The Search

“Live today fully and you create a lifetime of meaningful memories.” (Sophia Bedford-Pierce THE KEY TO LIFE)

The quote floats at the top of my morning page journal–a message from the universe to combat the sadness which wells inside of me the moment I drag myself out of sleep.

It’s a message I yearn to understand and to fully embrace, but something deep inside myself  questions whether or not I’m even capable of truly enjoying life. What is a full life? This inner voice asks. What is a meaningful life? This inner voice demands.

I have no answers.

I yearn to lose myself into the oblivion of writing about someone else’s life, but the characters are silent. I yearn to find my connection to that creative energy where the characters live . . . where inspiration lives . . . but it seems out of reach.

I yearn to lose myself into the oblivion of exercise without thought, where the mind can then open to other possibilities. For me that place has always been a swimming pool, but I don’t know where to go. So I try to tap dance,  but my feet don’t move correctly and I am reminded that I’m clumsy and awkward.

I take myself to my place of retreat. The botanical gardens that appear here so often. My intent is to walk and walk and walk until I’ve reached that rhythm of not thought where possibility has room to grow. Not possible today, as everywhere there are people cutting branches and trimming trees. A walk through the  gardens becomes an adventure in an obstacle course, with the danger of falling  limbs and the sound of saws disturbing the silence.

I did, however, finally figure out one thing that was wrong with my camera, and managed to get some beautiful shots. Flowers and beauty, but no answers, no peace.

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I treat myself to  lunch there, and try to find my way through words. I end up grading papers and that is all.  I head back out and notice all of the older men wandering through the gardens, taking pictures, enjoying the beauty. They remind me of all the things my Dad didn’t get to do in retirement, before  Alzheimer’s overtook him. They remind me that he is no longer here with me, and can’t walk through the gardens with me. He never did.

Hiking the Robert Frost years ago (when Sarah was around 2)

Hiking the Robert Frost years ago (when Sarah was around 2)

I cry.

I return home. The radio filled with stories that I no longer want to listen to, about the bombers and wars and death and hatred and congress and I can’t take anymore. Just yesterday I learned that the boy who died in the bombing was closely connected to a high school friend. It’s all too close, too much.

I find no peace.

I return to find messages of kindness from friends. One tells me  to “Go out in the sun, and force yourself to write two pages about happiness.” The clouds have rolled in. The sun is gone.  I search for the words about happiness . . .

but all I find are these.

What do you do when you can’t find peace, or words, or that magic place of calm? What do you do when sadness rules?

 

 

 

 

We Have to Start Somewhere

Sarah at my sister's apartment in WATERTOWN, MA.

Sarah at my sister’s apartment in WATERTOWN, MA.

I woke up this morning determined to start my pursuit of happiness. I took a hot bubble bath and felt one moment of PURE BLISS. I got up to write in my MORNING PAGES and everything fell apart . . .

Is it possible that happiness can only truly exist in brief moments?

I wasn’t looking  at technology. I didn’t have my phone near me. I was writing with a modern version of  a fountain pen. And yet, the news just creeped into my system as if all the negativity is just bouncing through the atmosphere, leaping from person to person in an all-consuming wave of negative energy.

A text from a friend who was worried about us.

MIT policeman shot.

Suspect dead in Watertown, MA.

The  city shut down and people told to stay home.

Deb and Norman ignoring the orders to stay at home and going to work.

It’s all too close to home.

It’s all too real. And yet . . . it also feels surreal.

If we, as humans, continue to send all of this negativity out into the world, in such intense waves that we know the news before it is even spoken, then we are doomed.

Change has to start somewhere, and it is not going to happen through governments or laws or politicians.

Change, true change to a world that values happiness and peace over money and hatred, will only come  if each and every individual strives toward putting that out in the world. We can’t let the moments of pure happiness be fleeting. The moments of pain should be the fleeting ones. The moments of hate.

We’ve got it all backwards.

We have to start somewhere. But first I must cry for a world that has lost its way. Perhaps hope can be found from the tears.

Finding beauty in sadness.

Finding beauty in sadness.

 

When the Bombs Exploded

When the bombs exploded, I was not there.

I was wandering through the botanical  gardens many, many miles away. I was looking for beauty and inspiration with my brother.

The daffodils  from above.

The daffodils from above.

When the bombs exploded, I wasn’t thinking about the cruelty and senseless acts of violence that fill our world today. Nor of the acts of cowardliness that are disguised as rebellion.

Because make no mistake, yesterday’s act was the ACT OF A COWARD!

Yes, the person or persons who did this are cowards. They sit back and enjoy the chaos and pain they caused. They revel in the news coverage and in their moment of glory. But they don’t have the  courage to claim or explain their act.

THEY ARE COWARDS!

When the bombs exploded, I was not thinking about acts of bravery or cowardice, or how I would react in the face of tragedy. I was reflecting on possibility and hope and ways to change the world to make it a better, more peaceful place.

Sibling Reflections

Sibling Reflections

When the bombs exploded, I was writing a poem with my brother. I would write one line and then show him the last word. He would then respond and show me the last word. And so on . . .

These were the words we saw:

Time.

change.

Possibilities.

hold?

fold?

fantasy.

world.

toes.

Eerie words in retrospect, because the bomb went off and limbs were lost, and the world changed.

Here is the poem we wrote together:

MIND’S ALIKE

By Lisa and Steve Kramer

Changes come with the seasons but also with
Time.

Moving forward, moving back, always now, always
change.

Yet with change comes growth and unexpected
Possibilities.

Ready to fly, or maybe dive beneath the depths; what does the future
hold?

Should we hold onto past dreams? Or is it time to let go and move forward? When do we know when it is time to
fold?

It often comes back on itself, or maybe makes shapes of
fantasy.

How does one turn fantasy into reality? Perhaps we can’t reach the fairies and the magic, but with focus and intent we can, indeed, change the
world.

It is our heart, it is our soul, it is the solid beneath our
toes.

When the bombs exploded, this was a poem of hope, but now it feels like a poem of sadness. And yet, the beauty of the day remains, and the beauty of those people who helped others outshines the horror of the act. The words of people who were there make me feel that perhaps change can happen. Hope can happen. Kindness can happen.

Beauty still exists.

Snapshot_2013415 (41)

When the bombs exploded, a  poem was just a poem. But now everything is different . . .

because the bombs exploded.

Moving Through the Sadness

A dream swallows me
images with no meaning
but the sense of being trapped
in a home that is not my own
without any dreams to move me forward . . .A rainy day

into tomorrow. I pull myself awake
yearning to remain in
the oblivion of sleep
but terrified by the images that
haunt me . . .

into my waking hours.
I blink awake
and hug my daughter
in desperation and love
looking for answers she does not have.
She doesn’t even understand the questions . . .

I write in my Morning Pages
filled with words I’ll never share
some of hope
some of fear
some of the sadness I carry with me . . .

out into the living room
to be greeted by a flowerDad's flower.
that represents Dad
the man I miss
the man I mourn
the man who was . . .

the man who I never really knew.
I wonder what my daughter knows of me.
What mark will I leave behind
for future generations unknown?
Will my life pass as a blink
with nothing to show but the memories . . .

found in a flower?
I move through the day,
searching through the hope
and find a dream
written by two idiots
that reminds me that all that  really matters . . .

is the journey, not the destination.

Moving Toward Possibility

 

 

Transitioning

I find myself once again sitting alone in an airport. It wasn’t supposed to be this way. I was supposed to leave last Thursday, with my over excited 9-year-old and my almost as excited husband. But, on Wednesday, as I transitioned from professor to person on vacation, my father made a larger transition—from life to spirit.

Transitions have been on my mind all day. Whenever I fly long distance, life takes on this surreal appearance. This morning I was with my mother, tears falling down my face as I admitted that I felt bad for leaving to head on this trip.

“I want you to go,” she said. “Dad would want you to go to.”

Now I sit in San Francisco airport, with the clock telling me that I have transitioned through time—in that usual bizarre way when time passes and yet you go backwards.

Now I sit in transition, waiting for the connection that doesn’t come for hours.  It is quiet here, for the moment, as I sit by my gate where nobody else has gathered. It’s that between time, before a new flight comes in and another flight goes out; before the transition into the next moment of reality; before the next moment of life.

How does one transition from the celebration and sadness of a life lost far too soon to join a celebration of another kind, with a loud and boisterous family that only knows a part of you?  I’m trying to find my holiday spirit, but the black ribbon pinned near my heart reminds me of a gaping hole—of a family that was once whole but now has a rip in it, just as the ribbon has been torn. I don’t know how to put on a “I’m going to Hawaii” smile when it just reminds me of all the trips I didn’t get to take with my father, and all the transitions yet to come.

DSCN1536

I know that life can’t stop, and that a life without transitions isn’t a life well-lived, but sometimes, just for a moment, I wish I could just freeze time and make everything stay the way I want it to be.

Do you ever feel like that?

I Can’t Imagine

Candle

Candle (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I can’t imagine . . .
the pain they are feeling now
as infinite tears pour down my face
and I rush home to hug my child.

I’m lucky I can.

I can’t imagine . . .
what could induce someone
to destroy so many lives
with such destructive force.

I’ll never understand.

I can’t imagine . . .
why people don’t see
that violence begets violence
and leaves nothing but pain.

I’ve lost all hope.

I can’t imagine . . .
how we can fix this
as long as people cling to
their right to defend themselves.

Who is the enemy?

Today I mourn
not just for young lives
snuffed before they really lived
but for all humanity,
all who believe that war
and murder and violence
are not the answer.

We’ve lost our way

I can’t imagine . . .
how we’ll ever find it.

Moments of Joy, Moments of Sorrow: The World in Balance

It amazes me how quickly moments of our life can change, bouncing us through a second of pure joy only to have us stop at a minute of total sadness, then we twirl back into the giddiness of the journey, only to be swallowed by the inevitability of the end.

I’ve been on a journey like that for a while now.

As some of you may know by now, I’m writing a book. Over the past week or so, the story has taken on a life of its own allowing me to pour thousands of words onto the page in an incredible rush of creative power. I’ve met characters I never expected to meet. Plots and subplots have become entwined in a tale that, I believe, only partially comes from me. I have become the conduit of the unseen world of creative energy to tell a story that wants to be told.

An old creation of mine, as I learned to connect with the pool of creative energy.

An old creation of mine, as I learned to connect with the pool of creative energy.

This is exciting and energizing, but can also be terrifying and demoralizing. On a good day, I find myself writing without the knowledge of time passing. I end with a feeling of exhaustion mixed with awe and joy. Some days, however, the writing becomes a torturous journey through badly written sentences, ideas that hit brick walls, or the worst feeling of having no clue what happens next.

The change can happen in an instant.

The writing isn’t the only thing taking me on this fast-paced emotional roller coaster ride. Life in general has a way of doing that.

A few posts back I announced that I put myself out there and applied for a directing gig at a nearby university. I felt good after the interview, but knew then it would just come down to whomever those students wanted to work with, and had very little to do with my talent or ability as a director.

I didn’t get the job.  I figured I hadn’t when I didn’t get word from them last Monday, so once I received the actual rejection I’d protected my heart from total crushing, but it still hurts.

I buried myself in writing instead.

Other things, though, have crept in to make sure my joy is balanced by sorrow.

The other day, Christine Grote, a talented writer whose shared her story of her sister and her family with beautiful, powerful words, posted “A Love Story” a poignant tribute to her father who has Alzheimer’s and her mother who was recently diagnosed with cancer, and their life-long love. Reading that, brought the reality of what is happening to my parents into sharp focus. Our situations differ, slightly, but I’m still losing my Dad to Alzheimer’s and watching my mother have to learn to let him go.

Yesterday, I mourned. I struggled with the emotions I haven’t shared with anyone about what’s happening. I feel guilt. I feel sorrow. I feel anger. I feel it all.

So I write.

Yesterday, Stuart Nager, who has been going through his own struggles lately and whose passions in life are similar to mine, posted this lovely post, called “Rededidication, First Light, First Night”. In it he describes the joys of a Chanukah celebration, despite the sorrows he’s faced over the past year.

I have been lighting candles this year with a mixture of joy and sadness. I always cherish the flicker of the Chanukah candles, but this year they sing to me of loss and sadness. I miss the days of my childhood menorahs, one of which you can see in this lovely post of my brothers called “Tradition . . . tradition”. One of the family menorahs played Ma’otzur from a music box. I hold that sound in my heart, and sang it after we lit our own candles last night.

Tori’s “Tiny Spark” series, though, has reminded me that sorrow doesn’t last and we can, indeed find beauty and joy despite the pain. Read today’s contribution “A Helpful Heart”, written by the fabulous Jamie Shea  from The Life of Jamie. I read it this morning, and realized the wonder and kindness that does exist in our world, even if sometimes it feels like its hard to find.

Life can’t be all joy. Life can’t be all sorrow. Life is living from moment to moment in this whirlwind of chaotic emotion, some good some bad. All we can do, is hold on for the ride and never give up.

 

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!

Where Do We Hide?

I am so frustrated. I’ve been having a wonderful few days, being open to possibilities and positivity. Seeing the world as one full of potential rather than one of lost hope.

But then stupidity reigns supreme. I don’t really even have the words to express how I feel about the insanity around us such as:

  • cutting funding for NPR and PBS
  • further tax cuts that make the rich get richer and loses more jobs
  • people still posting horrible things about Japan getting payback
  • Republicans calling emergency meetings about cutting funding for NPR
  • the loss of true freedoms in our country
  • etc. etc. etc.

Maybe it’s the weather. Maybe it’s the fact that today seems to be a mother/daughter battle day. Or maybe I let too much hope in so, now I simply crashed. Whatever, it is, I feel wordless today, and without hope.

So, instead, I thought I would share this interesting article with you all to enjoy for its beauty and peace.

Buddhist Nun Shares The Sound Of Music : NPR.

As well as a video I just found:

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