Sometimes You Just Have to Laugh

The image I posted yesterday.

See anything different?

Yesterday was one of those days. You know, where it feels like you are the beginning domino that sets all the other dominos crashing down.

Of course falling dominoes can be pretty cool:

Maybe I felt more like a house of cards with a huge wind about to blow. This is not going to be a whiny, woe is me post, I promise. But I do have to set a little background, so bear with me.

It started with a technical error. I had to drop Sarah off at my sister’s yesterday (they went to the circus) before I headed to teach the theatre classes I’m doing in Chelsea, MA which is basically attached to Boston.  Nervous about the drive, I did what anyone would do, and printed out directions.

Of course, I didn’t notice that the print out skipped from step 1 to step 4 until it was too late.

No worries, I thought to myself. I basically know the way.

Um, right. Some of you may remember that last week I mentioned my complete lack of a sense of direction.

So, I ended up having to pay for GPS and arriving at my class 5 minutes late (after a frantic phone call where I informed them of my idiocy). I HATE being late. I like to be early, so the whole thing through me off.

But I rallied, and the class went well (except for the few students who really have no desire to be there).

My directionless sense led me astray as I attempted to follow the less expensive route home (fewer tolls) so I eventually gave up and just coughed up the money. The drive started out rainy but quickly turned to snow as I headed west toward home. Nathan and I had planned to travel back to Chelsea to see a show but that trip seemed like a bad decision given the predictions for snowfall.

I got home to a phone call from Nathan who finally decided to go buy the snowblower that we had been talking about for weeks. Needless to say he was out of luck on that front.

The night was a little creepy. Lights flickering, hinting at an impending power outage. A sudden crash outside, leading to the discovery of downed trees in the driveway. As my emotions got the best of me, I had a huge moment of doubt about going to Slovakia when we have things like snowblowers and other possible purchases to consider (like the fact that my computer seems to be on its last legs HORRORS!). Nathan talked me down, but eventually I just crawled into bed, but not before I tempted fate by posting the stupidest FaceBook status ever:

As you can see, my friend Barb questioned the wisdom of tempting fate.

As you might expect, the universe decided to respond. In this case a picture is worth 1000 words:

Tree meet power line

I woke up to a text message on Nathan’s phone at around 3 am. Why, oh why, does the University contact system feel it is appropriate to tell everyone at that early hour that all classes are cancelled for the next day, when the next day was a Sunday? That wake up led to the unpleasant discovery that the power was out, but I chose to simply curl up and try to go back to sleep.  In typical fashion I ended up stumbling in the dark to find some matches so I could read by candlelight until I could sleep again. Eventually I went back to sleep but woke as the sun began to filter in and something else came crashing down  and made Nathan call the electric company.

We got up to find:

  • 3 trees down in the driveway
  • 1 tree down on the power line
  • the chestnut tree in the back yard lost its head
  • some trees sliding down the hill toward us
  • numerous limbs dangling precariously over the driveway.

Surprisingly though, all this has put me in a great mood. Perhaps it was the exercise I got shoveling the driveway and battling tree limbs. Perhaps its the silliness of the fact that we can’t flush toilets or do anything else without power (although we do have a gas stove so I got a yummy morning chai). Perhaps it was watching Lizzy, my older dog, leaping through the snow in a reflection of her puppyhood in Vermont. She seems to love New England weather. Perhaps it was eating bagels and locks in bed before facing the task of conquering the snow. Or perhaps it is wandering over to my book store hangout in search of electricity and flushing toilets to find that everyone else from nearby electricity deprived communities had the same idea.

Maybe it is a combination of all these things, and the realization that I can always rebuild a house of cards or set up a new domino display.

I found myself singing old show tunes as I waited to leave the house. Now I just want to laugh.

Care to laugh with me?

 

Everyday Fairy Tales

This picture has nothing to do with today's post, it just makes me happy.

 

In response to SideView’s weekend theme I thought I’d weave a fairy tale today, and become the Storyteller.

Once upon a time some children were born. They weren’t princes and princesses. As a matter of fact, there wasn’t anything obviously special about them. They all had good points and bad points. Some of them were handsome, some plain, some beautiful, some merely pretty. Some showed skills at thinking, some showed skills at creating. Some were smarter at one thing while some were smarter at others. Their differences didn’t matter, because as children their main purposes was to have fun.

They all laughed, they all cried, they all ate, they all dreamed. Some were raised by strict parents, some were raised by silly parents. Some of them worshiped one way, some of them worshiped another, and some of them didn’t believe in anything at all.

As they grew older, they each became more and more individual. They all enjoyed different things. Some liked to study and learn everything they could. Some preferred to build things out of wood and stone. Some wove fabric to make clothes. Some played with numbers and liked to watch money pile up. They all grew and changed. Some struggled. Others soared. Sometimes they met and fell in love. Sometimes the love turned to pain.

As they grew older, life changed. Some faced challenges like health problems or money issues. Some shot for fame and glory, but found loneliness with it. Some settled into cozy homes surrounded by books and family, and quietly pursued dreams.

Sometimes they fought with each other. Those were dark times. Fighting would bring about pain, death, sadness, and the end of people’s stories. So one day, a group of these children, now grown, got together and realized that the fighting had to stop. What were they fighting about after all? So what if people believed in different things and had different dreams. What was the real basis for the animosity?

This small group discussed the issue at great length. They debated and questioned. They argued (without weapons) and negotiated. Eventually, they came to an understanding, and sent out a list for all to see, some simple rules to live by:

  • It does not matter what you believe or how you worship as long as you believe in something.
  • Without life, money and power become meaningless. If you live your life for money and power alone then what kind of life do you live?
  • Everyone has the right to food, shelter, health, beauty and love.

Some of the people who were not part of the discussion did not like this list. But eventually more and more people recognized the truth, and they came together to celebrate a world of difference.

And they all LIVED happily ever after.

Weaving Webs with Words

Conservation of a tapestry in the workshops of...

Image via Wikipedia

The other day Hilary posted “Dream Weaver” using the metaphor of a tapestry to explain the journey of life:

“The journey into the past revealed a depth of memory, a rich tapestry of experience and opportunity for growth.”

This post resonated with me, as I have often used words like tapestry or weaving to explain concepts important to me,  even (I think) in some of the early posts on this blog. As a matter of fact, I quote here from the dusty tome of my dissertation that I have not looked at in years:

I prefer to think of culture as “a tapestry,” a metaphor given to me by carol North of Metro Theater Company. A tapestry contains interlocking lines of color that allow each strand to strengthen the beauty of the whole in order to work together to create the final image. At the same time, however, the creator of the tapestry can make choices for each individual strand that make one color seem to dominate. It is important to understand both the whole and the individual strands. In terms of our society, I think that we must ask what the whole represents: is it the dominant culture (white, male, heterosexual, able-bodied, middle-aged, upper-middle class, Anglo-Saxon, Christian) which has had control for so long, or is it some other entity that cannot survive without each individual strand? Each strand is different, made up of tiny fibers that give that strand its strength and color–just as each person is different, able to affiliate him/herself with multiple cultures based on personal choice, personal beliefs, and financial standing, as well as physical attributes. Yet, while individuals might affiliate themselves with one group, society still has some power in defining who we are and what roles we play in the overall tapestry, just as the creator of the tapestry assigns the roles played by the individual strands.”

[Side note: it was really strange to copy something that I don’t even remember writing anymore. I do know that I originally had written a poem about tapestry that I wanted to include, but I don’t know what happened to it. I really wrote that?]

I have explored the idea of lives interconnecting through invisible webs in numerous post. Click on the topic “Connections” on my side bar you will find posts celebrating friends, posts about the stories that connect us all, posts about the connections I’ve made in the past that still touch me in the present, posts about webs and tapestries and connecting the dots.

The theme keeps recurring, that our stories and our lives all intersect and connect in numerous ways to create the whole.

Even my fiction seems to reflect the theme of interconnected stories. The Moon Calls women together to share their stories and embrace their strengths. The Storyteller invites people around the fire to teach about tolerance and difference through stories. Her words merge in the air to create Pictures in the Flames. Wise Mother shares the gift of magic with a young apprentice, inviting her into the world of story telling and other magic.

The phrase Simultaneous Stories, keeps appearing in my notes and Morning Pages as well as my blog posts. I recently splurged on a little specialty notebook, in the hopes that perhaps keeping my ideas with me would help me focus and create.

The very first page contains the following list:

"Both shoeless in the sand"; kicked out for coming out; Simultaneous stories happen all the time. An hour in the day . . .

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This interest in telling simultaneous stories isn’t recent. When I first applied to my doctoral program I wrote how I wanted to create a theatre piece that crossed cultural boundaries by being performed with people from a variety of nationalities utilizing multiple languages. I wanted that to be part of my dissertation, but was somehow talked out of it by an advisor who, at the time, believed that dissertations should follow a more traditional research method. Of course, just after I graduated applied research became the more popular mode of dissertation writing in my field, so I guess I was just ahead of my time (or perhaps I opened the doors for other people to walk through). Sigh!

Perhaps my struggle to find the story that I want to write comes from trying to focus on one story. Maybe the project I need to work on is one that brings together many stories, some of my own, some of yours, some of the people I have yet to meet.  In some ways my decision to go to Slovakia reflects my desire to collect stories and be open to the unknown.

I still don’t have a clear picture of what form this collection might be. Perhaps it is a book, with a collection of stories from some of my favorite bloggers intertwined with my own. Perhaps it is a stage play, where the stories of people get told through words, through movement, through puppets, through dance. Or maybe I really do need to learn how to weave, to create a visual tapestry of stories and connections and the words that link us all.

Detail of Woodpecker tapestry designed by Will...

Image via Wikipedia

All I know for sure is that I have been weaving a web of interconnected stories all my life, and now I need to find a way to share.

The Gift of Magic

This fabulous photo inspired the following.

“Hush!” the wizened old woman whispered to the excited child next to her. “It will happen soon, but we must be cautious or they will not welcome you.”

Theresa almost vibrated as she tried to contain her excitement, which would normally come out in bursts of giggles and songs. She knew that she would never be given another chance if she ruined this opportunity, as Wise Mother chose  her apprentices with care, and dismissed them quickly if they proved unable to handle the Magic. Theresa had dreamed of learning more about the Magic from the first moment she watched as Wise Mother shared a story in the village center, including images drawn in the sky that showed the adventure to all. Theresa stared at the images  and wished she knew how to create such beauty.

“Theresa, look,” Wise Mother whispered as quietly as possible, her breath tickling Theresa’s ear with each word. “They are here.”

Theresa watched in awe as the fairy ring of mushrooms began to glow, a light that emanated in many colors from the heart of the mushrooms. She lost any urge to sing or move as a faint hum filled the air, seeming to come from everywhere at once. Later Theresa would try to remember the tune so that she could sing it, but it eluded her with the complex beauty of nature singing. Wise Mother explained that it was indeed nature, the grass, the trees, the mushrooms and the earth sang with the joy of the coming meeting.

Eventually Theresa noticed that a variety of small beings had appeared in the glowing circle. Each one was indescribably beautiful and unique. She recognized them only from the lore and stories handed down at the village story circle. Fairies representing every color of the rainbow, and some colors with no names. Tiny gnomes, their wrinkled faces sparkling with joy. Brownies, whose stick-like bodies almost blended in with the color of the earth. There were other creatures as well, that Theresa could not identify.

Suddenly a silence fell, at the appearance of the largest of the fairies whose beauty and glow surpassed all the others. Her wings seemed to shine with flowing colors that sometimes looked like water shimmering, and sometimes like the twinkle of stars. All the tiny creatures bowed their heads toward her, and even the Wise Woman shifted and kneeled, pulling Theresa down.

The Fairy Queen spoke with a voice like butterfly wings, that seemed to enter straight into Theresa’s head bypassing her ears.

“Who have you brought, my young friend?”

At first Theresa was confused, as Wise Mother was anything but young. She was older than the oldest grandfather in the village, and he remembered her as being old even when he was a child. Her wisdom showed in every crinkle of her face and her eyes were hidden by the deep folds of age. But, Theresa realized, compared to these creatures who seemed to be simultaneously ancient and youthful, Wise Mother might indeed be young.

“I have brought someone to be blessed by you,” Wise Mother answered. “I think she is the next person to protect your gift.”

“Are you sure?” The Fairy Queen asked.

“I am sure,” Wise Mother replied. I have tested her, and she has passed each one with strength.

“Then we shall bless her.”

With that the humming began again and grew as all the creatures moved toward Theresa, in a way that startled her.

“Do not be afraid,” Wise Mother whispered, looking deeply into Theresa’s eyes.

The fairies who could fly surrounded her head and her shoulders. The others reached up and touched as high as they could.

With each touch, Theresa felt a sense of warmth move through her body, toward her heart and her mind. Suddenly, the world seemed to shift, and the woods surrounding them took on a sharper appearance. The hum became words, that she could understand. She felt at peace and the urge to lie down and sleep.

When she awoke on the forest floor the creatures were gone and the mushrooms were simple mushrooms again. Wise Mother sat next to her, looking down with tears in her eye and a smile on her face.

“You now have the Magic too. You are, indeed, my heir.”

And so Theresa’s story began . . .

Dear Aunt Sally (100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups)

This weeks challenge is to respond to this image from the perspective of vegetarians!

Be sure to visit other entries in this weeks challenge.

Life is About Learning: Celebrating Fabulous Friends III

I know a lot of intelligent people. Since I’ve spent most of my life connected in some way with academia, I have often been surrounded by people who blow me away with the way their minds work.

But this morning I had a little revelation, life is not about what you know but about continuing to learn.

While I’ve met a lot of intelligent people who can wax poetic about everything under the sun, many of them don’t interest me. I find myself zoning out when it becomes obvious that the person I am talking to is more concerned with showing off his/her knowledge and sounding intelligent than contributing to a conversation and being open to learning something new.

In the end, the people who remain part of life, the people who I count as friends are the ones who see the world as a place to learn something new every day, and then share that knowledge with others as they seek more learning. So today, as the third part of my (hopefully ongoing) series that I call “Celebrating Fabulous Friends” I would like to celebrate some of the learner/teachers I’ve met in my life.  (For the first two installments read Celebrating Fabulous Friends and Night Marchers in the Bathroom.)

Nancy Lum, World Adventurer

Nancy is in the middle, with myself, my sister Deb, and her friend Karen celebrating my wedding.

Nancy and I met in Japan. She was there teaching for the JET program, and I was teaching for a private Language School. While I’m sure we met when she first got there, we didn’t become close until my last year in Japan, when I discovered an amazing person who had a passion for learning all she could about the world. Our friendship has lasted, with Nancy visiting me whenever she can in all of my various locations. She came to my wedding in Hawaii, while friends who I had known longer were unwilling to make the trip. While she wasn’t part of the wedding party, officially, she stepped up and helped in ways that made her truly the maid of honor.

Nancy returned from Japan to her home in Canada for a short time to get a masters in ESL. She then went back to our home in Okayama and has been there ever since. She takes every opportunity to travel and see the world, learning as much as she can about the places she visits and sharing her knowledge through the eyes of her camera. She and I keep fantasizing about traveling together on some wonderful adventure, but it hasn’t happened (yet). Maybe I should see if she wants to come to Slovakia. 😉

Anyway, I include Nancy in my list of Fabulous Friends because she cares and shares and is always learning more. When she visits, she wants to go out and explore the world. The last time I saw her, when she visited me in Durango, CO, she was distracted by news that her sister was in the hospital, but even then she carried her camera and shared adventures with me and my family. I am so honored to count this wonderful, intelligent, creative, learner among my friends.

Jackie Haltom, Inspirational Artist

Figuring out the hands for a piece of art.

I’ve known Jackie for only a year. We met when Sarah started taking art lessons in Independence.  We probably socialized for the first time last Halloween as we took Sarah out trick-or-treating with Jackie’s girls and other kids in the neighborhood.  However, a relationship that started slowly blossomed into a friendship of mutual support and encouragement. Jackie helped me discover the courage to express myself in a new artistic way, and the results are in the header of this blog. Jackie also took on the challenge with me of learning how to share our love of art and creativity with a different population, as you can read about in “Appropriate Age Appropriateness.” Without Jackie, I would not have had the courage to try to self-publish (although that project is still slowly moving forward). Jackie inspires me because she is continually learning, admitting what she doesn’t know, searching for more knowledge, and challenging the status quo. She lives and breathes art and recognizes how important the arts are to our culture–so she strives to share that passion with others by encouraging them to find their inner artists. Jackie helped me through a complex transition in my life, and I am grateful she has become my friend.

Jackie inspired another fabulous friend, Heather of Little Red Henry (link in my blog roll) to paint this wonderful creation.

There you have it, a couple of other examples of the incredible people you can meet throughout your life if you are simply open to learning about the world around you.

What have you learned today? Who have you met that you would like to celebrate?

Here's a beautiful piece by Jackie.


Leaping into Possibility

Yesterday I was presented with an opportunity.


This is not an employment opportunity, as a matter of fact it is an expensive opportunity.

But it is an important opportunity nonetheless.

op·por·tu·ni·ty http://sp.dictionary.com/dictstatic/d/g/speaker.swf [op-er-too-ni-tee, -tyoo-] noun, plural -ties.

1.an appropriate or favorable time or occasion.
2. a situation or condition favorable for attainment of a goal.
3. a good position, chance, or prospect, as for advancement or success. (dictionary.com)

Rambling Thoughts

When I first saw this adventure posted on my Facebook page, my thoughts went like this:
“Wow! I want to do that! I should post it in case any of my friends are interested. Hmm, I’d really like to do that, but I don’t have a job so how can I justify it? But, I’ve given up opportunities before . . . so maybe its time I take a chance. No, I can’t do it.”
Soon after this little internal discussion, I got a personal message from the artistic director asking me to join them on this adventure. See, a few years ago I had been invited by Dramatic Adventure Theatre to participate in their program called ActionEcuador, where they spend time in several areas of Ecuador serving the community, teaching theater and exploring how the arts can help with social change. All things that  I am truly passionate about. They then spend a week creating theater pieces to be performed in New York later in the summer. Nathan and I were all set to do this wonderful program, bringing Sarah with us, when the world came crashing down around us and our futures became unsure. Needless to say, we had to let the opportunity pass.
That wasn’t the first international theater opportunity that I had to turn down because of changing circumstances and financial issues. A few years earlier, just before we moved to Colorado, I had been scheduled to participate in a mid-summer program for 10 days in Russia learning about theater and arts education in schools. That fell through when we had to move that summer.
My most recent lost opportunity involved an application to create theater in Pakistan, but I’m sure you can guess why that one fell through.
This time, however, my war with myself took on new meaning. True, financially it isn’t the best time for me to take this adventure, since I am underemployed and we are living in an expensive state. But, in term of where I am in my life, and my pursuit of reinventing myself and trying to create the career of my dreams, this is the perfect time. In terms of when the trip happens, its the perfect time, as I don’t begin teaching the one class I have until January 17th and my brother is available to help Nathan with parenting duties.
So what was stopping me? Two things.

Guilt and Fear!!!!

The issue of guilt: How could I possibly justify the expense when I am not bringing in very much in terms of income, and it means some of the things we planned as a family will have to be postponed?  But in reality, as soon as I mentioned the possibility to Nathan, his response was:

“I really want you to do this, so let us sit down and figure out the finances and what needs to be done to make it happen.”

And when I talked to Sarah about it her response was “I’ll be sad” until I explained it was only for a couple of weeks when she changed it to “You should go.”
So really, guilt was just an excuse. The more terrifying thing holding me back was, indeed, my perpetual stumbling block
But what exactly am I afraid of? Because when I think clearly, there’s nothing to fear:
  • I love the people who run this program, and although we’ve only spent a short time together in person I feel like we were meant to meet. In fact, I could easily have included both Jesse and Mary K in my post celebrating fabulous friends.
  • I’m not afraid of travel, and I love to see new cultures. Well, I get nervous travelling, especially flying, but ultimately once I’m there all is good.
  • The trip is pretty much planned for me, all I have to figure out is my flight there and back (and any extra visits to other places, which I probably won’t do anyway because of finances.)
So, what exactly am I afraid of?
The answer came out in my Morning Pages this morning, as I tried to work through my thoughts and emotions surrounding this possibility. Although Morning Pages are meant to be private, I shared them with Nathan and I now share a portion with you, so that you understand what’s going on in my head:
“I’m afraid of opportunity, because I’m afraid that I will waste the opportunity. If I don’t try, I can’t fail. But then again, isn’t not trying simply another type of failure? . . . this trip gives me the chance to see theatre in action, which is the type of theatre that I value. It is about the power of the arts to change lives. If I don’t do it, if I can’t make it happen, then I’m still all talk and no action. So going is the right thing to do. Or am I making excuses to do what I want? Am I being selfish? . . . Where should I look for guidance? My instincts are all out of whack, or at least I’ve lost the ability to trust my own instincts anymore. I don’t know how to follow my gut.  “
Before I completed the morning pages, I read them to Nathan and asked what he thought I should do. Here was my response to his answer:
“Tears just poured down my face as he encouraged me to just go for it. Just do it. Live in the now and not worry about whether or not I achieve anything big or important. So I guess the answer is before me. Sarah even says I should do it.  Looks like I’m heading to Slovakia. I wonder what happens next.”
After that outpouring on the page, I got up and filled out the application. Then, of course, the doubts started creeping in again. But, in a miraculous way, signs from this wonderful blogging community keep cropping up to reinforce that I’m doing the right thing:
  • First I saw this lovely post called “What I Missed Today” on Gifts of the Journey, which shares what can happen if you don’t take the opportunities the world provides.
  • Next, I saw this post by a blogger that I’ve only recently become acquainted with, who is pursuing her graduate degree in theater and is going to be facilitating a workshop using Theater of the Oppressed techniques in Occupy Boston. A simple reminder of the power of theater to help create a better world.
  • And, just a few moments ago, this post celebrating the life of Dorothy Heathcote, reminded me of why I pursued a PhD in theater for youth in the first place. My dream was to create theater that explored cultural difference and promoted cultural understanding; a dream of mine that has been buried if not forgotten.

So friends, it looks like 2011 will end with me stepping onto a plane toward possibility, and 2012 will begin with a creative journey into unknown destinations. Look for me to blog about it.

A”maze”ing Words and Surprising Discoveries

Meandering Through a Muddle of Words

We spent yesterday wandering through a corn maze made in the shape of Noah Webster.

The challenge (in order to win a free small pumpkin) was to make your way through the maze finding the words in a giant word search, letter by letter.  Amazingly enough we managed to make it through without having to call 911. 😉

Perhaps the fact that you are given a flag with a number before you enter the maze makes people less stupid. Then again, the competition became intense, which was a little strange, since there really wasn't any competition.

In the center of the maze (aka Webster’s face) was a second game where you had to select the correct definition of some words, and they weren’t easy.

This was the perfect maze for Sarah who has recently taken to looking up words in the dictionary and writing down their definitions, FOR FUN. Yes, friends, she is indeed my daughter, as I would underline (in light pencil) any words I didn’t know in any books I read and make a list throughout my childhood.  The maze combined her new love of words with her never-ending search for adventure.

While the sun stayed behind the clouds for most of the day, it was still a nice day to be in the maze, compared to our adventure in a maze last year in Kansas, which included heat, bugs and two pre-teenage girls who decided that they needed to run through the maze. Of course, this late in the season the maze is a little worse for wear, with brown stalks and downed stalks, as well as evidence of Hurricane Irene who took her own journey through the maze.

As we wandered through the maze, my mind rambled from nothing to word meanings to the meaning of life with lots of side trips along the way.

Disorientation

As we journeyed through the maze, I learned that I have absolutely no sense of direction, while Sarah and Nathan seem to have an innate instinct for making their way through mazes.

The amazing maze explorers know the way.

Another clue!

"Let's see. Where to next? Follow me."

Of course, upon this realization, since I always want to improve, I tried to hone my instincts and improve my navigation ability. My instincts started to kick in, and I eventually figured out a pattern that I could follow. However this inevitably led to the . . .

Brabble of the Babes

You see, Sarah and I tend to be a lot alike. This means that, on occasion, we get on each other’s nerves. Perhaps due to my lack of sleep over the past several days while I was dealing with my personal  emotional roller coaster, or the fact that within 5 minutes of entering the maze Sarah nearly brained me with the flag, my ability to communicate with my daughter seemed to disintegrate rapidly as we made our way from letter to letter. What sounded to me like, “please don’t walk with the flag pointing forward” or “don’t swing the flag around, you might hit someone” must have sounded to her like “STOP TRYING TO KILL EVERYONE WITH THAT FLAG!!”

Sometimes, despite my love of words, I have problems communicating.

As my legs started getting more and more tired, my words became sharper, until I reverted to the inner 6-year-old that often makes appearances when the tension between us gets stronger and decided to stop talking.

Words only work if you use them.

I'm not sure which of us needed a time out more.

Revelations of the Camera Obscura

Eventually we worked through our issues (aka, I stopped talking and we continued on) and found all the letters and words. We exited the maze in glory to select our pumpkin. Then, of course, Sarah wanted to explore a little. We wandered over to the petting zoo, where adorable goats and other animals demanded food which we did not provide. Then Sarah saw an odd structure that looked like a little play house. In reality, however, it was a Camera Obscura and it was really cool.

Through the Camera Obscura

Camera Obscura Landscape

Camera Obscura Farm

Camera Obscura animals

Somehow, looking at the world from a different perspective made me realize that I need to change my own perspective more often, in order to find some incredible things.

So what did I learn by changing my perspective? That there may not be enough words to describe the complexity of my love for my life (even at its most confused and chaotic) and especially for my family.

Sometime words just aren’t enough.

Dancing a jig on a bail of hay, you can't say it better than this.

I’m Back . . . Sort Of

I told you I just needed a tiny break.

I know, you’ve barely missed me, especially since I kind of posted anyway and even managed a couple of comments here and there. But I didn’t spend the whole day reading posts, writing posts, and commenting on posts. I read all of your wonderfully kind comments to me, and I truly appreciate every one of them. I just needed a little time to clear my head.

Even now, I approach the keyboard with hesitation, as I’m not sure what words will pour out or what I even want to say. I’m not blocked . . . it’s not that. I think I’m more overwhelmed by this community, by the complexities of our world, by all the transitions that have been happening in my life for the past three years, by amazing writers and friends like Mark and Vicky who are on their own journey of struggle right now and who I wish I could help but I don’t know how.

So I stopped. Just for a couple of days I stopped. I focused on finding movies to help me cry (only partially successful). I tried to sleep. I wrote in my morning pages. I spent time with my family. I tried not to stress about finding work or creating a meaningful life all over again. I tried not to feel alone.

I both succeeded and failed.

For several nights now I’ve had dreams too complicated to describe, but all with a common message that no matter how hard I tried I would never belong. Now, I know that’s not true, but I can’t help what my subconscious tries to feed me.

So this morning I woke up and completely melted down, at least partially. I held it together for Sarah. I almost held it together for Nathan. Then I cried, a little.

Finally, I went to help at the library at Sarah’s school, and that centered me. From there, I decided going home was a bad choice, so I took myself on an adventure to find a bookstore that I’ve been meaning to find. It turned out to be only so-so, but at least I broke my routine.

 I sat in the little cafe at the bookstore and tried to focus. Then I got an Facebook note from a young friend of mine, asking for my opinion as mentor and educator.  At first I didn’t want to deal with it, because it was on a topic that I’ve discussed with her before, but then I answered anyway. Through answering her question, I remembered myself as a talented mediator and mentor. I finished her answer and wrote a Hub called “Battling Depression in a World Gone Mad”.

You might wonder why I wrote it as a Hub rather than a post here. I had to approach it more as an observer–an observer of myself. I feel like here I can write with my more personal voice, and their I try to sound more logical. I’m much more comfortable writing here, but I had to analyze my thoughts there before I could share my thoughts here. Does that make sense?

So, I guess I’m back. Thank you all for your kindness and patience as I work my way into joy. Your thoughts helped a lot.

And now, a few moments of quiet beauty I found outside my back door after I got home.

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PRIMAL SCREAM!!!!!

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And now back to our scheduled break.

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