Ode to Insomnia

In the wee small hours of the morning
eyes heavily yearn
for a dreamless sleep

but . . .

a cacophony of voices
argue in the non-silence
of an exhausted mind
awakened by

disturbing visions
of fearful escapes
from menacing fights
full of sharpness, blood and gore
and another dream of escape
through fast-moving water

down

                        crashing

                                         water

                                                       falls.

Spinning tales of fear and worry
making it impossible
for me to return to sleep.

It never fails
a day full of new challenges
and responsibilities
follows a night

of doubts

of fears

of sadness

of despair.

Oh sleep!
I beg of you
please enter softly
whispering words of gentleness
and ease.
Cleanse me
with the rest I need

to face another day.

Photo by Steve Kramer. We all took this little ride.

Ice Cream Tastes Better . . .

I’m feeling a little nostalgic and lone today. I haven’t given my daughter the Memorial Day she deserves as a child. Maybe next year. But, thanks to her, and the little tinkle of music coming down the street, I got to eat a strawberry shortcake and find some words to write (words that have avoided me all day):

 Ice cream tastes better
when it comes off an ice cream truck.

Fried Dough tastes better at a county fair.

Marshmallows taste better after a barbecue.

Ice cold lemonade tastes better after playing in the sun all day.

Everything tastes better in the memories of childhood.

I Didn’t Think This Would Happen So Soon

Maybe I should have seen it coming. Even when she was an infant, the bond with her wasn’t instantaneous like some mothers claim. Of course I thought she was beautiful and precious, but I didn’t fall in instant love. To be honest, with this little bundle of  squirms brought with her joy, terror, and a form of torture I could never have imagined. Seriously, if  the government wants to pry secrets out of someone they should just have them spend time raising a newborn with all the sleep deprivation and exhaustion attached.

The first person she fell in love with was her Daddy.  She came out of the womb, she heard his voice, and she smiled. She is still Daddy’s Little Girl.

Tiny Sarah

She needed me though. For the milk. For comfort. During the day, she wouldn’t nap unless she fell asleep on top of me. It made for some difficult times, but at the same time it was wonderful.

Only eight years have passed and she has already decided that she doesn’t need me. She wants to spend time with anyone but me. I don’t know where I went wrong, but it seems that I never offer enough fun or stimulation or frivolity to satisfy her. Despite the fact that she does fun things with me all the time, I’m never enough.

And now I am alone with her for the next six weeks. I was hoping it would bring us closer, but it seems like my 8-year-old is going on 18 right before my eyes.

I didn’t think this would happen so soon.

What I Wish for You (Interview, Part 4)–Let Go of Certainty – 37days

I just listened to this and felt that I needed to share.

If you would like to hear more from Patti Digh, author of Life is a Verb, visit her blog 37 Days.

 

The Miles We Travel in Search of Ourselves

A Long Road Home

Image via Wikipedia

When you drive alone in a car for 8 1/2 hours it gives you a lot of time to think.

Of course, you can distract yourself by listening to the stories of other people or music. But that distraction only works if your mind isn’t constantly connecting what you hear with what you think or believe.

I learned that as tears poured down my face while listening to “The Tornado Prom” story on This American Life.

I learned that laughing my way through Wait, Wait, Don’t Tell Me and thinking, I would love to be a reporter on NPR.

I learned that listening to the podcast about Pop Culture from NPR (I’m not sure what it’s called, but it is connected with Monkey See. The discussion of books led me to think, “Oh, I should read that” but even more “How do I get paid to review books.”

When I lost the ability to listen to the podcast, and went to music, every song had a message for me . . . about life, about love, about following your dreams.

And the miles passed.

I thought about the millions of miles that I have traveled throughout my life. Sometimes the miles led to adventures, sometimes the miles led to comfort, but rarely have the miles led to home. I mean, I am technically “home” now, but I haven’t found the home that makes me stop wanting to following those miles.

Will I ever?

I’ve found temporary sanctuaries, but not permanent homes.

I was talking to the cook at the Summer Theater where I left Nathan and she asked “Where are you now?” I answered, with my usual “Kansas face”; the face that says I’m here for now, but hopefully not forever. She answered, “Oh, I thought you would be wandering gypsies” and then told me about this family she met in Florida that were travelling the country just to see if they could.

Part of me thought, how cool is that.

My journey is long–both the metaphorical one and the physical one. I wonder if and when I will ever come to rest.

All Stories Have Value

I spent yesterday in a car, driving Nathan up to Okoboji, IA for the summer. Well, he did all the actual driving, I just watched the scenery go by along with the intimidating clouds and lightning strikes. It took us about 9 1/2 hours, including stops to walk the dogs and a quick trip to Trader Joe’s in Omaha.

On the way we listened to downloaded NPR shows including “Wait, Wait Don’t Tell Me” and “This American Life,” and “The Moth.”

I heard stories. Stories big and stories small. Stories that affect the world, and stories that affected only individuals. And I realized, all stories have value. My story has value.

I want to be a storyteller, because through stories life gains value.

The trip hasn’t been without a little angst. I bring Nathan to a place that wants him, values him, but doesn’t really want or value me. I don’t really belong here, despite the fact that I have a lot to offer this place.

Last summer in Okoboji

But, I now realize that is part of my story. My story involves me learning to let go of jealousy, resentment, frustration. My story involves learning from the journey and learning from others.

My story is all that I have to offer you. In exchange, I hope you will share your story with me. Together our stories have power, beauty, and life.

In the Midst of the Storm

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Thick turmoil in the sky
gray, green, orange, steel
reflecting images of
Joplin, MO
two hours away.

Pressurized panic
fills my brain.
Dogs cower
daughter clings.

They MUST NOT sense my fear.

Mother nature reminds  us all
of the flimsy
hold we have on space
on belongings
on time

on life.

Slate gray skies moan
whistling winds wander
water droplets dance
with power and grace.

And I watch,
and I wait,
and I wonder.

Linked to the Poetry Potluck!

The Ego of Man

P religion world

Image via Wikipedia

With all the Rapture-mania yesterday, it really made me think about the role of religion in the world and I had a sort of epiphany:

Religion is created by Man.

Now, don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “yea” or “nay” to the existence of God or Goddess or even multiple celestial beings. But the rules and regulations governing any religion are all created by Man.

Please note that I am intentionally using masculine pronouns here. I believe that women have played a role in the maintenance of religious belief over the years. I am also aware of the more feminine face of past religions. But I think that the origins of modern religious behavior come from man because women’s voices simply were not allowed or heard. Most women could not read. Most women could not write.  So, when the guides for any of the current major religions were “set in stone” the most likely people to do it were male.

Even if we accept that the guiding books were dictated to us through God, ultimately man wrote the so-called “rules” down. And man is not infallible, he can make mistakes and adjustments to anything based on his own understanding and interpretations.

In current society, people choose to interpret those teachings in different ways–in ways that support or explain their own individual belief systems as well as make them feel superior to anyone who believes differently. Thus leading to the idea that only “Good Christians” would achieve Rapture. But what, I ask, is a Good Christian? Peas and Cougars posted a comic  Flowchart yesterday that went viral. If you browse through the comments you will find some hilarious reflections, as well as some angered ones that reveal the hypocrisy of it all. The chart mostly referred to the restrictions from the Old Testament, which led to several people reaming P&C for not understanding or misinterpreting or whatever. That in itself supports my theory of religion being created by man. Think about it (but please correct me if I am misrepresenting something):

  • Jesus was a Jew. So, unless he set out to rebel against his own religion (which I don’t think he did) he would have been following the rules and regulations of the Old Testament.
  • Christianity still has, as some of its basic tenets, the Ten Commandments.
  • So, when the New Testament was created, the creators picked and chose which elements of the Old Testament to embrace and which to discard. And I believe that was written down well after Jesus’ lifetime.
  • In many interpretations of the Bible, it includes the possibility that we have “Free Will” which suggests that God would expect people to make choices, and perhaps make mistakes.  And, as I’ve written about here, I refuse to believe that a true all-powerful being would sweat the small stuff.

Now, that’s only reflecting on the Judeo/Christian aspect of religion. But, you can go further back (or perhaps simultaneous to) and look at the Pantheistic religions. Those gods created their own rules for mankind to live by, and the rules changed at the whims of the gods. Many of those rules, whether from many gods or just one, are simply ways to function and control how we interact with one another. In other words, they make sense if we want to live in some sort of peace. But, obviously, they don’t work.

Also, if we accept that these words were handed down by a creator of some sort, than we must also accept that that being has the final say in everything. In other words he/she has the power to change his/her mind. So, we, as humans have no power to dictate when or if anything is going to happen. We cannot predict the end of the world, because God can make it happen when he/she feels like it. It is mere ego for anyone to assume that he/she can predict the decisions made by a more powerful being.

Of course, given our free will, we can probably speed the end of the world by simply making poor decisions ourselves. God may look on and say “Well, you have to make your own mistakes” just as any good parent would do.

In addition, the Bible was compiled at a time when the calendar was different. It was not the same calendar we use today, so how can we predict anything accurately?

So, ultimately, the rules and regulations of religion have been created by man. All we can do is live our lives to the best of our ability, embracing the fact that we are all connected, whether through spirit, energy or simply by the fact that we share this earth. The rest is silliness and ego.

See you in 2012!

Family Drama: The Good Kind

Mrs. Gloop and an Oompa Loompa ist in da house!

Yes folks, both Sarah and I were cast in Willy Wonka.  I mentioned the auditions earlier this week in this post.  So barring unforeseen life changes we will start rehearsing in August and our house will be filled with this (although we are doing the full, not the Jr. version):

And this:

Could be interesting family drama.

Once More into the Wild

“Do not go where the path may lead. Go instead where there is no path and leave a trail.” (Ralph Waldo Emerson)

Many thanks to Hilary Clark from Pining for Poetry and Prose for pointing that quote out to me today, as today I feel lost in the wilderness, unsure of which direction to choose. But perhaps the direction does not matter. I just need to take a step and forge my way through the underbrush, embracing and learning from whatever comes into my path.

Words fail me today. I cannot interpret the mass of thoughts jumbling around my brain. I cannot describe the heaviness I feel deep inside.

ONCE MORE INTO THE  WILD
A Prose Poem

An image keeps popping into my mind of a dark forest. Here and there, amidst the trees are doors of every shape and size. Some simple, some elegant, some austere, some intimidating. None of them have windows. All of them have locks.

All is stillness and silence.

Far ahead in the distance there is a flutter of filmy cloth. A lavender curtain decorating an open window. The breeze blows through, carrying on it the tinkle of bird song and a laughing stream. I cannot feel the breeze yet, but I know that if I could it would bring elusive scents of beauties unknown. The window is bathed in golden light, with hints of green. A glittering green vine has climbed over the windowsill  reaching tendrils through into the heavy dark forest; but the guardian trees will allow no breach of color and light.

The window beckons but I don’t see a clear path to get there. I fear the doors that lead to places forbidden because someone could come crashing through to bar my way. I fear the leafless trees that reach their crooked hands toward me, threatening to trap me in a merciless grasp.

And yet I move one foot forward. The window beckons.

A Journey into the Wilderness

[Submitted to Poetry Potluck Week 36–Sketches, Images, and Impressions]

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