into it’s listing. She insisted that God told her to do this, and scooped it up so I wouldn’t lose it. If there is one thing I have learned from Marion, it is that when God speaks, you act. She trusts that inner knowing like no one I have met before. She is my friend, my chosen family; I live so charmed and blessed.

The next morning I woke in an altered state. And as often happens, knowing came over me as a wave of heat and nerves. And the memories fell one into the other, like dominoes perfectly aligned. This was my Mother’s doing. (My Mother doing God’s bidding.) Not just the house. The entire ten years. Meeting Marion. The job, the friendships, the failed marriage, the deaths, the healings. All of it. I burst into tears. It’s a hard phenomenon to explain to anyone who doesn’t consciously remember these experiences (we all have them.) But I knew. My life is divinely ordered.

Mary Poppins is family to me. It’s no coincidence this movie is coming out December 20th. I’ll be at the theater. It’s no coincidence that it stars my favorite actress; it’s no coincidence that she’s the spitting image of my young mother, Doris.

To Marion, and all the Good Witches who bless my life; you don’t know what you mean to me.

Anything You Want To…

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Since divorcing two years ago now, I have dated one gentleman who liked to correct me about my “magical thinking.” It prompted me to evaluate what that meant, and whether or not it was a bad habit to be eradicated – like smoking, or speaking poor English. I have now decided: I am a magical thinker.

It occurs to me that magical thinking allows for anything to be possible. It affirms that reality is not limited by the perception of the five senses, but broadly utilizes the imagination to define it’s environment. Magical thinking is intuitive. I am intuitive.

Most of my life people have commented that I was living a charmed life; I never thought about it consciously, and I didn’t know what they meant. They recognized that something quite undefinable was happening: that I would think of something, and it would come to be. I can’t explain that. But I have also met many (mostly men!) who thought of me as unreasonable – because you can’t talk me out of my fantastical magical thinking. It is my personal experience of reality.

Friends would call asking for things they needed or wanted, and puzzled, I would wonder why they were asking ME for these things…”Well”, they would say, “you manifest anything you think of. So manifest me two wing back chairs this weekend, would you, please?” And I would shake my head as if they were looney, and go off to brunch at a co-workers house. Pulling in the driveway, my co-worker and his partner would be dragging two lovely wing back chairs out to the curb in hopes someone would pick them up…and instead load them into the back of my car. An hour or so later I was pulling into the friend’s drive who had called that morning, with her chair delivery. This kind of thing happens regularly. Magical, I guess. Or is it?

I can’t help but wonder if, in fact, this isn’t just NATURAL thinking. It never occurred to me that things didn’t work this way all the time for everyone…until much later in life. If I try to REASON this, it goes away. So, I no longer try to reason. Maybe reason works for some people, maybe some of us are wired differently. Beats me! I’m willing to deliver the chairs…I am an unreasonable, intuitive, magical thinker.

“Living there, you’ll be free…”

For Steven.

This Is A True Story.

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To everything turn, turn, turn…

Well…it has been just over a month since last I wrote. I was beginning to wonder if I would ever write again…not for lack of material, but for a hurricane of change and transformation. More health issues; huge, huge life changes…it took two weeks to get my father and brother moved and settled into their new place, and the last two weeks putting my house – up for sale – back into any semblance of sanity suitable for showing…

It has been physically challenging and emotionally exhausting, but necessary. Yesterday I drove out to visit my Dad and drop off a few things yet left behind. The few times I have visited since their move have left me shaking and grief-stricken, making the 57 mile drive home difficult. So, as I approached the highway turnoff near his house, I said a prayer for myself, asking for a ray of hope, a sign, that somehow this was all going to work out alright.

When I left there two hours later, I pulled out onto the highway, and I was behind an SUV with a specialty plate that read: RAYHOPE.

“You’ve Had the Power All Along, My Dear…”

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I am an artist struggling with where I belong in the world. I am an artist like Isabel is a witch in the movie “Bewitched”…like Vianne is a gypsy in Chocolat…like Sally in Practical Magic…it is no use pretending to be anything else. Of course, these are movie characters and I am not. It is much harder to actually try to live outside of your nature on a daily basis.

These movies are hilarious and poignant in their depiction of  women trying to fit into their surroundings – to be something they are not – because the world is afraid of their power. Every mature woman on this planet knows all too well what THAT feels like. This is why movies about witches are so successful…(that’s my working theory…)

I don’t remember drawing as a young child, but my Mother told me I began to draw as soon as I could hold a pencil…long before I started grade school…I entertained myself, my younger siblings…I explained my world.

But these days I struggle with everything: my health, my emotional intensity, my house on the market, my financial stress…I no longer know my place in the world. I don’t seem to know much anymore…(but I know everything you never wanted to know about moving as my house is for sale!) I am displacing my elderly Father who has become increasingly more difficult to live with. What made me think this could work? I couldn’t live with him growing up, and left home at fifteen – albeit to boarding school. That was an ultimatum that I presented my parents with, by the way. I announced one day that I WOULD BE leaving home now – they could help me with that, or I would simply disappear from their lives and make my own way in world (ha!) As it happened, I confided in my friend Laurie Miller about the abuse going on in my home, and asked if I could stay at her house for awhile…her parents took me with their family on vacation, and when we returned home to Trenton, her grandmother had scheduled me to take an entrance exam at Kingswood Cranbrook School for girls.

I started a few weeks later. I went to school twelve hours a day and took every art class I could, including any at the Cranbrook Academy of Art that the instructors would let me audit. It was HEAVEN to me, as close to Hogwarts as you can get in the real world. My parents agreed to send me if I would come home two weekends a month and TRY to get along…you see, I was the problem.

As it turns out, I have always BEEN the problem. But as Glinda informs Dorothy: “You had the power all along, my dear.” Finally – FINALLY – at the age of sixty, I’m done compromising. Pretending to “get along” was killing me. Too bad it seems to have come down to them or me! But so be it…

I’m going back to being an artist. I don’t know where I’ll live or how I’ll eat or pay the bills; apparently I don’t know how to play well with others, heck, maybe I’ll die…or maybe, the life I have left will become worth living. Ich habe genug.

For Anne-Marie.

Mary Poppins Calling…

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Yesterday, I alluded to the nicknames Resourceress and Mary Poppins. They are both actually nicknames that two different friends have given to me over the years.

Now, as it happens, I have always been a huge Mary Poppins fan…my Pinterest board titled “the real Mary Poppins” is a reference to my personal belief that we wise and creative women are all good “witches”, or alchemists, spiritual midwives, healers…in fact, I believe that not for the intelligence of creative women throughout history…well…I doubt the race would have survived THIS long. After all, it seems pretty obvious that men are trying their very best to wipe us off the face of…another day…

Mary Poppins was magical…a good witch, even though Disney didn’t blatantly portray her as one. We recognize each other, don’t we…and I like myself for admiring her more than the other Disney heroines…!

Anyway…it is the metaphor – strong, strong, metaphor that she can PULL ANYTHING SHE NEEDS OUT OF HER BAG!!! that insinuates her as every woman…as any mother could certainly attest. But mother or not, few women in our culture have not had to make something out of nothing, pull off a seemingly impossible feat in the stress of the day, and dress up the mundane while entertaining the “children” of all ages. Take the lead, git ‘er done…and don’t break a sweat, or a heel, doing it!

My Mother – an angel like Lincoln’s (the man knew…) – set a great example of grace under pressure. Damn she had a hard life. Good, but I sure wouldn’t want to trade places. Her mother’s was harder…and I know that you see it in your own heritage.

They truly were “resourceresses”…a word that I think my friend, the artist Richard Schemm, made up. He likes to make up words, but also, he has extraordinary women to appreciate in his life. He will tell you: we resource. It’s what we do.

Once I drove from northern Michigan to northern California. I was staying with friends in San Fransisco, but never having been to their NEW home, they decided to meet me at the highway and lead me from there through the complicated streets…so, we stopped for dinner at one of the chain restaurants that congregate near the exits. We ate, and preparing to leave, Debi said, “I have to stop on the way to the house to buy one of those phone jacks that adapt a single jack to a double”…I reached into my purse and pulled one out. She smiled knowingly, and called me Mary Poppins. It just so happened to be the very last thing that I grabbed – along with the phone- as I was walking out on my deadbeat husband, heading off into the distant unknown…

For Danielle.